Violence / Raids / Attacks / Illegal arrests
(see also articles under Analysis/Opinion at the end of this compilation)
Palestinian critically injured in clashes near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 June — Six Palestinians were injured including one critically in clashes with Israeli forces near Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah. Israeli forces fired live and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters who threw rocks at Israeli forces deployed near the checkpoint, injuring six of them. Yazan Yacoub, 17, was shot in the chest and abdomen with a live bullet. He underwent an operation and is currently in the ICD, medical sources said. Hundreds of Palestinians marched toward the checkpoint to protest the killing [overnight] of a young Palestinian from al-Jalazun refugee camp [20-year-old Ahmad Sabarin]. The injured were taken to hospitals for treatment.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinians near Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 17 June — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man in the Salfit district in the northern West Bank early Tuesday, Palestinian security forces said. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that 25-year-old Hamada Suf was shot in the foot by Israeli forces near a main road next to the village of Haris. Suf was injured and taken to the hospital, the sources said. An Israeli police spokesman confirmed the incident, saying that Palestinians were throwing stones at buses near the settlement of Ariel.
3 injured by rubber-coated bullets in Beit Ummar clashes
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 June — Three Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated [steel] bullets during clashes with Israeli forces in the Hebron district on Monday, a local popular committee spokesman said. Muhammed Ayyad Awad told Ma‘an that seven Israeli military vehicles entered Beit Ummar north of Hebron, and that Palestinian youths hurled rocks at the vehicles. Clashes broke out between the youths and Israeli forces, and three Palestinians were injured by rubber-coated bullets while others suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation, Awad said.
Hebron: Families kicked out of their homes
IMEMC/Agencies 17 June — [Monday, June 16, 2014] The Israeli military continued its massive invasion and arrests in different parts of the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and so far kicked out three Palestinian families from their homes, to use them as military posts, and even to sleep there. Resident Saleh al-‘Oweiwy said the army kicked out three families, including his own, and the family of his brother, and informed them that the soldiers will be sleeping there. He added that the families, under gunpoint, had no other option but to leave, especially amidst threats by the soldiers to use force against them, and even to shoot them if they do not leave. Another family was also forced out, and dozens of soldiers occupied their home to use it for sleeping, and to turn it into a military post and a monitoring tower. The army also occupied ‘Ayesh as-Sayyed School, west of Hebron city, and used it as a military base. On Monday at night, dozens of soldiers invaded the al-Jenan neighborhood in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and searched several homes. Soldiers also invaded ‘Anata town and Shu‘fat refugee camp, in occupied Jerusalem.
Several suffocation cases, injuries among Palestinians at Bethlehem checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 17 June – Several Palestinians Tuesday suffered from tear gas suffocation and sustained bruises after being attacked by Israeli forces at the Israeli military checkpoint of ‘Container’ to the southeast of Jerusalem, according to witnesses. They told WAFA that forces stationed at the checkpoint chased away Palestinian passengers who were stuck and waiting in traffic build up queues to cross the checkpoint. Forces fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades toward passengers, causing several of them to suffer from excessive tear gas inhalation, while others sustained bruises after they were severely beaten up by soldiers. Troops continue to carefully inspect Palestinian vehicles and prevent Hebron residents from crossing the checkpoint.
Meanwhile, troops prevented reporters from covering the incidents at the checkpoint. Samer Hamad, who works as a press photographer with Palmedia, said that soldiers prevented reporters from covering the situation at the checkpoint, detained ‘Abdul Rahaman Younes, who works as a reporter with Alquds.com, seized his camera and deleted the photos he shot before releasing him.
Settlers attack Palestinian vehicles along Nablus highway
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 June — Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles in the Nablus area late Sunday, causing damage to over 30 cars, a Palestinian official said. Large groups of settlers attacked vehicles along the main Ramallah-Nablus highway, hurling stones at cars near the villages of Yatma, Kafr Laqif, Turmus Ayya and Jinsafut, Ghassan Daghlas told Ma‘an. No injuries were reported.
A day earlier, settlers gathered on main roads near Bethlehem and Hebron to protest against the recent disappearance of three Israeli settlers, hurling rocks at Palestinian vehicles. The demonstrators also chanted anti-Arab slogans. Also Saturday, three Palestinians were injured as settlers hurled stones at vehicles traveling on main roads across the northern and central West Bank.
Settlers open fire at Palestinian car near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 June — Israeli settlers on Monday opened fire at a Palestinian car near Beit Rima village north of Ramallah, without causing any injuries. Witnesses told Ma‘an that settlers from the nearby Hallamish settlement opened fire at a car on the road leading to Beit Rima, but he managed to flee unscathed.
Tires slashed in Yitzhar as IDF searches for kidnapped teens
Ynet 16 June by Yoav Zitun — Even as the IDF increased its search operations for the three teens abducted in the West Bank, the tires of a military vehicle were punctured at the Yitzhar settlement Monday, the latest in a recent string of apparent price tag attacks. Police launched an investigation into the incident, the third in the last two months. At the same time, 100 settlers demonstrated at Gush Etzion Junction calling for the immediate release of the kidnapped boys. Clashes erupted during the protest; three people were taken in for allegedly disrupting the peace.
Shots fired at Israeli military site near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — The Israeli army on Sunday said that unidentified assailants opened fire at a military site near Bethlehem. An Israeli army spokesman told Ma‘an that shots were fired at an Israeli army post “near Har Gilo north of Bethlehem.” Initial reports suggest that shots were fired from a passing vehicle, the spokesman said. No injuries or damages were reported.
LIVE UPDATES: After five days, concern grown for lives of kidnapped teens; top officer: Campaign against Hamas ‘complicated and prolonged’
Haaretz 18 June – [subject to frequent changes]
International media ignore Israel’s abduction of Palestinian teens
Electronic Intifada 17 June by Amena Saleem — In the first ten days of June, seventeen teenage boys were abducted in the occupied West Bank. The youngest was thirteen, the oldest seventeen. Some were dragged at gunpoint from their homes and family in the middle of the night; others were seized from the streets in broad daylight. All of the abductions were documented by the Palestinian Monitoring Group. None were reported by the international media. No Western politicians called for the release of the boys. On 12 June, three more teenage boys went missing in the West Bank. Their disappearance sparked worldwide media coverage, cries of terrorism and demands for their release by the US Secretary of State and the UK Foreign Secretary. Those three are Israeli. The seventeen others are Palestinian. And, if the case of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, taken by Palestinian forces in Gaza in 2006 and released in 2011, is any indication, Western interest in the case of these three Israelis will not wane until they are found. Black hole Conversely, the seventeen Palestinian boys seized by heavily armed Israeli soldiers will disappear into the same silent black hole as all the other Palestinian children taken on an almost daily basis by the occupation forces.
Israeli forces ransack offices, confiscate computers in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 16 June — Israeli forces early Monday raided the offices of two Palestinian organizations in the northern West Bank, security sources said. Palestinian security forces told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers broke into the office of the Palestinian National Initiative political party and a Hamas-affiliated charitable organization, the Muslim Girl Society. Soldiers ransacked the offices, spending hours searching the premises, before confiscating a number of computers, the sources said. Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, confirmed the raid on his party’s office. He described the Israeli army’s actions across the West Bank throughout their search for Israeli teenagers as “collective punishment.”
Israel arrests 51 former Palestinian prisoners
JERUSALEM (AP) 17 June by Karin Laub & Josef Federman — The Israeli army has re-arrested 51 former Palestinian prisoners as part of a furious search for three missing Israeli teens believed to have been abducted in the West Bank. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said on Wednesday that the 51 were among more than 65 Palestinians detained overnight in the search for the teens. The 51 were part of a group of 1,027 Palestinians released in 2011 from Israeli prisons in exchange for an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in 2006. Israel believes Hamas was behind the abduction of the teens, who disappeared last week on the way home from a religious seminary. Lerner says that since the disappearance, a total of 240 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank.
Ahrar: ‘197 Palestinians kidnapped in the West Bank’
IMEMC by Saed Bannoura — [Tuesday, June 17, 2014] Israeli soldiers have kidnapped 197 Palestinians and invaded more than 791 homes, in different parts of the West Bank, since three settlers went missing last Thursday night, the Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights has reported. During a press conference at the Ahrar office in Ramallah, Ahrar Center head Fuad al-Khuffash stated that, on the first day of the Israeli campaign against the occupied West Bank, the army kidnapped 16 Palestinians, including two women who were released later on. The second day of the invasion led to the kidnapping of 110 Palestinians, including five legislators, two government ministers and two university teachers. The army also kidnapped 44 Palestinians on the third day of the invasions, including the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Abdul-Aziz Dweik, from Hebron. Soldiers also kidnapped a legislator on the same day. The fourth day of the invasion led to the kidnapping of 27 Palestinians. Al-Khuffash said the 197 kidnapped Palestinians, including women, children, seven legislators and two ministers, are all former political prisoners, and that the number is based on documented arrests of detainees who were moved to different prisons and detention centers … Most of the kidnapped Palestinians are Hamas supporters, in addition to two Islamic Jihad members and six members of the Fateh movement who were kidnapped on Monday night in the Balata refugee camp, in Nablus, al-Khuffash said. He stated that the soldiers focused their arrests and home invasions in the Hebron district, invading more than 140 Palestinian homes and violently searching them, causing excessive property damage. The Hebron invasions mainly targeted Hebron City, the towns of Doura and Surif, and various nearby communities. In Ramallah, soldiers invaded at least 74 homes and ransacked them before kidnapping several Palestinians, including the head of the al-Aqsa Satellite TV Station, Aziz Kayed, and many other Palestinians … Al-Khuffash said that ten of the newly kidnapped Palestinians received arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, holding them for different periods without charges or trial.
Eight kidnapped in Jenin, soldiers confiscate UNRWA vehicle
IMEMC 17 June by Saed Bannoura — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and the Jenin refugee camp, violently broke into and searched dozens of homes, kidnapped eight Palestinians and confiscated a vehicle belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Local sources said that dozens of Israeli military vehicles and jeeps invaded various neighborhoods in the city, and searched dozens of homes before kidnapping eight Palestinians … The men were kidnapped after soldiers smashed the doors of their homes and ransacked the property, causing excessive damage … In addition, undercover forces of the army confiscated a vehicle belonging to the UNRWA, in the Jenin refugee camp, forced a kidnapped resident to drive it with them under gunpoint, left the vehicle later on in an area near the Annexation Wall, and released the driver. Jenin Governor, Ibrahim Ramadan, slammed the ongoing Israeli military escalation, and the deliberate targeting of civilians, warning that Israel’s violations will only lead the area into further violence. Ramadan added that kidnapping civilians violates International Law, and all related human rights agreements, adding that confiscating and illegally using an UNRWA car is a blatant Israeli disregard of the UNRWA and international law.
Prisoners / Hunger strikers / Court actions
Six Israeli Arabs released without charge in probe of woman’s murder
Haaretz 17 June by Jack Khoury, Eli Ashkenazi and Nir Hasson — Six weeks after the murder of Shelly Dadon, Supreme Court Justice Hanan Meltzer partially removed a gag order Tuesday on the investigation, revealing that six suspects were arrested and released by Israel Police and the Shin Bet security service. The judge partially lifted the gag order following a Haaretz appeal. On May 1, Shelly Dadon was found stabbed to death in Migdal Ha’emek in the country’s north after leaving her home in Afula for a job interview. She never arrived. The six suspects – among them several minors – were prohibited from meeting a lawyer for a week, since they were classified as a security threat. Investigators claimed the murder was an act of terror, despite providing no evidence for the motive … On May 4, authorities arrested the six suspects, all Israeli Arabs. One was released by the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on May 15. The rest were released two days later. The Public Defender’s Office, which represented five out of the six suspects, levied heavy criticism about the amount of time they were held in detention before seeing lawyers.
Israel to ‘worsen’ living condition of Hamas detainees
IMEMC 18 June/Agencies — Israeli online daily, Haaretz, has reported that Israeli ministers held an urgent meeting, and decided to worsen the conditions of imprisoned Hamas members, held in various Israeli prisons and detention camps, and that the government is examining the possibility removing Hamas leaders from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip … Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli military official stating on Tuesday at night that Hamas “shot itself in the leg” instead of saving itself through the Palestinian reconciliation deal, and the unity agreement recently signed with Fateh party and several other political groups, paving the way for an interim government that would prepare for elections. His statements contradict all statements, and actions, made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his Defense Minister, and various Israeli ministers and government officials who shunned the Palestinian Authority, and initiated sanctions against it, in addition to initiating an international campaign to isolate it, after the unity deal was signed.
Prisoner force-feeding bill ready for final vote after getting fast track
Haaretz 18 June by Jonathan Lis & Ido Efrati — Controversial bill being irresponsibly jammed through Knesset, critics claim; Israel Medical Association opposes measure — In an accelerated procedure, the Knesset Interior Committee completed preparations for the second and third reading of the law enabling force-feeding of security prisoners. Voting in the plenary will take place next Monday … Coalition members are obliged to vote in favor of the bill, ensuring its passage. One committee member said, “The legislative process was superficial, with most members absent. Netanyahu wanted it rushed through without serious debate about its ramifications. This will become a long-term tragedy.” MK Zandberg (Meretz) said, “The bill is contrary to international law and to Israel’s Basic Law regarding human dignity. It was rushed through for political purposes.”
Hunger strikers call on Palestinians to intervene
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 June — On their 54th day of strike, hunger-striking prisoners called on the Palestinian leadership and Palestinians to intervene and save their lives in their battle against administrative detention. The prisoners pointed out that they will not “excuse” anyone who does not support them and that they are grateful for everyone who does. The hunger strikers told a Prisoners’ Society lawyer, who visited a number of them in Tel Hashomir hospital, that their conditions have deteriorated in the last few days and several were moved to intensive care units. Nine had a decrease in their pulse, and 20 suffered from blood loss and were moved to intensive care units for several days. Prisoners said that there had not been any meetings with any representative of the Israeli prison service for eight days, “which is an attempt to cause the prisoners to be more desperate.” Jawad Boulos said that the prisoners insist on continuing their “battle” despite that many of them have lost around 25 percent of their weight.
Hebron on strike as Israel tightens closure around city
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 June — A commercial strike was announced by shopkeepers in Hebron on Monday as Israel tightened its closure of the city in search for three missing youths. A Ma‘an reporter said all shops and stores remain closed in Hebron with streets virtually empty as the city shows solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike. The city was subject to widespread overnight raids with at least 40 people detained, including several senior Hamas politicians. Hebron’s governor, Kamel Hmeid, urged the international community to intervene against what he called “inhumane” acts by Israel’s military in the city. On Monday, Israeli forces broke into a cemetery in the Hebron town of Taffuh and raided several neighborhoods.
Army bombards several areas in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies by Saed Bannoura — Monday at dawn – June 16, 2014: Palestinian medical sources have reported that several Palestinians have been injured, and many suffered anxiety attacks, after the army fired missiles into different areas in the Gaza Strip. The sources said three Palestinians were injured when the soldiers bombarded the Safeena site, used by the General Investigation Police Department, causing excessive property damage. Soldiers also bombarded another site, behind the al-Qawasmi Towers, west of Gaza City. Two more Palestinians were injured when the army bombarded the Abu Jarad site, southeast of Gaza city. In addition, Israeli Apache helicopters fired two missiles into the building of the Gaza Municipality Slaughter House, causing a number of injuries, in addition to property damage to the building and nearby homes. The army also bombarded a training site used by the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Property damage was reported. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) stated that Israeli F16 jets fired a missile into an area between Khan Younis, and Deir al-Balah, causing extensive damage, and fires, while several Palestinians, mainly children, suffered anxiety attacks. Three Israeli air strikes also targeted Abu Jarad area, southeast of Gaza City, causing property damage. WAFA said that Israeli fighter jets have been extensively flying over different areas in the Gaza Strip, while dozens of military vehicles have been deployed near border areas, in Gaza’s northern and eastern parts.
Israel said Palestinian fighters in Gaza fired several missiles into the country, including four into Asqalan (Ashkelon). The Iron Dome System managed to intercept two, but shrapnel of the intercepted missiles hit at least one home.
Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza overnight
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 June — Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip overnight [Mon-Tue], a Ma‘an reporter said Tuesday. Warplanes struck an open area in Khan Younis and two sites in Asda west of the city. Airstrikes also hit open areas in the eastern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.
Israeli authorities close Gaza crossings
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 June — Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip on Monday, having briefly reopened it earlier in the day. Palestinian crossings official Nathmi Muhanna told Ma‘an that Israel prevented trucks from entering Gaza and declared the crossing closed. Israel closed the both the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossing last Thursday, after three Israeli youths were reported missing from a settlement in the West Bank, but briefly reopened it early Monday.
Photos: Heat brings out Gaza Palestinians to enjoy beach
Arab Daily News 16 June by Mohammed Asad — The beaches at the Gaza Strip are a magnet for Palestinians seeking relief from the heat and the Israeli oppression. With the students out of school for the summer, the beaches are now packed and the beach is no longer a place for the lonely. Several beach areas, away from the sewage disposal into the Mediterranean Sea, drew large crowds, but there is always a concern and fear of diseases or parasites from waste water. The population of the Gaza Strip has very little other choices, though, as Israel continues to impose a harsh blockade on supplies and on travel. The large crowds do create an economic opportunity and draw many hawkers who seek to sell items on the beach. Food items sold include corn and ice cream, and an assortment of games. Many of the beach-goers are members of the Government of Gaza which have been on a forced holiday as they have not been paid for as long as eight weeks. The lack of funding has impacted more than 40,000 government employees. Some were receiving partial salaries, but not enough to survive. Here is a photo display of the Palestinians at the Gaza Beach recently:
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement and citizenship
Palestinian family of 6 made homeless by Israeli demolition
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 June — Israeli bulldozers early Tuesday demolished a Palestinian home in the Hebron town of Idhna, a local official said. Idhna mayor Hashim Tmeizi told Ma‘an that bulldozers escorted by Israeli forces arrived in the Khirbet al-Ras neighborhood of the village and demolished a two-story house. The residence, which belonged to Muhammad Hussein Farajallah, measured 200 square meters and housed a family of six. A spokesman for Israel’s civil administration told Ma‘an the house was constructed “illegally,” without responding to requests for further details. Israel rarely grants construction permits to Palestinians in the West Bank, and regularly demolishes structures built without permits … Israel has demolished 248 Palestinian structures and displaced 492 people so far in 2014, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. Some 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished by Israel since it occupied the West Bank in 1967.
Israeli bulldozers demolish 2 Palestinian structures east of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 16 June — Israeli bulldozers on Monday destroyed two structures in al-Eizariya village east of Jerusalem, the owner of the buildings said. Sami Abu Ghaliya told Ma‘an that bulldozers accompanied by Israeli forces entered al-Eizariya and demolished his produce market and his car wash, located at the entrance of the village across from the Maale Adumim settlement.
The car wash was a 150-square-meter structure, and the produce market was 70 square meters large, Abu Ghaliya said. He estimated that the buildings had cost him 80,000 shekels to construct, adding that Monday marked the fourth demolition of structures he owned within the last five months. Israeli forces rarely grant Palestinians permits to build in the occupied West Bank, and regularly demolish homes and other structures in Areas B and C.
City councilor: Israel approves 172 new settler homes
JERUSALEM (AFP) 18 June — Israel gave approval Wednesday for the construction of 172 new homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, a city councilor said, nearly two weeks after it announced thousands. “The municipality approved this morning the construction of 172 apartments in Har Homa,” Jerusalem city councilor Yosef Pepe Alalu told AFP. “This is the final stage before construction, and is the continuation of a policy that harms the peace process.”
‘So long, Israel, and thanks for nothing’
Haaretz 15 June by Carol Daniel Kasbari — As a Palestinian Israeli married to a Palestinian, we’ve been waiting for Israel to grant us permission to live together. 15 years later, forced to choose between homeland and family unity, we have finally left — I am a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, raised in Nazareth. My husband is also a Palestinian, but unlike me, he is not a citizen of Israel. In fact, he is not a citizen of any country. I met my husband, Osama Kasbari, in Ramallah in 1997 when I was a student at the Hebrew University, and the connection was immediate. After that first meeting, we spent three hours talking on the phone – about life, identity, language, home – and within a year, we were married. We began the process of building a normal life, applying for “family unification,” a process under which non-citizens married to Israelis could gain temporary residency status and further on down the line become permanent residents or citizens. At the Interior Ministry office in Nazareth, we were told that the process would be quite simple: We were to live inside of Israel’s borders, pay taxes, obey the laws and within four years, my husband would be granted permanent residency. This is what we were told, and this is what we believed, so this is what we did. My husband was granted an Aleph/5 permit, a temporary status which enabled us to live together. He was one of those “good Arabs,” according to the Shin Bet, who reviewed our application to renew his permit. Every year, before the permit expired, I would spend an entire week on the phone, until I finally reached the clerk who would schedule an appointment for us at the Interior Ministry. The grilling would begin on the phone, and end in a day-long visit to an office where we submitted a pile of papers that revealed every detail of our life: Three months of a protracted, demanding and exhausting process. It involved explaining every move and every payment we made. We felt we were at the mercy of clerks and strangers who passed judgment on our life choices. My husband couldn’t leave the country, buy a house and or even open a bank account or pay his own cellphone bill. In 2003, weeks before my husband was scheduled to receive permanent residency, our dreams were shattered, along with other Palestinian couples like us. On July 31st, 2003, then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai successfully passed the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order)” which categorically denied Palestinians from “the hostile areas,” meaning, Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, the ability to receive residency or citizenship as a result of their partnership with a citizen of Israel.
Israel PM calls Abbas, says expects help finding teens
Jerusalem (AFP) 16 June — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday telephoned Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and said he expected him to help ensure the safe return of three kidnapped teenagers, a statement said. Abbas’s office also issued a statement condemning both the kidnapping of the three youths and the results of a massive Israeli crackdown to find the perpetrators … It was their first telephone conversation in nearly a year
Hamas warns of ‘consequences’ if Israel expels leaders to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 June — A Hamas official on Monday warned of “consequences” if Israel expelled West Bank-based leaders of the Islamist movement to the Gaza Strip, as Israeli forces continued an extensive search for three missing youths. “The scenario of expulsion has always failed in breaking the will and determination of Palestinians,” Mushir al-Musri, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, told Ma‘an … Earlier, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli officials were considering expelling Hamas leaders in the West Bank to Gaza, amid a search for three missing teenagers.
Sources: Israel asked Egypt to help find kidnapped teens
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 16 June – High-profile Egyptian sources in Cairo said that President Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi gave directives to the Egyptian national security to carry out negotiations with all the concerned sides in order to try to end the crisis of three teenage settlers believed to have been detained by Palestinians in the southern West Bank. The sources told Ma‘an that Israel officially asked for Egyptian intervention. Al-Sisi gave clear orders to his national security officials, the sources said, which is to deal only with the Palestinian Authority. However, the sources highlighted that the Egyptian national security opened channels for negotiations with unofficial Palestinian entities, but they aren’t affiliated to Hamas or Islamic Jihad. The sources confirmed that the Egyptians have not been contacted by the kidnappers or by anybody who speaks on their behalf. The well-placed sources said Egyptian officials notified Israel that they believe the teenagers were not moved to the Gaza Strip or the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt demands Israel stop Hebron campaign
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 17 June — Egypt on Monday demanded that Israel to stop its raids that started after the apparent kidnapping of three teenagers in Hebron, a Ma‘an reporter said. The spokesman of Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, Bader Abdel Aati, said in a statement that Egypt demanded that Israel “have control over itself” so the tension between the two sides would not increase and remain “under control.”
EU underlines support to PA to pay civil servants in Gaza
BRUSSELS (KUNA) 16 June — The EU Council of Ministers in a statement Monday welcomed the report of the EU Court of Auditors published on 11 December 2013 on EU Direct Financial Support to the Palestinian Authority through the PEGASE mechanism. The Council welcomed in particular the Court’s Conclusion that the European Commission and the EU foreign service, known as EEAS , have succeeded in implementing direct financial support in spite of difficult circumstances, that the financial procedures put in place are robust and that there is no evidence of corruption, mismanagement or diversion of funds.
Palestinians deported to ‘no man’s land’ between Syria and Lebanon
Al-Akhbar 16 June –The film ‘The Border’ starring Syrian actor Duraid Lahham, which tells the story of a man who gets stranded at the border between two Arab countries because he does not have a passport, is no longer a fictional tale, it has become the reality of three young Palestinian men. The Syrian crisis brought them to the border with Lebanon over 40 days ago. Their only crime is that they are Palestinian. This is the Lebanese-Syrian border. It is not Marj al-Zohour which hosted in the 1990s dozens of Palestinians expelled by Israel to what was known as the forbidden area. There, at the dividing line between Lebanon and Syria, three Palestinian young men are trapped. They are unable to head east to Syria where they lost their homes and lives in the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp and they are not allowed to go west to Lebanon where their families – who have been displaced once again – are residing in Sidon and Jiyeh.
UK denies visa to Palestinian theater director
Electronic Intifada 16 June by Sarah Irving — Nabil al-Raee, artistic director of the Freedom Theatre in Jenin, has been denied a visa to participate in a speaking tour of the UK. According to a statement from the UK Friends of Freedom Theatre, al-Raee was told by a UK official, “I am not satisfied you are genuinely seeking entry as an entertainer or business visitor and will leave the UK at the end of your trip and do not intend to live for extended periods in the United Kingdom…” His place at the speaking engagements have been taken by Ahmed Tobasi, a fellow member of the Freedom Theatre, who has Norwegian citizenship and can therefore travel in Britain without a visa. Forthcoming events include London, Coventry and York. According to the statement, Al-Raee had pointed out that his visa was denied “despite the fact that I have travelled extensively around Europe and the US, most recently as a keynote speaker at the Kennedy Center in Washington.” Rejected “because of who I am” He suggested that he was being excluded from the UK for political reasons, as “My wife is Portuguese so if I had any wish to live in Europe I would not need a UK visa to do so. I was rejected because of who I am, and this rejection is also part of why we are struggling for our rights and our freedom.”
MK assailed for saying kidnappers not terrorists
Times of Israel 17 June by Spencer Ho — Politicians call for Hanin Zoabi’s removal from the Knesset; Balad lawmaker later says she doesn’t support perpetrators — Israeli politicians from the right and center roundly slammed Balad MK Hanin Zoabi, some even calling for her to be removed from her post and prosecuted, after she said on Tuesday that the Palestinian kidnappers of three Israeli teens were “not terrorists.”… Zoabi had said on Tel Aviv Radio that the kidnappers “are not terrorists; they are people who do not see any way of changing their situation and they have to resort to these measures until Israel sobers up a bit, until the citizens of Israel and the public sober up and relate to the suffering of others.” Zoabi later clarified in an interview on Israel Radio that she does “not support the kidnappers, but [kidnapping] is the result of frustration.” “You ask about mothers, ask me about the mothers of prisoners, ask about prisoners who are being held without trial, without being guilty,” she said.
Thousands join online campaign to kill Palestinian ‘terrorists’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 June — Over 10,000 people have joined an online campaign to kill a Palestinian “terrorist” every hour until three missing Israeli teens are returned to their families, Israeli media reported Sunday. The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on its website that within hours of its creation, a Facebook page calling for the hourly assassination of Palestinian “terrorists” had reached 10,000 likes. [the interesting thing is how pro-Palestinian or anti-Zionist people have commented. Apparently the owner of the page keeps clearing these comments out, but more keep coming]
Botched handling of kidnap call reflects systemic police hotline failure
Haaretz 17 June by Yaniv Kubovich — Inexperience, lack of training and failure to follow procedure – these were just some of the findings of a scathing report on the performance of police hotlines presented to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino back in June 2013. Yet these failures were seemingly evident in the handling of the call from the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last Thursday … The first report about last Thursday’s kidnapping was received at about 10:30 P.M. by a police officer doing compulsory service, who mishandled it. As a result, hours passed before the relevant forces in the field knew anything about the abduction.
Despite kidnapping, West Bank hitchhiking persists
ALON SHVUT (The Media Line) 17 June — With no buses connecting between settlements in Gush Etzion block, residents say they are forced to commute by hitchhiking, regardless of feeling of peril following abduction of teens — The group of several dozen seventh graders had just finished school and were preparing to return to their homes in this bloc of settlements near Bethlehem in the area Israel acquired in 1967. A few of the boys, their skullcaps blowing in the wind, stuck out their index fingers – the Israeli equivalent of “thumbing a ride.” “Absolutely not!” yelled their teacher. “No hitchhiking!! You’ll wait for the next bus.”He then consulted his watch. “It comes in two hours.” The students let out a collective groan … There were fewer hitchhikers than usual, but those who continued said it was too much a part of their lives to quit. “Hitchhiking is simply part of the fabric of life here,” Davidi Perl, the mayor of the bloc’s 20,000 residents told The Media Line. “There are buses to Jerusalem but no buses between the communities. If you want to get from one to the other you have to hitchhike or walk.”
Report: Israel to provide secure transportation for settlers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 June — Israeli settlements in the West Bank have considered temporary solutions to prevent more kidnapping incidents, Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported Tuesday. They have asked settlers not to hitchhike on main roads, and to stay inside the settlements waiting for a ride in case there was is public transportation available … The Hebrew-language daily reported that hitchhiking on main roads in the West Bank has always worried Israeli security, who will begin providing public transportation to prevent such incidents.
Analysis / Opinion
After indicting Hamas, Netanyahu declares war on all Palestinians / Samer Badawi
972mag 17 June — From arrests to home invasions to airstrikes, the repercussions of Bibi’s finger pointing are being felt throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Reports surfaced yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering “expelling” Hamas leaders from the West Bank, ostensibly as punishment for the alleged kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers. The scheme harkens to December 1992, when then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin famously banished 415 Palestinians to what was considered a no-man’s-land just over the Lebanese border. Literally dumped on a hilltop and stateless, these accused members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad set up camp in the harsh winter — and waited. Their plight — in an age of faxes, not smartphones — went “viral,” though, becoming front page material and earning Israel yet another Security Council rebuke. And though the sheer length of their exile eventually dimmed interest in the story, those who returned as part of a U.S.-brokered deal were hailed as heroes.
Among them was Ismail Haniyeh.
This time, Haniyeh is already sequestered in Gaza, where he and nearly two million other Palestinians live in what the UN’s former humanitarian coordinator John Holmes called an “open-air prison.”
West Bank kidnapping: Israel’s crackdown moves beyond Hamas militants / Haggai Matar
972mag 17 June — By arresting Hamas-affiliated journalists, charity workers and parliament members, Israel is going way beyond any attempt at trying to find the kidnapped teens — Someone’s gotta say it: what Israel has been doing in the West Bank over the past several days goes way beyond any attempt at trying to find the kidnapped teens. It is a military and political attack on Hamas intended on serving the government’s agenda, with no connection to the attempts to find the teens, and no clear connection between Hamas and the kidnapping.
Let me clarify: I am sure that the army is making efforts to find the three, and I hope they are found and returned, safe and sound, as soon as possible. But this does not justify the cynical exploitation of the circumstances for other political goals entirely.
Over the last couple of days, the army’s operations have extended into Bethlehem and Nablus – the heart of Area A (where the Palestinian Authority is in charge of both security and civil matters). The army arrested members of Hamas’ charity organization, as well as journalists affiliated with Hamas and the head of the Palestinian Legislative Council, who is a member of the party. A total of 200 people. Computers and weapons were also confiscated. And all this while the search after the teenagers is focused on the Hebron area, which is under closure. There is no doubt that many of these operations are unrelated to the teens, and that no one in the army thinks that charity workers, journalists or parliamentarians know where they are…
We must put these things in context: last week, Netanyahu found himself a bind … After years of division within the Palestinian leadership, and political division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (a division Israel itself laid the foundation for), all of a sudden a renewed PLO and an unarmed, united Palestinian struggle focusing on international pressure on Israel became a distinct possibility.
And Netanyahu couldn’t do a thing about it. He, who released endless statements, could neither boycott the new Palestinian Authority, nor send thousands of soldiers into the heart of Area A in order to arrest Hamas parliament members for nothing. Then came the kidnapping, and all of a sudden the rules of the game changed. All of a sudden we can attack Hamas as much as we want, where we want, how we want, and no one in Israel or around the world can oppose us. And all of a sudden we can divide the Palestinians once more by labeling the PA and Abbas Israel’s favorite collaborators, while labeling Hamas the biggest threat that must be uprooted.
This, despite the fact that Hamas never claimed responsibility for the attack, that its representatives in the West Bank have not responded to the incident, or that carrying out a kidnapping at a time like this would mean political suicide for the organization. It must be remembered that Hamas was pushed into joining the PA after it lost much of its support in the Arab world, and suffered from the strengthening of Egypt’s blockade on Gaza. There was no other way out. It received a life preserver in the form of a new government, as well as the possibility of elections and international recognition. And then came the kidnapping.
Netanyahu wrong to blame Abbas for kidnapping / Akiva Eldar
Al-Monitor 16 June — It’s been almost two months since a group of Palestinian administrative detainees went on a hunger strike April 24. A significant number of the hunger strikers have been behind bars for years without being told what they’re accused of and without being put on trial. A hunger strike is a drastic step, but is considered a legitimate nonviolent tool in most of the Western world. None of the Israeli authorities have signaled any willingness to negotiate with the strikers or even to offer a conciliatory gesture to restore calm, as they have done in such instances in the past. The debate became narrowly focused on practical, operative aspects: on the one hand, Shin Bet is pushing to speed up legislation that would allow force-feeding to prevent hunger strikers’ deaths — which could ignite a third intifada. On the other hand, the military objects to force-feeding and claims it can contain “local insurrections” that would result from a detainee’s death. It would appear to be more than a coincidence that the unusual kidnapping of the three teens June 12 occurred at the height of the hunger strike, and in the Hebron area; some 90 of the 120 striking prisoners are residents of Hebron and its environs. Many Palestinians term the current strike the “strike of the Hebronites.” Not only that, two of the kidnapped boys, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar, are students at the Mekor Haim rabbinical college located in the nearby settlement of Kfar Etzion, the first community to be established in the West Bank after the Six-Day War. The leader of HaBayit HaYehudi Party, Naftali Bennett, recently declared that he was determined to advance a plan to impose Israeli sovereignty over this region … Before denigrating Abbas, Netanyahu should examine his own backyard. It’s hard to count the hundreds of cases in which skilled Israeli security forces failed to pass the very bar that Netanyahu is placing before the PA’s security forces. The US State Department counted 399 hate crimes carried out by Israeli citizens in 2013. The vast majority of these crimes were not solved. The Israeli government and its security forces never took responsibility for settler shootings toward Palestinians, arson at mosques, uprooting of olive trees and incursion into private Palestinian lands. These are always “unusual acts” carried out by “stray weeds.”
Gov’t plans to act against Hamas leaders and prisoners may backfire / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 18 June — While the arrest of 150 Hamas activists may seem reasonable within the context of the efforts of the intelligence services to track down the abductors of the seminary students, there is little logic to the exiling of the organization’s leadership to Gaza and the retributive measures against jailed Hamas members. There is no decisive proof as yet, aside from declarations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that Hamas is involved. On the contrary, three organizations that are unrelated to Hamas have rushed to take responsibility for the kidnapping. It seems as though the government is attempting yet again to climb the cliff called “obliterating terror infrastructure,” while looking for the proverbial dropped penny under the lamppost. Such efforts failed in two earlier operations in the Gaza Strip, “Cast Lead” and “Pillar of Defense.” Assassinating senior Hamas leaders also failed to yield the expected results during the second intifada. This time as well, it does not seem that the removal of senior and mid-level Hamas leadership figures will accomplish the impossible. Hamas has proved time and again that it can survive and raise new cadres. It is doubtful whether there are any intelligence benefits in banishing its leaders to Gaza since as long as they are in the West Bank, they are under the continuous surveillance of both the Shin Bet security service, which very rapidly located and arrested them, and the Palestinian security forces. In Gaza they will enjoy much broader freedom of action, benefiting from a more extensive political and organizational infrastructure than available to them in the West Bank. The worsening of prison conditions for jailed Hamas activists as part of the retributive measures taken, aside from its moral aspects, may prove to have a boomerang effect. The solidarity of political prisoners, as demonstrated by the hunger strike of administrative prisoners who were joined by sentenced prisoners, may lead to an insurrection within security prisons which could result in international intervention.