Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restrictions on movement / Lack of respect for non-Jewish religions
OCHA documents 40 demolition processes, 100 arrests in West Bank during past week
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 31 May — UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned, in its protection of civilians weekly report, of Israeli demolition policy against Palestinian houses. During the week, the Israeli authorities demolished 40 Palestinian-owned structures in several parts of Area C of the West Bank, due to the lack of Israeli issued building permits, displacing 70 people, including 38 children, and otherwise affecting 23 others, the report said … Most of the structures (36) were demolished in Abu al-Ajaj Bedouin area of Al Jiftik town (Jericho governorate) in the Jordan Valley. Demolished structures included ten residential tents, 19 animal shelters, a fodder storage unit, a traditional stone oven, a kitchen and a fence. Ten families were displaced and another three negatively affected. In addition, around 4,000 sheep and 15 calves were left without shelter, according to OCHA’s report. Also this week, two residential tents provided by a humanitarian organization to the Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin community in response to last week’s demolition there, were dismantled and seized by the Israeli Civil Administration. The remaining two demolitions this week included a 300-m2 warehouse and an extension to a carpentry workshop in al-Khalayleh community in Area C of the Jerusalem governorate on 20 May. Also in the Jordan Valley this week, in the early morning hours of 26 May, eight families comprising 62 people, including 27 children, were temporarily displaced from their homes in Humsa al-Buqai‘a community for a few hours to make way for Israeli military training exercises.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
After evicting Palestinians, Israel seeks to legalize outpost in firing zone
Haaretz 1 June by Chaim Levinson — Israel is seeking to authorize a settlement outpost illegally erected in an army firing zone, while simultaneously waging a legal battle for the eviction of Palestinian villages in the very same area. Avigayl, an illegal outpost in the southern Hebron Hills founded in 2001 on more than 1,000 dunams (250 acres) of land, is located between the Maon and Susya settlements. In 2013, Palestinians who own part of the land on which the outpost was erected appealed to the Supreme Court, asking it to require the state to implement demolition orders standing against the outpost. The state announced in February its intentions to legalize the outpost, and on Thursday it issued a statement revealing that seven of the outpost’s buildings lie inside the Firing Zone 918, a 30,000-dunam IDF firing zone established in the 1980s which stretches from the southern Hebron Hills to Arad. In 1999, the state evicted hundreds of Palestinian residents from the very same firing zone, demolished their homes and stoppered their wells. The residents filed an appeal with the Supreme Court to prevent further evictions, but the state notified the court in 2012 that the firing zone is necessary and that it will not allow permanent residence in the area.
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 31 May – Palestinian landowners and anti-settlement activists built Saturday a tent-village in Khalet al-Nahli in Wadi Rahhal to the south of Bethlehem, according to a local activist. Hasan Breijah, who coordinates anti-settlement popular committee in Bethlehem, said that several Palestinian landowners and anti-settlement activists set up a large tent opposite to another tent that had been set up weeks ago by Israeli settlers on lands threatened with confiscation in Wadi Rahhal. Breijah noted that the total area of land threatened with confiscation exceeds 300 dunums, belonging to Palestinians who were frequently attacked by Israeli settlers attempting to prevent them from accessing it. He concluded that setting up the tent-village was carried out in response to settlers’ attempts to confiscate the land in order to expand the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat.
A Palestinian story of resistance: the Abu Haikal family
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (Christian Peacemakers Team) 31 May — With only a sliver of their land left to protect, having their entire lot of land encircled by Israeli settlements, Faryel and Arwa Abu Haikal climbed over a pile of rubble and boulders and stopped the Israeli bulldozer from shearing further into their property, dumping their dignity into the back of a dump truck, and hauling away their rights. There they stood under the unrelenting sun, staring into the teeth of the approaching bucket excavator, protecting their land from the ever encroaching Israeli settlement enterprise, facing arrest and physical assault – a reality they have faced for decades. Their resilience and steadfastness held off the Israeli Antiquity Authority (I.A.A.) for at least a few hours. The I.A.A. continues to deploy a variety of tactics to annex privately owned Palestinian land on the hill top of Hebron, including ignoring previous orders issued by the Israeli police to halt work. … The Abu Haikals’ land and life is a microcosm of the principles of ethnic cleansing at work across Palestine today.For the sake of expediency, this is just a short history of the aggression and assault that the Abu Haikal family has endured at the hands of the Jewish settlers and the Israeli security forces while trying to maintain a home to raise their family. In 1984, Jewish settlers first arrived on Tel Rumeida, the historical hilltop neighborhood of Hebron, which, according to some religious texts, is where Abraham first laid claim to land. The next year, the Abu Haikal family’s land was trespassed by settlers looking to establish religious significance on the land by praying on it, a tactical first step that often leads to the construction of a synagogue … February 25, 1994, is a day that will live in infamy. The American-born, Jewish religious extremist Baruch Goldstein entered the Cave of the Patriarchs, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounding another 125. The following day, the Israeli military responded by taking over the Mosque of the 40 Companions which had been on the land of the Abu Haikals for centuries. Their place of religious sanctuary was stripped out from underneath of them, even though it had little connection to the incident….
Leaving Palestine: ‘Give ’em something to talk about’
972blog 30 May by Bassam Almohor — A fleeting moment of romance in grueling border terminal that devours you alive — and yet you don’t die. A day at the Allenby border crossing. (Read part one of this series here.) — “Saqallah ala ayyam zaman (I long for the old times) when we used to travel all over el blad (the country),” my father uttered with tears in his eyes; he longed for the old days. Are they really that old? Until the late eighties, I was able to go to Gaza in a single bus ride, no transfers, straight from Jenin to Gaza. And now you tell me I can’t even go to Jerusalem? That I need a brown paper? They call it permit, and a plastic card they call “momaghnata” (magnetic). Sagallah ala ayyam zaman, when it used to take us only half an hour to reach the airport in Lydda. Do you want to know how I have to travel? Are you ready for the details? Sometimes, it takes us 12 hours to cross the border, the first border to the airport; it’s a painful, dirty, ugly, long, tiresome, boring and sad journey.
Israel bans Muslim call to prayer in Hebron 53 times in May
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 June — Israeli forces have forbidden mosque leaders from playing the call for prayer through loudspeakers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 53 times in May under the pretext that it bothers nearby Jewish settlers, the Palestinian ministry of endowment said. Hundreds of extremist Jewish settlers have taken over homes in Hebron’s Old City, and Israeli authorities use their presence in the southern West Bank city as an excuse to limit the ability of the mosque to play the call five times a day, according to Islamic custom. The ministry of endowment’s Hebron office said in a statement that banning call for prayer “is a clear violation of freedom of worship which all international conventions maintain.” In April, Israeli authorities prevented the mosque from playing the call to prayer 60 times.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
Under Israeli soldiers’ eyes, settlers beat up two children in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 1 June – Israeli settlers Sunday assaulted and beat up two Palestinian children in Hebron under the eyes of Israeli soldiers who did nothing to stop them, according to an activist. Emad Abu-Shamsiya, a volunteer at the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, told WAFA that Hatem Qasrawi, 7, and Feras Abu-Seneneh, 10, were beaten up by settlers under the noses of Israeli soldiers, who did not intervene to protect them. The children were released after several hours of detention.
Photo story: Palestinians march in Tulkarem to defend their right of return
TULKAREM, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Nablus Team) 31 May — On the morning of the 31st of May, several buses filled with Palestinian and international activists from across the West Bank gathered in Tulkarem to march towards the Natanya checkpoint, used only by the Israeli military forces. Political groups, Palestinian civil society and Popular Resistance Committees named this action as the “March of Return”. Their aim was to defend their right of return and were united under the following slogan: “Our return is inevitable: Freedom for Al Aqsa (Jerusalem) and the prisoners”. Once the buses arrived in Tulkarem, the activists marched several hundred meters to arrive at the checkpoint. Several protesters gathered at the gates of the checkpoint and began chanting, others spray-painted messages onto the apartheid wall [declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004], while other activists used heavy craft hammers to damage it. A few tear gas canisters were shot soon after the demonstration reached the gates of the checkpoint, enough to break up the protesters into two groups. One of these tear gas canisters caused a fire in a nearby field. Then, several “warning” shots were fired into the air with live ammunition and Israeli forces then fired large amounts of tear gas canisters. Tear gas projectiles were fired at the crowd.
Israeli forces hand notice to Palestinian, storm villages in Hebron and Jenin
HEBRON (WAFA) 31 May – Israeli forces Saturday handed Director of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies a notice to appear before the Israeli intelligence after raiding his house and the houses of several of his relatives in the village of Marish, to the south of Dura in Hebron, as well as stormed several villages in the districts of Hebron and Jenin, said local sources. They said that forces stormed the village where they handed Director of the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies Osama Shahin, 33, a notice to appear before Israeli intelligence for interrogation after breaking into, searching and sabotaging the contents of his house. They also broke into and thoroughly searched the house of Osama’s brother, who is currently working in Saudi Arabia; forces broke the house’s front door and sabotaged its contents, brutally breaking down the front door, terrorizing his wife.
Forces also stormed several Hebron neighborhoods and set up checkpoints at the entrances of Saʻir and Halhul, located to the north of Hebron, as well as Tarqomia and Idhna, located to the west of Hebron, where they stopped Palestinian vehicles traveling along the way and examined passengers’ ID cards. Meanwhile, troops, backed with military vehicles, stormed ‘Arraba, ‘Ajja, Meithalun and Zababdeh, located to the south of Jenin, where they launched a large-scale search campaign. No arrests were reported.
Two journalists assaulted, dozens injured, and minor arrested during protest near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 31 May — Israeli forces assaulted Saturday Palestinians organizing a protest in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners near al-‘Arroub camp to the north of Hebron, including two journalists, firing rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the protesters, injuring many, said a local activist. Eyad Hamad, a reporter with Associated Press, told WAFA that soldiers beat him and another reporter working for Al-Quds news website, Adbul-Rahman Younes, and detained them for several hours while they were covering the protest. Coordinator of PRCS Youths and Voluntees Department Mohammad Badawi also told WAFA that soldiers stormed entrance of al-‘Arroub camp, firing rubber-coated metal bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters at protesters. Seventeen protesters, including a 12-year-old minor, were injured with rubber-coated bullets and the minor, whose case was described as moderate, was hospitalized. He added that soldiers also arrested a 17-year-old minor. Palestinian protesters and international activists rallied from al-‘Arroub to the Jerusalem-Hebron road, waving Palestinian flags, lifting banners in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners and chanting slogans condemning Israeli practices against prisoners.
8 shebab kidnapped in ‘Asira al-Qibliya
[with photos] IWPS Team 1 June — At around 2 am on Sunday night, five Israeli military jeeps, three large military vehicles, and some 30 soldiers on foot arrived in the village of Asira al-Qibliya (south of Nablus). In total silence, they started entering Palestinian houses without knocking on their doors first. That night the Israeli army raided 10 houses, ransacking them with the excuse of ‘searching for guns’. They didn’t find any. The soldiers kidnapped (‘arrested’) a young man from every house they visited. While two were released soon after, eight remain detained: … These attacks on peaceful villagers followed the same pattern: the soldiers would first break the door to enter the house; lock every family member, including the children, in one room, and take their mobile phones away so they wouldn’t call for help; then they would kidnap one young man from each house and eventually leave. In the house of Khaled Ahmad, his mother had heard the soldiers breaking the first door, so she asked them to wait a bit so that she could get dressed and open the second door herself, but they didn’t listen. Instead, the occupation soldiers broke the second door too and violently pushed Khaled’s mother away. In almost no time, 25 soldiers were inside the house. Khaled’s mother got scared and sick, and asked them if she could get a glass of water, but they refused. Khaled’s 10-year-old brother has been waiting fearfully for the return of his elder sibling; the family had told him that Khaled had gone to drink coffee and smoke a cigarette with the soldiers and that he would be back soon. The child has been waiting by the door ever since. [Ma‘an reports that the detained shebaab are affiliated with DFLP]
Israeli forces arrest 11 in West Bank, including minor
NABLUS (WAFA) 1 June – Israeli forces on Sunday arrested 11 Palestinians, including a minor, in the West Bank districts of Nablus and Bethlehem, according to local and security sources. In Nablus, Israeli army stormed the village of ‘Asira al-Qibliya and arrested eight people after raiding and searching their homes, sabotaging their content [as detailed in the article above]. They further raided the nearby ‘Askar refugee camp and arrested a 21-year-old. Meanwhile in Bethlehem, Israeli army forces stormed the village of al-Khader and arrested 13-year-old Ahmad Salah while he was leaving his school. Forces also stormed al-‘Izza refugee camp and arrested a youth, 22, after raiding and searching his home.
Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians in Hebron area
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 June – Israeli troops detained five young Palestinian men and a 10-year-old child in Hebron in the southern West Bank Saturday night and Sunday morning, locals told Ma‘an. Faris Abu Sneina, a 10-year-old child from the Old City of Hebron, was assaulted by Israeli settlers before Israeli soldiers took him into custody. Palestinian security sources said officers from the Hebron military liaison department were contacting their Israeli counterparts to try and free the child. Separately, Israeli forces detained 24-year-old Muhammad Arif al-Sharabati, a journalist who works for a local radio station, after ransacking his home.
Israeli troops also stormed the Jabal Juhar neighborhood in Hebron and detained 22-year-old Adham Muhammad Ribhi al-Ajlouni and Muatasim Muhammad al-Zughayar. Another Israeli raid was reported in the town of Dura near Hebron where 23-year-old Muhammad Rizq Ibriyush was detained from his home. Furthermore, sources in the village of al-Shuyukh north of Hebron told Ma‘an that Fadi Muhammad Ismail al-Halayqa, 23, was detained Saturday while he joined a rally in Tulkarem in the northern West Bank in support of Palestinian prisoners.
I did not expect my son to participate in a a protest: father of Palestinian teen shot by Israeli soldier
RAMALLAH (The National) 31 May by Orlando Crowcroft — In the top drawer of his desk, Richard Zananiri has an unopened envelope. Inside is a certificate made out to one of his students, Nadeem Nawara. It is a commendation that his 17-year-old student will never receive. Nadeem was killed outside Ofer Prison on May 15, alongside another Palestinian, Mahmoud Salameh, 16, during a protest on the 66th anniversary of Nakba … At the Nawara family home a few streets away, Siam Nawara sits in an armchair, dark rings around his eyes. He has become accustomed to journalists asking him about his son’s death, but that does not make recalling it any easier. Behind him, a huge photo printed on canvas of Nadeem dressed in his trademark backwards baseball cap and a kaffiyeh — taken the day he was killed — rests on the mantelpiece. “I did not expect my son to participate in a protest. That was not the Nadeem that I knew,” he says. In fact, father and son had argued about the protest that very morning … Mr Nawara says that one of the saddest aspects of Nadeem’s death was that he was only now coming to know his son, through the videos recorded by his friends. He takes out his mobile phone and plays a video in which Nadeem fights with a friend over a band that they disagree on, and clips of his son slam-dunking on the basketball court. “I never knew he was so active in sports — since his death I have learned so much about him,” he says. A religious man, it is now for Nadeem’s friends that Mr Nawara prays. He and Nadeem’s younger brother, Daniel, don his baseball caps for a photograph and then the young boy turns and puts his arms around his father’s neck. “I never hugged my sons enough,” Mr Nawara says quietly, and then to Daniel: “You are my eldest son now.”
Ahrar: ‘Two Palestinians killed, 370 kidnapped by the army in May’
IMEMC 1 June by Saed Bannoura — In its monthly report on Israeli violations, the Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies and Human Rights has reported that Israeli soldiers killed two Palestinians in May, and kidnapped 370 … In Jerusalem, soldiers kidnapped 118 Palestinians, the highest number of arrests in May, while 86 Palestinians were kidnapped in the Hebron district, 40 in Nablus, 30 in Bethlehem, 27 in Ramallah, 27 in Jenin, 16 in Qalqilia, 8 in Salfit, 4 in Tulkarem, and two in Tubas. In addition, 12 Palestinians were kidnapped in the besieged Gaza Strip; three of them were kidnapped near the border fence, and nine were Palestinian fishers were kidnapped by the Israeli Navy in Palestinian territorial waters. Also in May, the army kidnapped five Palestinian women in different parts of occupied Palestine, and released three of them, while two remained under interrogation.
Detainees / Hunger strikers / Court actions
Nablus on strike in support of hunger-striking prisoners
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 June — Shop owners in Nablus and surrounding villages and refugee camps in the northern West Bank went on strike Sunday in support of hundreds of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody. All shops and stores were closed since the early morning hours in compliance with an appeal by the Higher Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs in Nablus to stage a general strike for one day in support of hunger-striking prisoners. A spokesman for the committee Imad Ishteiwi told Ma‘an that the strike was a warning message to the Israeli occupation authorities, and that it would be followed by more and more solidarity activities. The strike comes a day after Palestinian minister for prisoners’ affairs Issa Qaraqe‘ warned of the deteriorating conditions of more than 100 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails who have been on hunger strike for more than 38 days. All of the original hunger strikers have been hospitalized in recent days, while more than 100 more who joined since the beginning of the strike continue their strike from prison. The hunger strikers are protesting their detention without charge or trial by Israeli authorities for an extended period of time, a process known as “administrative detention.”
Israeli court sentences member of Jenin town municipality to 8-month imprisonment
JENIN (WAFA) 31 May — An Israeli military court sentenced Saturday a member of the municipality of Yaʻbad, a town located to the southwest of Jenin, to 8 months imprisonment and fined him, according to a municipal source. Mayor of Yaʻbad Samer Abu Baker stated that member of his municipality Mohammad Abu Baker, 38, was sentenced to 8 months in prison and a NIS 4,000 fine by an Israeli court. Samer Abu Baker condemned this sentence as an ‘arbitrary’ and noted that Abu Baker also assumes the position of Head of Yaʻbad Electricity Commission and works as a teacher, calling for his release.
Gaza under dual blockades
Israeli airstrikes target Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 June — Israeli airstrikes targeted two sites in the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday, Israel’s army and locals said. A military base used by Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, was hit south of Gaza City, while another strike hit a training site west of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. No injuries were reported. Israel’s army said in a statement that the “IAF aircraft targeted two terror sites in the central and southern Gaza Strip. Direct hits were confirmed.” [Ynet reported: “According to IDF, the attack was a response to rocket fire at the Israeli territory. Sunday night Color Red siren was sounded at the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council.”]
Israeli forces carry out cross-border raids in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 June — Israeli military vehicles carried out two separate cross-border military incursions into the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, witnesses told Ma‘an. The first incursion occurred east of Rafah as five bulldozers escorted by military vehicles leveled fields belonging to local Palestinians about 200 meters from the border fence inside the Gaza Strip. Witnesses said that no gunfire was heard during the raid, but that military helicopters were seen in the sky. Shortly after the first incursion, several Israeli military tanks crossed the border into the Gaza Strip firing gunshots into the air. No casualties were reported during either of the raids.
Israeli forces open fire on Palestinians east of Khan Younes, no injuries
KHAN YOUNES (WAFA) 31 May – Israeli forces opened fire Saturday morning on Palestinian farmers to the east of Khan Younes in southern Gaza Strip, with no injuries reported, said WAFA correspondent. Soldiers stationed at military watchtowers to the east of Khuzaʻa opened fire on Palestinian farmers as they were harvesting their crops, forcing them to leave their farmlands.
Meanwhile, Israeli artillery Friday fired a shell at Palestinian farmlands planted with wheat and barley to the east of Khan Younes, setting fire to scores of dunums of land.
Egypt opens Rafah crossing for three days [for pilgrims only]
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 June — Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip for three days starting on Sunday in order to allow Umrah pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia and others to return to Gaza. The Gaza crossings authorities on Sunday morning notified 800 pilgrims who make up the tenth group of Gaza pilgrims headed to Mecca that they can travel Sunday. Meanwhile, Gazan pilgrims who have already performed the pilgrimage to Mecca and until now were stuck in Egypt will be able to return to Gaza on Monday and Tuesday.
Egyptian bill bans tunnel digging to Gaza
Times of Israel 1 June by Elhanan Miller — Legislation intended to crack down on conduit into Hamas-controlled Strip, but some say it does not go far enough — The Egyptian government has drafted a bill outlawing the digging of tunnels from Egypt, in a further bid to clamp down on Hamas-backed smuggling activity between the Gaza Strip and northern Sinai. According to the Palestinian Ma‘an news agency, the Egyptian government has transferred the bill to the legislation department of the Council of State — part of Egypt’s judicial system — which in turn decided to add it to the country’s penal code. The law sets a prison sentence for anyone “digging, preparing, using, or crossing through tunnels connecting Egypt to any foreign country or entity or foreign nationals with the intent of bringing in or taking out people, goods or anything of value.” Egypt has increasingly been cracking down on Hamas smuggling tunnels — formerly the primary source of income for the Islamist government — since the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi last July. In March, the Egyptian military declared it had destroyed 1,370 tunnels, but an unknown number of tunnels are still being used to transport food, commodities and arms in and out of the Strip … Samir Ghattas, head of Egypt’s Middle East Forum for Strategic Studies, told Al-Mihwar radio station on Sunday that the new law will deter “terrorist groups” from digging tunnels, but it is not enough. He suggested evacuating civilians straddling both sides of the border fence and resettling them in homes at least three kilometers (1.9 miles) away from the frontier.
Gazans mark Mavi Marmara attack anniversary
GAZA (Daily Star) 31 May by Mohamed Maged — Scores of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Saturday participated in an event marking the 4th anniversary of a 2010 Israeli attack on the Turkish aid flotilla Mavi Marmara off the coast of the besieged Palestinian enclave. Participants carried placards glorifying Turkey and calling for freedom for the Gaza Strip, which has been reeling under an Israeli blockade since 2006. Saturday’s event was organized by the independent Popular Committee against the Siege on Gaza. “Today we mourn those who sacrificed their lives for Palestine,” Gamal al-Khudari, the head of the Popular Committee against the Siege of Gaza, told a press conference. In May 2010, Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish nationals along with a U.S. citizen of Turkish descent when they attacked the Mavi Marmara in international waters off Gaza.
Water in Gaza – total collapse draws ever nearer
Ecologist 31 May — …The consequences of a dry winter in the Middle East are being studied particularly closely in Gaza, where the area’s 1.9 million residents already face a number of largely man-made threats to water security. The following round-up of recent publications by think tanks, analysts and human rights organizations highlights the close link between water security and electricity supplies, and the near exhaustion of Gaza’s coastal aquifer. … “The scale and severity of the water crisis facing the Gaza Strip is enormous, and unless immediate action is taken, the damage to Gaza’s natural water resources will be irreversible”, says a factsheet produced by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).
US institute to establish cancer treatment unit in Gaza
IMEMC 1 June by Chris Carlson — Physicians from the US-based Anderson Cancer Institute held discussion, Sunday, with the minister of health, on the establishment of a cancer treatment unit at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, in Gaza. The group proposed to establish a radiation oncology center at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, according to the Ministry, Al Ray reports: The ministry issued, in February of 2013, a statement which confirmed that deaths resulting from cancer in Palestine amounted to 12.4%, compared to a rate of 10.8% in 2010 … Dr. Mofeed Makhalalati expressed interest and full support of the project, saying that Gaza does not have any specialized cancer treatment facility, this leading the cancer patients to seek treatment outside, noting that some citizens are not allowed to travel abroad for medical care, due to the continued blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Israeli military hiding targeted killing investigative panel
Haaretz 31 May by Amir Oren — The Defense Ministry and Israel Defense Forces recently formed a committee to investigate allegations of war crimes raised after recent targeted aerial strikes against Palestinian militants. The names of panel members, however, were not disclosed … In March, Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Danny Efroni publicly commended the establishment of an external body to probe into the legality of targeted killings, but also avoided commenting on who its members would be. Efroni further refused to answer whether the panel has been assembled to contend and look into claims that had been raised about civilian harm – which could potentially constitute war crimes and which the military pledged to investigate. The current panel is the third incarnation of a committee which was originally formed following a Supreme Court’s decision on the case regarding the assassination of Sheikh Salah Mustafa Shehade in 2002, in which 14 Gaza civilians – including children – were killed. Bagatz ordered that Shehade’s killing be investigated … As opposed to the IDF’s activities in the West Bank, which is under Israeli sovereignty and does not include aerial assassinations, the military follows a different policy for Gaza and in neighboring Arab countries that permits the employment of aerial killing against targets that “operate under the shelter of civilian populations and from within them, and do so against Israeli civilians and in breach of the laws of war.” … Numbered for journalistic convenience and grossly abbreviated, the following are the 10 commandments of aerial targeted killing, according to the international law department in the military advocate general. These are pretty words, but at least partially vacuous, as evident by the efforts to hide the panel’s activity (or inactivity)….
Political developments, other news
New members of unity govt named
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 June — Seventeen members of a new Palestinian unity government to be announced Monday have been named by well-informed political sources. They include at least nine new members, while at least eight will remain at their posts from the prior government. Rami Hamdallah will remain prime minister, according to the sources, and Ziad Abu Amr will be the deputy prime minister and minister of culture. New members include Mamoun Abu Shahla as minister of labor, Mufeed Hasayneh as minister of public works and housing, and Yusef Idees as minister of endowments and religious affairs. Nayef Khalaf will be minister of local governance and Riyad al-Maliki will remain the minister of foreign affairs….The unity government will be sworn in on Monday at 1 p.m. in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, a PLO executive committee member said earlier. Wasel Abu Yusef told Ma‘an that the president’s office sent invitations to PLO executive committee members and ministers to attend the ceremony. Abu Yusef added that the obstacles that faced the unity government were overcome, as Hamas agreed that al-Malki would stay on as foreign minister, and the issue on the ministry of detainees was resolved….
Haniyeh: No pulling back from decision to end Palestinian division
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 May — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Saturday that “there is no pulling back from the Palestinian decision to end the division,” stressing that both Hamas and Fatah remained committed to the national unity agreement signed last month. The Hamas leader’s statement came after days of impasse in the formation of the national unity government, with both sides saying that disputes remain in relation to the position of foreign minister as well as the ministry of prisoners’ affairs. Haniyeh admitted that there are some differences between Hamas and Fatah, but clarified said that both sides are in “constant contact through the negotiations file.” “In the stages of national liberation, it is necessary to work through our common interests in order to give the public something to look forward to,” he said.
Hamas, Fatah trade accusations ahead of unity government
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 June — Hamas and Fatah officials traded accusations through local media on Monday, hours before the expected announcement of a unity government. Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said that the unity government would be announced and sworn-in at 1 p.m. as scheduled. “Those who want to join the government are welcome, and those who want to evade and thus put obstacles in the way just as Israel does, let them take responsibility for their behavior,” al-Ahmad told the Gaza-based al-Quds radio station. Asked to comment on Hamas’ decision not to join a government which does not have a minister of prisoners, the Fatah official said he “no longer knows who to converse with within Hamas.” Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya confirmed Monday that the movement would not join a unity government which does not include a ministry and minister for detainees … Dissolving the Ministry of Prisoners is a “stab in the back of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners,” he added. Hamas even suggested that Fatah official Hisham Abdul-Raziq take the prisoners’ affairs portfolio, having already eased on their opposition to Riyad al-Maliki as foreign minister.
Israel denies future Palestinian ministers West Bank entry
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 1 June — Israel has denied three future Palestinian ministers from the Gaza Strip entry to the West Bank ahead of the unveiling of a new unity government, public radio said Sunday. The head of Israel’s military administration in the Palestinian territories, Major General Yoav Mordechai, had informed the Palestinians that the three would not be permitted to cross from Gaza to the West Bank, the radio said. Contacted by AFP, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Defense Ministry refused to confirm or deny the report.
Don’t ‘hurry’ to back Palestinian govt, Israel PM says
JERUSALEM (AFP) 1 June — World governments should not rush to approve the new Palestinian cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, after the Palestinians accused the Jewish state of punishing them over a unity deal. “I call on all responsible elements within the international community not to hurry to recognise the Palestinian government that Hamas is part of, and which relies on Hamas,” the rightwing premier told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, saying it would “strengthen terror.” Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said the new government, which is to be sworn in on Monday in Ramallah, will be a government of political independents that will reject violence, recognise Israel and abide by all existing agreements.
Netanyahu: US will not recognize Palestinian unity government immediately
Haaretz 2 June by Barak Ravid & Jack Khoury — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has promised Israel that America will not immediately recognize the new Palestinian unity government expected to be sworn in Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the security cabinet on Sunday, according to two ministers at the meeting. The ministers convened for several hours to discuss the new Palestinian government, slated to be sworn in this afternoon. The meeting dealt primarily with a survey by the heads of the intelligence services, who assessed the probable makeup of the new Palestinian government and its significance … Netanyahu said Kerry explained that the United States would wait to see how the new Palestinian government operates, and only then decide whether to cooperate with it or not, the ministers said … The security cabinet made no decisions on possible sanctions against the PA under the new government, but security cabinet ministers are expected to convene again Monday and may discuss the matter.
Presidency downplays Israeli threats to boycott new government
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 1 June — Presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu-Rudeineh Sunday downplayed remarks by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in which he called upon the international community not to recognize the soon-to-be-formed new Palestinian consensus government. Responding to Netanyahu’s statements, Abu Rudianeh said that, “the international community has already encouraged and welcomed President Mahmoud Abbas’ move aimed at the unification of the country and the Palestinian people.” He said the mission of the new government, which comprises independent figures, lies in the preparation for general elections during the next six months.
Report: John Kerry to meet with president Abbas in Amman Wednesday
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 June — United States Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to start a two-day visit to Jordan Wednesday where he will meet with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Jordanian daily newspaper al-Arab al-Yawm reported Sunday. The report quoted a “high-profile” Jordanian official as saying that Abbas and Kerry will discuss the currently suspended Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, the ongoing unity talks between Hamas and Fatah, and the expected unity government, among other issues.
US congressmen vow to work to keep Jerusalem undivided
Ynetnews 31 May –‘Just as the United States has assisted the Jewish people in restoring their ancient state, we should lead the way in recognizing Jerusalem for what it is: the undivided eternal capital of Israel,’ Congressman Trent Franks says — Congressmen from the bipartisan Congressional Israel Allies Caucus vowed this week to work to keep Jerusalem united as Israel’s undivided capital … The caucus members met with a delegation of Israeli MKs on Thursday at an event hosted at the ornate Gold Room in the Capitol Hill Rayburn Building marking Jerusalem Day.
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For Hamas, it’s Palestinian unity for the sake of survival / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 2 June — Israeli efforts to strip the Palestinian government of its legitimacy could embroil the Jewish state in an unexpected conflict — Either Fatah or Hamas had to back down in order to enable the reconciliation deal between them to lead to a unity government. This time it was Hamas that blinked and was forced to accept Fatah’s terms … The crisis in relations with Egypt led to the closure of the Rafah crossing and the destruction of almost all of the tunnels linking Gaza and Sinai. The Egyptian military’s power grab and expulsion of the Muslim Brotherhood, along with its labeling of them as a terrorist movement, turned Hamas into a public enemy in Egypt. Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf States pressured Qatar to toe the party line and stop funding Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas’ rift with Syria led Iran to cut off ties, leaving Hamas without any sources of funding with the exception of Turkey. All of these developments led Hamas to realize that if it wished to survive, it had no choice but opting for reconciliation with Fatah. Hamas’ concessions are not just a technicality. Its previous conditions for reconciliation were based on the agreements signed in Cairo in May 2011 and Qatar in 2012, which stipulated that elections for the Palestinian National Council, the Palestinian Parliament and the presidency all had to take place as a “package deal.” That didn’t happen. According to the deal signed last April, Hamas agreed to establish a technocratic government, and postpone all three elections to a later date, while Mahmoud Abbas continues to serve as president in the meantime. But the agreement was much more far-reaching than that: Hamas has given up its long-held position that its overwhelming victory in the 2006 election grants it legitimacy to serve as head of the Palestinian government … Israeli efforts to strip the Palestinian government of its legitimacy and punish it for the reconciliation could embroil Israel in an unexpected conflict. Not only do all the Arab nations support the reconciliation, they will also be the ones to generously fund the new government. The European Union also doesn’t see reconciliation with Hamas as a problem. Even Washington has not completely ruled out cooperating with the new Palestinian government … According to a statement from the State Department spokesperson last week, the United States will consider its actions based on the composition of the unity government. In all likelihood, that composition won’t give Washington much cause to cut off ties. If Israel intends on staying isolated on this international front, it should take into account that the blockade policy on Gaza is also likely to fall apart since Egypt has promised to open the Rafah crossing with the formation of a Palestinian unity government.
International kowtowing to Israel must end / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 31 May — The Americans and Europeans have tried being the voice of reason and failed. Now they must speak to Israel in the language it understands best (hint: it’s not Hebrew.) — If there is a world, let it appear immediately. For now, there’s the sense of an ending of the international intervention in Israel. The Americans folded, the Europeans gave up, the Israelis rejoice and the Palestinians are lost … Occasionally some pope or foreign minister makes a visit (Norway’s FM was here last week), pays loose lip service in favor of peace and against terror and the settlements, and then disappears again …
The international community does not have the option to leave the status quo as is, even if that is Israel’s most fervent wish. The current situation is not acceptable in the 21st century … After a brief recovery from the American failure, the time has come for a new way, one that has never been tried before. Both the message and the medium must change, to a message of civil rights and the medium of punishment. The previous route included sycophancy toward Israel, one carrot after another in order to please it. It was a resounding failure. It only gave Israel an incentive to further entrench its policy of disinheritance … Equal rights for all; one person, one vote – that should be the message of the international community. After all, what could Israel say to this new message? That there cannot be equal rights because the Jews are the chosen people? That it would endanger security? The excuses would quickly run out, and the naked truth would come to light: that in this land, only Jews have rights. Such a message cannot go unchallenged.
Why all Israelis are cowards / Tal Niv
Haaretz 1 June — Israelis can no longer be indifferent to murderous acts, nor make use of the army and debase it to make murderousness the norm — What do you call a soldier who, from a range of 80 meters, shoots at two youngsters – not yet 18 – who are passing by? What do you call the soldier who took aim and fired? And what do you call the public from which that soldier came, a soldier who shoots people as though death were a knock-down target in a shooting gallery at a country fair? Who shoots people from such a long distance, nameless beneath his helmet, shooting at people with names who fall to the ground? They won’t be going to school anymore. Their mothers will never talk to them again. Their fathers will say nothing to them anymore. What do you call a soldier who shoots two teenagers who are passing by, dozens of meters from him, schoolbags in tow? Is he supposed to shoot, even if their heads are covered with the colors of Palestine? Even if they support the army’s expulsion from the territories? What do you call that soldier? You call him a coward.
And the Israeli public – the same public from which people stand up to defend “David the Nahalawi,” the Israeli soldier who in April threatened to kill a Palestinian youth in Hebron and aimed his rifle into the youth’s face; the same public that watches a soldier named Effi promising Issa Amro in Hebron last month, “The first chance I get, I will shoot you,” this after a settler invaded Amro’s home and he asked for her to be removed – what is the right word for the Israeli public? The public who will not watch the video shot by Bilal Tamimi from Nabi Saleh, which documents Israel Defense Forces soldiers implementing the “mapping” procedure by waking up his children at night in order to photograph them, and to compare those images with film the army took during demonstrations? What do you call that public? What do you call a public that wants to hear from the defense minister that maybe it’s not true, that what they saw on the video shot in Beitunia on May 15 – when the two teenagers died during Nakba Day protests – never happened? That those who died did not really die. Or maybe they did die, but not in connection with us, that maybe it’s a show. What do you call a public that is unwilling to understand that what is shown in the film – shot by a security camera that offers no security – is murder?
Palestine’s greatest football moment in Maldives against all odds
The National (UAE) 31 May by Ali Khaled — In Gaza the sky was lit up with fireworks and, in the West Bank, hundreds took to the streets in celebration. With Palestine lodged in an interminable conflict with Israel there has been precious little to bring widespread joy to its people in recent times. Until Friday night when Palestine’s footballers, astonishingly, clinched a place in the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia. Cue the fireworks and street parties.The 1-0 win over the Philippines brought Palestine its first trophy, the 2014 Asian Challenge Cup, and, with it, qualification to the continent’s biggest international competition. Led by the irrepressible Ashraf Al Fawaghra, the man fans call the “Palestinian Messi”, the team had won two and drawn the other of their three group matches, before defeating Afghanistan 2-0 in Tuesday’s semi-final.
New NBC series ‘Dig’ to begin filming in Jerusalem
Jerusalem Post 31 May — Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Minister Bennett says “a series in Israel is worth more than a thousand publicity tours of the country.” — The American media company NBC Universal plans to start filming an action-adventure series this week in Jerusalem. The series, Dig, is co-written by Gideon Raff, who co-created the popular US show Homeland, which drew inspiration from the Israeli series Hatufim. The capital is slated to play a central role in the storyline of the series, which portrays FBI agents uncovering a conspiracy in the Old City while investigating the murder of an American archeologist