West Bank: Violence / Raids / Illegal arrests
Child seriously wounded near Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian medical sources in the northern West Bank city of Nablus have reported many Palestinians were injured, including one child who suffered a serious injury, after Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian protesters in east Nablus. The sources said Hassan Hazem Abu ‘Ashour, 14, has been immediately admitted to surgery at the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Four Palestinians have been shot by rounds of live ammunition. Dozens were hit by rubber-coated metal bullets, and others received treatment for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In related news, soldiers invaded on Friday evening the al-‘Arqa village, southwest of Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. Local sources said that several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded the village while firing live rounds and gas bombs, causing dozens of residents to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Youth suffers severe hand injury in Bethlehem clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — A Palestinian youth suffered a severe hand injury after being shot with live fire during clashes in Bethlehem on Friday, medics said. A medical official told Ma‘an that doctors had to amputate the youth’s hand after he was shot by Israeli soldiers. He was treated at Beit Jala hospital where is he said to be in a critical condition.
Dozens of others suffered tear gas inhalation during the clashes as Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters widely at the crowds and into local neighborhoods. Israeli forces also used foul-smelling Skunk water to disperse protesters. Hundreds participated in the march in Bethlehem, which was held in solidarity with the besieged Gaza Strip.
At least 17 Palestinians have been shot dead in protests across the West Bank in protest against Israel’s military assault on Gaza, which has killed nearly 2,090 in the last six weeks.
Video: Palestinian kid brutally savaged by Israeli settlers’ dogs
Press TV 21 Aug — exclusive report by Nel Burden — Occupied Salfit — A 5-year-old boy is brutally savaged by a large group of dogs set free by Israeli settlers. The boy, identified as Karmel Moayyad Shakir, was playing with his peers in the village of Azawiyeh when the illegal settlers from the nearby Kannat settlement arrived at the spot along with a large pack of dogs. (print article here)
Nablus man hit by settler vehicle as he crossed road
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — A young Palestinian man was injured Wednesday night after he was hit by an Israeli settler’s vehicle near Zaatara military checkpoint south of Nablus in the northern West Bank. Sources in the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma‘an that Nimir Muhammad Abu Eishah, 32, from the village of Beit Wazan sustained moderate to serious wounds. The victim was evacuated to Rafidia governmental hospital in Nablus.
Israeli troops storm Nablus-area village, interrogate locals
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Aug – Israeli troops stormed Burin village near Nablus in the northern West Bank overnight Tuesday and ransacked dozens of Palestinian homes to warn locals against any attacks on settler houses near the village. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an Wednesday morning that dozens of soldiers and intelligence officers interrogated more than 30 young men in the open after taking them out of their homes at gunpoint. The soldiers warned that they would open fire directly at anyone who attacks settler homes.
Israeli forces impose curfew on Nablus-area villages
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Israeli forces imposed a curfew on the northern West Bank village of Huwwara south of Nablus Wednesday night and shut down a farmers’ market in the nearby Beita village. The raids came after a Molotov cocktail was reportedly hurled at a settler’s vehicle on the main road in Huwwara. Villagers told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers ordered all shop owners in Huwwara to shut down their stores and go home. The soldiers also stormed the farmers market in Beita and ordered all greengrocers to shut down their stores and leave. Israeli soldiers also erected several flying checkpoints on the main road in Huwwara.
The villages south of Nablus are frequent sites of settler violence and Palestinian clashes with Israeli forces as they are located beside the notoriously violent Israeli settlements of Yitzhar and Bracha. Settlers frequently attack a number of local villages and prevent farmers from reaching their lands, according to UN-OCHA, in addition to attacks on local olive trees themselves. As a result, local youths sometimes respond by targeting vehicles belonging to settlers on the area’s main roads. Settler violence against Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank is systematic and ignored by Israeli authorities, who rarely intervene in the violent attacks or prosecute the perpetrators. In 2013, there were 399 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
PLO condemns deportation of Palestinian MP by Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — The Palestine Liberation Organization on Wednesday condemned the Israeli order to exile Palestinian member of parliament Khalida Jarrar from her home in Ramallah, as further details emerged of deportation order she received in a pre-dawn raid earlier in the day. PLO Executive Committee Member Saeb Erekat on Wednesday said in a statement that the order for Jarrar, who is a representative of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to be confined to a specific area in Jericho was “yet another manifestation of Israel’s widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population.” He added that the order is in “clear contravention of Israel’s obligation under international law and treaties to respect the fundamental human rights of individuals, including the rights to self-determination, freedom of movement, privacy, and protection of the family.” Erekat noted that the order, which was delivered in a pre-dawn raid on her home by Israeli soldiers and gave her 24 hours to leave, “effectively amounts to attempted forcible transfer, unlawful confinement and persecution, all of which are crimes punishable under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and under the universal jurisdiction provisions of the majority of States.”
Prisoner rights group Ad-Dameer said in a statement on Wednesday that Jarrar — who is a board member of the organization — was told that she would be confined to Jericho for the next six months because she was a “threat to the security of the area.” The group said that the Israeli army did not give any explanation of the kind of threat she posed. The group noted in the statement that the raid also pointed to the fact that the Palestinian Authority was complicit in her arrest, as any raid on areas in Area A — the approximately 20 percent of the West Bank technically under full Palestinian control as a result of the Oslo Accords — had to be taken with their coordination. “By allowing Israeli occupying forces to enter Ramallah means that in effect the so-called ‘security co-ordination’ between Palestinian Authority security forces and Israeli occupying forces allowed for the expulsion of an elected representative of the Palestinian people, an elected representative who has continuously called for an end to such ‘coordination,'” the group said.
Elected to the Palestinian parliament in 2006, the group noted that Jarrar has been banned from traveling outside of the occupied Palestinian territory by Israeli authorities since 1998, except for one occasion in which she traveled to Jordan for medical treatment in 2010. The group also noted that Israeli forces have previously forcibly deported sitting members of the Palestinian parliament, including Mohammad Abu Teer, Ahmad Atoun and Mohammad Totah, as well as Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khalid Abu Arafeh in 2010. All of the officials were deported from their homes in Jerusalem and Ramallah, the group said, noting that soon after the deportation they were arrested and held without charge or trial by the military.
At least 16 Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Aug — Israeli forces abducted at least 16 Palestinian citizens on Thursday during dawn raids in different parts of the occupied West Bank, according to local and media sources. Israeli TV Channel 7 said that that Israeli military arrested a citizen in Nablus, in addition to two in Qalqilia and three in Ramallah, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency. Forces also claimed to have arrested 2 Hamas activists from two villages to the north and to the west of Hebron. A young man in Bethlehem was also reportedly abducted by Israeli forces Thursday. In Taqou‘, to the east of the city, forces served two Palestinians, a father and his son, ages 17 and 41, with notices to appear before Israeli intelligence, for interrogation, WAFA reported. According to the Palestinian Prisoners Society, Israeli troops reportedly broke into a house in Um Ash-Sharayet, Ramallah, where they kidnapped a Palestinian who was imprisoned by Israel for 11 years before being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011. According to reports by local sources, the army also kidnapped two young brothers in Hebron city, taking them to an unknown destination. Al Ray further reports that a crew manning 12 Israeli military vehicles raided a number of neighborhoods and houses in Hebron. To the west and to the north of Hebron, forces raided some houses and [took] a child and a young man. In Beit Ummar, to the north of Hebron, spokesperson of the Popular Committee Against Apartheid Wall and Settlement, Mohammed Awad, stated that Israeli forces raided many homes and arrested and strip-searched citizens there. Three Palestinians, aged 16, 51 and 25 years, were taken, while one was served with a notice to appear before Israeli interrogation. Clashes reportedly ensued between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth, there, while a number of citizens suffered tear gas suffocation after soldiers fired canisters. No other injuries were reported. Soldiers additionally raided several homes in Beit Awwa, southwest of Hebron.
Legislator, child among many kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Aug — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, several Palestinian communities in different parts of the occupied West Bank, broke into and ransacked homes, and kidnapped several Palestinians, including legislator and a child. .Local sources have reported that the soldiers kidnapped legislator Bassem Ahmad Za‘arir, and took him to an unknown destination after violently searching his property, in Sammoa‘ [or Samu‘] town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. It is worth mentioning that Ahmad, the 26-year old son of the detained legislator, was kidnapped on August 14 while travelling back home from Jordan. He is currently held at the al-Jalama interrogation facility.
Soldiers also kidnapped resident Yasser Mohammad Kamil from his home in Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and a child identified as Mohammad Fathi Meetani, 15, from Ya‘bad town, west of Jenin…
Dozens of soldiers also invaded the al-‘Arqa village, west of Jenin, and clashed with scores of local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles at them. Dozens of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and many were shot by rubber-coated metal bullets. Medical sources said a Palestinian woman identified as Aalaa’ Zyoud and her children suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation after the soldiers directly fired gas bombs into their home. The village has been subject to daily Israeli military invasions and assaults, while many homes close to the Apartheid Wall are frequently targeted by Israeli gas bombs, especially since they are also located close to the Shakid illegal Israeli settlement, built on the villager’s lands.
On Thursday at night, soldiers invaded the Husan town, west of Bethlehem, and fired several gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets during clashes with local youths who threw stones at the invading soldiers. Medical sources said several Palestinians have been injured, including one who has moved to a local hospital after being shot in his arm.
US accuses Israel of targeting kin of murdered Palestinian teen
AFP 20 Aug — The United States on Wednesday charged Israel had targeted members of a Palestinian family whose teenaged son was kidnapped and killed in July, along with two cousins, who are US citizens. Tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in annexed east Jerusalem plunged to a new low on July 2 when 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khder was snatched from an east Jerusalem street and later found burned alive. Israeli police arrested six alleged Jewish extremists as suspects and on July 17 charged three, freeing the others. The death of the Palestinian teen — thought likely in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli Students in late June — sparked rioting and helped unleash the conflict under way in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Three days after his death, on July 5, the United States slammed Israel’s arrest of a 15-year-old cousin, Tarek Abu Khder, 15, a US citizen. He was beaten in detention and has since been freed and returned to Florida. On July 28, another cousin of Abu Khder, also American, was arrested in Israel as well, the State Department said Wednesday. Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf identified him as “Mohammed Abou Khdeir,” which would mean his name is the same as his murdered cousin’s. “We can confirm that Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a US citizen, was arrested on July 28. The US consulate general in Jerusalem is providing consular assistance. A consular official visited him on August 14th. The consulate is also in contact with Mr. Khdeir’s family and his lawyer,” Harf said. Yet “we are concerned that the US consulate general in Jerusalem was not notified of his arrest by the government of Israel. And “we are also concerned about the fact that members of the Khdeir family appeared to be singled out for arrest by the Israeli authorities,” Harf added.
Israel extends detention of 102 Palestinians
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said Tuesday that Israel had extended the detention of over 100 Palestinian detainees from the occupied West Bank. Israeli courts in Ofer, Betah Tikfa, Ashkelon, and Jerusalem extended the detention of 102 Palestinians, the statement said. The group did not mention how long the sentences were extended for.
Land, property theft & destruction / Lack of respect for others’ history, religion
While Gaza war rages, Israel quietly speeds up settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem
Middle East Monitor 21 Aug — Israel started construction on hundreds of housing units in the West Bank and Jerusalem since its assault on the Gaza Strip began in early July, Palestinian experts on settlement issues in the West Bank said. Experts told the Anadolu news agency that Israel has refrained from announcing ongoing construction work in the new housing units to avoid further tensions in the West Bank and more international pressure during the war. Anadolu’s correspondent reported settlement expansion activities since the beginning of the war on Gaza, wherein Israel annexed more Palestinian agricultural land to build new housing units in settlements that are located on the road linking Nablus, north of the West Bank, with Ramallah in the centre. The correspondent said that according to eyewitnesses, there is ongoing construction work in the northern Jordan Valley and in Bethlehem, south of the West Bank. “Israel unofficially gave settlers the green light to carry out construction work in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, especially inside large settlement areas, without tendering or licensing [for new construction],” said Suhail Khalilieh, a researcher at the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem (ARIJ). “Relevant bodies will work later, after the end of the war, on issuing official decisions to license them,” he added … Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the north of the West Bank, said that settlement construction in the West Bank has not stopped but rather it is witnessing abnormal growth amid silence from Israeli officials. Daghlas pointed out that settlement construction has increased by 60 per cent. He said that settlers’ attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank have decreased amid the war on Gaza, noting that this can be attributed to the fear of the outbreak of a new uprising in the West Bank, which is not preferred by the Israeli authorities especially during the Gaza war.
Israel alters Jerusalem street name to avoid Hamas association
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Israeli municipality authorities in East Jerusalem recently changed the name of a street named after a companion of the Prophet Muhammad because it is shared with a Hamas spokesman, locals told Ma‘an Tuesday. Palestinian residents in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah north of the Old City said that municipality staff had torn down signs on “Abu Ubaida” street and replaced them with “Bahaa al-Din.” Abu Ubaida is the name of a spokesman for Hamas’ military wing that has enjoyed a surge in popularity among Palestinians in recent weeks, amid an Israeli assault on Gaza that has killed more than 2,000. Locals told Ma‘an that they believed the change was likely due to Israeli awareness of the spokesman’s rising popularity as his statements have been translated for Hebrew-speaking audiences. Locals also stressed that the street had been named Abu Ubeida for years and the name referred to Abu Ubaida Ibn al-Jarrah, who was one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, and not to the spokesman. Although a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem — which has been militarily occupied by Israel since 1967 — Sheikh Jarrah has in recent years come under sustained attack by Jewish settlers, who have evicted locals from their homes in a bid to build Israeli settlements.
Army hands [out] orders targeting two residential buildings in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Dozens of Israeli soldiers and members of the Jerusalem City Council invaded, Wednesday, the Ein al-Louza area in Silwan town in occupied East Jerusalem, and handed a family orders for the destruction of their buildings. Israel alleges the constructions are without a permit, and that they are located in what it described as “a green area”, although the family owns the land. The family said the orders target two residential buildings belonging to Hammouda and his brother Mahran Siyam. They said the two buildings were built more than ten years ago, and are home to 20 family members. The first building has four apartments on two floors, and the second has one apartment. The family already paid more than 650.000 NIS in fines, and repeatedly tried to obtain all legal documents but Israel kept rejecting their applications, the Ma‘an News Agency said.
Roadside stands demolished near Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Aug — According to a local activist, Israeli forces demolished a number of Palestinian-owned roadside stands near Beit Ummar village, in the Hebron district, on Wednesday, destroying their harvest. Palestinian farmers had been using the stands to sell grapes and apricots along the Jerusalem-Hebron Road, said Mohammad Awad, who coordinates the Popular Anti-wall and Settlement Committee. The farmers reportedly suffered extensive losses, according to WAFA.
Analysis: Beit Jala case against separation wall potential watershed / Raffaele Piccolo
Ma‘an 21 Aug — In 2004, the International Court of Justice delivered an opinion in which it unequivocally stated that the route of the Wall (AKA “the Separation Wall,” AKA “the Security Fence,” AKA “the Security Barrier,” AKA “the Apartheid Wall”) violated international public law … Unfortunately with the tenth anniversary of the ICJ opinion having just passed it is obvious that the situation in Palestine has hardly changed for the better. The ICJ opinion did not bring an end to the construction of the wall. Instead many Palestinians have had to painstakingly learn to adjust their living arrangements accordingly; restricted to non-access to lands, confiscation of property, destruction of homes and restricted access to Jerusalem for work, school and/or religious purposes.
Given the lack of improvement in the plight of the Palestinian people, despite the delivery of the ICJ opinion ten years ago, one would expect that others would similarly come to question the reverence with which it is held …
The reverence and hype that still surrounds the ICJ advisory opinion is misplaced. Instead it should be directed to a case that is currently before the Israeli Supreme Court (sitting as the High Court of Justice). This case centers on the Palestinian city of Beit Jala and its local monastery and convent. This case holds the potential to do what the ICJ case failed to do, it holds the potential to bring about an improvement of the situation for Palestinians at the ground level. Beit Jala is located in the Cremisan Valley and just south of Jerusalem. The city is home to historical and biblical sites and ruins from the respective Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, and Crusader periods. Given its proximity to Bethlehem (1.8km east of Beit Jala) a large proportion of the city’s approximately 14,000 population is unsurprisingly Christian.
5 Palestinians including 3 children killed in airstrike on Gaza home
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Five members of a Palestinian family were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a home in central Gaza on Saturday morning, as Israel continued to bombard the besieged coastal enclave on the 47th day of the assault while Palestinian leaders urged international intervention. The strikes brought the total death toll in Gaza to 2,098 with more than 10,550 injured according to Gaza medical authorities, of whom the United Nations has identified 70 percent as civilians. The strike on Saturday morning hit the home of the Dahrouj family in the al-Zawayda neighborhood in the central Gaza Strip, killing a couple and their three children, medical sources said. Spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said that medical sources managed to recover five bodies after an Israeli airstrike leveled the home of the Dahrouj family. One of the victims was a woman who was identified as Hayat Abed Rabbo Dahrouj, 47, while the bodies of the four others killed in the strike were yet to be identified.
Another airstrike on Saturday morning hit the building of the al-Qarara municipality, striking an educational center in the building.
Earlier on Saturday morning, Abd al-Rahman Hadayid from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip succumbed to wounds he sustained a few days ago.
Israeli warplanes also destroyed al-Aidon mosque in Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza City and another mosque in Abasan village east of Khan Younis in the south.
Eight Palestinians were also injured in the Zaytoun neighborhood when warplanes hit the home of Aqil family. The injured were evacuated to Shifa hospital. A Ma‘an reporter in Gaza said that an Israeli drone fired a missile at the house before fighter jets destroyed it completely by firing four missiles.
Israeli airstrikes also targeted two military bases belonging the military wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, in Rafah and Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip as well a third in Beit Lahiya in the north.
Israeli gunboats, meanwhile, launched dozens of strikes on the Gaza shore as well as agricultural areas across the coastal enclave.
Dozens of Palestinians have been killed since Israel resumed its assault on the 139 square mile (360 sq km) enclave four days ago, after a series of temporary ceasefires had led to a fragile calm while indirect negotiations for a long-term truce took place in Cairo.
40 injured in airstrike on house in Sabra neighborhood of Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — 40 people were injured in an Israeli airstrike on a house in al-Sabra neighborhood in central Gaza on Friday evening.
1 Palestinian killed in Israeli airstrike, as daily toll hits 7
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — A Palestinian man was killed in an Israeli airstrike Friday afternoon on al-Zawayida area in the central Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health said. The death of Ismail Abu Ibteihan brought Friday’s death toll to seven, a day after Israeli airstrikes killed 38 across the besieged coastal enclave. Ahmad Qassim al-Abadlah, 69, died of wounds he sustained on Friday morning in a strike on al-Qarara in Khan Younis.
Israeli airstrikes kill 5 Palestinians in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Airstrikes killed five Palestinians in Gaza early Friday as Israel’s military assault on the besieged enclave continued. Yassin Hamed Abu Hamda and Mahmoud Qashlan were killed by strikes in al-Nuseirat refugee camp while Mahmoud Talaat Shreiteh, 14, and Bashir Ahmad Shreiteh, 35, were killed in central Gaza. Moussa Ahmad al-Abadla, 23, was killed and two others injured when Israel targeted the al-Qarara neighborhood in Khan Younis. Israel’s air-force targeted an apartment in the al-Sheikh Zayed towers in Jabalia, storehouses in Rafah, a concrete producing workshop in central Gaza and a poultry farm. The al-Astal and Shbir family homes were hit by missiles, with no injuries reported.
At least 38 Palestinians were killed on Thursday.
Four killed by airstrikes while burying relatives in Gaza cemetery
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Israeli forces killed four Palestinians in Gaza City on Thursday after targeting a cemetery in the Sheikh al-Radwan district, Gaza health official Ashraf al-Qidra said. The bodies of Muhammad Talal Abu Nahl, Rami Abu Nahl, Haitham Tafesh and Abed Talal Shuweikh were taken to al-Shifa medicial center. The victims were burying relatives who had been killed overnight by Israeli airstrikes. Photo
The latest airstrikes bring the total death toll since midnight to 25 Palestinians.
Hamdan Hadayid, 42, succumbed to wounds he sustained in an airstrike that targeted a motorcycle in eastern Khan Younis.
Earlier, two Palestinians were killed and three injured in an Israeli airstrike targeting a car in the al-Nasr neighborhood west of Gaza City.
Before that, Israel killed three of Hamas’ most prominent military commanders in airstrikes targeting a building in Rafah [see separate article].
In the al-Nuseirat refugee camp, Israel killed two men after targeting a motorcycle. They were identified as Jumaa Matar, 27, and Omar Abu Nada, 22.
In northern Gaza, Israeli shelling killed Surour Tambora and his son Hasan, 13, medical sources said.
An Israeli airstrike also killed five Palestinians, including three children, in Gaza City on Thursday, a medical official said. Gaza’s ministry of health spokesman, identified one of the victims as Nasr Ziad al-Rifi, 35. Four others were seriously wounded.
Meanwhile, a body was recovered under rubble from the al-Dalou home, which was targeted by Israel on Tuesday.
Israel kills 3 senior Hamas commanders in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Israel killed three of Hamas’ most prominent military commanders early Thursday in airstrikes targeting a building in Rafah. The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Muhammad Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Muhammad Barhoum were killed in the al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah. Abu Shammala was the general commander of the al-Qassam Brigades in the southern Gaza Strip and Raed al-Attar was the commander of the Rafah district. The two Hamas officials were on Israel’s most wanted list, with both men accused of masterminding the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. Their bodies were taken to the Abu Yousef al-Najjar hospital in Rafah while rescue teams continue to search for the body of Muhammad Barhoum.
Witnesses said Israeli warplanes fired at least 12 missiles at a three-story building the men were staying in. Five other civilians were killed in the attack and at least 40 injured. Hasan Hussein Younis, 75, his wife Amal Ibrahim Younis, 17-year-old Ahmad Nasser Killab, Nathira Killab and Aysha Atiyyeh were identified as those killed. [Plus children Abdullah Kallab and Youssef Kallab]
Two killed in airstrike on motorcycle in Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Marwan Abu Shalouf and Ibrahim Hammad, both in their twenties, were killed after an Israeli airstrike hit a motorcycle in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. [Photo: Scene of horror from Gaza: a man tries to extinguish the flames on the body of a man who was targeted by an Israeli strike while riding a motorcycle. ]
4-year-old Israeli child killed by mortar fire in Negev
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — A four-year-old Israeli child [Haaretz: Daniel Tregerman] was killed after mortar fire struck two cars in Sdot Negev region of southern Israel on Friday afternoon. The Israeli military told Ma‘an that the child was killed amid a barrage of rockets from Gaza, which also hit a number of cities across southern and central Israel. Israeli sources said that two cars caught fire and burned as a result of the shell. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma‘an that the child was killed in Nahal Oz in Shaar HaNegev, but a later military statement said that the child died in neighboring Sdot Negev. [Haaretz: According to the IDF, the mortar shell that killed a 4-year-old boy was not fired from a school used by UNRWA as a shelter for refugees. “After further review, the school the mortar was launched near from is not being used as a shelter by UNRWA but rather a shelter maintained by Hamas authorities in Gaza,” IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner tweeted.]
At least four were injured as approximately 80 rockets fell across Israel from Gaza on Friday, a day after 100 rockets were launched. The Israeli military said on Friday that two Israelis were injured when rockets fell on Beersheba and Sderot earlier in the day, while two other Israelis were injured when another rocket hit a synagogue in Ashdod. The Israeli military said 430 rockets have been fired from Gaza since a temporary ceasefire collapsed on Tuesday.
In the same time, the Israeli military has killed more than 60 Palestinians across Gaza in widespread airstrikes that have left hundreds more injured.
4-year-old child killed in Israeli airstrike on Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Saba Yunis, 4, died of injuries she sustained in an airstrike on a house in Tal al-Sultan in Rafah on Thursday. [But somehow her death won’t matter as much as Daniel Tregerman’s ….]
18 executed in Gaza for ‘collaborating’ with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Eighteen suspected collaborators were killed by Hamas on Friday as the group announced a crackdown on Palestinians alleged to be working with Israel. Seven men were shot dead in front of a mosque by men in Hamas military uniforms after Friday prayers, witnesses said. The Hamas-affiliated al-Majd website said they were killed after legal procedures were completed against them. Suspects accused of collaboration are taken to “revolutionary military trials” presided over by security and legal experts, the site added. Earlier, eleven Palestinians were killed by Hamas for allegedly collaborating with Israel. A Ma‘an reporter said two bodies were found near the al-Azhar University in Gaza City while several others were taken to al-Shifa medical center. The 11 suspected collaborators were killed at a Gaza police station and had been sentenced by local courts, The Associated Press reported. A day earlier, Hamas executed three alleged collaborators with Israel and arrested seven others. It is believed the executions and arrests took place following the assassination of three senior Hamas military commanders at dawn on Tuesday. Information passed to Israel’s security services by Palestinian collaborators is often being used to make arrests and assassinate high-profile political and militant figures. Under Palestinian law, collaboration with Israel is punishable by death. However all execution orders must be approved by the president before they can be carried out. Hamas no longer recognizes the legitimacy of incumbent Mahmoud Abbas, whose four-year term ended in 2009. UN rights chief Navi Pillay last year described the judicial process for death sentences in Gaza as “deeply flawed.”
The unprotected: A Gaza family destroyed by Israel bombs
[with photos] Der Spiegel 21 Aug by Julia Amalia Heyer & Juliane von Mittelstaedt — For an entire week, eight people — women, children and an elderly man — were trapped in their house in Gaza. They couldn’t leave and nobody could help. An hour before the cease-fire, the family was wiped out by Israeli bombs — Zaki Wahdan is looking for a head. Or a body. The remains of eight people that have to be here. The two small brothers, the grandparents, the mother, the two sisters and the little niece. So far he has found only 13 legs, with small and large feet. But how can he identify them with these feet, blackened as they are with dirt and blood? He is standing on the rubble of his parents’ house and walks around the perimeter of what was once the living room. They have to be here beneath him, underneath shredded mattresses, clothing, a child’s bicycle and tons of concrete. They are so close, yet Zaki can’t get to them. Had he not been detained by the Israeli military, he too would have ended up in this concrete tomb. Zaki and his older brothers come to this mountain of concrete and rubble every day. According to Islamic tradition, the bodies must be buried as quickly as possible. But now they’ve been here almost two weeks; the site smells of death and there are flies buzzing around. Zaki walks across the rubble and doesn’t know what to do. With a broad, good-natured face, he seems like an overgrown child. At 19, he is now the youngest son once again. But what does it mean to be a son when you no longer have any parents or grandparents?
Did Israel launch the three rockets that broke the ceasefire and reignited the war?
Son of death / Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom 23 Aug — THE WAR was over. Families returned to their kibbutzim near Gaza. Kindergartens opened up again. A ceasefire was in force and extended again and again. Obviously, both sides were exhausted. And then, suddenly, the war came back. What happened? Well, Hamas launched rockets against Beersheba in the middle of the ceasefire. Why? No why. You know how the terrorists are. Bloodthirsty. They can’t help it. Just like scorpions. But it is not so simple. THE CAIRO talks were near success, or so it seemed. But Binyamin Netanyahu was in trouble. He hid the Egyptian draft agreement for a long ceasefire even from his cabinet colleagues. They learned about it only from the media, which disclosed it from Palestinian sources. Apparently, the draft said that the blockade would be greatly relaxed, if not officially ended. Talks about the building of a port and airport were to start within a month. What? What did Israel get out of this? After all the shooting and killing, with 64 Israeli soldiers dead, after all the grandiose speeches about our resounding victory, was that all? No wonder Netanyahu tried to hide the document. The Israeli delegation was called home without signing. The exasperated Egyptian mediators got another 24 hour extension of the ceasefire. It was to expire at midnight on Tuesday, but everybody on both sides expected it to be extended again and again. And then it happened. At about 16.00 hours, three rockets were fired at Beersheba and fell into open spaces. No warning sirens. Curiously enough, Hamas denied having launched them, and no other Palestinian organization took responsibility. This was strange. After every previous launching from Gaza, some Palestinian organization has always proudly claimed credit. As usual, Israeli airplanes promptly started to retaliate and bombed buildings in the Gaza Strip. As usual, rockets rained down on Israel. (I heard the interceptions in Tel Aviv). BUSINESS AS usual? Not quite. First it became known that an hour before the rockets came in, the Israeli population near Gaza was warned by the army to prepare their shelters and “safe spaces”. Then it appeared that the first Gaza building hit belonged to the family of a Hamas military commander. Three people were killed, among them a baby and his mother. And then the news spread: It was the family of Mohammed Deif, the commander of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. (Qassam was a Palestinian hero, the first rebel against British rule in Palestine in the 1930s. He was hunted down and killed by the British.) Among those killed this Tuesday were Deif’s wife and baby son. But it seems that Deif himself was not there. That in itself is no wonder. Deif has survived at least four attempts to assassinate him. He has lost an eye and several limbs, but always came out alive.All around him, his successive commanders, political and military peers and subordinates, dozens of them, have been assassinated throughout the years. But he has led a charmed life. Now he heads the Israeli hit list, the most wanted and hunted Palestinian activist. He is the No. 1 “Son of Death”, a rather biblical appellation used in Israel for those marked for assassination. Like most inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, Deif is a child of refugees from Israel. His family comes from the village Kawkaba, now in Israel, not far from Gaza. I passed through it in the 1948 war, before it was razed to the ground. For the Israeli Security Service, he is a prize for which it is well worth breaking the ceasefire and reigniting the war.
Hamas: We wouldn’t target civilians if we had better weapons
Haaretz 23 Aug — Political leader Khaled Meshal says he wasn’t aware of West Bank kidnapping ahead of time, but notes Hamas views settlers as aggressors — Hamas political leader Khaled Meshal has acknowledged that members of his organization killed three Israeli teenagers in June, while trying to distance his group from the savagery of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. Meshal made the remarks in an interview with Yahoo News in Qatar, during which he also stated that Hamas is against the killing of civilians. While noting that the group’s leaders were unaware of the abduction of the three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank ahead of time, Meshal defended the attack as a legitimate action against Israeli “oppression.” “We were not aware of this action taken by this group of Hamas members in advance,” he told Yahoo News. “But we understand people are frustrated under the occupation and the oppression, and they take all kinds of action.” He then stressed that Hamas leaders only learned of the operatives’ actions after they had been apprehended…
Meshal rejected the comparison made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu between Hamas and the Islamic State, calling the statement a lie meant to manipulate the American public. “We are not a religious, violent group,” Meshal said, calling the Islamic State a “totally different phenomenon. We are fighting against aggression in our land.” He further stated that Hamas is against the killing of any civilians, adding that the group will make efforts to warn Israelis of impending rocket attacks in advance. “We do not target civilians, and we try most of the time to aim at military targets and Israeli bases,” Meshal said. “But we admit that we have a problem. We do not have sophisticated weapons. We do not have the weapons available to our enemy … so aiming is difficult. We do promise you, though, that we will try in the future and we will warn people … We have given warnings to Israeli civilians. We promise that if we get more precise weapons, we will only target military targets.”
How many Palestinian civilians is a single militant worth? / Amira Hass
Haaretz 22 Aug — As of Thursday, 76.8 percent of the 2,090 fatalities documented by the Gazan human rights organization Mizan have been civilians. On the night of August 5, Gaza’s Interior and National Security Ministry posted a comment on its Facebook page decrying the damage caused by publishing names and photographs of “resistance fighters who fell in battle” (shahids), along with information on where they died. The Israeli military spokesman seized on this comment as a smoking gun: proof that Hamas was deliberately concealing militant fatalities to boost the apparent numbers of civilians killed … “Even if Hamas had decided to hide the names of its fallen combatants and their numbers for a long time, the families wouldn’t agree,” a veteran Hamas activist told Haaretz. He said ultimately everything will come to light. “Now we don’t know if there are fighters who were killed in the tunnels and are still buried there, or if they’re living in the tunnels. There are bodies that have been under the rubble for so long that they are unrecognizable,” he said. The IDF and Amit center saw the Palestinian Facebook comment as a warning and an instruction not to release information, for propaganda purposes. But Palestinians saw it as an expression of concern. Releasing the casualties’ names would enable Israel to target their families as well by bombing their homes, thus turning even more civilians into “targets” or “collateral damage.” This is not propaganda; it is the reality in which 1.8 million Palestinians have been living in the past six weeks.“The occupation gathers this information and testimonies and uses them to excuse its crimes against the civilians and destroy the homes,” the Palestinian Facebook post says. [If you can’t access this article, try here (Item 4).]
Israeli forces use Palestinian child as human shield in Gaza
Ramallah (DCI-Palestine) 21 Aug — Israeli soldiers repeatedly used Ahmad Abu Raida, 17, as a human shield for five days while he was held hostage during Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. Ahmad, from Khuza‘a, near the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, was just 16 years old when he was taken from his family on July 23. He was forced at gunpoint to search for tunnels for five days, during which time he was interrogated, verbally and physically abused, and deprived of food and sleep. Ahmad told DCI-Palestine in a sworn testimony that Israeli soldiers attempted both to extract information from him regarding Hamas members, and recruit him as an informant, before releasing him on July 27. “The Israeli military has consistently accused Hamas of using civilians – particularly children – as human shields, but this incident represents a clear case of their soldiers forcing a child to directly assist in military operations,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Israeli officials make generalized accusations while Israeli soldiers engage in conduct that amounts to war crimes.” … Ahmad details an almost constant stream of abuse and threats during his detention, including kicks and punches, whips with a wire, and threats of a sexual nature. When he was left alone in a civilian house for a period, he found some note paper and wrote a secret letter to his family, believing that he would be killed. On Sunday, July 27, he was finally released. Ahmad’s father confirmed that, for five days, the family believed that he was dead….
Palestinian teen: I was used as a human shield in Gaza
972mag 21 Aug by Samer Badawi — An affidavit obtained exclusively by +972 reveals what appears to be the first documented case of a ‘human shield’ used by the Israeli military during its invasion of the eastern Gaza town of Khuza‘a — Ahmad Abu Raida, now 17, was separated from his family by Israeli soldiers on July 23 as he and his family were trying to flee to safety. During Abu Raida’s five-day captivity, an Israeli soldier, who insisted he be called “captain,” repeatedly asked the boy about alleged Hamas tunnels and rocket launching sites in his neighborhood. “I told him I did not know,” Abu Raida, who was 16 years old at the time of the incident, said. “‘I’m young. I’m 17 years old. How am I supposed to know these things?’ I said to him, but he became angry and started punching and kicking me.” Abu Raida’s case was documented by Defense for Children International-Palestine, which released a statement Thursday based on the affidavit it collected. +972 spoke with the 17-year-old earlier today.
Rafah crossing open for all but students
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Aug — The Palestinian border and crossing department has announced that Rafah crossing is open for all cases except students, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency. It was explained by the department, in a press release, that holders of foreign passports and injured citizens will be allowed to leave the Gaza Strip. The area has been unsafe due to several attacks by Israel, while Egypt has largely kept the Rafah crossing — the only crossing through which Palestinians can exit Gaza — closed during Israel’s military assault on the region.
Israel says Gaza crossings to remain open despite rockets
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Israeli authorities on Thursday said that both the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings between Gaza and Israel will remain open despite the fact that rockets had been fired at both terminals from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military’s coordinator of Gaza affairs Faris Atiyeh said in a statement Thursday that around a dozen missiles fired from Gaza had struck both the Kerem Shalom crossing and the Erez crossing the day before. Such attacks, he said, affect the daily operations at the crossings, but despite that the army has no plans to shut them down because they are “the lungs through which the Gaza Strip breathes.”
Gaza severely short of water for drinking and bathing
Haaretz 21 Aug by Amira Hass — Almost all the Gaza Strip’s 1.8 million residents are suffering from a severe lack of water for drinking and washing, since Israeli bombs seriously damaged the Strip’s water, electricity and sewage infrastructure. One of the most serious consequences of the water shortage has been an outbreak of skin disease and other infections in the temporary shelters that today house some 275,000 displaced Gazans. That number is expected to rise now that the fighting has resumed. Because of the damage to wells, Gaza is pumping only about half as much water as usual. The electricity supply has improved slightly after damaged high-voltage wires were repaired, but it is still limited to six hours of every 12. That, combined with the shortage of generator fuel, has disrupted both the pumping of water and its distribution through the pipelines.
What would Israel do in Hamas’ shoes? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 21 Aug — The Palestinian response to the killing of Mohammed Deif’s wife and son will be exactly like the Israeli response in the reverse situation: Vengeance and retribution — Think of a terrible scenario: Hamas, heaven forbid, kills Sara and Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s wife and son. Another scenario, no less terrible: the targets are Revital and Nadav Gantz, the IDF chief of staff’s wife and son. What would Hamas have gotten out of such horrific murders? And how would Israel have reacted? Submitted to its demands? Would public opinion have moderated? Would Israel ever forgive? And what would Hamas benefit if it succeeded, heaven forbid, to kill the prime minister or the chief of staff? Wouldn’t we have found substitutes? Would Israel have renounced its leadership? Bowed its head to its leaders’ assassins? Would Israel have hastened to build them a deep-water seaport and airport in Gaza? Whoever decided to try to assassinate Mohammed Deif and succeeded in killing Vidad, his wife, and Ali, his son (an 8-month-old infant), didn’t think in those terms. Israelis are never willing to play the opposite-role game and consider what would have happened if we were in their place. It’s part of our dehumanization and demonization of the Palestinians. Murdering their leaders and commanders? Legitimate. Murdering ours? Monstrous horror. How can you even compare? Those responsible for murdering the members of the Deif family were looking for a victory picture, or at least a pain photo, painful enough to stop the rocket fire. But the effect was, and always will be, the opposite. This action too will only intensify the resistance, extremism and resolve, just as it would have done in the reverse situation, of killing an Israeli leader. A war that began with the “pain map” drafted by the Air Force, which included bombing the homes of “Hamas operatives” – a wondrously flexible term that comprised bombing the homes and families of a hospital director and police chief – was looking for a happy ending.
In photos: Gaza families return home to horror and devastation
GAZA STRIP (Electronic Intifada) 22 Aug by Silvia Boarini — After nearly twenty days of war, the southern Gaza neighborhood of Khuza‘a, near Khan Younis, was still off limits on 26 July. Israeli ground forces fired warning shots at neighborhood residents who had gathered one hundred meters from the entrance. They hoped in vain to look for missing relatives and check on the state of their houses. Abasan al-Kabira, east of Khan Younis, was the easternmost area accessible on that day, or at least what remained of the neighborhood — which once boasted beautiful, large homes and palm trees. The home of Ibrahim Abukther, 32, was at least three stories high. Now the external walls were missing for the most part. On the top floor, lying on one of those soft blankets that are found in every Palestinian home, was a human hand. People gathered said Ibrahim was not able to flee in time. Israeli armed forces had begun shelling the road; his house was one of the closest to the fields leading all the way to Khuzaa and the so-called buffer zone.
Police: Israel dropped ‘equivalent of 6 nuclear bombs’ on Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Bomb disposal experts in Gaza on Friday said that Israel had dropped the equivalent of six nuclear bombs on the tiny coastal enclave over the course of its six-week assault, including many that the police say are internationally banned. The explosives’ engineering police of the Gaza Ministry of Interior said in a statement that Israel had dropped 20,000 tons of explosives on the 139 square mile (360 sq km) territory. “Flechette shells, fuel-air bombs (which explode twice, including after impact), DIME shells, and flechette shells saturated with uranium were fired at Gaza Strip,” the statement added, stressing that the weapons “affect the environment, soil, and water and will affect the next generations by spreading diseases especially cancer.”
The statement said that areas near the border like Khuza‘a, eastern Rafah, Shuja‘iyya, eastern al-Mughazi, al-Bureij and Juhr al-Dik were hit with “the lion’s share of Israeli shells and missiles.” The statement said that of the total number of explosive, 8,000 were dropped from warplanes, “killing entire families and crossing them out of the Palestinian civil register.” Drones, Apache, F15, F16 and “vertical” warplanes were used during the offensive, firing MK82, MK83 and MK84 shells. The statement added that the Israeli artillery deployed in eastern Gaza City had fired high-explosive shells at homes and civilian property causing massive damage, especially in Rafah, Khan Younis, Shuja‘yya and Beit Hanoun. More than 60,000 artillery shells of different sizes were fired at Gaza. During the assault, Gaza police bomb disposal experts said that they engaged in 1731 different missions including treating explosive devices, suspicious devices. and vehicles, among other tasks.
MADA: July bloodiest month in history of Palestinian media
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — A Palestinian media watchdog on Thursday said that July was the bloodiest month on record in the history of the Palestinian press, as nine journalists were killed and eight media outlets shelled during the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza. The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms said in a statement that the targeting of Palestinian media had continued into August, with at least six more journalists killed in the last three weeks as well. General director of MADA Mousa Rimawi said in the statement that the attacks on journalists were widespread and focused in Gaza, where the homes of 16 journalists were also destroyed and transmission to a number of different TV, radio, and media websites was cut by the Israeli military. “MADA believes that they would not have died if (Israeli forces) had been hold accountable for its previous crimes against journalists, which are considered war crimes according to the Geneva Conventions which protect all civilians in case of war.” The report said that seven journalists were killed in Israeli assaults on Gaza in 2009 and 2012, and “so far nobody has been held accountable.” The statement said that in July, Israeli occupation forces had committed 73 violations of media freedom throughout the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, while three were committed by Palestinian parties in the West Bank. The report stressed that the the 15 journalists killed in the last six weeks “were killed in civilian sites which are supposed to be safe for civilians, including news workers.” The report also said that while some were killed in their homes or while covering the aftermath of Israeli operations in residential neighborhoods, others were “deliberately targeted.” “PalMedia Company driver Hamid Adballah Shihab was killed while he was driving a PalMedia’s car carrying a ‘Press’ sign, journalist Hamadah Khaled Maqat was killed by a rocket while he was walking, and Palestine Public TV sport commentator Ahed Zaqout was killed during the shelling of his house,” the report said.
Other News / Analysis / Opinion
Photos of the week: Ceasefire begins and ends
Activestills 22 Aug — This week: Palestinian and Israeli protests across the political, ethnic and religious spectrum; homes and property damaged and destroyed in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel; aid for those suffering; and a wedding under protest.
Abbas arrives in Cairo for 3-day visit
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Aug — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and an accompanying delegation landed in Cairo, on Friday afternoon, to begin a 3-day visit to the region during which he is scheduled to meet with Egyptian officials, with the aim of reaching a lasting state of truce with Israel. Abbas was accompanied by PLO chief negotiator and executive committee member Saeb Erekat, PLO executive committee member Saleh Rafaat, Fatah central committee member Azzam al-Ahmad, and head of intelligence Majed Farraj. According to Ma’an News Agency, Abbas met with Deputy Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhala and Khalid al-Batsh of the Islamic Jihad, on Friday evening, after arriving from Qatar earlier in the afternoon. The Islamic Jihad media office said that the meeting aimed to discuss ceasefire initiatives which adhere to Palestinian demands. President Abbas had previously been in Doha, where he met with the Qatari Emir and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, also to discuss the possibility of a ceasefire. Earlier in the week, the Israeli delegation left Cairo with no response to a proposal offered by the Palestinian side. Abbas is expected to meet with Egyptian president Abd al-Fattah Sisi and other Egyptian officials on Saturday.
Palestinian Druze poet Samih al-Qasim dies at 75
Jerusalem (AFP) 19 Aug — Samih al-Qasim, a Palestinian Druze poet known across the Arab world for his nationalist writing, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer, a family friend said. He was 75. Qasim died in Safed hospital in northern Israel after suffering from cancer of the liver for the past three years, Issam Khuri, a novelist and close family friend, told AFP. He was best known for his nationalist poetry in which he passionately defended the rights and identity of Israel’s Arab minority. Known as a “resistance poet,” Qasim’s poems were widely embraced across the Arab world as a symbol of steadfastness in the struggle against foreign occupation, with many translated into English and other languages. “I have no love for you, death, nor do I fear you. But you are making a bed of a body and a blanket of my soul,” he wrote last week as he was dying. He was a contemporary of the late Mahmud Darwish, who was also born in a village in what later became northern Israel, and was widely considered one of the Arab world’s greatest poets. A long-time member of the Israeli communist party and resident of the northern village of Rameh near Safed, Qasim was arrested many times for his political beliefs. He also worked as a journalist and was editor-in-chief of the Arab Israeli weekly, Kul al-Arab.
Christianity in Palestine: Misrepresentation and dispossession / Timothy Seidel
Electronic Intifada 2 Aug — “You are a Christian?” a foreign tourist inquires with marked disbelief of a Palestinian tour guide in Bethlehem. “When did you convert?” This response by foreigners, Christian or not, is unfortunately not uncommon in Palestine. Even in Bethlehem, the origin to which many trace the very roots of their Christian faith, this disbelief goes hand-in-hand with tourists’ visits to the Church of the Nativity — visits that seem to carry with them some image of a time long past with only archaeological or religious sites remaining with little consideration for the “living stones” that have continuously borne witness to this tradition for two millennia. Many Christians from the Global North have a hard time seeing and relating to Christianity in the Arab world as living, vibrant communities of faith with rich spiritual and theological traditions. This may be partly due to a lack of understanding about the shape of Christianity in other parts of the world, but may also be partly due to the often racist and ethnocentric notions of what a Christian should look like. Christianity in the Arab world has had a long and lively history, including in Palestine, where one still finds today communities of faith that stretch back thousands of years to the very beginnings of the church, where Arabic is spoken in liturgies and sermons, and where the church has played an integral role in the development of society, whether in terms of providing leadership in very difficult times or in pioneering valuable social services like education.
Not even a ‘bump on the wing’ these days when killing Palestinians / Ami Kaufman
972mag 21 Aug — No one in Israel really talks about the killing of innocent Palestinians anymore. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us — On Tuesday, the IDF attempted to kill Mohammed Deif, the military leader of Hamas in Gaza, by dropping five one-tonne bombs on a home. As these lines are written it is not yet clear whether Deif was killed. What can be said with certainty, however, is that his wife and eight-month-old son definitely were. Deif has been on Israel’s wanted list for years. On Tuesday night it saw a chance, and despite the fact that it knew of other innocent civilians in the building, it went after him. The decision was made. And as we’ve seen in the past few weeks, this is not the first time. But no one in Israel really talks about these things anymore. I say this because I remember a time when we used to. There was a time when we murdered people and it actually bothered us. I was reminded of this recently after watching a short documentary made by military analyst Yoav Limor for Israel’s Channel 2, called “The Human Shield.” If you understand Hebrew I highly recommend watching it, for it gives deep insight into the chilling justifications and rationalizations Israelis make for killing innocent people. One poignant segment is that of human rights attorney Michael Sfard, who compares what is happening in Gaza today to what happened in 2002 when Israel killed then-Hamas military chief Salah Shehadeh. Sfard points out that there was a debate about the morality of killing Shehadeh, who died together with 14 innocent people that day, many of them children. I’ve been writing for years about what this country is turning into before my eyes. The total lack of empathy for suffering on the other side is a result of deeply ingrained racism. In my eyes the Israeli response, or shall I say the lack of it, to the recent massacres in Gaza is the epitome of the unraveling of Israeli society over the past decade.
‘Marriage to an Arab is national treason’
Ynet 27 March 2007 [so this racism is not new] — Recent poll reveals steep rise in racist views against Arabs in Israel; many participants feel hatred, fear when overhearing Arabic, 75 percent don’t approve of shared apartment buildings — Over half of the Jewish population in Israel believes the marriage of a Jewish woman to an Arab man is equal to national treason, according to a recent  survey by the Geocartography Institute. The survey, which was conducted for the Center Against Racism, also found that over 75 percent of participants did not approve of apartment buildings being shared between Arabs and Jews. Sixty percent of participants said they would not allow an Arab to visit their home. Five hundred Jewish men and women participated in the poll, which was published Tuesday. According to the survey, racism against Arabs in Israel has seen a sharp rise since a similar survey was conducted two years ago. In 2006, 247 racist acts against Arabs were reported, as opposed to 225 one year prior. About 40 percent of participants agreed that “Arabs should have their right to vote for Knesset revoked”. The number was 55 percent lower in the previous survey. Also, over half of the participants agreed that Israel should encourage its Arab citizens to emigrate from the country.Over half of the participants said they would not want to work under the direct management of an Arab, and 55 percent said “Arabs and Jews should be separated at entertainment sites”….