Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Restrictions on movement
Minister: Israel looking at ways to lower Bedouin birthrate
Haaretz 29 Sept by Shirly Seidler — Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said during a visit to the south on Sunday that he was examining ways to lower the birthrate of the Bedouin community. Shamir heads the ministerial committee on Bedouin resettlement arrangements. “We have to take all the Bedouin and get them out of the desert a bit and bring them closer to a normal state from the perspective of legislation, life expectancy, education and livelihood,” Shamir said. “Perhaps we could even deal with the phenomenon of multiple wives to reduce the birthrate and raise the standard of living. That’s why we are now focusing on economic solutions by arrangement.” According to Shamir, by 2035 the Bedouin will constitute half a million people. “Only a suicidal country doesn’t recognize the Bedouin problem; the blindness is terrible,” he said. “We are working by a different method than the Prawer Committee [which previously dealt with Bedouin resettlement]; I lean more toward an economic approach than a legal one.”
25% of new Jerusalem homes built in occupied east: NGO
JERUSALEM (AFP) 28 Sept — About 25 percent of new Israeli houses being built in Jerusalem in the first half of 2014 were in the city’s annexed east, an Israeli NGO said on Sunday. Jerusalem city council published a statement saying that between January 1 and June 30 work began on 2,100 homes in the city. It did not say where construction was taking place, in line with Israel’s definition of the whole city as in integral and indivisible part of the Jewish state. But Hagit Ofran, of settlement watchdog Peace Now, told AFP in response to a query that about a quarter of the new homes were in settlements in the Arab areas occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. The occupied east of the city was later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community. “We’re talking about approximately 500” homes, Ofran said, adding that the figures were broadly in line with recent years. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state and Israeli settlement building there is a source of constant international criticism. Figures provided by the municipality say there are about 306,000 Palestinians living in east Jerusalem, whose civil status is that of residents, not citizens. They account for 38 percent of the city’s overall population. Some 200,000 Israeli settlers also live in east Jerusalem.
IN PICTURES: Seized land in Palestine
Wadi Fukin, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 28 Sept by Vinciane Jacquet — …The Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin sits just west of Bethlehem along the Green Line, and is surrounded on three sides by Israeli settlements that are constantly growing. Residents of Wadi Fukin were recently handed down eviction notices and had some of their farmlands destroyed, all with the purpose of forcing them to abandon their village. The villagers have refused to leave and now face a lengthy struggle to stay on their land.
Arabs in Israel decry racial discrimination
HAIFA, Israel (Al Jazeera) 28 Sept by Patrick Strickland — Palestinian citizens of Israel are blocked from living in Jewish communities for lacking ‘Zionist vision’ — As a Palestinian citizen of Israel, 21-year-old Shadan Jabareen says she has experienced institutionalised discrimination since she was a child. In 1994, her parents wanted to get away from the constant noise and the overcrowded Umm al-Fahm and move to a Jewish-Israeli community. “My dad heard an advertisement on the radio for homes in Katzir,” she said, referring to a kibbutz, or Jewish agricultural community, in the country’s north. “The admissions committee told my dad that they didn’t want Arabs because it would lower the community’s value in Katzir,” Jabareen, who studies literature at Tel Aviv University, told Al Jazeera. After a legal struggle, her parents eventually were admitted to buy a home in Katzir, where they lived for seven years. “The neighbours were usually okay with us, but the admissions committee never wanted us.” Admissions committees are common in small semi-cooperative Jewish communities across the Negev and Galilee regions in Israel. In compliance with larger regional councils, these admission committees evaluate potential residents and ultimately decide whether to accept them into the communities … According to the Haifa-based Adalah legal centre, one of the petitioning groups, the Admissions Committee Law is just one of more than fifty laws designed to discriminate against the estimated 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, by muzzling their political expression and curbing their access to state resources, most importantly land.
The girl with the doll
Palestine Chronicle 24 Sept by Tamar Fleishman of Machsomwatch — The girl with the doll, her mother and her two sisters, one of which was burning up with fever and kept crying each time she saw a soldier, weren’t permitted to pass through the checkpoint and head home to Abu-Gosh. Everything was done according to the regulations and everything was done according to the orders, there were no irregularities … The mother of the girl with the doll, who was born and raised in Ramallah and has a Palestinian ID, married an Israeli citizen from the village Abu Gosh. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law is in essence a racist law, and no other country in the world has anything like it. This law determines that all the Palestinians are a threat to the security of the Israeli state, and is intended to prevent legal status to Palestinian couples. It was designed in 2002 as a Temporal Order but has been renewed over and over again each time it was supposed to expire. This law prevents the mother of the girl with the doll from permanently living in the house where she shares her life with her husband and children, and forces her to always have a: “Temporary Permit for Family Reunification”, which as is evident from the title, is a temporary permit that might be taken away from her at any given moment. But on that morning the woman who was visiting her family in Ramallah with her children, had possibly taken a different bag or perhaps forgot to make sure or maybe… Either way, it was only in the afternoon at the checkpoint, as they were heading back, that she learned that she only had a copy of the passage permit. But a copy is never good enough, when you are a Palestinian you must have the original document….
Calgary woman trying to get out of Gaza
CTV Calgary [Canada] 26 Sept by Karen Owen — A Calgary woman living in the midst of the turmoil and violence in Gaza wants to come home. Malak Hammad is a Canadian who married a Palestinian man and they have been living in Gaza for over a year. She gave birth to her first child in Canada and she was hoping to do the same when her second child was born, but the baby was born two months early in Gaza. Now that the premature baby is well enough to travel, Hammad and her family would like to leave Gaza and come to Canada but that is proving very difficult. Ottawa is denying Hammad’s Palestinian husband a visa. Hammad said in a call with CTV Calgary “all I’m finding is dead ends. It makes me angry and again frustrated.” Ahmed Hammad submitted all the visa requirements he was able to submit, but he couldn’t provide fingerprints and a photograph because they need to be processed in Cairo, Egypt. Immigration lawyer Abdul Souraya, who practices in Calgary, said the rules that require Gazans to get fingerprinted in Cairo are unfair. Souraya said “Gazans cannot travel freely in and out of Gaza.” … The Canadian government said the decision to require photos and fingerprints from Gazans was made due to ongoing fraud and security concerns.
Israel bans Muslims from Ibrahimi Mosque beginning Tuesday
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Sept — For the second time in less than a week, Israeli authorities will ban Muslim worshipers from entering Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque beginning Tuesday, Sept. 30 in preparation for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur on Oct. 4. An official at the mosque told Ma’an via email that the mosque would be completely closed to Muslim worshipers, while “Jewish settlers” would be allowed free access. The Israeli authorities closed the mosque to Muslim worshipers last Thursday and Friday on the occasion of the Jewish New Year as well. Restrictions on Palestinian movement across the West Bank are frequently put in place during major Jewish holidays, ostensibly for security reasons.
Israeli forces shut key Nablus checkpoint to Palestinians
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Israeli forces on Saturday morning imposed intensive security procedures at the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus, causing major delays for Palestinian commuters in the northern West Bank. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli troops denied all Palestinian vehicles traveling from Nablus southward entry through the checkpoint, blocking Route 60, the main north-south artery through the West Bank. As a result of the closure, Palestinian drivers had to take a bypass route through another Israeli checkpoint in the nearby village of Awarta. Palestinian drivers traveling northward into Nablus, meanwhile, were subjected to intensive inspections. Israeli settlers’ vehicles, meanwhile, were not subject to the procedures and were allowed to pass freely…
The area around Huwwara checkpoint is a frequent site of tensions due to the presence of a number of right-wing Jewish settlements whose residents frequently assault Palestinians in local villages, although it was not clear if the closure was violence-related. Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions. At any given time, there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while surprise flying checkpoints often number into the hundreds.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian girl injured after being run over by Israeli settler
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Sept — An Israeli settler ran over a young Palestinian girl south of Hebron late Sunday, locals told Ma‘an. Red Crescent medics told Ma‘an the girl, six-year-old Islam Basim al-Amour, was moderately injured after being run over in the al-Dairat area east of Yatta. Further details were not immediately available. [An Israeli settler ran over another Palestinian child in the occupied east Jerusalem town of Silwan on Thursday.]
Israeli forces shoot tear gas and live ammunition inside the village of Ni‘lin
NI‘LIN, Occupied Palestine (ISM) 28 Sept — On Friday the 26th of September, Palestinians, Israelis and ISM activists demonstrated against the illegal settlements and apartheid wall that exist on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Ni‘lin. The demonstration started with a peaceful march towards the apartheid wall. However, the unarmed protesters were unable to get further than 300 meters outside of their village before the Israeli border police and military began to shoot excessive amounts of tear gas directly at them. The soldiers forced the protestors into the village and continued to be very aggressive towards them. Several tear gas canisters were fired towards the village. One tear gas canister landed inside a house forcing a mother and her six-month-old child to flee. An ambulance arrived to treat a second woman from the same house for excessive tear gas inhalation. The tear gas canister that landed inside the house set fire to the TV causing the house to quickly fill with smoke in addition to the tear gas. The Israeli soldiers and border police advanced further towards the village school. One ISM’er stated, “I was observing an Israeli soldier approximately 50 meters from the school, when two other soldiers suddenly appeared around the corner. We were completely peaceful and our faces were not covered, however, the soldier proceeded to raise and point his gun at us.” A few local boys went to the school and threw small stones at the intruding soldiers and border police officers. The Israeli military forces fired live ammunition at the group of boys. Shrapnel from a bullet hit one Palestinian in his back and created an open wound. He received treatment from the Red Crescent present at the demonstration, but did not have to go to the hospital. According to locals the Israeli military are moving closer and closer to the village every week. Villagers expressed their fear to the ISM’ers that the Israeli soldiers will soon enter the village during a future demonstration.
Soldiers kidnap a Palestinian near Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Sept by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Saturday, a young Palestinian man from Hebron, at the “Container Roadblock“, east of occupied East Jerusalem. The soldiers also invaded Hebron city, searching several homes and installing roadblocks in various areas in the district. Local sources said the soldiers kidnapped Yousef Hasan Masalma, age 25, as he was trying to cross the roadblock, and took him to an unknown destination. In addition, several military jeeps invaded Beit ‘Awwa town, west of Hebron, broke into and searched several homes in various neighborhoods after surrounding them. The sources added that the army installed roadblocks at the main entrances of Sa‘ir and Halhoul towns, north of Hebron, and ath-Thaheriyya town, south of the city, stopped and searched dozens of cars and investigated the ID cards of the passengers. In related news, soldiers stationed at the Huwwara roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, installed strict security measures in the area, preventing the residents from crossing, and directing traffic to the ‘Awarta roadblock.
Israeli forces detain freed pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoner
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 28 Sept — Israeli forces on Saturday evening detained a Palestinian prisoner released from Israeli custody in 2013 as part of a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume long-stalled peace talks, according to a prisoners rights group. A statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said that Israeli troops detained Mustafa al-Hajj from Bruqin in the northern West Bank at a checkpoint while he was on his way back to the village. Al-Hajj, who had been serving life time imprisonment, was released in Sept. 2013 after serving 24 years in Israeli jails … Al-Hajj attained his freedom as part of an agreement that Israel would release 104 veteran Palestinian prisoners who had been in custody since before the 1993 Oslo Accords as part of a plan to resume peace negotiations after talks were halted for more than two years. Israel eventually reneged on the agreement and refused to release the final of four groups of prisoners unless the Palestinian Authority agreed to an extension in peace talks, which Palestinian officials refused to do given Israel’s continued expansion of settlements and refusal to offer concessions. Palestinian officials have criticized Israel in recent months for arresting large numbers of prisoners freed as part of previous deals, especially the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange that freed more than 1,000.
Violence and detention of children in Hebron
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 28 Sept — This [Sunday] afternoon Israeli border police entered through Salaymeh checkpoint and fired 14 tear gas grenades and one stun grenade at children leaving school. Several teenagers threw stones towards the checkpoint and the soldiers began firing tear gas. An ISM activist present stated, “Four young girls were walking past the boys throwing stones. The boys deliberately stopped throwing stones so the girls could pass safely, but the border police fired tear gas anyway.” At one point two border police grabbed a 12-year-old boy by the arm, dragged him to the checkpoint, and detained him for 20 minutes. In a separate incident close by, nine-year-old Razain was walking near another local school when Israeli forces threw a stun grenade close to her legs. Shrapnel from the stun grenade injured her as it exploded in close proximity, stated Razain’s grandfather to ISM volunteers….
Students tear-gassed near Bethlehem; 3 kidnapped in Jerusalem area
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Sept — Several students, on Sunday, suffocated from tear gas canisters fired at them by Israeli soldiers in the village of al-Khader, to the west of Bethlehem, according to security sources … WAFA Palestinian News & Info agency reports that, according to the sources, forces fired tear gas canisters toward students while they were on their way home from school, causing several cases of suffocation among them. Also on Sunday, Israeli police kidnapped three Palestinians in the town of al-Ezariya, to the southeast of Jerusalem, as well as served a resident living to the northwest of Ramallah a notice to appear before interrogation, according to reports by witnesses. Meanwhile, Israeli army forces set up two checkpoints at main roads near the northern West Bank area of Jenin, intercepting and interrogating some passengers and causing a traffic jam. However, no arrests were reported. WAFA further reports that Israeli forces stormed several villages in the Ramallah district, where they served an interrogation summons to a local resident. Forces fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at a number of residents in the village of Surda, to north of Ramallah, causing a fire to erupt in nearby agricultural lands. Civil defense crews rushed to the scene and were able to put out the fire.
Armed Palestinian teen caught at Israeli moshav
28 Sept by Gili Cohen , Shirli Sitbon and Haaretz — An 18-year-old Palestinian man has been arrested by Israeli security forces after crossing through the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip, carrying a knife and spikes. The youth cut through the fence, setting off the army’s detection system. Forces that were called to the area discovered his footprints and spent over an hour searching for him until he was caught. “The suspect was identified in the eastern region of our communities,” Bavian said. “We searched him and found a knife. He did not resist and was completely surprised by his arrest.” Bavian noted the youth did not have any equipment for staying an extended period and that the whole incident lasted about 90 minutes, Ynet reported. “It could be he was in the area longer,” said Bavian, adding that after the apprehension, an Israel Defense Forces force took him for further investigation. “He didn’t say anything but mumbled a few incomprehensible words.”
560 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel in September
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Sept — The Palestine Prisoners’ Club said, on Sunday, that Israeli authorities have imprisoned 560 Palestinian citizens since the beginning of this September alone, referring to legal files and records kept by the club. The ranking of prisoners in Palestinian provinces was as follows: Jerusalem 80 prisoners, Ramallah and Al-Bireh 65 prisoners, Bethlehem 49 prisoners, Nablus 26 prisoners, Tulkarem 23 prisoners, Qalqilya 8 prisoners, and the total of 38 prisoners from Salfit, Tubas and Jericho. In a related vein, Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency further reports that over 85,000 Palestinians were arrested since the second Intifada broke out, in September of the year 2000. Some 2,500 Palestinians were arrested over the alleged abduction of three Israeli settlers in Hebron in last June, according to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-detainees’ Affairs….
Undercover forces attack detainees in Eshil Prison
IMEMC 28 Sept by Saed Bannoura — Undercover units of the Israeli army broke, on Friday at night, into Section 11 of the Eshil Israeli Prison in Be’er as-Sabe’ (Bir Shiva), assaulted Palestinian detainees after forcing them out of their beds, and violently searched their rooms … Head of the Center, Osama Shahin, said the soldiers searched and ransacked the rooms, the prison canteen and the laundry room for several hours. The detainees were allowed back into their rooms, later on, to find out that the army had confiscated some of their belongings. Shahin said the Metzada is known for its brutality and excessive use of force against the detainees, adding that the detainees consider this attack another direct violation, and a serious escalation … He also said that 63 detainees who were released under the Shalit Prisoner Swap Agreement and were illegally rearrested by Israel, are now held in Eshil, adding that the army is deliberately escalating its violations against them, and the rest of the detainees.
Israeli soldiers shoot and injure Palestinian farmer in northern Gaza
[with map] IMEMC 28 Sept by Celine Hagbard — Israeli soldiers stationed at the Gaza border shot a 22-year old farmer who was working his field, on Sunday afternoon, in an area designated by the Israeli military as a ‘no-go zone’, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Since the 50-day long Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip that ended on August 27th, Israeli forces have expanded the ‘no-go zone’ along the Gaza border, thus effectively annexing for Israel 40% of the remaining land area of the already extremely crowded Gaza Strip. According to the initial ceasefire agreement, the ‘no-go zone’ was supposed to be reduced to 100 meters of the border fence and, while following the ceasefire farmers were initially able to reach their land, that soon changed, and Israeli soldiers began quickly expanding the ‘no go zone’, and there is no set distance where Palestinians are sure that they can be safe to farm their land. Any Palestinian who tries to farm their land or otherwise enter the ‘no-go zone’ is subjected to being shot by Israeli snipers stationed at the border. According to local sources, Rajab Marouf, 22, was tending his land near Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, when he was shot in the leg by Israeli snipers. He was taken to the Kamal Adwan Hospital, where his injury was described as moderate.
Harsh winter awaits Gaza’s displaced
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 28 Sept by Rasha Abou Jalal — Umm Raed al-Abadla hangs her children’s clothes on a rope she tied between two trees in front of her family’s tent. The family has been residing here, outside Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, ever since they fled their home on the Abed Rabbo farm, which was destroyed by Israeli artillery, along with hundreds of others during the recent conflict. The hardship and homelessness caused by the displacement seem to have left their mark on Umm Raed. “This tent is made from pieces of worn cloth, and is our only shield from the heat of the sun, but what we are really afraid of is that winter will soon arrive and we have no safe home,” she told Al-Monitor. She fears her eight-member family will be exposed to bitter cold and rain, which will turn their lives into an unbearable hell, noting that her family cannot afford to rent an apartment due to high prices, demand and landlords exploiting the situation.
Gaza employment programme frozen due to lack of funds
Middle East Monitor 28 Sept by Ola Atallah — The Palestinian Ministry of Labour in the Gaza Strip has announced its decision to freeze a temporary employment programme due to the lack of a viable operational budget. The programme had been intended to provide employment for around 10,000 recent graduates. Abdullah Kelab, the general director for the ministry, told the media that the Jedara programme will stay frozen until more funds are available. He pointed out that while 4,000 graduates have already been employed, the remaining 6,000 are waiting for their contracts to be signed. Those already hired are not in danger of losing their jobs, Kelab insisted. He urged the reconciliation government to provide the necessary funds needed to resume the programme aimed at securing the future of Palestine’s new graduates. Fatah and Hamas agreed on Thursday night to implement the remaining points of the reconciliation agreement that was signed in April and to work to overcome any obstacles that may prevent full implementation of the deal. The main cause of the political dispute between Fatah and Hamas (as of late) centres on the fact that that the reconciliation government refuses to accept its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip. Thus, government institutions in the enclave have no secure budget and are unable to pay staff salaries. Officials in the reconciliation government attribute their lack of willingness to accept their responsibilities to Hamas, the presence of which is alleged to overshadow the new government. Their counterparts from Hamas claim that the government sides with the rival Fatah faction for political reasons.
Israel reopens Gaza crossing after 3-day closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Sept — Israeli authorities on Sunday morning opened the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing in the southeastern Gaza Strip after it was closed for three days over the Jewish New Year holiday. A spokesperson for the Gaza crossings authority said in a statement that Israel notified the Palestinian side that 380 truckloads of goods would be allowed into the coastal enclave through the Kerem Shalom (Kerem Abu Salem) crossing. The shipments include 32 truckloads of humanitarian aid, 24 truckloads of animal feed, 45 truckloads of goods for Gaza’s agricultural sector, one truckload of equipment for Gaza’s power authority, and two truckloads for water authorities. The statement also said that 65 truckloads of gravel and 13 truckloads of cement would be allowed in for projects sponsored by the UN’s Palestine refugee agency UNRWA. Israel allows imports into Gaza at a much lower level than needed for the 1.8 million residents of the tiny coastal enclave, particularly in light of the massive devastation wrought by Israeli forces in a more than 50-day assault that left more than 2,000 dead and more than 110,000 homeless.
Beit Hanoun residents protest against delays in reconstruction
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Residents of the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip launched a protest on Saturday demanding Palestinian authorities announce the town a “disaster area” and provide better services to help it recover from the summer’s Israeli offensive. Locals erected a sit-in tent in the center of the town to advocate for their needs, stressing that the local municipality “is not providing enough services as it should or as required.” Locals told Ma‘an that the town was “completely destroyed” in Israel’s 50-day war, including 1,500 homes that were demolished and 1,500 partially damaged. The destruction has left thousands homeless out of a population of barely more than 30,000.
PM: Intl body to pay salaries of Gaza civil servants
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Saturday that an unnamed international body is willing to pay the salaries of civil servants in Gaza who were employed by the former Hamas-run government in the Strip. Speaking at a news conference at the office of the Nablus governorate, Hamdallah said the national consensus government could not afford to pay the wages of the thousands of civil servants formerly employed by Hamas. But an international body has expressed willingness to pay the salaries, and employees will receive their August wages on Monday, Hamdallah said. He did not provide further details.
Hamas: Govt has agreed to pay all salaries without ‘discrimination’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Sept — A senior Hamas official said on Saturday that the Palestinian consensus government had agreed to cover the salaries of all employees of the former Hamas government in Gaza without “discrimination.”The statements came only hours after Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said earlier Saturday that an unnamed international body was willing to pay the salaries of civil servants in Gaza who were employed by the former Hamas-run government in the Strip, potentially removing one of the major stumbling blocks to national unity. Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar told Ma’an that according to the new agreement signed on Thursday, all public sector employee hired by the Hamas-run government in Gaza after June 2007 would be recognized as employees of the national consensus government regardless of the nature of their work. The agreement, he added, does not differentiate between civil service employees and military employees, and thus they all “should receive monthly salaries from the Palestinian Authority without discrimination.” He added that security service employees had maintained security in the Gaza Strip since 2007 and for that reason they should not be treated differently.
MdM contributes to the reconstruction effort of Gaza
PNN 28 Sept — MdM Press Release — Since August 12, Doctors of the World – Médecins du monde (MdM) has run activities aiming to help Palestinians rebuild the health system in Gaza strip, and most importantly, rebuild themselves … Through three mobile clinics, MdM France provides primary health care, mental health services as well as education to health to the most vulnerable Palestinians in some of the most devastated areas where the health facilities have been completely destroyed. One clinic travels to public schools serving as shelters in Gaza city and Juhr E lDeek area, and two other clinics are stationed in Khuza‘a and Al-Fukhari. Since the beginning of this operation, 6,208 patients have received care. In addition to that, MdM supports one PMRS mobile clinic in Beit Hanoun area, in the north of the Gaza Strip. MdM is also evaluating the repairs needed for five clinics that were completely or severely destroyed during the war.
International efforts to launch Freedom Flotilla 2
ISTANBUL (PIC) 27 Sept — International and Turkish activists declared the intention to send a second flotilla to break the siege on Gaza under the name of Freedom Flotilla 2. The first Freedom Flotilla was attacked at sea before reaching Gaza Strip by Israeli navy forces killing ten Turkish nationals. Activists from all over the world declared in Istanbul that they have started preparations for a “Freedom Flotilla 2” which will carry humanitarian aid to the besieged Strip. Around 100 activists will participate in the flotilla to break the 7-year siege on Gaza, the Turkish humanitarian relief organization (IHH) confirmed … For his part, IHH’s head for international relations Izzat Shahin confirmed that Freedom Flotilla 2 came in response to the continued Israeli siege on Gaza. Further details for the flotilla will be declared soon, he added. Nearly 12 non-governmental organizations including Jewish anti-Israeli groups have earlier declared the intention to kick off a second flotilla to Gaza.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
United Church of Christ committee calls for divestment from Israel
IMEMC 29 Sept by Celine Hagbard — The Steering Committee of the United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network, on Sunday, called on the United Church of Christ Board, United Church of Christ Pension Boards, United Church Funds, Conferences, local churches, members and other related United Church of Christ entities to divest any holdings in companies profiting from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories by the state of Israel. The Committee also called on the church and church members to study the Kairos Palestine document and take heed of its call for solidarity with the Palestinian people. This is one of a number of resolutions passed by regional committees… In their resolution, the Committee named the following companies, but said that the divestment should not necessarily be limited to these companies: Caterpillar Inc., Motorola Solutions, Hewlett Packard Development Company LP, G4S, and Veolia Environment and its subsidiaries; The resolution also calls upon all entities of the church to boycott goods produced by Israeli companies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including, but not limited to, Ahava skin care products, SodaStream products and Hadiklaim dates, and calls upon church members to join boycotts in their local communities
Glasgow activists arrested for shutting down drone maker tied to Gaza slaughter
Electronic Intifada 24 Sept by Rania Khalek — Ten activists were arrested after shutting down a Thales UK factory in the Scottish city of Glasgow on Tuesday to protest the company’s relationship with the Israeli military. It was the first direct action by the Glasgow Palestine Action Network (GPAN), a newly formed group led by women, queer and trans activists with a history of supporting the Palestinian struggle. Staged in response to Israel’s summertime military onslaught that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, including more than 500 children, the action sought to protest “the UK economy’s ever growing military industrial cooperation with governments that flout international law,” GPAN explained in a press release. Thales UK — a subsidiary of the French company, Thales, which is ranked by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as the eleventh largest arms producer in the world — signed a $1.6 billion contract with Israel’s largest military technology firm Elbit Systems in 2011 to develop a new drone fleet for the UK military called Watchkeeper. Watchkeeper is based on Elbit’s Hermes 450 model, one of Israel’s most widely deployed attack drones.
California protesters block Israeli-owned ship
AP 28 Sept — Officials say a group of pro-Palestinian protesters are again blocking an Israeli-owned commercial ship from unloading its cargo at a port in California. International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees says longshore workers did not unload cargo from the Zim Shanghai docked at the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning because of safety concerns raised by the presence of police and protesters. Steve Zeltzer, a spokesman for the Stop Zim Action Committee, says about 200 protesters planned to demonstrate again during the longshore workers’ evening shift. The protesters are demonstrating in response to recent Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian refugees outside Palestine
Lebanese security assaults Palestinian refugees, bars them from entering country
BEIRUT (PIC) 28 Sept — Lebanese border security forces on Saturday prevented a number of Palestinian refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict from entering their country and assaulted them physically and verbally. The action group for the Palestinians of Syria on Sunday quoted one of the refugees as saying that upon his arrival along with Palestinian families at Al-Masna border checkpoint in Lebanon, they were exposed to abuse and maltreatment at the hands of Lebanese security men. “When we arrived at Al-Masna border checkpoint on the Lebanese side coming from Syria, the security men collected the entry permits of all Palestinian refugees and started to tear them up before our eyes while casting immoral and abrasive slurs in the presence of children and women,” the refugee explained. “They also embarked on beating some young men while repeating, ‘You, Palestinians, are barred from entering Lebanon. If you want to fight, go to Syria and fight there,'” he added. He said that despite the women’s entreaties to allow their families to enter Lebanon, the border security men forced them to return to the Syrian territory.
In another context, the action group for the Palestinians of Syria said that Al-Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus has been under tight blockade for about 435 days and lacks all basic services.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Fateh warns of ‘political war’ on Israel should US veto Abbas’ UN proposal
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Sept — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will reportedly wage a “political war” on Israel, if there is a negative response to Palestinian attempts to end the occupation via the UN, according to Fateh leader Nabil Shaath. “This is the last chance for the world to accept the resolution that is currently being prepared for at the Security Council,” Shaath told Ma‘an News Agency. President Abbas recently stated that he will submit a resolution to the UN Security Council with the aim of ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank within three years. And, if the US vetoes the resolution as expected, he will move in favor of “the war of international boycott of Israel” and hold it accountable at the International Criminal Court, Shaath said.
US, Britain, Australia won’t support Palestinian bid for statehood at UN
Haaretz 29 Sept by Jack Khoury — Palestinian sources say members of Mahmoud Abbas’ delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York have received definitive “noes” from the United States, Britain and Australia regarding a proposed Security Council resolution setting a timetable for ending Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. The officials have met with envoys from all 15 member-states of the United Nations body in the past few days in order to gauge the response such a resolution could expect. China and Russia, as well as together with rotating member Jordan, told the Palestinians they would support such a resolution. The other 15 states did not give a definitive answer. Senior members of the delegation told Haaretz that most of the countries expressed understanding for the move and recognition of the difficult situation of the Palestinians in light of Operation Protective Edge and the suspension of negotiations with Israel. They said some representatives requested more time before making their stances public. “Our main aim at this point is to get a majority of nine,” one of the officials said. “Even if in the end the Americans use their veto, it will put the Palestinian position in a much better place for taking other steps, like approaching the General Assembly and international organizations.” All substantive Security Council draft resolutions must have the agreement of all members in order to be adopted. Any of the five permanent members of the body — China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom — can use its veto power to reject a substantive resolution.
Islamic nations lobby Palestinians to go to ICC
AP 28 Sept — The world’s largest bloc of Islamic countries has been lobbying the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court so it can prosecute Israeli politicians and military leaders for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the bloc’s leader said Saturday. Iyad Madani said the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly supports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ plan to ask the UN Security Council to impose a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands … The Palestinians, under pressure from the United States and Israel, have been reluctant to become a party to the Rome Treaty that established the ICC. Abbas had been expected to sign up to the treaty during the recent 50-day Gaza conflict. But he postponed an announcement, saying the Palestinians want to pursue action in the Security Council first.
Israel PM vows to tell ‘truth’ about the ‘most moral army in the world’
AFP/Al-Akhbar 28 Sept — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed to New York on Sunday, vowing to expose “slander and lies” laid out by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in his UN speech. “In my speech to the General Assembly, I will refute the lies that are being told about us and I will tell the truth about our state and the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world,” Netanyahu said on the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv before boarding the plane. In a Friday address to the UN General Assembly, Abbas accused Israel of carrying out a “genocidal crime” in its 50-day war against Gaza militants in which nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Among those killed by Israeli forces, at least 577 were aged 18 or younger.
Orthodox Patriarchate denounces Israeli attempts to fragment Palestinians
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Sept by Saed Bannoura — The Greek Orthodox Christian Patriarchate in occupied Jerusalem issued a press release denouncing the Israeli draft law for considering Aramaic Christians as a “nationality”, and said that Israel is attempting to fragment Palestinians in general and, in particular, Palestinian Christians. Father Issa Musleh, spokesperson of the Christian Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem, said the Israeli law is the true form of “divide and conquer”, adding that it is part of many Israeli attempts which have been rejected by the Church. An example of this is the draft law to recruit Arab Palestinian Christians in Israel, to join the Israeli military, as part of the attempts to create internal tension and divisions among Palestinian Christians themselves, and to create conflicts between Muslim and Christian Arabs and Palestinians.
Wife of Palestinian prisoner has twins after smuggling sperm
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Sept — The wife of a Palestinian prisoner held in Israel gave birth to twins from her husband’s smuggled sperm on Saturday, Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said. Roula Muhammad Abd al-Ghani gave birth to the twins, named Zaid and Zein, at Arab Specialized Hospital in Nablus. Her husband Muhammad, 44, managed to smuggle his sperm out of prison in the beginning of the year, circumventing an Israeli ban on conjugal visits for the more than 7,000 Palestinians being held in prison, the Center said in a statement. Muhammad is currently serving a life sentence in Israeli jail. Abd al-Ghani told Ahrar that she considers the birth a victory, saying it shows that “Israel cannot break our will and power.” “I encourage every prisoner’s wife to do the same,” she said. Razan Medical Center for Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization does the procedures, and pays the expenses for delivery “as a religious, national, ethical, and social responsibility” towards prisoners and their wives, the statement said. There have been 19 cases of childbirth from sperm smuggled from Israeli jails — 17 of them in the West Bank and two of them in Gaza, according to Ahrar. Nine women are currently pregnant from prison-smuggled sperm, the statement said.
Hebron woman has baby after sperm smuggled from jailed husband
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Sept — The wife of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody gave birth to a baby boy on Saturday after being artificially inseminated from her husband’s smuggled sperm, a rights group said. Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights said in a statement that the wife of Nabil Maslama gave birth at al-Ahli hospital in Hebron. Maslama, who has spent 15 years in Israeli custody, smuggled his sperm from prison two years ago, and artificial insemination succeeded in a second attempt at Razan Medical Center for Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization in Nablus, the statement said.
Amusing story – there needs to be one, we think
Military repatriates lost Gaza camels
Times of Israel 27 Sept by Itamar Sharon — Under cover of darkness, the army company approached the Gaza border fence, wary of possible enemy fire. Carefully and quietly, soldiers opened a large gate in the fence and stepped over the line, determined to complete their mission and return the hostages to their home. No, this is not a description of a top secret operation performed during the summer war by elite commandos. It is, in fact, an account of an event which took place only days ago, and the two unwilling captives are, well, a pair of lost camels. The two animals had accidentally crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge, Walla News reported Friday, having wandered over the border when the military opened sections of the fence to allow armored vehicles to move inside. The two, part of a herd which remained on the Gazan side, did not stray far, but became stranded when the fence was resealed, and could not return home. When the camels’ owner – who said they were worth around NIS 15 thousand (around $4,000) – put in a request to the army through Palestinian Authority officials to return his property to him, the military complied. “It was important for us to help out,” said Major Bassem Hinou of the Gaza District Coordination Office which handles military-Palestinian relations. “The owner…makes his living from tending to the camels and from their milk.” A military patrol quickly identified the two animals sauntering around a patch of foliage. They took them in, but their transfer over the border was considered somewhat dangerous, as army commanders feared opening the border gate could lead to militant fire against the troops. And so the task was treated as a military operation, with all the caution such action entails. An entire company of Givati infantry soldiers was dispatched to the border after nightfall Thursday, near the location of the Gaza herd. “The border fence gate was opened and (military trackers) let the camels loose,” Hinou recounted. “The older camel went over into the Palestinian territory, but the younger camel tried to come back.” “The soldiers and the trackers had to drag him over to the Palestinian side,” he added. Hinou said the army was later notified that “the camels reached their owners.” Mission accomplished.
PA ministry encourages more tourism to Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — The Minister of Tourism on Friday called on the world to visit Palestine, a day ahead of 2014’s World Tourism Day celebrations. Rula Maayah said that tourism to Palestine is recovering after a huge decline during Israel’s 50-day military offensive on Gaza, during which time visitor numbers decreased by 60 percent. The ministry is working with the Palestinian tourism sector to “re-activate” the industry, without providing further details. Before the war, the tourism sector was experiencing a boom, but thousands of tourists have since canceled their reservations. In August 2013, 83,000 tourists visited Palestine, but as war raged in Gaza at the beginning of August 2014, only 17,000 tourists visited.
PA arrests Palestinians for Facebook comments
The Media Line 29 Sept — Pharmacist Raed Qubbaj was busy with a customer when a man working with the Palestinian Preventative Security Forces came into his Ramallah pharmacy and placed him under arrest earlier this month. “He didn’t tell me why and he had no official papers from any court,” the father of three boys told The Media Line. Qubbaj handed over his mobile phone and laptop to the man who had a car waiting outside. He agreed to go, thinking it was all a mistake, and he would be back in a few hours. It was only after he was given a medical exam and put in a jail cell was he told he had been arrested because of comments criticizing Palestinian officials on Facebook. During the interrogation, the security officers showed him several printouts of his Facebook page, the statuses highlighted on some pages, circled on others. “They asked me why I liked to curse the President (Mahmoud Abbas) on my Facebook, a charge I denied. Then they asked me if I had made comments against an official from the President’s office and I admitted yes,” Qubbaj, 42, said … Qubbaj wrote on Facebook that listening to Palestinian officials like Hammad made him want to vomit .“They told me that writing bad things about an official is the same as writing about the whole Palestinian presidency,” Qubbaj said. After four nights of sleeping on a dirty mattress smelling of urine, Qubbaj was released and given a November court date. If he misses the date, he will have to pay a $1400 fine.
Arab Bank to appeal verdict in US terror financing ‘show trial’
Electronic Intifada 25 Sept by Charlotte Silver — Lawyers for a bank found liable in a New York court this week of providing financial services to the Palestinian armed group Hamas say they will appeal the jury’s precedent-setting verdict. On Monday, after two days of deliberation following a six-week trial, an eleven-member jury found the Jordan-based Arab Bank liable for knowingly supporting two dozen acts of terrorism committed between 2001 and 2004 in or around Israel by members of Hamas. Declared a “show trial” by Arab Bank’s defense attorneys, the case is believed to be the first successful civil suit holding a financial institute liable under the anti-terrorism statute which prohibits individuals or organizations from providing services to designated terrorist organizations. The trial was held in a district court in Brooklyn and filed under a provision within the Anti-Terrorism Act that allows victims of terrorism to seek damages in US federal courts. During the course of the trial the plaintiffs argued that each of the 24 attacks were conducted by members of Hamas and that the bank knowingly routed money from the Saudi Committee, a charitable organization, to the families of suicide bombers in the West Bank … The Arab Bank described the trial as “infected by scores of errors.” The district court had excluded all of the bank’s witnesses who were prepared to testify to the character of the Saudi Committee as a lawful humanitarian aid organization supporting Palestinians impoverished during the second intifada. “The jury never heard that the Saudi Committee’s humanitarian purpose was confirmed by senior US government officials, as well as other nations, and it was never designated [a terrorist organization] by the US,” the Arab Bank wrote in a statement distributed to the press.