Violence / Raids / Clashes / Dispersal of protests / Illegal arrests — Jerusalem / West Bank
10-year-old injured in settler hit-and-run; forces kidnap 3 in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Sept — An Israeli settler deliberately ran over a Palestinian child in the occupied east Jerusalem town of Silwan on Thursday, according to Wadi Hilweh Information Center. A source at the center told WAFA that a settler’s armored vehicle ran over a 10-year-old child in a deliberate hit and run assault while passing near the settlement outpost of ‘Beit Yehonatan’ (Jonathan’s House), built illegally on Silwan’s land. The child, Adam al-Risheq, reportedly sustained fractures in his hands and was transferred to hospital for treatment; his condition was described as “moderate”. Several Palestinians lost their lives in separate incidents after being run over by settlers in the occupied region in August, according to Press TV. On August 17, a Palestinian man was killed after being knocked down by an Israeli settler in East Jerusalem. Also, on August 14, a 23-year-old man was hit as he was trying to cross a street near the illegal settlement of Barkan, in Salfit. On August 7, a settler ran over and injured an eight-year-old Palestinian girl in the southern West Bank.
In related West Bank news, Israeli forces kidnapped three Palestinians from districts of Bethlehem, Tubas and Hebron, according to reports by security sources and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society. Forces raided the neighborhood of al-‘Attan Street, in Bethlehem city, where they abducted a 25-year-old Palestinian after breaking into and violently searching his home. Similar raids were conducted in Wadi Abu Freiha, in Beit Sahour, and Jabal al-Mawaleh neighborhood, in Bethlehem. However, no abductions were reported. Meanwhile, forces kidnapped a 27-year-old Palestinian after breaking into his home in Tubas. Forces also raided the Old City of Hebron, where they took a 30-year-old Palestinian.
Furthermore, WAFA reports that Israeli authorities have decided to close al-Jalama checkpoint for three days, over the two-day Jewish New Year holiday. As a result, Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and those living in Israel will be denied access to Israel and the West Bank respectively.
Witnesses: Settlers try to kidnap 11-year-old Jerusalem boy
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Israeli settlers tried to kidnap a Palestinian child on Wednesday in Jerusalem, the boy’s father said. The father of Muhammad Khaled al-Zaghl said eight settlers attempted to kidnap his 11-year-old son while he was walking home in the Ras al-Amud area. “Muhammad managed to escape and took safety with a group of locals who were nearby,” he told Ma‘an. Israeli police then arrived in the area and detained Muhammad for allegedly throwing rocks at settlers. He was taken to an Israeli police center in Salah al-Din Street, where he was interrogated before being released. Israeli police did not open an investigation into the claims of attempted kidnapping.
Israeli forces fire rubber bullets in Jerusalem school; 3 injured
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Three Palestinian students were injured by rubber-coated bullets on Wednesday amid clashes between protesters and Israeli police in the Old City of Jerusalem, the principal of their school said. Munthir al-Natsheh of the Islamic Orphanage Secondary School told Ma‘an that two of the students were inside their classrooms and another was in the school yard getting a drink of water when they were hit. Muhammad al-Natsheh was hit in the shoulder, Muhammad Abu Leil in the stomach, and Rida Hirbawi in the head, the principal said. The three were taken to a hospital for treatment. Al-Natsheh condemned what he called the Israeli police’s “constant targeting” of the school, and he pointed out that police had even threatened to close the school because of alleged rock-throwing by the students.
Israeli forces reopen Aqsa compound after heavy clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Hundreds of Palestinian Muslim worshipers were allowed to access the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Wednesday at noon after being prevented from entering the Muslim holy site the day before and in the morning. Director of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, told Ma‘an that Israeli police reopened some of the gates of the compound, allowing Palestinian worshipers of all ages to enter the compound. The change in the Israeli authorities’ policy followed heavy clashes with security forces in the morning that left 15 Palestinians injured by rubber bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter that five police officers were also wounded, while three Palestinians were detained in the clashes. Palestinians were protesting not only the fact that they were barred from the compound, but also the presence of Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel, a right-wing extremist who has called for the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock and the construction of a Jewish temple in their place.
Thousands pray in Jerusalem streets due to Aqsa restrictions
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an )26 Sept — Thousands of Palestinians prayed in the streets around Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday as Israel prohibited men under 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Israeli forces deployed heavily around East Jerusalem, closing all streets leading to the Old City with iron barriers and police cars. Prayers were held by police barriers in Ras al-Amud, Wadi al-Joz, Saladin Street, and in the alleyways of the Old City. Witnesses said the Al-Aqsa compound, which is usually at its busiest on Fridays, was virtually empty as all but two entry gates were closed. There were heated verbal incidents between Israeli police and Palestinians, and witnesses said Israeli forces fired stun grenades in Ras al-Amud after Friday prayers.
Palestinian Muslims were banned from entering the holy site on Tuesday morning at dawn ahead of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which celebrates the Jewish New Year. Worshipers were eventually allowed access on Wednesday, but clashes later that day with Israeli forces left 15 Palestinians injured by rubber bullets and shrapnel from stun grenades as the visit of an Israeli minister who has called for the destruction of the mosque raised tensions.
Injuries as Israeli forces disperse protest in Nabi Saleh
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — Israeli forces dispersed a weekly march against the occupation and settlements in the village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah on Friday. The march set off from the center of the village towards lands threatened to be confiscated by Israeli authorities. When the march reached the area, Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters at the crowd, despite the presence of children. In response, protesters threw rocks at the soldiers. Dozens suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation and others were injured by the rubber-coated steel bullets. The march was held under the theme of “with unity we triumph” in order to stress the importance of national unity in facing the Israeli occupation. Protesters repeated slogans calling for national unity between all Palestinian factions. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces imposed “security restrictions” around the village and declared the area as a military zone “until further notice.”
Video: Israeli forces use violence against unarmed demonstrators attempting to plant olive saplings in Wadi Foukeen
Wadi Foukeen, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 26 Sept — Wadi Foukeen is a Palestinian village just west of Bethlehem with a population of approximately 1,250 people. A weekly Friday demonstration has been organized by the village community against the Israeli occupation and in response to the recent land grab of 4,000 dunams (nearly 1,000 acres) by the Israeli government. Over a quarter of the confiscated land belongs to the village of Wadi Foukeen, which has already lost much of its land and natural resources to the constantly growing illegal Israeli settlements of Beitar Illit, Hadar Beitar, and Tsur Hadassah that surround it on three sides. Today’s demonstration began after midday prayers with a peaceful march of about 60 Palestinians, Israelis, and International protesters and media members. The protestors marched from the village mosque to the boundary of the illegal settlement of Beitar Illit. While many of the demonstrators chanted protest songs, waved Palestinian flags and held up signs, another group of protesters dug holes into the ground to plant olive tree saplings while soldiers forcefully tried to prevent them from doing so.
MADA: Israel targeting journalists covering weekly peaceful demonstrations
RAMALLAH (PNN) 26 Sept — The Palestinian popular nonviolent resistance, and in particular the weekly peaceful demonstrations hold across numerous Palestinian towns and villages to protest the confiscation of Palestinian land by the Israeli ocupation authorities to expand settlements or the Apartheid Wall, have attracted the attention of local, regional and international media outlets. This media coverage has been a key factor in the success of this phenomenon. Journalists covering these events have paid a very high price though, being victims of numerous attacks by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) for their covering of the IOF violent repression of peaceful demonstrations. These abuses against news workers, aimed at blackouting the IOF illegal practices, have taken many forms such as physical violence (beating, shooting of bullets or gas and stun grenades), detention, arrest, verbal assault, and prevention from media coverage … Israeli violations against journalists during weekly demonstrations since 2009 86% of all these violations were concentrated during the weekly protests of four villages: Bil‘in near Ramallah (38 violations), Beit Ummar near Hebron (37 violations), Nabi Saleh near Ramallah (28 violations), and Kafr Qadoum near Qalqilya (24 violations). The rest were committed during the demonstrations organized in other villages such as Al-Ma’sara near Bethlehem (11 violations), Beit Jala near Bethlehem (6 violations), Ni‘lin village west of Ramallah (2 violations), and one in Al-Walaja village near Bethlehem .The IOF assaults against journalists during these protests come in many forms such as physical violence (beating, shooting rubber-coated steel bullets as well as stun and gas grenades), preventing them from covering events and from accessing the site of the demonstration, detaining them until the end of the protest, and arresting them for up to 2 days as a punishment for covering these protests….
Soldiers kidnap a Palestinian in Hebron, close Ibrahimi Mosque for two days
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept by Saed Bannoura — The Palestinian TV said that the soldiers kidnapped Mohammad Younis Rabba’, age 45, at a roadblock installed near Hebron city. The kidnapped man is from Thaheriyya town, south of the city. The soldiers also invaded Sa‘ir town, north of the city, broke into several homes and violently searched them, causing excessive property damage.
A number of roadblocks have also been installed in areas north of Hebron city, and the main entrances of Halhoul, Sa‘ir, and Doura, while the soldiers stopped and searched dozens of cars while investigating the ID cards of the passengers.
In related news, the army closed the Ibrahimi Mosque to all Muslim worshipers for two days, to allow Israel’s settlers to celebrate the Jewish New Year. On Tuesday, at night, soldiers detained a young Palestinian man at the Dotan military roadblock, south of Jenin, and released him several hours later, after confiscating his ID card and ordering to head to a nearby base for interrogation. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers interrogated Mohannad Hatem ‘Amarna, who was trying to cross the roadblock with his child, on their way to the Tulkarem Hospital.
Protesters throw firebomb at Israeli military watchtower
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Palestinian youths on Thursday threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military watchtower in Ofer prison near Ramallah, setting it alight. Witnesses told Ma‘an that protesters attacked the military watchtower with fireworks and firebombs during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the area. Israeli forces stationed in the watchtower fired live shots, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at demonstrators before being forced to flee after the fire broke out.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
How the army helps settlers establish illegal outposts
972blog 24 Sept by Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din — Through the use of civilian security coordinators in settlements and outposts, the IDF has, essentially, privatized law enforcement in the West Bank. A further aspect of this symbiotic relationship is the army’s use of the coordinators to promote de facto recognition of unauthorized settler outposts — Our first post about our report “The Lawless Zone” focused on the unclear relationship through which Israel effectively privatizes powers in the field of defense, law enforcement and policing, and transfers these to Israeli settlers. The security coordinators are residents of West Bank settlements who receive quasi-military powers. Although they are not formally empowered to issue commands to soldiers, in practice they do so, and in many cases they exploit their powers in order to expand their settlements’ territory. This is the main problem created by the institution of the security coordinators, and accordingly our key recommendation is that the army should reassume these powers and appoint security coordinators who are officers in the permanent army and are accountable solely to the army and not to the settlements. There is another problem, however, one that highlights the symbiotic relationship between the army and the settlers … In 2009 the district brigades redefined the guarding areas for which the security coordinators are responsible. The changes were made after many years in which the coordinators effectively worked without any geographical restriction, since the guard order defining their operations did not specify the boundaries of the settlements. Following a petition submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the army took no less than four years to prepare the amendment. The amendment led to two changes. Firstly, the guarding area of the settlement was defined not according to its municipal boundaries, but according to the defense perception of the brigade commander. More importantly, for the first time the orders defined guarding areas for illegal outposts: 48 such outposts were allocated independent guarding areas, while 35 more were included in the guarding area of their parent settlement. This provision constitutes the de facto approval of the outposts by the IDF – and this in an administrative process that was supposed to restrict the security coordinators’ operations. This process happened quietly, without a government decision, without public discussion and without updating the courts, which are still hearing the issue. An ostensibly technical military order bypassed all these stages, granting official recognition to a criminal offense. This post is presented as a public service, in case you still believe in the fairytale about the wild settler and the army that does not pick and choose its operations. The army very much picks and chooses its operations; it has always done so.
Soldiers prevent farmer from working his land near Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept — Israeli soldiers prevented a Palestinian farmer from cultivating his land on Wednesday, in the village of Qasra, to the south of Nablus, according to local sources. Village mayor Abdal-Azim Wadi said that a number of Israeli soldiers prevented Foad Hassan, a local villager, from working in his land located in Area B, according to WAFA. The area is under Palestinian civil administration and Israeli military control, and Mr. Hassan’s work was halted under the pretext of being a ‘closed military zone’.
Prisoners / Court actions
Number of administrative detainees highest since 2008
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — There are now 540 Palestinians being held in administrative detention, the highest number since 2008, a prisoner rights group said Friday. The Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies said dozens of detainees have been transferred to administrative detention over the past three weeks, while the detention of 70 other prisoners has been extended. A spokesman for the group, Riyad al-Ashqar, said that Israel has used the detention policy for hundreds detained since mid-June in a large scale arrest campaign in the West Bank. In 2008 there were 800 Palestinians held under the policy. Al-Ashqar says that Israel aims to remove as many Palestinian leaders and youths from society for as long as possible. “All the administrative detention policy requires is one word and that is ‘confidential,'” he added. In June, Israel doubled the number of administrative detentions within the first 10 days of an arrest campaign following the disappearance of three Israeli youths. The policy of administrative detention, which dates back to the British mandate period, allows Israel to hold Palestinian prisoners indefinitely without trial on the basis of secret information.
Israeli court extends detention of 5 detained in Aqsa clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — An Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem has released five Palestinians arrested on Wednesday during clashes in the Aqsa compound, but extended the detention of five others, the Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said Friday. Munis Shihada, Fahd Hibi and Othman Awwad from the Galiliee, Sheikh Fouad Abu Qumeir from Haifa and Amir Khatib, from Kafr Kinna, were released Friday. The five men were released after paying a 3,000 shekel ($800) fine. Meanwhile, the same court extended the detention of Muhammad Khalaf and Amin Diab until Sunday, and the detention of Anas Abu Bakr and Radi Babu until Saturday. Another unidentified man had his detention extended. All 10 men were detained Wednesday during clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and accused of causing “disorder” by Israeli police.
Two female detainees released, 18 still behind bars
IMEMC 26 Sept by Saed Bannoura — The Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights has reported that, following the recent release of two female detainees, the number of female detainees held by Israel currently stands at 18. Ahrar said Israel recently released Alaa Abu Zeitoun, from Nablus, and Reem Hamarsha from Jenin. Head of the Ahrar Center Fuad al-Khoffash said that, similar to male detainees, the detained women are facing very difficult conditions, while many of them have been denied the right to family visits. One of them, Mona Qa‘dan, has been denied her right to family visits since the Israeli army kidnapped her in 2012 … There are approximately 7000 Palestinians who are currently held by Israel in 17 prisons and detention camps. Information on Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel:
Prisoners demand removal of ‘carcinogenic’ devices in Israeli jails
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — Palestinian prisoners called upon Israeli prison authorities to end their practice of using mobile phone jammers, which prisoners said in the past had caused medical ailments including headaches and rashes, in Israeli jails. The call came in a letter on Friday in which Palestinian prisoners addressed the Palestinian public, calling on them to escalate their support for the more than 7,000 being kept in prison, including more than 500 without charge or trial. Nashat al-Wahidi, spokesman for the Fatah prisoners and ex-prisoners commissariat in Gaza, said that “the prisoners will persist in their fight against the Israeli Prisons Services’ policies, laws, threats, and crimes.” The prisoners said in the letter that the “carcinogenic jamming devices are still invading the prisons,” and that they transmit unknown radiation that has led to an outbreak of various diseases among prisoners.
Fatah, Hamas agree to let PA take control in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an/AFP) 25 Sept — Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah reached a “comprehensive” agreement Thursday for the return of their unity government in Gaza after two days of talks in Cairo, negotiators from both sides said. Egyptian sources told Ma‘an that the two movements had been able to reach an agreement on a number of major points of contention, including the Palestinian Authority takeover of the crossing into Egypt at Rafah and the adjacent Philadelphia corridor along the border. In addition, the sources said that agreement had been reached on the issues of activating the Palestinian Authority’s rule and authority in Gaza, the payment of former Hamas employees’ salaries, and making decisions related to war and peace. The Egyptian side led by minister of Egyptian intelligence services Muhammad Tuhami, told all parties that the ongoing Palestinian disputes will “carry away the fate of the indirect talks with Israel” and that quick solutions must be reached to unite Palestinians. Sources added that the agreement will be announced in a press conference later Thursday and will conclude all the terms that were agreed upon … The talks were crucial for internal Palestinian divisions to be set aside and to agree on a unified strategy during talks with Israeli negotiators in October. The October talks, under Egyptian mediation, are aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire after the more than 50-day war between Israel and Hamas … Hamas and Fatah talks were also crucial ahead of an international donor conference on October 12, to be hosted by Cairo, on the reconstruction of Gaza … The two movements have also found a “solution .. to the problem of employees,” Abu Marzuk said, referring to the Hamas accusations that the Palestinian Authority had not paid Gaza government employees. “This meeting was essential because it tackled all the issues and hindrances that obstructed reaching an agreement,” he said, referring to a reconciliation deal inked in April.
Russell Tribunal looks into Israel war crimes
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept — The Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) began an extraordinary session, Wednesday morning, with the aim of addressing Israel’s crimes during the latest aggression on the Gaza Strip. Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency reports that, according to the RToP website, the session took place in Brussels, and will present its findings tomorrow [see next article], at the European Parliament. According to Al Ray, an international jury of judges, lawyers and human rights activists investigated crimes (including war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide) committed by Israel during its self-proclaimed “Operation Protective Edge” offensive, as well as third party complicity from supporting states. The RToP was formed in March of 2009, following Israel’s 22-day ‘Cast Lead’ offensive on Gaza. Its aim is to promote and sustain initiatives in support of the rights of the Palestinian people. (Warning: footage linked above is of an extremely violent and graphic nature.) The RToP is a part of the Russell Tribunal, also known as the International War Crimes Tribunal or Russell-Sartre Tribunal, a public body which was organized by British philosopher Bertrand Russell and hosted by French philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre.
Israeli war crime testimonies from Gaza will break your heart
PNN 25 Sept from Scriptonite Daily — Pink Floyd music legend Roger Waters has been in Brussels witnessing the Russell Tribunal on Palestine which is assessing Israel’s war crimes in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. The full testimony is available on the Tribunal’s website, but he captured some key excerpts from live reporting today. The likes of film maker Ken Loach, music legend Roger Waters and internationally renowned lawyers such as Michael Mansfield QC formed a jury – while expert witnesses from Gaza and beyond testified to the atrocities of the 50 day offensive. Having borne personal witness to the unimaginable brutality and carnage of Israel’s onslaught while in Gaza in August, much of today was like a live action replay – evoking the same fear, anger and tear-inducing guttural sadness that reduces you to shoulder-shaking sobs. Here are some of the key points: Ivan Karakashian, Advocacy Unit Coordinator at Defense for Children International: “16 yr old boy stripped naked and used as human shield by Israel for 5 days. He was denied food, water and sleep – and mentally and physically abused, including lashed with a wire across his back. Israeli army stopped a family car near a West Bank protest over Gaza. Positioned their weapons in the windows of back doors, where toddlers were sitting and began to fire on protest. This is not an isolated incident. There is a clear, recorded pattern of Israel using Palestinian children as human shields during attacks on Gaza.” Max Blumenthal, American author, journalist, and blogger:“We found one of 89 families completely liquidated during Operation Protective Edge so badly burned/destroyed they had to be buried in a mass grave by a bulldozer – evoking memories of the darkest times in European history. On outskirts of Rafah, I heard testimony from 19 yr old Mohammed Abu Said of how Israeli soldiers stripped him naked and sniped at neighbours, then set the dogs on him in between shooting rounds.
Gazans displaced by Israel offensive still waiting for solutions
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — Palestinians in Gaza displaced by Israel’s military offensive on the besieged enclave are still waiting for solutions as winter approaches. Israel’s military assault left over 110,000 Palestinians homeless and the displaced are traveling from one place to another to find refuge. Muin Bahar, who lives amongst the rubble of his destroyed home, told Ma’an that it is difficult to find a place to live, eat or drink. “All we are able to eat is canned food and I do not have a job or money for us and for the kids in schools.” He urged Palestinian authorities to start the rebuilding process before winter arrives. “Soon, we could be sleeping under the rain,” he said. With indirect talks with Israel suspended until late October, life for Gazans is becoming more difficult by the day, as the necessary materials needed for reconstruction are not allowed entry into the enclave.
EI Podcast: Medical equipment sits at border as Egypt bans Gaza imports
24 Sept by Nora Barrows-Friedman — This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: After Israel’s attacks created thousands of new patients with physical disabilities in Gaza, patients and doctors are still waiting for basic medical equipment and medicines to arrive as Egypt and Israel maintains a tight blockade; we’ll speak with Dr. Basman Alashi, executive director Gaza’s only rehabilitation hospital, which was bombed to rubble in July. (Read the full transcript) *Human rights advocate Khalil Abu Shammala on the personal and collective psychological trauma after Israel’s onslaught on Gaza. (Read the full transcript) *Ohio University’s student senate president takes a stand for Palestine and is threatened with death and rape. (Read the full transcript) *Nader Ihmoud reports from Chicago, where hundreds of runners are gearing up to raise money for Palestinian children needing medical care in Gaza.
Egypt deports 18 would-be migrants to Gaza
World Bulletin 26 Sept — Egyptian authorities have deported 18 Palestinians to the Gaza Strip after they illegally entered the country in hopes they could clandestinely migrate to Europe, a Palestinian security source said. The deportees were referred to the security agencies in Gaza for interrogation before being released, the source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
Egypt opens Rafah crossing for Gaza students
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Egypt opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza on Wednesday for students from the Strip who study at universities abroad, a Palestinian official said. Ismail Abu al-Jibbain told Ma‘an that priority would be given to Gazans who were denied entry to Egypt after attempting to enter on Sept. 17 or earlier.
VIDEO: Despite truce, Gaza fishermen under fire at sea
AFP News Agency 25 Sept Duration: 01:51 … The Oslo accords of 1993 specified a fishing limit of 20 nautical miles .. today almost 80% of fishermen survive with UN help
Despite truce, Gaza fishermen under fire at sea
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 25 Sept by Adel Zaanoun and Yahya Hassouna — Every time Gaza fisherman Rami goes to sea, the same thing happens: five nautical miles offshore, shots ring out and a voice over an Israeli loudspeaker demands he turn back. Officially, Gaza’s fishing fleet has the right to trawl the waters up to six nautical miles off the shore under the terms of Israel’s eight-year blockade. Although that outer limit has frequently been reduced, or even cancelled outright over the years, it was formally reinstated by virtue of an August 26 truce agreement which ended a deadly 50-day war between Israel and Hamas militants. But nearly a month after the ceasefire took effect, even those six nautical miles — which the fishermen say is not nearly enough — are unattainable. One afternoon, Rami Bakr and his 10-man crew put to sea for a 10-hour fishing expedition. With them was an AFP team. Very quickly, warning shots skimmed the boat as an Israeli navy vessel approached. On board were around a dozen soldiers armed with machine guns, shouting through a loudspeaker for them to stop. “These are the worst conditions we’ve ever known,” said the 41-year-old fisherman, who has spent more than three decades of his life fishing the waters off Gaza. “During the war, the Israelis bombed fishing huts on the beach and now they are preventing fishermen from earning their crust at sea,” he said. The Gaza Strip has long been known for its plentiful seafood and fish although the stocks have been depleted by pollution, frequent wars and the blockade. Today, the coastal enclave counts some 4,000 fishermen, more than half of whom live below the poverty line, said Nizar Ayash, head of the Gaza fishermen’s syndicate. During the recent seven-week war, 80 of Gaza’s fleet of around 1,500 fishing boats and dozens of fishing huts were destroyed in the Israeli bombardment, which also reduced nets and fishing equipment to ashes, he said … Today, a single fishing expedition can cost up to about $500 (roughly 400 euros), said another fisherman called Mehdi Bakr, who lost his hand when an Israeli navy vessel fired at his boat in 1997. For every night on the water, they need 270 litres (59 gallons) of diesel and 250 litres of petrol, he explained. And all this for a very small catch. “September and October is sardine season and they are only found between six to nine nautical miles from the shore, so with a six-mile limit, we’re bringing home hardly anything,” explained Taha Bakr, a 24-year-old member of Rami’s crew…. http://news.yahoo.com/despite-truce-gaza-fishermen-under-fire-sea-051749116.html
Parents boycott UNRWA schools in Gaza camp over cuts
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Parents of students attending UNRWA schools in al-Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza are refusing to allow their children to go to classes in protest over cuts to UNRWA services in the besieged enclave. Parents are threatening to escalate protests in 23 schools in the refugee camp unless their demands are met. A member of the parents’ council, Hani Mizher, told Ma‘an that parents have asked that UNRWA provide a school uniform, bags, stationary and a free lunch meal to all students. Parents have also complained of overcrowding in classrooms and urged the UN agency to ensure a maximum of 50 students per class, in addition to hiring more teachers and opening more schools. Mizher said that UNRWA began reducing services three years ago, and said that all teaching has been suspended until after the Eid al-Adha holiday, which is due to end in early October.
Hundreds of Palestinians killed in Mediterranean were trying to escape hopelessness in Gaza
Electronic Intifada 24 Sept by Nora Barrows-Friedman — The day after it was reported that several hundred Palestinians escaping Gaza by boat had been murdered by smugglers in the Mediterranean, a prominent human rights advocate in Gaza said that these kinds of tragedies are a symptom of the seven-year-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade and the continuing systemic violence meted out by Israel in Gaza. Khalil Abu Shammala, director of the Al Dameer Association for Human Rights, told The Electronic Intifada on 16 September that the hundreds of Palestinians killed at sea were trying to “escape from the situation, the reality they live in Gaza. Seven years of blockade, three wars in six years and no hope.” Along with a coalition of Gaza and West Bank-based human rights groups, the Al Dameer Association for Human Rights is collecting data across Gaza, assessing the humanitarian, health, environmental and psychological impacts of Israel’s latest attacks. They are also establishing a legal file that could be used to pursue Israeli war crimes suspects in an international court. Abu Shammala told The Electronic Intifada that they hope to deliver the data and reports to a fact-finding delegation of the UN Human Rights Council, which is due to visit Gaza in early October. Listen to the full interview with Khalil Abu Shammala via the player, or read the full transcript below.
Families of 16 journalists killed in Gaza demand justice
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Dozens of relatives of Palestinian journalists killed during the Israeli offensive on Gaza took part in a sit-in protest in front of the UN offices in Gaza City on Thursday demanding an international committee to investigate their relatives’ deaths. The Israeli offensive left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead in the tiny coastal enclave, including 16 journalists, one media worker, and one media activist, according to the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms. The media watchdog said earlier this month that seven Palestinian journalists were killed by Israeli forces in August, while nine were killed in July, the bloodiest month on record for Palestinian media. Families in Gaza are now demanding an international committee to investigate Israeli “crimes against journalists” in Gaza. The head of Gaza’s governmental media office, Salama Maruf, told Ma’an that the sit-in hopes to uncover the “truth” behind the killings. In addition to the dead, more than a dozen journalists were also injured during the more than 50-day Israeli assault, while Palestinian media stations were repeatedly bombed.
Gaza artist displays paintings in rubble of bombed home
Electronic Intifada 26 Sept by Sarah Irving — Gaza-based painter Raed Issa’s home was destroyed during this summer’s intensive Israeli attack on Gaza, which killed over 2,000 people. But, in the slow clear-up and under-resourced reconstruction which has followed, Issa has sought to find a way in which his burnt and crushed paintings can continue to convey a message. His answer has been to display the paintings in the environment in which they were both created and destroyed, hanging them on lines strung through his wrecked home and studio, and holding them up himself amid the chaos. This series of photographs shared by Issa with The Electronic Intifada illustrate his stubborn insistence on finding resonance among the destruction, and on defying that destruction with humor and creativity.
Netanyahu: Gaza talks over security, not peace
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept — Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says that his country’s participation in Egyptian-brokered talks to consolidate a Gaza ceasefire is aimed at bolstering Israeli security — not a peace deal with Palestinians. “These are negotiations on security issues, not peace negotiations,” Netanyahu recently told Israel Hayom publication, according to AFP. “I was careful to ensure that this delegation focuses solely on security. I did not include my peace envoy, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, and none of the (cabinet) ministers.” … Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met with Egyptian mediators, this Tuesday, to briefly discuss the terms of a broader truce before resuming talks scheduled for late October. The Prime Minister said that Israel would consider demands for the opening of a sea and air port in Gaza only if the group agreed to lay down its arms, a condition it has repeatedly rejected. When Gaza is demilitarized and abandons the goal of destroying Israel, we are open to considering anything,” he told the Jerusalem Post.
Palestinian refugees outside of Palestine
UNRWA ‘removes’ 1,100 Palestinian-Syrian refugee families from aid lists
BEIRUT (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — A Palestinian popular committee in Lebanon has called for action against the UN’s Palestine refugee relief agency UNRWA in protest against the removal of 1,100 Palestinian families displaced from Syria from a monthly aid program. The committee, along with Palestinian political parties in Lebanon, called for a sit-in in front of the UNRWA headquarters in Beirut on Thursday and called upon all Palestinian families displaced by the three-year long conflict in Syria to participate. Palestinian political parties in Lebanon from across the nationalist and Islamist spectrums as well as members of the popular committee met with Ann Dismorr, the director of the UNRWA in Lebanon, two days earlier in order to voice their opposition to the removal of the families from the list, but were not able to achieve their reinstatement. The committee said that Wednesday’s call for action would be the beginning of a series of peaceful protests against the move.
Political, other news
Abbas at UN: Return to negotiations with Israel ‘impossible’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — Palestinian President Abbas on Friday said that a return to direct negotiations was impossible and accused Israel of committing “genocide” during a speech at the United Nations during the 69th annual General Debate. Speaking a day after he said that the speech would unveil a new way forward for the Palestinian cause, Abbas slammed Israel for having “predetermined” the result of the negotiations process so far. Abbas had promised to submit a resolution to call for a timeline for the end of the Israeli occupation, but his speech offered few new ideas and even fewer strategies. “The coming resolution will be based on UN General Assembly resolution 194 with added elements from the more recent Arab Peace Initiative,” he said, stressing that there would be little new in the resolution. He also told the United Nations that “the hour of independence for Palestine has arrived,” adding: “There is an occupation that must end now. There is a people that must be freed immediately.” “The hour of independence of the state of Palestine has arrived.” Abbas, however, did not set a deadline for fast-tracking to Palestinian statehood, after aides suggested they were eying 2017 as the year for Palestine to be born. Abbas also said that the Palestinians “would not be making concessions at the expense of (their) rights,” stressing that they want an end to the Israeli occupation and the achievement of the two-state solution on the 1967 borders. Abbas also accused Israel of waging a “war of genocide” in Gaza and vowed to seek war crimes prosecutions. The 50-day Israeli assault on in Gaza — the third war on the Gaza Strip in six years — killed more than 2,150 Palestinians, mostly civilians. “Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people,” he said. “We will not forget and we will not forgive, and we will not allow war criminals to escape punishment,” Abbas said in a speech to the UN General Assembly. The war in Gaza was “a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world,” he said, citing the unprecedented destruction left behind and the deaths of children. More than 460 children were killed in the violence, according to UNICEF, including in the Israeli shelling of UN-run shelters that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described as a violation of international humanitarian law. The Palestinians have threatened to join the Hague-based International Criminal Court to allow legal action to be taken against Israel. However, critics — especially Hamas — have accused Abbas of “stalling,” and in recent weeks it has become clear that Abbas planned to halt any attempt to do so in order to push forward his own peace initiative.
Full text of Palestinian Authority President Abbas’ address to the UN General Assembly in New York
Jerusalem Post 26 Sept — Abbas appealed to the world body to draw up a specific timetable for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
US State Department condemns Abbas’ ‘provocative’ UNGA speech
Haaretz/AP 27 Sept — U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued a short statement criticizing the speech given by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the UNGA on Friday, in which he accused Israel of conducting a “war of genocide” during the recent round of fighting in Gaza. “Abbas’ speech today included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject,” reads the statement, as provided by an Associated Press correspondent. “Such provocative statements are counterproductive and undermine efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties.” … Israel also condemned the Palestinian leader’s speech. Senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office called it “full of lies and incitement,” and said it showed Abbas’ disinterest in promoting peace.
Abbas to US students: Don’t let Israel ‘drive drunk’
NEW YORK (AFP) updated 24 Sept — Drawing parallels with the US fight for civil rights, President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to present a new timetable for peace talks with Israel when he addresses world leaders this week. “I say today to Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu: end the occupation, make peace,” Abbas told an audience in New York on Monday. In a passionate address to students in the Cooper Union hall where former US president Abraham Lincoln once called for an end to slavery, Abbas called on the world to “rethink Palestine.” “The international community has the responsibility to protect our people, living under the terror of settlers, an occupying army,” Abbas said, winning loud applause from a large audience of mixed religions, including Jewish students. “We want the international community to defend us from the settlers, and from the Israeli army,” Abbas said, in what was billed as his first speech in English to a general American audience. “We cannot understand how the Israeli government can be so misguided as to fail to understand that the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza that killed thousands of women and children, only sowed more hate,” Abbas said … Evoking the legends of such icons as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., Abbas said he was bringing a message of peace. “Security equals justice,” Abbas insisted, and drew parallels with the century-long US struggle for civil rights peppering his speech with references to King and Abraham Lincoln. “Enough is enough; end the occupation….’
Israeli Arabs slam alleged ploy to get Christians to join army
Haaretz 26 Sept by Jack Khoury — Several Israeli Arab communities are enraged over a plan by a Christian-Jewish charity to distribute food vouchers to needy families at Christmastime via a controversial organization that encourages Christians to join the Israeli army. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a charity that works with the poor and promotes social and cultural projects, including within the Arab community, has decided that this Christmas, its vouchers are to be handed out by the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum, an organization that promotes military service and civilian national service among Christians. Christians in Israel are divided over the forum, and part of the community, including several Arab local authorities, refuses to cooperate with it … MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) has harshly criticized the fellowship’s decision to change the way it assists needy families, calling it “an ugly political act that tarnishes the ostensible humane purpose of helping people.” He added that the forum would use the project to increase its influence and “take advantage of people’s distress in a cynical, disgraceful way.”
UN resolution proposal on Israeli nukes defeated
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Sept — A resolution proposed by 18 Arab member states, expressing concern about Israel’s nuclear arsenal was defeated again, on Thursday, at the annual general conference of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). According to AFP, the measure was rejected by 58 votes to 45, with 27 countries abstaining. Israel is widely reputed to stockpile nuclear weapons, on several accounts, but has never acknowledged the allegations. The state is a member of the IAEA but is not subject to their inspections, save in a small research facility. The resolution proposal, which has been rejected on previous occasions, expressed “concerns about Israeli nuclear capabilities” and urged Israel to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and place all of its nuclear facilities under IAEA supervision. Furthermore, in 2009, the same resolution was narrowly approved by IAEA members but was never followed up, AFP reports. Arab member states accuse Western countries of double standards, in regard to the issue of nuclear weapons, by not demanding Israeli activities be put under IAEA supervision, while at the same time forcing Iran to honour its obligations under the NPT.
Finance ministry transfers funds to struggling Jerusalem hospital
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — The Palestinian Ministry of Finance transferred five million shekels ($1.36 million) to the al-Maqasid hospital in Jerusalem on Thursday to ease financial difficulties facing the institution. Finance minister Shukri Bishara said that the ministry is working to solve a financial crisis facing the hospital … In June, the director of al-Maqasid Hospital said it was at risk of closure due to crippling financial difficulties blamed on the lack of adequate support by the Palestinian Authority. Located in the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority is supposed to pay the hospital for all cases referred by the West Bank’s health ministry. East Jerusalem has been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967 and is effectively cut off from PA control by the Israeli separation wall, creating major gaps in services to local residents promised by the PA.
Gaza war may be over but Jerusalem is still simmering
Guardian 26 Sept by Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem — Tariq Abu Khdeir [not the15-year-old Palestinian-American Tarek Abu Khdeir] has been arrested twice this summer. The first time, Israeli police accused the 22-year-old of participating in the riots in July in East Jerusalem’s Shuafat following the kidnapping and murder by Jewish extremists of his 16-year-old cousin, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, whose burned body was found in the Jerusalem Forest. Last week, the police came again for Tariq, this time at 1.30am, accusing him and two other cousins of throwing stones at the light railway trains that run through East Jerusalem – a charge he denies. “They took me for interrogation to the police station in Neve Yaakov,” he says. “It was full. There were young guys in there accused of everything – from throwing stones and fireworks. Everything.” Tariq Abu Khdeir is one of more than 700 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, 260 of them children as young as 13, who have been arrested in the continuing crackdown on what those on both sides have tried to define as the beginnings of a “kids’ intifada.” However the events are defined, the situation in Jerusalem is as tense and fraught as it has been in years, a state of affairs that has intensified since Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s murder, carried out in revenge for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank.
More than 90% of complaints against police not investigated, ministry says
Haaretz 24 Sept by Yaniv Kubovich — The Interior Ministry also allegedly fails to keep complainants informed during proceedings, and ignores photographic evidence of beatings — More than 93 percent of complaints against police officers sent to the Justice Ministry over the past three years have been closed without action or have simply not been investigated, the ministry says. “The police are gradually acquiring characteristics of the police in South America,” MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) told Haaretz. “UItimately, there has to be a correlation between the number of complaints and the number of cases.” Figures on complaints to the ministry’s department that investigates the police have been released to Adalah, an Arab minority rights group, to comply with the Freedom of Information Law. Adalah has processed a number of complaints in recent months. In November, B. L. said she had been pushed by a member of the riot police during a demonstration in Haifa. She says she took a blow to the chest, fell to the ground and was kicked by policemen. The officers allegedly lifted her by the arms and legs, dropped her to the ground and dragged her by her legs to a police van. In that demonstration, Fares Ali complained that he was knocked down and beaten by police. According to Ali, when they dragged him to the police van he fell, hurt his forehead and was beaten again. In their complaints, Ladkani and Ali attached photos of injuries, but the Justice Ministry department told them their complaints would not be investigated. It gave no explanation.