Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Illegal arrests
Armed settlers attack Jerusalem home celebrating Hajj return
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — Armed Jewish settlers on Thursday attacked a Palestinian home in the al-Suwanna neighborhood on the Mount of Olives east of the Old City of Jerusalem, removing banners celebrating the return of a family member from the Hajj pilgrimage. Witnesses said settlers from the nearby Beit Orot settlement carrying automatic weapons approached the house on Thursday and tore down Islamic banners that the members of the al-Qadamani family had previously hung up. The witnesses added that the assailants gave the banners to a dog that accompanied them on the raid. The family had decorated the exterior of their house with banners reading the traditional Islamic inscription “There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his prophet” in order to welcome home their son, who had returned from pilgrimage in Mecca.
Thousands attend funeral of slain 13-year-old Palestinian child
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Thousands of people in the central West Bank village of Beit Laqiya on Friday attended the funeral of 13-year-old Bahaa Samir Badir, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers a day earlier. The funeral procession started after Friday prayers at the Palestine Medical Complex in nearby Ramallah and headed towards the al-Shuhada cemetery, where the boy’s body was buried. Mourners waved Palestinian flags and held aloft pictures of Badir while shouting slogans to demand an end to the murder of Palestinian children. Other participants demanded that Israel be held accountable for its ongoing “crimes.” Medical sources said Badir was shot in the chest after Israeli forces raided the village of Beit Laqiya on Thursday evening … The death of Bahaa brings the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank so far this year to 42, in addition to the nearly 2,200 Palestinians slain during Israel’s summer offensive across Gaza.
Palestinian injured after settlers attacked and strangled him
IMEMC/Agencies 18 Oct by Saed Bannoura — A number of fanatic Israeli settlers attacked, on Friday evening, a young Palestinian man from Jerusalem, and attempted to strangle him to death, while [he was] working at the Rimonim Shalom Hotel, in west Jerusalem. His father said Mohammad was working when the settlers started insulting and cussing at him “for being an Arab,” before one of them struck him with an iron bat, while the rest were beating on him and attempted to strangle him by wrapping a rope around his neck. The father added that some persons heard the screams of Mohammad in the eight floor, before hotel security rushed to the scene and managed to remove the assailants. “My son was moved to Shaare Zedek nearby hospital, the doctors said he suffered concussion, various bruises and cuts,” the father said, “This is not just an attack; this is an attempted murder by a group of extremist racists.” The Police said it is investigating the assault, while Mohammad was asked to head to the police station after his discharge from the medical center.
Earlier on Friday morning, a number of fanatic settlers attacked two young Palestinian men in occupied Jerusalem.
Death, injuries, arrests reported in al-Khalil clashes
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 16 Oct — A Palestinian unarmed youth on Wednesday afternoon sustained critical wounds in a round of clashes that flared up with the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in al-Khalil’s Beit Ummar village. Eyewitnesses said another Palestinian young man has hardly managed to survive a wave of Israeli gunfire randomly discharged in Abu al-Touk neighborhood, in Beit Ummar. The local SAFA News Agency quoted spokesperson for the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlement, Mohamed Awad, as stating that Redwan Khalil, 20, was shot with two rubber bullets in his right side and foot after the IOF stormed Safa hamlet, north of Beit Ummar. Dozens of Palestinian civilians were treated for breathing problems as they inhaled tear gas heavily unleashed by the IOF throughout the clashes.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
IOF harasses Palestinian olive harvesters in Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 17 Oct — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Thursday stepped up their provocative persecution of Palestinian citizens and olive harvesters in Ya‘bud town, south of Jenin city. Eyewitnesses told the Palestinian information center (PIC) that Israeli soldiers coming from Mabo Dotan settlement stopped a number of Palestinian farmers and villagers and interrogated them for several hours, without making arrests. Similar harassment incidents took place in the areas of Al-Tarm, Daher al-Abd, and Zabda near Ya‘bud as part of an Israeli campaign aimed at spoiling the olive harvest season. Earlier on Thursday morning, the Israeli occupation soldiers confiscated the IDs of a group of citizens who volunteered to help the farmers harvest olives in Zabouba village, to the west of Jenin city. Meanwhile, the IOF established makeshift roadblocks at the southern entrance to Dura town near Kharsa and in Al-Harayek area to the south of Al-Khalil city and embarked on searching citizens and vehicles, while a group of military jeeps stationed themselves near al-Hawawer entrance, north of Halhoul city.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
2 injured in Bil‘in protest
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — Two Palestinians were injured and dozens suffered from tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces dispersed a weekly protest in Bil‘in village near Ramallah. Israeli forces stopped the weekly march as protesters neared their freed lands near the wall, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, stun grenades and chased some of them through the village’s fields.
Kifah Mansour, 34, and Fida Atiyeh, 26, were struck with tear-gas canisters in the foot and thigh respectively. Hundreds of villagers and Israeli and international activists participated in the protest and raised Palestinian flags and posters of Palestinians killed by Israel. They wore symbolic olive branches and chanted songs for unity and resistance.
The fighting family from East Jerusalem / Gideon Levy & Alex Levac
Haaretz 17 Oct — Samer Issawi rose to international fame when he embarked on a prison hunger strike that lasted 278 days. Now a campaign is underway for the release of his jailed sister, Shireen — Tareq Issawi shows us a photograph – his daughter and two of his sons. It’s a rare shot. In recent years, the Issawi family has rarely been able to be all together: One of them is always in an Israeli prison. This photo was taken during a window of opportunity a year or so ago, one that lasted only a few weeks. Samer Issawi had been freed following his prolonged hunger strike, while Shireen and her brother Medhat had been released earlier. Now all three are again incarcerated. Samer, 34, was freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit exchange deal, but rearrested the following year for entering the West Bank, contrary to the terms of his release. He staged a nine-month hunger strike and was released again, only to be imprisoned anew under the auspices of June’s Operation Brother’s Keeper (to find the three kidnapped Jewish teens) and the summer war in Gaza. Shireen and Medhat, 32 and 38 respectively, were imprisoned last March, and have been remanded until the completion of legal proceedings against them. They are accused of mediating and transferring funds between Hamas in Gaza and security prisoners in Israeli custody. Each of the three is being held in a different facility: Samer in Gilboa Prison, in the north; Shireen in Sharon Prison, in the center of the country; Medhat in Ashkelon, in the south. Their aged parents have to make lengthy, grueling trips from their home in Isawiyah, East Jerusalem, to visit them once every two weeks … Layla and Tareq, their long-suffering mother and smiling father, are waiting for them in their handsome home in Isawiyah. Layla, too, was arrested once, when she was a young nurse, for extending medical aid to a terrorist. That was 44 years ago, in 1970 – three years into the occupation. Tareq has never been arrested. ‘Black sheep’ The couple had eight children. Fadi was shot to death by soldiers in 1994, a week after his 16th birthday, during a protest demonstration held in his village against the massacre of Muslim worshippers perpetrated in the Ibrahimi Mosque [Tomb of the Patriarchs] in Hebron. The other children have been incarcerated for lengthy periods – all but Rasha, a housewife of 28, who is the “black sheep” of the family: the only sibling who has never been arrested….
WATCH: Hate crime caught on camera
Ynet 14 Oct by Noam (Dabul) Dvir — Three brothers were arrested for their involvement in the assault of an Arab youth in Jerusalem. Video footage shows the three Israelis rush through a supermarket, into which an Arab employee had escaped and was hiding in the restroom. They are caught on camera running into the store with a large stick and an iron rod, as customers flee in terror – watching the horrifying incident inside the market.Jerusalem police officers arrested the three brothers – David, Shlomo, and Eliezer Ofri – on Monday, suspecting the three committed the crime out of nationalistic motives. The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended their remand by four days.
Settlers prevent villagers from reaching lands
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — Israeli settlers prevented Palestinians from reaching their agricultural lands Thursday in the al-Iqban village in eastern Bethlehem despite prior security coordination with an Israeli liaison. A Ma‘an reporter said that a group of Israeli settlers from an illegal settlement outpost in the village prevented villagers from reaching their lands for olive picking. The head of the Janata municipality told Ma‘an that while he was with villagers Israeli settlers attempted to assault them and prevented them from reaching their lands under the threat of guns. Israeli forces arrived and demanded the villagers leave “because settlers are celebrating the Sukkot holiday.” Nayif Obayat added that upon security coordination with the Israeli side, villagers brought their tractors and farming tools to enter their lands that they have not entered for more than 14 years. He said that despite this, they were not able to enter due to the settlers’ presence.
Settlers raid Ibrahimi mosque under armed guard
HEBRON (Ma‘’an) 17 Oct — Jewish settlers raided the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron late Thursday under armed guard, a local Palestinian official said. Head of Hebron’s endowment directorate, Taysir Abu Snineh, said mosque guards were held in the al-Jawliya area during the raid, which he labeled a “dangerous act” that could have “serious consequences” for the mosque. Israeli authorities requested access to the mosque, referred to by Jews as Isaac’s Hall, late Thursday but endowment officials refused as it violates a previous agreement on access days, which is limited to 10 visits per year. The agreement came into place after a Brooklyn-born Jewish settler massacred 29 Palestinians in the mosque after opening fire at worshipers in 1994. Abu Snineh said the raid was a “dangerous escalation” in tensions at the holy site.
Jewish settlers defile Muslims’ prayer area at Ibrahimi Mosque
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 17 Oct — A horde of Israeli extremist settlers under military protection on Thursday stormed al-Ishaqiya area, the Muslims’ prayer area at the Ibrahimi Mosque in al-Khalil [Hebron] city. Taysir Abu Sunaina, head of al-Awqaf department in al-Khalil city, said a group of settlers escorted by soldiers forced their way into Muslims’ prayer area known as Ishaqiya following the Isha prayers at night and ruined its carpet with their dirty shoes. The invading settlers kept performing rituals until they left the Mosque at a late night hour. Abu Sunaina added that the Israeli troops detained the Mosque’s guard, noting that the Islamic Awqaf authority had refused on Wednesday a police request to allow settlers to perform rituals at the Muslims’ area of the Mosque.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Palestinian man killed during Hebron PA raid, youth kidnapped by Israeli forces near Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Oct — Palestinian Authority security forces killed a 25-year-old man, early this morning, during a raid in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Security officials informed Ma’an News Agency that clashes broke out as PA forces attempted to arrest several wanted men who had been hiding south of Hebron, in Area C. It remains unclear just what the men are accused of. However, they reportedly opened fire at security forces during the raid, injuring seven security personnel, including one who is now in critical condition. PA forces responded with live fire, injuring one Bilal al-Rajabi, who later died in a hospital. Security spokesperson Adnan al-Damiri told Ma‘an that security forces arrested 21 wanted criminals in the Jabal Jawhar area, where they recovered several stolen vehicles. PA security continues to work in close coordination with Israel, despite fierce Palestinian resistance to the occupation.
Also in the occupied West Bank , on Thursday, the Israeli army abducted a Palestinian youth at an Israeli checkpoint near Bethlehem, according to reports by security sources. They said that Israeli soldiers arrested 19-year-old Mohammad Fanoun who was traveling to Jerusalem through ‘checkpoint 300’, under the pretext of illegal entry to Israel. Israeli authorities rarely issues entry permits for Palestinians, either for work or for prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which provokes a large number to enter without permits.
Meanwhile, WAFA reports that Israeli soldiers broke through into an agricultural area near the village of Rummaneh, northwest of Jenin, where they detained a group of farmers and volunteers who were harvesting olive trees. The soldiers transferred them to the nearby Salim military complex, upon which the farmers were interrogated by army officers before being released.
Family of hunger striker demands his release
NABLUS (PIC) 16 Oct — Family members of prisoner Raed Mousa, 34, have launched distress signals over their son’s exacerbating health status after 26 days of hunger-strike, the latter initiated in protest at his administrative detention, have elapsed.
An orphan and a brother to four refugees, all living outside Palestine, Mousa has been left alone in his fight for freedom, with no other person, except for his sister, to stand by him throughout his ordeal. Mousa’s family expressed concerns over the prisoner’s critical health status, and called on all concerned parties and officials to immediately intervene so as to assuage Mousa’s agony and restore his freedom. The captive has been subjected to inter-prison transfers and sentenced to renewed administrative prison-terms four times. [PIC: Israel issued nearly 24.000 Administrative Detention orders since the beginning of the al-Aqsa Intifada on September 28 2000, while the number of Palestinian detainees, currently held under Administrative Detention, is around 500.]
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Israeli police detain secretary of Palestinian prisoner movement
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 17 Oct — The Israeli occupation police on Thursday afternoon detained Ayman al-Haj Yahiya, the secretary of the prisoner movement in the 1948 occupied Palestine, after interrogating him for eight hours. The prisoner movement said in a statement that an Israeli occupation force raided the house of al-Haj Yahiya and ransacked it before handing him a summons for interrogation. Al-Haj Yahya was arrested after interrogating him at a police station near Tiba junction, according to the movement, which has not been told about the reason for his arrest.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Archaeology as a tool of the occupation / Jessica Purkiss
Middle East Monitor 16 Oct — It costs four dollars to visit the archaeological site of Susiya in the southernmost part of the West Bank. For your four dollars you can view an ancient Jewish city, supposedly once home to 3,000 people which peaked in the years 400 to 800 CE, the late Talmudic, mid-Byzantine, and early Arab eras. The Jewish inhabitants are estimated to have disappeared some 1,200 years ago, according to the Center for Educational Tourism in Israel. Father and son, Muhammad and Nasser Nawaj’ah, paid their four dollars, not to marvel at the century’s old synagogue or the ancient water system but to reminisce- Mohammed was born in one of the cave dwellings as was his son. The area is now devoid of any signs of the Palestinian village that existed until the late 1980’s but it is still infused with memories of both their childhoods, of the community’s traditional way of life and of a far more stable time. In 1986 the Palestinian residents were forcibly evicted to make way for the archaeological park. Today they live close by and continue to face the threat of eviction. In a 2011 short film Nasser and Muhammad are shown returning to their previous homes 25 years after they were displaced. Their first journey back is short-lived with the Israeli soldiers seeming keen to escort the pair out of the site. Nasser interjects: “Excuse me soldier, we bought a ticket so we could see our home.” In contrast, shortly before the army arrived, the father and son had watched an Israeli explanatory video stating: “Only traces remain (of the Jewish civilization) in these silent ruins, but they are engraved in stone.” The ruins have been used to invoke a present day Jewish connection with the land, and in the process, there is an attempt to erase any Palestinian connection to it. Yonathan Mizrachi from Emek Shaveh, an Israeli NGO that seeks to unpick the role archaeology plays in the Israel/Palestine conflict says it is about reinforcing identity. “Archaeology is being used to emphasise a specific narrative, one side of the conflict. The question “who was here before?” is central to this conflict. This says: “my roots are older than yours.'” ….
Ethnic cleansing by all means: The real Israeli ‘peace’ policy / Ilan Pappé and Samer Jaber
Mondoweiss 17 Oct — The pine trees in Palestine appeared with the establishment of the state of Israel. The pine is generally a European species which before the 20th century was not seen in the Middle East. It was brought to Palestine by the Zionist settlers for two main reasons. First, it gave the new Jewish settlers the feeling that the place they had migrated to was somehow part of Europe. And if Palestine were to be ‘Europeanized’ in such a manner it would also be ‘civilized’ — the inferior local population would be replaced by a superior one. Thus Zionism was not just a redemption of an ancient land, it was also the revitalization of what in their eyes was an Arabian desert both ecologically and culturally. The second reason for their import was more practical; they were brought to cover up the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that took place in 1947-48 and produced the Palestinian Catastrophe, the Nakba. The fast-growing pine was widely used to create Israeli national and recreational parks to hide the ruins of destroyed Palestinian villages and neighborhoods which had been evicted by force in 1948. These forests were presented later on as Israel’s ‘green lungs’ forming together an ecological carpet covering a once barren land. The largest of these ‘lungs’ is the Mount Carmel National Park near Haifa; one of the early projects which attempted to erase the Palestinian life and society that existed there for centuries. This forest stretches over notable villages such as Ijzim, Umm al-Zinat and Khubbaza which have disappeared and are no longer to be found on any map. This method did not stop in 1948. When Israel occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967 pine trees again were planted to cover the new wave of destroyed villages; Imwas, Yalo and Beit Nouba, in the Latrun Valley near Jerusalem. In their stead the ‘green lung’ of Canada Park appeared as a recreational ground hiding the inhumanity of the villages’ depopulation. Covering ethnic cleansing with pine trees is probably the most cynical method employed by Israel in its quest to take over as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it as possible. Like all the other means, which will be described here, they can be found at every historical juncture since Zionism appeared on the land of Palestine … The strategy of ethnic cleansing is marketed differently domestically and externally. It is based on the need to ‘preserve Jewish identity’ to the Israeli public and abroad as ‘Israel’s need for security’. Taken together these pretexts or excuses form the Israeli consensus behind the ethnic cleansing strategy
Olive trees burned as anti-Palestinian incitement grips Galilee
TARSHIHA (Electronic Intifada) 17 Oct by Patrick O. Strickland — Osama Tannous has long campaigned for the municipal independence of Tarshiha, his hometown in the Galilee region of present-day Israel. For decades, Tarshiha has been administratively connected to the neighboring Jewish-Israeli community of Maalot and the two share a municipality. On all government records, paperwork and tax documents, the two have, since 1963, been classified as the town of Maalot Tarshiha. Yet the communities are geographically separated and local Palestinians have been campaigning for independent representation and municipal sovereignty for decades. “It’s important to control your own land, institutions and budget,” Osama, a 29-year-old activist and pediatric physician, told The Electronic Intifada. “It is also politically necessary to break away from a colonial entity that was built on our land with a view that we’re the enemy.” In addition to their uniquely challenging situation, Tarshiha’s indigenous villagers face the same institutionalized discrimination as the rest of the estimated 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel. More than fifty laws curb their political freedoms and limit their access to state resources — most importantly land. On 24 October, the villagers will mark the sixty-sixth anniversary of when Israel occupied the village — five months after the State of Israel was established in May 1948. The tragedy will be commemorated with tours for children. The tours will focus on life before the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948, as well as the village’s links to iron industry and tobacco production.
“Destroying our existence” Osama Tannous said that Israel often claims that the joint municipal project in Maalot and Tarshiha is an example of coexistence between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians, a claim roundly rejected by most of the indigenous Palestinian residents … Eight Jewish-Israeli settlement communities — including Maalot — have been built on Tarshiha’s historical lands since 1948. Despite suffering from severe overcrowding, “we were only allowed to build our first new neighborhood in 1996,” Nakhleh Tannous said.
Arabs from Israel risk arrest for ‘Arab Idol’ show
MAJD AL-KRUM, Israel (AP) 17 Oct — Their goal is to win Arab Idol, the Arab world’s premiere television song competition. But the journey Manal Mousa, 25, and Haitham Khalaily, 24, have taken from their villages in Israel to the competition in Lebanon could comprise a television drama of its own — featuring travel to an enemy country, Israeli security interrogations, and the complicated identity crisis of Israel’s Arabs. The two singers are competing for more than just fame: they want to be a part of the cultural world that has been largely off limits to them because of the decades-long Arab-Israeli conflict. “This is a chance for Haitham,” said Waheeb Khalaily, Haitham’s father, in his home in Majd Al-Krum, a village in the Galilee, in northern Israel. “For the Arab world and the whole world to hear him and say that he represents a Palestinian people that clings to its land.” In the bitter conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Arab-Israelis are stuck in the middle. Though citizens of the Jewish state, they share the ethnicity, language and culture of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Arabs who remained in Israel after its creation in 1948, and their descendants, today make up 20 percent of the population. Many identify as Palestinians rather than Israelis, watch Arab satellite television and dream of traveling throughout the Middle East. But their Israeli citizenship bars them from most Arab countries because Israeli passport holders are prohibited entry. That includes the Lebanese capital of Beirut, where many Arab stars are born. When the show held its first-ever auditions in the West Bank in March, the lure of making it big was too tempting for Mousa and Khalaily to worry about borders … The Israeli-Lebanese border is sealed, so the two used their Israeli passports to cross into neighboring Jordan where they boarded a plane for Beirut. At the Lebanese airport, they presented travel documents that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank issued them especially for the trip, a Palestinian interior ministry official said. In Beirut, they passed all three rounds of auditions and were chosen to be among the 26 final contestants from around the Arab world — the first time Arabs from Israel have ever been selected for the show. After Mousa and Khalaily returned to Israel in May to wait for the show’s taping, Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence service summoned them for interrogations about their travel, their families said. Their Israeli passports were confiscated and they were told the passports would be revoked for up to three months, the families said. Through the help of rights groups, their passports were returned within days, Mousa’s family said … Last year, Lina Makhoul, an Arab-Israeli, won on the Israeli TV singing show The Voice, but her success has been confined to Israel. By contrast, when Mohammed Assaf, a Palestinian from Gaza, won Arab Idol last year, he catapulted to fame, and he continues to perform before Arab audiences throughout the Middle East, the United States and Europe.It is unclear whether the two contestants’ Israeli connection will affect their chances … Banners on the screen label them as hailing from Palestine, and the show makes no reference to their connections to Israel… Manal Musa singing on Arab Idol Haitham Khalaily singing on Arab Idol
The summer we lost coexistence / Yael Gvirtz
Ynet 16 Oct — Op-ed: Apart from Israel’s president, not a single governmental figure has taken responsibility for the growing animosity towards Arab citizens following Gaza war — Ahmed has always been a part of my life, and since my father’s death I often call him when I seek comfort. He is much younger than my father, but since he was a teenager they worked together to bring people closer together. He is my father’s only friend who was invited to the hospital to support us when we bid farewell to him, and his eulogy at the funeral deeply touched our hearts. He is a beautiful man, both on the inside and on the outside, a man of principles and good values, a loyal friend to many people, an optimist and a person with a contagious joy of life, even at difficult times. Our conversation on the eve of the Jewish New Year was the saddest and most depressing conversion we ever had.It was preceded by a discouraging conversation during the war, when I called him in the midst of the tsunami of hatred against Arabs, out of concern for his and his children’s wellbeing. They were all confined to their village, afraid to leave it and head to their workplaces in the cities. The “death to Arabs” slogan was chanted by the Jewish public unhindered, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s call to boycott businesses owned by Israel’s Arab citizens gained popularity among the hate group which opened day and night on Facebook. Ahmed’s business in the village had not been visited by Jewish customers for many days.
Aqsa restrictions force thousands into Jerusalem streets for prayer
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — Thousands of Palestinians performed prayers in the streets and alleyways of the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday after men under the age of 50 were prevented by Israeli authorities from entering the al-Aqsa mosque compound. Hundreds of Israeli border guards, police, and special forces were deployed throughout Jerusalem streets, in addition to at least one drone and a surveillance balloon in the sky as authorities sought to prevent Muslim worshipers from reaching the holy site. Crowds performed prayers in the streets of the many Palestinian neighborhoods that lead out from the Old City including Ras al-Amud, Wadi al-Jouz, Salah al-Din, and al-Musrara. Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the Damascus Gate area after assaulting them, a member of the Arab Palestinian Front office, Said Shweiki, told Ma‘an. He identified the detainees as Marwan Majed Shweiki, 22, and Muhammad Nasser Shweiki, 22. In Ras al-Amud neighborhood, meanwhile, Israeli forces fired stun grenades at worshipers as they finished prayers in order to disperse them, while Palestinians responded by throwing rocks at soldiers … Around 3,000 worshipers were able to perform Friday prayers inside the Al-Aqsa mosque as a result of the Israeli restrictions, but a majority of them were elderly men and women. Witnesses said that Israeli forces assaulted young worshipers as they attempted to enter the Old City through Damascus Gate to pray morning prayers earlier on Friday, and as a result dozens of Palestinians performed morning prayers at the gates surrounding the compound. ‘First line of defense’ for Aqsa The clashes on Friday follow days of tensions between Israeli forces and Muslim worshipers as authorities have repeatedly limited access to the holy site amid the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. Clashes have broken out and dozens have been detained as Israeli police escorted Israeli Jewish groups to the site while preventing Muslims from entering. The groups include a number of Israeli leaders who have expressed their desire to tear down the Al-Aqsa Mosque and build a temple in its place.
On Wednesday alone, 17 Palestinians were detained in clashes with Israeli police forces around the compound. Palestinian security guards at the Al-Aqsa mosque organized a sit-in in the mosque courtyard on Friday in solidarity with a guard who was among those detained by Israeli police. Muhannad Idris, 30, was detained on Tuesday after being assaulted while on duty, and Israeli authorities said he would be released at 6:00 p.m. after being forced to pay 1,000 shekel bail and a third-party bail of 5,000 shekels. As part of his release he was also banned from entering Al-Aqsa and sentenced to 10 days of house arrest. The arrest provoked outrage among guards and officials at the compound. Director of the Al-Aqsa compound Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani … condemned the continuous attacks on guards of the mosque, adding: “Israel is systematically attacking the guards of Al-Aqsa as an attempt to scare them from doing their job inside the courtyard.” Al-Kiswani said that the guards are the first line of defense for Al-Aqsa.
Abbas urges Palestinians to defend Aqsa
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday called on Palestinians to stay in the al-Aqsa compound and defend it, insisting that Jerusalem will remain the eternal capital of Palestine. Abbas said during a conference in defense of the mosque and Jerusalem in the Red Crescent headquarters in al-Bireh that “without it there will be no state,” official Wafa news agency reported. He called on people to defend al-Aqsa saying, “it’s not enough to say that the setters have come; we must stop them from entering the compound by any means necessary.” Abbas also reiterated his stance on insisting to go the UN Security Council to uphold the General Assembly’s resolution on occupied lands. “We insist on holding the elections as soon as possible within six months leaving out the 50 days of the Israeli assault,” he added.
Meshaal calls on Muslims to defend al-Aqsa Mosque
Middle East Monitor 17 Oct — Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Political Bureau of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, called on Thursday for Muslims to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque, noting that Israel is trying to seize control of the holy site that was the focus of the Palestinian Intifada in 2000. Felesteen Online news website quoted Meshaal, who was speaking in the Qatari capital city of Doha, where he currently resides, as saying that: “I call on the nation to be angry for the sake of Al-Aqsa Mosque. I congratulate and salute the men and women, as well as the mujahedeen, who are staging a sit-in at Al-Aqsa and confronting the enemy in defence of Al-Aqsa.” He added that, “We call on everyone to defend Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and we urge all our people inside the country to quickly go to Al-Aqsa to defend it.” According to the news website, Meshaal said that the Israeli government is taking advantage of the Arab’s preoccupation with regional turmoil, particularly in Syria and Iraq, to try to take over Al-Aqsa. “We call on the nation to send a message of painful anger to the world that the Palestinian people and the Arab and Muslim nation will not be silent in the face of this Israeli crime.” Regarding the potential for the outbreak of a new war, Meshaal responded that, “Nobody wants a war, but it’s our right to resist and preserve our rights,” pointing out that, “Resistance is the only means to deal with our various issues.” “We have been resisting for one hundred years and will continue to resist.” He added, “Al-Aqsa is worth us becoming martyrs for, and anyone who can carry a weapon in the region should go and defend it, as this is the true meaning of jihad.”
Hamas organizes Gaza march to ‘defend’ Aqsa mosque
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — Hamas organized a march in Gaza on Friday to call attention to what it sees as threats to the Al-Asqa Mosque in Jerusalem. Senior Hamas leader Ismail Radwan told crowds that a “dangerous level of Judaization” is taking place in Jerusalem and that Israel plans to demolish the Al-Aqsa mosque. Radwan called on worshipers in Jerusalem to resist and defend al-Aqsa. “Al-Aqsa is a red line: Israel must be aware that the ongoing raids and attacks on al-Aqsa will cause a volcanic explosion in the area that will reach Israel,” he said. The Hamas leader also called on the PA to stop security coordination with Israel and to act on Israeli attacks on the holy site in Jerusalem. On Thursday, Hamas chief-in-exile Khaled Mashaal called on Palestinians to defend the Jerusalem holy site. Similar marches held across the West Bank Friday were reportedly suppressed by PA security forces.
Zoabi appeals against Israeli ban on Palestinian women entering al-Aqsa
Middle East Monitor 16 Oct — Arab Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi is to appeal against the Israeli police’s ban on Palestinian women from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque, the minister said today. The Anadolu news agency reported a statement for Zoabi saying she had informed the Israeli police of her plan to appeal to the Israeli court against the “arbitrary” banning of women from entering the mosque. She did not disclose with which court she was planning to file the appeal, but the process starts by filing an appeal to the magistrate court, then to the district court then to the High Court. Zoabi described Israel’s ban on Palestinian women entering Al-Aqsa Mosque as a “dangerous precedent”, noting that the reason behind banning them is their role in “facing the settlers’ desecration of the mosque” in recent months. For more than two months, Israeli police have banned women from entering the mosque from time to time. “They [Palestinian women] formed the front defence line against the Israeli violations and aggression on Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Zoabi said. The Knesset member said she had sent a written letter to the Israeli Minister of Internal Security Yitzhak Aharonovich informing him of the “violations” committed by the Israeli police and Israeli border guards against women around and inside the holy site. She noted in her letter that the violations and aggression on Palestinian women and banning them from entering into the mosque “undermines and ignores” their freedom. She also stressed that the lack of punishment against aggressors is a “green light” for more violations.
Israeli navy opens fire, sinks Palestinian fishing boat off Gaza coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — Israeli naval forces on Thursday evening opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the Gaza Strip. Head of the fishermen’s union in Gaza Nizar Ayyash told Ma‘an that Israeli boats opened fire at boats belonging to local fisherman off the coast of Deir al-Balah. A boat belonging to Jamal Abu Watfa was sunk in the attack. Ayyash said the fisherman lost consciousness after the incident, but was reportedly saved from the water. He added that the financial losses to the fisherman could reach more than JOD [Jordanian dinars] 100,000 ($140,000). Since the signing of a ceasefire agreement that ended 50 days of fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza on Aug. 26, the Israeli navy has fired at Gaza fishermen in multiple instances under the pretext that they had surpassed fishing zone limits. The Aug. 26 agreement stipulated that Israel would immediately expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore, and would continue to expand the area gradually. The fishermen who have been shot at, and even at times detained by Israeli forces, have insisted that they were well within the six-mile limit.
Kerem Shalom closed until Sunday for Jewish holidays
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza on Thursday for the Jewish holidays. A Palestinian crossings official said the terminal will be closed Thursday until Sunday. Kerem Shalom crossing is the only entry point for commercial and humanitarian goods from Israel into Gaza.
Donor pledges not enough to rehabilitate Gaza
Al–Monitor 17 Oct by Omar Shaban — The Palestinian Authority needs at least $15 billion to properly restore Gaza’s economy, while donors have only pledged $5.4 billion for interim reconstruction — It would be very difficult for the one-day donors conference to succeed in securing $15.5 billion, in light of the financial crisis still plaguing various European countries and the United States, as well as the conflicts and humanitarian catastrophes in many parts of the world. Furthermore, some donor countries fear that their previous donations have gone to waste, as the latest war destroyed infrastructure that was rebuilt using earlier funds. Thus, donor parties are waiting for the national reconciliation government to start its work in the Gaza Strip, as a prerequisite to make further pledges. Philosophy of the PA plan The PA plan links three stages of interventions: the urgent relief phase that includes rapid and short-term interventions ($414 million); the early recovery phase that involves medium-term interventions from one to 12 months ($1.184 billion); and the reconstruction and development phase that is expected to last for several years ($2.432 billion).
After summer of horror, Gaza families face winter in cramped shacks
Electronic Intifada 17 Oct by Rami Almeghari — Ned’a al-Najjar — also known as Um Ayman — cannot access the clothes she has bought for the baby she is expecting. They are buried under the rubble of her house, which Israel bombed during the summer. As her pregnancy becomes more advanced, she spends much of her time trying to keep her temporary home – a cramped metal shack — as clean as possible. Um Ayman and her husband have three children, including twin girls. The latter are blind. Their shack has two small rooms. Water from its tiny kitchen keeps falling on the floor. And Um Ayman is worried that the entire temporary home will be flooded if it rains heavily during the winter. “I hope this will be the last war on us,” she said. “We want a normal life.” Many of her relatives and neighbors in the Khuzaa area of Gaza are encountering similar problems. Hamdan Suleiman al-Najjar’s house was bombed by Israel in the final hours of its 51-day attack on Gaza this summer. There are nine people in his family. Yet the shack sheltering them only has room for six. “I am trying to put some metal sheets around my caravan in order to expand it,” he said. The shacks have been provided by the Khuzaa municipality, with assistance from foreign charities.
Miles of Smiles 30 arrives in Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 16 Oct — The international aid convoy Miles of Smiles -30- entered the Gaza Strip afternoon Wednesday via the Rafah border crossing. A medical team of doctors and surgeons from Algeria and Malaysia accompanied the convoy. Dr. Ahmed Librahimi, the chairman of the medical delegation, said in a statement on arrival in Gaza that the delegates would operate on a number of those wounded in the Israeli war on Gaza. He said that the arrival of the new convoy is a proof of the Miles of Smiles ceaseless efforts to send aid to the besieged enclave, and a message to the Israeli occupation that the Palestinians in Gaza are not alone.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/
Iran sends aid to war-torn Gaza
PressTV (Iran) 15 Oct — The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has sent aid convoys to the besieged Gaza Strip in order to alleviate the hardships people are suffering in the war-stricken Palestinian territory. In a press conference in the Iranian capital city of Tehran, Shahabeddin Mohammadi-Araqi, IRCS deputy for international and humanitarian affairs, said the society has dispatched aid packages, including “tents, blankets, food, and medical products worth 890,000 dollars” to Gaza. “To alleviate the hardships of people of Gaza, in the first phase of our plan, we gathered 3.6 million dollars from people and we then sent our representatives to negotiate with the Egyptian and Palestinian Red Crescent Society based in Cairo to be able to evaluate the situation and take coordinating measures in Gaza,” he said.
IMAGES: Siege causes Gaza’s leather industry to shed profits
Middle East Monitor 16 Oct — EXCLUSIVE IMAGES Since the imposition of the blockade on the Gaza Strip eight years ago, Israel has prohibited the export of animal skins to the West Bank. Leather, and in particular cow skins, is prepared in its dozens every day or in the thousands during Eid Al-Adha. Dealers buy leather from slaughterhouses and Gaza’s residents, assemble and salt it to ensure it is preserved for a year and if it is not used within a year, then it is destroyed. It is because of this, that the leather traders experience heavy losses, and this happens every year. This is just one effect of the siege and the series of Israeli restrictions on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which limit the economy, cause serious losses and rising unemployment.
Under cover of reconstruction, UN and PA become enforcers of Israel’s Gaza siege
Electronic Intifada 17 Oct by Ali Abunimah — Details given in a confidential briefing this week confirm that the UN has agreed to become the chief enforcer of Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza. Under the guise of reconstruction, the UN will be monitoring and gathering private information about Palestinian households to be passed on to Israel, which will have a veto over which families get aid to rebuild their homes. This was presented as part of an effort to try to entrench and legitimize the Israeli-backed Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza. Under the arrangements, Israel will be given even more intrusive control over the lives of Palestinians in Gaza, who will be subjected to onerous ongoing monitoring as they try to rebuild their houses, communities and lives following Israel’s summer massacre … The high-level briefing was given by Nicholas O’Regan, country director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and a colleague, in Jerusalem on Tuesday. It was attended by more than a dozen heads and senior officials from international nongovernmental organizations and joined by colleagues in Gaza by telephone. An attendee gave The Electronic Intifada a detailed account of the briefing because they were alarmed at its contents and felt Palestinians had a right to know what was being kept from them. But the attendee asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized by their agency to speak publicly about the matter. The UN factsheet below provides an overview, but not all the details of what was revealed in the briefing.
Israel reveals details of security coordination with Egypt
Middle East Monitor 17 Oct — Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon revealed the details of the political and security coordination between Israel and Egypt, saying that such coordination limits Hamas’ ability to re-arm itself. In an interview with Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Ya’alon added: “In the past year not a single rocket has been transferred from Sinai to Gaza because Egypt has started to operate effectively. Both we and Egypt stopped the transfers of cement to the Strip, long before the fighting; because we realised that the cement is used for digging Hamas’ tunnels.” The Palestinian and Israeli parties reached a long-term truce on August 26 under Egyptian auspices. This agreement stipulates that a ceasefire is maintained; trade crossings with Gaza are opened, and set a deadline of one month for discussions regarding other issues. The most prominent of such issues include prisoner exchanges and the re-instatement of the Gaza seaport and airport. Ya’alon added that the new arrangement will allow the Gazans to live. The transfer of money and the means for rehabilitation are already beginning. But a seaport, an airport – those are pipedreams. We can discuss it in Cairo, but even Hamas understands that these things are not on our agenda or that of the PA or Egypt.”
The Strip of Slaughter / B. Michael
Haaretz 17 Oct — More than 100 years ago, the Kishinev pogroms shocked the world. Yet we have managed to forget the innocent dead of Gaza after less than two months — …According to the UN’s latest figures, the number of Palestinian fatalities during the 50-day war was 2,189. Of those, 1,486 have already been identified as civilians, including 269 women and 513 children. A further 146 have yet to be identified, but so far 1,486 people were killed by our hands. For no reason. And, lo and behold, two months haven’t even passed and these people have become invisible. Disappeared. A forgotten episode; their ashes dispersed in the wind. No one speaks of them. No one wonders about them. No one is investigating. They’ve all been hidden behind the lamest and most outrageous of excuses: “They were sheltering terrorists”; or “They were used as human shields by Hamas.” They are lame because they come from a state that houses its military command center (the Kirya) in the heart of a bustling city (Tel Aviv), a stone’s throw from a huge hospital (Ichilov). By the way, during the first Kishinev Pogrom 49 Jews were cruelly murdered. More than 100 years have passed and this heinous act has not been forgotten. During the Gaza war, at least 1,486 civilians were killed. Two months pass and they’re forgotten, as if they never existed.
Palestinian refugees in Syria
Palestinians in Syria camp receive Red Cross aid for first time in a year
Reuters 16 Oct — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday it had delivered its first medical supplies in a year to Palestinian refugees living in a camp in the Damascus suburb of Yarmouk in Syria. Around 20,000 people are believed to be living in Yarmouk, once home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees and Syrian nationals, where food and water supplies are now scarce. The camp is caught between Syrian government forces and opposition forces including al-Nusra. The supplies included enough medicines to treat chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease for 5,000 people for three months as well as items to help pregnant women deliver babies more safely and hygienically, the aid agency said. “This is the first time in over a year that we have been able to deliver aid to the people in the camp, we hope to do more,” Daphnée Maret, the deputy head of the ICRC delegation in Syria, who oversaw the operation, said in a statement. “We remain extremely concerned about the hardships being endured by the people living there, in particular the limited access to food, water and health care.”
Political, other news
Palestinians to submit UN resolution on occupation by end-Oct
RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 16 Oct — The Palestinians will submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding the end of Israel’s occupation by the end of October, a senior official said on Thursday. The Palestinians have been under intense pressure not to push forward with the resolution — including with alleged threats of cuts to US aid — but Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Yasser Abed Rabbo said a decision was taken late Wednesday to push ahead. “The political council of the PLO decided during its meeting last night… to go to the UN Security Council with the aim of getting a resolution passed to end the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories… by the end of this month,” he said. Voting could take place “two weeks or more after the request is presented,” Abed Rabbo told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah. “There is no excuse for a delay.” Since the collapse of US-led peace talks with Israel in April, the Palestinians have been pursuing a new diplomatic path to independence via the United Nations and by joining international organisations.
Abbas: We reject Kerry’s requested delay for UN Security Council plan
Middle East Monitor 17 Oct — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared his intention to stick to his plan of going to the UN Security Council at the end of this month, despite a request from US Secretary of State John Kerry to postpone the move until the beginning of next year, Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday. In a speech during his meeting with Palestinian businessmen in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Anadolu quoted Abbas as saying that: “Kerry requested [the delay] during a meeting between the two of us in Cairo, on the sidelines of the Conference on the Reconstruction of Gaza,” which was held last Sunday in Egypt. However, Abbas added that, “We are going ahead with our plan to go to the UN Security Council for setting a timetable to end the Israeli occupation.” “What we want from the UN Security Council is what is included in the American project of the two-state solution, and nothing more.” Commenting on the pressures he is facing to postpone the move, Abbas explained that: “The machine has indeed been switched on. They tell us to wait a little bit prior to submitting the Palestinian decision before the UN Security Council. But this statement is part of an Indian movie that I have seen many times before.”
Erekat: Security Council path to international legitimacy
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — PLO official Saeb Erekat said Friday that the UN’s Security Council was the pathway to international legitimacy and should not be closed for Palestine. Erekat met with the representative of the European Union in Palestine John Gatt-Rutter, and representatives of Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina. Erekat said that occupied Palestine has the “full right to join international organizations, institutions, statutes, conventions and protocols, especially the ICC.” He added that the Israeli government continues its policies of building more settlements, violations, assaults, imposing sieges and closures, and killing Palestinians to destroy the two-state solution. Erekat hailed Sweden’s decision and the British parliament’s vote of recognizing Palestine, and called upon all European countries to follow in their steps.
Abbas vows to keep peace in Gaza ‘this year and the next’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian Authority intends to prevent any exchange of fire in Gaza “this year and the next” in order to encourage donors to support the rebuilding of Gaza. Abbas told a group of Palestinian businessmen at the Presidency headquarters in Ramallah on Thursday that donors, mainly the United States, had concerns over the durability of the August ceasefire that ended a more than 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza. “We told them we are responsible for the ceasefire,” he said, adding that he was responding to questions by US Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the ceasefire. “I told him I am not a psychic, but during this year and next year there won’t be any type of clashes.” “We informed the whole world that the government will take charge of the issue of aid and no one else,” he added, “and it will send them to the correct addresses.” Abbas explained that the crossings in and out of Gaza will be under PA control, and that the PA is currently following up with the United Nations to ascertain the mechanism of their operations.
PM: Gaza reconstruction requires end to blockade
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Thursday said that the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip cannot take place if Israel’s eight-year blockade on the coastal enclave continues. Speaking with a delegation from the International Monetary Fund, Hamdallah said that the process of transferring donor funds to Gaza must be transparent, but that reconstruction can not happen unless Israel ends its blockade. Hamdallah updated the IMF delegation on the latest political and economic developments in the West Bank and Gaza, and said that despite financial difficulties the PA is dedicated to providing services for Gazans. The prime minister also condemned Israeli restrictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Palestinians, saying that the “systematic and provocative actions represent a threat to the two-state political solution.” The IMF’s deputy division chief expressed his commitment to supporting the PA.
‘Imperative’ to resume Israel-Palestinian talks: Kerry
Washington (AFP)16 Oct – US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday called for a resumption of the Israel-Palestinian peace process, saying the talks were vital in the fight against extremism. “It is imperative that we find a way to get back to the negotiations,” Kerry said at a State Department ceremony marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Kerry has just returned from a tour of Europe and Egypt, where on Sunday he attended a conference on the reconstruction of Gaza, and where he told Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. We need “to find a way to create two states that can live together side by side, two peoples, with both of their aspirations being respected,” Kerry added. “I still believe that’s possible, and I still believe we need to work towards it.” He said the unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict was fueling recruitment for the Islamic State jihadist group.
Analysis / Opinion
Israel’s High Court prefers occupation over international law / Gerard Horton
972blog 16 Oct by Gerard Horton — In at least two major decisions, Israel’s top court has shown it is prepared to uphold grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention amounting to war crimes, and to give its implicit endorsement to unlawful discrimination — … In 2010, the Court was petitioned in the case of Yesh Din v Minister of Defense on behalf of Palestinian prisoners from the West Bank who were transferred and detained inside Israel. The transfer and detention of Palestinian prisoners outside the West Bank is permitted under Israeli law (Regulation 6 of the Emergency Regulations) but prohibited under international law (Articles 49 and 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention). In upholding an earlier decision (the Sejadia case), the Court held that where primary Israeli legislation and international law directly contradict each other, domestic Israeli law prevails, making the transfer lawful. However, basic international legal principles establish that no state may invoke the provisions of its internal law as justification for its failure to perform a treaty obligation (Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties reflecting customary law). Accordingly, provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention prevail over Israeli domestic law where the two are in conflict, making the transfer and detention of prisoners outside the West Bank illegal. Be that as it may, approximately 90 percent of Palestinian prisoners continue to be transferred and detained inside Israel.
In 2014, the Court was petitioned in the case of the Ministry of Palestinian Prisoners v Minister of Defense on, inter alia, the legality of applying different time periods within which a suspect in the West Bank must be brought before a judge, depending on whether he or she is Palestinian or an Israeli living in a settlement. The current Israeli legal regime operating in the West Bank applies military law to Palestinians and civilian law, with far greater rights and protections, to Israeli settlers. Accordingly, the legal basis underpinning the petition was that no state is entitled to discriminate between those over whom it exercises penal jurisdiction based on race or nationality. In largely dismissing the appeal, the Court held that the differences in the laws applied to Palestinians and Israeli settlers were “fair and proportional” in the circumstances, in effect giving the Court’s imprimatur to a situation amounting to unlawful discrimination.
While it is true that Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation can access the Israeli civilian judicial system in certain circumstances, this is no guarantee that an effective remedy will be available in accordance with international law. On the contrary, as the two decisions referred to above illustrate, the Court is quite prepared to uphold grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention amounting to war crimes (in the case of transfer and detention inside Israel) and to give its implicit endorsement to unlawful discrimination based on race or nationality. It should also be noted that although Arabic is an official language of the State of Israel, these decisions are only officially available in Hebrew, making them inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of Palestinians.
Revealed: EU science chief promised to be flexible toward Israel’s war crimes / David Cronin
Electronic Intifada 15 Oct — Israel’s war crimes sometimes have to be overlooked, according to a senior European Union representative. During 2013, Israel reacted angrily when Brussels officials issued a policy paper stating that the EU would not award funding to firms and institutions based in Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank. Rather than standing up to Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, the EU’s top figures tried to downplay the significance of the “guidelines” contained in that paper. One letter — not published before now — shows that some of this downplaying was tantamount to groveling. Signed by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU’s commissioner for scientific research, in November last year, that letter states that both the Union and Israel “are conscious of the need to find flexible ways of implementing the guidelines.” Such flexibility was required, she argued, to “ensure full respect of the Union’s policy in relation to the territories occupied by Israel, while not deterring Israel’s association to EU programs.” Don’t be fooled Her attempt to sound balanced and nuanced should not fool anybody. The only possible interpretation of her letter (published below) is that although the EU considers Israel’s colonization of the West Bank to be illegal, it is willing to compromise on that position for reasons of political expediency.