Violence / Raids / Clashes / Punitive house demolitions
Israeli bus hits Palestinians in Jenin, 1 dead
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — An Israeli bus driver ran over two Palestinian at al-Jalama checkpoint in Jenin, killing one person and injuring another, Palestinian security sources said Tuesday. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that Noor Hassan Naim Salim, 22, and Alaa Kayid Salim, 20, from Nablus were injured after being run over by an Israeli bus. Hussein was taken to an Israeli hospital with serious injuries and later died. Salim was taken to Jenin governmental hospital with light injuries. Israeli police and ambulances arrived at the scene and the bus driver was arrested. [Photo of Noor – thanks, ‘just’]
Israeli driver ‘hits Palestinian teen’ in Jerusalem, flees scene
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — A Palestinian teenager sustained injuries late Monday when an Israeli ran into him with his car and fled the scene, the teen’s father said. Khamis Ahmad al-Kiswani told Ma‘an that his son Khalil was standing in the Romena neighborhood in West Jerusalem when an Israeli vehicle approached him and “deliberately” ran over his foot. The driver then fled the scene, al-Kiswani said. Khalili fell to the ground in pain and called the police, who arrived a half hour later. The teen was taken to Hadassah Medical Center where doctors said he had fractures in his foot.
Israeli forces shoot J’lem Palestinian in head with rubber bullet
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Nov — A young Palestinian was hospitalized late Tuesday after an Israeli soldier shot him in the head with a rubber-coated [steel] bullet in the al-Tur neighborhood of East Jerusalem, witnesses said. Medics told Ma‘an the unidentified young man sustained a skull fracture, and was in moderate-to-serious condition.
Separately, Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at Palestinian mourners during a funeral in the al-Tur neighborhood, witnesses said. Jasir Abu al-Hawa, 55, and his 18-year-old son Ahmad were hit by rubber-coated bullets.
Additionally, clashes broke out in al-Luzah area of the Silwan neighborhood. Majdi al-Abbasi of the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center told Ma‘an that a police vehicle closed the road and officers fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets at residents. Abbasi added that clashes between local Palestinians and Israeli forces broke out in the Beer Ayyub area of Silwan.
Israelis attack Palestinian in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli settlers late Monday assaulted a young Palestinian man near the illegal Israeli settlement of French Hill, the man told Ma‘an. Mahmoud Ubeid, 19, told Ma‘an he was walking home from work when a car pulled over and one of the five Israelis in the car asked him for a lighter. “When I said I didn’t have a lighter, the settler stepped out of the car and pushed me before the other four stepped out and attacked me,” Ubeid said. The attackers were carrying knives and rods, Ubeid said, adding that he managed to run away before he was seriously hurt. Ubeid was taken to al-Maqasid hospital for treatment after sustaining injuries to the leg.
Residents beat Palestinian who entered settlement
Times of Israel 25 Nov — IDF soldiers arrive in Yitzhar to protect unarmed man, who reportedly suffers from mental illness — An unarmed Palestinian man who attempted to enter a home in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar was severely beaten Monday by a group of local residents, before IDF soldiers reached the scene and managed to protect him from further harm. The man, who according to Palestinian reports suffers from a mental disability, began fleeing the settlement after a woman noticed him climbing through an apartment window and alerted her neighbor, Haaretz reported. The neighbor caught the Palestinian a short while later and transferred the man to the settlement’s security coordinator. At that point, several local men arrived at the site where the Palestinian was being held and cuffed his hands. They then began hitting him, according to Haaretz, until IDF troops from a nearby base arrived and dispersed the violent crowd. In a video recording of the incident uploaded to YouTube by the ultra-right wing HaKol HaYehudi website, a Yitzhar security official refers to the Palestinian as a “terrorist” and adds that he believes the man had entered the settlement in the past. He goes on to call the Palestinian “insane,” in an apparent reference to the man’s mental disability, and says no weapons were found in the man’s possession. Throughout the video, the Palestinian can also be heard crying while being punched and kicked.
Report: Israeli stabbed near Jerusalem Old City
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Israeli media reported Monday that a 45-year-old Jewish man arrived at a police station in Jerusalem’s Old City with stab wounds to his abdomen. Israel’s Ynet news site reported that the man said he had been stabbed by “Arabs.” According to the report, an initial police investigation found that three yeshiva students were attacked by several Palestinians in the area and the man was stabbed during the brawl. Ynet said police were searching the area and one man was in custody.
Clashes as Israeli soldiers raid attack suspects’ homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Clashes erupted in the Jabal al-Mukabbir area after Israeli forces raided the homes of the two Jerusalem attack suspects Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal on Monday. The family of Ghassan and Udayy said that Israeli forces raided two homes of the family after smashing their doors; they took measurements of the houses from inside and outside. Clashes erupted near the suspects’ homes, and Israeli soldiers heavily fired tear-gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets. The Israeli authorities delivered the families military demolishing orders on Thursday. A lawyer of the Addameer group filed an appeal to the Israeli prosecution on Sunday. The houses will not be demolished until a decision by the Israeli prosecution is made. The bodies of Ghassan and Udayy are still in Israeli custody. The two are suspected of attacking a synagogue and killing four worshipers as well as a police officer.
Palestinians, NGOs accuse Israel of shoot-to-kill policy
AFP 25 Nov by Sarah Benhaida — Human rights groups have accused Israel of encouraging a shoot-to-kill policy after a wave of incidents in which police shot dead Palestinians involved in, or accused of, attacking Israelis. The alleged practice of killing suspects without trying to arrest them has caused concern after a series of deadly Palestinian attacks also resulted in the perpetrators’ deaths — and not always at the scene. In a rare move, a Jerusalem court on Sunday indicted a border police officer after he shot and killed, apparently unprovoked, a Palestinian during a May demonstration in the occupied West Bank. For some, the charge of manslaughter in the case was not strong enough, and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch’s comments that “a terrorist who strikes civilians should be killed” indicate no further such investigations will take place. “Aharonovitch’s statement and its application on the ground show that the authorities simply want these incidents to end - with the terrorist killed at the scene rather than brought into the justice system,” Carolina Landsmann wrote in Haaretz newspaper … Earlier this month, police shot dead 22-year-old Arab Israeli Kheir Hamdan during a routine arrest, saying he attacked them with a knife. However, CCTV footage showed him banging on the outside of a police van with a knife before turning away, as a police officer got out and shot him in the back. Last week, two Palestinians stormed a synagogue with meat cleavers and a gun, killing four rabbis at prayer and a policeman who came to their rescue. They were shot dead at the scene by police….
ITF: Investigate death of bus driver
AIC 24 Nov — The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) today registered its deep concern over the recent death of a Palestinian bus driver, and supported the call from its member union the PGTWU (Palestinian General Transport Workers Union) for an independent investigation by international experts into the death of the driver Yousef Hasan Alramouni. The PGTWU reports that there is currently an environment of extreme political and religious tension, particularly in Jerusalem, in which bus drivers are highly vulnerable to intimidation and attacks with, it says, the Israeli authorities showing little concern. Yousef Hasan Alramouni, aged 32 and a father of two children, was a Palestinian bus driver in the Israeli Egged bus company. He was found hanged at the Har Hotzvim bus terminal in East Jerusalem.
Newly homeless in East Jerusalem
EAST JERUSALEM (Middle East Eye) 25 Nov by Bethan Staton — At the heart of Silwan, this neighbourhood in the shadow of the old city, the family of Abdel Rahman al-Shaludi are searching for a home. Early Wednesday morning, their apartment – home to five children and their parents – was demolished by Israeli authorities. The move was a punitive demolition: in late October, Abdel Rahman drove his car into a crowded Jerusalem tram stop, killing three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and Karen Mosquera, 22, a student from Ecuador. Twenty one-year-old Shaludi was shot dead by police as he fled from the scene. Relatives told Middle East Eye that everyone living in the building was evacuated during the night, then kept waiting in the street until the early hours when the home was destroyed with dynamite. They say that the life savings – some 80,000 shekels ($20,849) – of family member Tamer al-Shaludi disappeared from the house in the course of the demolition, and suspect soldiers took the money. At present, the family of Abdel Rahman are still searching for a home to rent. “We’ll leave everything destroyed, as it is now, because we know from experience that the soldiers will come back to check that the house has still been demolished,” Abdul al-Shaloudi, a cousin of Abdel Rahman. “It’s terrible. Not only do you lose your son, but then they come and punish you for something you didn’t do.”
Month after shooting, Temple Mount activist leaves hospital
JTA 24 Nov — Yehudah Glick says his would-be assassin disgraced Islam, while Muslim doctors give respect to their religion — Yehudah Glick, the Temple Mount activist shot in a failed assassination attempt, left the hospital nearly a month after the attack. At a news conference Monday at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Glick thanked those who helped to save his life and recited the blessing thanking God as “He who brings back life to the deceased.” Glick, 49, said that his attacker told him before he pulled the trigger on October 29 outside a Jerusalem conference center that he was doing it because Glick is “an enemy of al-Aqsa,” the Temple Mount mosque. “Anybody who shoots and kills someone in the name of his religion is the first person disgracing his religion,” Glick said. “Those who are giving respect to Islam are those Muslim doctors and nurses who work at this hospital, helping people after they have signed the Hippocratic Oath. These are the people who are bringing respect to God and their religion, not those who murder in the name of religion.”
Israeli forces raid Palestinian football association HQ
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Israeli forces on Monday morning raided the headquarters of the Palestinian Football Association in al-Ram near Jerusalem. A statement from the PFA said three Israeli military jeeps raided the headquarters at 9:20 a.m. on Monday and apprehended the IDs of several of its employees, prevented them from entering it, and interrogated them. They also searched the ground floor of the building, the statement said. Israeli forces spent 40 minutes searching the building and remained around 90 minutes in its vicinity afterwards. The statement added that Susan Shalabi, the head of the PFA, asked an officer about the reason of the raid, and informed him that it was an institute related to the Federal International Football Association and should not be raided by an armed group, to which the officer responded that it was not a raid. The statement explained that a number of journalists who were present in the area documented the raid. Before Israeli forces left the place they tried to prevent journalists from taking pictures.
Israeli settlers smash Palestinian vehicles in Nablus district
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Israeli settlers on Monday smashed the windshields of Palestinian vehicles in the Nablus district, an official said. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that dozens of settlers threw rocks and empty bottles at Palestinian vehicles, causing damages but no injuries.
Israel moves to outlaw Muslim guards at Al-Aqsa mosque
Haaretz 26 Nov by Amos Harel — The Public Security Ministry and other branches of Israel’s defense establishment are advancing a bill to outlaw the organization of Palestinian guards stationed on the Temple Mount to block entry by Jews. The guard corps, staffed by Muslim men and women, has often been at the center of clashes with Jewish worshippers during the past year. The guards are called “Mourabitoun” in Arabic, a term used to describe an advance guard meant to protect Islamic holy sites from heretics. Dozens of men and women are part of the guard, and are present near the mosques on the Temple Mount – which is worshipped by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary – day and night. They are funded by various Islamist parties, including some extremist groups in Israel. In many cases, the guards, particularly the females, have been involved in clashes with the Israel Police or Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount. Five female members of the guard have been issued orders prohibiting them from being on or near the Temple Mount, due to their involvement in previous incidents. A bill targeting the Mourabitoun is currently being drafted on behalf of Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the Israel Police and the Shin Bet security service. … A senior security official told Haaretz that the defense establishment has learned that the Mourabitoun guards receive a monthly salary of between 3,000 and 4,000 shekels ($776 – $1036). Some of the funds come from the Gulf States, through the occupied territories by way of couriers, and from there the money makes its way into East Jerusalem. Recently, the Shin Bet and Israel Police apprehended a courier at the Jordanian border in possession of 1 million shekels, meant for the Mourabitoun guards. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino … added that “the smartest thing to do is to show how we’re stopping the funding….”
The women of al-Aqsa: the compound’s self-appointed guardians
JERUSALEM (Middle East Eye) 25 Nov by Bethan Staton — Meet the Murabitats who say they protect al-Aqsa but have been accused of pushing and grabbing Jewish visitors — It’s a wet Monday morning, and about twenty women are gathered under the stone arches of al-Aqsa mosque, clustered on plastic chairs and carpets as they shelter from the torrential rain flooding the courtyard. They talk together and read out loud, as they bend over religious books. Before long they are joined by more women, who are all holding prayer mats and have come to huddle for shelter from the storm. These women, aged from their early twenties to over seventy, come to Jerusalem’s most important Islamic site, the third holiest in the religion, every day. Under the arches of the mosque, or in the shady courtyards of the golden Dome of the Rock, they pray, meet and learn together. Older students, many of whom cannot read or write, are schooled in reading the Quran, while younger women consider more complex questions of religion, and learn the history of the mosque and the holy city. But this isn’t the sole reason the group visits al-Aqsa. The women are known as the ‘Murabitat’ the steadfast, who have come here to defend the holy site from Israeli incursions and deepening control. They say they are keeping watch against groups of right-wing and religious Israelis who frequently tour the al-Aqsa complex and on occasion attempted to pray at al-Aqsa – which is known as Temple Mount to Jews and regarded as Judaism’s holiest site. When a group of Israeli Jews pass by the mosque, escorted by police, the Murabitat women cry “Allahu Akbar” – God is Great – to remind the visitors that despite growing escalations and infringements, the compound is still in Muslim hands. “We say ‘Allahu Akbar’ whenever anything bad happens to us, when we are threatened by the Israelis or hurt by the soldiers,” Latifa Abdullatif, 24, told Middle East Eye … Sidawil explains that she was recently beaten by security forces. She shows a photograph of her jilbab – a loose-fitting dress worn by Muslim women – which she says was ripped by soldiers during the incident. Zoya Badawni, 67, is another woman who says she was roughed up, this time by settlers. She now wears a bandage around her wrist that was broken during the confrontation – a scar that Badawni insists is still hurting her.
Police chief: AG erred in letting MK Feiglin visit Temple Mount
Haaretz 25 Nov by Shirly Seidler — Right-wing Likud MK says in response: It’s a ‘legal, religious and moral duty’ to go to the site, police chief Yohanan Danino is ‘evading responsibility’ for his failure to protect Jerusalem — It was a mistake for Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to give right-wing MK Moshe Feiglin permission to go to the Temple Mount earlier this month, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said at a conference on Tuesday. “I had prohibited Feiglin from going on the Temple Mount until there was backing from the attorney general,” Danino said. “It was a mistake to permit someone up there who is a symbol of changing the status quo.” Participating in a panel discussion at the Sderot Conference for Society at Sapir College, along with former police chiefs Shlomo Aharonishki, Assaf Hefetz and Moshe Karadi, Danino added: “We want quiet and we want to restore security. We’re always saying, ‘Let’s do everything we can to keep the situation from deteriorating.’ We keep coming back to the Temple Mount. This place is holy to many religions, and we are supposed to maintain the status quo in order to maintain quiet there.”
Arrests / Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli forces ‘detain 10-year-old Palestinian boy’ in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — Israeli forces detained a 10-year-old Palestinian boy in the Silwan neighborhood on Monday evening, a local information center said. Majdi Abbasi of the Wadi Hilweh information center told Ma‘an that Israeli forces in the Ein al-Luza area of the neighborhood detained 10-year-old Rashid Abu Sarah, took off his shirt, blindfolded him, and took him away in a military jeep. Israeli forces also fired stun grenades in the neighborhood, Abbasi said. He did not have further information about the boy’s arrest … Over the past decade, Israeli forces have arrested, interrogated and prosecuted around 7,000 children between 12 and 17, mostly boys, according to a 2013 report by the UN Children’s Fund. The rate of child arrests is equivalent to “an average of two children each day,” the UNICEF report says.
Eight Palestinians, including children, kidnapped in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Nov by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Monday at night, a Palestinian father and his son after breaking into their home, in Jabal al-Mokabber, in occupied East Jerusalem, and searching it. The soldiers alleged they found weapons and ammunition in the home, and arrested the father, 50 years of age, and his son, 20. Israeli media sources said the police, and Border Guard Units, searched the property, and located a Kalashnikov rifle, a Carl Gustav rifle, a pistol, and magazine. The father and his son have been moved to an Israeli security facility for interrogation.
On Monday evening, soldiers claimed a settler was stabbed near the Hebron Gate area of occupied East Jerusalem, and suffered a moderate injury. The army then conducted military searches in the streets and alleys of the Old City, and nearby areas, and kidnapped six Palestinians, including five children. The kidnapped have been identified as Husam al-‘Alami, who was kidnapped while leaving the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Tribes Gate, and five children identified as Rashid ar-Resheq, Badawi Abu ‘Asab, 16, Fadi Salayma, 17, Nasser Shaweesh, 16, and ‘Abboud al-Haddad. Al-Haddad was released after two hours of interrogation, while the rest remained under interrogation.
Fateh official kidnapped by the army in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Nov — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, the secretary of the Fateh movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, in occupied East Jerusalem, from his home in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque … Local sources said the soldiers broke into the home of Fateh official ‘Adnan Gheith, and his brother, Sadeq, violently searched their properties, and kidnapped them. The soldiers also confiscated ‘Adnan’s mobile phone.
In addition, the soldiers broke into, searched and ransacked several homes in different neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, and its Old City, and handed two women and a young man military orders for interrogation. Local sources said dozens of soldiers invaded Aqabat as-Saraya area, in the Old City, and handed a woman from the al-Hashlamoun family a warrant for interrogation at the Al-Qeshla Police station, in the Hebron Gate area. Soldiers also handed former political prisoner, Suad Shiokhy, 26, from Silwan town, a similar warrant for interrogation at the al-Maskobiyya, west of Jerusalem. She has four imprisoned brothers; three of them had multiple court hearings, including on Monday, and her fourth brother was taken prisoner a while ago.
Also on Tuesday at dawn, soldiers invaded a home in the al-‘Ezariyya town, southeast of Jerusalem, and handed resident Mousa Jaber, an interrogation order for his 16-year-old son, Ragheb. The son was ordered to head to an interrogation center in Maale Adumin settlement.
Soldiers kidnap 15 Palestinians in Jerusalem, West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Nov by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, fifteen Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and occupied East Jerusalem, and moved them to a number of interrogation centers. Israeli military sources said the soldiers have kidnapped a “Hamas member” in Beit Leqia town, and another Palestinian in Deir Abu Mashal town, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. The sources said the army kidnapped another “Hamas member,” in ‘Anata town, north of occupied East Jerusalem. In addition, soldiers kidnapped Islam ‘Azzam an-Natsha, 20, after invading his home in ‘Anata town, in Jerusalem, and Siyam Mahmoud from the al-‘Eesawiyya town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem. A third Palestinian, who remained unidentified until the time of this report, has also been kidnapped in al-‘Eesawiyya. In addition, soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian in Ethna town, west of Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank, and another Palestinian in Jericho city … The soldiers also closed the Iron Gate installed at the entrance of the al-Fawwar refugee camp, in Hebron, after alleging a settlement bus was attacked by a Molotov cocktail. The gate was closed at eight at night, Monday, and opened around 5 at dawn Tuesday.
Israeli forces detain former hunger-striking prisoner from Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — Israeli forces on Tuesday morning detained a former Palestinian prisoner who was freed after a 70-day hunger strike. The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that Israeli forces detained Akram al-Fseisi from his home. The statement added that al-Fseisi was released from Israeli custody two months ago after he served two years without trial under the administrative detention policy. Before he was released, al-Fseisi went on hunger strike for 70 days.
Israeli court fails to end administrative detention of Palestinian man
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — The Israeli supreme court on Monday decided to set a limit for administrative detention of Raed Ikhlayyil from Beit Ummar north of Hebron, his lawyer says. Mufid al-Hajj, who works at the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, said the supreme court decided that Israeli authorities can renew the administrative detention of Ikhlayyil two more times of four months each. After that, they can not keep him in custody without trial. Al-Hajj added that Ikhlayyil had been jailed without trial for nearly two years. Commenting on the decision, al-Hajj said that “once again we witness an unjust decision by the institution which should be an epitome of justice for those who suffer from obvious injustices.” He added: “Once again, the supreme court proves that it’s an arm which legalizes the policy of oppression reflected in the administrative detention orders against Palestinian prisoners.”
Parents deny sons planned to assassinate Israeli FM
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — The father of two Palestinian men accused of plotting to kill Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday said the claims by Israeli security forces were “inconceivable.” Salim el-Zir, 65, told Ma‘an that his sons Ibrahim, 39, and Ziad, 37, were detained in October by Israeli forces. “These are big and inconceivable accusations. My son Ibrahim, who was detained early in October, and Ziad, who was detained 28 days later, were busy trying to provide subsistence for their eight children,” el-Zir said. “I don’t know how the Israeli occupation claims they planned an assassination to be carried out last summer and the Israeli intelligence detains them months later.” El-Zir said Israel is trying to improve the public image of Lieberman and claimed that even the lawyer representing his sons is unaware of the accusations against them as published in Israeli media. The suspects’ mother said her son Ziad was a taxi driver who worked from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and did not have any political affiliations. Her other son, Ibrahim, had been detained several times in the past but that does not justify the accusations leveled at him, she added.
240 Palestinian children sexually abused in Jerusalem detention centres, group claims
Int’l Business Times 22 Nov by Tabatha Kinder — A justice group for Palestinians arrested in Israel has released an explosive report claiming that 40% of children detained by Israeli authorities in Jerusalem have been subjected to sexual abuse at the hands of Israeli police. Around 600 Palestinian children have been arrested in Jerusalem since June 2013, the International Middle East Media Centre news agency reports. This means approximately 240 minors could have been abused during their arrest or investigation by Israeli authorities, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club (PCC). The PCC say the “daily arrest campaigns” inflicted on young Palestinians living in the historic capital are a “collective punishment against Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.” An attorney with the organisation, Mufeed al-Haj, says other violations were reported during the apprehension of children, including night and dawn raids on family homes, and sexual and physical abuse.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Netanyahu orders $18.1 million for West Bank settlement expansion
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Nov — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given orders for the allocation of $18.1 Million in expansion funds for 300 units of Beit El settlement, illegally built near Ramallah, according to Haaretz . Netanyahu ordered Finance Minister Yair Lapid to allocate this money to move an Israeli army base, while making room for the construction of 300 settlement units in Beit El. Lapid has reportedly refused to do so, noting that the transfer of such a large amount of money needs to come with a cabinet’s vote. WAFA further notes that Netanyahu has made this order pursuant to a secret deal, reached in 2012, with settlers evicted from Givat Ulpana settlement outpost, built illegally on private Palestinian land on the outskirts of Beit El settlement, in return for their cooperation in voluntarily evacuating the units that the Supreme Court had ordered to be demolished in 2012.
See! Outpost expansion in Hebron hills
AIC 24 Nov — Settlement and settlement outpost expansion continue unimpeded in the South Hebron Hills area, as settlers continue expanding the Havat Ma’on settlement while Israeli officials do nothing to stop them. While all settlements are illegal under international law, settlement outposts such as Havat Ma’on are also illegal under Israeli law. On Sunday settlers from Havat Ma’on placed three meter high iron pylons on the outskirts of the outpost; on 13 November the same settlers had already dug holes around the outpost. On both occasions the South Hebron Hills popular committee and the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem contacted the Israeli army’s District Coordination Office (DCO) to report the illegal works, but nothing was done. All photos by Operation Dove.
Video: Eight-year-old girl is West Bank village’s youngest citizen journalist
Reuters 26 Nov — An eight-year-old Palestinian girl is opposing the Israeli occupation of her West Bank village [Nabi Saleh] — with a mobile telephone. Jana Tamimi makes news reports about the regular conflicts with Israeli soldiers in Nabi Saleh, filming video on a camera phone and posting it online. She films her reports about her village at a time when demonstrations against Israeli settlements are taking place on a weekly basis after Friday prayers. Tamimi said she wants to deliver the voice of her people to the world so they can gain more international support. “When we started to go out for marches there weren’t a lot of photographers with us so I had an idea to document and deliver our message. The message of all Palestinians and Palestinian children to the world so they come to support us and to free Palestine and live under freedom and get our rights,” she said. Local Palestinians and international peace activists hold weekly rallies after Friday prayers to protest about land lost to Israeli settlements.
Gaza ministry warns Israel over fruit exports
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Nov — The Gaza Ministry of Agriculture warned the Israeli authorities on Monday that continuously obstructing the entry of vegetables to the West Bank or Jordan would result in sanctions. The ministry said in a statement that officials would no longer allow fruits from Israel into the Gaza Strip if Israel continued to obstruct the entry of Gaza-grown vegetables into the West Bank and Jordan. The statement said that the Israeli authorities prevented 12 trucks of vegetables from being sent into the West Bank from Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing on Sunday. Two of the trucks were supposed to be sent to Jordan, and the total value was estimated at $150,000. Such a procedure caused Palestinian farmers huge losses and will lead to a decrease in prices of vegetables in the Strip, the statement said. It said that if Gaza goods were not allowed into the Strip by Wednesday, the ministry would stop allowing fruit from Israel into the Gaza Strip.
Gaza gets second postwar delivery of building materials
AFP 24 Nov — Twenty-eight trucks of cement entered the battered Gaza Strip Tuesday in only the second delivery of building materials for the private sector since a 50-day summer war, an official said. Raed Fatuh, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of the entry of goods into Gaza from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing, said 28 trucks, each carrying 40 tonnes of cement, had crossed into the enclave. It was the first delivery of building materials for the private sector since October 14, when 75 trucks entered Gaza, carrying 1,300 tonnes of material — 15 trucks of cement, 10 of metal and 50 of gravel. “This is the biggest delivery of cement since the war ended,” Fatuh told AFP, referring to the seven-week conflict between Israel and Hamas militants which ended with a truce on August 26. “But it is not enough, it is only a tiny amount for the reconstruction.” He said there had been no further deliveries since October because Israel had halted the process over concerns about how the materials had been used. Many people were in any case unable to make use of that cement, delivered as UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited the tiny enclave, Fatuh said. “Most of the people who got cement last time need money from either (the UN) or the government in order to buy other materials to use with it,” he said … Fatuh said it was not clear whether Tuesday’s delivery was a one-off or would be followed by others. He said he had no idea when Israel would allow the entry of materials other than cement. “We don’t know if the Israelis will permit it again tomorrow or whether they will allow in only one or two trucks,” he said. Palestinian officials say at least 100 trucks of building materials a day are needed to complete the reconstruction of Gaza within three years.”There will be no reconstruction here if the mechanism stays like this. It will take 20 to 30 years,” another Palestinian official told AFP, on condition of anonymity.
Gaza left out of its own reconstruction
AIC 24 Nov — The Gaza reconstruction plan is hostage to Israeli security demands, and was drawn up without participation of Gaza’s population or Hamas. International donors talk about “accountability” and “local ownership”, yet are doing exactly the opposite. Elizabeth Austwick explores — Over six weeks on from the Cairo donor conference in which donors pledged $5.4 million to facilitate reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following Operation Protective Edge, and there are few signs of progress. The reconstruction plan was finalised in early November by the United Nations (UN), Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA), all of whom created a system to supervise the entry of construction materials into Gaza based on Israel’s security demands. It prescribes that all candidates applying for reconstruction material must specify exactly how their homes was damaged, what material is needed and how it will be used. Israel will then have the possibility to examine and deny candidates. This gives Israel the ability not only to decide who deserves the ability to reconstruct their homes and lives, but also the time scale in which this work will be conducted. This bases the reconstruction process on Israel’s security demands whilst excluding basic human needs in Gaza.
Rafah closure punishes Palestinians in Gaza
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Middle East Eye) 25 Nov by Mohammed Omer — Abu Sufian’s 23-year-old son, Sami, can’t get home. After flying to Turkey last month to receive medical treatment for an injury sustained during the 51-day war in Gaza this summer, Sami is now stranded at the Rafah border, waiting – and hoping – that the crossing between Egypt and his home country, Gaza, will soon re-open. Egypt closed the crossing on 25 October after attacks by militants killed 33 Egyptian soldiers, an assault that prompted Cairo to declare an emergency in the area. Gaza’s Ministry of Interior insists that the besieged coastal enclave now faces a “serious humanitarian crisis” as a result. “It seems to be ongoing, never-ending, that we, the people of Gaza, remain trapped and blamed for everything. If a sheep goes missing in Somalia, we’ll be blamed,” Abu Sufian told Middle East Eye. Abu Sufian said that his son is out of money and has nowhere to go. “He’s stuck outside, day and night, can only bear weight on one leg, [and] has no money to buy extra food or drink,” added Abu Sufian, who has been standing on the Gazan side of the Rafah border gate patiently waiting for his son. As a consequence of Egypt’s security clampdown 6,000 Palestinians are currently stranded on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza, according to Iyad al-Bizm, a spokesman for Gaza’s Interior Ministry. Hundreds more are also trapped in third countries, many with expired visas sleeping on airport floors and inside terminal buildings. Another 2,000 people suffering from medical problems including kidney failure, cancer and blood-related diseases seek urgent treatment or further diagnosis in Egypt, said Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry. Egypt has ignored repeated pleas by Gaza’s Health Ministry for the Rafah crossing to be reopened in order that Palestinian patients be given access to specialised health care not available in Gaza.
Israel believes missing soldiers are alive in Gaza
Middle East Monitor 24 Nov — Israel believes that its missing soldiers are still alive in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians who have been subjected to investigations by the Israeli security forces said. In an interview with Anadolu Agency, witnesses said that Israeli authorities conducted intensive investigations with “patients” and their companions at the Erez crossing in order to obtain information about the fate of the two soldiers who went missing during the recent war on the Gaza Strip. According to the witnesses, who refused to be identified fearing being arrested by the Israeli army, Israel’s focus during its investigation is to find out where Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and soldier Shaul Aaron are being detained. They emphasised that the line of questioning clearly indicated that Israel believes both men are alive. On July 20, Al-Qassam Brigades announced that it had captured Aaron during the Israeli ground invasion in to the Strip. Two days later, the Israeli army admitted Aaron was missing, but said he was likely to have been killed in battle with Hamas fighters. Israel also accused Hamas of capturing Goldin’s body, saying he was killed in an armed clash east of Rafah on August 1. The movement has neither confirmed or denied these reports.
Captured Israeli soldiers ‘strong cards’ for Hamas
Middle East Monitor 25 Nov — The Israeli soldiers believed captured by Hamas during the recent 51-day Israeli war on the Gaza Strip are considered cards of strength in the hands of Hamas in light of the economic and political crisis it is incurring due to the strict Israeli siege on the Strip. Observers said Hamas might them to oblige Israel to lift the siege, in addition to seeking the release of new batches of Palestinian prisoners held in the Israeli jails. Israel announced the death of two of its soldiers during the war, their bodies were never found. Hamas announced it captured only one of these soldiers, without saying if he was alive or dead. There are reports that Hamas is in possession of more than the bodies of the two soldiers, regardless to whether they are alive or dead. Palestinian political analyst Talal Okal told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed website that Hamas might use the “bodies” of the two soldiers to accelerate the reconstruction of Gaza and lift the siege. He noted that Hamas would insist on using them to release prisoners. However, he expected Israel not to respond “quickly” to Hamas as it is attempting to recapture its soldiers in a different way to avoid Hamas’ demands.
Colorful war of words plays out on Gaza’s battered walls
GAZA (AFP) 25 Nov by Adel Zaanoun — Everywhere you turn, walls in the Gaza Strip are covered with paint — brightly colored slogans, political portraits and prose. For youth in the besieged enclave packed with 1.8 million people, graffiti is an important tool for self-expression and fighting back. Since their birth, they have never known anything beyond this tiny strip of land wedged between Egypt and Israel, with the Mediterranean Sea to their backs. In the south, the walls rail against Egypt’s closure of the Rafah border crossing. In the north, they condemn the Israeli soldiers who prevent them from crossing through Erez. There is that pervading sense of being trapped, of powerlessness in the face of Israeli bombardments, the never-ending progression of funerals, the humiliation and the oppression. All these things find expression in the gaudy slogans daubed on walls and in alleyways across the territory. “In painting these walls, I feel free,” says Naim Samsum, a bearded 25-year-old wearing a black beanie hat, white jeans and a Superman T-shirt. “What we want is to send a message to say that people here love life, that they have had enough of death and destruction,” says Samsum, who draws his inspiration from online videos of graffiti “tags” on the side of train cars in Europe. A tag is a graffiti artist’s signature.
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
A community torn apart: the Palestinians of Nahr al-Bared
Nahr al-Bared Refugee Camp (Electronic Intifada) 25 Nov by Ray Smith — It was around 3am on 18 October when many Palestinian refugees on the outskirts of Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon were woken up by water flooding into the ground floors of their prefabricated homes. That night, heavy rain had converted creeks into rivers, catching the refugees by surprise. For many, it was too late to remove their mattresses and furniture. Ziyad Eshtawi narrowly managed to prevent the water from entering his home. He pointed at the poor foundation on which the temporary shelters stand. “Back in 2008, the shelters were built in a hurry,” Eshtawi said. “The water doesn’t drain well.” The 59-year-old has lived in a steel shelter for the past six years. His home used to stand inside Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which was completely destroyed during fighting between a militant Jihadist group and the Lebanese army in the summer of 2007. More than 30,000 Palestinians were forced to take refuge outside the camp during the fighting. Most of them later returned to its outskirts but the camp itself has not yet been fully rebuilt … Indeed, the rebuilt buildings of Nahr al-Bared do not resemble the camp before the war. Gone are the Sasa, the Saffouri and the Safed neighborhoods named for their residents’ original towns and villages in Palestine. The rebuilt areas of Nahr al-Bared lack this sense of identity. “It doesn’t mean much to me,” said Eshtawi. “Maybe I’ll get used to it one day, but my thoughts and memories remain in the old camp, where I grew up, spent most of my life and knew every corner,” he added.
The Palestinians of Lebanon: a life of curtailed rights and limited opportunities
Middle East Monitor 24 Nov by Jessica Purkiss — The Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, like all refugee camps, were built to be temporary. Palestinians escaping the violence that preceded and ensued the establishment of the State of Israel hoped they would return to their homeland in the not so distant future. Some 450,000 refugees are registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Lebanon, with many living in the country’s 12 official refugee camps. The camps that were built to offer temporary shelters have become the homes’ of generations born into exile, their infrastructure crumbling as the growing population spills out of the camps’ confines. Lebanon is not a signatory of the 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol does not recognize the basic rights and legal obligations to people with refugee status. In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees, despite being born and raised in the country, are denied political, economic and social rights of a national. They are “stateless” and a plethora of inequalities are born from this … Today, Palestinian refugees are seen more as security concerns instead of humanitarian considerations. Making up about 10 percent of Lebanon’s population, they are isolated from Lebanese social, political and economic sphere and treated with disdain. The fear is that the granting of more rights may lead to naturalization (tawteen), and permanent settlement which will upset Lebanon’s fragile political balance. As a result, the country’s Palestinian refugee community is considered among the most marginalized in the Palestinian Diaspora.
EU parliament postpones vote on recognition of Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Nov — A senior Fatah official on Tuesday said that a European parliament vote to recognize Palestine as a state has been postponed due to an issue of wording. “The right-wing parties, who represent a majority in the European parliament, wanted a wording similar to the Spanish decision, which reads that recognition will be declared after Palestinians and Israelis reach a peace agreement,” Nabil Shaath told Ma‘an. Such a wording would not grant Palestinians self-determination, Shaath said. He told Ma‘an that left-wing parties believed recognition of Palestine as a state could help lead to a peace agreement. The European parliament announced Monday that it would postpone a vote on the recognition of Palestine until the December session. Shaath told Ma‘an that the Danish parliament would vote on recognition of Palestine as a state on Dec. 12. He said the Palestinian leadership would then push for state recognition from Austria and Finland.
Abbas: We are ready to set up Palestinian state on 22% of Mandate land
Middle East Monitor 25 Nov — Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to compel Israel to comply with its legal obligations regarding international resolutions, saying he is ready to set up a Palestinian state on only 22 per cent of historical Palestine. UN Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine Riyad Mansour spoke on behalf of Abbas in the special meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People … The statement also mentioned that as part of the resolution, a just solution for the refugees should be found in accordance with the UN resolutions.
Britain reviews arms export licenses to Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Nov — The British government stated, on Monday, that it will review arms export licenses to Israel, to ensure that the use of such weapons does not contravene international law. Britain reviewed, in August, all arms export licenses to Israel after the recent military assault on Gaza, announcing that it will halt 12 arms export licenses to Israel if military operations in Gaza are resumed. According to Al Ray, the new reviews come following recent reports of a Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers, near the border fence, in the Gaza Strip. A spokesperson for Britain claimed that the August reviews reflect that most licensed exports to Israel do not includes materials used in the Gaza assault … A group called “Campaign against the Arms Trade” recently published an analysis which shows that Britain had approved military licenses to Israel worth 7 million pounds, just six months prior to the war on Gaza. The government says that it does not cast doubt on the figure.
US calls on Israel to treat all its citizens equally
Middle East Monitor 25 Nov — “Israel is a Jewish and democratic state in which all citizens should enjoy equal rights,” US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said during a press conference yesterday. Rathke said: “This is the beginning of a process, and so I don’t want to speculate on the outcome. It would be our general view, though, that we would expect any final legislation to continue Israel’s commitment to democratic principles.” The Israeli government decided to postpone the decision on the nation-state law to next week. The decision had been expected tomorrow.
Vote on Zoabi bill delayed due to Livni appeal
Jerusalem Post 26 Nov by Gil Hoffman — The bill would permit the Knesset to ban an MK who encourages terrorism and acts against the state even if he or she has not been convicted of a crime — The Knesset will not vote Wednesday on the controversial Haneen Zoabi bill, which if passed would enable the legislature to remove the Balad MK from the Knesset immediately and permanently. The bill, proposed by MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu), would permit the Knesset to ban an MK who encourages terrorism and acts against the state even if he or she has not been convicted of a crime. Netanyahu told the Likud faction Monday that he intended to support it as long as technical changes were made, such as requiring a special majority. It passed Sunday in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation and was due to be voted on in a preliminary reading at the Knesset Wednesday. But Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), who heads the committee, appealed the decision, delaying the Knesset vote. “The bill raises heavy legal questions that require clarification,” a source close to Livni said, explaining the appeal. Rotem said he was surprised by the appeal of his bill, which he said had support from almost every Jewish faction in the Knesset. He said he and his Yisrael Beytenu colleagues would continue fighting for the bill.
Livni ‘prepared to be fired’ over opposition to Jewish State bill
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Nov — The Israeli cabinet, on Wednesday, is set to vote on and approve the controversial “Jewish Nation” legislation proposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu, which was opposed by 7 ministers and approved by 15. The Palestinian News Network (PNN) reports that Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni strongly opposed the bill, saying it was controversial to the principles of democracy. Livni, along with Finance Minister Ya’ir Lapid, from the Yesh Atid party, asserted that the move is a deliberate measure, by Netanyahu, in resolving the coalition and jockeying for position ahead of possible early elections. “The bill submitted today puts the Jewish state before democracy,” Lapid declared during a recent speech at Tel Aviv University. “Neither I, nor the Yesh Atid party, will vote for the law.”
Recipe for disaster as Israel allows more civilians to carry guns
Electronic Intifada 20 Nov by Rania Khalek — Israeli minister of public security Yitzhak Aharonovitch approved a measure on Thursday that eases gun restrictions, expanding gun license eligibility to tens of thousands of people who previously did not qualify. “The decision comes from a need to improve the feeling of safety among the population in light of the recent terror attacks,” said Aharonovitch. The new, ostensibly temporary, guidelines will allow certain army unit veterans, officers in the army reserves, former police and Shin Bet (Israeli secret police) officers and former security guards at the Israel Airports Authority to qualify for a gun license. Because military conscription for Jewish Israelis is compulsory, this constitutes a large portion of the Israeli population. Recipe for disaster Combined with the rising tide of anti-Arab extremism in Israeli society, the loosening of gun restrictions is a recipe for disaster. For weeks right-wing Israeli demonstrators have clamored for more police violence against Palestinians, with some demanding that Arab rock-throwers as young as seven be shot on sight. This type of incitement is not only prevalent, it is alarmingly acceptable.
Shin Bet to monitor social media to detect individual resistance plans
Middle East Monitor 24 Nov by Dr. Saleh Al-Naami — The Israeli intelligence services are currently working on intensifying their monitoring of social network sites used by Palestinians, especially the youth living in occupied Jerusalem. This is an effort to identify those who are willing and preparing to carry out individual resistance operations. According to Israel’s Yedioth Ahranoth newspaper, this task has fallen to the Shin Bet internal security agency. The newspaper noted that the reason why Shin Bet is trying to thwart individual operations in this manner is because it cannot use the same methods used to prevent operations executed by cells associated with organised resistance. However, the security agency has admitted that the chances of being able to stop operations by individuals in this way are slim, unlike group operations, which require a lot of planning and interaction, often by telephone and thus are easier to monitor using the most advanced technology available. The military commentator for Yedioth Ahronoth, Ron Ben-Yishai, revealed that the Israeli army and intelligence leaders are worried about the pressures put on the Palestinian Authority by local public opinion to stop security coordination with Israel. Such cooperation has allowed Israel to stop a number of resistance operations. He noted that ordinary Palestinians regard resistance in Jerusalem to be a “natural and necessary” response to the violations of Al-Aqsa Mosque by extreme right-wing Jewish groups. The suggestion is that this is responsible for a recent downturn in PA security agencies’ contacts with their Israeli counterparts … The director of Shin Bet from 2005 to 2012, Yuval Diskin, believes that the right-wing leadership of Israel is misguiding its citizens by claiming that an uprising and third intifada in Jerusalem can be stopped through intensifying the use of force.
Opinion / Analysis / Film
New short film reflects brutal life of Palestinian refugees in Greece / Sarah Irving
Electronic Intifada 24 Nov — Palestinian filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel garnered both acclaim and controversy with his moving and disturbing documentary A World Not Ours. Showing life in Lebanon’s Ein el-Hilweh camp, it brought to international viewers an insider’s understanding of the despair and disenchantment to be found amongst many Palestinian refugees. One of its main themes was the lack of opportunities for young men who once worked for factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) such as Fatah, but now feel abandoned by the Palestinian Authority and the so-called “peace process.” A key figure in the documentary, Abu Eyad, insisted that his friend Fleifel show the full force of his anger in the film, saying: “I wish Israel would just massacre us all … We destroyed ourselves. I don’t want to return to Palestine.” Now, in a short follow-up film, Xenoz, Mahdi Fleifel follows Abu Eyad to Athens, where he fled seeking work. We see this already disillusioned man’s life heading yet further downhill as he finds himself in a country with widespread unemployment and, in the grip of “austerity,” on the brink of social and economic collapse.
‘Anne Frank: Then and Now’ — exclusive first look at Gaza-shot film / David Robb
Deadline Hollywood 24 Nov — Here’s an exclusive first-look at Anne Frank: Then And Now, which explores the lives of Anne Frank and the eight Palestinian girls cast to play her in a retelling of Frank’s famous diary. Part drama and part documentary, it was shot in Arabic with English subtitles. The film was shooting in Gaza in July when the Israel-Gaza war broke out, sending cast and crew scrambling for cover from incoming Israeli airstrikes. More than 500 Palestinian children and one Israeli child were killed during the seven-week conflict. The film, which is seeking distribution, was directed by Jakov Sedlar and produced by Auschwitz survivor and two-time Oscar-winning producer Branko Lustig (Schindler’s List, Gladiator). Anne Frank was written and co-directed by Sedlar’s son, Dominik Sedlar.
Anne Frank film shoots in Gaza amid hate, war and death / David Robb
Deadline Hollywood 18 Aug — During a pause in the missile attacks, the cameras roll and a young Palestinian girl playing the role of Anne Frank speaks her lines against the backdrop of a bombed-out school in Gaza. “Why is a nation spending more money on war than on medicine, education and art?” she asks, her words both weary and wise. It is a question for the ages, one that could be asked of any war. But in this case, it’s being asked in the middle of a war zone during production of What Does Anne Frank Mean Today? Two days later, cameras are rolling again. There have been more missiles, more destruction, and more death. The young actress takes her mark in front of a new set of ruins and begins to talk about Anne’s hopes and dreams for a future that will never be. As she speaks her lines, two men in gas masks run behind her, in and out of frame, darting for cover. It’s not in the script, but it couldn’t have been scripted any better to illustrate the irony of making a movie about peace in the midst of war. No one on the production team, of course, could have imagined they’d end up shooting their movie in a war zone. The film, from Croatian director Jakov Sedlar, started out as an exploration of the lives of eight young Palestinian girls – three from Gaza, three from Ramallah in the West Bank, and two from Jaffa, Israel – as they try out for the role of Anne Frank. Part drama and part documentary, and shot in Arabic with English subtitles, it was meant to bring the young Jewish World War II diarist’s story to the Arab world, where many still believe the Holocaust never happened….
Bibi’s ‘nation-state’ law: the damage has already been done – to Israel / Bradley Burston
Haaretz blog A Special Place in Hell 25 Nov — Take a close look at the runaway clown car called the Netanyahu government. Some days, you don’t know whether to laugh or to vomit — At this point, it makes no difference if Benjamin Netanyahu’s “Jewish nation-state bill” is passed this week, or put off for a week, or never passes at all. The damage has already been done. And all of the damage has been done to Israel. Listen to the words of Mahmoud Seif, uncle of sergeant-major Zidan Nahad Seif, the Druze Arab Israeli policeman slain last Tuesday as he fought to stop the terrorist murder of Jews at prayer in a Jerusalem synagogue. Mahmoud Seif, who once hosted a young Likud MK named Benjamin Netanyahu in his Galilee home, spoke of the message the government’s proposed law was sending to Israel’s Arab minority, one out of every five citizens of Israel: “The ‘nation-state law,’ is saying, in other words: ‘Only the Jews should remain here.’ “What about the Druze? What about the many, many Arabs who are loyal to the country?,” he asked on Army Radio this week.”What are they going to do now? This is a law for Jews only.” Seif noted with gratitude the many Israeli Jews, including President Reuven Rivlin and prominent rabbis, who visited his family’s mourning tent last week, embracing them, expressing warm condolences for the loss of Zidan, who left a wife and a four-month-old daughter. “So many came to comfort us last week, and to exalt Zidan for saving lives, and today [the government] passes a law like this. How can this be? Why is this at all necessary?”
The damage is by no means confined to Israel. Not only do Netanyahu and his hardline ministers know that the law is entirely needless, commentator Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth Monday. They also know “that its only contribution will be to the de-legitimization campaign against Israel. There are many people of ill-will who seek out any excuse to present Israel as racist, jingoist, fascist. They argue that a combination of ‘Jewish’ and ‘democratic’ is impossible. “And now here comes the prime minister of Israel – the man who knows that this law is both harmful and superfluous – and grants the people who hate Israel exactly what they’ve been looking for.”…
On Sunday, the prime minister surprised the cabinet by submitting the most extreme version of the bill – the one that demotes Arabic as an official language, that deletes “equality” as a goal of the Jewish state, that grants the right of way to “Jewish” aspects of policy and secondary status to democratic principles, that opens the door to deporting non-Jews, in particular African asylum seekers, and to depriving Arabs of rights and privileges, and to neutering the Supreme Court as the last vestige of a check and balance to a clown car of a government, a government determined to see how far you can get if all you have is a gas pedal and a steering wheel which only turns to the right. In effect, the law would turn all of Israel into the West Bank…
These days, though, there is, in fact, something eating him [Netanyahu]. You can see in his eyes, the darting, the squinting, that he’s scared of something. But what is it? … “He’s terrified of not being prime minister,” my wife said this morning. As usual, my wife is right.
Israeli, West Bank Arabs’ divergent lives revealed in olive harvest / Tim Johnson
[with video] KAFR BARA, Israel (McClatchy) 24 Nov — Mohsein Assi was standing on a ladder, raking plump purple olives off a silver-leafed tree, when his phone rang. A worker at his clothing factory had sent him photos of pants and shirts and wanted his approval. Assi, 39, is from Kafr Bara, an Arab Israeli village a half-hour’s drive northeast of Tel Aviv. Year-round he owns and manages a textile factory in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank. Every fall, though, over three long weekends, Assi stuffs his Land Rover with tarps and sacks and drafts his wife and six children to help him pick the fruit that will be pressed into the year’s olive oil supply. “I love it, picking olives,” said Assi. “We – the Arabs – we know that the time of picking the olives, it’s not a season. It’s a holiday.” Ten miles away, in the West Bank village of Qarawat Bani Hassan, Assi’s cousin, who asked to be identified as Tayseer Mahmoudi, though that’s not his real name, prepared for the harvest by sipping tea made from the wild sage that grows around his olive trees. He’d returned the day before from three grueling days of welding in Israel – a job he gets to illegally because he has no permit to enter Israel, the reason he asked to use a pseudonym. He’d cleared a month for harvesting his olive trees and dreamed of the day he could live off the land. “I don’t look at the money,” Mahmoudi said. “I come here to relax.” As recently as 70 years ago, life for olive farmers in Kafr Bara and Qarawat Bani Hassan in the West Bank was largely the same, but today the harvest reflects the growing disparities between Palestinians who live in the West Bank and their more prosperous brethren who hold Israeli citizenship and grapple with a divided loyalty to people and country. These differences have been thrown into sharp relief amid a gruesome month of violence that’s claimed the lives of 11 Israelis and at least eight Palestinians, both assailants and demonstrators. Kafr Bara and Qarawat Bani Hassan were once a single farming community whose residents lived in the West Bank mountains in winter and moved to the coastal plain that became modern-day Israel during the summer wheat harvest. After Israel’s 1948 war for independence, the villagers who remained in Kafr Bara became part of Israel’s 20 percent Arab minority, while those in Qarawat Bani Hassan became Jordanians, until Israel occupied the West Bank during the Six-Day War of 1967.
The eerie similarities between Ferguson and Kafr Kana / David Rosenberg
Haaretz, David’s Harp blog 20 Nov — The two towns may be thousands of miles apart, but they are both home to second-class citizens with an unfinished history — So it’s not coincidence that in both towns, the killing of a local resident by police – who most forcefully represent the power of the state – triggered violent demonstrations. In Ferguson, an 18-year-old black man was killed on August 9 by a police officer, sparking days of protests and looting, and finally a U.S. Department of Justice investigation. Two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black while the local police force is nearly entirely white. Three months later, in Kafr Kana, a 22-year-old was shot and killed by police, also setting off unrest and an Israeli Justice Ministry investigation. Kafr Kana is an Israeli Arab town, mostly Muslim, and the police force is national – but according to a Knesset report, only 1.8% of Israel’s 21,000 police officers are Muslims.The two incidents resemble in their messy aspects too. Were the police too ready to shoot and kill because they had little regard for their victims? Or were they really defending themselves from attack?… It’s risky business to try to compare racism in two countries and decide which of them has more work ahead to create a fair and just society. But using some very rough data, Israel comes out looking worse than America in how it treats its biggest minority.
Palestinians send messages of solidarity to #Ferguson protesters
Middle East Eye 25 Nov — After night of widespread protests in Ferguson, Missouri, Palestinian messages of solidarity are spread widely on social media — Palestinian messages of solidarity with protesters in the American town of Ferguson were tweeted thousands of times overnight on Monday. “Solidarity with Ferguson from the occupied besieged and bloodied Gaza. Palestinian lives matter. Black lives matter. All lives should matter,” read one. Another said: “The Palestinian people know what [it] mean[s] to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity.” … Solidarity between Palestinians and protesters in Ferguson has been an ongoing theme in the protests. “From Ferguson to Palestine occupation is a crime,” read one banner seen in Missouri.