Israel killed 9 Palestinians, arrested 650 in November
Al-Akhbar 2 Dec — Israeli Occupation Forces killed nine Palestinians and arrested 650 others in November, Ahrar Center for Detainees’ Studies and Human Rights, a Palestinian rights organization said in a report on Monday. The child Mohammed Amin al-Syam, who died in Turkey after sustaining severe wounds in the latest Gaza war, is among the nine Palestinian victims. Eleven of Syam’s family members were killed in the summer war … Moreover, Israeli forces detained 650 Palestinians in annexed East Jerusalem, the occupied West Bank, and Occupied Palestine in November. According to the report, the highest number of arrests documented were in East Jerusalem and Hebron. The detainees included 17 women and 42 minors, 30 of which were arrested in annexed East Jerusalem. According to a 2013 report by the UN’s Children’s Fund, Israel is the only country in the world where children are systematically tried in military courts and subjected to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.” Over the past decade, Israeli forces have arrested, interrogated, and prosecuted around 7,000 children between 12 and 17, some as young as nine, at a rate of “an average of two children each day,” UNICEF said. A report by Defense for Children International (DCI) published in May 2014 said Israel jails 20 percent of Palestinian children it detains in solitary confinement.
Violence / Raids / Arrests
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian teenager near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Dec – A Palestinian teenager was shot and injured by Israeli troops early Wednesday morning in clashes in ‘Askar refugee camp east of Nablus in the northern West Bank. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed the city of Nablus as well as Askar camp and the al-Makhfiyya neighborhood east of the city and clashed with young Palestinian men. The sources reported that 14-year-old Ahmad Mazin was shot in his foot. The sources added that the Israeli troops broke into a residential building in the al-Makhfiyya neighborhood and took photos inside. No detentions have been reported.
Arab taxi driver attacked with pepper spray in Jerusalem
Haaretz 1 Dec by Nir Hasson — An Arab taxi driver was lightly hurt after being attacked with pepper spray in central Jerusalem on Monday. The driver, Mohammed Shalayla, a resident of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, said he stopped on King George Street to pick up a passenger, when a Jewish man in his 40s shouted, “Don’t take that cab – the driver is Arab.” He said he responded that he wouldn’t drive such an “extremist” passenger, and that the man then pepper-sprayed him in the face through the window. The spray hurt his eyes, ears and face. Magen David Adom first responders took the victim to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem for treatment. Shalayla said that, despite a complaint filed with police, no one had questioned him about the incident even an hour and a half later. Jerusalem police confirmed the details of the incident, and said they had begun a search for the attacker. Earlier this month, four girls from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar were arrested in Jerusalem on suspicion of spraying Arabs in Jerusalem with pepper spray.
Israeli soldiers fire on undocumented workers near Tulkarem
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Dec — Israeli forces, on Monday, opened fire at Palestinian workers who tried to cross into Israel without permits near Jubara checkpoint, to the south of Tulkarem, according to witnesses. Witnesses told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli soldiers shut down the checkpoint in both directions, detaining a number of undocumented workers and deploying heavily in the area, following the incident. There were no immediate reports of injuries. An Israeli army spokesman stated that a number of Palestinians “approached the fence and began climbing the fence,” and that soldiers fired warning shots in the air, telling them to stop. When the workers did not stop, the soldiers detained them for questioning. No information was given in regard to the number of Palestinians detained. According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, Israel has denied permits to tens of thousands of Palestinians, with some 15,000-30,000 Palestinians now working in Israel without permits.
Three Palestinians held in West Bank hit-and-run
Times of Israel 2 Dec by Stuart Winer — Security forces still unsure of the motives behind event that left man seriously injured at roadside — Security forces arrested three Palestinians overnight Monday on suspicion they were involved in an incident that left a man seriously injured at the side of a road in the West Bank earlier in the day. The three suspects were apprehended in the town of Kfar Qabalan, near Nablus, and handed over to the Shin Bet security services for questioning. On Monday afternoon a man in his fifties was found unconscious at the Alon Junction in the northern West Bank with serious injuries including some to his head. Magen David Adom emergency services resuscitated the man and transferred him to a hospital where he was still being treated on Tuesday. An eyewitness said he was struck by a car, which drove off in the direction of Tapuah Junction. Police and security forces began a search for the perpetrators. Investigators said it was not clear if the incident was criminally motivated or a terror attack and that all lines of investigation were being checked.
Palestinian woman accused of stabbing in serious condition
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — A Palestinian woman who was shot after attempting to stab an Israeli near Gush Etzion junction suffered serious injuries, locals told Ma‘an. Amal Taqatqa, who was taken to Hadassa Ein Karem hospital, suffered from serious injuries but is able to talk. The sources said she was probably questioned by the Israeli army on her hospital bed. Taqatqa’s family had denied claims that she attempted to stab an Israeli and said the Israeli army deliberately targeted her and shot her in cold blood. [Note following article from 2011]
Police: Mentally ill woman detained near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Mar 2011 — Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian woman south of Bethlehem on Friday for allegedly attempting to stab a soldier at the Etzion settlement junction. Amal Jamal Fakhri Taqatqa, 19, from Beit Fajjar, was arrested, security forces told Ma‘an. The same officials said that according to a medical report provided by Taqatqa’s family, she is mentally ill. The Palestinian and Israeli liaison offices are coordinating to release her.
Israeli forces raid Shu‘fat camp, Silwan in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Israeli forces in East Jerusalem raided Shu‘fat refugee camp and the Silwan neighborhood on Tuesday, local officials said. A spokesman of the Fatah movement in Shu‘fat camp told Ma‘an that Israeli special forces entered the area and toured the streets, firing stun grenades haphazardly. Local young men clashed with the Israeli officers shortly afterwards, the spokesman said. In Silwan, Israeli forces escorted inspectors from the Gichon water company to the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood. Jawad Siyam, who works for the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, said the inspectors uninstalled several water meters, claiming locals had not paid their water bills. He said the move was “part of an ongoing collective punishment (campaign) against Palestinian Jerusalemites.” The campaign includes random fines and taxes against residents, along with daily detention raids, Siyam said.
Israeli forces raid Huwarra village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Israeli forces on Monday evening raided several houses in Huwarra village south of Nablus. A Fatah leader in Huwarra, Awwad Najim, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village and fired shots and stun grenades. Najim added that Israeli forces raided several houses in the main street of the village and took over some rooftops for military use. Some of them withdrew, while others remain in position in the village, he added.
Israeli forces close Nablus-area school, say vehicles were stoned
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Dec – Israeli troops on Wednesday morning shut down a secondary school which serves two Palestinian villages south of Nablus in the northern West Bank, a Palestinian official and locals said Wednesday. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers denied hundreds of schoolchildren from al-Lubban and al-Sawiya villages entry to their secondary school located near the main road between Nablus and Ramallah. The Israelis notified the school administration that it would be closed because Israeli vehicles driving on the nearby street have been attacked with stones. Palestinian government sources told Ma‘an that the Israeli liaison department notified its Palestinian counterpart of the decision to shut down the school for one day.
Soldiers kidnap six Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Dec by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday, various Palestinian communities in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped six Palestinians, including three in occupied East Jerusalem. Local sources in the northern West Bank city of Nablus have reported that several Israeli military vehicles invaded the city, during early dawn hours, searched homes and kidnapped one Palestinian … Soldiers also kidnapped a young Palestinian man, 18 years of age, near the Za’tara roadblock, south of the northern West bank city of Nablus, and took him to an unknown destination. The army claimed the Palestinian, who remained unidentified until the time of this report, “carried a knife.” Several military vehicles also invaded Silwad town, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped a former political prisoner, identified as Bassam Hamed, 40 years of age. His father said the soldiers stormed his home, forced the family into one room, and kidnapped his son after ransacking the property. The soldiers used military dogs while searching the property … Also in Ramallah, soldiers invaded Deir Ammar village and Beitello town, broke into several homes, and used the rooftops of a number of homes as military towers. The army also installed roadblocks blocking the entrances of the village, stopped and searched dozens of cars, and interrogated the passengers while inspecting their ID cards. The soldiers withdrew later on; no arrests were reported. On Monday morning, soldiers kidnapped three Palestinians, family members of detainee Omar Ibrahim al-‘Abbassi, while attending his hearing in the District Court in occupied Jerusalem.
Three Palestinians kidnapped near Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Dec by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, three Palestinians in Wad Fukin village, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and searched a number of homes. Soldiers also invaded Teqoua’ village … On Monday evening, the army said Palestinians hurled three Molotov cocktails, and stones, at settlers’ vehicles driving near the Beitar Illit illegal settlement, west of Bethlehem. The army said the attacks took place on the bypass settlement road near Husan town; no injuries were reported. Also on Monday evening, soldiers broke into a bakery in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and interrogated several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. The soldiers also inspected surveillance cameras and tapes in the bakery, but did not confiscate them. [Ma‘an: The shop’s cameras overlook the street leading to Gush Etzion, where a Palestinian woman (Amal Taqatqa] attempted to stab an Israeli settler earlier in the day before being shot and injured by Israeli forces.]
Israeli forces detain 7 Palestinians in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Israeli forces arrested seven Palestinians overnight in East Jerusalem, a lawyer told Ma‘an Tuesday. Muhammad Mahmoud of the human rights organization Addameer said Israeli forces raided the Ras al-Amoud area of the Old City and detained Ubada Dandis, 20, Ahmad Najadi, 19, Muhammad Najadi, 22, and Mahmoud Salamah. In the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood, Israeli forces arrested 15-year-old Muhammad Abdo and 25-year-old Rami Uweisat, the lawyer said. Additionally, 33-year-old Muhannad Ubeid was detained in al-‘Isawiya.
PA forces operate in H2 area for 1st time during daytime
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Palestinian security forces arrested two suspected fugitives in Hebron’s H2 area on Tuesday for the first time since launching a crackdown on outlaws over two months ago. A Palestinian security official told Ma‘an that security forces arrested two suspected fugitives in H2, which is under Israeli security control. PA forces have in the past operated in H2 during predawn hours, but this is the first time they have arrested someone in the daytime. “We have instructions from President Mahmoud Abbas and commanders of the security services to do whatever is needed in order to secure our citizens and terminate all negative phenomena which disturbs their lives,” the official said. Local youths threw stones at security forces as they made the arrests, with officers firing gunshots in the air. No injuries were reported.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Army to demolish Bedouin tents south of Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Dec by Saed Bannoura — Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, Tuesday, Masafer Yatta and the al-Mafqara Bedouin communities south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and handed out destruction orders against residential tents, and structures. Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in southern Hebron Rateb Jabour said the soldiers handed orders against a residential tent in Masafer Yatta, and three tents in al-Mafqara, near the Tiwani area. Soldiers also photographed an elementary school in the area, an issue that raised fears among the residents that the army intends to demolish it. Last month, the army demolished and removed a number of residential structures, sheds and barns in the area, and handed orders against several tents, barns and water wells in a number of communities near Yatta.
IDF confiscates 8 tarps meant to shelter Bedouin from winter storms
Haaretz 2 Dec by Amira Hass — Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank has confiscated eight large tarpaulins meant to protect residents of a Bedouin tent from the rain, claiming they would be used for illegal construction. The residents of the tent encampment, known as Khan al-Ahmar Tabaneh, belong to a large Bedouin tribe east of Jerusalem that Israel plans to forcibly relocate to a new town north of Jericho. The tarps were donated by the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry as part of its efforts to help agricultural communities protect themselves and their crops from the weather. During last Thursday’s storm, a ministry vehicle that wasn’t able to reach one of the encampment’s five tents left eight large tarps – each 10 by 7 meters – on a nearby hill. The encampment is on the road from Jericho to Abu Dis, near the settlement of Kfar Adumim. Mousa Tabaneh, a resident of the tent – which houses some 10 families – told Haaretz the tarps were mainly meant to shelter the children and sheep. But before the residents could pick them up, they saw someone get out of an Israeli civilian car and photograph them. About an hour later, at 2:45 P.M., Civil Administration inspectors arrived and, after a brief conversation with the residents, confiscated the tarps …
Like the rest of the Jahalin tribe, the Tabaneh clan is originally from the Negev, but was expelled to the West Bank (then under Jordanian rule) in 1948. The community supports itself by sheepherding and working as hired laborers. About two months ago, the Civil Administration published its plan for moving thousands of Bedouin from three different tribes to a new town north of Jericho called Talet Nueima. The tribes, which currently live east of Jerusalem or in the Jordan Valley, oppose this plan and have filed dozens of objections to it with the relevant planning agencies. For now, court orders bar the Civil Administration from evicting the Bedouin. But the administration refuses to let them make any changes – even minor ones like adding a tent or a prefab building – to accommodate natural population growth. Any such addition is served with a demolition order.
Army confiscates dozens of dunams of Palestinian land near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Dec — The Israeli army issued an order illegally confiscating dozens of dunams of Palestinian agricultural lands, belonging to residents of Rantis village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Head of the Rantis Village Council Moayyad Wahdan stated that the army handed a military order illegally confiscating 48 dunams of lands, north of the village. Wahdan added that the order only stated the lands would be used for military purposes. He said the villagers intend to challenge the order in Israeli courts in an attempt to void it. The village lost hundreds of dunams of agricultural lands in three main areas when Israel started the construction of the Annexation Wall in Rantis village lands in 2004.
Palestinian man defies Israeli forces alone
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Despite the continuous harassment to him and his family by Israeli soldiers for more than 20 years, and despite the continuous demolition of his humble tin-roofed house near Israel’s separation wall, 60-year-old Ali Salim Mousa from the town of al-Khadr south of Bethlehem remains firm on his land. Speaking to Ma‘an on Sunday, Mousa said his house had been demolished by Israeli forces four times, and “the fifth demolition is on the way.” His sons, who decided to build a similar houses in the same area, have started to face the same fate. Mousa lives in this house with 38 children and grandchildren. Speaking about his humble house, Mousa says the walls are made of bricks and the roof is movable tin sheets. One-hundred meters away, he added, a viewer can see a “fancy” separation wall overlooking Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the mountains of the Jordan Valley. A look at the simple house gives one the immediate impression that it would be impossible to live under such circumstances for a few days, but surprisingly Mousa has been living there for 28 years. He told Ma‘an that he built the first house in the mid-1980s and the Israeli forces demolished it immediately. Then he rebuilt the house and it was demolished three more times the last of which was in June along with three other houses for his sons … Among the types of harassment was a military post only 50 meters from Mousa’s house during the second Palestinian uprising. The military post, says Mousa, remained there for at least seven years, and it posed a life threat to everything that moves. “Israeli border guard officers used to knock on our door every night and order us to stay in the open. They sought to break our firm will but we persevered and will persevere.” Asked about possible financial or even moral support, Mousa confirmed that he hasn’t received any support from official Palestinian sides.
Israeli forces demolish East Jerusalem home under construction
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Israeli forces on Monday demolished a Palestinian home under construction in the al-‘Isawiya neighborhood of East Jerusalem, witnesses and a local spokesman said. Witnesses said Israeli officers escorted excavators which demolished a house belonging to Ishaq Mustafa Hamdan, claiming it was built without a permit in an area designated as green space. Local follow-up committee spokesman Muhammad Abu al-Hummus confirmed the demolition. He said Israeli special forces and police mounted on horseback stormed al-‘Isawiya before the demolition. Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces during the demolition, and one young man was hit with a rubber-coated bullet in his abdomen, Abu al-Hummus said. He said the house measured 200 square meters.
Why is West Bank settlement construction falling?
TLV1 (Israel) 1 Dec — West Bank settlement construction (specifically housing starts as opposed to finished constructions) has dropped by 62.4 percent in 2014 so far, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics. Tovah Lazaroff, settlements reporter for the Jerusalem Post, tells host Allison Kaplan Sommer that West Bank settlements only make up around 2.8 percent of settlements in the country as a whole. Construction dropped overall in the country in 2014, Lazaroff says, but only by 7.4 percent. She says this is not due to any policy changes; the Israeli public gets an exaggerated picture of settlement construction because each set of constructions gets reported in the media numerous times at different stages of the construction process. Lazaroff says it’s too early to say how much recent violent events in Jerusalem and the West Bank might affect the demand for new homes in the West Bank. Dani Dayan, former chairman of the YESHA Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, says not a single new home was approved for construction in the West Bank in the last seven months, so this tendency of reduced construction will manifest itself in even more extreme statistics in the future. Dayan says he finds the contradiction between the government’s declarations and their actions on the ground worrying; the government, he believes, is appeasing the domestic audience with its words and the international audience with its (lack of) actions. The demand for housing in this area is huge despite the security situation, Dayan says, and such settlements could even be the solution to the crisis of high housing prices across Israel.
IDF fires e-bombs toward southern Gaza
Middle East Monitor 1 Dec — The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) opened fire on agricultural land at the edges of Khan Younes in the south of the Gaza Strip on Sunday, resulting in no injuries. Eyewitnesses told MEMO sources that the IDF deployed at the Kissufim military fired electromagnetic bombs on farmland, causing mild damages to crops. An unspecified number of Israeli jeeps first gathered near the Kissufim base, before a number of soldiers exited the jeeps and directed machine-gun fire and the e-bombs toward land in the east of Khan Younes, MEMO has heard.No statements were issued by the IDF on the incident as of Sunday at 20:20 hours.
Drones flying over Gaza again
2 Dec Facebook post by Mahmmood Arafaat — Today, and for the first time after the last war ended, Israeli drones are flying heavily again in Gaza. This is a big sign of something bad may happen soon. Every war Israel has done against the Gaza Strip started with the same thing, Drones fly heavily above our heads, then they assassinate some one of our leaders or commit strikes or even provokes Palestinians and the resistance by any means to do a war, then a war happen and repeat the genocide. Signs of another war start to get clearer. We need more signs of your support and withstanding
Egypt closes Rafah after stranded Gazans return home
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after it was open for two days to allow Palestinians stranded in Egypt to return home, a statement said. The Palestinian department of borders and crossings said in a statement that 554 travelers were allowed to return to Gaza throughout the two days the crossing was open. Rafah was only open for Palestinians entering Gaza via Egypt, and not vice versa. Egypt also opened the crossing for two days last week, when some 500 stranded Palestinians were allowed to enter. Before last Wednesday, the terminal had been closed for more than 30 consecutive days.
Safety guaranteed for Gaza family allowed to settle in UK
Channel 4 blog 2 Dec by Simon Israel — A family of Palestinian children, evacuated from Gaza, has arrived to settle in the UK, following reports by Channel 4 News. The father, British refugee Ali Dalloul, was told his children, aged 10-17, could not come to Britain after the Foreign Office got them out of Gaza during a temporary ceasefire during Israeli attacks in August. They were left stranded in Amman in Jordan and told to fend for themselves. But last week the FCO relented in the face of threats of legal action for alleged breaches of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mr Dalloul and his teenage daughters and son landed at Heathrow today. He said he’s relieved his children’s ordeal is finally over and their safety from rockets, bombs and threats is now guaranteed. [See video from 25 Oct: Gaza family caught in limbo ]
Turkey, Pakistan help Gaza victims
World Bulletin 2 Dec — A Turkish charity said on Tuesday that they have provided aid to around 3,500 families in Gaza. The charity has helped 3,500 families by sending propane cylinders, heaters, blankets and winter clothes to those in need, the Gaza Representative of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, Mehmet Kaya, said in a statement … Pakistan on Wednesday also donated one million dollars to a UN relief agency as humanitarian aid for Gaza victims.
Church of Ireland launches Christmas appeal to fund projects at Gaza hospital
Irish Times 2 Dec by Patsy McGarry — The Church of Ireland united dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough aim to raise €150,000 for the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City over the Christmas period. Families throughout the dioceses are being urged to include an imaginary Gaza guest in their festive gatherings this year to help raise funds for the appeal. They can contribute by donating the cost of the meal for their Gaza guest and the price of a gift for a loved one. In the emergency non-political appeal Archbishop Michael Jackson encouraged people in the united dioceses 59 parishes to “please lay a place at your table for someone, just like any of us, as a way of supporting friends abroad and contributing to the reconstruction of the Al Ahli Hospital which itself turns nobody away” … The appeal is being run as part of a longer term link which is being nurtured between Dublin and Glendalough, and the Diocese of Jerusalem which owns and controls the Al Ahli Hospital.
Hamas cancels 27th anniversary festival in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Hamas has decided to cancel Gaza City celebrations for the 27th anniversary of the movement’s founding, a Hamas official said Monday. Ashraf Abu Zeid, who is in charge of public events, told Ma‘an that Hamas had canceled the anniversary festival “in respect for the feelings of our people under siege in Gaza, and in light of the delay in reconstruction” of the Strip following the devastating war with Israel this summer. “Hamas wasn’t created for festivals,” Abu Zeid said. He said limited and “humble” celebrations would be held at the local level.
Israel army says Gaza fisherman ‘smuggled weapons for Hamas’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Israel’s army claims that a Gaza fisherman it detained two weeks ago at the Erez crossing was smuggling weapons from Egypt for the Hamas movement, Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported. The report on the Hebrew-language website of the TV channel said Husam Bakir, 43, had worked as a fisherman before being recruited by Hamas to work for a smuggling unit. The unit, according to the Israeli channel, has been smuggling weapons, ammunition, and even grad missiles from Sinai to Gaza. The report said that Bakir would transport the weapons in his fishing boat before Hamas divers would collect the shipments at sea. He was detained two weeks ago at Erez while attempting to visit his son, who is receiving medical treatment in Israel.
Abbas: Egypt right to create buffer zone on Gaza border
Haaretz 1 Dec by Jack Khoury — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he cannot ask Egypt to stop its operation to demolish houses and create a buffer zone in Rafah, on the Egyptian side of the border with Gaza, because he is fully aware of Egyptian security needs. The Egyptians have been clearing a strip up to half a kilometer wide along the border in a bid to destroy smuggling tunnels into Gaza, demolishing the homes of Palestinians located along the border. In an interview with Egyptian newspaper Al-Akhbar, Abbas said 1,800 millionaires had been created in Gaza after they took advantage of the blockade and used the smuggling tunnels for their own personal benefit. As those tunnels were also used for smuggling weapons, drugs, cash and equipment for forging documents, Abbas believed the destruction of the tunnels was the best solution. The Palestinian president said he had recommended previously the sealing or destruction of the tunnels by flooding them and then punishing the owners of the homes that contained entrances to the tunnels, including demolishing their homes. He added that Egypt and Palestine are the only places in the world that have to deal with such a problem. Abbas also took advantage of his improved standing in the Egyptian press to attack Hamas, saying it is an inseparable part of the Muslim Brotherhood and takes orders from the Brotherhood’s international leadership.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Barclays branches across UK forced to close after protests by pro-Palestinian activists
Express (UK) 29 Nov by Dion Dassanayake — The protests were in response to the bank’s holdings in Israel’s largest military company which provided drones used in recent deadly strikes on Gaza. The flagship Barclays branch in Piccadilly Circus closed three hours early as 35 people from London’s Palestine Action network held a sit-in occupation. A member of the group said: “We shut down Barclays today to protest its investments in Elbit Systems and other companies that arm Israel. “Barclays think it is acceptable to profit from Israel’s massacres of Palestinians. “It is time for the UK government to stop arming Israel and for UK companies to dissociate themselves from the arms trade with Israel.”
Iconic image heads UN Palestine solidarity campaign
Electronic Intifada 1 Dec by Sarah Irving — “Crowded classrooms and limited facilities do not dim this girl’s enthusiasm for learning, something shared by all her classmates at the UNRWA girls school, Qabr Essit camp, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic” — thus reads the official caption to a 1983 image of a young girl at a school for Palestinian refugees in Syria. This photograph now forms the centerpiece of the UN’s International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. On Tuesday, it will be projected onto buildings in eight cities across the world, in an effort to inspire solidarity with the people of Palestine: Bangkok, Beirut, Dubai, Jakarta, Marrakesh, Seville, Tokyo, Vienna and on the UN headquarters in New York … The use of the striking photograph is also intended to raise awareness of UNRWA’s archive of around half a million images from its work with Palestinian refugees. The archive has been awarded “Memory of the World” status by UNESCO for its value in recording a major aspect of the history of Palestine and the wider Middle East. Around two-thirds of the archive has been digitized – more than 300,000 photographs – some of them dating back to the Nakba of 1948. The images are progressively being made available online to “journalists, writers, scholars and members of the public,” according to the UNRWA release.
Why US activists for Palestine are starting to play the Washington game / Alex Kane
NEW YORK (Middle East Eye0 3 Dec — The Democratic Party, some progressives in the US like to say, is the “graveyard of social movements”. And for many years, activists for Palestinian rights have taken that sentiment to heart. Playing the Washington game has been seen as a waste of time. Activists who dismissed lobbying on Capitol Hill said it was a distraction from efforts like the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-led initiative that advocates for boycotts of Israeli products, divestment from corporations with links to the Israeli army and government-level sanctions. There’s ample reason for this kind of thinking. Both Democrats and Republicans are united behind a right-wing, pro-Israel agenda that pours $3.1 bn of annual military aid into Israel. Last summer, as Israeli bombs blanketed the Gaza Strip, killing scores of civilians, politicians were busy voting for more aid to Israel. But some advocates for Palestinian rights are beginning to shift their gaze from the streets to the halls of power. They say the time is ripe to begin building influence on Capitol Hill, once thought to be an immovable obstacle – thanks to the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the military-industrial complex and Christian Evangelicals. Are these activists on to something? If the history of how US policy on South African apartheid was changed is any guide, the answer is yes. Divestment campaigns and a massive public opinion shift on South Africa helped pave the way towards US sanctions on the apartheid regime. Washington may be the place where social movements are co-opted, but it’s also the place where powerful social movements can change US policy.
Israel’s fear of boycott rooted in tactic’s historic victories against colonialism
Electronic Intifada 2 Dec by Tithi Bhattacharya — This week UAW 2865, representing thirteen thousand student workers across nine University of California campuses, could become the first labor union in the US to join the Palestinian-led movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The union’s 4 December vote comes in the wake of a momentous period of organizing for BDS on college campuses and within scholarly associations — a process marked by a spectacular victory for our side when the American Studies Association voted overwhelmingly for BDS in December 2013. This followed the Asian American Studies Association, which in April 2013 became the first scholarly association to adopt BDS. This is despite, and in response to, the violence unleashed by Israel on Palestinian lives and homes during the summer in the genocidal military campaign against Gaza. One way to judge our success would be by the measure of outrage of Zionist organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League … Undoubtedly, the lead-up to the vote and its aftermath will see an escalation of Zionist propaganda against BDS. So it is important to make two points as we organize towards the future: First, that historically, boycott is a tactic used by the dispossessed against the powerful. This is not a new tactic. Boycott has deep roots in anti-imperialist struggle, internationally. Palestinians stand alongside other anti-imperialist fighters whose rich and fierce history of struggle is worth recalling today — not simply because it ought to be part of our collective historical memory, but also because they won against their oppressors. Second, that the tactic of BDS presents particular difficulties for Israel and its allies, because it is an international movement and not tied to particular nation states or their rulers.
Documents reveal pro-Israel lawfare attack at University College London
Electronic Intifada 2 Dec by Hilary Aked — Documents obtained by The Electronic Intifada reveal a complicated year-long attempt to undermine Palestine solidarity at the prestigious University College London (UCL) using legal threats. Also important were the support of an unidentified MP and smears about “radical Islamism.” In December 2012 a student wrote to Malcolm Grant, then head of UCL, complaining about a campus referendum which condemned the humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s bombing of Gaza in November that year … Emails released by the university under the Freedom of Information Act (one is published below) redacted the name of the complainant, but she has been identified by The Electronic Intifada as Susan Storring, then a mature student in the department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. The emails show that Storring called on Grant to prevent students making a political stand against the Israeli onslaught, calling the motion “irrational and inflammatory.” She said she wanted to see “the university authorities step in to explain how students must behave.” Storring encouraged Grant to discipline students who were promoting the referendum and even suggested he threaten them with expulsion:
Photos of the month: Jerusalem ignites while Gaza still smolders
Activestills 1 Dec — As violence increased in Jerusalem, residents of war-torn Gaza continued struggling to survive and cope with slow reconstruction and approaching winter weather. These and other images in our month in photos, November 2014.
Israel plans to reintroduce ban on Palestinian flag
Electronic Intifada 1 Dec by Patrick Strickland — A new Israeli bill aims to criminalize the Palestinian flag. The eight-point plan — labeled by its supporters as an “anti-terror” bill — was introduced by stridently anti-Palestinian politician Yariv Levin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and a lawmaker in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. In order to become law, the bill still needs to be passed by the Knesset. Among other harsh provisions, it will “make it a crime to display the Palestinian flag and other ‘enemy’ emblems at demonstrations,” The Daily Telegraph reports in a 26 November article. Israeli academic Ilan Pappé, author of more than a dozen books on Palestinian and Israeli history, explained that an ongoing wave of discriminatory bills is part of a racist trend of anti-Palestinian legislation in Israel’s Knesset. Until recent years, Israel “was uncomfortable with the contradiction between racism and democracy” and insisted that it was possible to be an exclusively Jewish state and democratic at the same time, Pappé told The Electronic Intifada by email. Israel “hesitated to legislate in [an outright] racist manner since it was possible, in its leaders’ eyes, to practice a de facto apartheid state with laws that were democratic in discourse but discriminatory in nature when implemented,” Pappé added. Yet, as anti-Palestinian incitement has soared, Israeli politicians have become more forward in explicitly targeting Palestinians with discriminatory legislation, according to Pappé….
Palestinian football body calls on FIFA to suspend Israel’s membership
Middle East Monitor 1 Dec — The Palestinian Football Federation yesterday called on FIFA to show Israel “the red card” after Israeli soldiers stormed its offices in Ramallah last week, Arabs48.com reported. Palestinian Football Federation president Jibril Rajoub said: “I do believe that last week’s raiding the headquarters of the association was a disgrace for everybody and I think this requires a position from the family of football.” “I think it is the time to take sanctions. What happened last week had no precedents in the history of sport. … I want to remain representing … the values of the game rather than through the violence of the guns and rifles.” Last Monday, three military Israeli patrols raided the headquarters of the Palestinian Football Federation, blocked the employees and thoroughly inspected the offices without giving any information about the reasons behind their acts. Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa condemned the “unjustified aggression” on one of the Federation’s affiliates, calling it “unacceptable”. Meanwhile, Rajoub expressed his fears that the Israeli restrictions on travel might prevent Palestine from dispatching its best players to the first major international tournament.
Ashrawi: We are serious about stopping security coordination with Israel
Middle East Monitor 2 Dec — Member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi has stressed that the Palestinian leadership is serious about stopping security coordination with Israel in the event that Palestine does not obtain a decision from the UN Security Council to end the occupation within a certain timeframe. In her statements to the Anadolu Agency, Ashrawi said: “Ending the security coordination is one step in a series of measures to be taken by the Palestinian leadership in the event they are unable to obtain a decision from the Security Council. The most important measure to be taken is reconsidering Palestinian-Israeli security and economic relations.” With regards to the date of submitting the Palestinian project, Ashrawi said: “We had planned to present the project for discussion on Sunday to the Arab ministerial meeting, but it became apparent that the Arab states want to make an effort to convince a number of states to vote in favour of the project.” She noted that the project will be presented in a few days’ time. Ashrawi also expressed her hope that Palestine will earn enough votes in favour of the project, adding, “I am optimistic about the success of the project, but there have been American threats and vows to abort the project with its vetoing power.”
Jordan hopes for Israeli-Palestinian UN resolution
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 2 Dec — Jordan’s U.N. envoy said Tuesday she will be trying to get the U.N. Security Council to agree on a resolution before Christmas that would press for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ambassador Dina Kawar, the Arab representative on the 15-member council, told a group of reporters that there are Palestinian and French drafts, and there may be others. The Palestinians circulated a draft on Oct. 1 asking the council to set a deadline of November 2016 for an Israeli withdrawal from all Palestinian territory occupied since 1967. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said last Friday that France is working for a U.N. resolution aimed at restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations — and setting a two-year deadline for success. Kawar said Jordan will be working to get a text acceptable to all council members.
French MPs vote in favour of recognising Palestine
AFP 2 Dec by Richard Carter — French lawmakers voted Tuesday in favour of recognising Palestine as a state, sparking an immediate angry reaction from Israel which said such “unilateral measures” would harm efforts towards Middle East peace. Following hot on the heels of similar votes in Britain and Spain, French MPs voted 339 to 151 in favour of a motion urging the government to recognise the state of Palestine as a way of achieving a “definitive resolution of the conflict.” The vote — which is non-binding on the government but highly symbolic — comes as European countries seek alternative ways to restart the stalled Middle East process. Sweden’s government has gone even further, officially recognising Palestine as a state in a controversial move that prompted Israel to recall its ambassador. But the French vote result still prompted a swift and angry response from Tel Aviv, which said it would send the “wrong message” to the region and would be counterproductive to the drive towards peace.
Portugal supports Palestinian rights
Middle East Monitor 29 Nov — The Portuguese parliament has confirmed its support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinians, including the right for self-determination. According to Quds.net, which reported the news, a parliamentary statement called on Israel to comply with international law for a solution based on two states and relevant UN resolutions. In its statement issued on the occasion of the global day of solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Portuguese parliament said that it supported the peace process in the Middle East, leading to the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and reaching just solutions for all final status issues.
MKs to vote on dissolution of 19th Knesset
Ynet 3 Dec by Moran Azulay — As Netanyahu’s third term comes to an end, faction leaders to convene at Edelstein’s office in morning to decide on March election date — After an exhausting day of political drama and uncertainty, in which key ministers were fired and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition collapsed, Israel awaits the official announcement of early elections in 2015. Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein summoned the various faction heads for a discussion Wednesday morning at 10am to determine a date for general elections for the 20th Knesset. In the afternoon hours, there will be a preliminary reading of the bill to disband the Knesset, with only the remaining members of the coalition – Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, and Bayit Yehudi – expected to support the legislation. The bill’s passage would mark the official end of the third Netanyahu government, which lasted slightly more than a year and a half. As of Tuesday night, officials at the Prime Minister’s Office discussed three potential dates for the election: 10th, 17th, or 24th of March.
Arab MKs meet to discuss joining forces
Ynet 3 Dec by Hassan Shaalan — The expected announcement on elections in 2015 galvanized the Arab parties and Hadash into action on Tuesday, when representatives of the three factions met to discuss the possibility of running as one party. United Arab List-Ta’al, Balad and Hadash are concerned they will be left out of the next Knesset after the threshold was raised from 2 percent to 3.25 percent in March 2014. “Now, more than any elections in the past, we must act with the utmost responsibility and create a united Arab list that will keep the unique political platforms for each party, while raising the level of Arab representation from 11 seats to 16,” Balad MK Hanin Zoabi said. “There is no way to deal with the rising racism without uniting the Arab parties.”
UN resolution: Israel must renounce nuclear arms
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 2 Dec — The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved an Arab-backed resolution Tuesday calling on Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and put its nuclear facilities under international oversight. The resolution, adopted in a 161-5 vote, noted that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It called on Israel to “accede to that treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons” and put its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency. The United States, Canada, Palau and Micronesia joined Israel in opposing the measure, while 18 countries abstained. Israel is widely considered to possess nuclear arms but declines to confirm it.
Banksy and Palestine
Buzzfeed 20 Nov — Banksy, the anonymous English graffiti artist may be the most mysterious and celebrated urban artist in the world today. Born out of the Bristol underground scene, Banksy has crossed the world leaving his/her mark on walls. Her/his 2010 film Exit Through the Gift Shop was nominated for an Oscar and this week HBO premiered a documentary on the artist, Banksy Does New York. Recently, an internet hoax spread that Banksy had been arrested and the identity revealed. The artist remains as mysterious as ever. Although popular around the globe, one place where Banksy has won a special place in the heart of many is Palestine. The artist took his/her trademark style to the Israeli separation barrier.
Anti-Defamation League creates blacklist of groups that link Ferguson to Palestine
Muzzlewatch 1 Dec — File this under “You can’t make this up.” Abe Foxman, whose $688,000 annual salary makes him one of the most over-paid pro-Israel lobbyists in the country, recently embarrassed himself (again) by actually releasing a press statement lecturing NFL star Reggie Bush on his Twitter feed — Bush had dared compared Ferguson and Gaza. But it gets worse. The Anti-Defamation League, which leverages its reputation as a fighter of bigotry to silence human rights critics of the Israeli government (thereby actually perpetuating bigotry and worse), has published a defacto blacklist of groups that dared to link Ferguson with Palestine. I mean, what could the militarization of U.S. police forces and repeated, unaccountable killing of unarmed people of color possibly have to do with Palestine? According to the ADL — daring to make the connection is purely cynical at best, and a form of hate at worst. But here is where the ADL gets the chutzpah award: singled out for particular opprobrium are those who link what’s happening in Ferguson to the training of police in Israel. The ADL, for example, calls out the inimitable Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). for this Tweet: … So do who do you think is responsible for an awful lot of those free police trainings in Israel? The Anti-Defamation League, natch.