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Two Palestinians are killed near Gush Etzion settlement bloc in West Bank

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Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Arrests

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian dead at Gush Etzion
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Israeli forces opened fire at two Palestinians near the Gush Etzion Junction between Bethlehem and Hebron in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday evening, killing one. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that two Palestinians “were involved in a criminal incident” in the area, and one was shot by Israeli soldiers after he attempted to flee the area. The man was “injured seriously and died in the evening,” he told Ma‘an, adding that the other was arrested. Israeli news website Israel National News, which is known for its right-wing leanings, said that incident occurred as the 30-year-old victim was “attempting to steal a car in the parking lot of the Rami Levy supermarket branch” in the area. The supermarket, while located inside the Jewish-only settlement, is located immediately beside the junction and is thus open to Palestinians as well. The Israeli news site said that military police had launched an investigation into the incident.

Massive participation in funeral of slain boy in Yatta
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 16 Jan — Scores of Palestinians in Yatta town on Thursday afternoon marched in the funeral procession of the Palestinian minor Osama Abu Jundiyah, who was shot dead by an Israeli soldier on Wednesday. Local sources said the family received the body of its son on Thursday after it had been seized by the Israeli occupation for 24 hours. The 17-year-old victim was killed by an Israeli soldier in cold blood near the illegal Gush Etzion settlement, north of al-Khalil city, where eyewitnesses said he was posing no threat to anyone.

Israeli police kill a Palestinian in the Negev, injure two
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Jan — The Arabs48 News Website has reported that the Israeli police shot and killed, on Wednesday evening, a young Palestinian man, and wounded two others, during clashes with local residents in Rahat city, in the Negev. It said Sami al-Ja‘aar, 20 years of age, was shot and seriously wounded, and died of his wounds at the Barzelai hospital in Asqalan (Ashkelon).
In a statement, the Israeli Police said it was operating against drugs in Basin #25 area, and clashes with local youths who hurled stones at them. The army also moderately injured another Palestinian; two officers suffered mild injuries. The Police is alleging the sources of fire that killed al-Ja’aar was still unclear, and that the two wounded Palestinians are related to the slain Palestinian. Dozens of military and police vehicles have been deployed in the area, especially around the Police station in Rahat, following the death of the Palestinian.  The Rahat Local Council declared a strike that does not include schools and medical centers, on Thursday, and demanded the formation of a credible investigations committee.

MK Tibi demands police to investigate deadly Negev shooting
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Jan by Saed Bannoura — Arab Member of Israeli Knesset, head of the Arab Movement for Change, Dr. Ahmad Tibi, sent an urgent letter to the Israeli Police Commissioner Major-General Yohanan Danino, demanding him to conduct an investigation into the police killing of a Palestinian man in Rahat, on Wednesday. Dr. Tibi said Sami al-Ja‘aar, 20 years of age, is the 49th Palestinian citizen of Israel to be killed by the Police since the al-Aqsa Intifada started in late September 2000, an issue that indicates that the Police and the army regard the Arab citizens as hostiles, and not as equal citizens. He added that the lack of accountability “seems to be encouraging trigger-happy police and soldiers to target more Palestinians in the country, without any fear of prosecution.” “In November, the police killed Kheir Hamdan, 22, in the Kufr Kanna in the Galilee, and now they killed al-Ja’ar. The officers take wrong decisions in the field and Arab citizens end up paying heavily for that,” Dr. Tibi said, “The officers need to be instructed on how to deal with the public, and how not to consider the lives of young Arabs as something less than others.”  The official demanded the Israeli Justice Minister, also in command of the Ministry of Justice Police Investigation Unit (Mahash) to establish an external, independent, investigation committee to investigate those violations in order to avoid what usually happens when the police shuts the investigations, without punishing the officers who hurt, and killed, Arab citizens.

Child hit with rubber bullet in the head
PIC 17 Jan — A 12-year-old Palestinian child was hit with a rubber bullet in the head fired by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at a group of children in ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem on Friday evening. Eyewitnesses said that IOF soldiers opened heavy barrages of rubber-coated bullets and teargas canisters at Laji center in the camp wounding the child Mutez Ibrahim in the head. They charged the soldiers with deliberately and randomly firing at a group of children and foreign activists while [they were] exiting the Laji center after completing a training session on folkloric dances known as Dabka

Israeli jailers assault Palestinian child during prison visit
RAMALLAH (PIC) 16 Jan — Israeli jailers have physically assaulted a Palestinian child while [he was] visiting his older brother in Eshel prison, human rights sources said. Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies reported that the 9-year-old Youssef Obeidat went Thursday to Eshel prison along with his mother and 15-year-old sister in order to visit his brother, who was arrested by the Israeli occupation forces seven months ago. During their search, Youssef protested against the way his sister was searched by Israeli prison guards, which prompted them to severely beat him. He suffered bruises in his body and face. Then, the jailers allowed the mother alone to visit her son. Ahrar Center said that prisoners’ families are usually exposed to assaults and humiliating measures at hands of Israeli prison guards, forcing them to avoid visits to their relatives.

Israeli troops injure youth in Jenin raid
JENIN (Ma‘an) 15 Jan – Israeli troops shot and injured a young Palestinian man during a raid on Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank at early Thursday morning. Palestinian security sources and locals told Ma‘an that fierce clashes broke out between the Israeli soldiers and local youths when the soldiers stormed the camp and detained four young men.  During the clashes, an Israeli soldier shot and injured 23-year-old Ahmad Jarbou who works at Jenin public hospital. Young Palestinians hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading soldiers who fired tear-gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets as well as live ammunition. The sources added that Israeli soldiers detained Alaa Addin Abd al-Hafith, 20, Yahya Bassam al-Saadi in his 20s, Ahmad Said al-Saadi, 37, and Raed Ahmad Tawalbah in his 20s. Qasim Ragheb al-Saadi was detained and released a few hours later.

Live ammunition used at Nabi Saleh demonstration
NABI SALEH, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Ramallah Team) 16 Jan — For five years now, residents of Nabi Saleh have been denied access to their spring. A source of irrigation for their crops, as well as a place for recreation: al-Qaws spring was the heart of this farming community. The illegal settlement of Halamish was established on the land of Nabi Saleh, and the neighbouring village of Deir Nidham in 1977; since then, and particularly in recent years, the settlement has been growing, stealing more land, and finally denying the villagers access to their spring. For five years, every Friday, residents of Nabi Saleh gather with local supporters, Israeli and international activists, to protest against the theft of their land and the denial of access to the spring. Sometimes, with bravery and determination alone, these villagers have managed to reach the spring, stealing a few precious moments before the arrests and reprisals reach their climax.  Most of the time, the repression from the Israeli Occupation Forces is too great to get anywhere close. Today in Nabi Saleh the villagers gathered at the petrol station on the edge of the village; undeterred by the rain, they were ready for the weekly demonstration. We walked down the road, men, women, and children chanting in Arabic and English, voicing our common determination to end this occupation. The Israeli military were waiting at the bottom of the road, blockading the access to the village. As soon as we were in range the tear gas started. A peaceful march met with poisonous tear gas from the very beginning. Many attempted to throw and kick the smoking toxic canisters away, but the sheer quantity meant we had to retreat quickly. As the smoke cleared, we tried to walk forwards once more. But then the unmistakable crack of live ammunition. We ran back. Without provocation, live ammunition was aimed at a group of peaceful protestors. Fortunately this time the bullet didn’t find a body, but the Israeli Occupation Forces lack of respect for human life is truly frightening. Two months ago four protesters were injured at this peaceful demonstration, adding to a long list of villagers who have been hurt or killed by Israeli military bullets whilst trying to fight for their rights. The army have been using live ammunition at this group of families and demonstrators more and more frequently during the last year.

Four years, one dead Palestinian and a closed investigation
+972 Blog 16 Jan by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — What does an Israeli military investigation of the killing of a Palestinian look like? An utter waste of time — On Friday, January 16, 2009, stormy demonstrations took place throughout the West Bank, as Operation Cast Lead was in full force in Gaza. The Israeli media did not report the many civilian casualties caused by IDF fire in the Gaza Strip. The Arab media, however, reported on it extensively. Yesh Din wrote about a failed investigation by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID) about a shooting that day in Bil‘in here. That same day at a demonstration in Hebron, someone in an Israeli uniform – probably an IDF sharpshooter – fired one bullet at Musab Badwan Ashak Dan‘a, 17, and killed him. We’ll never know who the shooter was. Whether the shooting was justified will remain unanswered; and the reason for that, as usual, is the the MPCID’s scandalously incompetent investigation. In order to view the depth of the MPCID’s negligence, let’s look at the events in chronological order, as seen from the files of our attorney, Attorney Emily Schaeffer Omer-Man, with the brisk aid of Attorney Osnat Barthor.

Settlers break into secondary school in occupied J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 15 Jan — Approximately ten Israeli settlers stormed Wednesday a secondary school in Tur neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem and fired tear gas and sound bombs into it under Israeli police protection. Head of the follow-up committee in Tur neighborhood Mufid Abu Ghannam confirmed that ten Jewish settlers stormed the school Wednesday afternoon while the students were leaving their classes. The students panicked at the attack and started shouting and screaming, forcing the settlers and soldiers to withdraw from the school amid heavy fire of tear gas bombs. Israeli forces, in their turn, fired heavy volleys of live bullets into the air to scare the students, he added. Beit Orot settlers have twice tried to break into the school on previous days; however the local residents confronted them and forced them to withdraw, Abu Ghannam pointed out. Meanwhile, Israeli forces stormed under heavy tear gas bombs the nearby girls’ elementary school under the pretext of looking for a wanted person.

Army invades two villages near Jenin
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Jan — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, Sanour village south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched and ransacked several homes and stores, and kidnapped one Palestinian; many residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation in a nearby village. Local sources said the soldiers invaded the home of Mohammad Safi Walad ‘Ali, 24 years of age, and kidnapped him after violently searching and ransacking his home. The family said the soldiers stole approximately 23.000 NIS, and several gold items, during the search, and deliberately destroyed furniture and walls, The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported. The family told WAFA it filed an official complaint to the Palestinian side of the “District Coordination Office.” The invasion led to clashes between the invading soldiers and dozens of local youths.
In related news, soldiers invaded Barta‘a ash-Sharqiyya village, isolated by the Israeli Annexation Wall, and clashed with local youths. The army fired gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets and several rounds of live ammunition. Medical sources said scores of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and received treatment by local medics. In addition, the soldiers invaded several stores after smashing their doors, and destroyed their property while searching them.

Two children among 4 Palestinians kidnapped by IOF in J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 15 Jan — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) afternoon Wednesday kidnapped four Palestinian civilians, including two children, from Occupied Jerusalem. Head of the Wadi Helwa Information Center, Jawad Seyam, said the IOF troops nabbed the 12-year-old child Youssef Salah and the 15-year-old Alaa Salah from Jerusalem’s town of Silwan moments before they dragged them to an Israeli police station. Two Palestinian young men were abducted from Jerusalem’s Bab al-Amoud in the process. Bystanders at the scene said the IOF soldiers cordoned off Bab al-Amoud area and scoured Palestinians’ vehicles shortly before they apprehended the two Palestinian civilians Amar Abu Sbeih and Haitham al-Jamal.

Israeli forces apprehend 10 Palestinian youths across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Jan – Israeli troops carried out several detention raids across the West Bank early on Thursday morning detaining 10 young men from the Jenin, Nablus and Hebron districts. A statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said Israeli troops detained six young Palestinian men in Jenin refugee camp. The statement identified them as Alaa Addin Rashid Abd al-Hafith, Ahmad Said al-Saadi, Qasim Raghib al-Saadi, Yahya Bassam al-Saadi, Raed Ahmad Tawalbah and Majd Qasim Ubeid. The statement added that in Nablus district, Israeli troops detained Thaer Ali al-Hajj from the village of Jinsinya and Yousif Khalil Hijazi from Askar refugee camp.

Israeli forces detain 20 Palestinians in Beit Ummar over 24 hours
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Israeli forces detained 20 Palestinians from Beit Ummar near Hebron in the past 24 hours, a local committee spokesman said. Muhammad Ayad Awad told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers detained Mahmoud Abu Dayyeh, 24, and Khaled Ahmad Ikhleil, 24, overnight after raiding their homes. On Wednesday, 18 Palestinians were detained in the town.

Israeli forces raid homes of PA security officers
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Israeli forces on Wednesday raided the home of two Palestinian Authority security officers near Nablus. Security officials told Ma‘an that several Israeli military vehicles raided the homes of Colonel Muin Muhammad Abd al-Qader Zreiq and Captain Ahmad Muhammad Abd al-Aziz Hamad. They searched the homes and checked the identity cards of the officers before Palestinian liaison officials intervened. Palestinian officials called the raid a “provocative step.”

International Federation: PA arbitrarily arrests dozens of students
ROME (PIC) 15 Jan — The International Federation for Human Rights and Development said in a statement issued Wednesday that “PA forces escalated over the past two months their arbitrary arrests of Palestinian students in the West Bank.” Since November 15, PA security forces arrested 41 students, of whom 22 are still arbitrarily jailed. The statement pointed out that “most of the detained students in PA jails were nabbed without any legal basis; however they were arrested for their political affiliation, online status, or participation in some student events.” The student’s arrest could be extended for long periods of time without any legal justification, the federation underlined, pointing to, in this matter, al-Najeh University student Mahmoud Assida who has been detained since November 15, 2014 pending investigation. The Rome-based federation said that PA forces deliberately carry out their political arrest campaigns against the students during exams periods in order to deprive them from completing their school year….


Palestinian farmer shot and injured by Israeli troops near Gaza border
IMEMC 16 Jan by Celine Hagbard — A 24-year old Palestinian farmer was wounded in the foot by Israeli forces stationed at a watchtower along the Israeli border with Gaza while the farmer was tending his field. The ‘no go zone’ established by the Israeli military next to the border was extended by Israeli troops to further encroach onto Palestinian farmlands and orchards following the Israeli assault on Gaza in summer 2014. The farmer was not identified, but the injury was confirmed by the spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Heath Ashraf al-Qidra, who said that the wounded man was taken to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City for treatment. This marks the second wounding of a Palestinian farmer by live Israeli gunfire from the border in 2015. A 25-year old man was shot in both feet by Israeli troops on January 2nd. Israeli forces have established a policy of shooting live rounds at anyone deemed to have entered the ‘no go zone’, despite the fact that this zone includes numerous Palestinian farms and fields.

Israeli troops open fire at Palestinian farmers across Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Jan – Israeli troops stationed in towers along the borders with the southern Gaza Strip near Khan Younis opened fire on Thursday at Palestinian fields while farmers were tending their lands, witnesses told Ma‘an. The Israeli soldiers reportedly fired from heavy machine guns at Palestinian fields in the outskirts of Khuza‘a, al-Farahin and al-Qarara in eastern Khan Younis. No injuries have been reported but the farmers were forced to immediately leave their fields. Israeli soldiers open fire across the borders almost every day because Palestinians allegedly come too close to a border fence. In many cases Palestinian farmers have been killed or injured.
Separately, Israeli soldiers at Erez crossing in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip detained a Gaza merchant as he tried to pass through the crossing. Locals identified him as Hassan Shirafi.

Fisherman’s body found on Gaza shore
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Police in Gaza late Friday found the body of a missing fisherman on the seashore in Gaza City, police said. Police spokesman Ayman al-Batanji said the body of Haitham Muhammad al-Qaran was found near al-Jazeera hotel on the west side of the city. Al-Qaran, who is from al-Nusairat, had been missing for seven days after his boat capsized with three others during the latest storm. The three others survived.

Hundreds pray at Rafah crossing to protest closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Hundreds of Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the Rafah crossing in Gaza in protest over its prolonged closure. Protesters demanded that Egypt reopen the crossing — the only connection between Palestinians in Gaza and the outside world — and urged the Palestinian Authority to support them. The Palestinian Ministry of Internal Affairs says over 25,000 humanitarian cases are on a waiting list to use the crossing for medical treatment and to continue their studies abroad.  Some 2,352 Palestinians were able to leave Gaza when Egypt reopened the crossing for three days in December, after having closed the crossing in October after an attack on Egyptian soldiers by militants in Sinai. In comparison, during the first six months of the year when the crossing was closed for a total of 22 days, an average of 6,400 people crossed each month, the UN has said.

Erez crossing to resume normal operations
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — The Erez border crossing in Beit Hanoun between Israel and the Gaza Strip will operate as normal starting Wednesday after it was closed days earlier, the Palestinian Authority’s director of border crossings said. Nathmi Muhanna added in a statement that “an agreement has been reached that any future internal disputes should be addressed by the special crossings committee established by prime minister of the national consensus government Rami Hamdallah.” The Israeli authorities had shut down the crossing a few days ago after security officers of the former Hamas-run government installed a movable office in front of the Palestinian side of the terminal.

200 Gazans allowed to attend Friday prayers at Aqsa
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Nearly 200 Palestinians in Gaza were allowed by Israeli authorities to travel to Jerusalem on Friday to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.  A group of 185 Palestinian Muslims left the coastal enclave via the Erez crossing into Israel for an exceptional visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, regarded by many Muslims as the third-holiest site in Islam. Sources at the Palestinian liaison office told Ma’an that no Gazans had been able to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque last week because the Palestinian liaison office had suspended work after a dispute with Hamas security services. On Oct. 5, some 500 Palestinians in Gaza prayed at the mosque for the first time since 2007, having been prevented by Israel from traveling to Jerusalem since that time.

Israel allows cooking gas, diesel into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday to allow cooking gas and diesel into the besieged Gaza Strip. Last week, a local union official in Gaza told Ma‘an that the territory was suffering a severe shortage of cooking gas as only 40 tons had entered over 10 days, despite daily needs of over 300 tons for the population of 1.7 million Palestinians.

Qatar donates $25m to Gaza
Middle East Monitor 15 Jan — Qatar has donated $25 million for reconstruction projects and fuel for the electricity plant in the Gaza Strip, Felesteen newspaper reported yesterday. Deputy Palestinian Prime Minister and Chief of the Gaza Reconstruction Committee Mohamed Mustafa said the money is to be distributed to the families whose houses were completely destroyed by the Israeli occupation but who are not registered with UNRWA. It is estimated that some 3,344 families fall into this category. In addition, 1,551 families, whose houses were partially damaged and are uninhabitable, will benefit from this money … Mustafa said the power plant was a priority and that $10 million will be spent on fuel to operate it.

Gaza explosives team dismantles Israeli bomb
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — An engineering unit of the Gaza police force on Friday dismantled an unexploded 1,000 kilogram F16 bomb dropped by Israeli planes during the summer offensive on Gaza. Director of the unit, Lieutenant Rami al-Mabyad, told Ma‘an that the unit received information that children were gathering aluminum in the area and immediately dispatched to dismantle the bomb. Al-Mabyad warned Palestinians in Gaza to ensure their children do not approach border areas or touch suspicious objects which could endanger their lives. In October, Muhammad Sami Abu Jrad, four, was killed after touching an unexploded Israeli ordnance left over from the summer military offensive. A month earlier, three Palestinians were killed and two were injured when an unexploded Israeli bomb blew up in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of eastern Gaza City. Although police teams have deactivated several tons of Israeli ordnance, bombs and explosive devices still litter the Gaza Strip

Gaza-Israel border crossing illustrates renewed tensions
Irish Times 15 Jan by Majd Al Waheidi, Jodi Rudoren — A potent symbol of the schism between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates Gaza, has been visible at the border crossing here for years: the two maintain separate checkpoints a half-mile apart, and travellers crossing to or from Israel have to pass through both. Over the last week, though, the crossing illustrated something else: the unravelling of the reconciliation agreement reached last year, and the dysfunction of the Palestinians’ supposed government of national consensus. After Hamas set up a makeshift outpost at the Palestinian Authority’s checkpoint last week, the authority abandoned it, prompting Israel to allow only foreigners and Gazans with humanitarian emergencies to pass …  Regular operations resumed at the crossing on Wednesday after Hamas left its outpost and the Palestinian Authority returned. But the situation remained precarious, and across Gaza other symptoms of renewed tensions abounded. Analysts said both the survival of the Palestinian government and the Palestinians’ new international diplomatic campaign against Israel were at risk….

Gaza deadliest place for UN civilian staff in 2014
AP 13 Jan — At least 61 people working for the United Nations were killed in 2014 — up from 58 in 2013 and 37 in 2012 — the UN Staff Union said Tuesday, fingering Gaza as the deadliest locale for civilian workers. The Staff Union said Tuesday that last year’s victims included 33 peacekeepers, 16 civilians, nine contractors and three consultants. Mali was the deadliest place for UN personnel, with 28 peacekeepers killed in the volatile north between June and October, it said. Gaza was the deadliest place for UN civilian staff with 11 killed during last summer’s war with Israel. Scores of UN staff and associated personnel were also detained, taken hostage and kidnapped during 2014, the Staff Union said.

Hamas officials reactivate separate parliament in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Hamas-affiliated parliament members in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday reactivated the coastal enclave’s parliament, which had been suspended since a unity deal between Fatah and Hamas was agreed upon in April. The convening of the session, which was attended exclusively by Hamas legislators, represents a major eruption of tensions within the Palestinian coalition government and presents yet another hurdle for officials trying to hold the agreement together. Deputy speaker of the Gaza parliament Ahmad Bahar delivered a speech at the beginning of the session in which he warned of a possible “blowup” in the Gaza Strip as a result of the delay in reconstruction, the ongoing crippling Israeli siege, and the Palestinian Authority’s failure to pay monthly salaries to civil servants employed under the former Hamas government. “A blowup is at a distance of two-bows length or less if the international community does not take action to end the suffering of the people of Gaza,” he said. Bahar slammed the Palestinian national consensus government for keeping itself aloof from the suffering of the Palestinian people to such a degree that they had decided to sacrifice the Gaza employees in an “oppressive” manner. His comments on the employees dispute comes after days of back and forth between the PA and the Gaza, as the PA has employed its own personnel in Gaza and has refused to take responsibility for the approximately 50,000 employees from the former-Hamas run government, a key Hamas demand. Bahar also criticized the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas for his participation in the recent Paris rally against terrorism in his speech. Abbas, he said, should have instead invited the world leaders to “confront Israel’s terrorism.”…
The Fatah movement, on the other hand, considered the parliament session in Gaza a unilateral move by the Hamas bloc and a negative step back from reconciliation. Fatah-affiliated lawmaker Faisal Abu Shahla told Ma‘an reporter that holding a session without any of the other factions present indicates that “partnership according to Hamas means that Hamas can do whatever it wants and whenever it wants and all others should only be supportive.”

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing

Mufti warns of plans to register Aqsa as Israeli property
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — The Mufti of Jerusalem on Wednesday warned against attempts to undermine the independence of the Al-Aqsa mosque in light of an attempt by an Israeli organization to register the area as Israeli property. Sheikh Muhammad Hussein condemned the plan, adding that it comes amid ongoing Israeli “aggression” against the mosque and efforts by authorities to impose control on the Islamic waqf property and potentially divide the mosque to allow a Jewish prayer area. The statement came after an Israeli organization announced a plan to register the Al-Aqsa mosque and the area it sits on, known as the Temple Mount in English, in the Israeli Land Registry System as a property belonging to Israeli authorities in order to build a Jewish synagogue in the area. The plan reportedly would be the first step in constructing the Third Temple atop the mosques currently located in the area, according to Hussein.

Israel to expand Israeli settlements to soak up French immigrants
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 15 Jan — Israeli security sources revealed Israeli intent to expand illegal settlement construction in areas of the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem to absorb an influx of Jewish immigrants from France. In a letter recently dispatched to the settlement council, the Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel has instructed authorities to look at ways to expand existing settlements so as to make room for a wave of French immigration, Channel 2 reported Wednesday, showing the letter on screen. “There is no doubt that the Jews of France feel a deep identity with the settlement project,” Ariel claimed, vowing that his government will do whatever it takes to help France’s Jews set up roots in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli officials have been taking advantage of the latest terror attacks in Paris to urge French Jews to move to Israel amid an outspoken dismay reportedly expressed by French officials over such calls. The number of French-Jewish immigrants was already predicted to rise sharply from last year’s record number of 6,000, after more than doubling since 2013.

Israel demolishes al-Araqib village buildings for 80th time
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Israeli authorities on Wednesday demolished a number of steel structures belonging to Palestinian citizens of Israel in the Negev-region village of al-Araqib for the 80th time in a row. Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli police forces, also demolished an illegal building in the industrial area of Rahat, also in southern Israel. Both towns are populated primarily by Palestinian Bedouins with Israeli citizenship, and al-Araqib in particular has been targeted repeatedly since 2010 for demolition by authorities. Israel considers al-Araqib and most other Arab villages in the Negev illegal, while Bedouins say it is their ancestral land and that they have a right to live in the area. Residents of al-Araqib have repeatedly fled into their village cemetery and lived there after Israeli authorities bulldozed parts of the town, since they had been assured the cemetery would not be destroyed. There are about 260,000 Bedouin in Israel, mostly living in and around the Negev in the arid south. More than half live in unrecognized villages without utilities and many also live in extreme poverty.

Israel orders evacuation of Bedouin village in northern Jericho
JERICHO (PIC) 15 Jan — Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank ordered the inhabitants of a Bedouin village in Jericho to leave their homes near a Jewish settlement. 70 Bedouins, including 27 children of the Kaabneh tribe who were in the first place moved to the area 30 years ago by a previous Israeli Civil Administration order, were ordered to leave the village. However, the evacuation order claimed the presence of the Bedouins in the area is an “incursion onto state land” near Mitzpeh Yeriho settlement. A report published by Haaretz Hebrew newspaper mentioned that the village was built along with 25 other Palestinian hamlets of the Jahalin and Kaabneh Bedouin tribes under the responsibility of the Israeli government. The report added the Israeli Civil Administration intends to forcibly move all the villages for the expansion of Jewish settlements.

IOF hands Palestinians confiscation notices in Tulkarem
TULKAREM (PIC) 15 Jan — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Thursday handed Palestinians living in Tulkarem district military notifications that one hundred dunums of their agricultural lands would be confiscated. The IOF claimed that the land to be confiscated is under Israeli authority in accordance with the Oslo Accords. Ahmad Ismail, owner of one of the threatened land lots, said the occupation forces examined and surveyed the lands as a preparatory action for their confiscation. He said the owners of territories were notified with confiscation previously, noting that the issue has been brought to Israeli courts. He added the Israeli occupation authority threatened the owners with immediate confiscation in case of plantation or reclamation of the lands.

Israeli forces destroy Palestinian wheat fields near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Israeli bulldozers on Thursday raided private Palestinian land south of Bethlehem and leveled 30 dunums (seven acres) of fields that were planted with wheat by a local farmer. Local sources told Ma’an that several Israeli bulldozers escorted by the Israeli army and civil administration authorities razed Palestinian lands near the Jewish settlement of Efrat. Sources said that Israeli authorities in the area claimed the lands are Israeli “state lands,” and they plan to use the area to build a road for a new Jewish-only settlement in the area. “This is the real face of Israel: it destroys everything and takes over everything,” spokesperson for a local popular committee, Muhammad Muheisen, told Ma‘an.

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

Hundreds protest Charlie Hebdo cartoon at Aqsa mosque
]with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 16 Jan — Hundreds of Palestinians protested in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Friday prayers against the publication of a [new] cartoon of the prophet Muhammad by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Protesters chanted slogans such as “Muhammad is our prophet forever” and “With our blood, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Messenger,” a Ma‘an reporter said. Participants also waved banners with the Shahada, or Islamic declaration of “There is no God but God and Muhammad is his messenger.” Several members of the protest also burned the French flag. Hundreds of Palestinians in Ramallah and Gaza City on Sunday participated in rallies in solidarity with France in light of the spate of attacks last week.

Activists tear down settlement gate south of Bethlehem
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Palestinian activists on Wednesday pulled down the eastern gate of the Efrat settlement south of Bethlehem, a popular committee spokesman said. Muhammad Muheisen said that the action was a supplementary procedure to “the president’s internationally adopted strategy in Palestine’s right to independence.” “It is our right to have our country free of settlements,” he added. Since occupying the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has built 125 settlements in addition to 100 outposts, which although not officially recognized receive government funding. There are over 500,000 settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Video: Solidarity demonstration in Nazareth: Ferguson to Palestine
Dream Defenders 14 Jan —  On a historic trip to Palestine, freedom fighters from Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, Ferguson, and Atlanta were able to witness firsthand the effects of Israeli apartheid and occupation, and to learn from the people who are actively resisting on the front lines. In Nazareth, the delegates decided to do a solidarity demonstration as a call for support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that was called for by Palestinian civil society in 2005. This demonstration was coordinated by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and features “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Palestinians and #BlackLivesMatter activists unite for Bay Area direct action
EI 17 Jan by Charlotte Silver — Before the sun rose on Friday, a couple dozen activists had chained themselves to the doors of the Oakland, California federal building with the intention of shutting it down. With their arms linked together with plastic tubes, each protester standing in front of the main entrance of the federal building displayed a sign stating their nationality’s solidarity with Black resistance. Representing Palestine to Syria, the Philippines to Korea, these activists declared their support of the burgeoning uprising that is pushing back against what they describe as the racist violence of the police and criminal justice system in the US. Activists also asserted that they are linking their movements together….

and on the other hand:
Israeli think tank holds anti-BDS ‘hackathon’
Middle East Monitor 16 Jan by Ben White — Pro-Israel activists have vowed to fight back against a growing global boycott campaign, using new technological “tools” proposed and developed at a recent “Legitimacy Hackathon.” The gathering, held on January 4-6 in Tel Aviv, was organised by Israeli think tank the Reut Institute, who in 2010 produced an influential report on fighting what they termed “delegitimisation” – the growing support for Palestinian rights and opposition to Israeli Apartheid. The ‘Hackathon’, supported by Jewish philanthropy organisation UJA-Federation of New York among others, gathered “more than 100 developers, cyber experts, Israel activists, marketing and PR professionals” from the likes of the U.S, Canada, UK, and South America. Also present were representatives of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and advocacy organisations such as J Street, Israel Campus Coalition, NGO Monitor, and StandWithUs. In a separate development, it was revealed this week that StandWithUs will receive more than NIS 1 million “to help spread government-backed advocacy messages”, especially on “social networks.”

Revealed: pro-Israel students plot ‘smear campaigns’ to ‘attack BDS’
EI 16 Jan by Hilary Aked — As student Palestine solidarity activists in the UK begin gearing up for Israeli Apartheid Week on campuses in February, I recently got a glimpse inside the weird world of pro-Israel student activism. Displayed below is the description of a secret Facebook group managed by Jonathan Hunter, the director of the UK student section of StandWithUs, a right-wing Zionist organization with links to the Israeli government. Presumably written by Hunter, the description notes that the hidden group was formed after the annual student strategy meeting of StandWithUs UK and is intended to enable the group to “assemble teams of pro-Israel activists on short notice” — though, notably, he believes it is “impossible” to counter all the “anti-Israel” events taking place on campus. Hunter instructs the “Israel advocates” who are members of the group to add only those “you can trust.” But someone in the group was so unhappy with discussions taking place there that they decided to leak these screenshots to The Electronic Intifada.


Israel stripping Palestinian prisoners of hunger strike gains
GAZA (Al-Akhbar) 1 Jan — Taking advantage of the current situation in the Palestinian political and security establishment, the Israel Prison Service stripped Palestinian prisoners of all the rights they had won via individual and collective hunger strikes, some of which were record-breaking. Since the kidnapping of three Israeli settlers in Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank in June 2014 — and during the recent war on Gaza in July and August 2014 — the Israeli authorities has reversed the previous gains achieved by Palestinian prisoners. Israel added hundreds of prisoners to the thousands already in prison. Scores were subjected to administrative detention, including prisoner Khader Adnan, who launched the hunger strike battle. On January 6, Adnan launched another hunger strike to protest his ongoing imprisonment without being formally charged with any crime. The harsh and long sentences against some of the men freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal were also renewed, and their appeal requests against the new sentences were rejected, in a clear violation of the terms of their release, and amid a dubious absence of the mediator, Egypt. In addition to the complicated visiting procedures, hundreds of prisoners suffering from chronic diseases, such as ulcer, diabetes, and cancer, are being denied proper care. Meanwhile, jailed members of the Jihad Brigades Movement led a mass strike last month in solidarity with prisoner Nahar al-Sa‘di, who was kept in solitary confinement for 18 months, during which he was denied family visitation and the right to receive clothes and blankets, although he has kidney disease. A few days into the strike, the prisoners gradually obtained some of the rights they demanded….

Israel extends administrative detention orders of 30 detainees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Israeli authorities renewed the administrative detention orders of 30 Palestinian detainees on Wednesday, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said. Mahmoud al-Halabi said an Israeli court extended the detention sentences of 30 prisoners, including MP Nayif al-Rujoub, and issued new sentences to six detainees. The policy allows Israeli military forces to arrest Palestinians without charge or trial for varying periods of time, ranging from months to several years. Currently around 500 Palestinians are being held in administrative detention in Israeli prisons. The PPS published a list of the prisoners’ names and their sentence:

Longest-serving administrative detainee declares hunger strike
RAMALLAH (PIC)15 Jan — Longest-serving Palestinian administrative detainee has initiated an open-ended hunger strike in protest at being sentenced to 13 renewed prison terms with neither charge nor trial. Prisoner Mahmoud Shalatwa, 31, has notified his family during a hearing at the Ofer lock-up of his intent to start an open-ended hunger strike in protest at his arbitrary administrative detention, a PIC correspondent quoted Mahmoud’s brother, Thaer Shalatwa, as reporting Wednesday.  The detainee reportedly rejected a release deal to be struck with the Israeli prison service (IPS) under conditions that he would be banished from the Palestinian territories. Head of the Ahrar Center for Prisoner Studies and Human Rights, Fouad al-Khuffash dubbed the proposed deal a bargaining chip bartering the lives and freedom of Palestinian detainees. The Ofer military court re-sentenced Mahmoud administratively to six new months, though earlier issues outlawed any such renewals.

Israel releases Palestinian detainee after 10 years in jail
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — Israeli authorities on Thursday released a Palestinian detainee who had spent 10 years in an Israeli jail.  Mutasem Jamil Abd al-Al, 32, from Balata refugee camp in Nablus was freed from Megiddo jail. He was detained in an Israeli arrest raid in which his friend Muhammad al-Assi was killed.

The fun news in today’s compilation

A group of five contestants from Gaza make it to the semi-finals
The National 14 Jan by Hala Khalaf — The judges on the popular reality TV talent show Arabs Got Talent usually use their buzzers to terminate a contestant’s performance, or at the very least, to show their displeasure at what is being presented to them on stage. But last Saturday, when five young musicians from Gaza took their spots on stage, their beautiful, emotional performance inspired one of the judges – Saudi actor and comedian Nasser Al Qasabi – to press the Golden Buzz, signifying that the contestants would be afforded a shortcut straight through to the live rounds of the show. That’s how good they were; that’s how much they tugged on the collective heartstrings in the room.The six-and-a-half minute VIDEO of their audition, taken from last Saturday’s episode of Arabs’ Got Talent, has been spreading like wildfire. [5,563,834 views as this compilation is written] … You don’t need to understand Arabic to get what’s happening, either. The five Palestinian children from war-torn Gaza – four boys and a girl – all study at Gaza’s Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, and their band is called Al Takht Al Sharqi. Ahmad Al Madhoun is the lead singer, Sarraj Al Sersawi plays the oud, Mahmoud Kehail plays the qanun and Ramzi Alfar the tabla. The girl, Reema Ashour, plays the nai, a flute made of wood

Other news

ICC prosecutor opens probe into war crimes against Palestinians
AFP 16 Jan by Jan Hennop — The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor on Friday opened a preliminary probe into possible war crimes committed against Palestinians, a move immediately blasted by Israel as “scandalous”. Fatou Bensouda said her office would conduct an “analysis in full independence and impartiality” into alleged war crimes, including those committed during last year’s Gaza war. Her decision comes after Palestine formally joined the ICC earlier this month allowing it to lodge war crimes and crimes against humanity complaints against Israel as of April. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed during last summer’s war in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted angrily to the prosecutor’s decision, calling it “scandalous” and “absurd” since “the Palestinian Authority cooperates with Hamas, a terror group that commits war crimes, in contrast to Israel that fights terror while maintaining international law, and has an independent justice system.” Gambian-born Bensouda had earlier stressed that “a preliminary examination is not an investigation but a process of examining the information available… on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation.” Bensouda will decide at a later stage whether to launch a full investigation.

ICC preliminary probe on Palestine still a long way from war crimes trials
EI 17 Jan by Ali Abunimah — … The ICC said that the Office of the Prosecutor opens a preliminary examination “as a matter of policy and practice” when it receives a valid declaration from a UN member state that it has acceeded to the Rome Statute, the treaty that created the court. This indicates that the preliminary examination was not taken at the discretion of chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, but rather as a matter of routine … Although the ICC is supposed to be independent, Bensouda is likely to face intense pressure not to proceed with an investigation into Israel’s actions, especially from the US administration of President Barack Obama, which has worked tenaciously to guarantee impunity for Israel. The court already suffers from a credibility problem. It has long been criticized for disproportionately focusing on Africa while alleged crimes committed in other countries have been ignored. In an analysis for The Electronic Intifada last August, international law expert Michael Kearney said that Palestine would present the court with a series of major challenges.

Lieberman threatens to ‘dismantle’ ICC
IMEMC/Agencies 17 Jan — Following the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch a preliminary investigation to determine “whether war crimes have been committed” during Israel’s last war Gaza in the summer of 2014, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened that Israel “would act on dissolving the ICC,” and considered the decision “provocative.” Lieberman alleged that the ICC decision “only aims at attempting to impact Israel’s ability to defend itself.” He added that Israel will not cooperate with any investigation, and will act on the international level to dissolve the ICC after describing the decision as hypocritical, and supportive of what he called “terrorism.” … The Foreign Minister went on to talk about Syria and how the court “failed to intervene,” adding that there is no comparison between the Israeli army, which he called the most moral army in the world, with what he labeled as “terror groups” in Gaza.

UN calls on Israel to unlock Palestinian tax payment
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 15 Jan by Carole Landry — The United Nations on Thursday called on Israel to unlock millions of dollars in taxes owed to the Palestinian Authority that were withheld after it decided to join the International Criminal Court. A senior UN official told the Security Council that the freeze of about $127 million imposed on January 3 was in violation of the Oslo agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. “We call on Israel to immediately resume the transfer of tax revenues,” said UN Assistant Secretary-General Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen. The United States and the European Union have criticized Israel’s retaliatory move in response to the Palestinian application to join the ICC, which could investigate war crimes complaints against Israel. The 15-member council was meeting to discuss the Middle East after rejecting in a vote last month a resolution on Palestinian statehood that had been strongly opposed by the United States. The UN official told the council that recent developments had further reduced prospects for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.The Palestinians and Israel are “now engaged in a downward spiral of actions and counter-actions,” warned Toyberg-Frandzen.

Saudi Arabia transfers $60 million to PA
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it transferred $60 million to the Palestinian Authority after Israel froze millions of dollars in tax revenues when Palestine joined the International Criminal Court. The Saudi ambassador to Egypt, Ahmad Qattan, said in a statement that the $60 million represented three months’ payment of a monthly contribution of $20 million. The money covers the October, November, and December payments, the statement said. It said that in the wake of Israel’s decision to freeze tax funds, Saudi Arabia had decided to increase its monthly support from $14 million to $20 million.

Arab League to push for new Palestinian UN resolution
AFP 15 Jan — The Arab League said on Thursday it will seek to shore up international support for another attempt to obtain a UN resolution on ending Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. The decision at a gathering of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo came after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas asked them for another chance following the UN Security Council’s rejection of his last bid in December. Those at the meeting gave several Arab countries the task of undertaking “the necessary communications and consultations to submit a new Arab proposal to the Security Council,” a statement said.

Iraq contributes $28 million to Palestinian Authority
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 14 Jan — Iraq donated $28 million to the Arab League on Wednesday as part of its contribution to support the Palestinian Authority, an Iraqi official said. Iraq’s representative to the Arab League, Diya al-Dabbas, said that the payment highlights Iraq’s commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Mideast quartet to meet after failed Palestinian UN bid
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 15 Jan — Envoys from the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia will meet later this month to discuss the next steps to address the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, officials said Thursday. The gathering of the Middle East diplomatic quartet will take place January 26 in Brussels to discuss ways of reviving the peace process after the Palestinians failed to win UN Security Council approval of a resolution on ending the Israeli occupation.

2014 ‘bloodiest’ year for media in Palestinian territories
AFP 15 Jan — Last year was the deadliest ever for journalists working in the Palestinian territories, a Gaza-based watchdog said Thursday, months after a bloody war in the besieged enclave. “2014 was a black year for freedom of the press in Palestine… and it was the worst and bloodiest,” the Gaza Centre for Press Freedom said in its annual report. The report accused Israel of committing 295 separate “violations of press freedom” across the occupied Palestinian territories. These resulted in the deaths of 17 journalists during the 50-day Gaza war in July-August, including that of an Italian photographer working for Associated Press. Israel also arrested or detained an unspecified number of journalists, denied freedom of movement to local media workers wanting to leave the blockaded Gaza Strip, and partially or completely destroyed 19 buildings housing editorial operations during its bombardment of the territory during the conflict. The Palestinian authorities also committed 82 violations of press freedom, including arresting or summoning 28 journalists, and injuring or assaulting 26 more.

For Palestinian cartoonists, religion is off limits
RAMALLAH (AFP) 15 Jan by John Davison — In the spirit of Charlie Hebdo, Palestinian cartoonist Ramzy Taweel is making his feelings about the French satirical weekly crystal clear — his latest illustration equates the publication to toilet paper. Palestinian political cartoonists, including Taweel, rushed to eulogise the staff of Charlie Hebdo killed by Islamic extremists in an attack on their offices in Paris last week, publishing images defending free speech, condemning violence and expressing solidarity with France. But as the magazine bounced back and sold out in record time with a fresh cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, the Palestinian illustrators generally agreed that mocking Islam, or any religion, is overstepping the mark. “My heart is with the families, and what happened was terrible, for France, for its people, and for cartoonists,” 36-year-old Taweel said, hunched at his home in Ramallah over an electronic sketch pad. “It’s forbidden to kill anybody for his thoughts. I can give you many quotes from the Koran forbidding you to so much as talk to someone who insults you. “But does that mean that I accept what they draw? No.” … “Is it really freedom to insult one billion Christians or Muslims?” asked Taweel … Fellow Palestinian illustrator Mohammad Sabaaneh, who works for newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida, agrees that insulting religion is tasteless, but has chosen not to criticise Charlie Hebdo. “What happened in Paris, especially in a country where there is genuine freedom, was a shock, and struck us particularly as cartoonists,” he told AFP sitting in his uncluttered office in Ramallah. “Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali was killed because of his drawings,” he said, looking solemnly at a large portrait of the late, celebrated illustrator who was gunned down in London in 1987 in a case never solved. Ali created the ubiquitous Handala, an eternally wandering Palestinian refugee child who watches injustices unfold before him, and still features in street art throughout the West Bank. The political cartoons made him many enemies throughout the Middle East, but Palestinians and other Arabs allege he was assassinated by Israel’s Mossad intelligence service….

Gaza clerics denounce French cartoons depicting prophet
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 Jan — The union of Palestinian clerics in Gaza on Thursday criticized cartoons published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Representatives of the union told reporters in Gaza City that “all those who denounced and were enraged by the killing of victims in France and organized a rally of rage should have raged more about the harassment against holy places and religions.” The West should bring an end to “harassment against Islam and Islamic places and principles,” the clerics added, calling on France to solve the problem from the roots and stop those who have the “audacity to mock the prophet.” Undermining Muslims and their holy places will create “more confrontations and conflicts between religions,” they added.

Turkish PM says Israeli ‘provocations’ radicalizing Muslim world
ISTANBUL (Reuters) 17 Jan – Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday of terrorism and said Israeli “provocations” such as the bombardment of Gaza were contributing to radicalisation in the Muslim world. In a Reuters interview, Davutoglu said peace in the Middle East and the eradication of extremist groups would be virtually impossible without the establishment of a Palestinian state. He also warned the international community against focusing solely on fighting Islamic State militants in its efforts to end the conflict in Syria, saying the “brutality” of President Bashar al-Assad was the root cause of the problem. Turkey, an EU candidate nation and member of the NATO military alliance, is a key Western ally in the fight against Islamic jihadists. But its leaders have become increasingly concerned about what they see as rising Islamophobia in Europe and increasingly outspoken in their criticism of Israel … Davutoglu on Thursday compared Netanyahu to the Islamist militants who killed 17 people in Paris last week, saying both had committed crimes against humanity. Netanyahu has called for an international condemnation of Davutoglu’s remarks and those of President Tayyip Erdogan, after he criticised the Israeli prime minister’s attendance with other world leaders at a solidarity march in Paris.

US Consulate desegregates security staff, Israeli guards quit in protest
+972mag 16 Jan by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — A number of Israeli guards working for the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem quit in protest of a decision to arm and train Palestinian guards employed by the Consulate recently, according to Ynet. Unnamed “sources,” presumably the disgruntled Israeli guards themselves, accused the Consulate’s chief security officer of “raising an armed militia of Palestinians,” according to the report. The U.S. State Department has refused to directly address the reports, telling numerous Israeli news outlets that it “has complete faith in the professionalism of its staff.” State does not discuss the security of its diplomatic missions, it told the Times of Israel. Based on the interviews with Ynet, it appears the Israel guards simply cannot fathom the idea that Palestinians can be trusted with defensive driving skills, let alone weapons. “[The Palestinians are] trained in weapons use, Krav Maga and tactical driving,” the “source” told Ynet. “This is irresponsible. Who is ensuring that putting this weaponry in Palestinian hands will not lead to terror?” Israel demands that armed non-American guards be IDF combat veterans, according to the report. The American consulate, like a host of other countries’ consulates in Jerusalem, primarily serves the Palestinian territories and its officials regularly travel to Palestinian areas in the West Bank. (Because no country in the world recognizes Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, foreign embassies are located in Tel Aviv.)….

How one soccer match tells the whole Palestinian story
+972 Blog 15 Jan by Yonatan Mendel — On Friday morning, the Palestine national soccer team will face off against Jordan, a team with a majority of Palestinian players, in the Asian Cup. Whether they choose to or not, the 22 players on the field will tell the story of refugees, occupation, checkpoints and the connection between home and diaspora. Oh, and they’ll also play soccer — When FIFIA officially recognized Palestine’s national soccer team in 1998, it was one of the first international organizations to recognize Palestine as a state. The decision, along with FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s trip to Gaza in 1998, forced the world to get used to “Palestine,” whether or not it was a state with borders. It seems that since then, Israel still feels the need to talk about “the Palestinian team” or “the Palestinian coach.” The Palestine national team will go to the Asian Cup, currently taking place in Australia, in order to put Palestine on the map. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas event sent a message to the players before they left for Australia, in which he called sports “an important weapon in politics.” Goalie Ramzi Saleh, 34, who was born in Egypt to parents from Gaza, stated that “our participation in the tournament sends a message to the world… to show that despite the destruction… we exist.” … The Palestine national team is one of the few opportunities for residents of the West Bank, Gaza, the United States, Chile and, most importantly, Israel, to implement their own brief Palestinian Law of Return. This is evidenced by the fact that four of the team’s players have Israeli citizenship, such as Hussam Abu Saleh from Sakhnin (who helped Bnei Sakhnin win their first Israeli league championship in 2004). Another is Murad Alyan from Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa neighborhood, who began his career with the Hapoel Jerusalem youth league. They play alongside Alexis Norambuena, whose parents are Palestinians who moved to Chile, and Abd al-Latif Bahadri, a Palestinian from Gaza who currently plays for the Al-Wehdat SC club in Jordan, which is most closely identified with the Palestinian population in Jordan and is named after a refugee camp in Amman. They all play alongside Palestinians who participate in the West Bank league, as well as Palestinians who play in Europe. Together they make up a microcosm of the Palestinian people who despite all the odds – from detaining players to blowing up the team’s training field – have been able to continue to the next round of the most important soccer tournament in the continent.

Video: AFC Asian Cup 2015 – Palestine Support Group
Epic video sent in by Mahmoud Shadid, capturing the moment the goal was scored and the crowd reaction… goosebumps!!

Wilkins hails Jordan’s ‘Geoff Hurst’ after 5-1 rout
MELBOURNE, Australia (AFP) 16 Jan – Jordan coach Ray Wilkins compared four-goal hero Hamza Aldaradreh to England’s World Cup-winning striker Geoff Hurst after his side’s 5-1 rout of Palestine at the Asian Cup on Friday. Jordan coach Ray Wilkins compared four-goal hero Hamza Aldaradreh to England’s World Cup-winning striker Geoff Hurst after his side’s 5-1 rout of Palestine at the Asian Cup on Friday … Palestine carved out a little piece of history for themselves in their first Asian Cup appearance when Jaka Hbaisha scored a consolation goal five minutes from time. “We might be out of the tournament but we still want to finish on a high,” said Palestine coach Ahmad Alhasan. “We want to repay the support of our wonderful fans by getting a victory against Iraq.”–sow.html

Nasrallah confirms Israeli spy, threatens Israel over Syria strikes
Ynet 15 Jan by Roi Kais — Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah threatened in an interview Thursday to retaliate against Israel for repeated strikes on Syria and said he has missiles that can hit the Jewish state. He also confirmed that a senior operative in the organization has been apprehended for spying for Israel. “He was responsible for one department inside one of the security units of Hezbollah,” Nasrallah said, adding that the man in question held a senior position in a “sensitive” Hezbollah security unit and was detained five months ago.,7340,L-4615692,00.html (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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47 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    January 17, 2015, 10:39 am

    “The supermarket, while located inside the Jewish-only settlement, is located immediately beside the junction and is thus open to Palestinians as well.”

    They do that because they have destroyed the Arab owned businesses in the area and it’s either let them shop there or starve. Also money cha-chinging into the settler economy.

  2. a blah chick
    January 17, 2015, 2:15 pm

    By far my favorite story of 2015 so far is the Israeli guards quitting the U.S. consulate over the training of Arabs as guards.

    Think about it, there they are, manly Jewish men with combat training and guns and muscles and martial arts skills that set them above the lowly untermensch. Then you go and tell them that one of those untermensch can do their job!? Not only that but they will have to serve with these people as an EQUAL?! Outrageous!

    This is everything wrong with Israel in a nutshell.

  3. Arik
    January 18, 2015, 2:02 am

    “IMEMC/Agencies 15 Jan — The Arabs48 News Website has reported that the Israeli police shot and killed, on Wednesday evening, a young Palestinian man, and wounded two others, during clashes with local residents in Rahat city, in the Negev”

    Young Palestinian man hahaha what a joke!! I wonder what will the Bedouins residents of Rahat (who are also join to the IDF) will say about that..

    This site promoting so many lies, such as the cartoonist who been sentenced for few months because “Israel didn’t like his works” or similar. What’s really bothers me is that people are reading this and thinks that’s actually the true.

    By the way- Why not talking about that for instance: ?
    hard to believe?

    This site is an example of how to create nice platform for dialogues and then ruin it by “facts”.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 18, 2015, 2:55 am

      a joke, that they killed someone, or that they called him a young palestinian man?

      This site promoting so many lies, such as the cartoonist who been sentenced for few months because “Israel didn’t like his works” or similar. What’s really bothers me is that people are reading this and thinks that’s actually the true.

      the hate site “palestinian media watch” had numerous links to cartoons of his for months prior to his arrest. they had nothing on him and held him for 2 months without even charging him. they never had anything on him. in this article, i link to palwatch with just one example:

      this was one of many. at the time that i wrote that article many links were available at pmw. here’s one more link with 3 of his cartoons from 2011, 2012:

      i could have written an entire article on how pmw went after saba’aneh. in fact i thought about it at the time i was so pissed. and you have the nerve to tell me i “lied” by saying israel didn’t like his work? ha! as if pmw works independently of the israeli gov. i don’t think so. these are all saba’aneh:

      they are obsessed w/him

      there’s more, should i go on, or do you get the message? i was being nice by barely mentioning it in passing. don’t push me, there’s enough here for an article for sure.

    • eljay
      January 19, 2015, 8:30 am

      >> Arik: By the way- Why not talking about that for instance: link to ?

      Let’s talk about it.

      1. Someone set fire to a French flag. Shame on him.

      2. It should disturb you far less than a bunch of supremacist Jews setting fire to a Palestinian.

      3. Setting fire to the flag of the state of France does not in any way absolve the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” of Israel of:
      – its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes; or
      – its obligations under international law.

  4. Arik
    January 18, 2015, 3:38 am

    “a joke, that they killed someone, or that they called him a young palestinian man” – you are smart enough to understand what I meant.. and still, you are ignoring the fact that many things represnts here in this site are wrong/lies and you don’t even apologies for it, or at least remove it.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 18, 2015, 12:12 pm

      you are smart enough to understand what I meant.. and still, you are ignoring…

      don’t play games with me. answer the question. a joke that they killed someone, or that they called him a young palestinian man. then i will respond further to your allegations.

  5. Walid
    January 18, 2015, 8:12 am

    Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird’s car pelted with eggs and shoes in Ramallah. On a visit to convince Saeb Erekat to apologize to Netanyahu for having compared him to ISIS, which Erekat refused to do, dozens blocked his way in Ramallah where he was trying to convince the PA to move away from the ICC and to get back to negotiations. Palestinians remembered that Canada was one that participated in blocking the Palestinians’ UN bid. John Baird’s car was pelted with shoes and eggs.:

  6. Walid
    January 18, 2015, 11:41 am

    Hizbullah just announced that some of its fighters in Syria have fallen to to an Israeli Apache missile attack in Quneitra province of the Golan. Names of dead mujahideen to be announced after families have been notified.

  7. Whizdom
    January 18, 2015, 12:12 pm

    This might be trouble. Israeli media are reporting that Al-Nusra/AQ forces were struck, but Lebanon is saying Hezbollah forces were struck. Including someone from the Muganiya clan, so definitely Hezbollah.

    Hezbollah is opposing Al Nusra in Syrian Golan. Is the IAF providing ground attack support for Al Qaeda in the Golan? While we attack them in Yemen?

    There have been rumors. Is Israel trying to provoke another Lebanon incident?. It is election time after all.

    • Walid
      January 18, 2015, 12:19 pm

      Hizbullah confirmed 5 dead of which 2 were senior officers and one of the two is Jihad Imad Mughniyeh, the son of Imad Moughniyeh.

      You may be right about the provocation, Whizdom, this morning Israel launched smoke grenades on Lebanese soldiers on the Lebanese side of the border causing severe inhalation problems.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 18, 2015, 1:27 pm

      i wonder if it has anything to do with the hezbollah/israel spy on trial. israel claimed, or someone claimed , perhaps the nyt recently attributing arab press, that the spy helped foil retribution for killing Mughniyah. there was some recent hasbara about it. hmm. perhaps stuff is coming out in the trial that’s bad news for israel. also, the claim israel targeting syria based on ..oh, i have to think this out.

      this is awful.

      • Whizdom
        January 18, 2015, 1:42 pm

        I am afraid it could be a manifestation of the Israel/Iran proxy war, trying to provoke a counter response that would sink the P%+1/Iran rapprochement.

        Or is could be old fashioned Election time shenanigans.

        Before anyone calls me out for bigotry for suggesting that the timing of these cross border strikes might have electoral resonance,

        “Major General (res.) Yoav Galant, who is a leading candidate in the Koolanu party’s Knesset list, hinted strongly Sunday that the killing of Jihad Mughniyeh in Syria may have been timed to help Binyamin Netanyahu do well in the upcoming national elections.”

        “the former Head of Southern Command. “And yet, from events in the past, you can learn that sometimes the timing is not unrelated to the subject of elections.”

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2015, 2:25 pm

        whiz, i think you make a salient point on the elections, but i also notice when israel, or netanyahu more specifically, get bad pr (and the press in israel has been very thorough regarding netanyahu’s foibles in france) some huge thing happens that wipes out that coverage. election or no election, it happens time and again.

      • Walid
        January 18, 2015, 2:33 pm

        Annie one of the 6 or 7 killed on the side of Hizbullah was a very senior Iranian officer, Abu-Ali Tabtabani.

        Israel’s hit on Hizbullah has more to do with Israel giving air support to ISIS/Nusra fighting the Syrian Army on the Syrian side of Quneitra on the Golan. It wasn’t long ago that Israel admitted to having treated 1200 injured fighters of ISIS/Nusra, some on the Golan on a mobile hospital set up on the Golan and some inside Israel proper in Israeli hospitals.

        Figure this one out: America is fighting ISIS but Israel is fighting on the side of ISIS.

        Today’s double incidents provoked by Israel is surely heading towards something big.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2015, 2:54 pm

        Israel’s hit on Hizbullah has more to do with Israel giving air support to ISIS/Nusra fighting the Syrian Army on the Syrian side of Quneitra on the Golan.

        thanks walid. this is what i meant in my comment about the spy. wasn’t he in charge of the bekka valley/border region? wasn’t he allegedly wrapped up in hezbollah feeding false info to israel, which was how they caught him, and if that is the case then didn’t israel just lose an important ally regarding their actions in that region… “Israel giving air support to ISIS/Nusra fighting”…

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2015, 3:18 pm

        another thing, imho, the over riding objective of israel is expanding it’s territory. hezbollah’s long range missiles in the bekka valley .. that is a big deal. i wish i knew more about this particular region, but geo-strategically any escalating conflict in this region israel’s objective would be more territorial control, i would imagine. i’m not sure it is because of iran talks, it could be. i just can’t dismiss the thought that hezbollah finding out what information shawraba discloses squeezes israel. plus, the fact shawraba is not mentioned at all in any of the news reports related, not even a mention at the end -nothing. when things happen simultaneously i notice. possibly shawraba, as an asset, was worth more to israel than taking certain these actions now, and once that asset was gone, they let loose.

        it’s just an instinct. i think they are connected. especially since, according to israel, shawraba helped foil retributions against the assassination of Mughniyeh (albeit we don’t know if that’s true or just israel bragging).

        oh i just saw this

        Probably not by chance, to replace the disbanded secret services unit 910 of Hezbollah, a new secret department was created, to be administered directly to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran, and in this movement, according to Sheikh Naim Kassem, measures will be taken to preserve the purity of its ranks.

        i wonder if this attack was related to the ‘new secret department’. (“senior Iranian officer, Abu-Ali Tabtabani”)

      • Whizdom
        January 18, 2015, 2:39 pm

        You might be right. I am still worried that it might be driven by the Iran nuclear negotiations. If they succeed, Netanyahu is weaker electorally. A medium sized hot war with Hezbollah would be a triple win for Netanyahu before elections. From his perspective. Generate sympathy for Israel as a victim of Iranian state sponsored terror, weaken the ICC push, further defer negotiations with the PA (you can’t be expected to negotiate peace when you are in the middle of a hot war), Buff his creds as the go to security guy, etc.
        Of course it will all blow up horribly In The longer term, but the PM just needs to get through March elections. He’s a short term guy. Not a strategic thinker.

      • just
        January 18, 2015, 2:40 pm

        I think you are correct, Walid and Annie.

        “Figure this one out: America is fighting ISIS but Israel is fighting on the side of ISIS.”

        I can’t, Walid.

      • Whizdom
        January 18, 2015, 2:44 pm

        Walid might be right. Of course the American media will cover this as “Israel strikes Al Qaeda”, counting on our ignorance. Usually a safe bet.
        This looks like a deliberate provocation to sink the Iranian nuclear talks.

      • seafoid
        January 18, 2015, 3:07 pm

        “This looks like a deliberate provocation to sink the Iranian nuclear talks. ”

        Hezbollah might remember it as a favor to be returned in kind at the right time

      • Walid
        January 18, 2015, 3:21 pm

        Yes, Annie, the spy that Hizbullah caught in their ranks was Shawraba. He was a low-level operative that worked on the international scene, but he still succeeded in passing information to Israel to thwart a few planned operations aganst Israel.

        Lebanon succeeded in catching many spies in the last few years, but Israel still has many more still working within Lebanon and feeding Israel vital information on the resistance’s activities.

      • Walid
        January 18, 2015, 3:25 pm

        “Hezbollah might remember it as a favor to be returned in kind at the right time ”

        That’s for sure, seafoid, and I have a feeling the right time is much closer than anyone thinks. The days of Israel killing Lebanese to boost some candidate’s or another’s chance of winning elections are over.

      • Whizdom
        January 18, 2015, 3:34 pm

        The linkage with Shawrabi is likely simply a message from Israeli intel to show that they can still track and target high value targets despite the loss of their asset..

        Israel would certainly prefer to have Al Nusra on the Golan border, than Hezbollah with S-300 anti-air capability. Tacit if not explicit cooperation would make strategic sense.

        If ever Israel needed a nice little war it is now. According to script, they want Hezbollah to retaliate in kind, following which Israel can claim an unprovoked, jew hating terror attack, and in legitimate self defense, blow the crap out of Bekaa valley, maybe Beirut again.

        2015 is an odd year, Gaza is reserved for even years, so this year, Lebanon gets it.

      • American
        January 18, 2015, 3:42 pm

        ”Today’s double incidents provoked by Israel is surely heading towards something big – —Walid

        I hope Hezbollah has a very clever plan—like a false flag attack on Israel pinning the blame on ISIS.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2015, 3:54 pm

        walid, i didn’t mean it was retaliation for shawraba but i can see how it sounded like that. maybe it was a form of bragging. b at moa said the attack means israel surely have other assets unless it was damn luck. i have no idea. i hear about something like this and my mind is all over the map. for it to happen right after nasrallah’s speech..the cajones.

      • Walid
        January 18, 2015, 3:59 pm

        Annie, I picked up the part about the Iranian from one of the Arabic news services but oddly, neither Hizbullah nor any other news channel is saying anything about him. Lots of talk about the young Mughniya though.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2015, 4:09 pm

        on reflection i think you’re probably correct wrt “giving air support to ISIS/Nusra”. it’s really provocative.

      • Zofia
        January 18, 2015, 4:19 pm

        The Iranian debt: How Netanyahu is losing Israel’s real battle with the Islamic Republic
        Netanyahu signed secrecy order to conceal Israel-Iran legal battle
        Israel must tell the truth about Iran oil arbitration
        Do Jerusalem’s efforts to impose international sanctions on Tehran also stem from financial considerations?
        Israeli strike in Syria kills late Hezbollah leader’s son, sources say
        *In defense simulation, Hezbollah border attack doesn’t lead to war [30/2014]

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2015, 4:31 pm

        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly objects to revealing any information about the “oil arbitration” case that has been conducted between Israel and Iran in European courts for more than 20 years, the details of which were exposed on this weekend. Netanyahu signed a secrecy order in November 2013 banning the publication of information on the arbitration, because it “could possibly bring about harm to national security and foreign relations.”

        oh my, i missed this entirely.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 18, 2015, 4:36 pm

        actually now that i am reading the links i do recall an article about this someone posted a couple weeks ago. maybe it was you zofia…not more than a couple weeks ago tho. possibly business insider or something.

  8. just
    January 18, 2015, 2:07 pm

    Kate~ thank you for the bright spots of sunshine in this otherwise ever so bleak compilation!

    So they move out the indigenous people in order to make room for the Ukrainians and French~ the ones that they like and the ones that pass muster. They indiscriminately kill indigenous people, and they choose to resign rather than serve with indigenous people.

    I think that the consulate should shrug and say bye bye…and leave that consulate behind entirely and move to the OPT~ preferably Gaza where they might be able to prevent the next attack on those poor, suffering people.

    (I’m not joking)

  9. just
    January 19, 2015, 8:03 am

    “Iran has confirmed that a senior Iranian general was killed Sunday in an alleged Israeli strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, local media reported.

    According to the report, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said General Ali al-Addadi was serving in Iran as an advisor to the Syrian Army.

    A Hezbollah official told AFP that five other Iranian military men were also killed in the strike.

    Foreign media reports claimed Sunday that Israel had struck a site on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, killing at least six members of Hezbollah, including Jihad Mughniyeh. The Israeli army has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.”

    That’s “provocation” alright…

    • Walid
      January 19, 2015, 8:09 am

      The IAF is now truly the ISIS Air Force. It’s providing reconnaisance reports and air cover to ISIS fighters in Syria and treating their injuries.

      • just
        January 19, 2015, 8:15 am

        What a total cluster. If Americans only knew…

    • Walid
      January 19, 2015, 8:15 am

      Just, funeral of Jihad Mughniyeh is in progress now on Manar TV; being burried with his father:

      • just
        January 19, 2015, 8:16 am

        Thank you Walid. That’s quite a crowd/sea of unhappy people…


      • just
        January 19, 2015, 9:00 am

        “Israel’s attack on Syria: Trying Hezbollah’s patience

        After killings on Sunday of members of the organization, Israel’s hope is that its leader Nasrallah is too busy with politics to retaliate by launching a war.”

        The aggressor has already committed multiple “acts of war”. Any “war” will be on their hands.

      • just
        January 19, 2015, 9:20 am

        “A delegation of senators led by John McCain have met separately with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman and the emir of Qatar, as part of a regional tour focused on training Syrian rebels. As they met, hundreds of civilians fled rebel-held areas near Damascus that had been blockaded for over a year.

        A message on the official Twitter feed for McCain, Republican of Arizona, said the US delegation met the commander of Saudi Arabia’s training and equipment programme and with Ahmed al-Jarba, whom it identified as the president of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC). Al-Jarba stepped down as SNC president in July 2014. The current SNC president is Khaled Khoja. The reason for the discrepancy in McCain’s tweet was not immediately clear.

        The senators also met in neighbouring Qatar with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the country’s emir. The delegation included Senators Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina; Joe Donnelly, Democrat, Indiana; Angus King, an Independent from Maine; and Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, the state news agency reported. All sit on the Senate’s armed services committee, which McCain chairs.

        Saudi Arabia and Qatar are staunch supporters of Syria’s opposition, which is mired in a nearly four-year civil war to oust President Bashar Assad.

        The meetings took place on Saturday, a day after the Pentagon said that as many as 1,000 US troops and support personnel would be sent to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to help train vetted Syrian rebels. Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, said the training by a mix of US special and conventional forces could begin as early as this spring.”


      • Walid
        January 19, 2015, 9:23 am

        Just, saw reports from various Israeli TV stations and papers. General feeling all over Israel is that they are very spooked at what Israel hs just done. TV reports from Lebanon’s side of the border are showing that Israeli patrols are not approaching their border roads and border settlements appear afraid of what awaits them from Hizbullah. Israeli TV commentators saying that the IDF screwed up by hitting Hizbullah in Syria.

      • Whizdom
        January 19, 2015, 11:33 am

        Shit’s getting’ jiggy in the Golan. Canceled leaves, anti missile batteries moving. NEO op about to go down in Saa’na, where our hand picked president guy is in hiding.

      • just
        January 19, 2015, 1:12 pm

        “Israel shut down the airspace over the Golan Heights on Monday, ordering civil aircraft to stay out of the area following the death of six Iranian military officials and six Hezbollah operatives in an airstrike on the Syrian side of the Golan on Sunday. Foreign media has attributed the strike to Israel, but Israel has refused to comment.

        As tensions rose after the airstrike, the airspace above Israel’s north, east of the Jordan River, was closed to all civil aircraft except for agricultural aircraft several kilometers from the Syrian border.”

  10. Walid
    January 19, 2015, 8:11 am

    Today, 800,000 Chechens demonstrated against Charlie Hebdo in Grozny. The serious discussions about this trashy magazine is just begining.

  11. Whizdom
    January 19, 2015, 8:40 am

    Gobsmacked now, On CNN, “Unrest in Yemen may be aiding AQ” .

    Iran backed Houthi have taken control of much of the capital. Houthi are enemies of AQ. Houthi control of Yemen would be bad for AQAP, but also bad for Saudi. This mess could escalate in ways nobody wants.

    I wonder if Israel’s airstrike on the Iranians in Syria was run by the US, or did it occur without our knowledge or approval? If the latter, how pissed are we? If the former, WTF?

  12. just
    January 19, 2015, 9:12 am


    [email protected] has won a prestigious Lannan Award for Goliath (see NYRB). The circle of those of us who appreciate his achievement grows.”

    Kudos to Max!

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