Violence / Attacks / Raids / Clashes / Arrests
Aspiring chef shot dead by Israeli soldier
DHEISHEH REFUGEE CAMP (EI) 25 Feb by Budour Youssef Hassan — Jihad al-Ja‘fari, a young Palestinian refugee, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier this week. He had been resisting the occupation of his homeland by throwing stones at Israeli forces. At around 3am on Tuesday morning, Israeli soldiers raided Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. As the soldiers tried to arrest a Palestinian man outside the camp, local youth tried to block them with rocks and Molotov cocktails. The Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and live bullets. Al-Ja‘fari was on the roof of his home when he was shot. He had celebrated his twentieth birthday earlier this month. “He was always among the first guys to come out and face the soldiers whenever they raid the camp,” Omaima Abu Aisheh, a friend and neighbor of al-Ja‘fari, told The Electronic Intifada. “He was throwing stones when an Israeli sniper shot him with a bullet in his chest. He died on the spot … Al-Ja‘fari had been studying hotel management at Talitha Kumi Community College in Beit Jala, another West Bank village. He had hoped to become a chef. Al-Ja‘fari had been active in the Al-Aqsa Brigades, a militia linked to Fatah, that was demobilized as part of an agreement with Israel. But eyewitnesses are clear that al-Ja‘fari was unarmed and resisting with stones when he was shot dead.
Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in Duheisha refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during a predawn arrest raid in Bethlehem’s Duheisha refugee camp, locals and medics said. Jihad Shehada al-Jaafari, 19, was shot under his left shoulder while standing on the roof of his family home near the main road by the camp, witnesses said. He was hit by a bullet after Israeli forces opened fire in the densely-populated refugee camp following clashes with locals during an arrest raid. An Israeli soldier was struck by a Molotov cocktail during the clashes and sustained burns. Al-Jaafari was taken to al-Yamama hospital in nearby al-Khader, where he was pronounced dead. Medics said the teenager died of internal bleeding, with witnesses at the scene saying Israeli forces stopped ambulances from reaching his body.
Autopsy shows Palestinian teen was shot at close range
Ma‘an 24 Feb — Autopsy results for a young Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces near Bethlehem early Tuesday show that he was shot in the upper body at close range, a forensic expert told Ma‘an. Sabri al-Aloul said that the autopsy results show that 19-year-old Jihad al-Jaafari bled to death after being hit with an M16 bullet that penetrated his body through the left shoulder and struck his lungs before exiting and causing severe bleeding in his arteries and around his spine. The killing was “similar to an execution” because he was shot from very close range, al-Aloul said. The autopsy was performed between 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and adhered to international standards, he added. He said the autopsy was significant given that the report could be used to hold Israel accountable in international courts. Al-Jafaari’s father Shehada had called for the autopsy in order to document what he called Israeli crimes and violations against Palestinians.The teen was killed early Tuesday when Israeli soldiers were conducting arrest raids in Duheisha refugee camp.
Thousands attend funeral for Palestinian teenager
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Thousands of mourners on Tuesday attended the funeral of 19-year-old Jihad Shehada al-Jaafari, who was shot and killed during a dawn arrest raid in Duheisha refugee camp. Mourners received the body of the teenager in Duheisha camp after an autopsy in Al-Quds University’s forensic medicine unit. The body was then taken for burial at the Martyrs Cemetery south of Bethlehem in Artas. Al-Jaafari’s father told Ma‘an that his son lay bleeding for an hour and a half on the rooftop where he was shot before anyone had realized what happened. “His mother called him an hour before he was killed telling him to come back home, but he never did.” Relatives began looking for Jihad immediately after Israeli soldiers had left the camp following a dawn arrest raid, and found his body on the rooftop where he was shot. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Jihad’s mother said her son was defending his home and refugee camp and called upon Palestinian officials to defend the rights of Palestinians. Israeli soldiers opened fire randomly after raiding the camp, injuring several youths, she added … Stores closed their doors in Bethlehem stores as a mark of respect for the killed teenager.
Palestinian girl injured after being hit by settler vehicle in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — A Palestinian girl suffered fractures and bruises Tuesday after being hit by a settlement guard’s jeep in the Ein al-Lawza area of the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem, family said. Mariam Karim Dana, 10, was hit as the vehicle was speeding between houses, Dana’s brother Amer said. He said the car stopped after Mariam fell down, but backed up again, hitting her leg. Israeli police arrived at the scene but allowed the driver to leave without being detained or questioned. Mariam is currently in Hadassa hospital with a broken left foot and bruises in the back and neck. The family is preparing to file an official complaint against the driver, he said.
Palestinian injured after being rammed by an Israeli car in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Feb — Medical sources have reported that a young Palestinian man suffered moderate wounds on Monday evening after being rammed by an Israeli car belonging to a settler living in an illegal Israeli colony in Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The sources said Hasan Abdul-Rahman Badran, 22, from the al-Borj village, south of Hebron, was heading back home from work. The incident took place near a section of the Israeli apartheid wall, next to the village. Eyewitnesses said the incident was a deliberate attack as the Israeli driver swerved towards the Palestinian, and fled the scene after hitting him with his car. The wounded Palestinian was moved to the Soroka Israeli medical center in Be’er as-Sabe’ “Beersheba,” suffering various cuts and bruises, in addition to a pelvis fracture. He was also bleeding from his mouth.
Israeli extremists attack shop in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 26 Feb by Saed Bannoura — A group of approximately 20 Israeli colonizers, illegally squatting in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, attacked on Wednesday a Palestinian shop causing excessive property damage. Soldiers kidnapped the shop owner and his neighbor. The Hebron Defense Committee has reported that the Israeli attackers, headed by extremist right-winger Baruch Marzel, who lives in Tal Romeida illegal outpost, invaded a shop, belonging to resident Abdulraouf al-Mohtaseb, causing excessive damage to many goods, especially those displayed outside his store. The attackers also assaulted the shop owner, and struck him on the head, and also assaulted his son, causing various bruises and a cuts in his arm. The Committee said Israeli officers, and soldiers, were standing just a few meters away from the store, but did not even attempt to intervene and remove the assailants. Instead, the soldiers kidnapped Abdulraouf and one of his neighbors, while trying to file a complaint against the fanatic Israeli assailants. The attack came amidst a provocative tour by Marzel and his followers, in addition to some journalist covering Marzel’s campaign for the upcoming Knesset election. The Hebron Defense Committee stated that Marzel seems to be trying to run his campaign on a platform of hatred towards the Palestinians.
Four injured by live Israeli fire in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Feb — Medical sources have reported that four Palestinians were shot by live Israeli army rounds, and scores suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, after dozens of soldiers invaded the ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, on Sunday evening. Eyewitnesses said a large military force invaded the alleys of the camp while firing rounds of live ammunition, wounding ‘Ali Sami al-‘Azza, 17, Mohammad ‘Omar Badawna, 24, and ‘Issa Abu Srour, 24. A fourth Palestinians was shot in the thigh by fragments of a live round. The wounded Palestinians suffered moderate injuries, and were moved to the Beit Jala governmental hospital. Scores of Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, especially after the soldiers fired gas bombs at several homes.
Dancing children attacked by Israeli forces
[with photos] HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 25 Feb — On the 24th of February in occupied Al-Khalil (Hebron), Israeli forces opened fire on dancing Palestinian youth, firing tear gas and throwing stun grenades at group of young children performing a traditional Palestinian dance as a form of protest in front of Shuhada checkpoint. The fifteen young dancers, Palestinian girls and boys between the ages of six and twelve, gathered to perform dabke, a traditional Palestinian dance. They staged their dance in the open street in Bab Al-Zawiye (in the H1 – officially Palestinian Authority-controlled – part of Hebron) near Shuhada checkpoint, as part of a week of actions planned by Palestinian organizers around the annual Open Shuhada Street campaign. The children began performing under heavy military surveillance, as at least thirteen soldiers occupied roofs surrounding the entrance to the checkpoint … “As soon as the dancing kids moved closer to the checkpoint, soldiers immediately attacked with two tear gas grenades and two stun grenades,” reported an ISM volunteer who witnessed the incident. “Israeli soldiers fired tear gas even though the children were not throwing stones.” After first fleeing the assault, the Palestinian children managed to continue dancing even as around twenty soldiers and eight border police advanced from the checkpoint into Bab Al-Zawiye. Israeli forces threw a dozen stun grenades after a few youth began throwing stones at the checkpoint. Clashes continued for about an hour and a half, as Israeli soldiers and border police fired even more rounds of tear gas, several additional stun grenades, and eventually rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian youth. Advancing further and further into the commercial center of Bab Al-Zawiye, they ended up shooting into the crowded streets of the city’s market area. Local activists reported that two Palestinians suffered injuries from rubber-coated steel bullets…
Israeli extremists open fire on Palestinian homes in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Feb — A number of armed Israeli extremists opened fire, on Wednesday at dawn, targeting a number of Palestinian homes in Nahhalin village, west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, causing damage but no injuries … Local sources said extremists from Beitar Illit illegal colony, drove their motorcycles on a bypass road that was recently paved as part of an electricity network for the colony, and fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition. The attack targeted homes in the Schools Street, and the al-‘Ein neighborhood; no injuries were reported. Residents from Nahhalin said Israeli fanatics recently escalated their attacks against them, and their property, and uprooted farmlands in addition to flooding the lands with wastewater, and throwing stones on Palestinian cars.
In addition, soldiers fired several gas bombs at Palestinian schoolchildren in the at-Tour town, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, causing scores of children to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.
‘If you don’t open the door in 5 minutes, we will blow it up’
[with photos] HEBRON, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Khalil Team) 24 Feb — During the night of the February 22nd, Israeli occupation forces raided two homes belonging to the Edies family, in the Al-Khalil (Hebron) neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida. At least thirty soldiers invaded the homes of Yahya Edies and Saleh Edies at around 2:30 am on Sunday morning. Mhammad Edies, one of Yahya’s sons, reported to ISM volunteers that soldiers threatened his family, telling them “if you don’t open the door in 5 minutes, we will blow it up.” Israeli soldiers ordered the family of twelve, including five children between 5 months and 12 years old, to gather in one room. One of the family’s sons was unable to follow the soldiers’ orders, since he is disabled and cannot move by himself; only after some discussion was he finally allowed to stay in the room he was in. The family was forced to stay inside that room for about an hour as the soldiers ransacked the house, upending furniture, strewing things all over the floor destroying the family’s belongings. Israeli forces prevented ISM volunteers from documenting what was happening, pointing their guns and aiming lasers at them, yelling at and detaining those who attempted to leave their house to photograph the raid. The following morning, a local a human rights activist reported that Israeli occupation forces had raided around 20 houses in Al-Khalil on that same night of the 21st to the 22nd of February alone.
Five Palestinians kidnapped in the West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Feb by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, various areas in the occupied West Bank, stormed and searched several homes before kidnapping five Palestinians, and handed one resident a military order for interrogation. Several Palestinians injured. Soldiers invaded Wad Ma’ali neighborhood, in the center of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and kidnapped Mohammad Salahat, 22 years of age, after storming his home and searching it, causing property damage. The soldiers also invaded al-‘Obeyyat area, east of Bethlehem, and handed resident Ahmad Khalil ‘Obeyyat, 32, a military order for interrogation in the Etzion military and security base, south of Bethlehem. In addition, soldiers invaded the southern West Bank city of Hebron, stormed and searched homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Mohammad Shawar and Ahmad Shawar … Furthermore, soldiers invaded Beit Rima town, north of Ramallah, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Nayef ar-Rimawi, and Waseem ar-Rimawi, after violently searching their homes. Soldiers also installed a roadblock near the main entrance of Deir Ibzeegh village, west of Ramallah, stopped cars, and inspected the ID cards of dozens of residents. In the northern West Bank district of Jenin, soldiers invaded the village of al-‘Arqa, west of the city, broke into and violently searched more than five homes before interrogating the families. On Sunday evening, dozens of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation in Zabbouba village, west of Jenin, after a number of Israeli military vehicles invaded it, leading to clashes between the soldiers and local youths. Also on Sunday evening, seven Palestinians, including a pregnant woman, were injured after dozens of soldiers invaded ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem; four of the wounded were shot by live rounds. Medical sources said the soldiers attacked a pregnant woman after invading her home, causing various serious cuts and bruises that required hospitalization.
VIDEO! Israeli army raids ‘Aida camp
Alternative News 24 Feb — Eight young Palestinian men were wounded as clashes developed following an Israeli army raid on the Aida refugee camp early Monday morning. After raiding the Bethlehem-area refugee camp, Israeli troops conducted an extensive search and arrest campaign through numerous homes in the Bethlehem-area camp. Dozens of young Palestinian men were taken from their homes and made to gather outside in the cold winter weather. [interviews with some of the residents, including children, whose homes were broken into]
Lawyer and two children detained from Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Feb — Israeli forces detained a lawyer and two children during a raid on their houses in the nearby town of Al Tur (Mount of Olives) and Al Thawri neighborhood, in the city. Coordinator for families in the Jerusalemite prisoners committee, Amajd Abu Assab, said that soldiers detained Rami Al Alami, lawyer of the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Affairs Committee, during a raid on his home in Al Tur. He added that Israeli forces had also detained two children, Mohammed Busiala, age 14, and Ibrahim Ghaith, 16, after raiding their homes in Al Thawri neighborhood in Silwan; all detainees were taken to Al Maskobia prison, west of the city.
Several Palestinians injured near Jenin; three children kidnapped in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Feb by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday at dawn, the village of Zabbouba, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and fired gas bombs causing several injuries. Army also invaded Jerusalem’s Old City, and kidnapped three Palestinian children. Medical sources in Zabbouba, near Jenin, said a number of Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, after the soldiers fired gas bombs at a number of homes, and at local youths who hurled stones, and empty bottles, at the invading army vehicles … In addition, scores of soldiers invaded Palestinian neighborhoods in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, stormed and searched several homes causing property damage, and kidnapped three children. Nasser Qous, head of the Jerusalem Office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), said the soldiers kidnapped Mustafa Abu Sneina, ‘Abboud Abu Sneina, and Omar Ghneim, all around 13 years of age, and took them to the al-Qashla Police station and interrogation center in the Old City. In related news, soldiers invaded the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, stormed and searched a number of homes, and handed Saleh Mohammad al-J‘eidy, 19 years of age, a military order for interrogation in the Etzion military and security base.
Three Palestinians kidnapped in the West Bank, one in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Feb — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday at dawn, three Palestinians in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, stormed and searched several homes; many Palestinians injured … One Palestinian was kidnapped in Qabatia town, in the northern West Bank district of Jenin; he has been identified as Mo’taz Abdul-Latif Tayeh, 21 years of age. He was ordered to head to the Salem military base for interrogation, and was kidnapped upon arrival. Soldiers also invaded Zabbouba nearby town, and clashes with dozens of local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles on the invading forces. The army fired gas bombs, rubber-coated metal bullets and concussion grenades; many Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. Several military vehicles also invaded Jenin city, Sabah el-Kheir village, and al-Fandaqumiya and Ya‘bad towns, and withdrew later without conducting any arrests. In addition, several military vehicles invaded ‘Azzoun town, in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia, stormed and searched a number of homes, and kidnapped two teenagers identified as Husam Sufian Reyasy, 15, and Mahmoud Nidal Salim, 17. Furthermore, a large military force invaded Kufur Sour village, south of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, before dozens of soldiers broke into a home, and violently searched it. Local sources said the home is located near the Sal’it illegal Israeli colony, close to the Annexation Wall, west of the village, and that the soldiers took pictures of the family, and of every room in the property, in addition to its exterior.
Furthermore, soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian child near the border fence, in central Gaza, allegedly, after he tried to cross into Israel. The child has been identified as Abdullah al-Haddad, 16 years of age.
Settler attacks on religious and educational institutions
Settlers burn mosque near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Feb — Extremist Jewish settlers set fire overnight Tuesday to a mosque in the southern West Bank town of al-Jab‘a west of Bethlehem, locals told Ma‘an. As worshipers arrived around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday to prepare for the dawn prayer at al-Huda mosque, they saw smoke and flames rising from inside the building. Worshipers alerted neighbors and together they joined forces until they managed to put out the fire. Racist slogans calling for killing Arabs and Muslims were sprayed on the walls in Hebrew. The Palestinian foreign ministry said the attack was tantamount to “an official declaration of religious war,” the official WAFA news agency reported. “This new attack is a sign of the mounting violent extremism within Israeli society,” it said. The attack coincides with the 21st anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in Hebron when an extremist American-born Jew Baruch Goldstein opened fire at Muslim worshipers at dawn prayer. The attack killed 29 people and injured more than 120.
Images: Jewish settlers torch mosque in West Bank
Middle East Monitor 25 Feb — IMAGES A group of Jewish settlers on Wednesday morning torched a mosque near the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, Anadolu news agency reported. The news agency also reported that the Jewish settlers sprayed anti-Arab slogans on the walls of the mosque. “The settlers stormed Al-Jaba‘a village at 4am and torched Al-Huda Mosque,” the head of the village’s council, Noman Hamdan, told Anadolu.
Christian center set on fire, vandalized in Jerusalem hate crime attack
Haaretz 26 Feb by Nir Hassan — A building belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem was set on fire and vandalized early on Thursday in a hate crime attack. Firefighters arrived at the scene and extinguished the flames, and classified the fire as arson after an investigation into whether the fire was deliberately set. The forces also found hate graffiti denigrating Jesus sprayed on one of the walls. Damage was done to parts of the building, but no one was hurt. The structure, which is used as for religious studies, is located near the Old City’s Jaffa Gate … Mount Zion, the area where the suspected attack occurred, is one of the more vulnerable areas concerning price tag attacks. In the past two years, there have been dozens of various hate crimes, including the assault of Christian clergymen, graffiti, punctured tires, desecrated grave-sites, smashed gravestones and more. In May 2014, a nearby church was set aflame shortly after Pope Francis’ visit. In 2013, vandals smashed Ottoman ceramic tiles at King David’s Tomb, thus destroying the last traces to the compound’s Muslim past. Later that year, vandals smashed gravestones of prominent historical figures at a Protestant cemetery on Mount Zion. Church leaders have often expressed concern about monks and clergy’s fears of walking around Mount Zion in uniform due to spitting and harassment. “In Mount Zion, might makes right, where a bully can do what he wants. There isn’t a monk here who doesn’t get spat upon – it’s part of the job description,” a senior official of one of the local churches told Haaretz months ago.
Palestinian official: Jewish settlers deface West Bank school
Haaretz 26 Feb by Jack Khoury — ‘Death to Arabs’ sprayed alongside Star of David in what appears to be the third racially motivated incident this week, Maan reports. Jewish settlers reportedly defaced a West Bank school with racist graffiti, in what would be the third racially motivated attack this week. Ghassan Douglas, a Palestinian official in charge of settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Palestinian news agency Maan that a number of settlers from Yitzhar spray-painted “Death to Arabs” next to a Star of David at the entrance to a school in the West Bank village of Orif, south of Nablus. On Wednesday, a mosque in the West Bank village of Kafr Jab’a, near Bethlehem was torched. A building belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem was set on fire and vandalized early on Thursday. Douglas accused the right-wing Israeli government of exacerbating tensions ahead of the upcoming elections, saying the arson incidents and the school attack were direct results of its “incitement.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
Israel reportedly planning 48,000 new settlement homes in West Bank
Times of Israel 24 Feb by Avi Lewis — Israel is planning on constructing some 48,000 new housing units in Israeli West Bank settlements, according to leaked transcripts involving government officials published by an Israeli daily Tuesday. The new units, which do not count some 15,000 new homes planned for East Jerusalem, would make up nearly 1/6th of the 279,000 tenders for units across the country, according to Yedioth Ahronoth, which cited conversations between officials in the Housing and Finance ministries. The report, which could not be independently verified, comes amid growing international pressure to cease construction in settlements and amid country-wide housing crisis that is compacted by rising real estate costs and a dearth of accommodation opportunities — particularly for first home buyers. Officials at the Housing Ministry were unavailable for comment. Although multiple tenders are planned for the four large settlement blocs that Israel says will remain under its control in the event of any negotiated final status agreement, thousands of units are also in the works for isolated settlements beyond the West Bank security fence.
Israeli settlement building tenders hit record high – watchdog
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 23 Feb — Israel set a 10-year record last year for the number of tenders it issued for construction in settlements on occupied land in the Palestinian territories, the anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now said on Monday. In a report published as Benjamin Netanyahu is running a close race for re-election on March 17, Peace Now blamed Israel’s settlement housing plans for scuttling U.S.-brokered peace talks that collapsed in April. The report said the invitations to bid for building contracts in the settlements had tripled since 2013 on average compared to the 2009-2013 period of Netanyahu’s previous administration. It said Israel issued 4,485 tenders in 2014, up from 3,710 in 2013, and 858 in 2007, and that 68 percent of construction starts were in enclaves not necessarily part of blocs that Israel has vowed to keep as part of any peace deal. The Israeli government had no immediate response to the report.
Thousands of East Jerusalem Arabs stranded due to Israeli interior ministry strike
Haaretz 24 Feb by Nir Hasson — Residents are unable to travel outside of Israel, causing cancellation of pilgrimages to Mecca — The Interior Ministry’s office in East Jerusalem has been on strike for the past week, causing severe disruption to the area’s 360,000 Palestinian residents. Because most East Jerusalem Palestinians are permanent residents rather than Israeli citizens, the strike has had a dramatic impact on their lives. For instance, since they have no passports, they can’t go abroad without obtaining a laissez-passer from the Interior Ministry … Many East Jerusalem residents had tales of how the strike had affected them personally. For instance, Ajad Nasser al-Din wants to go to Jordan to visit his terminally ill sister in the hospital, but can’t get a laissez-passer to leave Israel. Abu Fuzi Julani, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shoafat, also had to cancel a planned trip abroad. Most East Jerusalem residents travel via Jordan, because they find it easier than traveling through Ben-Gurion Airport. In another incident, a bus full of pilgrims to Mecca, who had already paid for their plane tickets and hotels, weren’t allowed to cross into Jordan, so their trip had to be canceled; their money is unlikely to be refunded. And many students who study abroad and came home during the semester break can’t return to college because of the strike.
Israel sets up iron gates at container checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Feb — Israeli authorities on Wednesday installed iron gates on both sides of the container checkpoint connecting the northern and southern West Bank, the governor of Bethlehem said. Jibril al-Bakri told Ma‘an that the step was taken as car lanes were expanded and a passage for pedestrians was added. “Israel is ignoring all agreements concerning the checkpoint, as all talks were geared towards removing the checkpoint. We were surprised it is being improved and we do not know what is next.” “These developments are part of Israel’s plan to isolate Bethlehem and the southern West Bank from other areas,” he added. The checkpoint exists solely for political reasons and has no grounding in security necessities, he said. The container checkpoint, located in Wad Nar, is permanently manned and controls the flow of traffic between the southern and northern West Bank. When closed, the checkpoint effectively separates the northern and southern districts of the occupied West Bank.
Prisoners in our own homes: A look at life in occupied Hebron
+972 Blog 25 Feb by Zleikha Muhtaseb — Twenty-one years have passed since Baruch Goldstein entered Hebron’s Cave of the Patriarchs and massacred dozens of Muslim worshippers. Since then, Palestinians in the city have been placed under a harsh regime of separation and movement restriction. Some of us can’t even leave our own homes — Imagine that you are in your home, sitting on your comfortable couch, making a cup of tea or perhaps looking at the view through your window. You are safe and calm — here no one can hurt you. Now imagine that the front door of your home has been locked by a foreign army that forbids you from walking on the main street where your house is located. Imagine that in order to leave your house you are forced to break through another part of your house so as to create an alternative exit. Imagine that your balcony is closed off by a fence that you built in order to protect yourself from rocks thrown at your house by your neighbors. Imagine that at any given moment, soldiers can burst into your home and act as they want. This is more than just a thought experiment — this is what my life looks like, living on Shuhada Street in Hebron.
Israel’s Hebron handiwork: its most heinous endeavor since 1948
Haaretz 25 Feb by Amira Hass — The sickest imagination of present-day anti-Semites cannot compete with the handiwork of Israel and its emissaries the settlers in Hebron for the past 20 years — The demand for the Jewish return is broken down here into all its raw components: the expulsion of the Palestinians, the destruction of their homes and their cultural legacy, destruction of the economy, extreme ethnic-spatial separation and deranged prohibitions regarding movement and housing, attacks in the name of the Torah, harassment and denial of the other. If gentile foes were to say that that’s how Jews behave, the institutes for the study of anti-Semitism would sound the alarm. Today, February 25, is the 21st anniversary of the massacre perpetrated by Dr. Baruch Goldstein against worshipers in the Ibrahimi Mosque (the Cave of the Patriarchs). The prime minister and defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, could have dismantled the nuclear bombs stored by his colleagues from Mapai (the forerunner of Labor) in the late 1960s – Yigal Alon and Moshe Dayan – when they allowed groups of messianic Jews to settle there and encouraged them by providing military protection and weapons. The evacuation of the settlers from Hebron would have been received with great understanding in 1994. But Rabin decided to continue with the traditional policy, which was natural for Mapai, of pampering the settlers, and instructed the army to punish the Palestinians for the massacre committed against them by a Jewish doctor – an immigrant from the United States – with a prolonged curfew, restrictions on movement, the closing of shops and marketplaces, and criminal forgivingness for the violence of the settlers. Since then Israel has continued with its policy of punishing those who are being attacked….
Israel seeks to empty Jaffa port of Arabs
Middle East Monitor 25 Feb — Israeli authorities prosecute Arab fishermen in the port of Jaffa, restrict their activities and impose more crippling conditions on them so as prevent the continuation of their work on a regular basis and compel them to migrate away from the area, the fishermen have said. Yesterday police forces stormed the port and threatened to confiscate Arab fishermen’s fish under the pretext that they are selling it illegally. The prosecution of fishermen comes as part of the plan by the Development Authority of the Tel Aviv Municipality to seize real estate and property in Old Jaffa and use it for development and tourism with the aim of serving the goals of Judaisation and settlement expansion, the fishermen said.
Army demolishes an under-construction home near Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Feb — Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, the al-‘Ardeesa area in Sa‘ir town, northeast of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and demolished an under-construction home … Eyewitnesses said soldiers, military police officers of the Border Guards units, and employees of the Israeli “Civil Administration Office,” invaded the area while accompanied by military bulldozers, and demolished a house belonging to resident Nassr Mousa Jaradat. The destroyed property was approximately 170 square/meters; the army surrounded the area and declared it a closed military one before demolishing the building.
In related news, soldiers invaded Halhoul town, north of Hebron, and violently searched a home belonging to resident ‘Ali Zama’ra, causing property damage. Soldiers also installed roadblocks on the entrances of Halhoul and Sa‘ir town, in addition to the al-Fawwar refugee camp, stopped and searched dozens of cars and questioned several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. On Tuesday at dawn, soldiers invaded Rojeeb [or Rujeib] village, in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, and kidnapped two brothers identified as Ahmad and Halabi Radi al-Halabi.
Settlers uproot 100 olive saplings in Hebron; Khirbet Gween slated for demolition
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Feb — Israeli settlers, on Wednesday, uprooted a hundred olive saplings recently-planted in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, said a local activist organization. According to the Palestinian Voluntary Action Commission, settlers from the illegal settlement outpost of Beit Hadassa stormed Palestinian land that had been planted with a hundred olive saplings near Qurtuba School. Settlers destroyed the fence surrounding the land and proceeded to uproot a hundred olive saplings that were planted by Palestinian activists three weeks ago as part of a campaign to plant one million trees on land facing seizure in Hebron. The campaign, WAFA reports, intended to help Palestinian farmers maintain ownership of their farmlands threatened by Israeli annexation and replant tree seedlings on damaged land.
Furthermore, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, Israeli soldiers stormed Khirbet Gween [or Ghuwein], in the south of Hebron, and distributed notices to all citizens to evacuate the area. Local sources said that Israeli forces, accompanied by civil administration crews raided the village and delivered the notifications, adding that the Israeli occupation forces claimed that the area to be under their control, in order to build settlements instead. To be noted, the residents of Khirbet Gween have lived there for decades.
Israeli forces demolish 4 Bedouin homes near Beersheba
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 24 Feb — Israeli forces demolished four Bedouin homes in the Tel Sheba area of Beersheba on Tuesday, leaving dozens homeless. Locals told Ma‘an that the homes belonged to the al-Nabbari family. Israeli forces escorted bulldozers to the area early Tuesday and demolished the properties on the pretext that they lacked building permits. One of the family members, Sufian al-Nabbari, 20, was arrested after attempting to prevent the demolition. “We will not let go of our lands. More than 60 police officers arrived in the area and demolished our homes and livestock barns,” Muhammad al-Nabbari said. “They even chopped down our olive trees. We have not seen any Arab Knesset member here during the demolition.” Head of the regional council for unrecognized Bedouin villages, Attiya al-Asam, said that the “brutality” of demolitions has increased recently in Bedouin towns. On Sunday, Israeli authorities demolished four homes belonging to Palestinian Bedouins near the town of Hurah in the Negev Desert in Southern Israel. Bedouins in Israel live in 45 unrecognized villages scattered primarily in the region between Beersheba and Arad. They are the remnants of the Bedouin population that lived across the Negev Desert until 1948, when 90 percent were expelled by Israel and the remainder confined to a closed reservation.
Farmlands destroyed by Israeli forces near Hebron village, garbage trucks seized
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Feb — Israeli forces, on Monday, destroyed large tracts of Palestinian farmlands in Khirbet Zanuta village, Adh-Dhahiriya area, to the southwest of Hebron. Israeli military vehicles escorting bulldozers, according to WAFA, stormed a section of the village near the illegal settlement outpost of Shima, where they proceeded to destroy tens of dunams of farmlands belonging to Adh-Dhahiriya. These practices are meant to strip the indigenous people of their land and displace them as a prelude to seize their land for settlement construction … Owing to its adjacency to the Green Line, the village has suffered considerably from occupation, particularly due to the construction of the segregation wall. About 200 dunams of village lands were confiscated during the Second Intifada. Khirbet Zanuta is surrounded by Israeli settlements of Shima and Tene to the west, and a bypass road runs through the center of the village from west to east. Approximately six kilometers of the segregation wall have been constructed on Khirbet Zanuta land since 2004. Five cisterns have been destroyed due to the construction of the wall.
Also on Monday, Israeli forces seized two garbage collection trucks belonging to Yatta town, to the south of Hebron, said a municipal source. Mayor of Yatta, Mousa Makhamra, said the trucks were seized by the so-called Israeli Civil Administration officers while transporting garbage to a landfill, to the east of the town, and that the drivers were forced to leave. The current landfill site has been used for 40 years. This was the second time in less than a week that garbage collection vehicles belonging to Yatta were seized.
Israeli soldiers prevent shepherds from grazing livestock
HEBRON (WAFA) 24 Feb – Israeli soldiers Tuesday chased after Palestinian shepherds and prevented them from grazing their livestock in Yatta locality to the south of Hebron, according to a local activist. Coordinator of the popular committee in southern Hebron, Rateb al-Jabour [said] Israeli forces chased after shepherds in Khirbet At-Tawil, located near the Israeli settlement of Maon, built illegally on Palestinian-owned land in East Yatta, in an attempt to prevent them from entering the fields for the benefit of providing protection for settlers. Forces further raided shepherds’ dwellings, causing financial damages to their contents
Soldiers demolish Jerusalem Gate protest village
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Feb — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday morning, the Jerusalem Gate protest village, in Abu Dis town, east of occupied Jerusalem, and demolished it for the ninth consecutive time. Hani Halabiyya, spokesperson of the Popular Resistance Committees, said scores of soldiers surrounded the village, and stormed it along with a military bulldozer, and various armored vehicles. Halabiyya added that the soldiers demolished the structures, and confiscated them. The invasion was carried out after at least 30 army vehicles surrounded the area, and declared it a closed military zone. It is worth mentioning that nonviolent Palestinian, Israeli and international activists rebuilt the Jerusalem Gate village, on [last] Wednesday, shortly after the army demolished it. The village was installed for the first time nearly three weeks ago, on the Khallet ar-Raheb area, east of Abu Dis, to protest Israel’s decision to displace and relocate the Bedouin communities so that it can continue its construction and expansion of its illegal colonies.
VIDEO: Unexploded F16 missile in Gazan’s home
Middle East Eye 24 Feb — Middle East Eye reporter Noor Harazeen visited a family whose home was hit by a missile from an F16 fighter jet. The missile crashed through the roof and penetrated the ground floor without exploding during the Israeli assault last summer. The government doesn’t have the expertise needed to remove the missile and now the family is forced to live with it, although they know that the missile could explode at any time. In the densely-populated coastal enclave, with a population of 1.8 million, civilians – men, women and children paid a terrible price during the Israeli assault. The deadly 50-day July-August war killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians and wounded more than 10,000. Six months after the attacks, the residents, and entire families like this one, remain at risk. [Interviews with Khalil & Seham Nsair, residents of the house]
On second thought, no: Gaza students denied exit permits
+972 Blog 24 Feb by Amir Rotem — The ease with which Israel can give and take away, allow and deny, isn’t just disturbing and depressing, it’s also further proof, in case anyone needed any, that Israel’s control over daily life in Gaza is immense — Early last week, the Palestinian media reported that the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee had reached some new understandings in its talks with Gaza District Coordination Offices (DCO) officials and that, among other things, for the first time in 15 years, Gaza residents would be allowed to travel to the West Bank for academic studies. On Wednesday, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) posted (Hebrew) on its website that 50 students from Gaza would be permitted to study in the West Bank. Only a few hours later, when the news caught the media’s attention, COGAT’s spokesperson said that the publication was the result of an error. A copy of the “Closure Permissions Status” document, a document that lists the restrictions imposed on the Palestinian public and is updated every few weeks, was removed from COGAT’s website and was reposted only the next day, after the section was deleted. What went on behind the scenes in those lost hours between the publication and the decision to remove it?
Israeli forces open fire on Gaza farmers
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Feb — Israeli forces opened fire at farmers in the central Gaza Strip, on Wednesday, according to witnesses. Locals told Ma‘an News Agency that soldiers stationed in military towers on the border, east of Deir al-Balah, opened fire at farmers in the area. The farmers fled the area, with no injuries reported. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that “two people approached the border fence in a prohibited area and Israeli forces opened fire in the air.” Israeli forces frequently shoot at farmers and other civilians inside the Gaza Strip if they approach large swathes of land near the border that the Israeli military has deemed off-limits to Palestinians. Israeli forces opened fire at farmers near Khan Younis on Tuesday, as well, while a similar incident was reported near Rafah, on Sunday. According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza’s total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land were within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gazans. The continuous attacks are also in flagrant violation of the August ceasefire, mediated by Egypt, between Israel and Hamas.
Israeli naval boats open fire on Gaza fishermen
AZA, February 24, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli naval boats opened fire Tuesday morning on Palestinian fishing boats offshore Gaza. According to a WAFA reporter, Israeli naval boats indiscriminately opened heavy gunfire on fishermen in their vulnerable wooden boats offshore al-Sudaniya, located to the northwest of Gaza, causing damage to a boat. No injuries were reported among the fishermen who were forced to sail back to the shore
NGOs slam ‘disarmament for development’ as Gaza lies in ruins
Middle East Monitor 25 Feb by Ben White — Leading NGOs have heavily criticised attempts to link the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip with its demilitarisation, ahead of a debate about the issue in Westminster today. Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) will this afternoon urge “disarmament for development”, as the Israel lobby group launches a new campaign focusing on the Gaza Strip and Hamas. In their supporters’ briefing, LFI claims: “Reconstruction, lifting the ‘blockade’ of Gaza by Israel and Egypt and demilitarisation are intimately linked: the first two are dependent on the last.” Yet even before their campaign can get off the ground, key players from the world of development and human rights have explicitly repudiated this central demand. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is working to support Palestinians whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. Over the weekend, spokesperson Chris Gunness wrote of how promises to rebuild Gaza are going unfulfilled. He described children killed by hypothermia, and a bereaved grandfather who told him: “The international donor community killed those babies.” When I asked him about the linkage between development and demilitarisation, Gunness was categorical: “The UN has always condemned rocket fire but collective punishment is illegal. You can’t punish freezing children because of the actions of armed groups.”
Video: Gaza rubble transformed into art
CCTV-America 24 Feb — It’s been a long and difficult road to recovery in Gaza since last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas. In the midst of the effort to rebuild, Palestinian artists are doing their part to brighten things up. CCTV’s Noor Harazeen reported this story from the Gaza Strip — In the Gaza Strip, a number of young Palestinian painters with artistic impressive touches have started their own distinctive art project turning the remains of Gaza’s homes, destroyed during last summer’s conflict with Israel, into memorable pieces of art. The youth group chose the title “Memories” to represent their project, sponsored by a local Palestinian youth institution.
Banksy’s grim tour of Gaza: Watch a mini-documentary by the shadowy street artist
Daily Beast 25 Feb — The world’s most mysterious street artist released a 2-minute documentary online Wednesday that details the horrors of Gaza — allegedly shot by the man himself. “Make this the year YOU discover a new destination.” That welcoming tagline serves as the opening title card to a 2-minute documentary that the legendary U.K. street artist Banksy posted to his website Wednesday evening. But in typical Bansky fashion, what follows is a an eye-opening short film, Welcome to Gaza. A man — presumably Banksy — is seen traveling by car and then climbing through what he calls “a network of illegal tunnels” before entering Gaza. The camera homes in children playing in the rubble. “The locals like it so much they never leave,” text says over the screen, “(because they’re not allowed to),” followed by shots of IDF soldiers.The “tourism” video includes a statistic on Operation Protective Edge, a military operation launched by Israel in 2014 that it claims leveled 18,000 homes. Also included is footage of drone strikes — accompanied by American voices — locals voicing their disapproval at the state of things, and footage of the notoriously mysterious street artist stenciling several works on rock walls in Gaza. Banksy’s publicist Jo Brooks has confirmed that the video, as well as the four new graffiti works unveiled in Gaza, are all authentic.
Palestinian farmers endure ‘constant war’ in Gaza
GAZA STRIP (Al Jazeera) 24 Feb by Patrick Strickland — A high rate of food insecurity and a deteriorating agricultural sector are the result of Israeli policies — Amjad Abu Ayash, 56, stood atop a hill and looked out across a patch of charred agricultural land spotted with busted water pipes. “They call this area the ‘land of death’ because even the birds that come here die,” he told Al Jazeera. Explaining that the Israeli barrier sealing off the northern Gaza Strip touches his land, Abu Ayash, a melon farmer, said: “Any time someone or something is within 300 metres of the border, the [Israeli army] shoots at it.” … Bill Van Esveld, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, explained that “farmers are being particularly badly affected” by Israel’s tight restrictions on their movement, which exacerbate the already difficult conditions caused by the eight-year Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza. “Israeli forces continue to carry out a long-standing, unlawful policy of shooting at anyone who crosses an invisible line that they consider to be too close to the Gaza perimeter fence,” he told Al Jazeera. An Israeli military spokesperson defended the measures Israel takes on the border and declined to define the exact size of the buffer zone.
Video: Parents of girl killed by Israeli bulldozer are “In the NOW” after losing appeal
RT 24 Feb — Appeal shot down, the state of Israel is innocent in the case of 23-year-old US citizen Rachel Corrie. She was crushed to death by a military bulldozer in Gaza 12 years ago. Rachel tried to prevent a Palestinian home from being illegally erased. No-one was held accountable for her killing. It’s the “combat activities exception” – said the court. Craig and Cindy Corrie told “In the NOW” that bulldozers are weapons to Israel.
Lost limbs and shattered lives: the British doctors on the front lines in Gaza
The Guardian 25 Feb by Homa Khaleeli — Ever since the ceasefire, UK doctors have been travelling to Palestine to treat people who have been hurt in bomb attacks. The things they see every day shock them, but the work they do is too important for them to stop — It doesn’t sound like a dangerous journey: ten-year-old Weam Al Astal was walking back home from her grandfather’s house by her father Mohammed’s side. The distance was just 40m and dozens of her cousins were playing on the Gazan street outside their home. But as the pair approached, they heard the children shout in terror. A drone fired a missile overhead. The resulting explosion threw the pair to the floor, and Mohammed heard his daughter screaming. “I lost my leg! I lost my leg! Father, come and help me!” Six months on from the conflict in which more than 2,000 Palestinians and 73 Israelis lost their lives, tales such as Weam’s are far from uncommon. But for the British doctors who helped treat her, such cases are still a shock. Every month since the ceasefire was declared in August, a small group of up to six orthopaedic and plastic surgeons from the UK has been travelling to the devastated city for a week at a time to help save the limbs of those caught up in the attacks.
EU, UNICEF mark completion of seawater desalination plant in Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 25 Feb — The European Union and UNICEF jointly marked the completion of the first component of a €10 million desalination plant which will provide over 75,000 Palestinians with clean, drinking water in Gaza. The event marked the completion of an 18-kilometer long pipeline, which will transfer 6,000 cubic meters of desalinated seawater from the desalination plant to at least 35,000 Palestinians living in Khan Yunis, and 40,000 in Rafah, southern Gaza. In a joint press release, EU and UNICEF said the construction phase of the project, which includes four components and is led in partnership with the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utilities (CMWU), was launched with the laying of the first stone in March last year. ‘The needs in Gaza for fresh water are huge. Nearly 95% of water in Gaza is considered unfit for human consumption. Enormous efforts are needed to ensure that Gazans can access fresh water. This is both a fundamental human right and an urgent humanitarian need for Gaza’s population,’ said the EU Representative John Gatt-Rutter
Restoring water access to Gaza’s embattled families
BALTIMORE, MD (IOCC) 24 Feb — Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — For Suha, 10, and her friend, Nada, 9, each day begins with a visit to a communal water storage tank in the Gaza neighborhood of Shuja‘iyeh. They patiently wait their turn to fill numerous empty plastic water cans that they must carry back to their family homes a quarter mile away. Each filled container can weigh over 40 pounds. It’s a heavy burden for a young child, but without the daily trips to this sole source their families would go without water for drinking, cooking, and washing. The war-ravaged Gaza neighborhood where the girls live with their families is among many which suffered heavy damage during last summer’s conflict with Israel. Widespread destruction of homes and infrastructure, including the water and sanitation systems, left thousands of Gaza’s families displaced and with no safe, reliable source of water. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), with support from relief partner, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), is responding to this urgent and most basic need with water delivery to 20 large refillable water storage tanks installed in the affected communities.
Listen: Eleven-year-old Gaza musician plays qanun
GAZA CITY (EI) 24 Feb by Rami Almegari — Eleven-year-old Firas al-Shirafi has experienced three major offensives against Gaza during his short life. Last summer, he was confined to his home in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City as it was too dangerous to venture outside. As Israel bombed and shelled buildings and infrastructure across the Strip, Firas did his best to replace the sounds of destruction with life-affirming tunes. “The only shelter for me was my music,” said Firas, who plays the qanun, a traditional string instrument. Firas has been studying at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music since he was five….
Gaza: A wish that came true for little Owais
International Committee of the Red Cross 25 Feb — Owais Ighbari is a brave little boy. The three-year-old Syrian has had a rough life. Born with spina bifida, he suffers from weakness in his lower limbs. Desperately seeking help, his family consulted many local doctors in Syria, but all of them found Owais’ medical condition incurable. In 2013, the family fled from Syria to Gaza, where Owais’ mother consulted more doctors. The response was the same as in Syria: no cure. “One day, as his brothers played and ran in the Gaza port area, I cried when I saw Owais crawling after them and yelling at them to wait for him,” his mother recalls. Determined to find a cure for their son, the parents contacted the ICRC-supported Artificial Limbs and Polio Center (ALPC) in Gaza city. Owais’ mother says she felt at peace the moment the family arrived at the centre. “A doctor told me that Owais needed special boots. I was overjoyed when I heard that they could be designed and made right there in the ALPC. Following several months of medical consultations at the ALPC, the family was delighted to witness Owais successfully using his device and benefiting from physiotherapy sessions. “He used to crawl, but now he can walk,” his mother beams. “Now, he even talks about playing football!”
‘Paradise is in this life, not the next’: The Marxists of Gaza are fighting for a secular state
Vice News 25 Feb by Creede Newton — In a smoke-filled café on the Gaza shoreline, Dr. Tholfikar Swairjo, official spokesman of the Gazan branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), sat down for an interview with VICE News and was immediately greeted by a complimentary cigar. “Who is this from?” Swairjo asked. “The owner,” the waiter replied. The organization Swairjo represents is a secular, Marxist group that was once a commanding political force in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Over the past decades, however, the PFLP’s influence has waned, due to factors such as rising religiosity and the collapse of its main financer, the Soviet Union. Considering the political climate in the region, life as a communist in Gaza, according to Swairjo, isn’t easy.
Prisoners / Court decisions
Partial win: No jail for Palestinian activist who blocked bulldozer
+972 Blog 23 Feb by Yael Marom — The Israeli army’s Ofer Military Court in the West Bank handed down a four-month suspended sentence and a NIS 5,000 ($1,290) to Abdullah Abu Rahmah, a central organizer of Bil‘in’s nonviolent protests. Abu Rahmah, one of the central activists in the Palestinian popular struggle in the West Bank, was recognized by the European Union as a Human Rights Defender. He was convicted last October of interfering with the work of a soldier for a incident in May 2012, when during a demonstration he stood in front of a bulldozer that was clearing land on which to build the separation barrier near Ramallah.
Israeli court renews detention of Aqsa TV director administratively
RAMALLAH (PIC)- 24 Feb — An Israeli court has extended, for the third consecutive time, the administrative detention of director of the Aqsa satellite channel Aziz Kayed, 50, for another four months … According to Ahrar Center of Prisoners’ Studies and Human Rights, during the second extension of Kayed’s detention, the court ordered his release on February 26 before the Israeli prosecutor recently managed to extract another extension verdict against him. The Center affirmed that many of the employees and journalists of the Aqsa channel had been exposed to arrests in the West Bank at the pretext of the channel’s affiliation with the Hamas Movement.
Palestinian refugees elsewhere
ISIL forces Iraq’s Palestinians to flee again
Baharka Camp (Al Jazeera) 26 Feb — Hudda Awad, 49, was born in a refugee camp. Today, under the weathered tarp of the fifth tent she’s called home, she says she is sure she will die in one. “Most of my life I’ve lived in the camps,” Awad tells Al Jazeera. “From when I was born in a Palestinian refugee camp up to now – all of my children were born in the camps.” Awadat and her family have led a hard life. Awad has spent a total of 33 years in different refugee camps across the Middle East. Fleeing from Haifa during the Palestinian Nakba in 1948, her parents took shelter in Tulkarm refugee camp in the West Bank, where she was born in 1966. Five decades later, Awad speaks to Al Jazeera under the soft thud of rain hitting the plastic sheets of yet another tent, this time at Baharka Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan. Baharka Camp currently houses 1,120 internally displaced families who have fled the recent fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and coalition forces. While the camp was created for Iraqi IDPs, 18 Palestinian families also reside in Baharka Camp under refugee status. The camp is lined row after row with weather-battered tents. Clothes hang above open sewer canals that snake between quarters, attempting to dry in the cloudy weather.
Israel turns off power to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the dead of winter / Annie Robbins
Mondoweiss 24 Feb — Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are cash strapped this winter because Israel is withholding $240 million in tax revenue to the Palestinian Authority as punishment for joining the ICC. This is radical, though it’s not unusual and something we’ve come to expect. But turning off the electricity in the middle of winter as blizzards sweep across the Middle East is nothing short of sadistic. The Los Angeles Times reports Israel cut the power to more than 700,000 Palestinians in two of Palestine’s largest urban areas, Nablus and Jenin, for more than 45 minutes “and warned that more outages are coming if Palestinian officials don’t pay millions of dollars in outstanding debt.” Citing Yiftah Ron-Tal, the director of Israel Electric Corp. (IEC), the Times reports: ““Customers who do not pay electric bills are disconnected; yet here we have an entire population that doesn’t pay while we continue to supply electricity,” he said. “The Palestinian Authority owes the IEC –meaning the paying consumers — nearly 2 billion Israeli shekels [about $500 million]. A year has passed since I said this last and nothing has changed. Starting today, we will begin restricting electricity.” The irony here, of withholding the months of tax revenue while demanding payment of a debt, on top of occupation policy preventing Palestinians from being self sufficient, is not lost on anyone.
Israel cuts power to Nablus, Jenin for 2nd time this week
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 Feb — The Israel Electric Corporation notified the Palestinian Northern West Bank electricity company that it would briefly disconnect the grids which supply the cities of Nablus and Jenin for an hour on Wednesday. Head of NEDCO, Youssef al-Qaram, said that the company had no outstanding debts and was unsure why Israeli authorities took the decision to cut power to two major Palestinian cities from 2:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. It is the second time this week that Israel has cut the power supply to the major northern Palestinian cities. On Monday, the Israel Electric Corporation disconnected the grids to Nablus and Jenin for 45 minutes. Ghassan al-Shakaa, chairman of the board of directors of the Northern West Bank Electricity company, said that the Israeli company disconnected the grids as a penal procedure for unpaid bills, despite there being no accumulated debts.
Israel to withhold tax revenues for third successive month
TEL AVIV, February 24, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli government decided to withhold $175 million in Palestinian tax revenues it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the third successive month, reported Anadolu News Agency. Israel’s Channel 10 reported on the Coordinator of the Israeli Government Activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory announcing that Israel plans to withhold the tax revenues it has levied on behalf of the PA for February. During January, Israel suspended the transfer of $127 (175) million in tax revenues it collected on behalf of the PA for December in reprisal for the PA’s accession to the International Criminal Court (ICC). PA formally applied to join the ICC on January 2 following the United Nations Security Council’s failure to pass a Palestinian draft resolution setting a deadline for ending the Israeli occupation and establishment of the Palestinian state. As a result of the Israeli measure, the PA has been incapacitated from fully paying approximately 170,000 public servants on its payroll, which costs between $160 and $170 million a month
Kerry warns: Hamas, Jihad to take power if PA disbands
WASHINGTON (WAFA) 25 Feb – The fall of the Palestinian Authority would seriously impede Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts, the United States Secretary of State John Kerry [again] warned Tuesday. “If they [the Palestinian Authority] were to fail, what takes their place? Hamas? Jihad? I don’t know,” Kerry asked lawmakers during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I just know that as troublesome as they have been in certain respects at many times, that President Abbas remains committed to a nonviolent, peaceful approach to a two-state solution.” Last Saturday, Kerry warned about a potential collapse of the Palestinian Authority, as Israel continues to withhold the tax revenues it collects on behalf of the PA for the second month
Young Black-Hebrew soldier dies mysteriously at Israeli air force base
Tikun Olam 24 Feb by Richard Silverstein — On February 21st, the Radcliffes, a family of Black-Hebrews living in Dimona received a dreaded 3AM knock on their door. IDF officers had come to tell them that their 19 year-old daughter, Toveet, who’d been serving in an intelligence unit of the Israeli Air Force at the Palmachim air base, had been shot and killed three hours earlier. The first version told to the family was that she’d died in her bedroom at the base. The army told them it would return later that morning with further news … The afternoon following Toveet’s death, five senior officers arrived including, as I wrote above, the base commander. Instead of consoling the family as you would expect, they asked troubling private questions meant to elicit damaging information confirming that Toveet either was troubled or came from a troubled home. A member of the family ended that line of questioning. The IDF contingent then offered the family a different account of the victim’s death than they heard during the 3AM visit. This time, they said she had been in the security shack on guard duty around midnight in a top-secret highly classified portion of the base. They told the family that she’d killed herself by shooting herself in the face twice with her own M16 rifle.
PLO, PNA denounce US court ruling in Sokolow case, vow appeal
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Feb by Saed Bannoura — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) issued a statement strongly condemning an American court decision, on Monday, in what is known as “Sokolow VS PLO case”, ordering the PLO to pay $218.5 Million to “victims killed in attacks more than a decade ago.” The ruling in this case was made by a 12-member jury in the Manhattan Federal Court, who held the PLO and the PNA liable for six bombings and shooting incidents that took place between the years 2002 and 2004 in Jerusalem. The plaintiffs claim that both the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the dismantled armed wing of Fateh Movement, and the Hamas movement (who is not part of the PLO), and its armed wing, are responsible for the death of 33 persons, including some who are U.S. citizens, in addition to allegedly wounding at least 450 others. Both defendants said they would appeal the decision, as the plaintiffs are seeking a much larger amount, including seeking out Palestinian assets, while the PLO denounced the ruling as politically motivated, and based on faulty accusations.
The PLO also stated that the court violated a ruling, made last week by a Federal Judge in Washington DC, who ruled that “U.S. localities are not the proper jurisdiction for such a hearing.”… The PLO issued the following statement following the U.S. Federal Court ruling: Statement from Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa, Deputy Minister of Information, Palestinian National Authority, in response to today’s (Monday) decision by the jury in the case of “Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization et al” (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York). The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) are deeply disappointed by the adverse decision issued today in a New York court. The charges that were made against us are baseless…
South African intelligence: Mossad tried to dry up Nile
Ynetnews 26 Feb — A paper on Mossad reportedly drafted by the South African State Security Agency (SSA) claims that Israel for decades worked to artificially create a drought in Egypt, by draining the River Nile with a water-absorbing plant. The report comes as Al Jazeera and The Guardian continued Wednesday to release purported spy cables, which again raised startling claims about Israeli intelligence. “Towards this end Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology conducted extensive experiments, and eventually created a type of plant that flourishes on the surface or the banks of the Nile and that absorbs such large quantities of water as to significantly reduce the volume of water that reaches Egypt,” the Guardian quoted.