Palestinians to take Israel settlements to ICC
Middle East Monitor 1 Feb — The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Sunday said that it will respond to Israel’s continued expansion of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories by referring the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC). “Israel’s aggression on the Palestinian people and the Palestinian state has crossed all the red lines and the situation is nearing a complete implosion,” the ministry said in a statement. The decision came in response to Israel’s announcement of tenders to erect 450 new illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. “This is a blatant challenge to the international community and defiance of the international condemnation to crimes of the Israeli occupation,” it said. The ministry added that the settlement expansion comes “amid the Israeli election, as Israeli right-wing politicians take advantage of the situation to confiscate more land expand illegal settlements.” “It also comes after the Palestine signed the Rome Statute, which confirms Israel’s arrogance and defiance to the rules and provisions of international law,” the ministry added. “This leads [us] to ask the ICC to look into the issue of settlement expansion as a full case, as soon as the membership of the State of Palestine comes into effect in April.”
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Arrests — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers shoot, kill Palestinian youth south of Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian man and injured another near Nablus late Saturday, local sources said. Locals said Israeli troops opened fire at a group of Palestinian youths after they threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli setter vehicles driving on a bypass road near the village of Burin south of Nablus. Ahmed Ibrahim Jaber al-Najjar, 19, was killed and another Palestinian was lightly injured. A large number of Israeli troops rushed to the area following the shootings. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an that a group of Palestinians hurled Molotovs at “a civilian road” in the area. Soldiers responded by shooting live fire at the Palestinians’ “lower extremities,” she said. The spokeswoman said two hits were confirmed — one Palestinian was hit in the leg and another was hit [in the neck] and injured. Reports of the second Palestinian’s death “are being reviewed,” she said. “An investigation will be opened into the incident.”
IDF says army fire killed Palestinian about to throw firebomb
Haaretz 31 Jan by Gili Cohen — A Palestinian man was killed and another wounded by Israeli army fire near an Israeli outpost in the West Bank on Saturday, the Palestinians reported. According to the Israel Defense Forces, a Golani Brigade unit was laying in ambush near the Havat Gilad outpost west of Nablus when it spotted two Palestinians about to throw a firebomb at a nearby road. The unit opened fire, which appears to have killed one Palestinian and wounded another, the army said. Medical sources said that the Palestinian was hit by a live bullet in the throat and died at the scene, while the other was only lightly wounded. Palestinian officials said the fatality was 18-year-old Ahmad Najar, according to the Associated Press reported. The Israeli army said the incident is under investigation. Following the incident, Palestinians amassed in the area, and Israeli army reinforcements arrived at the scene.
Thousands march in funeral of young Palestinian near Nablus
[with photos] NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Thousands on Sunday laid to rest a young Palestinian man who was shot and killed by Israeli forces near Burin south of Nablus the night before, a Ma’an reporter said. The mourners marched as the body of 19-year-old Ahmad al-Najjar was carried from the Burin mosque through the streets to the town cemetery. Funeral-goers waved Palestinian flags, Fatah flags, and flags of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. They chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, urging Palestinian factions to take revenge for al-Najjar’s death. “We are going to Jerusalem in millions,” some chanted. Late Saturday, locals told Ma‘an that Israeli troops opened fire at a group of Palestinian youths after they threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli settler vehicles driving on a bypass road near Burin. Al-Najjar, 19, was shot in the neck and killed and another Palestinian was lightly injured.
PHOTOS: Hundreds mourn Palestinian teen shot by Israeli army
Activestills 1 Feb Photos and text: Ahmad al-Bazz — Hundreds of Palestinians participated today in the funeral of 19-year-old Ahmed Najjar, who was shot to death by the Israeli army on Saturday outside village of Burin, near Nablus. The army claimed that Najjar was about to throw a molotov cocktail at passing vehicles near the village. Medical sources said Najjar was hit by a live bullet in the throat and died at the scene, while another Palestinian was lightly wounded. According to the army, the incident is currently under investigation. The army also arrested two Palestinian youths from the village following the incident, Abdulrahman Najjar, 17, and Mohammed Asouss. [So, was Najjar ‘about to throw’ a molotov or was he shot after he threw one, as the two Ma‘an articles claim?]
Israeli troops arrest 2 Palestinians near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces on Saturday evening detained two young Palestinian men in the Nablus district of the northern West Bank, according to Palestinian security sources. The sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed the village of Burin and apprehended 17-year-old Abd al-Rahman Dawood Salih. The raid came only hours after Israeli soldiers shot dead a young man named Ahmed Ibrahim Jaber al-Najjar, 19, in the village. The sources said that the teen arrested Saturday evening in the village was a relative of al-Najjar.
Separately, Israeli soldiers arrested Ibrahim Shawahna from the Nablus area at a flying checkpoint near the village of Deir Sharaf south of Nablus.
Israeli settler runs over B’Tselem photographer in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — A photographer for the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem was injured on Sunday after being hit by an Israeli settler vehicle in Hebron, the man told Ma‘an. Raed Jihad Abu Rmeila, 28, told Ma‘an he “suffered from bruises” after being hit by a car driven by an Israeli settler while walking to work near the Ibrahimi mosque. He was taken to Hebron governmental hospital in moderate condition. Abu Rmeila said he could not determine whether he was hit on purpose or by mistake. He said he was walking on the pedestrian side of the yellow line when he was struck.
Settlers hurl rocks at Palestinian vehicles near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Dozens of Israeli settlers on Saturday evening gathered on the main road between Ramallah and Nablus near the Jewish-only settlement of Beit El and hurled rocks at passing Palestinian vehicles. Witnesses told Ma‘an that several vehicles sustained damages in the attacks. The witnesses said that Israeli soldiers were standing next to the settlers as they attacked the vehicles but did not intervene. The incident came after Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian south of Nablus after a group of youths reportedly threw Molotov cocktails at cars belonging to Israeli settlers on a nearby road. In the wake of the killing, Israeli soldiers deployed widely in the region between Ramallah and Nablus. While Palestinians in the West Bank have white license plates, Jewish settlers [including Israelis of any religion] have yellow plates.
Israeli troops arrest teenager at Ibrahimi Mosque
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces on Sunday morning arrested a Palestinian teenager near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of Hebron in the southern West Bank, claiming he was carrying a knife. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers stationed at the entrance to the holy place arrested 18-year-old Anan Muhammad Suleiman Abu Salih from the town of Dura, claiming that a knife was in his possession when he tried to enter. The Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron is often known in English as the Cave of the Patriarchs, and is divided into a Muslim and a Jewish section with separate checkpoints and entrances.
Israel detained 350 Palestinians in January: NGO
Middle East Monitor 1 Feb — The Israeli army has detained 350 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over the course of January 2015, a Palestinian NGO said on Sunday. The West Bank city of Hebron saw the detention of 120 Palestinians last month, the largest number of detainees during January, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement. The Israeli army also arrested 60 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, 42 from Ramallah and al-Bireh, 38 from Jenin, 35 from Nablus, 19 from Qalqilya and 19 from Bethlehem, the NGO said. Eight Palestinians from the northern province of Tulkarm were also held by the Israeli army, along with six from the province of Tubas, and three from Tulkarm. Among the detainees were two girls in their 20s, bringing the number of Palestinian females in Israeli prisons to 24, it noted. In December 2014, Israel detained 383 Palestinians, according to the NGO which advocates for Palestinians in Israeli custody. Israeli authorities could not be reached for an immediate comment.
A month in photos: police violence, elections and the holy selfie
Activestills 30 Jan — Editors’ picks of the top photos from Palestine, Israel and beyond for the month of January. This month, terror attacks in France and Tel Aviv, Bedouin citizens of Israel protest against police violence, Israel’s election campaign gets into full swing, Hezbollah attacks the Israeli army on the Lebanese border and snow falls on the West Bank. Photos: Oren Ziv, Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen, Ahmad al-Bazz, Faiz Abu-Rmeleh, Tess Schaflan / Activestills.org Edit: Anka Mirkin, Shiraz Grinbaum / Activestills.org
Israeli soldiers open fire at Palestinian protesters at Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli soldiers opened fire at Palestinian protesters marching near the border fence in the Gaza Strip on Sunday. A spokesman for the Gaza Committee to Break the Siege, Adham Abu Salmiya, told Ma‘an that march was in protest against the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and the Israeli refusal to allow reconstruction materials into Gaza.
Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishermen
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Feb – Israeli naval forces opened fire at fishermen off the coast of Gaza on Monday, damaging a fishing boat. Fishermen told Ma‘an that Israeli boats stationed off the coast northwest of Gaza City opened fire at them while they were inside the designated zone. One boat was damaged by the gunfire but no injuries were reported.
Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishing boat
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — Israeli naval forces on Saturday morning opened fire at Palestinians fishing off the coast of Gaza, in yet the latest attack on residents of the beleaguered coastal enclave. Fishermen told Ma‘an that Israeli gunboats stationed off the coast of the al-Sudaniyya area of northwestern Gaza City opened fire at them. They said that Israeli navy fired warning shots at one fishing boat “despite the fact that it was sailing within the six nautical miles in which Gaza fishermen are allowed to sail.” No injuries were reported as a result of the incident.
This report from Al Ray is the source of the IMEMC story also: no other source so far
9yr old boy dies after Egypt & Israel refuse to open Rafah
[with photo] GAZA, Al Ray 1 Feb — Nine year old Palestinian boy Zaid died when Egypt and Israel refused to open the Rafah border to allow him to travel for medical treatment. “The poor boy died with tears rolling down his cheek.” A Palestinian activist wrote on his Facebook page. With Israel’s backing, the Rafah border has been seized by the Military backed Egypt government.
Report: 4 Palestinians who crossed into Israel from Gaza detained
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Feb — Israeli forces on Monday arrested four Palestinians after they crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported. The four men crossed the border fence near the Israeli town of Beeri, east of central Gaza, and were detained by Israeli soldiers. The men were unarmed.
IDF detains 2 armed Palestinians near Gaza border
JTA 30 Jan Feb — Israeli troops arrested two armed men who allegedly attempted to cross the border from the Gaza Strip to carry out a terrorist attack. The suspects arrested Thursday night were on their way to carry out an attack on civilians or soldiers in a town near the border, security officials told Army Radio, adding that the suspects may also have planned to take hostages. They carried three hand grenades, a knife and a screwdriver.
Homeless Palestinians protest UNRWA aid cuts in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Jan — Palestinians displaced by Israel’s military offensive during the summer on Friday demonstrated outside UNRWA’s Gaza office to protest cuts made by the agency due to a shortfall in donor funding. During a sit-in protest called for by Hamas, the mayor of Beit Hanoun, Muhammad al-Kafarneh, said that “manipulating the Gaza reconstruction process will result in an explosion by those whose homes were destroyed.” The mayor called on Palestinian political parties to exert pressure on the unity government to speed up reconstruction, which has been hindered by continued Israeli restrictions on building materials, a lack of donor funding, and internal discord. On Tuesday, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the largest service provider in the Gaza Strip, announced that it was forced to stop a cash assistance program for tens of thousands of Palestinians to make repairs to damaged and destroyed homes due to a lack of donor funding.
Dahlan supporters protest over ‘withheld’ pay
Middle East Monitor 1 Feb — Dozens of civil servants supporting sacked Fatah figure Mohamed Dahlan demonstrated Sunday in the Gaza Strip, accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) of having cut off their salaries. Dahlan’s supporters have gathered outside the UN’s headquarters in Gaza City, holding banners featuring slogans such as “my salary is my right” and “Gaza has enough crises.” “Employees are standing up against the policy of intimidation,” Marwa al-Masri, a leading Fatah member, told The Anadolu Agency at the protest. She called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas, a Fatah leader himself, to rescind the decision. A PA official close to Dahlan had told Anadolu Agency last week that 200 pro-Dahlan security personnel had discovered that their names had not been included on the list of civil servants who recently received part of their salaries from Gaza banks. He said that the employees had been excluded due to their support of Dahlan. The Palestinian unity government, unveiled last summer, has yet to comment on the employees’ accusations. However, the West Bank’s security chief Adnan al-Dameiri said last month that a group of security personnel stationed in the Gaza Strip had been fired for violating the security apparatus’ code of conduct and that the sacked employees had been replaced.
Egypt court rules Hamas armed wing ‘terror group’
CAIRO (AFP) 31 Jan — An Egyptian court on Saturday banned the armed wing of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, declaring it a “terrorist” group. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, denounced the ruling against the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades as “a dangerous political decision that serves the interests of the occupier,” referring to Israel. Since Egypt’s military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the authorities have accused Hamas of aiding jihadists who have waged a string of deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula. Saturday’s court verdict followed a complaint from a lawyer accusing the Hamas armed wing of direct involvement in “terrorist operations” in the Sinai, which borders Gaza, a court official said. The lawyer also accused the movement of using tunnels under the frontier between Egypt and Gaza to smuggle arms used in attacks against the police and army, the official said … There was no immediate response to the court ruling from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades itself, but a Hamas spokesman in Gaza said the armed wing should not be dragged into “Egypt’s internal affairs”.
Source close to Hamas says it no longer accepts Egypt as Israel mediator
GAZA (Reuters) 31 Jan by Nidal al-Mughrabi — A source close to Hamas’ armed wing signaled on Saturday the group would no longer accept Cairo as a broker between it and Israel, after an Egyptian court banned the Islamist group’s armed wing and listed it as a terrorist organization. “After the court’s decision Egypt is no longer a mediator in Palestinian-Israeli matters,” the source told Reuters. Cairo has played a key role in brokering ceasefires between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip numerous times.
Gaza music school shines in ‘Arabs Got Talent’ spotlight
GAZA (Reuters) 1 Feb by Nidal Al-Mughrabi — On the hugely popular “Arabs Got Talent” TV show in Beirut last month, five young musicians in chequered black-and-white scarves brought the house down with a traditional Arabic song that left the judges weeping and earned a ticket straight to the finals. In the Gaza Strip there was much weeping and celebration too, especially at the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, where the group, made up of four boys and a girl aged between 12 and 16, learned to play their instruments. For the past three years, Anas an-Najar, a teacher at the conservatory, has dedicated himself to the band, honing their skills on the zither, lute, drum and wooden flute, while the fifth member sings in soaring, lilting melodies. Because they will perform live on the finals show on Feb. 28, Saudi-owned broadcaster MBC has asked them not to speak to the media. But their success — a YouTube video of their performance has been watched more than 8.7 million times — has drawn the school where they practise into the spotlight. Occupying a single floor of a non-descript building owned by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Tel al-Hawa, a middle class neighbourhood of Gaza city, the conservatory would barely pass notice from the outside.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
The fraud of Gush Etzion, Israel’s mythological settlement bloc
+972 blog 1 Feb by Hillel Bardin & Dror Etkes — Destroyed by Arab armies during the 1948 War, Gush Etzion was repopulated after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. Since then, successive Israeli governments have done everything they can to magnify the mythology of the bloc, while settling Israelis on its privately-owned Palestinian land — … While there was debate in 1967 over whether to settle in the West Bank, the resettlement of Gush Etzion was viewed by many Jews as a special case, which derived from the sentimental value over its fate in the 1948 War. On September 27, 1967, Kfar Etzion became the first Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and was re-established on its 1948 ruins. At this point it became apparent that using the name “Gush Etzion” allowed the public to overcome its general resistance to settling Israelis in the occupied West Bank. This, however, led to the fraud of attaching the name Gush Etzion to areas that had no connection to the original group of settlements – a fraud that was officially endorsed by the Israeli government in 1980, when the military commander of the West Bank officially declared the inauguration of the Gush Etzion Regional Council. From then on, nearly every new settlement between Jerusalem and Hebron was considered to be part of the bloc. The fraud was then blown up on a national scale. Legal arrangements were made in order to allow Israel to declare privately-owned Palestinian land “state land,” which was then turned over to Jewish settlers for development … In this new and artificially-inflated Gush Etzion, thousands of acres at once belonged to the state, and were subsequently used to establish dozens of new settlements around Bethlehem. This crawling land grab continues today. In late 2014, 1,200 acres to both the south and west of Bethlehem were declared “state land” in order to create an Israeli axis that would connect the eastern settlements of Gush Etzion to the Green Line. The expropriation of such a large area is expected to significantly increase the number of Israeli settlers in the area.
Water crisis in East Jerusalem continues
ACRI update 18 Jan — Update: Following the court hearing, the Justices gave the parties 14 days to meet to begin outlining a plan for upgrading water infrastructure in East Jerusalem. The plan must be submitted to the court within 60 days — On Monday, January 19, the High Court of Justice will conduct a follow-up hearing on a legal appeal submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, together with Palestinian residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods behind the separation barrier, that demands the provision of water services. The hearing will take place at 09:00 before Justices Rubenstein, Hendel and Zylbertal. Despite the severe water problems in four Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier, the Water Authority and the Ministry of Infrastructure announced to the court this week that they do not intend to connect the houses in these neighborhoods to the water supply, but will rather increase the flow to the central pipelines. According to estimates provided by the Water Authority and the Ministry of Infrastructure themselves, the planned expansion of the central pipelines will not suffice to meet the needs of the residents. Consequently, tens of thousands of residents will continue to imperil their health and limit their consumption of water by making use of electric pumps and industrial containers.Israeli planning authorities have never conducted urban planning for the neighborhoods of Ras Khamis, Ras Shahada, Dahyat a-Salam, and the Shu‘afat Refugee Camp, located in North-East Jerusalem and within the city’s municipal boundaries for 48 years. In the absence of municipal plans, residents cannot obtain building permits – a necessary step in connecting properties to the water system. As a result, almost all of the residences in the area are connected to unofficial pipes that connect to rooftop and street-side water tanks and are powered by electric pumps. This set up involves high electricity costs and poses serious health and safety risks.
Israeli forces issue stop-work orders, confiscate tractor near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Israeli forces early Sunday escorted civil administration employees to Beit Ummar near Hebron to deliver stop-work orders, a local spokesman said. Muhammad Ayyad Awad of Beit Ummar’s popular committee told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers handed stop-work orders to Mustafa Eid Nujoom and Arif Mahmoud Nujoom, who had begun building two houses. The Israelis also confiscated an agricultural tractor belonging to local resident Ghazi Fawzi Abu Ayyash. They claimed the tractor was being used to transport construction material for a house that was “being built illegally,” Awad said. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, although Jewish settlers are frequently given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties.
Soldiers demolish agricultural rooms, a well and walls, near Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Feb — Israeli soldiers, accompanied by military bulldozers, invaded on Monday morning the village of Qasra, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus … Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in charge of the Israeli Settlements file in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, said a number of military bulldozers demolished two agricultural rooms, an irrigation well, and more than 500 meters of stone retaining walls, in the southeastern area of Qasra village. Daghlas added that the demolished properties were close to the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Yesh Kodesh, built on Palestinian lands, and that they belong to Anwar and Akram Taiseer. Head of the Qasra Village Council Abdul-Athim al-Wady said the demolished properties are privately owned, built on Palestinian lands, and were funded by France. The army claims the structures were not licensed and approved by the Civil Administration Office, run by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank. On his part, al-Wady said the residents, and the local council, have all official documents and licenses, including the approval of the Civil Administration Office, yet the military went ahead and demolished the properties.
Settlers uproot trees in al-Khalil
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 31 Jan — A group of Jewish settlers uprooted on Saturday olive and almond trees near Yatta town in al-Khalil before fleeing the scene. The coordinator of Anti-Wall and Settlement Committee in Yatta, Ratib al-Jabour, told Quds Press that the settlers came from Ma’oun settlement, which is established on Yatta land. They uprooted trees belonging to a Palestinian family. Jabour pointed out that Yatta inhabitants saw the settlers who were uprooting the trees and chased them.
UN: Israel demolished homes of 1,177 Palestinians in Jerusalem and West Bank in 2014
Haaretz 1 Feb by Amira Hass — Since the beginning of 2015, Israeli authorities destroyed 77 structures, displacing 110 Palestinians — Since the beginning of 2015, the Civil Administration of the Israel Defense Forces has demolished 77 homes, livestock pens, farm buildings and other structures of Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank, since they were built without building permits. As a result, 110 people, around half of them children, lost their homes at the height of the winter, according to a report compiled by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Between January 19 and January 26, the Civil Administration demolished 41 structures, OCHA said, far higher than the weekly average for 2014 of nine demolitions per week. In the seven-day period, Civil Administration inspectors delivered 45 construction stop orders and two demolition orders … The 41 structures demolished by the Civil Administration between January 19 and January 26, according to OCHA, were in Bedouin and other pastoral communities in the area of Hebron, Jericho, Ramallah and Beit Iksa, northwest of Jerusalem. They included buildings that were donated by European humanitarian organizations. Construction stop orders were issued for a park funded by donor nations in the Yatta area and buildings in the Ramallah area and near Tubas, in the northern Jordan Valley.
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian minors speak of beatings, mistreatment in Israeli custody
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 Jan — A lawyer for the Department of Prisoner Affairs visited Palestinian minors in Israeli custody and released a report Saturday on their mistreatment by Israeli forces. Hiba Masalha said in a statement that many of the minors spoke of being assaulted and beaten during their arrests and throughout interrogation. Malek Hamdan, a 16-year-old Palestinian from Jerusalem, was beaten to the point of his bones being fractured while he was held at the Russian Compound detention center, the statement said. Additionally, 17-year-old prisoner Muhammad Abd al-Fattah Radwan, from Qalqiliya, told Masalha that during his detention, he was assaulted and dragged for a long distance while handcuffed and blindfolded. Radwan was held at the al-Jalama detention center for 15 days. He was interrogated for several hours each day while tied to a small chair. The teen said he was held in a small, filthy, cold room with the lights kept on all day and all night. Another prisoner, 16-year-old Muhammad Yousef Ikhleil from Hebron, was detained on Nov. 1 while he was on his way home from school. He is currently being held in HaSharon prison. Ikhleil said he was shot with a live bullet in the thigh, and while he was being detained, he lost a lot of blood as Israeli soldiers beat him. He was moved to the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for treatment, where he was kept in the ICU for three days and underwent a bone surgery for his thigh injury. Ikhleil said he was interrogated for an hour while at the hospital, and that he was shackled to the bed for 24 hours while guards watched him.
Nine Palestinians placed under Israeli administrative detention
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Feb — Israel’s Ofer military court, on Sunday, issued administrative detention orders for nine additional prisoners, the Palestinian Prisoners Society stated. WAFA reports that PPS Lawyer Mahmoud Halabi said the court sentenced Yasin Abu Lafah, Kayed Abu Rish, and Mohammed Obaid to six months under administrative detention (without charge or trial). Meanwhile, the remaining six received administrative detention orders for three to four months. They were identified as Mohammed Asi, Suhaib Mre’e, Mahmoud Ayyash, Omar Talahmeh, Osama Shalabi and Tha’er Abu Aliya. Some of the nine prisoners have had their orders renewed multiple times. According to the Palestine Red Crescent Society, “Approximately 360 Palestinians are currently placed under administrative detention, distributed in various Israeli detention centers.”
Israeli-Arab who joined Islamic State seriously hurt in coalition airstrike
Ynet 1 Feb by Yoav Zitun & Hassan Shaalan — Maharan Yussuf Khaladi underwent training and fought in 5 battles, he was wounded during a battle in Fallujah; he was arrested upon his return to Israel — An Israeli Arab who joined the Islamic State and was seriously wounded in Iraq in a coalition airstrike was indicted at the Nazareth District Court on Sunday. Maharan Yussuf Khaladi, 19, from Nazareth, was arrested upon his return to Israel in a joint operation by the Shin Bet and Israel Police on January 10 at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Khaladi said in his investigation that he left for Turkey last year after being exposed to Islamic State content on the internet and contacting an IS operative on Facebook. He crossed the border into Syria in October 2014 aided by an IS smuggler and headed to a reception and sorting base there, where he met three other Israeli Arabs from Yafa an-Naseriyye: Muhammad Maruan Kilani, Muhammad Sabr Kananeh and Hamza Sami Sari Magamseh, the last of which has since returned to Israel and charged with contacting a foreign agent, membership in an illegal organization, conspiracy to commit a crime and illegal exit … Khaladi, his attorney said, “regrets going there. The fact he returned and crossed the border and paid off smugglers to return says it all.” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Khalidi’s case is “another evidence to the dangerous radicalization Israeli Arabs go through, a radicalization that originates in incitement by the leaders of the sectors.” He noted that “the state of Israel must deal with the issue thoroughly and without compromise, starting with the incitement in mosques and by MKs.”
Palestinian refugees in/from Syria
Violence prevents food aid to Yarmouk, where refugees live on one meal per day
EI 31 Jan by Maureen Clare Murphy — Yarmouk residents now suffer from chronic malnutrition, dehydration and severe vitamin and protein deficiencies, according to the UN agency for Palestine refugees — As the war in Syria approaches its fifth year, a United Nations agency warned today that it has been unable to successfully deliver aid to Yarmouk camp near the capital of Damascus since 6 December. “Yarmouk and its surrounding areas have seen a serious escalation in armed conflict, including frequent sniper activity, gunfire and the use of heavy weapons, which have persistently disrupted the distribution of life-saving humanitarian aid to the 18,000 civilians trapped in the area,” Chris Gunness, spokesperson for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, stated. Yarmouk was once the largest population center of Palestinians in Syria. Before the violent upheaval in the country, the camp’s residents “comprised some 180,000 Palestinian refugees and several hundred thousand Syrian nationals,” according to Amnesty International. Yarmouk has been under siege by Syrian government forces since December 2012 after armed rebels entered the camp. Dozens died from starvation there after government forces “began to prevent all access to Yarmouk” in July 2013, states Amnesty. Residents have not had reliable electricity since then, as the main supply was cut, according to UNRWA. Most Palestinians in Syria are refugees from the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine and their descendants, as well as those displaced after the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967. Israel refuses to respect the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their land and property. There were approximately 520,000 Palestinian refugees living in Syria before the outbreak of the violence in early 2011, “some living in refugee camps and others in Syrian towns and cities, where they enjoyed many of the same rights as Syrian citizens, including access to government services,” as Human Rights Watch recently described. – 400 calories per day – Conditions have dramatically turned for the worse in recent years, particularly in Yarmouk. Last year UNRWA was able to distribute the “equivalent to only 400 calories per resident per day, drastically short of the World Food Programme recommended daily amount of 2,100 calories for civilians in crisis zones.” … A VIDEO published by UNRWA today shows how residents have dug into Yarmouk’s streets to collect untreated ground water: … This VIDEO published by UNRWA today shows a family burning clothes to stay warm:
Palestinian refugees in Cyprus reach agreement with govt
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — The Palestinian community in Cyprus has reached a final agreement with the Cypriot authorities, ending a stalemate for Palestinian refugees who fled to the country from war-torn Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, a representative of the community said in a statement Sunday. Nicola Khattab told the diaspora department of the PLO that an agreement was reached that will secure a decent life for Palestinian refugees who fled the ongoing conflict in Syria. The Cypriot government will allow the refugees to stay in a sheltering camp near the capital city of Nicosia, where they have been staying, until Tuesday. On Tuesday, the refugees will be moved to more permanent residences. They will then be allowed to submit applications for asylum in order to move freely about the country, the statement said. The agreement was preceded by a series of visits by Palestinian Authority officials to Cyprus to try and work out a solution.
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the oPt (22-28 January 2015)
PCHR-Gaza 1 Feb — Shootings: During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 10 Palestinian civilians, including a child and 2 photojournalists, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Nine of these civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank, and the 10th one was wounded in the Gaza Strip. Moreover, a Palestinian farmer was beaten up by settlers, south of Bethlehem, in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli navy forces continued to chase and fire at Palestinian fishing boats … Incursions: During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 59 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 28 Palestinians, including 14 children and 2 women. Eleven of these Palestinians, including 5 children and 2 women, were arrested in Jerusalem…. [Full Report with copious details on these and other violations]
African leaders to court: Drop cases against top Africans
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) 1 Feb by Elias Meseret — The International Criminal Court should drop or suspend charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto until African concerns about the court and proposals to change its founding treaty are considered, African leaders say. The demand came in a report Saturday on previous decisions made by African Union leaders. The African Union has accused the ICC of disproportionately targeting Africans. The court has indicted only Africans so far, although half of the eight cases it is prosecuting were referred to it by African governments themselves. Ruto and radio journalist Joshua Sang have been charged with crimes against humanity for their alleged role in orchestrating Kenya’s 2007-08 postelection violence. Their trial is underway at the ICC. More than 1,000 people died and 600,000 others were forced to flee their homes amid violence sparked by a flawed presidential election.
Hamdallah: Portion of PA salaries to be paid ‘soon’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Feb — Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Sunday that a portion of governmental employees’ salaries would be provided “soon.” ‘The Israelis are freezing the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenue money for the second month running, which amounts to over 40 million shekels ($10.2 million),” Hamdallah said in a speech at a ceremony in Yatta south of Hebron. He said despite Israel’s actions the PA would try to provide employees with as much cash as possible from local resources. Hamdallah called on the employees to be patient, stressing that this was the first time the PA had been late paying salaries in 19 months. Israel withheld tax revenues it collects for the PA — as agreed upon in earlier negotiations — in response to Palestine’s move to join the International Criminal Court in late December.
PA forces raid apartment building of former intel chief
NABLUS (Ma‘an) UPDATED 2 Feb — Palestinian security forces carried out household raids in Nablus and the nearby Balata refugee camp on Sunday, including the building of the Palestinian Authority’s former general intelligence chief, sources told Ma‘an. amal Tirawi, now a Fatah-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that PA forces stormed several houses including his brother’s apartment, who lives in the same building. He told Ma‘an that security officers tried to break into his apartment in Balata refugee camp at 4 a.m. The apartment is located in a building owned by his family. “The security officers asked to inspect my apartment after they entered all the apartments, where my brothers live on the upper floors. When I told them that my apartment enjoys immunity (from PA raids), they asked to inspect the apartment of my brother who lives next door.” Tirawi told Ma‘an that he intends to sue the governor of Nablus and the security services in the city. Security sources told Ma‘an that the forces who inspected Tirawi’s house were looking for one of his relatives who they thought he was hiding there. They said they arrested five “fugitives” in Balata refugee camp and in Nablus. The crackdown will continue until all fugitives in the Nablus area are arrested, they added. PA security forces often conduct late-night raids in the homes of Palestinians across the West Bank, sometimes in conjunction with “security coordination” with Israel.
Britons like Israel better only than North Korea, poll finds
Haaretz 1 Feb — Some 35 percent of Britons name Israel as their least favorite non-European country, a worse score than Iran’s — British citizens think worse of Israel than they do about any other non-European country except for North Korea, a British survey published this week found. Answering the question “Which of the following do you feel especially unfavorable toward?” 35 percent named Israel – scoring two points worse than Iran, the poll found. With 47 percent, North Korea won the worst score, the Chathan House-YouGov poll found. Israel’s score, a rise of 18 points since the last poll was published in 2012, may have been due to last summer’s war between Israel and Gaza and the civilian death toll it exacted from the Palestinians, the report posited.
CIA, Israel plotted senior Hezbollah commander’s killing: report
Washington (AFP) 31 Jan — The CIA and Israel’s spy agency Mossad were behind an elaborate plot to kill Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh in a 2008 car bomb attack in Syria, the Washington Post reported. Citing former intelligence officials, the newspaper reported that US and Israeli spy agencies worked together to target Mughniyeh on February 12, 2008 as he left a restaurant in the Syrian capital Damascus. He was killed instantly by a car bomb planted in a spare tire on the back of a parked car, which exploded shrapnel in a tight radius, the Post said. The bomb, built by the United States and tested in the state of North Carolina, was triggered remotely by Mossad agents in Tel Aviv who were in communication with Central Intelligence Agency operatives on the ground in Damascus. “The way it was set up, the US could object and call it off, but it could not execute,” a former US intelligence official told the newspaper. A senior Hezbollah commander, Mughniyeh was suspected of masterminding the abduction of Western hostages in Lebanon in the 1980s and of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Argentina that killed 29 people. He was also linked to the bombing of the US marine barracks at Beirut airport in 1983, in which 241 American servicemen died, and the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985, in which a US navy diver was killed. The CIA declined to comment to the Post about the report.According the newspaper, the authority to kill required a presidential finding by George W Bush.
Israel buries soldiers, says Hezbollah doesn’t want conflict
JERUSALEM (AFP) 30 Jan — Israel on Thursday buried two soldiers killed in a Hezbollah missile strike that triggered Israeli fire on southern Lebanon, raising tensions between the bitter enemies to their highest in years. But the Israeli-Lebanese border was calm, as officials in the Jewish state played down the threat of a new war with Lebanon’s Iran-backed Shiite militant group. In a rare such declaration, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Hezbollah had passed on a message through the United Nations peacekeeping mission in south Lebanon, UNIFIL, saying it did not want a further escalation. “We have received a message… that, from their point of view, the incident is over,” he told public radio. Analysts say neither side seems keen for a repeat of the devastating Israel-Hezbollah conflict of 2006 and that any response is likely to be limited. The two soldiers were killed Wednesday when Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at a convoy in an Israeli-occupied area on the border with Lebanon … Israeli forces responded to the attack — which came in retaliation for an Israeli strike on the Golan Heights that killed senior Hezbollah members — with artillery, tank and air fire on several villages in southern Lebanon. There were no reports of Lebanese casualties, but a 36-year-old Spanish peacekeeper with UNIFIL was killed in the exchange of fire.
WATCH: Footage shows IDF fire that killed Spanish UN soldier in Lebanon
Haaretz 1 Feb — Spanish soldiers in the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon filmed the exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah that killed a member of their unit on Wednesday. The video captures the minutes before the exchange of fire as well as the artillery fire which is believed to have killed the Spanish soldier, Francisco Javier Soria Toledo. On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned his Spanish counterpart Mariano Rajoy, and the two agreed to hold a joint investigation into the soldier’s death. [Readers who can’t access Haaretz can find the video here]
Hezbollah: We don’t want war with Israel but do not fear it
BEIRUT (Reuters) 30 Jan by Tom Perry & Laila Bassam — The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on Friday his group did not want war with Israel but was ready for one, and reserved the right to respond to Israeli attacks any time, anywhere. “We do not want a war but we are not afraid of it and we must distinguish between the two, and the Israelis must also understand this very well,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said. Nasrallah was speaking at an event to commemorate the deaths of six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general killed by an Israeli air strike in Syria on Jan. 18. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah hit back on Wednesday with a rocket attack that killed two Israeli soldiers on the frontier with Lebanon. The violence has raised tensions between Israel and Hezbollah to their highest point since they fought a 34-day war in 2006, but both sides have appeared to back away from further escalation.
Outrage as Republican lawmaker in Texas makes Muslims pledge allegiance before Israeli flag (IMAGES)
Addicting Info 30 Jan by Kerry-Anne Mendoza — A Republican lawmaker in the Texas House of Representatives has caused outrage for her treatment of Muslim visitors to the State House on Muslim Capitol Day on Thursday. It was supposed to be a day to bring people together. The event, organized by the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, “is an opportunity for community members to learn about the democratic political process and how to be an advocate for important issues,” according to CAIR’s website. But attendees had to make their way past a small but vocal band of anti-Islamic protesters hijacking the event to protest all things Muslim. [Photo: the protesters shouting ‘Go home!” and “Mohammad is dead!”] Once they’d navigated their way past that bigoted hollering, even greater levels of bigotry awaited them. In a self-professed attempt to intimidate, their elected representative Molly White draped an Israeli flag over her desk and called for visiting Muslims to pledge allegiance to America before it. Just hours before, White posted a similar anti-Muslim message on her Facebook page: “Remember, in the Koran, it is ok to lie for the purpose of advancing Islam. Texans must never allow fringe groups of people to come here so that they can advance their own culture instead of becoming an American and assimilating into the American way of life.” Facebook users responded with anger and humor to the post. Some were kind enough to give the lawmaker an education in geography.