IDF: Palestinian nonviolent protest is an ideological crime
+972 Blog 9 Feb by Yael Marom — Diplomats from the European Union, Sweden, France, the UK, Finland and Spain were present at a sentencing hearing for Palestinian non-violent Palestinian protest leader Abdullah Abu Rahmah at Ofer Military Prison in the West Bank on Sunday, along with dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists. Abu Rahmah is a central figure in the popular struggle protests in the West Bank village Bil‘in, as well as in the rest of the West Bank, and has been recognized by the European Union as a “human rights defender” dedicated to nonviolence. In October 2014, a military court convicted Abu Rahmah of obstructing the work of a soldier for trying to stop a bulldozer that was constructing the separation barrier in the Beitunia area near Ramallah in May 2012. Abu Rahmah was taken in for interrogation at the time, but was later released on bail. The fact that the police did not see fit to extend his interrogation, keep him in jail or impose restrictive conditions on his release, did not prevent the army from indicting and convicting Abu Rahmah. At Abu Rahmah’s sentencing hearing took place on Sunday the military prosecutor demanded a harsh punishment consisting of a long prison sentence and a large fine. She further claimed that Abu Rahmah is somebody who commits ideological crimes, thus his chance for rehabilitation is low and he must be given a punishment that will deter him from doing similar things in the future.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Arrests
Video: IDF fires tear gas into children’s playground in ‘Aida refugee camp – Bethlehem
The Stream Sunday 8 Feb — One commenter says: …to those who doubt the validity of this video…I’ve worked in that camp for a long time and I can assure you that this happens on a very regular basis and is done by IDF soldiers. my friend who is a refugee at ‘Aida–her little baby girl already has respiratory issues because of how many tear gas bombs are thrown into the camp every day (again, by Israeli soldiers). these are facts. I’ve seen this happen with my own eyes. and this park was built on a volunteer basis and is the only open space in the camp since the apartheid wall cut off the Palestinians from their rightful land
Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian student near Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 9 Feb — Israeli military forces on Sunday evening assaulted a Palestinian university student near Jenin, locals said. The undergraduate student, Muhammad Osama Suleiman, was assaulted by soldiers as he walked home at night in the village of ‘Ajja. Witnesses said that Israeli soldiers had raided the village at 8 p.m. firing tear gas and stun grenades, with local youths responding by throwing rocks. The soldiers accused Suleiman of throwing stones at military vehicles. He sustained serious bruises to his head and back, witnesses said.
IDF soldier hurt in rock attack in West Bank
Times of Israel 8 Feb by Justin Jalil — An IDF soldier was lightly injured on Sunday afternoon after being hit with stones in Deir Nizam, a Palestinian village near Ramallah in the West Bank. The soldier, identified as an officer, was taken to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem after suffering a dislocated shoulder and bruising to the neck, according to the news site NRG. No arrests or further injuries were reported. Earlier Sunday, a Palestinian vehicle approached soldiers in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem. According to the soldiers, the vehicle attempted to hit the soldiers. A manhunt was underway for the driver. In a separate incident, a Molotov cocktail was thrown near the tomb of Simeon the Just in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, causing no damage or injuries. Police are investigating.
License to Kill, part 2: No consequences for shooting an unarmed man in the back
+972 Blog 9 Feb by Noam Rotem & John Brown — An unarmed civilian is killed and no one is held accountable. Part two in a series examining Israeli military investigations into Palestinians killed by soldiers. A Palestinian taxi driver is shot in the back by an Israeli soldier. Investigators say they cannot locate the shooters, even though their identity is known. Six years later, when a civil suit is filed, the State suddenly produces them as witnesses. The judge rules their versions of events are unreliable and orders damages paid to the family. The criminal case, however, is closed. [Read part one here.] — Ever since an IDF soldier shot Zakaria Daragma, his widow and five young children have been living on NIS 1,500 ($385) a month, the same amount they get for renting out his taxi cab. Dargma, from the village of Tubas in the northern West Bank, was 37 years old when he was shot in the back by an IDF soldier in May 2006.
UPDATED: ISM honors Kayla Mueller
[with photos of her in Palestine] OCCUPIED PALESTINE (ISM) Updated 10 Feb — Today, 10th February, Kayla Mueller’s family confirmed she has been killed [by ISIS]. Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the popular committee in the village of Bil‘in where Kayla joined the protests, told ISM: “Kayla came to Palestine to stand in solidarity with us. She marched with us and faced the military that occupies our land side by side with us. For this, Kayla will always live in our hearts. We send all our support to her family and will continue, like Kayla, to work against injustice wherever it is.” … With the ISM, Kayla worked with Palestinians nonviolently resisting the confiscation and demolitions of their homes and lands. In the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Occupied East Jerusalem, she stayed with the Al Kurd family to try and prevent the takeover of their home by Israeli settlers … Kayla published writing online about her work in Palestine with the International Solidarity Movement in August and September 2010. “How can I ignore the blessing of freedom of speech when I know that people I deeply care for can be shot dead for it?” she wrote. Below are excerpts from two of Kayla’s posts. [Also contains videos of the murders of Bassem and Jawaher Abu Rahmah in Bil‘in]
Israeli forces detain PA official during tree planting demo
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Feb — Israeli forces on Monday detained the president of the Palestinian Authority’s committee against the separation wall and settlements while he was planting trees near Ramallah, witnesses told Ma‘an. The sources said Jamil al-Barghouthi was arrested while taking part in a tree planting demonstration in Silwad on land that is under threat of Israeli confiscation. They said Israeli forces assaulted al-Barghouthi and other participants in the activity before making the arrest. The soldiers also detained the man’s escort, Iyad al-Barghouthi. In December, President Mahmoud Abbas appointed al-Barghouthi to replace Ziad Abu Ein as the head of the PA committee against the separation wall and settlements. Abu Ein died after being assaulted by Israeli soldiers during a tree planting demonstration in the village of Turmusayya in the Ramallah district on Dec. 10.
Israeli forces detain Gaza businessman at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Feb — Israeli forces on Tuesday detained a Palestinian businessman from Gaza en route to the West Bank while he was passing through Erez crossing, a prisoners’ rights group said. The organization “Hossam” said in a statement that Hussam Nouredin was detained at Erez crossing, becoming the seventh Palestinian businessman to be arrested at the crossing since the beginning of the year … The statement said that the arrests involved heavy Israeli interrogation and several hours or even days of detention before soldiers either allowed the businessmen to enter Israel en route to the West Bank or sent them back to Gaza.
Eight Palestinians kidnapped in the West Bank, Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Feb — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, eight Palestinians, including a 12-year-old child, in the occupied West Bank, and Jerusalem, during military invasions into several Palestinian communities. Media sources in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, said that soldiers invaded Jabal Johar area, and kidnapped a 12-year-old child identified as Mahmoud Mohammad Jaber, in addition to Rabah Abdul-Wahab Abu Odah, 19, and Ayman Radwan az-Zaghal, 30. The sources added that the soldiers stormed homes in Halhoul nearby town, and kidnapped ‘Odai Ali Zama’ra, 19, and Abdul-Qader Musallam ad-Douda, 30. Dozens of soldiers also invaded various neighborhoods in Hebron city, installed roadblocks on the northern entrance of the city, and the main entrances of Sa‘ir and Halhoul town, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated the passengers. In addition, soldiers invaded Husan town, west of Bethlehem, and kidnapped Mohammad Odah Hamamra, 18, after storming and searching his family home. .The soldiers also invaded a number of towns and villages in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, and installed roadblocks before searching dozens of vehicles and interrogating the passengers. The invaded areas are Zababda, Kufur Ra‘ey, Jaba‘, Msalia, Serees, Um at-Tout, and Kufur Dan. In occupied Jerusalem, soldiers invaded Jabal al-Mokabber town, south of the city, and kidnapped Kathem Abu Sbeih, 17, and Majd Shqeirat, 19, after invading their homes and searching them.
Soldiers kidnap seven Palestinians in Jenin
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Feb by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, several towns in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, and kidnapped seven Palestinians. Media sources said several military vehicles invaded Ya‘bad town, and kidnapped ‘Ali Rajeh ‘Asfour, 34, after searching and ransacking his home. The sources added that the army invaded Jaba‘ nearby town, violently searched homes, and kidnapped Sa’id Saleh Hamara, 28. Soldiers also interrogated several families in the town, while searching and ransacking their homes and property … In addition, soldiers invaded Marka village, and kidnapped Saleh ‘Ali Mousa, 25, along with his brothers Mahmoud, 27, and Murad, 38, in addition to Raed Abdul-Qader Mousa, 42, and Bashir Shafiq Mousa, 22.
During January 2015: 150 arrests, 24 isolations from Al-Aqsa and attempts to kidnap two children
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Feb — Wadi Hilweh Information Center issued on Sunday its monthly report in which the Israeli violations in the city of Jerusalem during the month of January 2015 were monitored as the Israeli occupation authorities continued their assaults on Jerusalemites and their properties and sanctities. The Center monitored the arrest of 150 people during the month of January 2015 in which 65 of them were minors. The detainees included five minor females, nine minors that were between 10 -12 years of age, 27 women (including the minor females) and eight citizens between the ages of 40-60. The Center explained that the youngest children among those arrested were Mohammad Khweis from Al-Tur and Mohammad Saeed Aweida from the neighborhood of Shu‘fat; note that Aweida was arrested by the Must‘aribeen unit (undercover police). Most of the arrests in the month of January took places in Silwan, Esawyeh, Al-Tur, Sur Baher, Old City of Jerusalem and Beit Hanina. Al-Aqsa Mosque… During last month, nearly 660 extremists broke into Al-Aqsa Mosque through Dung Gate under the so-called “foreign tourism” program. During the break-ins, the extremists managed to provoke the Muslim worshippers and Marabouts by climbing to the courtyard of the Dome of the Rock and practicing their religious rituals in addition to verbally insulting them. The policy of holding women and young men’s IDs at Al-Aqsa Gates before entering the Mosque and replacing them with “small cards” that have the name of the Gate where they entered continued in the month of January in an attempt to harass the worshippers entering Al-Aqsa. Settlers also launched two airplanes [drones] above Al-Aqsa Mosque. The first one was launched towards Al-Aqsa Mosque and flew for several minutes above Al-Marwani chapel while the second flew for several minutes above Bab Al-Rahmeh cemetery….
The most moral army in the world
Israeli troops ‘seize money’ from family of Hebron man killed in 2014
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Feb — Israeli troops on Monday evening broke into a Palestinian home in Hebron in the southern West Bank and seized about 50,000 shekels, locals and Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an. According to the sources, an Israeli force stormed a Hebron neighborhood near the transpiration ministry offices and broke into the home of the parents of Amir Abu ‘Aisha who was shot dead by Israeli troops in September 2014. Locals said that the Israeli soldiers ransacked the house damaging its interior before they seized about 50,000 shekels they found in the house. Before they left, the Israeli soldiers handed Amir’s father a summons demanding that he go to an Israeli police station for questioning at a certain date set in the summons. Israeli troops shot dead Amir Abu Aisha in September 2014 after Israeli intelligence accused him and Marwan Qawasmeh of kidnapping and killing three Israeli teens in June the same year.
IOF ransacks house of Hamas leader, steals family money
JENIN (PIC) 10 Feb — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Tuesday stormed the house of Hamas leader Nazih Abu Oun, in Jenin city, and stole his money and destroyed whatever came in their way. Dozens of IOF troops broke into the house of the 53-year-old Nazih at around 2.30 a.m. and locked up all the family members in one single room, shortly before they scoured the house and crashed our belongings and furniture under the pretext of search, Abu Oun’s family members told the PIC. The IOF soldiers misappropriated whatever family funds that had come in their way, estimated at some 2,600 shekels, and refused to hand the family any document corroborating the misappropriation, the family said. The family said though the assault has not been the first of its kind, as the IOF soldiers have stormed the house over the past few years for over 15 times, it has nevertheless been the most brutal and caused unprecedented damage.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli who placed bomb at Palestinian girls’ school released from prison early
IMEMC 10 Feb by Celine Hagbard — A Jewish Israeli extremist who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2002 for constructing and placing a bomb to kill Palestinian children will be released this month, two years ahead of schedule, according to Israeli sources. Ofer Gamliel and his accomplices Shlomi Dvir and Yarden Morag were members of the paramilitary group ‘Bat Ayin Underground’, made up of extremist right-wing settlers from the Hebron area. The three men put together a bomb and placed it in a baby carriage at the entrance to a girls’ school in Jerusalem, with the hope to maximize civilian casualties when it exploded. They set the bomb to detonate at 7:20 am, just as the girls would be arriving for school. Police arrived on the scene in time to defuse the bomb before it exploded … According to Professor Michael Rubner’s review of Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger’s study of ‘Jewish Terrorism in Israel’, the Bat Ayin Underground were “a network of young and religiously observant third-generation West Bank settlers, Bat Ayin activists ignored Israeli authorities by establishing communal farms on West Bank hilltops, hoping to lay the foundation for a theocratic state based on Jewish religious law. Beginning in early 2001, members of the Underground initiated two types of attacks: firing at Palestinians in passing cars and placing explosives in public buildings, especially schools, in Arab villages around Hebron and East Jerusalem. ” … Numerous human rights groups have pointed out the large disparity in sentencing between Palestinians who carry out attacks on civilians and Israelis who do the same, noting that the latter receive much lighter sentences and are often released early.
Jewish settler sentenced to three years in prison for ‘price tag’ attack
JERUSALEM (JTA) 9 Feb — A Jewish settler was sentenced to three years in prison for setting several Palestinian cars alight in a West Bank village. Binyamin Richter was sentenced Monday by the Lod District Court for the “price tag” attack in November 2013 in the Palestinian village of Farata. He also was sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to pay nearly $4,000 to compensate the victims. It is the longest sentence meted out to an individual convicted of carrying out a price tag attack against Palestinians. Price tag refers to the strategy adopted by extremist settlers and their supporters generally to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews. Richter did not cooperate in the investigation. His accomplices, Yehuda Landsberg and Yehuda Savir of the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad, confessed to the crime, implicated Richter and were sentenced in December to 30 months in prison and a year of probation. They also had to pay compensation as part of a plea bargain. All three men, who are aged 22 to 25, were found guilty of racist incitement, conspiracy to commit a hate crime, arson and vandalism.
5 Fatah members charged with terrorist activity in Jerusalem
JTA 9 Feb — Five Fatah members from eastern Jerusalem were indicted on terrorist activity charges. The indictments handed down by Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court were announced Monday by Israel’s Shin Bet. They followed a joint investigation by the security service and police into activities such as firebombing and throwing pipe bombs in the A-Tur neighborhood. According to the Shin Bet, Fatah activist Marwan Khalil, 21, had headed a terror cell in the neighborhood since July and provided funding and weapons to accomplices. “The investigation revealed that dozens of [Fatah] activists have been involved in the past year, committing acts of violence,” the Shin Bet said in a statement. “It also emerged that the network was operated in an orderly manner, aiming to damage property, Jewish residents and security forces.” The Shin Bet statement also said that indictments will be handed down against more accomplices in the coming days.
IOA deprives Palestinian family of visiting three detained sons
TULKAREM (PIC) 10 Feb — Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) has been depriving a Palestinian family from Tulkarem of the right to visit its three detained sons in Israeli Gilboa prison. The Diyab family in Tulkarem has been suffering the deprivation of the right of visitation of its three imprisoned sons: Azzam, Bassam and Bilal. The mother of the three captives said, “I visited my sons once since they have been arrested: the three in a 40-minute-visit by one phone; I could not talk to or even see them well”. Prisoner Azzam Diyab has been detained since 2001. Just two years later, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) allowed his family to visit him only for one time. Only when the two other captive brothers were arrested last summer, the IPS allowed the family another visit. Since then, the IPS has been banning the family of the right of visitation under security pretexts.
Israeli court rebuffs petition filed by elderly Palestinian prisoner
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 Feb — Israel’s Supreme Court Monday turned down a petition submitted by lawyer Jawad Boulous in objection to the administrative sentence issued against 61-year-old Omar Barghouti. The Israeli tribunal’s decision ruled that prisoner al-Barghouti should be kept in custody shortly after the military prosecution sentenced the detainee to a four-month administrative prison term. Head of the legal unit at the Palestinian Prisoners Society, lawyer Jawad Boulos, reiterated his firm rebuff of the verdict, vowing to file objections with the military courts. He said the fact that Barghouti was locked up administratively for a period amounting to 10 years in total, without any proven indictments, “doesn’t make sense.” Prisoner Omar Barghouti, held at the Megiddo jail, has reportedly spent a total of 26 years in the Israeli occupation penitentiaries. The detainee is the father of six sons and the grandfather of 10 grandsons and granddaughters.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Israelis ‘attempt to take over home’ in Old City of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Feb — Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem on Monday prevented an attempt by Israelis to take over a home, residents said. An Israeli “settler” accompanied by an Israeli government employee raided property belonging to the Sublaban family in the al-Saraya alleyway of the Old City, family member Rafat Sublaban said. He said the Israelis broke the lock of a storage room that is connected to the house and began to remove belongings before family members and neighboring Palestinian youths stopped them. They tried to enter the house from the front door, but an eight-year-old who was at the home refused to open the door for them, Sablaban said. The government employee attempted to force the family to sign paperwork saying they would leave their home within seven days, and threatened to forcibly evict them otherwise, he added. He said the family was waiting for an Israeli court decision regarding the house, but that they had not received an eviction order.
The situation with this property is more complicated than the previous short article indicates:
Report: Settlers attempt to evict renters of Jewish home in Jerusalem
[see photos by Silwanic here] IMEMC/Agencies 10 Feb — A Jewish settler group attempted to evict a house rented by a Palestinian family in the neighborhood of Aqabat al-Khalidiya in Jerusalem’s Old City, on Monday, citing that the house belongs to a Jewish family and that settlers have the right to inhabit it over of a Palestinian family. According to WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency, the house’s owner, Ahmad Sub Laban, said his family rented the house in 1956 from Jordan’s then Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP), 11 years before Israel occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem. The house was originally owned by Jewish migrants before the CEP assumed control of Jewish-owned property upon the Israeli-Arab war in 1948. The Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property was established to handle property taken from Jews in the West Bank in 1948. In 1967, this function was disbanded. However, the Sub Laban family is renting the property as protected tenants. According to the law, a protected lease in Israel gives the tenants certain privileges such as paying the rent at a fixed rate unlike the market price at around 10 to 20% of the actual price. A protected lease also means that the family is protected from eviction even after the rental contract has elapsed, and they are entitled to transfer their rights to other tenants and to receive substantial compensation in return. The apartment rented by the Sub Laban family has been the focal point of a constant battle of law suits and verdicts in favor and against. The battle, as Ahmad said, dates back to 1978. He told WAFA that the Jewish organization “Ateret Cohanim” filled the latest lawsuit at the Israeli magistrate court to seize the property in 2010, and won it. Nevertheless, the family appealed the decision before the District Court, which is due to return with a verdict on May 31, 2015 … Ahmad says his house is the last remaining Arab-resided house in Aqabat al-Khalidiya, and, if the appeal is overruled, there will no longer be any Arab presence in the neighborhood … Even though the law clearly supports the Sub Laban family, the settler group which filed the lawsuit against them used false testimony to prove that the house has been uninhabited for a long period of time …. Ahmad and Rafat both confirmed that the family has been facing malicious attempts to legalize the process of evicting the house; starting from allegations of vandalizing the property to claims that the family has other homes, shouldn’t be renting the property … Rafat said that he is worried in specific that a settler group is systematically working to empty the city and its neighborhoods of Palestinian families and replace them with Israeli settlers.
Three Israelis suspected of using forged documents to buy West Bank land
Haaretz 10 Feb by Yaniv Kubovich — Three Jerusalem residents were detained for questioning Monday on suspicion of using forged documents to purchase land in the West Bank from the Palestinian owners. Police suspect the three signed off on more than 10 deals worth millions of shekels, primarily in the West Bank’s Binyamin region. The three allegedly knew the documents they signed were false. The police are investigating whether they were the ones who forged them. The elite Lahav 433 unit kept its investigation secret for months, making it public only on Monday, when the three men were picked up for questioning. Police also searched their homes and offices, confiscating documents and computers. The three are suspected of aggravated forgery, making use of a forged document, fraud and tax violations. Police said that some of the transactions made by the suspects have already been challenged in petitions to the High Court of Justice. The petitioners claimed that the owners of the properties did not consent to their sale, in which forged documents were used.
Israel demolishes East Jerusalem home, 14 displaced
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Feb — Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, locals said. The home belongs to Ahmad Mamun al-Abbasi who had moved into the 200-square-foot house recently with his 14-member family. Israeli forces raided the Suweih area of the neighborhood, surrounded the house, and four bulldozers began the demolition without prior notice. A court session to look into the demolition is [was?] supposed to take place next week.
Israel forces … turn Jerusalem landmarks into latrines
IMEMC 10 Feb — …Al Ray further reports that, on Tuesday, the Israeli occupation converted a set of Islamic historical estates west of al-Aqsa into public bathrooms for settlers and foreign tourists visiting the region. Al-Aqsa Foundation said in a statement that the ancient monuments are located in Jisr em-al-Banat in Jeruslaem’s Mughrabi Gate neighborhood, about 50 meters away from the mosque. Palestinians consider the Hait al-Buraq area an Islamic landmark. Jews call it the “Western” or “Wailing Wall” and perform prayers near it. In its report, al-Aqsa Foundation said that the restrooms were part of a major Jewish synagogue being built in the area. The report went on to note that the area in question contains dozens of historical buildings and Islamic landmarks, including some which date back to the Ottoman era, declaring that Israel was committing a “crime against civilization and history” by implementing the conversion.
Destruction of Palestinian homes in Lydda & Jerusalem, Bethlehem orchards ruined
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Feb — Israeli forces, on Tuesday, demolished the home of a Palestinian family in the historic city of Lydda [Lod] … A number of Palestinian-owned trees were uprooted during the action. Israeli forces closed all entrances to the property and forcibly evacuated the al-Naqib family, before demolishing the home, according to Ma‘an News Agency. Hundreds of Palestinian residents gathered to support the family, with dozens of Israeli security personnel present at the demolition. The home belongs to Hana al-Naqib, where she lives with her four children. The al-Naqib family received a demolition order for the home in late 2014, which claimed that the property was not registered with the appropriate Israeli ministry. A lawyer for the family, Qais Nasser, requested an urgent appeal to the court demanding that the demolition be postponed, but the appeal was rejected. Family member Nabil al-Naqib told Ma‘an that the family has all the required documents that “prove that the land belongs to the family and is licensed for building”. “The family was planning a sit-in protest in front of the house to protest the demolition order, but a large force of Israeli police and bulldozers arrived and demolished the house,” he added. Another family member, Maha al-Naqib, said that the land has belonged to the family to the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, and that the homeowner could not appeal the court decision due to financial difficulties. Before 1948, Lydda, or Lod, as it is now commonly referred to, was a mixed town of Palestinian Muslims and Christians … Israeli forces also uprooted a number of trees in Khillet [or Khallet] Al-Nahla, south Bethlehem, this morning. Popular struggle coordination committee activist, Hassan Breijiya, told PNN that two bulldozers and 6 “civil administration” jeeps went to bulldoze the land, claiming that it was “state property” (another common pretext for such demolitions). Breijiyah added that Israeli forces also broke into Khillet Al-Qoton and bulldozed about 30 dunams belonging to residents of Irtas (or Artas) village and Deheisheh camp residents, south Bethlehem. The olive trees and fences were destroyed in the process.
WATCH: How many riot cops does it take to evict a single mother?
+972 Blog 10 Feb by Rami Younis — The Naqib family has lived on their land since before 1948. Many Palestinian families in the city live in what the State calls ‘illegal conditions’ — and under the constant threat of demolition — because they cannot attain building permits for their homes — …The Naqib family lives on land near the Ganei Aviv neighborhood, which was expropriated from Palestinian families in a procedure whose legality has been in doubt ever since. The family has lived on the land since before 1948, and the local urban building plan gave a green light for building the new neighborhood years ago. The city, however, has yet to approve a master plan, and even destroyed a house in the 1990s. According to a map of the urban building plan, one can see that their homes were built on land slated for residential construction. Thus, the city’s decision regarding “illegal construction” seems especially arbitrary:
Settlers destroy 70 olive trees near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 Feb — Settlers cut down over 70 Palestinian olive trees in the Hebron district on Monday, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that the settlers destroyed over 70 tree saplings near the town of Sa‘ir. The trees had been planted a week ago in an area threatened with annexation near the illegal settlement of Metzad, located in the Gush Etzion bloc west of Bethlehem. Locals have organized a campaign to replant the trees. Attacks on olive trees are a key way that Palestinians are forced out of their homes and their lands confiscated for settlement construction, as the loss of a year’s crop can signal destitution for many. The olive industry supports the livelihoods of roughly 80,000 families in the occupied West Bank.
IOA to uproot 2000 trees in northern Salfit
SALFIT (PIC) 10 Feb — Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) handed on Tuesday a notice to a Palestinian man informing him of the intention to uproot 2000 of his trees in his land in northern Salfit. Local sources said the IOA handed the notice to the owner of the land, claiming that it has been confiscated. The sources from the nearby Kifl Haris town also said the land is located on Qasr Ibris area near the town to the north of Salfit governorate. The land has been planted with olive and other kinds of trees for 15 years; its area is estimated at 55 dunums, the sources said. The Palestinian villages and towns of Salfit district are constantly subjected to Israeli leveling works for the expansion of twenty four settlements in the region.
Israeli army declares West Bank desert area ‘closed military zone’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Feb — The Israeli army on Monday declared part of the desert area east of Jerusalem in the West Bank a “closed military zone,” a local committee leader said. Bassam Bahr, the head of the committee to defend land and resist settlements, told Ma’an that the Israeli military had banned Palestinians from entering a desert area stretching from eastern ‘Anata to Bethlehem, south to Hebron, and east to the Dead Sea. The decision is part of an Israeli policy of land theft and “Judaization” of the West Bank, Bahr said. He said the Palestinian Authority had previously announced its intention to build an airport and a nature reserve in the area, but that the Israeli “occupation preempted any Palestinian steps.”
Hundreds of rabbis from around the world call on Israel to halt demolition of Palestinian homes
The Independent 7 Feb by Lizzie Dearden — More than 400 rabbis from Israel, Britain and around the world have called on Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes. Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) has submitted an open letter to the Israeli Prime Minister claiming his stance is not in line with “international law and Jewish tradition”. It came after Mr Netanyahu announced the destruction of more than 400 Palestinian homes in the Israel-controlled part of the West Bank known as Area C. The pre-fabricated bungalows were funded by the European Union, the Daily Mail reported, but did not have building permits and are being demolished as illegal structures. “Thousands have been forced to build without permits, and great human suffering is caused when hundreds of homes are demolished each year,” the letter said.
Restriction of movement
Passage in Jenin village cut off for five consecutive days
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Feb — Israeli authorities, on Monday, continued its closure of the entrance leading to the village of Tura in Ya‘bod town, southwest of Jenin, for the fifth consecutive day, according to local residents. The army placed a military checkpoint at the entrance of the village this past week, preventing residents, including students, from getting in or out of the village.
“The civilian population of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) must be allowed to enjoy basic rights guaranteed in international law, including the right to freedom of movement,” said a United Nations OCHA report. The report said, according to WAFA, that most Palestinian traffic is funneled into secondary and often lower-quality routes affecting their access to services and livelihoods. In a survey, OCHA “documented and mapped a total of 522 obstacles (roadblocks, checkpoints, etc) obstructing Palestinian movement within the West Bank, a four percent increase from the equivalent figure recorded in July 2010.”
IOF shoots, injures Palestinian man in central Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 10 Feb — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shot at a Palestinian man near al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza on Tuesday. Medical sources told the PIC reporter that the man was moderately injured in the shooting by Israeli forces stationed to the east of the camp. The injured man was taken to hospital in Deir al-Balah, whereas his condition was described as moderate, the sources said. The IOF often opens fire and storms the eastern outskirts of Gaza Strip in violation of the truce agreement signed last summer between Israel and resistance factions in Gaza.
More mock raids over Gaza; fishermen targeted offshore
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Feb — Israeli warplanes, Monday, carried out mock air raids in a limited incursion over Gaza skies, while Israeli navy gunboats opened fire at fishermen off the Gaza shore, according to WAFA correspondence. Israeli F16s flew over the Gaza Strip at low altitude and launched mock raids over the region, in addition to sailing heat balloons into the air, which Israel uses to divert intense anti-aircraft fire. Loud explosions were heard across the Strip, spreading fear and panic among residents, and particularly children.
Meanwhile, Israeli naval troops targeted fishing boats sailing within the six-nautical miles allowed for fishing. However, no injuries were reported among them. Fishermen were forced to leave the sea for fear of being killed, injured or arrested.
Israeli forces open fire at Gaza march
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Feb – Israeli forces opened fire on a march east of Gaza City on Monday to protest delays to the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following Israel’s devastating military offensive last summer. Dozens of demonstrators took part in the march, which was organized by a national committee to end the eight-year blockade of the coastal territory. Protesters burned tires and waved Palestinian flags. No injuries were reported.
Israeli bulldozers raze lands in Beit Hanoun
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Feb — Israeli bulldozers raided Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday. Witnesses told Ma‘an that five Israeli bulldozers entered more than 100 meters into the town and razed lands in the area. The raid forced Palestinian farmers to leave their lands.
Suicide rates on the rise in Gaza
RAFAH, Gaza Strip 9 Feb by Mohammed Othman — Tunisia only needed Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi in December 2010 to start the Arab Spring and subsequently the country ruled by a dictator became a lawful democratic state. The goals of Tunisians were accomplished after the suicide of Bouazizi, who set himself on fire in a protest against the oppressive security policies. Committing suicide by hanging, poisoning or setting oneself on fire is now more common for those who have completely lost hope. For them, it is the easiest way to find eternal rest and to escape from the political, economic and social injustice they are subject to. The Gaza Strip, besieged for the past eight years and suffering the misfortunes of isolation, is witnessing the new phenomenon of suicide that is plaguing its streets, just like Tunisia and Egypt. A resident of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, who worked in a public health company for the Ministry of Health, was fired by his boss when he found out his employee had hepatitis A. “I used to get paid around $200 a month and supported my large family on this. Suddenly, I found myself on the streets, begging for money to put food on the table,” he told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. He suffered psychological and economic problems for three weeks after he lost his job. He then consumed rat poison in an attempt to end his life, but miraculously he survived. Al-Monitor contacted the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior to obtain accurate statistics regarding the number of people who have committed suicide in the Gaza Strip. However, the ministries said that such statistics were unavailable….
‘Gaza is on the verge of collapsing’
EI 9 Feb by Sarah Levy — … UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, announced last month that it had run out of aid money for Gaza’s reconstruction process. “Digging under a rock.” Yet to paint the announcement itself as the crisis — implying that the reconstruction process had been working until now — is misleading, according to many people in Gaza. Around $5.4 billion in aid to Gaza was pledged in October at an international donor’s conference in Cairo — half of which was immediately earmarked by the Palestinian Authority to itself. According to Robert Turner, UNRWA’s director in Gaza, “virtually none of [the $5.4 billion] has reached Gaza.” “Right now we have to dig under a rock to find any information about the aid we’re supposed to be getting and where that money actually is,” said Omar Shaban, a founder of the group Aid Watch Palestine. “We hear over and over again that someone new was just hired for $50,000 or that so many people are committed to helping, but then we see no change,” Shaban told The Electronic Intifada. “It’s as if you were to go into a big kitchen and there were twenty people there trying to cook, and then there was no food.” – Frustration – Aid Watch Palestine was founded during the summer of 2014. Its founders believe that the international aid system needs to be dramatically restructured.
Myths and realities about Israel’s siege of Gaza
EI 10 Feb by Belal Dabour — For nearly eight long years, Gaza has endured an unprecedented period of strangulation so tight and relentless that the word “siege” is now automatically linked to the enclave in many people’s minds. Over this period, a number of misconceptions have developed. Here are three of the most common ones I encounter when I talk about conditions in Gaza: (1) Palestinians in Gaza are in need of basic things including food and blankets This was certainly true during the 51 days of Israel’s attack on Gaza last summer, and its immediate aftermath, but this has not been the situation for most people in Gaza, at least not in the last four years … (2) Palestinians in Gaza would be much better off investing in infrastructure rather than resistance … Now, some six months after summer assault, less than two percent of the materials Gaza needs for reconstruction have been allowed in. Meanwhile, Gaza suffers unprecedented unemployment, its people receive no more than six hours of electricty each day, tens of thousands go without salaries and the infrastructure is already collapsing. It should be noted that throughout these six months, Palestinian armed factions have meticulously observed the ceasefire agreed with Israel last 26 August, while Israel violates it almost every day … (3) Before the siege started in 2007 things were just fine Gaza was a prison long before Palestinians began improvising rockets in the early 2000s. Israel started fencing Gaza in 1994 shortly after the Oslo accords and gradually restricting its population, who depended on jobs in Israel, from traveling there … What Gaza really needs What Gaza really needs is to be welcomed back into the world. It needs not to be seen anymore through Israeli eyes as a security threat. It needs to be seen for the endless possibilities of human innovation locked inside.
How Israel’s ‘smart’ weapons killed a disabled Gaza teen
DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza (EI) 9 Feb by Patrick O. Strickland — Sabah Abu Jayab, known to her family and friends as Um Ahmad, walked through her home pointing out everything that had to be replaced after Israel’s 2014 assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. “This is all new,” Um Ahmad, a pharmacist, told The Electronic Intifada … Her home, where she lived with her husband and eight children, was hit by four missiles fired by an Israeli drone during the first week of the Israeli attack. “Only two of them exploded,” she said. “If the others had blown up, we’d have all died.” Not everyone survived. Her eighteen-year-old daughter Amal, who was disabled and unable to walk, died on 17 July, four days after their house was struck. “She wasn’t hit by the rocket or debris,” Um Ahmad explained, “but she inhaled a lot of smoke and dust.” Amal was one of an estimated 2,257 Palestinians killed — including 563 children and 306 women — during Israel’s seven-week attack, according to the United Nations monitoring group OCHA.
First Palestinian embassy in W. Europe opens in Sweden
RT 10 Feb — The first-ever Palestinian embassy in Western Europe has opened in Sweden on Tuesday evening, the Swedish prime minister’s press service said. President Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in Stockholm for the event. “Your recognition…should push forward negotiations in the peace process,” Abbas said. Prime Minister Lofven has vowed aid to Palestine, but has also called on reforms. “There are challenges: we must help one another to fight corruption, increase gender equality, improve respect for human rights, and of course continue the state building process,” Lofven said. Under the newly signed deal, Sweden’s financial help to Palestine will grow by 1.5 billion kronas (US$179.74 million) over the next five years. Palestine has diplomatic missions in countries that either recognize or partially recognize it as an independent state. Until Tuesday, Palestine had a General Delegation of Palestine in Sweden, based in Stockholm.
Senior Fatah, Hamas officials to meet in Cairo
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Feb — Senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad and Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouq are due to meet in Cairo in the coming days to discuss the reconciliation process, officials said. PLO executive committee member Jamil Shihada told Ma‘an that the top officials will meet in Egypt to discuss “activating reconciliation” and a visit to Gaza by the PLO. The meeting will set a date for the PLO delegation to arrive, he added. An April 23 agreement between Hamas and Fatah paved the way for the formation of a government of national unity for the first time in seven years, but Israel has strongly opposed the deal and severely targeted Hamas in the months that followed. Critics have noted that the unity government has made few changes in Gaza and failed to help with reconstruction after Israel’s assault on the Strip in a 50-day war over summer 2013. A series of attacks in Gaza on Fatah and Hamas officials’ cars have triggered angry exchanges between Hamas and Fatah leaders, potentially endangering the unity government.
PA to boycott products of 6 major Israeli companies
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Feb — The head of a Palestinian Authority committee for confronting Israeli practices against the Palestinians announced on Monday evening that the PA officially decided to ban the entry of products by six major Israeli companies into the Palestinian territory. Mahmoud al-Aloul, who is also a member of the Central Committee of the PA’s ruling party Fatah, announced the decision Monday in a news conference in el-Bireh … The Israeli companies which will be banned in the Palestinian territory are Tnuva, which produces dairy products, Elite which produces chocolates, candies and other products, the Strauss food and beverage company, Osem, Prigat for beverages, and Jafora. Al-Aloul pointed out that Palestinian retailers would be given two weeks to remove the companies’ products from their shelves. Special inspectors will be touring markets to make sure all merchants are adhering to the decision. The decision, he said, came in response to ongoing Israeli attempts to exert pressure on the Palestinian people “who are demanding their freedom and rights and have been punished collectively after they resorted to the UN.”
Hamas condemns killing of Jordanian pilot
Al-Monitor 10 Feb by Adnan Abu Amer — Hamas speaks out in support of Jordan following the Islamic State’s brutal killing of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh and also looks to repair relations with the Hashemite kingdom following a tense period — The publishing of a video showing Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive by the Islamic State (IS) on Feb. 3 was not only a Jordanian internal matter but rather generated regional and international repercussions. These repercussions reached Hamas, which took a clear official position by condemning the incident through a series of contacts and visits to the Hashemite kingdom … Hamas leader Salah Bardawil told Al-Monitor, “The burning of the pilot is contrary to Islam and distorts the image of Muslims, since the method of his execution was brutal and unethical. His captors could have pardoned him or exchanged him [for their own prisoners as was being discussed with Jordan], as the party that will benefit the most from this crime is the enemies of the nation, primarily Israel.” Hamas’ condolences for the killing of the pilot were not limited to official statements; a senior delegation visited the Jordanian Hospital in Gaza City to offer condolences Feb. 8. The delegation included Bassem Naim, head of Hamas’ international relations, and former Interior Minister Fathi Hammad.
Hamas backs Qatar minister’s ‘courage’ in Israel spat
Doha (AFP) 9 Feb — A Qatar-based senior Hamas leader on Monday praised the Gulf state’s “courageous” foreign minister, Khalid al-Attiyah, after an apparent spat with Israel’s intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz at a German security conference. In a statement, Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’s political bureau in Doha, backed Qatar’s foreign minister for his “strong, courageous statements and response to the lies of the ‘Zionists’, and his defence of Hamas and the resistance during the Munich security conference”. At Sunday’s conference, Attiyah said during a panel discussion that failure to make progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was “the main igniter to all the turbulence in the Middle East”.
What conflict? No room for Palestinians in Israeli election
JERUSALEM (AP) 10 Feb by Josef Federman — Judging by Israel’s election race, the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians is not an important issue. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers to focus on Iran, and moderate opponents prefer to attack the right-wing government on Netanyahu’s management of the economy. The lack of campaign-trail focus on making peace with Israel’s enemies seems to bode poorly for negotiating prospects after the March 17 election. Palestinian leaders say they expect tough times ahead. “Neglecting relations with the Palestinians is dangerous. It indicates what will happen after the election, especially if we have a right-wing coalition,” said Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister. “This means that the coming period will be very difficult.”
I was ‘part of a terror organization’, says Israeli pilot turned activist
EI 10 Feb by Ryan Rodrick Beiler — Yonatan Shapira was born on an Israeli military base the year before his father flew fighter jets in the October War of 1973. Thirty years later, twelve of them spent as an air force pilot himself, Shapira rejected the military. In 2003, he wrote a letter, pledging not to fly over the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Shapira is among the few Israelis to have declared support for the Palestinian-led call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. He has also been attacked by the Israeli military for attempting to sail towards and break the siege of Gaza. He recently spoke to The Electronic Intifada contributor Ryan Rodrick Beiler.
East Jerusalem sees no mail delivery for 2 weeks, residents say
Haaretz 19 Feb by Amira Hass — East Jerusalem’s main post office hasn’t delivered mail to post-office boxes for more than two weeks, Palestinian residents of the area say. The residents include businessmen who check their boxes every day. Many say they’ve been waiting for checks, bills, visas and other documents that haven’t arrived. The postal service said it was short-staffed for a time and mail was backed up … Residents received no warning, oral or written, that mail deliveries were to be suspended. Because mail isn’t delivered directly to houses in East Jerusalem, some 200,000 Palestinian residents of the city depend on post-office boxes. These boxes are located at several different post offices, but the largest is the one on Salah-a-Din Street – the one Abu Odeh has been visiting every day. Abu Odeh said that he and many other East Jerusalem Palestinians generally prefer to mail their letters from post offices in Jewish neighborhoods because experience has taught them that letters sent from Jewish areas of the city reach their destination much faster.
Bilingual Arabic-Hebrew 1st-grade class to open in Jaffa
Haaretz 10 Feb by Yarden Skop — In compromise with parents, city will open the class in existing school, to be run by nonprofit Hand in Hand. Haifa parents also seek expansion of bilingual education — …Meanwhile, Hand in Hand is also fighting to expand bilingual education in Haifa from the preschool level to both compulsory kindergarten and elementary school. The Haifa Municipality has requested permission from the Education Ministry to open a bilingual school, but has said that opening a bilingual kindergarten will only be possible after such a school is established, leaving interested parents with no Hebrew-Arabic framework for their children next year.
Israelis take ‘bridge to Arabic’
Al-Monitor 10 Feb by Nurit Canetti — The Arabic studies project of the Israeli Arab Jisr az-Zarqa village encourages its Jewish students to substitute part of their tuition with service to the village, to strengthen their ties with local Arab residents — The new students attending the seventh session of the “Bridge to Arabic” language course can look out over the Mediterranean Sea from their classroom window. Over the next three months, they will spend one day a week steeped in Arabic language and culture in the village of Jisr az-Zarqa, one of the poorest Arab communities in Israel. The village sits along a stunning stretch of beach between Kibbutz Maagan Michael and affluent Caesarea. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis a year drive along Highway 2, connecting Tel Aviv and Haifa. It is one of Israel’s most beautiful main arteries. Immediately to the west of the highway lies the Mediterranean. To its east are lush green fields. But most passengers barely notice the road sign marking the entrance to Jisr az-Zarqa. Very few of them have ever taken the time to visit this “Arab fishing village,” trapped physically and culturally between the Jewish communities. The “Bridge to Arabic” project was initiated by the Institute for Democratic Education of the Kibbutz Seminar to break through the metaphoric barriers surrounding Jisr az-Zarqa. And this wasn’t just for the sake of the villagers. It was also intended to benefit the Jews, who don’t usually turn off to the side of the road to visit their neighbors living by the sea.
Photo: 2 Palestinian engineers form Gaza who have invented the first smart glasses for the blind
The International Palestinian Network 10 Feb — Eman and Jihad are 2 Palestinian engineers from Gaza who, 2 years ago, succeeded in inventing the world’s first smart glasses for the blind. Not having been able to purchase certain elements needed, due to the current siege on the Strip, led the young women to a 100% locally made invention. The glasses are connected to sensors that warn the user about obstacles facing them 80 cm away or closer.