Violence / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Arrests — West Bank / Jerusalem
Updated – Settlers injure 6-year-old in South Hebron Hills with stones
[with photos] IMEMC/Agencies 22 Mar — Masked Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Ma’on, south of Hebron, threw stones at Palestinian children and injured a six-year-old child, Saturday. The child sustained a head injury and was taken to the nearest hospital for medical treatment, according to witnesses … The Hebron Defense Committee has reported that two masked settlers threw stones, on Saturday afternoon, at two children from Khirbet at-Tawil, southeast of Yatta town. The Committee added that a child, identified as Sojoud Mahmoud ‘Awad, 6 years of age, was struck in the head, and one of her legs.
Settlers attack, wound six-year-old Palestinian girl
+972 mag 12 Mar by Edo Konrad — West Bank settlers attacked a six-year-old Palestinian girl with rocks in the South Hebron Hills on Saturday, wounding her in the head, according to Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem — The girl was wounded after a group of masked settlers threw rocks at her near the entrance to the illegal outpost of Havat Maon, said B’Tselem. She was also lightly injured in her leg as she attempted to flee. B’Tselem reported that Israeli police took the girl and her father to a local station to file a complaint, and that she was treated at a local clinic for her wounds. The police are currently searching for suspects … The settlers of Havat Maon — an outpost on the edge of the already-established settlement of Maon — are notorious for their violence against the surrounding villages of At Tuwani and Tuba. I visited the area along with activists from Ta’ayush on a solidarity trip in early 2011; we planned to re-plant hundreds of trees that had been felled just a few days earlier, most likely by the settlers of Havat Maon. When we arrived, accompanied by IDF soldiers, the settlers immediately made their way toward where we were working. Confrontations began as they started yelling “whore!” at an elderly woman who was trying to pick weeds, and continued when they attempted to attack some of the locals who were with us. At some point, an older settler came up and told me that he couldn’t wait for the day that I would be hung in the middle of Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. A few minutes later group of hooded teens began kicking sheep that belonged to a Palestinian shepherd. The soldiers just stood there and did little more than try and separate the two groups…
Palestinian man wounded by IDF last week in critical condition
Haaretz 22 Mar by Gili Cohen, Jack Khoury & News Agencies — The condition of a Palestinian man shot last week by Israeli soldiers at a West Bank protest has taken a turn for the worse, according to Palestinian media. Ali Mahmoud Safi, 20, is said to be in critical condition in a Ramallah hospital. Safi was among nine Palestinians wounded when Israeli soldiers opened fire on protesters in the Al-Jalazone refugee camp near the Israeli settlement of Beit El. He was throwing rocks at soldiers near the camp, an army spokeswoman told AFP. Safi is reportedly comatose after being shot in the chest with a .22 caliber bullet. The Israel Defense Forces is expected to investigate the incident.
Two kids injured in IOF assaults in Bethlehem
RAMALLAH (PIC) 21 Mar — Two Palestinian children on Friday suffered injuries when Israeli soldiers attacked them in two separate incidents in Bethlehem areas, south of the West Bank. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers severely beat 11-year-old Ahmed ‘Atwan during his presence yesterday afternoon near al-Khader stadium, south of Bethlehem. The boy suffered injuries and bruises in his face and received medical treatment in a hospital in the city. [this was reported in the last newslist]
Another kid named Osama Iyad, 13, also suffered bruises when Israeli troops violently attacked the participants in the weekly anti-settlement march of Ma‘sarah village. Local sources said the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) subdued the march and prevented the participants from reaching an area near the segregation wall.
Near Nablus, three Palestinian protesters and one journalist also suffered different injuries when the IOF attacked the weekly march of Kafr Qaddum village. The popular resistance committee in the village said that the IOF intensively used rubber bullets, tear gas grenades and waste water to suppress the march. Kafr Qaddum residents organize marches every Friday to protest Israel’s closure of a main road linking the village to its nearest city Nablus.
Video: Children assaulted and three women arrested at Nabi Saleh demonstration
NABI SALEH, Occupied Palestine (ISM Ramallah Team) 21 Mar — Israeli forces arrested three women in Nabi Saleh and injured several protesters, one with live ammunition, during the village’s weekly Friday protest on March 13. The demonstration was met with the usual military violence as Israeli forces threw stun grenades and fired live ammunition at unarmed and peaceful protesters … Israeli forces threatened Nabi Saleh children who walked down the road nearer to the closed gate. One young girl was hit with a rifle in the stomach and the head; she went to the hospital for treatment. Two Palestinian women – Bushra Tamimi and Nawal Tamimi – and Israeli activist Tali Shapiro were arrested and dragged away by Israeli forces … The violence escalated near the end of the protest; Israeli forces used live .22 caliber ammunition and shot a young Palestinian in the lower leg. The bullet missed the bone, and he will likely recover soon.
Israeli army breaks into two schools near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 22 Mar – The Israeli army Sunday broke into two schools in the village of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, according to a local source. Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in the village, told WAFA an army force broke into a girl’s school, spreading fear among the students. Soldiers also stormed a nearby boy’s school; the teaching staff prevented the soldiers from coming near the students and forced them out of the school, said Salah. There were no reports of arrests or confrontations. The village has been a target of recurrent Israeli army raids, which hampers the daily life of local villagers.
Settlers fire at farmers in northern Ramallah
RAMALLAH (PIC) 21 Mar — Extremist Jewish settlers opened fire at Palestinian farmers in a town near Ramallah on Saturday morning. A Palestinian activist said more than ten settlers came from a nearby settlement, constructed on Palestinians’ lands in northern Ramallah, and fired at Palestinian farmers while working in their agricultural lands. The shooting did not result in any casualties, the Palestinian activist pointed out.
Jerusalem: Family forced in one room as soldiers ransacked their home
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Mar — Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, a Palestinian home in Jabal al-Mokabber, south of occupied East Jerusalem, detained the family in one room while searching their property, and confiscated their phones. The family said several soldiers stormed their two-story building, after surrounding it. The soldiers then forced the family in one room, before violently searching the building, causing damage to the furniture and belongings. The soldiers also confiscated mobile phones, and prevented the family members from even talking to each other during the search. The family added that the soldiers also searched the rooftop, and the family car, parked in front of the building. Last month, soldiers stormed the building during early dawn hours, and violently searching it while interrogating the family.
IOF arrests five Palestinians in West Bank
Al-KHALIL (PIC) 22 Mar — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) detained at dawn Sunday five Palestinians in the West Bank after storming and searching their houses. The website of Israeli TV Seventh Channel said the Israeli army rounded up five of Hamas members who are wanted by Israeli intelligence. Security sources in al-Khalil said the IOF stormed four towns in al-Khalil, arrested a young man and took him to an unknown destination. In the same context, the IOF soldiers raided at dawn a town in Salfit governorate, wreaked havoc in it and broke into the houses of the town, and arrested two men; one is a lawyer, whose wedding is after two weeks, and the other is a university student.
PA security forces arrest six Palestinians, confiscate properties
WEST BANK (PIC) 22 Mar — Palestinian Authority (PA) Security Forces launched a new arrest campaign against members of Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, in the West Bank on Sunday. The campaign resulted in six men arrested and one summoned in addition to confiscation of properties. The PA Preventive Security Forces broke into the house of the former Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Wasfi Qabha in Jenin, arrested his son, Osamah, and confiscated all personal computers and mobile phones in the house. The minister’s family said the forces searched the house without revealing reasons for the search. They added that the PA forces also confiscated all the files related to the former minister’s work including flash disks, documents, and private letters written to the family members during his detention time in Israeli jails. The former minister’s son Osama, 24, was released from Israeli jails just ten days ago, the family noted. The PA Security Forces on Sunday also rounded up five other members of Hamas in different districts of the West Bank and summoned another university student to be questioned for the second time in a row.
Arab youth arrested after assaulting haredi man in Old City
Jerusalem Post 22 Mar by Daniel K. Eisenbud — A haredi man in his 20s was hospitalized in light condition Sunday morning after being assaulted near the Jewish Quarter of the Old City by an Arab teenager who had just left the Temple Mount after praying, police said. According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the suspect, a 17-year-old Israeli Arab, brutally beat the Jewish man while walking on a main walkway at approximately 10 a.m. and then fled by foot. The unidentified victim, he said, was found lying on the ground by police and Magen David Adom paramedics, who provided first aid before transferring him to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. As police searched for the suspect, Rosenfeld said, live surveillance footage from a nearby command center was able to track the movements of the assailant, leading to his arrest minutes later.
Earlier Sunday morning, he said, three Arab men were arrested on the Temple Mount after heckling and attempting to attack a group of Jewish visitors. At around 7:30 a.m. 30 to 40 Arabs approached the Jewish group, which was being escorted by police, shouting “Allah Akbar,” Rosenfeld said. “Police intervened immediately, and while they continued to escort the group, three local Israeli Arabs in their 20s attempted to attack the Jewish visitors, resulting in their arrests,” he said. “At the same time, there was one Jewish man who was removed after not abiding by the rules of the Temple Mount by openly praying.” Rosenfeld said the Jewish man was released from custody shortly after his detention, adding that police will continue to enforce the status quo on the Temple Mount. No one was injured in the attack, he said.
Israel nabs Hamas cell based in West Bank suspected of plotting attacks
Haaretz 22 Mar by Gili Cohen — The Shin Bet security service announced Sunday that a number of West Bank Palestinians working for Hamas have been arrested over the last few months, plotting to carry out attacks using explosive devices. The suspects confessed during interrogation to having been enlisted by Hamas in Jordan, and undergoing training in the Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet said. The suspects then returned to the West Bank, according to the Shin Bet, with the intention of carrying out attacks and recruiting further activists in the area to take part in Hamas activities. The cell was headed by 26-year-old Jama‘in resident Amed Abdullah Zeitouni, the Shin Bet said. Zeitouni recruited five Palestinians from his own village and from Jenin to take part in the cell. Two of the suspects arrested over the course of January and February are students at the Al Najah University in Nablus. The suspects built an explosive laboratory in an apartment in downtown Nablus, the Shin Bet said. Some 25 kilograms of sulfur were seized during the arrests, along with 25 grams of fulminating mercury, the main material used in most ammunition. The Shin Bet said that the cell was operated remotely by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, who passed along orders to its operatives in the West Bank. The cell was ordered to increase its plans for attack during Operation Protective Edge.
Jewish rightists tour al-Aqsa compound, assault Palestinian women
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Mar — Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews toured the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday morning under the protection of Israeli forces, while Israeli police detained Palestinians even as groups of settlers reportedly assaulted worshipers nearby. A spokesman for the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments told Ma‘an that 127 “extremist Jewish settlers” entered the compound via the Moroccan Gate in groups. Witnesses said that the first group of settlers toured the courtyard of the Dome of the Rock “in a provocative manner,” before touring the rest of the compound and exiting via the Chain Gate. One of the settlers tried to “tear off his clothes inside the compound before security guards intervened and stopped him,” said an eyewitness, who told Ma‘an he believed the act was part of religious ritual. Israeli police officers, who entered the compound to protect the settlers, chased Palestinian worshipers including children and women. Witnesses said the officers detained a woman near al-Ghawanma gate in addition to two men who were identified as Muhammad Abu Gharbiyya and Ribhi Abu al-Hummus. They were reportedly taken to an Israeli police station outside the Chain Gate. Settlers also assaulted a group of Palestinian women outside the Chain Gate who were unable to access the compound after an Israeli court decision banned them from visiting the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. “A settler approached a group of women waiting outside the Chain Gate and verbally assaulted them before attacking them physically and throwing hot tea at us from a kettle he had. Another settler assaulted us, and fled the scene,” said one of the women … Witnesses emphasized that Israeli police officers were present when the settlers assaulted the women but they took no action against the assailants.
Police release detained woman, deny her access to the al-Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Mar — The Israeli Police released Sunday a young Palestinian woman from occupied Jerusalem, after imposing a 5000 NIS fine on her, and ordered her away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque for fifteen days. She was one of four Palestinians kidnapped, Sunday, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Lawyer Ramzi Kteilat of the Qodsona Foundation for Human Rights, said resident Sondos al-Qawasmi was released after the court issued its verdict. Al-Qawasmi, 22 years of age, was kidnapped earlier on Sunday in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, after the soldiers denied her access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Also on Sunday, the police kidnapped Mohammad Abu Gharbiyya, 18, and Mohammad Nasser Ed-Deen, 14, from Jerusalem’s Old City. Abu Gharbiyya will be sent to court Monday, while the Nasser will remain under interrogation allegedly for “attacking an Israeli settler.” In addition, the police released an elderly man, identified as Ribhi Khader Abu al-Hummus, 70 years of age; he has to appear in front of the District Court, Monday. Lawyer Kteilat said the detained Palestinians were all kidnapped, on Sunday morning, in front of the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He added that the police attacked many Palestinians, and kidnapped five, after they tried to prevent a group of Israeli extremists from raiding the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Motorcycle procession reaches Al-Aqsa Mosque compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 21 Mar — A procession of motorcycles protesting restriction of Palestinians to access Al-Aqsa mosque arrived at the mosque’s compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, having set off from Jaffa Saturday morning. The procession was organized by the ‘Youth for Al-Aqsa’ group. Sheikh Muhammad Ayish, one of the procession coordinators, said that if Israeli authorities restricted Palestinians in Israel from reaching Al-Aqsa by bus and other transport methods, then they would reach it on motorcycles instead. He said the act was carried out “to assert our support for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa.” Sheikh Raed Salah, who leads the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, condemned Israel’s restriction of access to Al-Aqsa and attempts to discourage Palestinians from reaching the mosque compound.
Monitor: 15 Palestinians with cancer at risk in Israeli jails
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Mar — Fifteen Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons are suffering from cancer and are at risk of dying, the Hossam Association of Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners has said. The organization said in a statement that they believed the number was in fact higher, as the 15 include only those who have been diagnosed with cancer, but many others have tumors whose malignancy is not known because Israeli prison authorities have limited their access to tests. The organization blamed Israeli authorities for contributing to an environment in which Palestinian prisoners faced a heightened risk of cancer due to high levels of radiation inside prison cells. The group said that Israeli authorities set up devices to jam satellite and telephone signals near rooms where Palestinians are being held. They also pointed to the use of radiation in security scanners that prisoners are forced to go through during frequent searches and examinations. The statement also said that a number of prisons are located near the Dimona nuclear reactor as well as toxic waste dumps in the Negev Desert, another factor which it said contributed to the high incidence of cancer … The association listed a number of the most pressing cases it was aware of inside Israeli prisons….
On Mother’s Day, 2 Palestinian mothers in Israeli prisons
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Mar — The Palestinian Prisoner’s Center for Studies has issued a report to highlight Palestinian mothers who spent this year’s Mother’s Day in Israeli prisons. There are currently 22 Palestinian women prisoners in Israeli custody, including two mothers, said Riyad al-Ashqar, spokesperson for the center. Prisoner Samaher Suleiman Ali Zein al-Din, 35, from Nablus is a mother of six, the youngest of whom, Naim, is only 4 years old. Zein al-Din was detained on May 28, 2014. Meanwhile, prisoner Yasmin Taysir Abd al-Rahman Shaaban, 32, from Jenin is mother to four children. She was detained in November 2014, and is currently being held in the HaSharon jail and suffers from asthma. Mother’s Day, which is celebrated on different dates around the world, is marked on 22 Mar. in most Arabic nations. According to al-Ashqar, the Zein al-Din family is especially badly affected, as Samaher’s husband, Nader Zein al-Din, is also being held in an Israeli prison. The Zein al-Dins’ children are currently living with their grandparents.
Ashqar: The EU probe committee did nothing for the prisoners
GAZA (PIC) 22 Mar — The Palestinian Prisoner Center for Studies said that the inquiry committee that had been formed by the European Union (EU) following the death of prisoner Arafat Jaradat in an Israeli jail was useless. “It has been a whole year since the committee visited Palestine to check on the conditions of prisoners in Israeli jails and detention centers and met with many political and human rights figures as well as a number of ex-detainees and representatives of official and international institutions, and since then we have heard nothing from it,” spokesman for the Center Riyadh al-Ashqar stated in a press release on Sunday. Ashqar affirmed that the families of prisoners pinned a lot of hope on this committee in its capacity as an international legal body able to pressure Israel to improve the incarceration conditions of their relatives in its jails. “Although it was prevented by the occupation from visiting its prisons and detention centers, including the Ramla prison hospital, to see the reality of the situation there, the arrival of such high-level committee constituted then a glimmer of hope to both the prisoners and their families,” the spokesman for the Prisoner Center said.
Sentence of sick prisoner re-imposed
RAMALLAH (PIC) 23 Mar — The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) re-imposed Sunday evening the previous sentence of the sick prisoner Ibrahim al-Masri, 45, from Ramallah in the West Bank. Head of Ahrar center Fuad al-Khuffash affirmed that al-Masri’s previous sentence was re-imposed, noting that he was sentenced to two life terms plus 20 years before being released during wafa al-Ahrar swap deal. Al-Masri, a father of four girls, had spent 17 years out of his sentence before being released in 2001. He is currently held in Eshel prison, suffering from lung and windpipe diseases, in addition to severe back pains. 35 ex-prisoners’ sentences were re-imposed after being re-arrested in mid-June following the kidnapping of three Israeli settlers in al-Khalil. Meanwhile, the Israeli prison service transferred the sick prisoner Mustafa Brijiya, 29, from Ramle prison clinic to Negev prison without providing him any medical treatment.
Israel closes investigation into killing of dozens of Palestinians in Gaza
Middle East Monitor 21 Mar — Israel’s military police have been ordered by the Chief Military Advocate General, Major-General Danny Efroni, to close the investigation into a raid during last summer’s offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Thirty-one members of the Al-Salk family were killed during the raid. At the same time, Efroni ordered the opening of another investigation into an Israeli raid that targeted a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA); 20 Palestinians were killed in that raid. The UNRWA school in question was attacked on 30 July and is located in Jabaliya. Those who were killed had sought refuge in the UN building after they were told by the Israeli army that their homes were going to be bombed. Meanwhile, Israel has announced that it will cooperate with the UN to investigate the targeting of UN institutions by the Israel Defence Forces. The government has refused, however, to cooperate with a UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry into possible war crimes committed by its troops.
Gaza fishing industry held hostage at sea
Truthout 21 Mar by Charlie Hoyle — Located in the southeastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea, and Palestine’s only access to the ocean, the Gaza Strip could be a natural gateway to regional trade for the Palestinian economy. However, near daily shootings and arrests by Israeli forces since a ceasefire agreement last August are exacerbating a decade-long crisis in the fishing sector, with livelihoods particularly vulnerable following a 51-day war on the coastal territory. At least eighty fishing boats, dozens of fishing huts, and hundreds of nets were destroyed during the Israeli military offensive last summer, according to Oxfam, adding further restrictions to the industry, which began in the year 2000. The 2007 Israeli blockade, followed by a large-scale military offensive a year later, imposed a three nautical mile zone for fishermen along Gaza’s 40 km coastline, crippling an industry that could have been thriving in the blue expanse of the Mediterranean. As a result, the numbers of fishermen registered in Gaza have dropped dramatically over the past ten years as the profitability of the sector continues to decrease. In 2005, there were over 10,000 fishermen registered in Gaza, according to Oxfam. Today, that number stands at around 3,500, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Oxfam’s partner in Gaza, says only a third of those go out to sea regularly. – ‘Shootings Occur Daily’ – Fishermen and Palestinian rights groups say there has been a notable increase in shooting incidents along Gaza’s coast since the ceasefire agreement last summer. The agreement had promised to expand the fishing area to six nautical miles – still below the agreed twenty nautical miles under the Oslo Accords – but locals say nothing has changed and the Israeli navy is enforcing the zone with excessive force.
Will Israelis ever hear about attacks on Gaza’s fishermen?
+972 mag 20 Mar by Haggai Matar — Just two weeks ago, soldiers killed Tawfik Abu-Riala, a 34-year-old fisherman from Gaza. At first, the army reported that Abu-Riala left the six-mile maritime zone in which Israel allows Palestinians to fish. It later turned out, however, that Abu-Riala was well within the zone. Despite the unnecessary death, head of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg, decided that the firing was justified, and that no one would be put on trial for it. According to the al-Mizan Center for Human Rights, two fishermen have been killed by Israeli soldiers since the end of Operation Protective Edge, while at least 49 have been arrested, 17 wounded and 12 boats have been confiscated. These incidents — in which the Israeli army infiltrates the Gaza Strip, shoots at fishermen, confiscates their boats and fires at farmers near the border zone — they are part of daily life in the besieged Gaza Strip. They are the everyday aspects of living in a giant prison controlled by Israel. But we barely hear about them. It is obvious that if things were the other way around, and navy boats were being fired upon, or if Palestinians had crossed the border into Israel, the incidents would have been top news item on every news outlet.
UNRWA inaugurates first new school in Gaza since Israeli offensive
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Mar — The United Nations Palestine refugee agency UNRWA on Sunday inaugurated the first school associated with the organization to be built in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s summer assault laid waste to hundreds of educational institutions. The Khuzaa Preparatory School was inaugurated Sunday and is the first of several schools the agency plans to build across the tiny coastal enclave, which saw homes, schools, and places of worship targeted repeatedly by Israeli bombs during the July-August offensive. UNRWA commissioner-general Pierre Krähenbühl was present at the inauguration on Sunday, where he delivered a short speech urging the international community and donor organizations to fulfill their pledges to help rebuild Gaza. The school is located in the town of Khuza‘a east of Khan Younis near the Israeli border, an area severely damaged by Israel during the assault. More than half of all homes in the town of around 10,000 were flattened by Israel. Many in the area still live in temporary housing as they wait for Israel to allow more reconstruction material into Gaza, which has been under an Israeli blockade for the last eight years. The school in Khuza‘a is one of the first to go up to hopefully replace the more than 200 schools that sustained extensive damage due to Israeli bombing.
PA to fund new $24m hospital in Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Mar — Mayor of Rafah Subhi Radwan announced on Sunday that the Palestinian government has decided to fund a $24 million medical complex in Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip. In a news conference in Gaza City, Radwan said the government had earmarked 40 dunams (10 acres) of land for the project. He added that designs and blueprints have been prepared and Rafah municipality would soon begin excavation work on the site. The mayor thanked Palestinian Minister of Health Jawad Awwad for his efforts, as well as those by social media activists who launched a Twitter campaign called “#Rafah-needs-hospital.” … Two hospitals currently provide medical services to the population of Rafah district, Abu Yousif al-Najjar Hospital and the European Hospital. However, while the former is limited by a lack of equipment, the second is difficult to access, especially during wars, because of its location near the northeastern borders with Israel. Abu Yousif al-Najjar Hospital was shelled by Israeli forces during the 50-day war between Hamas and Israel last summer. Across the Gaza Strip, 17 out of 32 hospitals as well as 50 out of 97 primary health centers were damaged during the conflict, according to a UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) report last September. Six hospitals were forced to close during the conflict and four primary health centers were totally destroyed. The months following the war have seen further difficulties, with hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, protesting unpaid salaries.
Israel allows 620 trucks of construction, agricultural goods into besieged Gaza
Ahram Online 22 Mar — Israel has allowed the passage of hundreds of trucks carrying goods into the Palestinian Gaza Strip through its Karam Abou-Salem border crossing, Ahram Arabic website reported on Sunday. Palestinian border liaison officer Raed Fattouh said in a press statement that the occupation authorities have allowed the entry of 620 trucks loaded with commercial and agricultural goods. Israeli occupation forces shut down the cross-border on Fridays and Saturdays. Fattouh pointed out that 120 trucks carried gravel to build infrastructure roads, while 124 trucks were loaded with construction materials for homes.
Two Palestinians nabbed by IOF near Gaza border fence
GAZA (PIC) 23 Mar — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) afternoon Sunday rounded up two Palestinian youngsters as they crept through the security fence south of the blockaded Gaza Strip. Israeli media sources said the Israeli army captured two Palestinian youths and dragged them to an investigation center pending further interrogation. Infiltrations into 1948 occupied land have been on the rise due to the high unemployment and poverty rates rocking the coastal enclave, blockaded for eight uninterrupted years.
IN PHOTOS: IDF holds surprise drill near Gaza
Jerusalem Post 22 Mar by Yaakov Lapin — The IDF launched a surprise drill near the Gaza Strip on Sunday. The day-long exercise is designed to increase the readiness of military forces in the area, and is a part of a series of training activities that occur throughout the year, the army added. The exercise was ordered by Southern Command chief Maj.-Gen. Sami Turgerman. On Wednesday, the IDF uncovered an explosive device planted on the Gaza-Israel border. Soldiers found the bomb hidden on the Gazan side of the electronic border fence and made it safe. There were no injuries in the incident.
Egyptian army blows up 194 tunnels along border with Gaza
CAIRO (PIC) 22 Mar — The Egyptian army claimed responsibility for the destruction of some 194 underground tunnels along the borders with blockaded Gaza since the start of February. Egypt’s military spokesman Mohamed Samir said, in statements posted on his Facebook page, that as many as 194 tunnels in the borders between the Egyptian city of Rafah and the Gaza Strip were blown up in the period between February till March 16. Two strategic tunnels, estimated at 1.5 meters high and 15 meters in depth each, were among the destroyed tunnels. The Egyptian army blew up another 1,000 meter-long tunnel equipped with two control rooms, power generators, and a telephone circuit, the Egyptian official added. He further underlined that while blowing up the tunnels, the military engineers discovered seven openings of tunnels, five among which were found inside a farm and two others were detected in houses used by “terrorist” groups. The military forces further detected a bag containing a wireless device, military uniforms, an electric saw, four anti-tank projectiles, and 1,100 Kgs of high explosives, among other kits.
United Nations Human Rights Council to convene again on Israeli violations in Gaza and West Bank
Jerusalem Post 22 Mar by Tovah Lazaroff — A report charging that Israel apparently “deliberately” targeted civilian homes will be presented Monday to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva by its special investigator Makarim Wibisono. Is is part of a general debate the UNHRC will hold on Israeli violations of human rights during its 28th session. The day will open with a short initial oral report from the controversial Commission of Inquiry into the Gaza war, which is made up of a two-member investigatory team, headed by former New York Supreme Court judge Mary McGowan Davis. She and Senegalese legal expert Doudou Diene have looked at human rights violations in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem from June 13 to the end of Operation Protective Edge last summer. The commission had been due to present a written report on the matter, but at the last minute asked for a delay until the June session. Instead, it will update the UNHRC on their work, with statements that are not expected to last more than 15 minutes. Israel compared the Gaza probe to a Kangaroo court and claimed its conclusions were already pre-written.
PHOTOS: Gaza artists
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera) 22 Mar by Eduardo Soteras Jalil — Meet the artists who struggle to have their voice heard in the besieged strip — A ruthless siege coupled with a worsening political and humanitarian situation and an overwhelming sense of despair are all factors that many artists in Gaza say inspire them, yet at the same time, restrict their work. Visual artists, for example, face the difficulty of transferring their art pieces outside of the besieged strip. Another challenge is having access to working material which entirely depends on the help of those who manage to travel to and from Gaza. For musicians, finding a place to perform rehearsals is a difficult enough task. Social constraints also make performing in public almost impossible. Therefore, they create their audience online, the same way that they compose and create their songs. Most of the artists featured in this photo gallery are internationally acclaimed. However, with the siege in place they cannot attend their own exhibitions even when held in places like Jerusalem, less than one hundred kilometers away. In a society struggling to survive, artists in Gaza do not enjoy a lot of attention. They are an isolated but living community that is worth exploring.
Gaza’s weight-loss centers
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 22 Mar by Mohammed Othman — Obesity in the Gaza Strip has increased as of late, with many Palestinians in Gaza seeking to shed pounds with the help of weight-loss centers — Mona Hussein’s diabetes and hypertension, acquired during a pregnancy two years ago, have pushed her to see a dietitian. Her social life has deteriorated due to her obesity, as she now weighs 95 kilograms (209 pounds) … Though Mona was concerned about the possible repercussions of a diet on her health, she found a doctor who has helped her adopt a diet to help her lose weight in a healthy fashion. She believes she has made the right choice … In the Gaza Strip, a high proportion of people suffer from obesity. “Only 18% to 25% of the Strip’s residents have a normal weight,” he said. “The rest are suffering from obesity because of the nature of our life pattern, in addition to the unbalanced social lifestyle, bad eating habits, food traditions and dessert consumption.” … Despite the deteriorating economic situation in the Gaza Strip, residents’ awareness of the danger of obesity has pushed many to seek out the services of weight-loss centers to help them overcome the disease.
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon / Syria
Lebanese support giving nationality to children of Palestinian fathers
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 23 Mar by Sarah Weatherbee — Despite civil society efforts, Lebanese women still do not enjoy equal standing with men in their ability to pass nationality to children and husbands. Political opposition has been particularly vocal on Lebanese women’s right to pass nationality to Palestinian husbands and children, but the findings of recent research indicate the Lebanese public may hold a different opinion from the politicians they elect. A study assessing attitudes toward citizenship rights for children of Lebanese mothers and Palestinian fathers, conducted by researchers in the American University of Beirut’s Faculty of Health Sciences, showed that Lebanese opinions are generally positive toward granting Lebanese women the right to pass citizenship to Palestinian husbands and children, though responses differed by gender and religious affiliation … “When it comes to conferring citizenship to the children most of the Lebanese regardless of gender, age, marital status or education, support this right. Whereas there is a decrease in support when it comes to conferring citizenship to Palestinian husbands,” Cherri said while presenting the results … As Lebanese women are unable to pass citizenship, their children become stateless if born to Palestinian fathers. The 2009 UNDP study demonstrated that around 77,400 individuals living in Lebanon are affected by restrictions stemming from citizenship laws … Abdulrahim explained that those born and raised in other countries who have weak ties to Lebanon are granted nationality based on paternal kinship, even several generations back. Meanwhile, a Lebanese mother’s blood and the birth of her child on Lebanese territory aren’t enough for citizenship in the eyes of the law.
Women demand right to pass on citizenship to their children
BEIRUT (Daily Star) 23 Mar by Mazin Sidahmed — Over a hundred activists and their children gathered in Downtown Beirut Sunday to protest Lebanon’s nationality law that prevents them from passing citizenship to their family members. “We’re gathering as Lebanese citizens, female and male, because we’re keen on continuing the fight in order to achieve equality in the nationality law,” Lina Abou Habib said … “If my child is sick, I can’t take him to the hospital. [Our children] are the last children to get registered in the schools,” a woman who declined to be named told The Daily Star … Some political parties oppose granting women the right to pass on their citizenship as they are afraid that it would disrupt the country’s delicate sectarian makeup, particularly when it comes to passing nationality to Palestinians, who are mainly Muslims. These groups also argue that the move could lead to indirectly settling Palestinian refugees, approximately 400,000 in total. Without Lebanese citizenship, Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are unable to work in a variety of occupations and cannot own property.
Group raises concern over upsurge in Palestinian victims in Syria
LONDON (PIC) 23 Mar — A group of Palestinian activists in Syria on Sunday voiced serious concern over a potential upsurge in the rates of victims of torture and forced disappearance among Palestinian refugees, who have increasingly been crammed in the Syrian regime lock-ups. The Action Group for Palestinians in Syria has been able to document the incarceration of 791 Palestinians in Syrian regime jails till 19th of March, a number that is very likely to be far higher in light of acute shortages in official statistics and the absence of any court trials. The Action Group urged the Syrian regime to disclose the fate of the detained Palestinian refugees, to restore their freedom, cease policies of systematic killings, and treat them according to international standards. The group further stressed the need for the Syrian prison authorities to openly identify the names of the detained refugees, dubbing the concealment of necessary data a crime of “forced disappearance” against the refugee captives.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Displaced by Israel, Palestinians make homes in caves
Middle East Monitor 21 Mar — IMAGES — Scores of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have made homes in caves on the outskirts of Al-Khalil (Hebron) because the Israeli occupation authorities continue to prevent them from building homes on territories earmarked for illegal settlements for Jews. Noaman Hamamda, 57, told Anadolu that he and his fellow Palestinians in this predicament have tried to build homes with bricks and cement, but the Israelis demolish the structures on the grounds that they have been built without a permit. It is very rare for Palestinians to be given a building permit by the occupation authorities. Hamamda and his 13-member family currently live in a cave covering around 30 square metres; they have no basic amenities. Nevertheless, he and other Palestinians in the area say that they would rather suffer such harsh living conditions in the caves than abandon their ancestral land to Israeli settlement projects … Hamamda’s is one of about 15 Palestinian families living in caves in Al-Khalil’s mountainous Al-Mafqara village, one of a cluster of Palestinian villages nestled between five affluent illegal settlements reserved for Jews and built by Israel on confiscated Palestinian land. Israeli troops have entered the area in force repeatedly in recent years to demolish structures built by Palestinian residents.
Resistance to the destruction of olive trees in Wadi Qana
ISM Press Release 22 Mar — Tuesday, 17th March 2015, four farmers in the Salfit valley of Wadi Qana were issued with notices that they had 48 hours to remove their olives trees or they would be removed at their own cost. Failure to execute the orders are punishable by imprisonment, or fines up to the maximum penalty of the law. Supporters, many from the nearby village of Deir Istiya, as well as locals and internationals, turned out in anticipation of soldier presence or settler provocation, but no conflict took place. A crowd of approximately 250 supporters gathering in the valley were met by a festive atmosphere. Representatives from various organisations in conjunction with the Deir Istiya Municipality converged to remove waste from the spring and its surroundings. In 2008 and 2011 farmers of Wadi Qana were issued with similar notices. These removal orders were not carried out. In 2012 trees were removed without notice. Approximately 3,000 trees have been destroyed in Wadi Qana by settler attacks and by order of Israeli authorities. The Deir Istiya region has a population of approximately 12,000 people, 4,000 of whom live in town. The illegal settlements of the area, of which seven surround Wadi Qana, house approximately 15,000 settlers. Wadi Qana itself sits within the 31,000 hectares around Deir Istiya which has been zoned as Area C, leaving only the 1,527 hectares of the township in Palestinian controlled Area A. Under the Oslo Accords, Israeli law forbids Palestinians to build structures or plant trees in Area C, while conversely, entitling illegal Israeli settlements to develop and expand. (Al Jazeera has a good explanation of the different areas here.) … Wadi Qana is a strategic area in the region, containing several significant natural springs. These springs and the crops which they irrigate have been under serious threat since 1994 when settlements began running sewage into the valley. While this practice was limited in 2005, many occurrences have been identified, with four settlements’ waste currently believed to be pumping into the valley below. While only two of the seventeen natural springs remain unpolluted, water from the underground aquifers is dropping due to the increasing demands of the ongoing settlement expansion. This has caused many farmers to move away from orange and vegetable crops to the more arid-adapted olive trees. The livelihoods of farmers of Wadi Qana are increasingly under threat because of the occupation and its apartheid laws.
Palestinian water in the Jordan Valley
Middle East Monitor 22 Mar — EXCLUSIVE IMAGES — The Jordan Valley marks Palestine’s eastern border with neighbouring Jordan. It is home to approximately 60,000 Palestinians and its lands make up around 30% of the entire West Bank. It has a dry climate although it is home to some of the main natural water sources in all of historic Palestine. Following their displacement during the Nakba, many thousands of Palestinians moved to the area around Jericho in the knowledge that its abundant water supplies ensured the potential for regular work in the agricultural sector, yet today the effects of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank are at their most stark in the Jordan Valley. Amongst these wide reaching effects, Israel’s control of Palestinian water highlights one more level of its colonial enterprise … Save the Children estimate that the (9,000) settlers in the Jordan Valley have a combined daily water consumptions that is 6.6 times more water per day than the (60,000) Palestinians, whilst OCHA states that in the Valley’s herding communities the consumption levels are as low as 20% of the World Health organisation’s minimum standards.
Report: Israeli control over water a continuing threat to Palestinians
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Mar — Palestinians are suffering from unfair distribution of water resources as Israel is consuming the vast majority of Palestinian water, Palestinian officials said Sunday. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) made the comments in a statement released in honor of World Water Day that underscored the challenges facing Palestinians as a result of the Israeli occupation … Water resources in the occupied Palestinian Territories come from four main aquifers, but under the Oslo Accords, they are almost entirely under Israeli control. Experts estimate that more than 85 percent of Palestinian water resources in the West Bank aquifers are currently taken by Israel, accounting for around 25 percent of Israel’s water needs. According to the press statement, approximately 104 million cubic meters (mcm) of water was extracted from aquifers in the West Bank for Palestinian use in 2013. Meanwhile, 101 mcm were extracted in the Gaza Strip from its coastal aquifer. Not only are these quantities insufficient, the statement argued that the water is also of poor quality … Across Palestinian households, only 48.8 percent considered water quality to be good in 2013, though this figure was much higher in the West Bank, where 73.5 percent were satisfied with the quality of water, compared to only 5.8 percent in Gaza….
Israel knocks down Palestinian civilian home west of Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 23 Mar — The Israeli occupation bulldozers on Sunday knocked down a Palestinian civilian home in Jerusalem’s town of Abu Ghush allegedly due to unlicensed construction. Arab MK Basel Ghattas said the Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian house west of Occupied Jerusalem city in such a remarkably “brutal” manner. The two-story house is said to be owned by the Ibrahim family and that its license procedures have been underway to finalize the construction. Ghattas called on the villagers to pitch a sit-in tent in protest at the arbitrary demolition, which he dubbed a retaliatory move acted in response to the natives’ election of the joint Arab list in Israel’s latest polls.
Meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian activists joined a sit-in staged in front of the Sablaban family house in Jerusalem’s Old city in protest at Israel’s mounting evacuation threats and tactics of ethnic cleansing. Earlier, one week ago, a bunch of Israeli vandals, escorted by police squads, tried to break into the Palestinian family home, but the natives stepped in and thwarted the assault. The family appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court to issue a decision banning Israeli settlers from storming the house. Another hearing to appeal an eviction decision is set to be held sometime by the end of May.
Soldiers hand demolition orders to five families in Silwan
IMEMC 23 Mar — The Israeli army, and personnel of the Jerusalem City Council, delivered late on Sunday demolition notices targeting five Palestinian homes in Ein al-Louza and Be’er Ayyoub neighborhoods, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwanic (Silwanic) has reported that the soldiers invaded the two neighborhoods, and took pictures of several roads and homes. The Center added that the soldiers glued the orders on five Palestinian homes, including an under construction building … In Be’er Ayyoub, soldiers glued an order on the home of resident Walid Ahmad Abdul-Razeq, granting him 30 days to appeal. Abdul-Razeq told Silwanic that this is the fifth order he receives despite the fact that he never built or added any room to his home, and that the order did not even include any name. “This home belongs to my father Ahmad Abdul-Razeq, he lived here with my family for the last 45 years,” Walid said, “He even got married in this home; my father died nine years ago.” “Now, I live here with my wife, our five kids, and my mother”, he added,
Israeli court rules against land confiscation in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 21 Mar — The central Israeli court in Jerusalem has rejected a bid by the Jerusalem municipality to confiscate a private Palestinian property in Wadi Qaddum in Silwan south of the Old City. The one dunam (0.25 acre) property is owned by Fatima al-Abbasi from Silwan and a building under construction currently stands there. Although the property in question is small, the court’s decision comes amid a wave of home takeovers by Jewish settlers that aim to kick out Palestinian locals. The takeovers have often occurred with Israeli officials’ consent, and have led to repeated clashes in the already tense neighborhood. A member of the Palestinian family that won the case Wednesday, Muhammad Amin al-Abbasi, told Ma‘an on Friday that the Jerusalem District Court had rejected the municipality’s claim that the land was public property. The judge ordered the case closed and denied the Jerusalem municipality access to the property. He based his decision on the fact that the municipality had itself approved in Sept. 2014 an application by local residents allowing them to build houses across an area of 25 dunams (six acres) in Wadi Qaddum, including the land belonging to Fatima al-Abbasi.
Not all Bedouins are against new housing – but these particular people aren’t being displaced from their land
In one Bedouin village, a landslide for Netanyahu
Haaretz 22 Mar by Noa Shpigel — The way to the Bedouin settlement of Arab-al-Naim, in the Galilee an hour northeast of Haifa, is not really a road. It’s a winding track that becomes a dirt track that turns into preparations to build a road in the middle of the village. On the road into the village stand a few villas in different stages of construction, while on the slopes are some improvised tin shacks, propped up by boulders, with sheep and goats wandering around. Behind these shacks are more villas under construction. On March 17 fully three-quarters — 76% to be exact — of this village’s votes went to Likud, the highest percentage of support in the country. The Arab Joint List garnered only 15% here. All the other parties each got less than 1% … Nimr Naim, who heads the village council and is a member of the Likud Party, says the latest result is self-evident. The villas are intended for village residents now living in the tin shacks. Naim looks out at the shacks from the entrance to his own villa, now in the final stages of construction. … The village’s socioeconomic situation is dire. People here don’t talk about the regular political topics. The main topic is the transition to permanent buildings. Naim laughs, saying that even the mosque is a shack, “but I can pray right here,” pointing to the ground. He then lists the development projects that are under way in the village: kindergartens, sewers, a road, electricity, a soccer pitch. “People know that Bibi’s signature is on the plans,” he says, explaining the support for Likud. Walking from the unfinished villa to the shack in which he currently resides, he adds that “for the last year and a half, people’s hearts here are filled with joy.” “I voted Likud because they help us,” says Naim’s daughter Shuruq, a 20-year old student. She didn’t hear Netanyahu’s words about hordes of Arabs streaming to the polling stations … “I used to sleep in a cave with my goats. Now I ask my daughter what wallpaper she wants in her room.” [Naim] says with a smile. An old man walking at the edge of the village has another explanation: “People vote according to the instructions of the village council,” he says. But he, too, is happy with all the construction. Yet another resident in the area, who asks not to be identified by name or the place he lives, says “people here are hungry.” He adds that “it is all about vote contractors.” These are people who urge voters to back specific candidates, sometimes quietly promising things in return.
OCHA Protection of Civilians 10-16 March 2015
UN OCHA oPt – Israeli forces injured 42 Palestinians, including 13 children, in various clashes across the West Bank, including 21 in the context of demonstrations against the closure of village entrances and settlement construction and during a tree planting event. Most incidents involved Palestinian stone-throwing at Israeli forces. Of this week’s injuries, 44 per cent of all injuries (18, including nine children), were shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition, and the rest injured mainly by tear gas inhalation, rubber bullets and physical assault. – Israeli forces conducted 90 search and arrest operations and arrested 107 Palestinians in the West Bank, with the Hebron governorate accounting for the highest proportion of operations (23), while the highest number of arrests (32) was recorded in Jerusalem….
Palestinian scientist wins top job at Israeli ministry
Times of Israel 22 Mar by Avi Lewis — A scientist from East Jerusalem was appointed to a senior position at Israel’s science and technology bureau Sunday, becoming the highest-ranking Palestinian without Israeli citizenship in an official government post. Tarek Abu-Hamed of Sur Baher, who specializes in the field of chemical engineering, was named as deputy chief scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space, the state body responsible for setting national policy on issues such as international scientific collaborations and research and development funding. The deputy chief scientist is responsible for overseeing national scientific infrastructure, statewide intellectual property and the taxation of academic institutions, according to the ministry’s website. The chief scientist at the bureau, Nurit Yerimiah, praised the decision and said that the appointment was made on professional grounds, the Haaretz daily reported.
Haniyeh: Hamas still interested in unity, partnership
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Mar — Deputy chief of the Hamas politburo Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday morning that his movement would continue to seek national unity and political partnership. Haniyeh made his comments at a news conference at the former home of Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yasin, commemorating 11 years since the spiritual leader’s assassination. Haniyeh urged “all Palestinian people to achieve real reconciliation and put into effect the agreements reached in Doha, Cairo and al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza.” He explained that the partnership with Fatah should apply to the political decision-making process, to management and to the Palestinian national program. In his speech, he also highlighted that Hamas was still interested in “openness to our Arab and Islamic surroundings” and urged the Arab world to embrace the question of Palestine, Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails. Hamas, he reiterated, is not involved in any battles with its Arab brothers and never interferes in the internal affairs of others. “Resistance is practiced on the land of Palestine and we are interested in balanced relations with all countries.”
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin: The man and the struggle (report)
PIC 22 Mar — On March 22nd, 2004, two Israeli warplanes targeted and attacked with several missiles a totally paralyzed elderly man pushed on a wheelchair. Minutes later, all Palestine and all Arab and Muslim countries erupted in protest and anger. Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, 68, did not resist the occupation carrying guns or even stones. He was a man with a vision and a mission. He was the mastermind of the new Palestinian generation that swore to be free. And for that, Israel sought to imprison him and kill him. The death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin took his body away from his followers and supporters. But his mind and his ideas will live forever in their hearts and minds. Ahmad Yassin, founder of Hamas Movement, has had a distinctive political and spiritual place in the hearts of the Palestinian resistance, which made him one of the notable figures of the Palestinian national struggle of the past century. – Early life – Ahmad Ismail Yassin was born in a historic village of ancient Ashkelon known as Al-Jorah in June, 1936. In that same year, the first armed revolution against the increasing Zionist influence in the Palestinian territories was launched. His father died when he was five….
Brucellosis outbreak hits 130 cases in West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 21 Mar — The alarming increase of brucellosis in the West Bank has prompted the Palestinian ministries of health and agriculture as well as the customs department to form a joint committee to fight the disease. Officials say that a high percentage of the cases of the bacterial infection, which is spread from animals to people largely through dairy products, comes through livestock smuggled from Israel. According to the Ministry of Health’s director of preliminary care, Dr. Asaad Ramlawi, 130 cases of brucellosis have been diagnosed in the West Bank in the last few months. Brucellosis is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals or close contact with their secretions. It usually takes several weeks to treat using medication … A Ma‘an investigation in February suggested that at least part of the blame for the steady growth in infection rates was related to the Ministry of Agriculture’s failure to provide adequate numbers of vaccines to farmers. But authorities argue that smuggling of livestock from Israel has made their task far more difficult than anticipated. Ma‘an reporter Muhammad Uweiwi accompanied custom agents and ministry of agriculture inspectors on a field patrol on the southeastern outskirts of the Hebron district in the southern West Bank. He was told that the area, which stretches about 350 square kilometers, is a fertile ground for livestock smugglers … The area is very close to the border between the West Bank and Israel, and as a result it can be difficult to tell whether herds in the area belong to West Bank Bedouins or Bedouins who live in Israel. Herds wander freely across the border despite the presence of Israeli military patrols, according to the director of customs in the Hebron district, Abd al-Karim al-Basayta.
Bipartisan bill would seed $50 million to promote Israel-Palestine civil reconciliation groups
JTA 22 Mar — A bipartisan bill introduced in Congress would seed $50 million a year to promote civil society engagement between Israelis and Palestinians. The bill “would establish a multi-national fund to support grassroots programs that promote peace and reconciliation in the region,” said a statement Friday from the office of Rep. Joe Crowley who is joined in the initiative by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. The US contribution would be $50 million annually and further funding would come from the public and private sectors. The Alliance for Middle East Peace, an umbrella for Israeli-Palestinian civil society groups which lobbied for the bill, noted that there were already hundreds of successful grassroots efforts underway. The fund would “provide the resources and expertise to scale up these initiatives to impact millions of people, and ultimately permit peace to thrive.” ALLMEP in its statement said the fund is modeled on a similar one in Northern Ireland which has raised $1.5 billion since 1986 and is credited with bringing about the peace agreement which has held in the province since the mid-1990s.