Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restrictions on movement
Israel establishes new landmine field near Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 8 May — Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Yatta Rateb Jabour stated Thursday that the Israeli army planted a new field of explosives, and fenced it, east of Yatta city, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. Jabour said the new landmine field was planted in the Um Lasfa and Khallet al-Mayya areas, close to the Abu Shaban Well that was recently repaired and rehabilitated by an international organization that also funded a new water tank structure for the use of the Palestinian villagers. Jabour added that the soldiers fenced more than a quarter of a dunam of Palestinian lands, and placed warning signs. He strongly denounced the Israeli violation, and said that the practices of the army and its government aim at preventing any development projects and any demographic expansion of Palestinian communities.
Israel plants mines around water spring, deprives shepherds of main water source
HEBRON (WAFA) 7 May – Israeli forces Thursday planted explosive mines and placed barbed wire around a water spring in Um Lasfeh area to the south of Hebron, depriving locals of a main water source used by shepherds for grazing purposes, said a local activist. Coordinator of the anti wall and settlement national committee, Rateb Jabour, informed WAFA that Israeli forces planted mines and placed a 250-square-meter long [stretch of] barbed wire around the spring, preventing locals’ access to it. He called on all relevant sides to intervene and protect the locals from Israel’s ‘arrogant’ measures, which he stressed, aim to force Palestinians out of their land in order to hand it over to illegal settlers.
Israel shutters Palestinian NGO in Jerusalem
AIC 7 May by Ahmad Jaradat — Israeli intelligence officials and police raided the Shu‘afat office of the Health Work Committees early Thursday morning. The closure order presented, valid for one year, states that “Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1948 and after the conviction that this place is used in terrorist activities, we decided to close it for one year from this date.” Israeli police confiscated the group’s computers and demanded that two staff members appear for interrogation at an Israeli intelligence facility. The Health Work Committees (HWC) is a non-governmental health and development organization, established in 1985 to meet the health care needs of the Palestinian population living under occupation. Its Shu‘afat office in East Jerusalem housed the group’s school health prgramme, which since 1990 has provided medical exams, preventative screenings, health education and vaccinations to Palestinian students in more than 62 schools in Jerusalems. “We call on all national and international legal, human rights and health organisatins to force the occupation to revoke this arbitrary and unust decision”, states the HWC, which declares this latest decision is part of the wider Israeli campaign targeting Palestinian residents of Jerusalem.
Bethlehem: Israel demolished manufacturing facility in Al-Khader village
Middle East Monitor 8 May — Israel yesterday demolished a manufacturing facility for the repair of vehicles at Al-Khader village in the Bethlehem province, south the occupied West Bank. The coordinator of the National Committee Against Settlements, Ahmed Salah, told Quds Press that the Israeli occupation demolished an 80 square metre garage for repairing vehicles. Salah noted that the facility demolished by the Israeli forces was owned by a Palestinian citizen, Gamal Al-Abed, and it was his only source of his income. It was demolished allegedly for being built “without a permit”, which is the pretext usually used by the occupation to justify the demolition of Palestinian property.
Israeli forces destroy electricity network of Hebron-area village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — At least seven schoolchildren inhaled tear gas during clashes with Israeli troops Thursday morning in ‘Arab al-Ramadin village south of Hebron in the southern West Bank, the local council reported. Ahmad Suleiman, who heads the village’s local council, said large numbers of Israeli troops stormed the area and destroyed the main electricity network. As a result, angry schoolchildren clashed with the soldiers who showered them with tear gas hurting at least seven. Two children have been detained, according to Suleiman. This was the second time Israeli forces destroyed the village’s electricity network, added Suleiman, who noted that the local council filed legal procedures at an Israeli court.
US: Israel’s construction of 900 settlement [units] in East Jerusalem is a disappointing development
Middle East Monitor 8 May — US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said that the Jerusalem District Planning Committee’s approval of the construction of 900 settlement units in East Jerusalem is “a disappointing development”. Speaking in a press briefing yesterday, Rathke said: “We have continued to reiterate that we are strongly opposed to the steps by the Israeli authorities to advance construction in East Jerusalem. This is a disappointing development, and we’re concerned about it.” The American official stressed that the Israeli officials are claiming that they are committed to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict based on a two-state solution, adding that we “need to see that commitment in the actions of the Israeli government. Moving forward with construction of housing units in east Jerusalem is damaging and inconsistent with that commitment.” He added: “We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate.” On Wednesday Israeli authorities announced the construction of 900 settlement units in the Ramat Shlomo neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
New Israeli government to legalize random outposts
IMEMC/Agencies 8 May — Israeli sources reported Friday that an agreement was reached between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the “Jewish Home” Party, to legalize random colonial outposts, built on Palestinian lands, in the occupied West Bank. Israeli Channel 7 has reported that the agreement came following pressure from the head of the Jewish Home Party, legislator Naftali Bennett, as part of an agreement to join the right-wing coalition government. After the new government is formed, Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit will be heading a committee to formulate a framework meant for legalizing outposts built by Israeli settlers on Palestinian lands, without the government approval.
Israeli forces close major checkpoint in northern West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 May — Israeli forces closed the Huwwara checkpoint in Nablus on Thursday after stopping and searching a Palestinian vehicle, witnesses said. Israeli soldiers stopped a black car and asked the driver to step out before closing the checkpoint in both directions. Soldiers deployed heavily in the area following the incident, witnesses reported.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Arrests
Israeli forces shoot, seriously injure Palestinian near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 May — Israeli forces shot and seriously injured a Palestinian man in al-Fara refugee camp north of Nablus on Thursday, locals said. Rabee Jamal Mubarak, 22, was shot in the back and abdomen, witnesses said, as Israeli forces raided the camp. He was taken to hospital in hospital where he is said to be in a stable condition. Soldiers detained Ahmad Rashad Sawalma before leaving the camp.
Palestinian injured after being rammed by Israeli settlement bus
IMEMC/Agencies 7 May — Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Thursday morning, that a young man was injured after being struck by a speeding Israeli settlement bus, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The sources said Kathem Qdeimat, 22 years of age, suffered a moderate injury, and was moved to the Arab Society Hospital for Rehabilitation, in the West Bank city of Beit Jala, near Bethlehem. Qdeimat is from Kharas town, near Hebron; the Red Crescent Society said one of its ambulances rushed to the scene, and provided the young man with the urgently needed medical attention before moving him to hospital … There have been hundreds of “hit and run” incidents that largely went uninvestigated by the Israeli authorities, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, even though many of those incidents led to fatalities. One of those incidents is the case of Enas Dar Khalil, five years of age, who was killed in 2014, and the settler who killed her fled the scene. [list of articles on similar incidents follows]
Israeli forces suppress Bil‘in weekly march
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 May — Dozens of Palestinians suffered excessive tear-gas inhalation Friday when Israeli soldiers opened fire on the Bil‘in weekly march using tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets. The march set off from the village center and comprised locals, including children, as well as international and Israeli peace activists. Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, spokesperson of the popular committee against the separation wall and settlements in Bil‘in, called for an increase in resistance against Israel and the Israeli government. Israeli forces dispersed the march when they fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at the protesters. Israeli forces were also reported to have fired tear-gas canisters at houses in the village, and in one home, village residents Ashraf al-Khatib, his wife and their three children suffered tear-gas inhalation. Locals told Ma‘an that late Thursday, Israeli forces raided Bil‘in and detained Wael al-Khatib and Muhammad Hamad after raiding and searching their homes.
Six Palestinians, including two children, injured in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 9 May by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly protest in Kufur Qaddoum village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, leading to clashes with local youths; medical sources said two children, three journalists and in international peace activist, have been injured. This week, the protesters marked the 67th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, while hundreds of residents marched accompanied by dozens of Israeli and international peace activists, and headed towards the gate that was installed by the army 13 years ago, blocking the village’s main street … The attack led to clashes between the locals and the soldiers who shot and injured three journalists, identified as Ashraf Abu Shaweesh, cameraman of PalMedia News Agency, Mohammad ‘Enaya, cameraman on the Palestine Satellite Channel, and Ayman Noubani, cameraman of the WAFA Palestinian News Agency. The three camera operators were shot by gas bombs in their arms, and suffered severe effects of teargas inhalation. In addition, two children identified as Ahmad Emad, 14 years of age, and Sayyaf Mashour, 10, were shot with rubber-coated metal bullets in their legs, while an international activist, identified as Martin, suffered various cuts and bruises after falling onto the ground after the soldiers fired gas bombs towards him.
Soldiers attack Ni‘lin’s weekly protest
IMEMC 9 May by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements in Ni‘lin village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, causing dozens of residents to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. Mohammad ‘Amira, member of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Ni‘lin, stated that the locals, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, marched from the village on Friday afternoon, heading towards Palestinian orchards isolated behind the Annexation Wall. The soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs on the protesters, and on a number of homes, causing scores of residents, including children and elderly, to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. ‘Amira said the soldiers surrounded the village four more than four hours, in an attempt to prevent the Palestinians from conducting their weekly protest, and completely isolated it, especially after closing its eastern entrance, the main road that links it with its surrounding areas.
Soldiers invade Palestinian communities in Jenin
IMEMC/Agencies 8 May — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, various Palestinian communities in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, broke into homes and searched them, and occupied several rooftops. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers invaded Ya‘bad, ‘Arraba and Marka towns, south of Jenin, installed roadblocks, and interrogated several Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. The soldiers also occupied rooftops of a few homes in Ya‘bad town, photographed homes’ interior and exterior from various angles, and interrogated several Palestinians. In addition, soldiers installed roadblocks on the main entrances of Marka and ‘Arraba nearby towns, searched cars, and conducted searches in the two towns, and around them.
Several Palestinians injured in Silwad
IMEMC/Agencies 9 May — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday afternoon, Silwad town, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and clashed with local youths; many Palestinians have been injured. Army also invaded al-Jalazoun refugee camp. Several Israeli military vehicles invaded Silwad from different directions, and clashed with dozens of local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles on the invading army vehicles, Ali Dar Ali of Palestine TV has reported. Soldiers also fired several rounds of live ammunition targeting the protesters, and a number of nearby homes during the clashes. The army fired also dozens of gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets, causing scores of residents to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation, especially after the soldiers deliberately fired gas bombs on a number of homes. he army also invaded a number of homes in the town, and violently searched them.
In related news, soldiers invaded the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north Ramallah, and tried to ambush local residents, before breaking into a home and using it as a military tower. The soldiers clashed with local youths, and fired rounds of live ammunition, gas bombs, and rubber-coated metal bullets.
Settlers in Hebron harass FIFA tour delegation
[with photos] HEBRON (Ma‘an) 8 May — Settlers harassed the head of the Palestinian National Union for Football and the South African head of an anti-racism group during a tour in Hebron’s Old City this week. Palestinian football chief Jibril al-Rajoub was heading a FIFA delegation tour in the city on Tuesday when the incident took place. The group included Tokyo Sexwale, an anti-apartheid activist imprisoned for 13 years on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela, and co-chair of Global Watch: Say No To Racism-Discrimination In Sport. The delegation was briefed on the difficult living conditions in the Old City by the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee and were shown videos documenting army and settler violence against Palestinians in the city. Israeli forces then prevented the delegation from entering several areas of the Old City, with settlers verbally insulting the group as they tried to continue the tour. Sexwale said that life for Palestinians in the city is intolerable, saying he was proud of the Palestinians for their determination to remain on their land. The South African official had to enter Ramallah via the King Hussein Bridge to avoid entry from Tel Aviv.
Settlers attack PA official’s car near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 May — Settlers attacked the car of a senior adviser to Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah on Thursday near the Halamish settlement north of Ramallah. Jawad Naji, adviser for Islamic and Arab funds, told Ma‘an that 15 settlers attacked and threw rocks at his car on the Ramallah-Nablus road. The official continued on his journey and was not injured in the incident. In 2014, there were 324 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Israel detains Palestinian singer for hours during video clip shoot
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 May — Israeli forces released Palestinian singer Shadi al-Burini after detaining him for several hours while he was shooting a video at the Huwwara checkpoint in southern Nablus on Thursday. Uday al-Burini, the director’s assistant, told Ma‘an that several Israeli soldiers escorted by the police detained singer Shadi al-Burini, 29, while they were shooting a video clip. Al-Burini said that soldiers asked for Shadi al-Burini by name, detained him and took him to the Huwwara military camp.
Israeli forces detain youth, confiscate vehicle in Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian youth, Uday Raed Abu Saif, 21, from the Biddya town in western Salfit as he and his father were leaving the al-Zawiya town in the Salfit district on Thursday. The father, Raed Abu Saif, said that Israeli soldiers stopped them, asked for their ID cards and told them to get out of their vehicle. Some three hours later they were told that the vehicle would be confiscated. Abu Saif said they were held from 9 a.m. until noon. He said that Israeli soldiers handcuffed his son and took him to an unidentified location, and that they refused to give him any paper declaring that the vehicle was confiscated. Abu Saif said that the vehicle was legal and that all its papers were correct. He said that he uses the car to distribute bread as he owns a bakery in the Salfit district.
Israeli troops detain 5 Palestinian teens in West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 May — Israeli military forces detained five Palestinian teenagers in dawn raids in the southern West Bank on Thursday, locals said. In al-‘Arrub refugee camp, Israeli soldiers detained Izz Al-Din Abu Sal, 17, and Muhammad Nayif al-Badawi, 17. Muhammad Hani Adi was detained in Beit Ummar while Mousa Sayyid Ahmad, 19, and his brother Muhannad, 17, were detained near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.
Israeli forces shoot, critically injure Palestinian teen in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A 17-year-old Palestinian is in critical condition after he was shot in the head by Israeli forces in northern Beit Lahiya in the Gaza Strip on Friday, amid reports that Israeli forces also shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said the 17-year-old boy had been shot in the head and had been moved for treatment. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the shooting. She said that a group of Palestinians had been seen “approaching the security fence” and that Israeli forces arrived shortly afterwards. She alleged that the Israeli soldiers called them to halt, and fired warning shots when they “refused to comply.” Israeli forces then fired at their “lower extremities” and hit the “main instigator” of the group, she said. Asked what he had been instigating, she said the group had been “attempting to breach the security fence.” … The shooting of the 17-year-old comes less than a month after another teenage boy, 14-year-old Fadi Abu Mandil was critically injured by a stray Israeli bullet while studying in his home in the central Gaza Strip.Abu Mandil was moved to Ramallah on Tuesday last week to undergo surgery in his spine, as his family said the boy was unable to walk.
Army opens fire on farmers and fishers in the Gaza Strip
IMEMC 7 May — Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Thursday at dawn, on a number of Palestinian farmers east of Deir al-Balah, in Central Gaza, while navy ships opened fire on fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters. Media sources said the soldiers fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition into Palestinian agricultural lands, south of Deir al-Balah, forcing the farmers to leave their lands fearing addition military escalation. The sources stated that the live rounds were fired from military towers surrounding the Kissufim base, across the border fence with Gaza.
In addition, Israeli navy ships fired rounds of live ammunition targeting a number of fishing boats, in Palestinian territorial waters. One of the boats was damaged nearly 4 miles from the Gaza coast, and the fishers had to swim back to shore, to avoid further navy fire.
Gaza child unable to walk because of Israeli bullet
MAGHAZI REFUGEE CAMP 7 May by Rami Almeghari — Fourteen-year-old Fadi Abu Mandi is unable to walk because of Israel’s routine violence against Palestinians in Gaza. On Friday, 24 April, Fadi had been asked to study for school exams by his father Akram in their home in the Maghazi refugee camp. Fadi had just returned from watching a soccer match in Nuseirat, another camp. Suddenly, the boy felt a pain in his back. He could not move, so Akram rushed him to hospital. Fadi was struck by a bullet fired on Palestinian farmers by Israeli soldiers. The bullet appears to have entered his family’s home through a corner that was not roofed. Fadi had been sitting in that corner, his father told The Electronic Intifada. Initially, Fadi was brought to al-Aqsa Hospital, which is close to Maghazi. After three hours there, he was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza. He remained there until the following Monday, when he was moved to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Fadi has been operated on in Musallam Specialty Hospital in Ramallah. He has lost most of the mobility in his left leg and is expected to require a considerable amount of physiotherapy … Akram stated that an M16 bullet was removed from Fadi’s spine during surgery. “The bullet caused a small hole into Fadi’s spine yet doctors said he will start recovering in a few weeks,” Akram added. M16 bullets are widely used in the Israeli military’s rifles. Soldiers frequently fire towards Palestinians who venture close to the boundary between Gaza and present-day Israel … The bullets used by Israel can travel long distances, inflicting serious injuries on or even killing those they hit. Fadi was about 2.5 kilometers from the boundary when he was shot.
Gaza gripped by water worries
NZ Herald 9 May by Kate Shuttleworth — Clean water has become a precious commodity in a city devastated by war — On a dirt road, three men take turns trying to get at a diesel-powered pump. The water tanker they arrived in sits at the side of the road while through double metal gates to a two-storey house where five families live, seven tanks wait to be filled, five on the ground and two on the roof. After 10 minutes of the men pulling and tugging, the pump coughs and comes to life and water starts flowing. For the families living at the property in al-Mansara, part of Gaza City’s Sheja‘iya neighbourhood, this is a process that happens twice a month – desalinated water, at 15 shekels ($5.19) a 500-litre tank, is delivered to make sure they have water to bathe, cook and drink. “The tap water stopped and sometimes it comes and when it does it’s yellow or brown and it’s either sweet or salty – it’s not safe to drink,” says Fayez Harazin, 59, the head of one of the families living in the house. Across the Gaza Strip families face a similar ordeal to get clean water.
Jihadist group claims mortar attack on Hamas in Gaza
GAZA CITY (AFP) 8 May — A jihadist group that recently emerged in the Gaza Strip claimed Friday a mortar attack on a base belonging to the Islamist Hamas movement in charge of the blockaded territory. The group calling itself Supporters of the Islamic State in Jerusalem said it fired two 82 mm mortar rounds at a base of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, in Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. A statement posted online also urged “Muslims in Gaza to stay away from the base in order to protect their own lives”. Witnesses told AFP they heard explosions close to Khan Yunis. But the spokesman of the interior ministry in Gaza, Iyad al-Bozum, denied any mortar fire. The group’s claim is “baseless,” he told AFP. A bomb attack this week targeted Hamas’s security headquarters in Gaza after radical Islamists issued a threatening message calling for the release of prisoners. Hamas security forces arrested a Salafist leader last month, alleging that he was a supporter of the Islamic State group (IS) that holds vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. Gazan jihadists have pledged allegiance to IS in the past, but there has been no confirmation from the group itself that it has a presence in the coastal enclave.
European observers delegation arrives in Gaza
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 7 May — A delegation of eight members from a European observers mission to monitor the Rafah border crossing arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Director of the Gaza crossings Maher Abu Sabha told Ma‘an that the delegation of European observers arrived in the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing. Abu Sabha added that there was no new information on opening the Rafah crossing, pointing out that they are in contact with the Egyptian authorities to work on opening the crossing. The crossing agreement signed between the Palestinian Authority and Israel on Nov. 15, 2005 agreed on a delegation of European observers tasked with monitoring the border in addition to Israeli surveillance cameras at the Rafah crossing. The Rafah crossing has been working partially for humanitarian cases since 2006. It was opened more often during overthrown president Mohammad Morsi’s rule. The crossing has opened only twice since the start of 2015.
Palestine PM denies halt in EU aid for Gaza staff
Middle East Monitor 8 May — Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah denied media reports claiming the European Union has stopped channelling money earmarked for Gaza employees and pensioners. Hamdallah told the Anadolu Agency, on the sidelines of Europe Day in Ramallah, that the European Union auditors have asked if there were employees in Gaza who receive salaries without working. Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper last week quoted a diplomatic source in the European Union as saying that the EU informed the Palestinian government that it will stop funding civil employees in Gaza who stopped working after Hamas took control of the Strip in 2007. According to the paper, the diplomat said the European Union has informed the Palestinian government that it was difficult for the EU to continue paying salaries for staff who do not work. Hamdallah denied the report, saying the European Union is determined to support Palestinian institutions in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to the prime minister, the EU auditors’ report included an inquiry about those staff, pointing out that the Palestinian government has already asked the employees to return to their jobs. The European Union contributes nearly €180 million per year ($200 million) towards employees’ and pensioners’ salaries in the West Bank and Gaza.
Halifax man’s brother allowed to leave Gaza to donate bone marrow
CBC News 8 May by Carolyn Ray — Mohammed Abuquta expects to have transplant during the first week of June — Two brothers have reunited — after a decade apart — in Halifax on Friday afternoon in a meeting that could save one of their lives. “I really miss him, I don’t know how we will react,” Mohammed Abuquta said before the reunion. “I didn’t sleep last night, just thinking about it. All night I was awake just very excited and excited to see him.” For months, Abuquta and his doctors have been pleading with several governments to help his brother, Mahmoud, leave Gaza. Abuquta, 30, has acute myeloid leukemia. His doctors say his only chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. Canadian Blood Services said only 25 per cent of patients find a match within their families. Abuquta’s brother in Gaza managed to get a blood sample tested, and the sample showed he was an ideal candidate. The family then began the long struggle to get Mahmoud Abuquta out of Gaza … His brother left Gaza through Israel, then Ramallah and Jordan before applying for a visitor’s visa to enter Canada. But the route was filled with slow government processes, taking up time Abuquta doesn’t have. “Through any stage of this he had to get permission. Each permission took about 20 days to get.” Finally, after entering Jordan, Abuquta said it took his brother a month to get permission to travel to Canada. His doctors also asked that his mother be allowed to come to Halifax to support the men during their recovery, but she is still in Jordan, waiting for her visa to be approved.
Islamic loans give Gaza’s women chance to survive poverty
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 7 May by Hana Salah — Women in the Gaza Strip face increasing economic pressure as poverty rates reach up to 38.8% — particularly after Israel’s latest war — and unemployment rates climb to a staggering 47%. This situation has pushed many women to become the breadwinners of their families and to seek sources of funding to establish small and sustainable enterprises by obtaining Islamic loans. A ‘good’, or true, Islamic loan is a loan provided by nonprofit and nongovernmental associations, offering support for women and poor families to help them out of poverty and to promote economic development. This type of loan carries a 0% interest rate, with a specified maturity date and a grace period, following the provision by the guarantor of a guarantee for the recovery of the loan value. This type of loan represents an opportunity for the poor to obtain financial services and facilities, and it encourages the marginalized workforce among women and the poor class in general to help their families.
Gaza artists retrieve ‘Memories’ from rubble of destroyed homes
[with slideshow] Free Speech Radio News 8 May — At his home in Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, Hazem Alzomar and four fellow artists turn debris from destroyed homes into works of art. The group began working on the project in January and calls it “Memories.” Alzomar, a 26-year-old art school graduate, is the driving force behind the project. He says the inspiration for it came from a neighbor whose house was hit by an Israeli missile last summer. “It occurred to me that those houses are not just rubble, but that they are pieces of memories of the houses’ inhabitants,” explains Alzomar, who began using broken pieces of his neighbor’s home as art material. “Being artists, we wanted to help those affected in our own way, so that’s how the initiative started.” Art made from shattered former homes fills the workshop … In addition to crafting artwork from the rubble of destroyed homes, Hazem Alzomar and his team have also tried to beautify the drab metal boxes used as temporary shelters.
183 Gazans pray in Aqsa mosque
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 May — Dozens of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip headed to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday via the Erez crossing, Palestinian officials said. Liaison officials said 183 Palestinians aged over 60 left Gaza early in the day and will return after Friday prayers. Weekly access to the Al-Aqsa mosque by Gazans has become routine since October 2014 when some 500 Palestinians in Gaza prayed at the mosque for the first time since 2007, having been prevented by Israel from traveling to Jerusalem since that time.
Gaza economy: Squeezed by siege, weakened by war
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera America) 7 May by Alice Su — Part two of a two-part series looking at life in Gaza. The first segment focused on the difficult circumstances for educated young people. — Gaza’s seashore is balmy and blue, a shock of beauty only a 20-minute drive from apocalyptic scenes of war closer to the border with Israel. Rows of fishing boats rock against a cerulean sea. The Mediterranean morning smells like saltwater and Turkish coffee, sipped from paper cups as elderly men sit and smoke. The port is bustling at 6:30 a.m., fishermen emptying nets of sardines and shrimp as merchants crowd around, offering prices to the eager auctioneer. Six nautical miles into the sea, there are guns. The 1993 Oslo agreement designated a 20-nautical-mile fishing zone for Gaza’s 4,000 fishing families. But after Hamas took control in 2007, Israel unilaterally restricted the zone to one-third of that, cutting off most of the best fishing areas. In case anyone forgets, a poster of a dead fisherman is taped to the wall across from the market’s cash counter … The four most commonly heard Arabic words in Gaza are hissar, bataleh, kassaf and mukta‘eb. They sum up the economic situation: “siege,” “unemployment,” “bombing” and “depressed.” “They’re all related,” said Abu Ahmad, 38, an interpreter who works with foreign journalists.
Detention / Court actions
Israel imprisons Jerusalemite children for taking part in resistance
Middle East Monitor 7 May — Three Palestinian minors in Jerusalem were given jail terms by an Israeli court yesterday on charges of participating in resistance activities. A committee representing families of Jerusalem prisoners said in a statement that the Israeli District Court sentenced the minors, Jamal Sidqi Zaatari, 15, Ibrahim Ali Abu Juma, 17, and Mohammed Khaled Abu Ghannam, 18, to 6, 19 and 16 months respectively. The children are from the At-Tur neighbourhood in Jerusalem. According to the statement, the court also sentenced the President of the Revolutionary Youth Club, Hani Yasser Ghaith, 35, to two years and issued a fine of 3,000 shekels ($776). In April, Israel arrested 114 Palestinians, including 40 children and 14 women; some were released on conditions such as house arrest, deportation or were given fines, while others received prison terms. Meanwhile, the Israeli Magistrates’ Court yesterday freed Fatena Hussein who was arrested on Tuesday while she was entering Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Arrests of Palestinian students over politics worrying: HRW
RAMALLAN, Palestinian Territories (AFP) May — Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused the Palestinian security forces of arresting or questioning West Bank students over their political opinions, saying several had been mistreated. “It is deeply worrying that students are being held by Palestinian forces for no apparent reason other than their connection to Hamas or their opinions,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director. “Palestinians should be able to express critical political opinions without being arrested or beaten,” she said in a statement. Citing prisoner rights group Addameer, HRW said 25 students had been arrested in the wake of the annual student council vote at Birzeit University near Ramallah on April 22. The vote, which takes place at universities across the West Bank, pits Fatah-supporting students against those backing the rival Islamist Hamas movement, with the poll in Birzeit won by Hamas … Three days after the vote, the security forces arrested Jihad Salim, a representative of a Hamas-affiliated student group at Birzeit, and held him for about 24 hours, during which time he was beaten while being questioned about the elections. “They started cursing my mother, cursing my sisters, slapping me around. Then they punched me, while asking questions about how Hamas won the elections,” he told the watchdog … Questioned by the New York-based watchdog, Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Palestinian security forces confirmed there had been arrests but denied there was a political motive. “We never arrest people for their speech or for their political affiliations,” he was quoted by the watchdog as saying. “These people have been arrested for the criminal charge of incitement of sectarian violence and other criminal charges.”
Palestinian prisoners punished for beliefs
AIC 7 May — Six Palestinian women prisoners in Israeli jails have been prohibited family visits for one month after raising the Palestinian flag in Israel’s Hasharon prison on Israeli independence day, according to the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. The women prisoners are student Lina Khattab, attorney Shireen Issawi, Nahil Abu Aisha, Ihsan Dababseh, Haniyyeh Nassar and Yasin Shaaban. Issawi, Abu Aisha, Dababseh, Nassar and Shaaban were then isolated in solitary confinement after they confronted prison administration about the prohibition of family visits. Denial of family visits and solitary confinement are two of the major forms of repression and targeting used by Israeli prison officials against Palestinian prisoners. Additionally, imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat was transferred from the Ramon to Gilboa prison on Tuesday as part of a series of transfers aimed at disrupting prison organising. Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, has been repeatedly transferred during his imprisonment.
Palestinians take aim at Netanyahu’s ‘government of war’
RAMALLAH (AFP) 7 May by Nasser Abu Bakr — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new rightwing religious “government of war” is a blow to an already stagnating peace process, Palestinians said Thursday, vowing to fight it on the international stage. The Palestine Liberation Organisation blasted Israel’s “extremist” cabinet, after Netanyahu announced a coalition government that gave him a slim parliamentary majority and included ministers who oppose the internationally-sanctioned two-state solution. “This is a colonial settler cabinet, no doubt about that,” senior official Nabil Shaath told journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah, seat of the PLO-dominated Palestinian Authority. “It’s a cabinet that includes all of those people who want to maintain” Israeli occupation. Netanyahu’s new government, which he formed at the 11th hour, several weeks after winning his third straight term in office, includes ministers intent on expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, an issue that has derailed round upon round of US-brokered peace talks … Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said before the March 17 election that he was willing to enter talks with whoever was reelected. But Palestinian officials bristled at the cabinet line-up that emerged on Wednesday night. “The face of a new form of racist, discriminatory Israel has been revealed,” chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said in a statement….
Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes
EI Update, 8 May 2015 by Ali Abunimah — In light of Ayelet Shaked’s appointment as justice minister in the new Israeli coalition government, and renewed interest in her anti-Palestinian views, an image of her now-deleted Facebook posting has been added below, along with the full translation. – Original post – A day before Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khudair was kidnapped and burned alive allegedly by six Israeli Jewish youths, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked published on Facebook a call for genocide of the Palestinians. It is a call for genocide because it declares that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and justifies its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.” It is a call for genocide because it calls for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to “little snakes.” … Shaked is a senior figure in the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party that is part of Israel’s ruling coalition. Her post was shared more than one thousand times and received almost five thousand “Likes.”
Why troubles in a West Bank refugee camp could haunt Ramallah
NABLUS (Middle East Eye) 6 May by Jonathan Brown — Civilians of Balata refugee camp in the West Bank say they are subject to ‘collective punishment’, as the PA arrests many among its own ranks — The houses by the graveyard on the southern edge of Balata refugee camp are ridden with bullet holes. This is where on 20 March, 11-year-old Mohammad Raed al-Hajj and another boy from the camp were caught in crossfire between Palestinian Authority security forces and a group of armed men who were resisting arrest in the camp. The boys were rushed to separate hospitals in Nablus and are now making full recoveries. “People in the camp said the PA shot the boys. The PA said the armed faction shot them. Both sides blame each other,” said Balata resident Abdullah Kharoub, who added, “This is how these clashes go.” Mohammad’s shooting was among the low points of the PA’s now four month-old operation to “restore order” to Balata refugee camp near Nablus, where Palestinian officials allege a group of “thieves, drug dealers and weapon smugglers” operate at large. The PA has been widely criticised by residents of the camp for its operation. The residents claimed that they are victims of “collective punishment” with PA security forces failing to carry out arrests without implicating – and injuring – the civilian, law-abiding population. But factions within the PA and Fatah are among the most vocal critics of its own ongoing crackdown in Balata. According to local politicians, the armed group resisting arrest in the camp is affiliated with Fatah – current and former members of PA security and intelligence forces most active during the second Intifada. This would suggest that residents of Balata are the victims of a fracturing within the Palestinian Authority….
Israel-Palestinian football chiefs to meet on expulsion bid
ZURICH (AFP) 6 May — The heads of Israeli and Palestinian football will meet in Zurich in a bid to head off a Palestinian bid to expel Israel from the sport’s governing body, FIFA said Wednesday. The announcement of the meeting came after FIFA president Sepp Blatter held talks with Israeli Football Association chief Ofer Eini to discuss the dispute. The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) has called for a vote at the FIFA annual congress on May 29 calling for Israel’s expulsion for blocking Palestinian football through its sanctions on the Palestinian territories. Blatter, a vociferous advocate of keeping politics out of sport, has made it clear he opposes any suspension of Israel. “FIFA president Blatter reiterated his position that any member association that is fulfilling its statutory duties should not be suspended. This would also apply to the IFA as long as they fulfil such duties,” said a statement released after Wednesday’s talks. “A meeting between the presidents of the IFA and PFA is scheduled to take place in Zurich in the next few days,” it added. Blatter and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke met with Eini and Israel federation secretary general Rotem Kamer. “The main point on the agenda was the proposal by the PFA to suspend the IFA at the upcoming FIFA Congress … To be passed the Palestinian resolution needs the support of three quarters of the 209 federations at the FIFA congress. A FIFA delegation visited the Gaza Strip in January and pledged $1 million to help rebuild stadiums damaged in the conflict.
Palestinian football chief firm on Israel’s FIFA suspension
RAM, West Bank (Reuters) 7 May by Ali Sawafta — The head of the Palestinian Football Association reinforced his call for Israel to be suspended from FIFA on Thursday, saying the Israeli Football Association was part of an “apartheid, racist government” that was damaging Palestinian soccer. The PFA accuses Israel of obstructing its activities and restricting the movement of players between the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It wants a vote on Israel’s suspension from FIFA at a congress on May 29. “The Israeli federation is behaving as a part of the brutal, racist occupation,” Jibril Rajoub, a former politician who has headed the PFA since 2008, told reporters in the West Bank … If FIFA were to suspend Israel, its teams and clubs would be barred from international events, including World Cup qualifications. Although suspensions are not uncommon, FIFA has usually taken such action only when a government is deemed to have intervened in its soccer association’s affairs. On Wednesday, Israel’s top soccer administrators met FIFA President Sepp Blatter in Zurich to try to avert the vote. Afterwards, FIFA said Blatter had “reiterated his position that any member association that is fulfilling its statutory duties should not be suspended… This would also apply to the IFA as long as they fulfil such duties.”The statement appeared to offer hope for the IFA, which has not been accused of violating FIFA statutes and argues that it cannot influence Israel’s security forces.
FIFA anti-racism adviser expresses sympathy for Palestinians on West Bank visit
RAMALLAH (AP) 7 May — FIFA’s anti-racism adviser says he hopes to work to resolve the crisis between the Palestinian and Israeli soccer federations. The Palestinians have asked FIFA to suspend the Israel Football Association because of travel restrictions on Palestinian players. Israeli officials say the restrictions are security-related, and Israeli soccer officials say the issue is beyond their control. Tokyo Sexwale, head of the anti-racism sports initiative Global Watch, said Thursday during a visit to the West Bank that “the suffering of the Palestinians has to come to an end.” But he stopped short of endorsing the Palestinian bid to punish Israel and said “we are helping (Israel) in the area of sport to get out of the position they have put themselves in.”
Global protests condemn G4S for alleged role in Israeli prisoners’ rights abuses
Middle East Eye 8 May by Joe Catron — A year after protesters sent a British security firm’s annual general meeting into chaos, activists confirm that they plan to target this year’s G4S shareholder meeting, scheduled for 4 June at London’s Excel Centre. Stop G4S, a network that has demonstrated against the company in the past, announced the plans Monday on its website. Participants will include supporters of migrants’ and prisoners’ rights, as well as Palestine solidarity activists. News of the plans for the shareholder meeting come after protests were held in countries across the world in March for the “Hares Boys”. The five teenagers have been held in a G4S-secured prison for adults for more than two years on attempted murder charges. The only proof against them are their confessions which supporters say were taken under duress in prison. The world’s largest security firm and second-biggest private employer, G4S has faced boisterous protests for years for providing security systems and other services to Israeli prisons and detention centres, including facilities in which human rights groups have documented torture and poor treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including children. Since an official campaign was launched against the company in 2012, the company has lost public, university and institutional contracts and seen stockholders, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Methodist Church, divest.
Sodastream CEO: Last week we completed the transfer of our last assembly lines from Mishor Adumim
Globes 7 May — Carbonated-drink manufacturer Sodastream International Ltd. (Nasdaq: SODA) has said that the closure of its West Bank factory at Mishor Adumim east of Jerusalem is moving ahead faster than planned. Sodastream has repeatedly stressed that the closure is not related to political pressure from the BDS movement but due to a company reorganization dictated by economic considerations. In announcing the company’s first quarter results, Sodastream CEO Daniel Birbaum said, “Last week we completed the transfer of our last assembly lines from Mishor Adumim to Lehavim and we no longer produce sparkling water makers in Mishor Adumin. We will complete the transition of equipment and exit Mishor Adumim entirely during the third quarter, ahead of schedule.” “The transformation of our manufacturing base and operating structure is creating a more efficient organization.