Violence / Attacks / Suppression of protests / Arrests
Israeli forces shoot, injure 14-year-old in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 27 June — Israeli forces shot and injured a 14-year-old Palestinian boy with live ammunition on Saturday when they opened fire on a march in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya. A local popular resistance coordinator, Murad Shteiwi, said that hundreds of Palestinians took part in the march, which set off following afternoon prayers toward an Israeli barricade that closes off the main entrance on the village’s southern side. Dozens of Israeli soldiers reportedly fired live rounds and tear gas at the protesters, resulting in the injury of 14-year-old Mohammad Abdul Ilah, who was shot in the thigh.He was taken to Rafidia Hospital for treatment, Shteiwi said … Shteiwi said that Saturday’s march came in response to an increase in violations as part of the Israeli military-administered occupation. He said that it was additional to the village’s weekly marches, which are held on Fridays and call for the reopening of the village’s southern entrance, which has been closed 13 years.
Military continues to use live ammunition to quell demonstrations even when not in mortal danger
B’Tselem 28 June — In the last few months, B’Tselem has documented dozens of cases in the Ramallah area of the West Bank in which Palestinians were injured, some severely, by live ammunition fired by Israeli security forces. In most cases, it appears that the ammunition used was 0.22 inch caliber bullets (Ruger rifle bullets, nicknamed Two-Two for their caliber). Two-Twos are live ammunition whose impact is less severe than that of “ordinary” bullets, yet even so they can be lethal and inflict serious injuries. It is hard to establish definitively whether a particular injury is caused by a Two-Two or by an ordinary bullet, as their caliber is almost identical. However, many activists recognize both the Ruger rifles used to fire Two-Two bullets as well as the distinctive sound they make when firing. In addition, some Ruger rifles are equipped with a suppressor. Therefore, when a sniper aims a rifle at demonstrators and a person then sustains a live-bullet injury although no gunshot was heard, it is clear the ammunition was Two-Two bullets. Most of the injuries that B’Tselem documented recently were sustained during regular weekly demonstrations in which Palestinian youths threw stones at Israeli security forces, including in Jalazun Refugee Camp, in the villages of Silwad, a-Nabi Saleh, Bil‘in and Na‘alin, and in the town of Bitunya close to Ofer Prison. Medical reports collected from Palestinian hospitals by B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad indicate that at least 47 Palestinians – including one woman and 24 minors – were injured by live fire in the West Bank since the beginning of February 2015 in demonstrations or clashes with Israeli security forces. Four of the 47 casualties – including three minors aged 12, 14 and 17– were hit in the torso, and 23 – including 14 minors – were hit in the thigh.
Settlers assault Palestinian in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli settlers assaulted a Palestinian man Saturday night in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, his family says. Ashraf al-Alami told Ma‘an that three Israeli settlers assaulted his brother Ibrahim, 31, on Saturday evening when he stopped his car as he was heading to work in West Jerusalem. The settlers reportedly stopped his brother’s car and “after making sure he was an Arab,” Ashraf said, they verbally abused him, physically assaulted him, and attempted to strangle him before fleeing the scene. Ibrahim suffered from cuts and bruises in the face, chest, and neck … The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that an average of four attacks by settlers on Palestinians have been carried out per week since the start of 2015.
Man injured after Israeli extremists assaulted him in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a man, 57 years of age, suffered a serious injury, after a number of Israeli extremists assaulted him, on Saturday at night, in the Be’er al-‘Ad area in Masafer Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The sources said the extremists attacked Mohammad Younis Makhamra, causing various injuries to the head and other parts of his body; the man was moved to a local hospital suffering serious, but stable wounds. Coordinator of Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements Rateb Jabour said the fanatics came from Mitzpe Yair illegal outpost, and “tried to lynch the man by inflicting injuries to vital parts of his body.” Jabour added that Makhamra was previously attacked by the extremists four times, in the same area, and survived a gunshot injury to the neck. The fanatics are trying to force him out of his land to expand their illegal outpost that is not even authorized by Israel.
Israeli soldiers detain Archbishop Hannah
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, Saturday, Archbishop of Sebastia of the Greek Orthodox Church of occupied Jerusalem, Theodosius Attallah Hanna, and held him for several hours in the Etzion military and security base, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Father Hanna was participating in a nonviolent protest against the illegal takeover of Beit Al-Bakara old Church, north of Hebron … Scores of residents, Israeli and international peace activists, in addition to a delegation of the Presbyterian Church, participated in the procession, before the soldiers assaulted them. .. The senior Christian figure was held for several hours in the Gush Etzion military and security base, before the soldiers eventually released him. Prior to his release, Archbishop Hanna was handed an order for interrogation by the Israeli security services … Pastor Danny Awad of the Presbyterian Church also delivered a speech explaining the role Beit al-Baraka played in helping patients through its free services to the public. Israeli peace activists of “Combatants For Peace” said that the illegal Israeli policies must be exposed and condemned by all religious groups around the world, and called for more public support to counter the escalating Israeli violations. The importance of the new settlement is that it paves the way for further settlement expansion, especially since there are more than 500 dunams (around 125 acres) of Palestinian lands illegally confiscated by Israel in 2005, used to expand kibbutz Magdalen Oz. Israel is also planning to build a settlers’ road bypassing the al-‘Arroub refugee camp. More information on Beit al-Baraka:
Army kidnaps four children in occupied Jerusalem, two in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, late on Saturday and on Sunday at dawn, at least four Palestinian children after the army invaded various neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem. Soldiers also kidnapped two children near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Media sources in Jerusalem said the soldiers invaded various neighborhoods in the occupied city, stormed and ransacked several homes, and kidnapped at least four children after assaulting them. The WAFA News Agency said the soldiers invaded Qerrish residential building, in Beit Hanina town, north of Jerusalem, and kidnapped Yazan Ayyoub, 14 years of age. Soldiers also kidnapped a child, 13 years of age, from Bab al-‘Amoud area, and took him to an unknown destination. In addition, soldiers kidnapped two children, identified as Mustafa and Amir ad-Dab’ey, from Shu‘fat refugee camp, in Jerusalem, after violently beating them, and took them to an interrogation center. In Hebron, soldiers invaded Yatta town, south of the city, stormed homes, and kidnapped two children identified as Issa Mohammad Shawahin, 18, and Ghassan Issa Shawaheen, 15.
Soldiers kidnap a Palestinian woman near the Al-Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Sunday, a Palestinian woman while leaving the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the Chain Gate, in occupied Jerusalem, and took her to an interrogation facility in the Old City. The WAFA News Agency said the woman was kidnapped after a group of Israeli extremists stormed the mosque courtyards, before local worshipers started chanting and protesting them. The Palestinians were protesting the daily provocative tours conducted by extremists, accompanied by soldiers and police officers.
Israeli forces detain 9-year-old in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli forces on Sunday detained a nine-year-old Palestinian child in the al-Thuri neighborhood of Silwan, group says. Ahmad Jasim al-Shweiki was detained by Israeli forces and taken to the police station on Salah al-Din street, head of a support group for families of Palestinian detainees in Jerusalem Amjad Abu Assab said, giving no additional information on the circumstances of his detention. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld had no immediate information on the child’s detention. Al-Shweiki’s detention comes as Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinian children. Israel detained 1,266 Palestinian children below the age of 15 in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2014, according to a PLO report
Video: Israeli soldier attempts to arrest Palestinian, activists intervene
AL-KHALIL, Occupied Palestine 27 June by ISM, Al-Khalil Team — Yesterday, 26 of June 2015 approximately 21:30, nineteen year old Hatem Al Mohtaseb from Tel Rumeida, Hebron, was walking up the hill of Tel Rumeida when an Israeli soldier detained him and asked for his ID. After the soldier had finished checking the Palestinian ID, the Israeli soldier then threw the ID on the concrete and told him to pick it back up. The Palestinian man told the soldier that he is not a dog and will not pick it up off the ground and suggested to the soldier that he pick it back up and hand the ID back to him, like he had given it to the soldier at the start. The soldier then refused and began to argue. A nearby Palestinian then picked the ID up off the ground and gave it to Hatem Al Mohtaseb. International Solidarity Movement activists that were present then walked up the hill and were discussing with the Palestinian man what had just happened. The same soldier came up to Hatem Al Mohtaseb and told him to move from the spot where he was standing in his own neighborhood. Hatem Al Mohtaseb then refused to move and the soldier aggressively shouting in Hebrew, then attempted to arrest him but ISMers stood in the way and prevented the arrest. The soldier then complained to several male settlers walking up the road to the nearby illegal settlement. One of the settlers came right up to the activists, calling them sick people and Europa Nazis before leaving. After this point the soldier’s commanding officer had arrived and after speaking to Hatem Al Mohtaseb he decided not to follow up on the arrest.
Palestinian youth use snakes to fight Israeli occupation
RAMALLAH (Anadolu Agency) 28 June — Catching snakes, a popular hobby among some Palestinian youths, has turned into a new tactic to fight back against Israeli occupation troops during the weekly clashes that break out in the town of Silwad, east of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. With repeated raids and clashes on Fridays, local activists and youth have become more innovative in repelling the soldiers. The latest of these means is catching snakes from the local area and placing them where Israeli soldiers and snipers often hole up during clashes. “This all started without planning where a number of young people caught snakes and had fun with them, and after puzzling over where to put them they decided to place them on the concrete blocks that the Israeli soldiers and snipers lean against, or on the ground near the same area,” an activist from Silwad town, who preferred not to mention his name, said. “After seeing the soldiers’ reaction and their shock at the presence of snakes near them, and their backtracking and fear of being close to the snakes, the youth felt ecstatic and their morale was increased,” the activist added. Weekly clashes in Silwad town began around 18 months ago, after a farmer was assaulted and beaten by a group of settlers. Local residents responded by burning down one of the settlers’ kiosks near the town. After this, daily clashes broke out and have now turned into weekly clashes at the western entrance to Silwad, where the Israeli army maintains a permanent presence.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian girl carrying gun
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 June — Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian girl from Qalqilia on Sunday for allegedly carrying a gun, news sources say. According to the Hebrew-language news site “Walla,” the girl attempted to sneak into Israel with a gun, adding that she had admitted that she was planning a shooting attack in Israel under the guidance of the Hamas movement. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an she was unable to give information on the incident because the case was currently under investigation.
Female Israeli soldier wounded in stabbing at Jerusalem checkpoint
Haaretz 29 June — A female Israeli soldier was lightly-to-moderately wounded on Monday morning in a stabbing at the Rachel Crossing, leading from south Jerusalem to Rachel’s Tomb. Magen David Adom paramedics gave the soldier, a young woman about 20 years old, initial treatment at the scene of the stabbing. She was transferred to Hadassah Hospital Ein Karen with wounds to her upper body. An initial police investigation reveals that a woman approached the checkpoint, pulled out a knife, and stabbed the soldier. Security forces on site detained the assailant.
Soldiers kidnap three Palestinians near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, Beiteen and Ein Yabroud villages, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, allegedly after shots were fired at an Israeli vehicle near the Beit El illegal settlement built on Palestinian lands belonging to al-Bireh city, and kidnapped three Palestinians. The army kidnapped the three Palestinians, and turned Beiteen village into a closed military zone, especially due to its close proximity to Beit El. More than 25 Israeli military vehicles invaded the village, imposed curfew forcing the residents under house arrest, and installed roadblocks completely sealing it, Ali Dar Ali of Palestine TV has reported. The soldiers broke into and violently searched several homes in Beiteen and Ein Yabroud villages, and interrogated the families, before kidnapping three Palestinians in Beiteen. The two villages remained surrounded, while dozens of soldiers were still deployed in and around them, until the time of this report. In a newsflash, Israeli Ynet News claimed the shots were fired at an Israeli ambulance, causing no injuries.
same incident, Israeli report
MDA ambulance hit by gun fire in the West Bank
Ynet 28 June by Itay Blumenthal, Yoav Zitun, Elior Levy — Shots were fired Saturday before midnight at a Magen David Adom ambulance near the West Bank settlement of Beit El but no injuries were reported as of Sunday afternoon. The damage to the ambulance was clearly evident, apparently from 9mm bullets. After the incident Israeli forces launched searches for suspects in the nearby village of Beitin. An examination of the scene of the attack near Beit El indicate that a burst of 15 to 19 shots were fired at the Israeli ambulance and at least four of them hit it. The perpetrator fired from the area near the new road that connects Beitin to Ramallah, a road recently paved for the Palestinians. Forces from the all-Haredi Netzach Yehuda Battalion, in charge of the area, led by Colonel Yisrael Shomer, were sent to the scene … The Beit El council blamed the security establishement which opened the road to Beitin to Palestinian traffic. “The road was closed for more than ten years due to security problems,” council head Shai Alon said.
Israeli forces break into homes of synagogue attack suspects
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 June – Israeli forces on Sunday broke into the homes of two Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem who were shot dead after they attacked Israelis worshiping in a synagogue in November 2014. Family of Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal told Ma‘an that Israeli forces took photos of the interior and exterior of their homes, as well as the roads that lead to them in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood, without giving explanation. The forces also raided the home of Ghassan’s father and brothers, and questioned family members of both Ghassan and Udayy Abu Jamal before taking their photos, including of the families’ children … Gassan, 31, and his cousin Udayy, 22 killed four rabbis and an Israeli police officer in the Jerusalem synagogue before being shot dead by police last fall. Sunday’s incident comes as Israel has taken several retaliatory measures towards the two men’s families since the attack, ordering the demolition of their homes, ordering Ghassan’s wife to move to the West Bank, and revoking social benefits from their children, including medical coverage. Among other measures of intimidation, Israel has used punitive house demolitions for years and the policy was halted in 2005 after the Israeli army said they had no proven deterrent value and instead were likely to encourage violence. Despite this Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu continued using the policy, ordering the demolition of homes of those responsible for car attacks on Israelis earlier this year in an effort to deter future attacks.
Israel intercepts & escorts Gaza flotilla flagship in ‘uneventful’ raid
RT 29 June 2:19 am — Contact has been lost with the Swedish boat Marianne, which had been leading the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla, after other boats turned back. The IDF announced that they intercepted and searched the vessel which had tried to “breach the maritime blockade.” The Freedom Flotilla Coalition lost contact with the flagship of the flotilla at 10:57pm GMT, the organization said. The vessel was some 100 nautical miles [i.e. in international waters] from its destination when it happened. The Israeli navy has engaged the vessel, boarded and searched it, the Israeli Defense Forces’ spokesman Peter Lerner confirmed. He said the Marian is now being escorted to Ashdod Port after ignoring “repeated appeals to change course.” Earlier, the Coalition confirmed that three vessels which are part of the flotilla turned back to their ports of origin, as was part of the original plan. “The three sailing boats accompanying and supporting the “Marianne” (“Rachel”, “Vittorio” and “Juliano II”) are changing their course and will be heading back to their ports of origin,” it announced. The Israeli government ordered the navy to “redirect” the vessel only after “exhausting all diplomatic channels,” according to the IDF. After the Marianne crew refused to change the course, the naval forces “visited and searched the vessel” and “reported that use of force was unnecessary, and that the process was uneventful.” “The vessel is currently being escorted to Ashdod Port and is expected to arrive within 12-24 hours,” the statement adds. However, the organizers of the flotilla have reasons to believe that the engagement was not as uneventful and non-violent as the navy claims, and that some people on board “might be hurt.” “We could not contact the boat or anyone on the boat in the last couple of hours before capture,” a representative of the Freedom Flotilla III media team told RT by phone. “We have no reason yet to believe that the capture was [as] uneventful as the IDF claimed, because the last time they said [that] in 2012, people were tasered and beaten with clubs.” The coalition expected Tel-Aviv to make every effort to stop the third Freedom Flotilla, but still hoped that “at some point a more reasonable voice will prevail in the Israeli government.” Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the navy personnel “for their determined and efficient” actions that allowed for the maintenance of the the blockade….
Israel intercepts Gaza-bound flotilla in ‘casualty-free’ operation
Haaretz 29 June by Gili Cohen, Barak Ravid * Jack Khoury — Israeli forces intercepted the Gaza-bound boat Marianne late Sunday night, in what the Israeli Defense Forces said was a short operation, free of any casualties. The boat is currently en route to the Ashdod port. Two additional boats making their way to the Gaza coast turned back after the interception. It was not clear whether they were returning to their ports in Greece or if they planned to resume their sail to Gaza at a later time. Naval commandos from the Shayetet 13 unit searched the boat after the successful takeover. According to military sources, the ship is expected to dock in Ashdod within the next 12 to 24 hours, depending on weather and sea conditions. After arriving in Ashdod, the passengers will be interrogated before being escorted to Ben-Gurion Airport and flown out of Israel. The Swedish boat, which on Sunday afternoon was 150 nautical miles from the Gaza Coast, is carrying 20 activists, among them MK Basel Ghattas (Joint Arab List) and former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki. “This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of the hypocrisy and lies that only help Hamas and ignore the atrocities in the region,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the interception. “The sea blockade is in accordance with international law, and has received backing from the UN Secretary General.” “We are not willing to allow in weapons to the terrorist organizations in Gaza, as they have tried to do in the past, by sea,” Netanyahu added. “Just a year ago, we stopped an attempt to bring in hundreds of weapons by sea, that were meant to harm Israeli civilians.” According to the army’s original plan, after boarding the ship, the soldiers were to hand out a letter issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, welcoming them to Israel and wondering why they sailed to Gaza and not Syria. “Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere else nearby – Syria, where Assad’s regime is massacring his people every day, with the support of the murderous Iranian regime.” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon praised the Israel Navy for commandeering the Marianne overnight. “This flotilla does not have humanitarian intentions, and is not interested in anyone’s welfare. The participants’ goal is to continue de-legitimizing the state of Israel.
Lapid slams ‘despicable’ Gaza flotilla as ‘gang of terror supporters’
Maariv Hashavua 27 June by Dana Somberg — Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid on Saturday denounced those taking part in the flotilla to Gaza as “a gang of supporters of terrorism” and a “despicable flotilla that needs to be stopped.” The former finance minister spoke to a town hall meeting in Holon. He ridiculed the idea that the flotilla was aimed at highlighting the plight of Gaza and advancing Palestinian human rights. “This flotilla is a kind of provocation against the State of Israel,” he said. “This is a provocation by people who are anything but defenders of human rights.” “People are trying to portray this flotilla as one that seeks to promote human rights,” Lapid said. “The last thing that you can say about this flotilla is that it has anything to do with human rights. This is a flotilla run by a gang of terrorism supporters, a despicable flotilla that needs to be stopped.” “Israel needs to deal with this flotilla like it would if it was trying to disperse a violent protest,” he said. “And all of these folks on the flotilla need to be arrested.”
Fifth Freedom Flotilla III boat delayed in Greece port
Middle East Monitor 28 June — The International Committee to Break the Siege of Gaza, which is a founding member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition, has confirmed that the Greek port authorities are hindering a fifth boat in the Freedom Flotilla III fleet from leaving port. This morning, the authorities unnecessarily examined the boat’s papers and postponed its departure until later tonight. This is an unusual measure that is believed to be a deliberate attempt to prevent the fifth boat from joining the other four small ships that are waiting in international waters before heading towards Gaza. Organisers of the flotilla believe this action was the result of Israeli pressure on the Greek government.
Bennett: ‘If Hamas gives up arms, Israel will lead global effort to rebuild Gaza’
JPost 27 June by Gil Hoffman — Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett expressed surprising support on Saturday for a deal in which Israel would enable the economic development of the Gaza Strip in return for a promise of a long-term cease-fire from Hamas. In an interview with Channel 2’s Meet the Press that was taped before Shabbat, Bennett called for Israel to initiate an international effort to rehabilitate Gaza. “We have a great interest in the civilian rehabilitation of Gaza,” Bennett said. “There are creative solutions for how to bring about that rehabilitation, along with stopping the building of tunnels and the strengthening [of Hamas]. For instance, the Hamas can be frozen militarily in return for unlimited rice entering [Gaza].” Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On praised Bennett for supporting steps to improve the lives of the citizens of the Strip and said she called for such steps immediately after Operation Protective Edge last summer. “The Right only makes correct decisions after exhausting all other options,” she wrote on her Facebook page. “But better late than never.” Bennett reiterated that, unlike Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, he does not favor toppling Hamas and capturing the Gaza Strip. Asked whether he was bypassing the Likud from the Left, he said he was using his wisdom and that such steps would depend on ensuring that no weapons enter Gaza.
Increased import taxes drive Gaza auto dealers around the bend
GAZA CITY 28 June by Rasha Abou Jalal — The Hamas-affiliated Ministry of Finance imposed a 25% tax on imported cars in the Gaza Strip in early June, raising the ire of auto dealers, who suspended all import activity. The auto dealers association in the Gaza Strip decided during an emergency meeting held June 6 to halt the importation of vehicles until the ministry backs down on its decision. Ismail al-Nakhaleh, who heads the association, told Al-Monitor, “The Ministry of Finance in Gaza imposed a 25% tax on imported cars early June 2015 despite the fact that traders are paying a 50% purchasing tax to the Palestinian Authority [PA] and a 7% profit tax.” This means that auto dealers would have to pay taxes amounting to 82% of the original price of the car. Nakhaleh condemned the decision, and said, “This business is no longer profitable because of the double taxation policy [faced by] traders, who pay taxes to the PA in Ramallah and taxes to Hamas in Gaza, which led to a significant rise in car prices and paralyzed the purchasing [power] in automobile markets.” Nakhaleh said 440 new cars per month are imported into Gaza.
Children’s fashion show takes the runway in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 25 June by Ahmad Abu Amer — A children’s fashion show, only the second of its kind in Gaza’s history, divided members of the civil society and religious hard-liners, who deemed the event non-reflective of Gazan society and culture — Tala Awaida looks confident while strutting down the runway surrounded by lights and music in Gaza City on June 6. As soon as the 6-year-old arrives to the edge of the podium, she turns left and right and sends out kisses to the audience before returning to her initial spot. The dress Awaida wore was part of the collection sold at Crocodile-Kids, a well-known children’s clothing store in Gaza. The price tag on her outfit was $65. The other participants’ outfits cost about the same. Awaida’s dress received enthusiastic applause from the audience. The latter, part of a community that is considered religious and attached to conservative traditions and norms, returned the young girl’s kisses.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel to free Palestinian hunger strike detainee, lawyer says
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 29 June — Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan ended a 56-day hunger strike on Sunday after Israel agreed to release him, his lawyer and the Palestinian Prisoners Club announced. Adnan, 37, has been in prison for a year under administrative detention, which allows imprisonment without charge for renewable periods of six months indefinitely, and his case had been at the heart of concerns in the occupied Palestinian territories. Officials and activists had recently sounded the alarm, warning that he could die “at any moment”. “Khader Adnan ended his hunger strike last night, after an agreement was reached to release him on July 12,” his lawyer Jawad Boulos said, adding that doctors at the Israeli hospital he was transferred to were considered ways to start feeding him. In a statement, the Palestinian Prisoners Club also confirmed that Mr Adnan had broken his hunger strike … The Palestinian government had warned it held Israel responsible for his fate, while the Israeli government in mid June relaunched the process of instating a law that would allow prisoners to be force-fed when their lives are in danger. The Palestinian leadership submitted a report to the International Criminal Court last week that included the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
State indicts alleged Gazan arms tunnel smuggler of RPGs, TNT, guns
JPost 28 June by Yonah Jeremy Bob — The Southern District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed an indictment with the Beersheba District Court against Rami al-Najar for smuggling thousands of guns, explosives and refile-propelled grenades through tunnels from Egypt to Gaza on behalf of various terror groups. Al-Najar, 27, is also accused of smuggling hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh. The charges in the indictment against al-Najar run from 2004-2012 and include his performing services at different times for Hamas, the combat wing of Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In 2006, al-Najar conspired for eight months with his father, Ibrahim al-Najar and many others to dig a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt from under the house of the Fahfuka family in Tel-Azuareb in Rafah, said the indictment.
Jerusalem judge takes word of Palestinian over that of Israeli army, cops, settlers
Haaretz 29 June by Yaniv Kubovich — The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Sunday acquitted an East Jerusalem resident of assault, after the judge was convinced that the police, soldiers and West Bank settlers testifying against the man had given false accounts of the events. “After I heard the witnesses, and after reviewing the written evidence, I decided to acquit the defendant. I reached the conclusion that there is no reason to trust the prosecution’s witnesses’ testimony, while the defendant appeared to the court to be trustworthy, from his account of the events until this day,” Judge Dov Pollock wrote in his ruling. In April 2009, 45-year-old East Jerusalem resident Monhand Anati, along with his 75-year-old father, traveled to an agricultural field they own near the settlement of Beit El. The two returned to the plot to work there after years of not being allowed to by Israeli security forces. During those years, the area had become a popular tourist spot for Beit El residents, who frequented a well there. After returning to their land, Anati and his father asked the settlers to stop entering the plot, explaining that it is land that they own. One day, Anati and his father arrived at the land at the same time as seven Beit El residents. They asked the settlers not to enter, as they would harm the crops. “The tourists” pushed Anati and went into the well. An argument began between the two sides, and Anati’s father picked up a gardening tool. Anati saw the tool in his father’s hands, and immediately took it from him and placed it to the side. At the same time, he approached a nearby IDF checkpoint and called out to the soldiers, “Help, they’re attacking us.” Anati understood that he would not be able to overcome the settlers, and decided to call the police. This was the fifth time Anati had contacted the police about the issue … The police accepted the settlers’ and soldiers’ version of the story, despite the fact that Anati was the one who had called the police, and called out to the soldiers for help. Anati was indicted months later. The police officers, soldiers and settlers arrived in court to testify about what happened that day. On Sunday, six years after the events, Pollock acquitted Anati.
Two convicted of ‘incitement on Facebook’
IMEMC/Agencies 29 June — The District and Magistrate judges sentenced on Sunday four young Jerusalem men, according to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center. Al-Dameer organization lawyer, Mohammad Mahmoud, explained that the district judge sentenced Tarek Kurd for six and a half months of actual imprisonment and a suspended probation of six months for three years. The lawyer added that the Magistrate judge sentenced Fouad Rweidi for 8 months of actual imprisonment, a suspended probation of six months for three years and a 3-thousand NIS fine. He also explained that Kurd and Rweidi were convicted on “incitement” on Facebook and have been under arrest since the end of last year. In a related matter, the Magistrate judge sentenced Isam Anati for 5 months of actual imprisonment a suspended probation of six months for three years, and Ghaleb Shallodi for six months and one day of actual imprisonment a suspended probation of six months for three years.
Prisoner dies in Palestinian police custody in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 June — A prisoner held in a Palestinian Authority detention center in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem died overnight Saturday. Palestinian police spokesman Luay Irzeikat said that the prisoner had “committed suicide.” He identified him as Hazim Yasin Mahmoud Udwan, 29, from the town of al-‘Eizariya east of Jerusalem, and said he had been held on several charges. The Bethlehem district attorney appointed a special committee to investigate the man’s death. In 2014, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights issued a report sharply criticizing conditions inside Palestinian detention centers. The report said that “the use of torture has been commonplace in Palestinian detention facilities in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for many years.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
WATCH: The triple displacement of Umm el-Hiran
Israeli Social TV 27 June — The Israeli military government moved the residents of Umm el-Hiran to their current location in the 1950s. Now, the government wants to force them out — in order to build a Jewish community on the ruins of their homes.
Israeli forces to demolish homes south of Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 28 June — Israeli forces, on Saturday, notified two Palestinians of their intention to demolish their residential tents in Hebron’s Masafer Yatta, an area that lies almost entirely in area C, under full Israeli control, according to a local activist. Coordinator of the popular committee against the wall and settlements in southern Hebron, Rateb al-Jabour, said that forces handed two brothers, who were identified as Ayed and Majed al-Shwaheen, demolition notices for their residential tents, which, if implemented, would displace them and their families. He said, according to WAFA, that this measure aims to empty the area from its lawful Palestinian owners as a prelude to take over the land for the benefit of settlement expansion.
Settlers spray racist slogans on Jerusalemite mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 26 June — Israeli extremist settler groups sprayed racist slogans on a mosque in occupied Jerusalem on Friday. The slogans “Death to Arabs” and “Price Tag” were found outside Shouman mosque in Beit Hanina to the north of the city, local sources said. Numerous arson and graffiti attacks were carried out in the past against Christian and Islamic holy sites in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem under the “price tag” slogan. The term “price tag” is used to describe vandalism or attacks carried out by Jewish fanatic settlers against Palestinians and their property. The Israeli police usually say that they will carry out investigations when these attacks take place. To date, however, not a single settler has ever been prosecuted for such serious crimes.
Who’s afraid of Israeli hate crimes?
+972 blog 28 June by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — What the government calls ‘nationalist crimes’ are not random acts of violence—they have a clear goal: dispossessing Palestinians of their land — From time to time, this country is shaken by a particularly severe wave of nationalistically-motivated hate crimes against Palestinians, often in the form of arson or desecration of a religious site. After each such incident, we are faced with the usual ritual: senior government or police officials stare into the cameras with a determined gaze; they call the acts unconscionable; they say they take the incident with a full measure of responsibility and severity; they claim that this is not how a Jewish state acts; they promise that zero tolerance will be shown. These rituals usually appear against a backdrop of fear that this time the cup will finally runneth over, shattering the sacred “quiet” in the West Bank. After a short while, however, everything is back to normal. We can see just how seriously the government takes hate crimes from the following case. On July 26, 2010, a large group of Israeli marauders, whom eyewitnesses said came from the direction of the settlements of Yitzhar and Har Bracha, allegedly made their way to land belonging to the nearby Palestinian village of Burin. According to witnesses, the marauders burned hundreds of olive trees, some of them older than a century. They then attacked the villagers with stones and, in a few cases, with clubs, after which they stoned the houses of the village. On that same day, some of the victims lodged a complaint with the Israeli police. In August 2011—more than a year after the incident—the police informed Yesh Din that the case was turned over to the attention of a prosecutor; that is the last the organization heard of the story for two years. In August 2013, the Shomron Prosecution Unit bothered to update Yesh Din that they had closed the case back in December 2012. Three months later, we received the investigation material of a three-year-old incident, and attempted to see whether there is any point in appealing the decision to close the case. To the utter surprise of Yesh Din’s attorneys, who were under the impression that the police closed the case for lack of evidence, the files contained quite a bit of evidence. At the same time and place of the incident, three Border Policemen detained two Israeli civilians – A. and M. – after police officers testified that they saw them throwing stones at Palestinians….
Palestinian drivers pay the price as Israeli police patrol West Bank
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Middle East Eye) 19 June by Alex Shams — To travel the one-hour trip from Ramallah to Bethlehem, drivers have to pass through a total of five different regulating authorities — Jeryes was driving from Ramallah to Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank a few weeks ago when he was stopped by Israeli police accompanied by Israeli soldiers. Full of dread, he was well aware what even just a basic traffic stop could lead to in the occupied Palestinian territory. Jeryes, a resident of Bethlehem who declined to give his real name for fear of reprisal due to his ongoing case, told Middle East Eye that when he asked the officers what he had done wrong, he was yelled at in Hebrew, which he does not understand, and the police proceeded to carry out a search of his car and person at gunpoint. This time, the police did not fine him for anything or even explain why the search was being carried out, but he estimates that in recent years he has paid at least 900 shekels ($235) in traffic fines to Israeli police. Much of that has occurred in stops immediately around areas under Palestinian jurisdiction, where Israeli police wait in order to nab Palestinian drivers for offences that are legal under Palestinian law but illegal under Israeli law. The complex situation affects not only those who travel long distances, but also often just those driving down the street or to the next town. An average car trip between two cities or villages in the West Bank generally takes a Palestinian through a bewildering array of legal zones under the control of at least five different kinds of authorities and forces them to navigate two different systems of traffic law.
What’s behind Israel’s easing of travel restrictions?
Al-Monitor 26 June by Daoud Kuttab — As Israel eases restrictions on Palestinian Muslims visiting Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan, some see it as an extension of the occupation while better managing the crisis — …Officially, the Palestinian government has refused to be involved in the Israeli actions. But Mohammad Masharqa, a senior adviser to the Palestinian Embassy in London, told Al-Monitor that the Israeli action is aimed at managing the conflict rather than resolving it. “To ease the external pressure on them, Israel is trying to remove some of the pressures on the local Palestinian population. This is a clear sign that they [Israel] are more interested in managing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict rather than solving it, because solving it requires major concessions.” Masharqa believes international solidarity with Palestinians and the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement certainly play into the Israeli decision-making process. “The Israelis noticed the changes in Europe and have made a decision to make some calculated humanitarian concessions rather than give up their occupation and control,” he told Al-Monitor in a phone interview from London.
What does a Palestinian taxi driver talk about? The next blow from Israel / Amira Hass
Haaretz 29 June — On the short trip to military court, there’s also time to discuss permit problems and divided families, with the Islamic State and Syria thrown in. The streets are nearly empty at 8 A.M. During Ramadan, people are up at night and sleep late into the morning. The public space wakes up slowly, but it’s a good thing the cab drivers are up early, as we make our way to the Israeli military court at Ofer, built on land belonging to the West Bank Palestinian town of Beitunia. My driver, being a taxi driver, starts chatting. Driver: They rescinded the entry permits they had issued [following the stabbing of a border policeman in Jerusalem]. Me: Yes, I know. Driver: I had a permit to enter Jerusalem. Me: For Ramadan? Driver: No, I’m Christian. Me: And they canceled your permit? Driver: No. My wife lives in Jerusalem, so I go there to visit her. If she lived with me in my village, they’d revoke her residency status in Jerusalem, and she’d have no other legal status. She’d be expelled to the West Bank. She’d be living in the West Bank without identity papers, she wouldn’t be able to travel to Jordan or Jerusalem, wouldn’t be able to open a bank account and wouldn’t be able to drive a car. Me: I know, and Israel doesn’t allow you to live in Jerusalem with her? Driver: No. I was in jail for two years — for activities during the first intifada. Me: The Popular Front [for the Liberation of Palestine]? Driver: Yes, so now my wife lives in Jerusalem with the younger children, and I live in the village with the older ones, and the family only gets together occasionally. They [the Israeli authorities] don’t give us a break … Driver: If only we could go back to before 1987 [when the first intifada broke out]. Back then everything was open. No permits, no prohibitions. We would go to the sea and Jerusalem. Me: But in 1987 you started the intifada because you couldn’t stand the Israeli occupation. Driver: Right. I know. We couldn’t imagine that it could be worse … Thin man: But you don’t really know what’s happening to us. You’ll never feel what we feel, imprisoned in our homeland, even though there are no bars. We’re afraid a soldier will kill a child, a settler will beat somebody up, or the Civil Administration will take our land or demolish our house. We live in fear of the next blow or the next regulation against us. You’ll never know what it’s like to be humiliated, persecuted and on probation in your homeland.
Other news, opinion
Israeli media: PA officials spend more time abroad than in Palestine
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 June — Israeli state media reported on Sunday that a number of senior Palestinian Authority officials spend more time abroad than in Palestine. The report, published on the Israeli Broadcasting Authority’s website Reshet Bet, alleged that some Palestinian officials spend 150 to 170 days in “fancy hotels” abroad every year. The report gave details for 10 senior PA officials, including President Mahmoud Abbas, Jibril Rajoub and Saeb Erekat … Although the report did not cite its sources, it may have been based on dates the officials traveled through the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank. The report was apparently designed to smear the politicians, and comes following a wave of high-profile diplomatic efforts aimed against Israel. It referred to the PA’s presidential headquarters in Ramallah as “the flying compound,” and questioned how there could be so much travel despite “financial hardships we have been hearing about for some time.” In the decades preceding the 1993 Oslo Accords, the exiled Palestine Liberation Organization brought international attention to the Palestinian cause through wide-ranging diplomatic efforts. Former President Yasser Arafat traveled extensively in his efforts to build international support, at times coming into criticism from other Palestinian officials for focusing too greatly on diplomacy.
Erekat: Reshet Bet report a ‘cheap’ trick
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 June — PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Reshet Bet report on Palestinian Authority officials’ days spent abroad is a “cheap” Israeli technique, and is a proof of the success of the PA’s diplomatic efforts. His statement came shortly after the Israeli state media website reported on Sunday that a number of senior PA officials spend more time abroad than in Palestine, with some spending 150 to 170 days in “fancy hotels” abroad every year. Erekat told local radio station Raya that the numbers published by the Israeli news source are correct, saying that “we work around the clock in all five continents to defend our cause and expose the Israeli crimes against our people.” “The Palestinian leadership roams the world so the world can listen to our narrative from us and not the Israeli narrative on us,” he added. Erekat said he personally receives invitations from international and academic organizations with covered expenses and has had to reject some of them. Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath told Raya that Israel deliberately used the information for the purpose of defamation, referring to the alleged move as an “old Mossad trick.” Shaath added that his work as an international relations commissioner, requires him to be present internationally according to his “national duties.”
Internal differences within Fatah reach their peak / Adnan Abu Amer
Al-Monitor 26 June — The many currents within Fatah are at war as to whom should lead the movement and succeed President Mahmoud Abbas — Palestinian Attorney General Abdel-Ghani al-Awewy made a surprise move June 21 to confiscate $1.6 million from the Palestine Tomorrow for Social Development, a foundation headed by former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad that empowers impoverished segments of Palestinian society. The Preventive Security Force in the West Bank had stormed the foundation’s Ramallah headquarters on Aug. 26, 2014, to investigate its activities. A senior Palestinian security official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Fayyad is suspected of exploiting his foundation for money laundering purposes, as well as the donations received by the foundation for his political purposes through coordination with [former Fatah leader] Mohammed Dahlan, who was expelled from Fatah. These two are trying to return to the Palestinian political scene by carrying out a bloodless coup against President Mahmoud Abbas and thanks to the support of regional and international players” — which the source did not name. Abbas understands that Fayyad and Dahlan, who have close ties, are two potential candidates to succeed him, as they enjoy international and regional support.
Waiting on ICC, Israeli war crimes suspects already fear arrest abroad
Middle East Monitor 27 June by Ben White — Over the last two weeks, two Israeli war crimes suspects entered the UK. One, former Israeli minister Tzipi Livni, received diplomatic immunity in dubious circumstances. A second, former Israeli army chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, visited for just 48 hours and left before the authorities acted. These visits have prompted three questions. The first question is for the FCO. Livni, an opposition MK, came to London to speak at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit. Since this would have constituted a personal visit, rather than an official one, Livni arranged a meeting with Foreign Office (FCO) minister Tobias Ellwood. The FCO then duly granted the visit ‘special mission’ status, and thus gave Livni immunity from prosecution. This latest episode further damages the credibility of the FCO. Already last year, there was “growing concern over the government’s issuing of special mission status, and the secrecy surrounding such moves.” There continues to be a troubling lack of transparency about the criteria used by the FCO in determining who is eligible for Special Mission immunity (and for what kind of visit) … . Mofaz claimed his early return to Israel was for personal reasons, though Channel 2 thought otherwise. Others have maintained that the prospect of arrest is minimal, and the risk has been exaggerated. But the reality is that Israeli officials have never been confident enough to truly test the system: those liable to be arrested visit with special mission immunity, come on whistle-stop visits, or cut short their stays … The day after Mofaz’s hasty departure, former Israeli naval commander Eliezer Marom penned an op-ed in Maariv on the threat of arrest still faced by Israeli officials (thanks to Ofer Neiman for translation). Marom, who was in charge during the Mavi Marmara assault and ‘Operation Cast Lead’, recounted how in 2013 he himself was questioned on arrival at Heathrow Airport. Marom noted that the 2011 change in UK law has not ruled out the possibility of arrest, and describes how Israel’s Justice Ministry has a dedicated section “dealing with the defence of heads of the security establishment against lawsuits in various states across the world.” ….
Foreign investment in Israel plummets by half since Gaza massacre
EI 25 June by Ali Abunimah — Foreign investment in Israel plummeted almost 50 percent in 2014, a fact attributed to last summer’s assault on Gaza and the growing impact of boycotts. This week the UN’s trade and development agency UNCTAD released its annual World Investment Report on foreign direct investment (FDI) – a measure of money that investors from overseas put into a country to invest in businesses, build factories or start other economic projects. According to the report, FDI into Israel in 2014 plummeted to just $6.4 billion from almost $12 billion in 2013. The 2014 figure appears to be the lowest in more than a decade. Foreign direct investment into Israel averaged around $9 billion per year from 2005 to 2012. “We believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing,” Roni Manos, an Israeli economist who co-authored the report, told Israel’s Ynet.
For the first time since 2011: Foreign Ministry director visits Cairo
Reuters 28 June — For the first time since 2011, the [Israeli] Foreign Ministry’s director-general, Dore Gold, visited Egypt on Sunday to discuss how to re-launch peace talks with the Palestinians, which have been stalled since last year. Gold met senior Egyptian officials to discuss “how to push the peace process forward,” Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported, citing Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty. Among others, Gold met with Deputy Foreign Minister Osama Almajdoub … Almajdoub, the statement said, “stressed Egypt’s unchanging positions regarding the Palestinian issue and the importance of reaching a just, inclusive and sustainable solution based on the principles of international legitimacy and UN resolutions.” Almajdoub told Gold that any accord between Israel and the Palestinians must be based on the two-state solution and lead to the formation of an independent Palestinian state. The Egyptian official also said that the Palestinian issue was “the heart of the conflict in the region, it is the Arabs’ central problem, and its solution is a basic condition to reaching stability in the region.”
When will justice’s ‘thunderbolt’ come for Palestine? / Philip Weiss
Mondoweiss 26 June — Even if you believe in the promise of the United States as much as I do, this week has been shocking. Today the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of marriage equality– a few short years after no reasonable observer would have said such a thing was possible. Earlier this week another miracle: a wave of white southern politicians called for the removal of the Confederate flag from official buildings as a symbol that fosters murderous hatred. “I don’t think god wants us to stop there,” President Obama said just now in a religious speech about equality at the memorial for a pastor killed in the Charleston massacre … All those who seek equality in our society have a heady feeling today: the American story is not done yet, our country is going to keep struggling forward; and prison reform is before us. After the Supreme Court ruling this morning the president said that some change is incremental and some comes as a “thunderbolt,” and of course both thunderbolts this week are still crackling for us activists on the Palestine issue. The flag’s removal and the Supreme Court decision raise two questions: Is Israel capable of the changes that we have witnessed here? And when is America going to shift to recognize Palestinians as human beings and not terrorists? … When a black president broke into Amazing Grace from the pulpit in Charleston – no one could have seen that moment ten years ago. Just as no one today can see the American embrace of Palestine that is coming soon.For all my American brothers and sisters who work tirelessly on behalf of a people whose oppression the U.S. is responsible for, today we issue a challenge to the country. Consider our cause. To paraphrase the Supreme Court, Palestinians also hope not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from civilization. All they ask is for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.