Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Arrests — West Bank, Jerusalem
Video: Israeli forces attack Palestinian elder while demolishing Jerusalem homes
Electronic Intifada 3 June by Charlotte Silver — This video shows Israeli occupation police and border guards brutally attacking members of the family of Nidal Abu Khalid early Tuesday morning, as they arrived to demolish two homes in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. The homes had been built without permits, which are nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain through the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipality. Israeli special police units arrived at 4:30 in the morning and occupied the house and surrounding rooftops. Abu Khalid, the homes’ owner, told Quds News Network that family members tried to remain in the houses to prevent the demolition, but Israeli forces attacked them physically, swore at them and used pepper spray, forcing them out. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Hashem Abu Khalid, 22, was arrested and suffered head wounds. Two other family members sustained facial injuries and 70-year-old Fatima Abu Khalid suffered respiratory difficulties after being attacked with pepper spray inside the house. The mobile phone video above, circulated in local media and on social media, captured some of the assault. The footage show Israeli forces throwing an elderly man to the floor, forcefully kicking him once he regains his footing and then punching him in the head.
Settler vehicle hits Palestinian near Salfit
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 June – A young Palestinian man was hit by a vehicle driven by an Israeli settler near the central West Bank city of Salfit on Wednesday night. Palestinian security sources said Ahmad Khayri Hzayyim Sultan, 22, was hit by the settler near the village of Haris northwest of Salfit. The young man was evacuated to the hospital where medics said he sustained moderate to minor bruises. Israeli police have opened an investigation into the case.
Separately, Israeli settlers pelted Palestinian vehicles traveling near the illegal Maale Efrayim settlement south of Nablus … Between January and May of this year, a total of 152 assaults were carried out by settlers on Palestinian civilians, the group says, and included hit-and-run attacks, use of gunfire, kidnapping attempts, attacks against places of worship, and destruction of Palestinian property.
another version of hit-and-run story:
Settler runs over Palestinian, causing serious injuries
IMEMC/Agencies 4 June — A female Israeli settler ran over a Palestinian youth on Thursday morning, near the West Bank city of Salfit. Witnesses said that the settler approached the youth while he was walking on the platform of the main street in the city. “She hit him and ran away,” an eyewitness said, according to Days of Palestine. Palestinian medical sources said that the man identified as Ahmed Sultan, age 22, was evacuated to Angelical Hospital in Nablus, by a Palestinian ambulance. Palestinian medical sources said the youth is suffering from a broken leg, face bruises and internal bleeding, as a result of the collision. Israeli police said it would open investigation into the incident, but the family of the youth doubted the Israeli intention to achieve justice in the case.
Palestinian minor injured in explosion of Israeli ordnance
TUBAS (PIC) 4 June — A Palestinian boy was injured on Thursday after Israeli army ordnance blew up near his family’s house in Tubas town in the northern West Bank. Quds Press quoted medical sources as saying that the boy was identified as Qutaiba Sawafta. He was injured in the explosion of an Israeli phosphorus bomb that was left over by the Israeli army. The Palestinian minor was playing in the house’s backyard and saw a strange object in the highland adjacent to the house where the Israeli army periodically conducts military exercises, the sources pointed out. The child’s family revealed that he was injured with second degree burns all over his body. His condition was described as moderate after he was transferred to a local hospital. Official sources asked the Palestinian families to warn their children against playing with any suspicious objects and to immediately inform the competent authorities to deal with it.
Elderly woman suffers heart attack during Hebron raid
IMEMC/Agencies 4 June — An elderly Palestinian woman, Thursday, suffered a heart attack after as Israeli forces raided her family’s home in al-Samou‘ town to the south of Hebron. WAFA correspondents reported that dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the town, where they ransacked and wrecked havoc into a local home belonging to Ahmad al-Daghamin. During the raid, Israeli soldiers verbally assaulted al-Daghamin’s elderly wife, Halima, 68, and the rest of his family members, threatening to physically assault them. This caused Halima to suffer a heart attack. Halima was transferred to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, where medics said she suffered a heart attack as a result of the psychological stress she was exposed to. Halima’s condition was described as stable.
Video: Six children suffocate after soldiers fire gas bombs into their home in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 5 June by Saed Bannoura — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday, Kafr Qaddoum village, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and attacked the weekly protest, which led to clashes … This week, the villagers were marching in commemoration of the Palestinian Naksa of 1967, when Israel occupied the rest of Palestine (the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem,) and demanding Israel to reopen the main village road that it shut down 13 years ago. Morad Eshteiwy, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Kufur Qaddoum, said dozens of soldiers, accompanied by an armored military bulldozer, invaded the village, and advanced towards its mosque while firing a barrage of gas bombs, live rounds and rubber-coated metal bullets. Eshteiwy added that the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs directly at the homes of the residents, in addition to firing rounds of live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets, and sprayed the protesters with wastewater mixed with chemicals. Some of the bombs struck a family home, causing six children, ages six months to five years, and their parents, to suffer severe effects of gas inhalation, while some children fainted, before residents rushed to the family home to rescue them. The invasion, and the targeting of homes, led to clashes between the soldiers and dozens of local youth who hurled stones and empty bottles on them. Medical sources said one Palestinian, 45 years of age, was shot in the leg, with a live round fired by the invading soldiers.
Palestinian Christian avenges daily abuses by Jewish radicals – Video of latest Jerusalem stabbing released
GAZA (PIC) 5 June — The Israeli press Thursday afternoon released previously sealed details about the May 24 stabbing of two Israeli settlers in Jerusalem’s Old City while they were en route to all-night study sessions. According to the Shin Bet, the suspect, John Kakish, a 19-year-old Christian living in the Old City, confessed to carrying out the overnight attack to “take revenge on Israeli settlers.” In a statement, the security agency said that during questioning Kakish admitted the attack was retaliation for violence and racism carried out in the Old City by Israeli settlers. Following the attack, the two extremist settlers were treated at the scene by Israeli paramedics for light wounds to their upper backs and transferred to Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem in satisfactory condition … Kakish was apprehended in his home after occupation police reviewed closed-circuit security footage taken at the scene shortly after the attack … Radical Jewish attacks against Palestinian Christians have been on the rise. The attacks range from verbal abuse to serious property damage.
Army kidnaps a Palestinian-American child near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 4 June by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers installed, Wednesday, a sudden roadblock at the main entrance of Silwad town, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped one child, who also holds American citizenship. The soldiers also detained a young man for a few hours. The child’s mother said the soldiers stopped a car transporting her child, Taleb Ghaleb Hamed, 15 years of age, and another young man, around 22 years of age, who was released a few hours later, the WAFA News Agency said. She added that the soldiers took her child to the Mikhmas interrogation center, before moving him to the Ofer Israeli prison. The child is scheduled to appear in the Jerusalem District Court Thursday; his family was not granted any further information, and were not allowed to see him.
Israeli forces detain 16 across West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 June — Israeli forces detained 16 Palestinians across the West Bank overnight Wednesday, an Israeli army spokesperson said. Several Israeli military jeeps raided the Kafr Qalil village in southern Nablus after midnight and searched several homes before detaining three. Palestinian security sources identified those detained as Waddah Nabil Abd al-Jalil, Saddam Attiyeh Mansour, and Assem Walid Amer. Israeli forces also detained Harb Issa, 22, after raiding his and several other homes in the Salem village in eastern Nablus. In Hebron, Israeli forces raided the home of Saleh Abu Turki and detained his two sons, Muhammad and Amjad, before searching the house, locals said. Israeli forces also detained Nasr Hussein Abu Hadid after raiding his home in the southern area of Hebron. Others arrested elsewhere across the West Bank have not yet been identified …
Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West bank are routinely detained by Israeli forces, with prisoners’ rights group Addameer estimating that around 40 percent of the Palestinian male population has spent time in Israeli jails.
Hamas says PA forces arrest 4 of its members
RAMALLAH (PIC) 5 June — The Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, said in a press statement issued Friday that PA security forces continued its systematic arrest policy against its members in occupied West Bank. The statement pointed out that four Hamas affiliates were detained over the past week, while the journalist Mohamed Awad’s detention has been extended for 15 days. In al-Khalil, PA Preventive Security Services (PPS) detained a university student after being summoned for investigation. The PSS also continued to arrest three other students affiliated to the Islamic bloc, Hamas’ student wing. An ex-prisoner was also arrested at hands of PA forces after brutally storming and searching his home in Dura town in the city. In Ramallah, the Israeli Magistrate court extended the arrest of the journalist Mohamed Awad who was brought to court in very difficult situation due to the severe torture he was subjected to during the investigation. Meanwhile, the political detainee Islam Hamed continued his hunger strike in PA jail for 56 consecutive days in protest against his detention in PA Junaid prison.
Israelis, Palestinians march for West Bank town set for demolition
Susya (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – Hundreds of Israelis and Palestinians marched Friday in support of a West Bank village slated for demolition, a plan they said epitomises the Israeli occupation. The march in Susya, southeast of Hebron, took place on the anniversary of what the Palestinians call the Naksa (Setback), when Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day war displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Israel’s High Court ruled in May that Susya’s 340 residents could be relocated and its structures demolished, which Human Rights Watch derided as “a grave breach” of Israel’s obligations to the Palestinian populace under its military rule. HRW said the villagers built the homes in 1986 on agricultural land they owned, after being evicted by Israel from their previous dwellings on land declared as an archeological site. Authorities then argued that the new site was unsuitable for habitation due to its remote location, HRW said. It lies in the area of the West Bank where Israel wields full control over planning matters and rarely grants building permission to Palestinians. Members of Combatants for Peace, an NGO that brings together former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants to promote peace, held signs reading “There is another way.” Dov Hanin, a Jewish member of parliament with the Arab Joint List, said no place was more suitable than Susya to mark the anniversary of the 1967 war. “Susya tells the entire story in a nutshell,” he told marchers. “The residents are told ‘you’ve no place on the face of the earth.” … The Israeli army has refused to say when it plans to demolish the new Susya, but said it can legally do so at any time, in accordance with the court ruling … In 2014, Israel granted a single building permit in the area, which covers more than 60 percent of the West Bank.
Israeli forces detain 3 at Naksa Day protest in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 June — Israeli forces on Friday detained a Palestinian and two international activists during a Naksa Day protest in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, witnesses said. Residents and international activists were protesting Israeli settlement activity and commemorating the 48th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which began on June 5, 1967 — a day referred to by Palestinians as the Naksa, meaning setback. Witnesses said the protesters marched toward homes that have been taken over by Israeli settlers in the neighborhood. The Palestinian detained was identified as Salih Diab. Palestinians annually commemorate the Israeli invasion of the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights in 1967 that led to the flight of around 300,000 Palestinians from their homes, as well as thousands of Syrians.Friday also saw dozens of Palestinians participate in a rally in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound marking Naksa Day, as well as offering support to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.Naksa Day represents the beginning of the Israeli military occupation and the settlement enterprise in the Palestinian territories, which has involved the dispossession of tens of thousands of Palestinians from their land in order to construct settlement homes exclusively for Jews.Occupied East Jerusalem has in particular suffered the Israeli policy of “Judaization” in the years since 1967, with the Israeli authorities constructing Jewish settlements and demolishing Palestinian homes.The Israeli government does not recognize East Jerusalem as occupied territory, referring to the whole city as its “unified capital,” in contravention of international law.
Hamas fighter killed in Gaza tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — A member of Hamas’ military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, died on Friday while working in a tunnel to be used for military activities, Hamas said. Issam Omar al-Kattani, from the Shuja‘iyeh neighborhood, died while working inside a “resistance tunnel,” the brigades said in a statement, without adding any further details. A member of Hamas’ politburo, Khalil al-Hayya, said at al-Kattani’s funeral procession that the “soldiers of al-Qassam brigades will continue to build more tunnels which have become the greatest weapon to defeat the occupation.” A spokesman for the Gaza health ministry told AFP that two others were “moderately injured” in the tunnel collapse. A number of fighters in Gaza have been killed by accidents during military training exercises in recent years, and the tunnel networks, which are largely used for smuggling in the coastal enclave’s south and military purposes in the north, are notoriously dangerous. The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, Al Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400. While the tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and inflow of weapons, they also supply highly-demanded necessities for Gaza’s 1.8 million residents under the blockade, including food, medicine, as well as infrastructure materials including concrete and fuel.
Army confirms 2 rockets land in southern Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 June — Israel’s military reported late Wednesday that two rockets were fired from the southern Gaza Strip. The army confirmed reports of rocket-warning sirens going off in Ashkelon and Netivot. No injures or damage were immediately reported, the military said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from armed groups in Gaza. Earlier Wednesday, Israeli forces continued near-daily incursions into the Gaza Strip, shooting and injuring one east of Khan Younis and detaining four fishermen off the coast of Gaza City.
IAF strikes Gaza after rocket fire on Israel
Ynet 4 June by Ilana Curiel, Matan Tzuri, Yoav Zitun & Roi Kais — Israel Air Force jets struck three targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Thursday, following rocket strikes on southern Israel late Wednesday night. The IDF said it hit targets affiliated to Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip singlehandedly since seizing power in 2007. “The IDF views the incident gravely,” said the military in a statement. “The Hamas terrorist organization is the address and the one on whom the responsibility falls.” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon echoed this message Thursday morning. “Even if last night’s shooting at Israel was by errant global jihadist groups who wish to challenge Hamas by firing at us, we consider Hamas responsible for what happens in the Gaza Strip and we will not tolerate attempts to harm our citizens,” he said. “We will not compromise on the security of Israeli citizens and we will not tolerate a return to the reality of a drizzle of rocket fire.” A radical Islamist Salafist group posted a statement on Twitter claiming responsibility for firing the rockets. Calling itself the Omar Brigades, the group said it was retaliating for Hamas’ killing of an Islamic State supporter in a Gaza shootout on Tuesday. “We are continuing with our jihad against the Jews, the enemies of God, and no one will be able to deter us,” the statement said. At least two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Wednesday at around 11 pm local time. One fell in an open area in the Sdot Negev Regional Council and the other in an open area in the Hof Ashkelon region. No one was hurt from the rocket fire, and there was no damage caused.
Israeli bulldozers enter Palestinian land east of Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — Several Israeli bulldozers entered the Shuja‘iyeh neighborhood east of Gaza City Friday morning, crossing several meters into Palestinian land while searching the area, witnesses said. Israeli spokesperson for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) did not have any information on the incident. Israeli forces enter the Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis in contravention of international law, with Israeli forces opening fire at civilians in the “buffer zone” on land and sea over ten times between May 26 and June 1, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Shuja‘iyeh neighborhood is home to around 100,000 residents struggling to rebuild several months after the last war between Israel and Hamas over the summer.
Egypt to evacuate 10,000 homes in Gaza buffer zone expansion
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 6 June – Egyptian military forces will begin to evacuate more homes opposite to the borderlines with the Gaza Strip come July, in an ongoing expansion of the no-go area between Egypt and the Palestinian coastal enclave, Egyptian military sources said Saturday. A fertile ground for smuggling tunnels running underground between the two sides, Egypt has evacuated thousands of Palestinian homes this year due to alleged use of the tunnels for supporting a current militant insurgency in the Sinai. Several families have been notified of the evacuation plans which are expected to affect some 10,000 houses in the Safa, Imam Ali and al-Ahrash neighborhoods in Rafah city in North Sinai Peninsula, said authorities, who seek to expand the zone by 500 meters … Around 1,110 houses on the Egyptian side had been demolished by the end of April to make way for the expanding buffer zone, with more than 1,000 families displaced. Both sides of the border are densely populated as the city of Rafah originally extended in both directions, a growth that was the result of the Israeli occupation of the Sinai Peninsula for more than a decade following the 1967 war. Egyptian military sources say that to eradicate the potential danger of smuggling tunnels “once and for all,” the current no-go area should reach 5,000 meters and be protected with a water canal dug alongside it. The evacuation is set to start immediately after the holy month of Ramadan, around July 20.
[with video] Counterpunch 2 June by Johnny Barber — in 3 parts — Heading to Gaza — The Rafah Crossing from Egypt to Gaza was opened on May 26th for 2 days after being closed for the past 75 days. The opening allowed Palestinian residents of Gaza who were stranded in Egypt or third countries to return home to Gaza. The crossing remained closed for those trying to leave Gaza. The waiting list for people trying to leave has reached 15,000 people. The waiting list includes thousands of medical patients, students, and people traveling to their work or their families abroad. Many of these people have been trapped in Gaza since the Israeli attack last July … I can’t forget the old man, a double amputee, in a spotless white thawb laying on a small piece of cardboard on the floor next to his wheelchair; the exhausted sweaty children, sleeping in the aisles of the main room as people climbed over them; the old woman, who had been sobbing earlier, spent and now quiet, laying on the floor next to me and Hanaa, resting her head on a small bundle. The exhaustion and frustration etched on people’s faces is still difficult to bear. This system has been in place for years. Nothing is ever improved; even the simplest fixes are not implemented. This is exactly how it is designed to work. Every aspect of the system acts as a deterrent, so people will no longer try to travel. If you were to find yourself in this hall, desperately trying to get home, and were met with the complete indifference, contempt, and bald-faced lies of the authorities in these rooms, you would not accept it. But thousands of people have no choice. Here is a three minute video of the Rafah Crossing at 6 am on May 27, 2015.
Israeli forces release 5 detained fishermen in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 June — Israeli forces on Thursday evening released five Palestinian fishermen who were detained near al-Sudaniya beach in the northern Gaza Strip the same morning. Secretary general of the fishermen union Amjad al-Sharafi told Ma‘an that Israeli forces released the five fishermen from the Baker family who were detained earlier.
Also Thursday, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza said that Israeli forces had arrested 60 Palestinian fishermen and seized or destroyed 30 fishing boats since the start of the ceasefire last August. The general director of the union Sami al-Asmi said in a statement that Israeli forces had seized 77 boats in the last four years, returned 14 of them and destroyed five. They also killed fisherman Sayed Abu Riyala while he was working last March. He added that among the 60 fishermen arrested, three remain in Israeli custody for the possession of fiberglass, which used to be legal but now isn’t according to Israeli regulations.
Gazan women protest against unity gov’t
GAZA (PIC) 5 June — Dozens of Gazan women on Thursday participated in a protest sit-in demanding the Palestinian unity government to shoulder its humanitarian and legal responsibilities towards the Gaza Strip and pressure Israel to end its blockade. The protest was staged by Palestinian women against the Siege outside the headquarters of the cabinet in Gaza, where the participants carried banners condemning what they described as the government’s hypocrisy and accusing it of being responsible for the humanitarian suffering in the Strip. Spokeswoman for the group Randa Swairki stated that the protest was organized on the first anniversary of the government’s inception. “We demand it to assume its responsibilities towards Gaza and pressure Israel to lift its blockade, which is ongoing for the ninth consecutive year,” she said.
Hamas organizes march against unity government, UNRWA
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — Hamas on Friday organized a march in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip to protest the national unity government’s alleged neglect of the coastal enclave, as well as policies of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA. The march set off from mosques across the refugee camp following Friday prayers, and ended at a home destroyed during last summer’s Israeli offensive on Gaza. Hamas leader Muhammad Abu Askar said before the march that that while the unity government had been formed to serve all Palestinians, one year on the situation in Gaza is continuing to worsen. “Hamdallah’s government prevented employment in Gaza, and today UNRWA has stopped hiring and is shrinking its services for refugees and those who were affected by the war.”
Photos: Gaza’s grandparents endure one trauma after another
Electronic Intifada 4 June by Anne Paq — Most of Gaza’s population is very young: the median age is 18, and nearly 45 percent of the Strip’s 1.8 million residents are 14 years old or younger. Attention was rightly paid to the plight of Gaza’s children during Israel’s 51 days of bombing last summer. But elderly Palestinians are also among the population’s most vulnerable, and have been subjected to repeated trauma during their lifetime. The eldest among them survived the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine, when they were forced from their homes and into refugee camps. The Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe) was followed by Israeli invasions and massacres in the 1950s, military conquest and occupation in 1967, the imposition of settlement colonies, two popular uprisings and their subsequent crackdowns. And, most recently, nearly a decade of siege and closure and three major military offensives in the span of six years. Gaza’s elderly have been subjected to destruction of homes and businesses — the destruction of a life’s work. In some cases they have had to become caretakers again, taking in grandchildren orphaned by Israeli violence and playing a crucial role in keeping families together following profound loss.This collection of photographs was built in the last eight months and intends to pay tribute to this generation of Palestinians who have made unimaginable sacrifices.
Gaza ministry pays $1,000 to Palestinians displaced by war
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 June — The Palestinian minister of public works and housing announced a $1,000 payment from Qatar for those whose homes were completely destroyed during the Israeli offensive on Gaza last year. Mufid al-Hasayneh thanked the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad, Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa, Qatari ambassador Muhammad al-Amadi, the Qatari government and people for their support to Palestinians. Al-Hasayneh said that around 1,525 people whose homes were completely destroyed would be receiving the payment via the Bank of Palestine across the districts of the Gaza Strip. During the 2014 assault, 500,000 Palestinians were displaced at the height of the conflict, with 18,000 homes destroyed and 100,000 people left homeless.
19 injured children return to Gaza from Germany
GAZA (PIC) 3 June — 19 Palestinian children injured in last summer’s Israeli offensive on Gaza came back home to the blockaded Strip on Tuesday after they had been in Germany for medical treatment. Sources in the Gaza crossings department told the Anadolu news agency that 19 wounded Palestinian children arrived in the coastal enclave afternoon Tuesday via the Israeli-controlled Beit Hanoun border crossing after they had received medical therapy in German hospitals. The Israeli occupation forces banned three German doctors accompanying the children from entering the Gaza Strip, the same sources added. Spokesperson for the Gaza-headquartered Health Ministry, Ashraf al-Qudra, said, meanwhile, the children took a recovery trip to Germany to be treated for the serious and moderate wounds they sustained during last summer’s Israeli aggression on Gaza. Many among the wounded children have been orphaned after Israel’s military operation took away the lives of their fathers and mothers.
Life as a Gaza street vendor
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 4 June by Rasha Abou Jalal — Thousands of unemployed in the Gaza Strip wait for the summer season to get their small projects up and running to support their families in light of the continuing economic downturn. These projects include the sale of boiled corn and summer fruits on small carts, moving between markets and beaches. The owners of these projects, who are trying to fight poverty and unemployment, usually face several types of harassment by local authorities, most notably the latter’s imposition and collection of taxes … Abu Mohammed Mekdad, 42, who worked at a concrete factory that was destroyed in Israel’s last war on Gaza, was forced to borrow some money from relatives to buy a cart to sell fruit in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza City to provide for his family that was displaced by the war. “Police cars are always on our tail, claiming that our work is illegal and unauthorized. Each time they confiscate our weighing scale and the cart’s umbrella and we can only get those back by paying a fine of 40 shekels (about $10),” he told Al-Monitor.
Gaza civil defense responds to Israeli request to assist with fire
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 June — The Palestinian Civil Defense in Gaza agreed to a request from Israeli authorities to assist in extinguishing a fire that had erupted near the Sufa Israeli military site east of Rafah on Friday. Spokesperson for civil defense operations in Gaza Raed al-Dahshan told Ma‘an that the International Committee of the Red Cross had contacted Palestinian civil defense officials after Israeli authorities requested help. The civil defense then reportedly prepared for the mission and waited for security coordination to reach the site, before receiving a message from the Red Cross cancelling the mission, al-Dahshan added.
UN report cites Israel crimes against children, no consensus on listing
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 5 June by Louis Charbonneau — U.N. agencies in Israel and the Palestinian territories reported an alarming number of child victims in last year’s war in the Gaza Strip but were split on whether Israel should be put on a list of violators of children’s rights, a U.N. document said. The 22-page confidential country report, obtained by Reuters on Friday, was prepared by United Nations agencies on the ground for submission to the U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict as she readied a draft of the annual list. The special envoy, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, included Israel’s army and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the draft she sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has final say on the list, U.N. sources have said. Diplomats say the final version of the list, which names grave violators of children’s rights in armed conflicts, could reach U.N. member states as early as the beginning of next week … Whether to include the Jewish state is a politically charged issue for Israel and the United States. Some U.S. lawmakers have spoken out on the issue and Republican presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz wrote to Ban about it this week. U.N. diplomatic sources told Reuters that Israel has lobbied hard against its inclusion and that Ban was leaning against including Israel. Diplomats said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power had urged Ban not to list Israel.
HRW asks UN to put Israel on child rights violators list
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 4 June — Human Rights Watch on Thursday urged UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to add Israel to an annual “List of Shame” of children’s rights violators, after more than 500 children were killed in the war in Gaza last year. The US-based rights group called on Ban to resist pressure from Israel and the United States to keep the Israeli Defense Forces off the list due to be released next week. “Secretary-General Ban can strengthen child protection in war by compiling his list based on facts, not political pressure,” said Philippe Bolopion, crisis advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch is also calling for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas to be included as well as armed groups in Pakistan, Thailand and India for serious violations including attacks on schools and the recruitment of child soldiers. The current list has 51 groups including Boko Haram and Islamic State as well as the armed forces from eight countries such as Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Prisoners / Court actions
Abu Khdeir murder trial: defendant tells court he did not plan to kill teenager
Guardian 3 June by Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem — One of two Israeli teenagers accused with a 30-year old man of the kidnap and murder of Palestinian boy last summer has described the killing in detail for the first time in evidence at his trial in Jerusalem. Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was snatched from outside a mosque in east Jerusalem and driven to a forest where he was knocked insensible with a crowbar and burned alive. His murder triggered an international outcry and violent clashes in the city. The killing was condemned at the time by the US secretary of state, John Kerry, the EU and by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, as well as by the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. Speaking in his defence at his trial at a Jerusalem district court, the teenager, who cannot be named because he is a minor, blamed Yosef Ben-David, his 30-year-old co-accused, as motivating the hate crime, adding that he had never planned to kill Abu Khdeir. In an angry outburst in the court, and in comments outside later, Abu Khdeir father accused the teenager of lying. Ben-David, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Adam, admitted last year he had been responsible for setting Abu Khdeir alight. He has, however, refused to testify, invoking his right to remain silent, while his lawyer has insisted his client is “insane” and therefore unfit for trial. The teenager, who has claimed he was emotionally dependent on the older man, said in his defence that he had felt pressured to join in the kidnapping. “When [Ben-David] picked me up at my home he told me we had to do something … to avenge God’s honour. It was hard for me to say no to him,” the teenager said.
Family appeals decision not to charge police officers in death of Israeli Arab
Haaretz 6 June by Jack Khoury — New video, says attorney, contradicts officers’ statements, shows that Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan was shot not according to regulations — Family of Arab Israeli shot dead by police in Kfar Kana six months ago appealed the Justice Ministry decision to not file charges against the three police officers involved in the incident. In the appeal submitted Thursday to State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan, the family demanded that the investigation be reopened and that the decision to close the probe be reevaluated in light of new evidence. According to the appeal this would lead to charging one of the officers with manslaughter. [The killing of] Khayr al-Din al-Hamdan, 22, in Kafr Kana on November 8, 2014, sparked demonstrations and violent clashes at Israeli universities and throughout northern Israel. Among the evidence cited in the appeal is an additional video documenting Hamdan’s shooting – from a different angle. According to the appeal, the two other officers were party to obstruction of justice … The appeal, filed by attorney Avigdor Feldman, stated that the video clearly shows Hamdan turning around in order to flee for his life, but the officer shot him and he collapsed on the road. According to Feldman, the new video shows that Hamdan – in opposition to what was stated by the officers – was not wielding a knife when he was shot and didn’t pose a risk to the officers.
The second hunger strike of Khader Adnan
Middle East Eye 5 June by Linah Alsaafin — First, there is gnawing hunger then constant vomiting and joint pain. “I know what he is passing through every moment,” Adnan’s wife said — In 2012, Khader Adnan, a mild-mannered baker from a town near the West Bank city of Jenin, became a renowned figure in international grassroots activism as he embarked on an individual 66-day perilous hunger strike, the longest a Palestinian prisoner of Israel had ever undertaken. Comparisons were drawn to the famous Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands, who died in the H blocks in 1981 after refusing food for the same number of days. While Sands was striking for the right to be recognised by Margaret Thatcher’s government as a political prisoner, Adnan pursued “the battle of empty stomachs” as referred to by Palestinian local media to demand an end to the renewal of his administrative detention by Israel … Adnan managed to secure a deal after more than two months abstaining from food in February 2012, which was widely regarded as a victory over his jailers. The Israeli prison administration caved and agreed not to renew his detention, but would release him once he had finished the four-month term he was sentenced to … – Déjà vu – Adnan, 37, was rearrested for the tenth time since 1999 on 8 July last year, when Israeli soldiers – according to his sister who was with him in the car – celebrated with glee when they dragged him out of the car upon recognising him. A member of the Islamic Jihad group, Adnan was never officially charged with anything. He was given a six-month administrative detention order, and on the same day he was due to be released in January, the Israeli prison service informed him that his detention had been extended for yet another six months. When his detention was extended for the third time in May, Adnan immediately announced his strike to protest his internment, vowing only to subsist on water and salt until his release. The day was 5 May, and at the time of writing, he has entered the second month of his hunger strike. Adnan’s second hunger strike is eerily similar to his first, in that local media and then international attention only picked up after he surpassed his 50th day. Currently, he is being held in isolation at the infamous Ramle prison hospital – referred to by prisoners as the “slaughterhouse”. Adnan is now unable to stand and suffers from severe pain in his eyes.
Palestinian journalist tortured in PA jails
RAMALLAH (PIC) 5 June — The Palestinian journalist Mohamed Awad, 27, said during his court hearing held Thursday that he was subjected to beating and electric shocks while being held in PA Jericho prison. Awad said that during his interrogation that lasted for 31 days he was subjected to severe torture including beating, tying him to chair for long hours, electric shocks, and sleep deprivation. Awad was brought to court on Thursday in very difficult health condition as he was unable to stand up during the hearing, PIC reporter said. He also lost about 15 kg of his weight within only a month, he added. His family appealed seven times for his release on a bail especially that there is no charge against him, but it was in vain. Awad’s detention has been extended for more 15 days pending investigation, the family said. Before his arrest, Awad was preparing for his wedding planned to be held on June 10. He had earlier spent nearly 10 months in Israeli jails, before being detained more than once by PA forces.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction of movement
This huge settlement will ‘turn Palestinian villages into a prison’
Haaretz 5 June by Gideon Levy — Construction proceeds apace in the settlement of Leshem, creating yet one more ‘settlement bloc’ in the West Bank and bisecting it irrevocably — It’s full speed ahead at Leshem, in the northwestern part of the West Bank. While some people are still amusing – or deceiving – themselves by clinging to the idea of a two-state solution, and while every desperate Palestinian approach to an international organization of any kind is branded a “unilateral move” that violates signed agreements, Israel is building another mega-settlement in the heart of the West Bank at a rapid pace. But that’s not considered a unilateral move, no way. Dozens of cement “little boxes” are already occupied; hundreds more are under construction. While we were talking about other things, these uniform gray cubes sprang up and completed the malicious territorial continuity stretching from the coastal plain to the urban settlement of Ariel, and from there to Tapuah Junction, Ma’aleh Ephraim and the Jordan Valley – a clear, straight line that bisects the West Bank.
Left-wing NGO contends east Jerusalem settlements block contiguous Palestinian state
JPost 3 June by Daniel K. Eisenbud — “Israel has a long-term policy – that goes back to 1967 – of consolidating its control of east Jerusalem,” Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher at the left-wing NGO Ir Amim, said during a Wednesday morning press tour of Jerusalem neighborhoods. Beginning at the periphery of southern Jerusalem, with clear vistas of Har Homa and Gilo, Tatarsky pointed to them as key examples of strategically built neighborhoods intended to block a contiguous Palestinian state from Ramallah to east Jerusalem. “We can see how settlement construction actually creates borders and boundaries and brings together areas and separates areas,” he said. “And as far as Israeli right-wing policymakers are concerned, this guarantees Israeli control of Jerusalem.” If a Palestinian state is created, he said, “these facts on the ground are detrimental.” “For east Jerusalem to be a capital of Palestine, you need to have contiguity between it and the rest of the West Bank, and you have a very simple connection between Bethlehem and east Jerusalem, but building Har Homa right between the two blocks the connection,” he said. “Right next to Har Homa you have Gilo, and if you look to the east, the plans for E1 outside of Jerusalem would disconnect Ramallah from Bethlehem. If you look at the north of Jerusalem, then Pisgat Ze’ev and Neveh Ya’acov are close to Beit Hanina, and Ramat Shlomo is near Shuafat, making it difficult to separate [two states].” Moreover, Tatarsky said, efforts by right-wing groups have long been under way in the heart of Jerusalem to change facts on the ground there.
Claiming to preserve Jerusalem, Israeli archaeologists wreck Palestinian heritage
SILWAN (EI) 4 June by Charlotte Silver — In an administrative building buried deep in the spaciously built suburbs of West Jerusalem, the latest phase of a long-standing struggle over a corner of land in the heart of the city concluded last week. Israel’s National Planning Committee has overseen an appeal by several bodies who oppose the further expansion of the powerful settler group Elad’s control over archaeological sites in Silwan, a congested Palestinian neighborhood located just meters away from al-Aqsa Mosque and the walls of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem. With the blessing of the authorities, Elad plans to build a giant new visitors center on top of an excavation site … After two hearings before the planning committee, during which Palestinian residents of Silwan, human rights lawyers, as well as architecture and urban planning scholars made their case against the Israeli state and Elad, the committee is now adjourned to deliberate its final decision on whether the proposed building can proceed … During the two days of hearings, the state defended the construction of the enormous visitors center, arguing that it would help preserve a historic site. But Yonatan Mizrachi, a member of the alternative archaeology group Emek Shaveh, rejected this excuse. “It’s very simple: if you’re doing an excavation, any building that is going to be on it will damage the artifacts,” he told The Electronic Intifada. Archaeologist and Tel Aviv University professor Raphael Greenberg has also said excavators have destroyed layers from Muslim periods, including an 11th-century cemetery. David Kroyanker, an expert on the architectural history of Jerusalem, has described the Kedem proposal as the most “audacious plan” he’d seen, with “destructive potential.” Elad and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) have avoided making the conservation plans normally required of archaeological projects by postponing the completion of official proposals to build the massive structure.
Bedouin face expulsion as Israel builds Greater Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 4 June by Aziza Nofal — Bedouin communities in the highlands of Jerusalem are facing evacuation threats by Israeli authorities who purportedly plan to use the land to expand the settlements — For years, Umm Mohamad, from the Abu Nawar Bedouin compound north of occupied Jerusalem, has been trying to find a house for her son Walid so he can get married and settle in the area where she lives. Her efforts have not paid off, though, as the Israeli occupation forces refuse to allow them to build a new house, not even a tent. The house Umm Mohamad and her sons are hoping to get is only a tent, but the plan is far-fetched as Israel is trying to expel them from their land to another location that was built to accommodate Bedouin and other communities. “Occasionally, a military occupation force raids the place, counts the houses and people and destroys any new building immediately,” she told Al-Monitor. Another resident, Umm Khaled, and her family — made up of her husband and eight children and grandchildren — are part of the 700 Bedouin living in the area facing the Ma’ale Adumim settlement — the largest in the West Bank, located in the east of Al-Eizariya in the Abu Nawar compound.
The Catch-22 for Palestinian villages in the West Bank
KHIRBET SUSIYA (IRIN) 3 June — A small collection of shelters in the sweltering heat of the south Hebron hills, the village of Khirbet Susiya has barely enough electricity to power a fan, let alone be the flashpoint for an international conflict. Yet in recent weeks it has hosted a steady stream of visitors – even establishing a small “solidarity” centre offering tea and flyers titled “Save Susiya” in Arabic and Hebrew. Activists from various groups – including left-wing Israelis – stop by to offer support. For Susiya is set to become the latest Palestinian village to be destroyed by Israel after a court ruling. Residents like Nasser Nawaja, the village’s unofficial spokesperson, are wondering if and when the bulldozers will arrive … The position of the 350 residents here is emblematic of the Catch-22 situation facing many Palestinians in this part of the West Bank. To avoid their homes being destroyed, the villagers need a state-approved plan or building permit. But, for Palestinians at least, such permits are nigh on impossible to get. According to the Israeli group Bimkom – Planners for Human Rights, between 2002 and 2012, out of 3,565 Palestinian applications for building permits just 210 were approved. With the success rate so low, many feel discouraged and applications are on the downturn. There are no available statistics about illegal Palestinian building. For a rough contrast, Peace Now reports that in the same period more than 17,000 residential units were build in Jewish settlements, with or without permits. Susiya has applied both for multiple permits to build and for recognition from Israel’s Civil Administration. Both were denied, leaving it among the roughly 90 percent of Palestinian villages in this area without formal government permission to exist. And so they built without permits. Nothing too extravagant – small kitchens to their semi-detached tents, cement floors – steps to make life in the extreme weather conditions more bearable. But it is this building that is the justification for destroying the village. A few hundred yards away, there is a second Susiya. This one is occupied by Jewish settlers and has been granted all the necessary permits. The contrast between the two is stark. The Jewish Susiya is neat rows of homes with red pointed roofs, the Palestinian one communal outhouses and worn tarpaulin..
Israeli forces level private Palestinian land near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 June – Israeli forces leveled land, uprooted trees and soiled water wells in the southern West Bank town of Surif northwest of Hebron Thursday morning. Surif Mayor Muhammad Lafi Ghneimat told Ma‘an that several Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers stormed the western outskirts of Surif and damaged around 20 dunums (5 acres) of private Palestinian property locally known as Qarnat Hadid. While toppling dry stone walls built on the land and razing olive trees, the destruction filled three local wells with the ruins, making them unusable.
Israel demolishes 30 agricultural structures in Jordan Valley
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 June — Israeli forces demolished over 30 agricultural structures in the northern Jordan Valley on Thursday morning, local officials said. Israeli bulldozers protected by military vehicles stormed an area known locally as Diraa Awwad near the Israeli military checkpoint Hamra, east of Nablus. Bulldozers then demolished the structures including tents, barns, farmland, and water tanks belonging to Palestinian families, said Muataz Bisharat, an official from the governor’s office in Tubas. The Israeli forces “demolished almost the whole area,” he explained, allegedly because the structures were built without a license. The structures belonged to locals Adnan Abd al-Mahdi Salamin, his brother Adil, Kayid Ghayyath, Nidhal Yousif Abu Awwad and his brother Nidham. The area was declared a closed military zone … The Jordan Valley accounts for nearly a third of the land in the occupied West Bank, although 90 percent of it is designated as “Area C” meaning it is under full Israeli control and Palestinian use of the land is severely restricted. Aside from the land taken up by 39 Israeli settlements and nine illegal outposts, huge swaths of the territory have been declared military firing zones and therefore are off-limits to Palestinians.
IOF search for water wells west of Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 4 June — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) were deployed on Thursday evening in various locations in Marj Bin Amer to the west of Jenin for searching on water wells. Local sources revealed that IOF soldiers took photos of the locations and questioned Palestinian farmers while working in their lands in two towns in Jenin. The Israeli questions were about irrigation sources and locations of water wells, the sources pointed out. The Israeli authorities consider the artesian water wells as unlicensed while at the same time they refrain from issuing well licenses.
IOA deprive injured cameraman of treatment in Jerusalem
NABLUS (PIC) 4 June — Israeli Occupation Authority (IOA) prevented a Palestinian photographer from access to Occupied Jerusalem for treatment after he was shot by Israeli bullets in clashes at Howara checkpoint near Nablus. In a statement, the photographer Nidal Eshtayeh said that he filed a request to the Israeli liaison to enter the occupied city so that he could receive treatment in one of its hospitals for his left eye which was shot by an Israeli rubber bullet while he was covering a confrontation two weeks ago. He was, however, informed by the liaison that his request was declined due to security refusal of the Israeli Shin bet, noting that he had never been banned from entering Occupied Jerusalem before. He declared his intention to travel to Jordan for his urgent need for treatment because of injury complications as he has been suffering from weak vision and severe pain due to a ceaseless eye bleeding. Nidal Eshtayeh works as a cameraman at the Chinese agency Xinhua. He was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet that penetrated the gas preventive mask and scattered the glass into his eye.
UK, France decline to take part in Israel defense expo in Tel Aviv
JPost 2 June by Dana Somberg, Noam Amir/Maariv Hashavua — Despite Israel’s recent success in foiling the Palestinian attempt to have it booted from FIFA, Foreign Ministry officials hastened to warn on Tuesday that the soccer brouhaha was just the beginning and that Jerusalem will have a difficult time fending off “the diplomatic tsunami.” These warnings appear to be well-founded in light of the decision by a number of western European countries, chief among them France and the United Kingdom, to decline to exhibit their wares at the seventh annual Israel Defense expo, which opened in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning. The exhibition is considered one of the more prestigious events that attracts visitors eager for a glimpse at the latest in police, military, and paramilitary equipment to hit the market. It is also a venue that affords those in the global arms trade to conduct business meetings. Israel’s defense establishment sees the expo as an opportunity to browse and purchase the most sophisticated innovations from abroad … n the days and weeks leading up to this year’s exhibition, a number of companies were denied permission to participate in the Tel Aviv show by the governments of France, Britain, the Scandinavian countries, and other western European nations. One Spanish defense firm will present its wares in a booth but under a different name so as not to risk economic ties with nations that have boycotted Israel. “There are companies that have no desire to attach their names to the expo and to be seen selling offensive weapons to Israel,” a defense official told The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew-language sister publication Ma’ariv Hashavua.
Orange telecom chief now says: ‘We love Israel’
Space News 5 June by Shira Kipnees — French telecom firm Orange said on June 4 that its decision to withdraw its brand from the Israeli market was a purely business decision, with its chairman insisting, “We love Israel.” In stark contrast to remarks he made in Cairo on June 3 about a desire to “withdraw” from Israel as soon as possible, the company’s chairman and chief executive Stephane Richard said an international campaign to boycott Israel in response to its policies with regard to the Palestinians had played no part in the decision. “This has nothing to do with Israel; we love Israel, we are in Israel, in the enterprise market, we invest money in innovation in Israel, we are a friend of Israel, so this has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of political debate, in which I don’t want to be,” Richard told Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
Other news / Opinion
The month in pictures: May 2015
The Electronic Intifada 5 June 2015 – with a synopsis of events during the month
Amnesty report causes uproar within Hamas
Al-Monitor 3 June by Adnan Abu Amer — Since Israel’s summer 2014 war on the Gaza Strip, Hamas has relied on human rights reports to buttress its accusation that the Israeli army committed war crimes against Palestinians. Most important is a report from Breaking the Silence titled, “This Is How We Fought In Gaza.” But on May 27, Amnesty International published an article on its website stating that “Hamas forces carried out a brutal campaign of abductions, torture and unlawful killings against Palestinians accused of ‘collaborating’ with Israel during Israel’s military offensive against Gaza in July and August 2014.” Based on Al-Monitor interviews with Hamas leaders who spoke on a condition of anonymity, Hamas was shocked by the Amnesty International report since it seemed to equate Hamas with Israel, which committed war crimes … The report states that “Hamas forces” in Gaza killed 23 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israeli intelligence in its July-August 2014 “Strangling Necks” operation amid the outbreak of Israel’s war on Gaza. Hamas quickly responded to the Amnesty International report. On May 27, the group issued a statement rejecting the report, describing it as politicized, unprofessional and based on false allegations. The statement called the report’s professional standards into question and said that Hamas was not responsible for the alleged killings during the 2014 Gaza war.
Palestine’s crippled legislative authority
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 3 June by Ahmad Melhem — Armed clashes erupted between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip on June 7, 2007, following Hamas’ win in the legislative elections. The clashes resulted in Hamas’ takeover of the Gaza Strip and President Mahmoud Abbas declaring a state of emergency. The legislative branch drew its last breath as the Palestinian Legislative Council slipped into a deathly coma from which it has yet to emerge. Despite the fact that the reconciliation government was sworn in June 2, 2014, it has failed to set the stage for presidential and legislative elections, just as Fatah and Hamas have failed to implement the provisions of the reconciliatory Beach Refugee Camp Agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas on April 23, 2014, which called for the resumption of the Legislative Council’s work and the establishment of a consensus government. The Legislative Council’s demise led to Abbas assuming both legislative and judicial powers in 2007, in addition to his executive branch authority in the West Bank, while Hamas took control of all powers in the Gaza Strip, leading to two separate and distinct legislative environments that threaten to plunge the political system into absolute totalitarianism. Hamas members of the Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip convene meetings independently and pass laws, such as the recent Solidarity Tax Law (a tax on imported goods), while Abbas resorts to issuing decrees on behalf of the Legislative Council.
Sunbathing at the crime scene: the Israeli resort that covers up a massacre
EI 3 June by Jonathan Cook — There are few clues today at the site of the single worst massacre committed by the Israeli army during the 1948 war that established a Jewish state on the ruins of the Palestinians’ homeland. For Palestinians, Tantura, the name of a coastal village south of Haifa that was once home to 1,700 inhabitants, has become a byword for the darkest episodes of the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), the ethnic cleansing of 1948. For Israelis, the site is referred to by a different name — Dor, known as a popular beach resort belonging to two neighboring kibbutzim, Dor and Nahsholim, an hour’s drive north of Tel Aviv. In May, some 300 activists met in the resort’s car park in an attempt to end the long-enforced silence about Tantura in Israelis’ collective memory. Precisely 67 years after the massacre, they staged the first-ever commemoration at the site. They laid wreaths in the car park, marking the mass grave in the village cemetery where more than 200 Palestinians were hurriedly interred after they had been executed on 22 May 1948, as Zionist forces swept up the Mediterranean coast. Some 130 small placards were held aloft, each bearing the name of a victim the organizers had been able to identify. Then the group held a short procession past baffled Israeli holiday-makers — sunbathing, building sandcastles and barbecuing — through an area where Tantura’s 250 homes once stood. The march finished at the beach, where in 1948 many of the villagers had been interrogated before being put to death….
How the IDF’s hi-tech revolution cheapens Palestinian lives
+972 mag 3 June by Natasha Roth — The IDF is developing new technology that will eventually cut down on the need for soldiers to go to the front lines. What does this mean for the Palestinians whose lives will hang on the decision of a machine? — The Israeli army is optimistic that there will be no need for soldiers to be stationed on Israel’s borders in the future. Not because there will be peace, and not because there will be no need to maintain militarized borders. Rather it is because they are working towards unmanned, weaponized patrol vehicles that will do the job instead. A blog post on the topic published on the IDF’s English-language website, which was shared on the IDF’s official Facebook page, was accompanied by the comment: “In 10 years there won’t be any soldiers guarding Israel’s borders. And here’s why.” That this is being used as a point of reassurance speaks volumes about the mentality of the Israeli military. The tone reads as: “Don’t worry, the occupation will still be going on in a decade’s time. But we’ll be using robots to maintain it instead.”
In West Bank industrial zone, everything is Israeli – except the harsh labor laws
Haaretz 5 June by Tali Heruti-Sover — Set up at the start of the Oslo process, Nitzanei Shalom employs hundreds of Palestinians and is run according to Israeli standards, with one glaring exception – Palestinian workers are subject to draconian Jordanian labor law — The entrance to the industrial area called, with no little irony, Nitzanei Shalom – Buds of Peace – reminds the visitor of a prison more than it does a place of work. Atop the gray concrete wall that surrounds it are posts holding up barbed wire, and opposite the green steel gate sit huge concrete barriers. The Palestinians who work in the area enter a separate gate, for them only, under the watchful eyes of a Jewish security guard who monitors them as they take a narrow, winding path to the entrance. Journalists are, of course, barred. There’s no sign of peace in this dreary place, but then again the Palestinians employed in Nitzanei Shalom, most of whom come from the West Bank city of Tul Karm, aren’t looking for peace, or joy, but for work – and that, at least, is what they get … Today some 13 factories operate in Nitzanei Shalom, employing some 600 Palestinians … But today it operates in a labor twilight zone: It is run according to Israeli standards, with one glaring exception – Palestinian workers are subject to the Jordanian labor law that was in force in the areas until 1967. The legal fiction cuts employers’ labor costs. For instance, under Jordanian law there is no requirement to set aside money for pensions, provide for paid sick days after the third day absent, or medical costs.
After 32 years, Fatah to restore relations with Syria regime
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 June — Fatah central committee member Abbas Zaki said Thursday that official relations between the movement and the Syrian regime would be re-established after 32 years. Zaki told Ma‘an that a visit by a Fatah delegation to Syria was “successful,” adding that Fatah offices will be opened in Syria soon after it was the only Palestinian movement not allowed to have any offices in Syria. Zaki said the visit was part of improving bilateral relations between the two. He said a recent delegation observed the situation there, especially the suffering of Palestinians in refugee camps. He added that they discussed with the Syrian regime the return of those displaced to their camps that were freed by the Syrian regime, in addition to the issue of refugees who lost their IDs and the issue of people arrested for minor offenses.
Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence meets Obama aides in Washington
Haaretz 5 June by Barak Ravid — Left-wing nonprofit met with White House National Security Council and State Department’s human-rights bureau to discuss Israeli soldiers’ testimonies from last summer’s war in Gaza — Senior White House officials met this week with members of the left-wing NGO Breaking the Silence. The meeting, the first of its kind, dealt with testimonies that the organization had collected on alleged human-rights violations by the Israel Defense Forces during last summer’s war in Gaza. The meetings were held a few days after Israel’s Foreign Ministry tried to get a Breaking the Silence exhibition to be held in Switzerland canceled. Matt Duss, president of the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, organized the meeting between Breaking the Silence representatives and members of the White House National Security Council. The meeting did not take place at the White House but at the offices of an American nonprofit in the capital.
Opinion: Racists beware: FIFA has come to Israeli Arabs’ aid / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 3 June — Cries of ‘death to the Arabs’ in Israel’s stadiums may yet see it expelled from the international soccer federation, by a committee set up on Palestinian demand. Quite a precedent — …For the very first time, Israel is facing punitive measures. Cries of “death to the Arabs” in its stadiums may yet see it expelled from FIFA. Within the details of the “compromise” that was reached, which led Netanyahu to gleefully announce that the Palestinians had suffered defeat, lurks a devil: an important international body is interfering in Israel’s internal affairs, not only in issues under its jurisdiction, in this case soccer, but in the Israeli national narrative that has laid the groundwork for the anti-Arab discourse. The rhetorical relationship between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority in Israel will now be supervised by an international committee established due to a demand by a representative of the Palestinian people, not by delegates of the Arab minority in Israel, whose protestations thus far have been met with an iron wall. Israel, which routinely complains of Palestinian incitement anytime someone mentions the peace process, finds itself a candidate for expulsion from a prestigious organization due to incitement. Israel has now been recognized as a state guilty of incitement, with a standing that is worse than that of Palestine. Incitement by a conquered people against its conqueror is perceived as an inseparable part of its struggle for freedom, whereas incitement by a majority against a minority in the same country is a serious transgression against universally held values, a transgression even President Obama cannot ignore. The interesting thing is that Israel didn’t even consider objecting to such oversight … What will happen if tomorrow Palestinians demand that Israel allow its Arab citizens to rent or buy apartments anywhere they choose, to study or work wherever they wish? What will happen when apartheid within Israel, the practical and the conceptual one, serves the Palestinians as a political weapon? The precedent set at FIFA is but the opening whistle. The Palestinian tutelage over the rights of Israel’s Arab citizens should not surprise or anger anyone. It is only an emulation of Israel’s attitude to Jewish minorities around the world, including the occupied territories.
Palestinian traditions stun crowds at Jerusalem fashion show
Al Arabiya 3 June by Asma Ajroudi — Traditional Palestinian fashion has been brought into the present day by Natalie Tahhan, whose stunning designs were paraded on the catwalk at a fashion show in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Standing out were the colorful, sharp embroidered items weaved into the different clothing worn by the models. Although embroidery is common across different cultures, Palestinian embroidery is considered unique due to its striking colors and patterns. Reminiscent of pre-1948 Palestine, what was a traditional craft practised only by village women has become an expression of Palestinian identity. However, Tahhan told Al Arabiya News that she worries the craft is becoming “a dying art.” … The embroidery motifs sewn into a woman’s dress, in addition to the quality of the fabric and colors, were enough to identify the wearer’s social identity, personality, economic and martial status, affiliations, history, heritage, and even ancestry. “This is long gone. Now people look at the motifs and they don’t know which city or village the girl is from, or her age, or whether she is married or single,” Tahhan said. Today, such traditional distinctions of dress have been largely replaced by modern Western clothing.
The big lie at the heart of the myth of the creation of Israel
Counterpunch 5-7 June by Douglas Valentine — An Interview with Lia Tarachansky — Lia Tarachansky’s heart-wrenching documentary, On the Side of the Road, reveals the Big Lie at the heart of the myth of the creation of Israel. Tarachansky had to break through a lot of personal and social barriers to produce this often infuriating film about the Nakba, the “catastrophe” of 1948, when approximately 750,000 Palestinians (a number that has grown to 1.5 million refugees living in camps over the ensuing 67 years) were expelled from their homes and forced into squalid camps, where they are denied basic human rights. Tarachansky’s toughest challenge was overcoming her own deeply ingrained assumptions … Having been a Zionist settler, Lia Tarachansky empathizes with Israeli Jews. Instead of condemning them, she examines and tries to understand her personal transformation, and that of other Israelis who are seeking to escape from embedded but false assumptions. Tarachansky’s film is about people who are struggling to deal honestly with the Nakba. This capacity for critical thought and self-examination is what enables Tarachansky to show so convincingly how and why the Zionists have locked themselves in a prison of their own making.