Violence / Arrests
13-year-old detained by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 June – Israeli forces detained a 13-year-old Palestinian from his home in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem overnight Tuesday, lawyer says. Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud of the Addameer prisoners’ rights group identified the youth as Tariq Mustafa, adding that he was detained along with Ahmad Jamal Atiyah, 19 … Mustafa’s detention comes as Israeli watchdog Military Court Watch (MCW) submitted a report to the UN Special Rapportuer regarding common mistreatment of children held in Israeli military detention … 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
Israeli troops on West Bank raid kill Hamas man, say he had bomb
JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) 10 June by Dan Williams & Ali Samoudi — Israeli forces killed a member of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, witnesses and medics said. A spokesman for Israel’s paramilitary border police said its troops were in Jenin as part of a predawn operation against suspected militants, when they saw a Palestinian preparing to throw a pipe bomb at them and shot him. “He was shot by a unit providing covering fire for the unit that he was about to attack,” the spokesman said. Jenin residents and hospital officials said the 23-year-old Palestinian [Izz al-Din Walid Bani Gharra] was shot in the back. They said there were no wider confrontations at the time with the Israeli troops. Hamas, which has a limited presence in the West Bank though it exercises de facto control over the other Palestinian territory of Gaza, claimed the dead Palestinian as a member. On a Hamas website, the group said he was killed after coming out of a mosque after prayers there. The Israeli border police spokesman said the Jenin raid was not coordinated in advance with the security forces of U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which operate in parallel in West Bank cities.
Israeli forces assault Palestinian in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — A Palestinian was physically assaulted by Israeli soldiers on Monday while trying to enter Israel near Wadi Fukin village in western Bethlehem, witnesses reported. The Palestinian, identified as Sameh Batanja, 46, was left injured with fractures, cuts and bruises across his body. [see photo] No further details on the incident were given.
Soldiers storm hospital to attempt abduction of two wounded Palestinians
IMEMC/Agencies 8 June — Undercover units of the Israeli military invaded, on Monday at dawn, the Beit Jala governmental hospital in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and attempted to kidnap two wounded Palestinians receiving treatment there. Medical sources said the two wounded Palestinians were shot by army fire, on Sunday at night, close to the District Coordination Office (DCO), on the western entrance of Beit Jala city. The sources added that resident Mo’tasem Nabil Shweiki, 21 years of age, was shot with a live round to his right shoulder, and Mahmoud ‘Emad Shweiki, 18, was shot, also with a live round, in his right thigh. The two are still receiving treatment in the hospital; the army withdrew after failing to abduct them.[probably the young men: who were shot after a pipe bomb was thrown at the District Coordination Office in Beit Jala]
Israeli forces detain 3 Palestinian workers near Qalqiliya
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 June — Israeli forces on Tuesday arrested three Palestinian workers who were allegedly on their way to work in Israel without the necessary work permits. Palestinian security sources said the workers were detained near the village of ‘Azzun ‘Atma in Qalqiliya district in the northwestern West Bank. The sources identified the workers as Muath Hasan Hamad, 28, Ayish Awad Allan, 52, and Anas Abdo Mousa Hussein, 40, all from the village of Einabus near Nablus. They were taken to an Israeli military base in the town of Huwwara south of Nablus … According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel as the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled by the ongoing Israeli military occupation. As thousands of work permits are denied by Israel, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics estimates 30 percent of Palestinians work in Israel illegally.
Israeli forces detain seven Palestinians from West Bank districts
HEBRON (WAFA) 9 June — Israeli forces early Tuesday detained seven Palestinians as they raided several West Bank districts, said security and municipal sources. Israeli forces raided the Hebron town of Dura, where they proceeded to detain three Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their homes. The detainees were identified as Muhammad, 55, his son, Adham, 24, and Sultan al-Namora, 22 … In the meantime in Tulkarem district, an Israeli force detained Malek Ja‘ari after breaking and wrecking havoc into his home in ‘Allar town. In Jenin district, forces raided Qabatiya town and Misilyah village, located to the south of the city, where they broke into several homes and occupied their rooftops, transforming them into military outposts. Meanwhile, infantry troops were deployed near ‘Arraba and military drills were conducted by forces using live ammunition near the areas of Jalqamos, Umm at-Tut, Qabatiya, and near the Shuhada junction, spreading panic among local Palestinians. Meanwhile in Bethlehem district, large troops raided Taqou‘, a town to the east of the city, where they launched an extensive raid and search operation.During the raid, forces broke into, ransacked and took photos of many homes. Some of the owners of the ransacked homes were identified as Majed, Habes and ‘Aref al-‘Amor, whose fourth brother, Riyad, is detained in an Israeli detention center, as well as Nedal al-Badan and ‘Ali Jibril.
Israeli military vehicles conduct a limited invasion into southern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 10 June — Several armored Israeli military vehicles, and bulldozers, conducted, on Wednesday morning, a limited invasion into Palestinian agricultural lands, east of the al-Qarara town, northeast of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said three armored bulldozers, and four tanks, left the Kissufim military base, across the border fence, and advanced approximately 200 meters into the farmlands. Military drones were also flying overhead, while the invading soldiers fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition to force the Palestinians out of their lands.
In related news, an Israeli military bulldozer fell into a ditch while bulldozing lands, east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis. The army called for backup to retrieve its bulldozer.
Israeli attacks on fishermen in the Gaza Sea
PCHR 9 June — Israeli Naval forces continued to carry out attacks on Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip during the reporting period (01-31 May 2015), including 27 shooting incidents and 2 shelling incidents that resulted in wounding 7 Palestinian fishermen while sailing off Beit Lahia shore in addition to the damage to fishing nets and equipment. PCHR also documented the arrest of fishermen and confiscation of a fishing boat in those incidents. The Israeli naval forces did not comply with the ceasefire agreement concluded between Israel and Palestinian armed groups under Egyptian auspices on 26 August 2014. This agreement includes allowing Palestinian fishermen to sail within 6 nautical miles in the Gaza Sea. According to PCHR’s investigations, all attacks took place within the distance of 6 nautical miles, which proves that Israeli forces’ policies aim to tighten restrictions on the Gaza Strip’s fishermen and their livelihoods. [details follow]
Mental disability on the rise under the Israeli siege
[with photos] GAZA, Occupied Palestine 9 June by Miguel Hernández, ISM — The number of mentally disabled people in the Gaza Strip has increased substantially in the last years. It so happens that 70% of the cases come from the communities located near the fence that separates Gaza from the territories occupied in 1948. Such data is surprising, as most of Gaza’s population lives on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, relatively far from the fence. The doctors and people responsible for the care of these children believe that this is due to the fact that these populations have been the most attacked in the successive massacres committed by Israel in Gaza. Massacres on which the zionist colony has used weapons of mass destruction, cluster bombs and chemical weapons in densely populated residential areas. ISM visited some of these children and their families. Three of the children of Shadi Abu Habed each suffer from some kind of mental disability, all of them are younger than five years. Shadi, whose job is blacksmith, has been unemployed for many years, as the blockade prevents the entrance of iron into Gaza. Their home was bombed by the zionist entity during the last massacre and he’s just been diagnosed with a heart condition, despite being younger than 35 years old … Finally ISM met Hassan Azebda, who has eight people at his care; his mother, his wife and his six children. Hassan is a painter but, as his work depends on the entrance of construction materials, he has hardly seen any work since the blockade started. Three of his children suffer from some kind of mental disability.
Secretary general of Red Cross, Red Crescent visits Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 June– Secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies Elhadj As Sy on Monday visited the Gaza Strip. Sy was hosted at the headquarters of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Gaza City where he was briefed by chairman Younis al-Khatib and general manager Khalid Judah on the services the Palestinian Red Cross provides in the war-torn coastal enclave. The guest then had a tour across the Gaza Strip which included Beit Hanoun, Jabaliya and al-Shujaiyya in the north as well as al-Zanna in Khan Younis in the south.
Israel deploys fourth Iron Dome near Gaza
Middle East Monitor 9 June — Israeli sources yesterday announced that the Israeli army had deployed the fourth Iron Dome Rocket Defence System, fearing a deterioration of the security situation in Gaza, the Anadolu Agency reported. The other systems were already in place in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Netivot as three homemade rockets were fired from Gaza during the last week. Several Israeli officials, including Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon, warned that Israel would never tolerate sporadic rocket attacks.
Trapped in Gaza: Meet the faces behind the blockade of the Strip
Haaretz 7 June by Jack Khoury — From a U.S. resident who came for his father’s funeral and isn’t allowed home, to a rights activist unable to attend conferences, Haaretz speaks to five Gazans who can’t leave — Read it here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/newprofile/hTx-1jVf0c0
565 refugee families receive support for rental subsidies, repair works and reintegration
GAZA (UNRWA) 9 June — US$ 2,097,225 in funding, available for cash assistance for rental subsidies (US$ 21,800), severe (US$ 1,897,329) major (US$ 72,298) and minor (US$ 96,798) repairs and the US$ 500 reintegration grant to replace lost households goods (US$ 9,000), will reach 565 refugee families across the Gaza Strip this week. They will receive assistance via cheque or access the payments through local banks. Emergency shelter – including support for home repairs, reconstruction and interim shelter solutions – is a top priority for UNRWA. The Agency remains committed to supporting affected families yet requires new funding to continue the shelter cash assistance programme.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Army demolishes three industrial structures in Jerusalem
IMEMC 9 June — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday morning, the al-Khalayla neighborhood in the al-Jeeb town, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem, and demolished three Palestinian industrial structures. Several military vehicles and bulldozers invaded the neighborhood, approximately at 6:30 in the morning, and demolished a blacksmith workshop belonging to al-Kiswani family, and two car repair facilities belonging to Nour al-Matari and Mohannad Mansour. Israel alleges the structures were built without construction permits. Head of the Local Council, Ismael Abu Rabah, said this is the fourth time the soldiers demolish the Kiswani family blacksmith workshop that provides livelihood to more than twenty Palestinians, while the Mansour workshop provides livelihood to three families. Abu Rabah added that the families filed construction permits to the City Council more than four years ago, and paid at least 50.000 NIS to obtain all needed permits and documents … The al-Khalayla neighborhood has been under strict Israeli measures for more than ten years, while the army prevents any Palestinian, who is not a resident of the neighborhood, from entering without a permit. The same restrictions also apply to food products and goods, Abu Rabah said. “Add to that the daily suffering and humiliation the children are subjected to on the al-Jeeb roadblock,” he added, “The soldiers stop and search them every single school day, causing delays. The army inspects even our food products; everything requires prior coordination and permission from the Israeli Authorities.”
Israeli authorities level Palestinian property in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 June – Destruction of Palestinian property continued in occupied East Jerusalem Wednesday morning as bulldozers escorted by inspectors of the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority of the Jerusalem municipality destroyed private property in the town of al-‘Issawiya Wednesday, local sources say. Israeli authorities raided agricultural land in the southern outskirts of the town, leveling all trees, a 60-square-meter room, a water well, and a fence without prior notice, local committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus told Ma‘an. The entire area measured 8.5 dunams, around two acres, and belongs to the family of Sabri Yahya Darwish, Abu al-Hummus said, adding that the destroyed trees were 10-40 years old and included olive, palm, and pear trees. “In an attempt to give impression that the land was deserted, excavators buried the trees with large quantities of earth,” added Abu al-Hummus. The Israeli inspectors refused to present any warrants prior to the demolitions, Abu al-Hummus said. The farm, among other private Palestinian lands in the area, was initially slated for confiscation as part of an Israeli plan to build a national park in their place. The parks plans intended to confiscate 740 dunums (130 acres) of private land owned by the residents of al-Issawiya, but were rejected in September 2014 by an Israeli Planning and Zoning committee. In September 2014, an Israeli planning council suspended the plan until the needs of the Arab towns could be assessed, however Abu al-Hummus told Ma‘an in March the Israeli authorities have ignored the suspension.
Israeli tourism center in East Jerusalem rejected
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — The Israeli planning authority on Monday rejected plans for an Israeli tourism center in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem. A settler organization has been planning the “Kedem” tourism center at the entrance to Wadi Hilweh in Silwan since 2003. It would have served as an archaeological visitors’ center for the nearby City of David National Park. On Monday, however, Israel’s national planning committee accepted appeals lodged by Wadi Hilweh’s residents, the Israeli non-governmental organisations Ir Amim and Emek Shaveh, and a group of Israeli academics. The Wadi Hilweh information center told Ma‘an that the Israeli planning committee demanded that the Elad settler organization — which was planning the Kedem center — would have to present an alternative plan according to the committee’s standards … Palestinian lawyer Sami Irshayyid told Ma‘an that the Israeli planning committee approved the Kedem center last April, but that appeals were later lodged against it. Irhsayyid added that the committee’s decision on Monday was a great achievement not only for Wadi Hilweh but for wider East Jerusalem, as the tourism center would have been built close to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound … The land was confiscated by Israeli authorities following the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, serving as a parking lot since. In 2003, the Elad organization took over the land and began planning a settlement project. They excavated the land, reportedly demolishing an Islamic cemetery 1,200 years old, as well as Ottoman, Umayyad, Byzantine and Roman ruins. It was reported that they only preserved ruins they believed to be part of Jerusalem’s Second Temple … The US State Department has in the past criticized the group for disregarding the diverse religious history of sites it controls in East Jerusalem.
Swedish officials condemn sale of West Bank church to settlers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 June — Swedish officials have condemned the sale of a West Bank church compound to an Israeli settler organization that apparently used a Swedish company to conceal their identity, the Palestinian ambassador to Sweden told Ma‘an on Monday. Ambassador Hala Husni Fariz said that Swedish officials viewed the sale as a “crime” and the Swedish government remains completely opposed to Israeli settlement activity across the occupied Palestinian territories. The 38-dunam church compound, known as Beit al-Baraka, is located to the north of al-‘Arrub refugee camp between Bethlehem and Hebron. It has been in the spotlight since an investigative report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month alleged that an American millionaire, Irving Moskowitz, purchased the site through a Swedish company in 2012 with the intention of turning it into a settlement outpost. Ambassador Fariz criticized the Palestinian Authority for not taking legal steps to try and expose what she called a “fraud crime.”
Bedouin facing eviction submit new appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court
Haaretz 9 June by Jack Khoury and Shirly Seidler — Acknowledging that the chances of obtaining legal redress are slim, opponents of the eviction are planning for a public struggle — The residents of the unrecognized Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court for another hearing, following its previous ruling that they could be evacuated and the village demolished to make way for the construction of a Jewish community, named Hiran. The residents, who are represented by the legal aid NGO Adalah, argued in their petition that last month’s ruling constituted a “new and historic law,” requiring another hearing before an expanded Supreme Court bench. In terms of the “new and historic law,” according to the petition states, “the state may, as owner of the land, instruct that the residents be evacuated at any time it wants, even if the state itself gave them permission to use the land and live there, as it gave the residents of Umm al-Hiran.” In so doing, according to the petition, the state “utterly ignored the lengthy period of time the citizens lived on the land,” and made it impossible for them to protect themselves constitutionally … The steering committee of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee announced that thousands of residents of the unrecognized villages in the Negev would come to Be’er Sheva next Thursday to protest against the house demolitions. The intention is to march from market square to the government buildings. Another protest against house demolitions will be held at the entrance to the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in Wadi Ara this evening.
CBS: Housing finishes in West Bank settlements up by 219% in 2015’s first quarter
JPost 10 June by Tovah Lazaroff — “Israel does not have to be afraid to build in Judea and Samaria. When Israelis are absent, terror reigns,” said Yigal Dilmoni, the deputy head of Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria — Settlement construction in the West Bank rose sharply in the first quarter of 2015, with a 219 percent spike in completed housing and a 93% rise in starts, according to data released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. The increase that occurred just prior to the March 17 election was not reflected in the CBS data on nationwide building, which showed that completed housing went up by 15.5 % and the starts dropped by 2%. The report, which focused mostly on the housing situation across the country, was released in the midst of an increased push by the international community to boycott Israel over the issue of settlement construction … In terms of real numbers, according to the CBS, less building happens in Judea and Samaria than anywhere else in the country. The 529 completed settler homes in the first quarter of the year made up only 4.7 % of the country’s 11,031 units that were finished in that time period, the CBS data showed. Similarly, 566 housing starts in the settlements represented only 4.6% of the nationwide construction of 12,387 units in the first quarter of 2015.
Israeli report details services to settlers in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli news site Walla on Monday published a detailed report on the services provided to Israeli settlers in Area C of the West Bank. In regard to public transportation, the report examined three lines that only serve settlers. One bus route between Alon Moreh settlement east of Nablus and the city of Jerusalem passes through several Israeli settlements and Palestinian villages in Area C. There were no bus stops for Palestinian villages, while each Israeli settlement had its own bus stop. Israeli settlers voiced their complaints that they can only stand in fortified areas under protection from Israeli security forces while Palestinians can stand anywhere unthreatened. The report found that the routes between Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron and Jerusalem, and between Modiin west of Ramallah and Jerusalem, are segregated. Although there is no law that prevents Palestinians from riding these buses, only Israelis use them, the report said. In regard to water, each Israeli settler receives 300 liters daily, while Palestinians receive 73 to 136 liters, and all Israeli settlements are connected to a water grid to which Palestinian villages aren’t connected. On land, a third of the West Bank was officially registered while the remaining lands are considered state land, which by international law Israel should allocate to the people under occupation. But, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, Israel allocated only 0.7 percent of these lands to Palestinians and 37 percent to Israeli settlers since 1967.
Settlement enterprise based on illegality and deception / Nahum Barnea
Ynet 10 June — Op-ed: The culture of ‘winking’ at wrongdoers is shared by government ministries, MKs, IDF officers, gatekeepers and law enforcers – and even the Supreme Court — Rehavam Ze’evi was the Central Command chief in the first years of the settlement enterprise in the West Bank. One day, he hosted a group of members of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He proudly shared with them how he had built the community of Gitit in the northeastern West Bank. In the first stage, the lands of ‘Aqraba, a Palestinian village, which were near the site chosen for the community, were sprayed from the air by the army. In the second stage, a verbal approval arrived from a government official. And then, Ze’evi boasted, I cut off all contact for three days. No phone calls, no messages. The government could have searched for me, but it wouldn’t have found me. I built the settlement underground, like the Homa Umigdal communities (a settlement method used by Zionist settlers in Mandatory Palestine during the 1936–39 Arab Revolt). Lova Eliav, the man who founded the Lachish region and Arad, heard Ze’evi bragging and was shocked. It’s one thing establishing a community behind the Mandate government’s back, he told me later; it’s another thing establishing it behind the Israeli government’s back. At the time, Eliav was still naïve. He believed that there was a link between the state’s laws, the government’s statements and what actually happened on the ground. He later realized that the huge settlement enterprise, which developed from the 1967 occupation, was based entirely on winking at wrongdoers.
Restrictions on movement
A Palestinian PhD student studying at UniSA faces missing his first child’s birth
The Advertiser (South Australia) 10 June by Brad Crouch — Mohammed Sulaiman is watching the clock as he hopes his pregnant wife Laila will be allowed to leave the Gaza strip in Palestine to join him in Adelaide. Despite having a visa and health insurance, she has not been allowed through the border crossing [to Israel] for nearly six months to get to Jordan to fly to Australia. She is now 31 weeks pregnant — while policies vary between airlines, many restrict flying at 36 weeks. Mr Sulaiman, 25, won a scholarship to do his PhD at UniSA’s International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding. He holds a Masters from the London School of Economics and Social Science in human rights and previously worked with non government aid agencies and as a journalist in Gaza. His own departure was delayed by four months because of obstacles at the border crossing and he arrived in Adelaide eight weeks ago to begin three years of study. “We sold our furniture and gave up our apartment with the expectation we would be coming to Adelaide, but were not allowed to cross the border,” Mr Sulaiman said. “When they eventually allowed me through they would not allow my wife even though she had a visa. I felt I had to go as I was already so late and was hoping my wife could follow shortly after, but it has now been eight weeks … “She is a schoolteacher with a degree in English, she poses no threat to anyone.“I am now losing hope.” Mr Sulaiman said if he returned to Gaza for the birth he would have to sacrifice his PhD study
No longer my holy city: Reflections on Jerusalem / Wa‘d Manaf Abbas
Mondoweiss 9 June — I’m the kinda person who gets physically sick every single time I have to go through Qalandia ziftpoint (checkpoint) , like thousands others, and it’s nauseating to me that I actually have to go through it just to get to Jerusalem. I’m not metaphorically speaking here, it really happens. The thought of having to get over there, stand in line, get my ID (residency permit) ready, and wait till some adolescent Israeli soldier, who’s just recently celebrated his 18th birthday and is carrying a rifle in one hand and playing with an iphone in the other, to give me his majestic blessings to pass through the ziftpoint makes me want to vomit. 90% of the time when this happens I retreat and go home, specially if some ashkenazi Israeli soldier “orders” me to take off my shoes or jacket because I kept on “beeping” every time I went through the metal detector machine. I just hate it, HATE HATE HATE it. And soon after going through this a lot, I started hating the city I went through all this trouble to get to; Jerusalem, or let’s be more specific, East Jerusalem. Let me explain how all of this started. My grandmother lives, alongside my two aunts and two uncles, in the Old City of Jerusalem, to be more specific, she has the house right on top of Bab el-Silsilah….
Prisoners / Court actions
Adnan forcibly hospitalized and restrained
IMEMC/Agencies 10 June — Israeli media reported, Tuesday, that Khader Adnan, the Palestinian administrative detainee who has been on hunger strike for over a month has been forcibly hospitalized and chained to his bed. Al Ray reports that Khader Adnan is hospitalized in Assaf Haroteh, with one hand and one leg cuffed to the bed 24 hours a day and three policemen in his room around the clock, said two Israeli anti-occupation activists who visited him last Friday. Adnan, who was placed under administrative detention for the ninth time 11 months ago, went on hunger strike to protest his prolonged detention without trial. Three years ago, during another period of administrative detention, he won his release after hunger-striking for 66 days. Altogether he has spent more than six years in Israeli detention. Adnan, who is refusing to undergo medical tests, objected to his hospitalization because he knew he would be chained to the bed, attorney Jawad Boulus said. According to Israeli sources, Israeli Prison Service (IPS) regulations forbid cuffing a prisoner unless the warden fears “he is liable to escape or help other to escape, cause damage to people or property, damage or destroy evidence, or receive or deliver an object liable to be used to commit a crime or undermine discipline in his place of custody.” IPS spokeswoman Siva Weizman declined to specify which of these offensives the service feared Adnan would commit.
Israel frees Palestinian speaker after year behind bars
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 June — Israeli authorities on Tuesday released the speaker of the Palestinian parliament, Aziz Duweik, following a year in administrative detention. The Ahrar Center for Prisoners and Human Rights Studies said that Duweik, 67, was released from the Ofer prison near Ramallah after paying a fine of 6,000 shekels ($1,565). Duweik, who is a member of Hamas, was detained from his home in Hebron during a massive arrest campaign in June 2014, known as “Operation Brother’s Keeper,” which was carried out in search of three missing teenage settlers. During the campaign, which lasted until June 30 when their bodies were found, Israel arrested hundreds of Palestinians, most of them members of Hamas, including leaders and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Palestine’s parliament. Commentators suggested that Israel’s real motive had been to drive a wedge between Hamas and Fatah, which earlier that month formed a national unity government. More than 14 court sessions were held for Duweik during his year-long detention, the Ahrar Center said. Elected Speaker of the PLC in 2006, Duweik had previously been arrested by Israel forces three separate times between 2006 and 2014 … The PLC has not met since 2007 following a major rift between the Fatah and Hamas, which saw Hamas forcibly expel Fatah loyalists from Gaza.
Report: 93 minors incarcerated in Ofer Prison alone
IMEMC/Agencies 7 June — The Palestinian Authority’s Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs (CPA) said, in a statement Sunday, that 93 Palestinian minors are currently incarcerated in the Israeli Ofer prison near Ramallah. According to WAFA correspondence, it said while eight of them are serving prison sentence, the other 85 are detained on remand. Since the beginning of this year, the report said, some 161 Palestinian minors under the age of 18 were brought to jail by the Israeli authorities, a rate of one minor every day. This includes 30 children under the age of 15 arrested in May alone … With more than 200 minor prisoners currently incarcerated in Israeli jails, Israel is the only state to automatically and systematically prosecute children in military courts that lack basic standards of due process.
Israeli ministers decide questioning of security suspects won’t be recorded
Haaretz 8 June by Jonathan Lis — Opponents of the proposal say lack of documentation denies fair process and could lead to miscarriages of justice — The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday approved a proposal by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan that the police be given a permanent exemption from the requirement to record interrogations of people suspected of security offenses. According to a document distributed to the ministers by the Public Security Ministry ahead of Sunday’s vote, “such documentation could cause real damage to the quality of the interrogation and the ability to investigate security offenses and thus cause real damage to the capacity to thwart terror threats, solve crimes and discover their perpetrators.” The current law requires audio and video recordings of the interrogations of suspects facing imprisonment of 10 years or more. However, that requirement was temporarily suspended by the Knesset by emergency order in 2002. Since then, the Knesset has reapproved the temporary exemption every three years.
EU moves ahead on labeling of Israeli settlement products
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 June by Josef Federman — Israel would be required to label products that are made in West Bank settlements and exported to Europe, according to guidelines being prepared by the European Union. The move is the latest sign of international discontent with Israeli construction of settlements on occupied lands claimed by the Palestinians, as well as frustration over the bleak state of Mideast peace efforts … An EU official said Tuesday the 28-nation bloc’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told European foreign ministers May 18 that work is underway and that a set of guidelines will be “finalized in the near future.” … EU opposition to the settlements is not new. A free trade agreement with Israel already excludes settlement goods, even if they say they were made in Israel. Likewise, Israel is barred from spending money it receives under a landmark technology-sharing pact in the West Bank or east Jerusalem. Several European countries have approved voluntary labeling guidelines for settlement products. The new guidelines would take things further by requiring Israeli exporters to explicitly label products as being made in the settlements — a potential stigma that could deter consumers from buying them. The EU began work on labeling guidelines in 2012, but appears to have decided to revive that effort following the formation of Israel’s new hard-line government.The EU official said it would likely be months before the guidelines are complete. A second official said much would depend on the policies of the new government. If peace talks with the Palestinians are restarted, the effort could once again be shelved
Film-makers ask cinemas and Bafta to boycott London Israeli film festival
The Guardian 8 June by Mark Brown — Film-makers including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Peter Kosminsky have called on the Curzon and Odeon cinema chains and Bafta to drop screenings for an Israeli film festival opening this week. Seret 2015, the London Israeli film and television festival, is due to open with a gala screening at Bafta of the film Hill Start on Thursday. There will then be screenings at cinemas including Curzon Soho and Odeon Swiss Cottage in London. In a letter to the Guardian, more than 40 artists and film-makers express sadness and disappointment that the festival has been given a berth. It says the Israeli state is “promoting this festival and supporting it financially. By hosting it, these cinemas are ignoring the 2004 call by Palestinian civil society for sanctions against Israel until Israel abides by international law and ends its illegal displacement of Palestinians, discrimination against them, and occupation of their land.”
Ahava weighing relocation of West Bank plant
JPost 8 June by Tovah Lazaroff — One of the flagship industries of the West Bank, Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories, is considering relocating its factory at Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem to an area within the Green Line. Motzi Dahaman, the head of the Megilot Regional Council to which Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem belongs, charged that the plan is a response to pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and vowed to fight the relocation plan. “We’ll ask the government to help us,” Dahaman said, adding that relocating the factory, which employs 75 people, will not stop anti-Israel groups from targeting the company, which uses Dead Sea minerals to produce its products.
The rational response to Israel’s state terror — boycott / Amira Hass
Haaretz 9 June — People from Western countries whose taxes are being used as hush money for Israel are beginning to fight back — We’re not there yet. The big bang has yet to happen and most Israelis – plus their representatives in the media – have yet to make the connection between threats of boycott (token or real) and their day-to-day conduct as the supreme people. The Orange CEO’s prompt capitulation has boosted their morale – until the next “surprise,” that is. The government has thousands of soldiers (both in uniform and otherwise) carrying out its routine tasks of violence. Mother’s sweet boys are demolishing shacks and breaking into homes, and father’s sweet children are shooting at fisherman. And the beloved fathers decided that certain people don’t need to stay where they were born, on their lands, but there’s no problem for the superior people to live there … Aside from the sumud, Palestinian regular resilience, the ways that Palestinians and a handful of Israelis oppose the violence are individual, case by case: They protest, hire lawyers, write reports and Facebook posts, build new shacks, plant in their fields, go on hunger strikes in prison, donate money. Then the government gets its soldiers to arrest the Facebook posters, shoot the protesters, arrest children in the dead of night, confiscate tractors, punish the hunger-strikers, and publish lies in response to the reports and smash the lawyers. In this war of attrition, the violent government always has more soldiers and resources. As opposed to Israelis, there are citizens in other countries who take notice of the routine acts of violence committed by Israel and the thousands of soldiers on its behalf, and they are horrified. They cannot take indivdual action against each one of these acts, so they lump them all together. When summed up, it’s state terror, which naturally leads to focused calls for boycott. That is a more effective and rational action and its reverberations continue longer. [Read it all here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/newprofile/hTx-1jVf0c0 ]
Netanyahu calls on Meretz to pull West bank product labeling bill
JPost 8 June by Lahav Harkov — Meretz remained defiant after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested the party withdraw legislation requiring products from the West Bank be labeled as such. “The State of Israel is in a battle against attempts to boycott it in the international arena,” Netanyahu said at the opening of Monday’s Likud faction meeting. “I am encouraged by the unity on the Right and Left in the efforts against these boycotts…I am also encouraged that legislation against this phenomenon began to pass in the US, and that will help our international effort.” … Implying that Meretz is undermining efforts to fight boycotts without mentioning the party’s name, Netanyahu said he was surprised to find that one of the factions in the Knesset proposed a bill to label settlement products and publicly asked that they withdraw it … Meretz proposed last month, as it did in the past two Knessets, that all products be labeled with the city or town in which they were manufactured. The bill is likely to be rejected for a third time. Despite this, the party refused to withdraw the legislation, saying it clarifies for Israeli consumers “the separation between products made in Israel and those made in the territories it occupied 48 years ago and holds under military rule.”
Six lies they told me about the anti-Israel boycott / Ronen Bergman
Ynet 10 June — Op-ed: A mixture of nationalistic and false statements about BDS campaign is blinding Israeli public and preventing a real discussion of the issue — The boycott is a continuation of the Arab boycott against Israel: No, it’s not…. The boycott is a unique phenomenon against Israel and because we are Jews, and is therefore anti-Semitic: No, it’s not…. The boycott is mainly a Middle Eastern and European phenomenon. It will never reach the United States: That’s not true…. Terrorist elements/Palestinians/radical anti-Semites are behind the boycott: That’s not true…. Israel can defeat the boycott if the Foreign Ministry becomes more efficient and receives an increased budget: That’s not true. The main problem in the fight against the boycott is not the marketing but the product…. “The campaign’s goal is not only to influence a certain Israeli policy or another, but… to destroy Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state” (Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked): That may be true about some of the anti-Israel protestors, but it’s not true about many others….
Avoiding West Bank settlement goods isn’t boycott — it’s the law / B. Michael
Haaretz 10 June — According to int’l law – by which the State of Israel was established and recognized – the settlements are stolen lands, which is a war crime, and abetting war criminals, such as by financing them, is a crime, too. — … Admittedly, the State of Israel has displayed an impressive ability to create legal nuances out of nothing to prove that international law doesn’t apply to the occupied territories, or that the territories aren’t occupied at all, or that the world is flat. But there’s not a single country in the entire world, or a single organization of all those responsible for upholding international law, that buys Israel’s legalistic sophistries … And not only is transferring an occupying population into occupied territory (‘the settlements’) a war crime, but expropriating occupied lands without an acceptable justification – for instance, expropriation for settlement purposes – is also defined as a war crime. Such lands, which were taken from their owners in violation of the law, are simply stolen property. Consequently, it’s self-evident that anything produced on them by the thieves, whether industrial or agricultural produce, is presumed to be stolen goods. And a law-abiding person doesn’t buy stolen goods. It’s forbidden … Moreover, the money paid for stolen goods encourages and finances the criminals. And this, too, is forbidden … What can you do? I don’t want to run afoul of international law. Don’t I have enough troubles? So I don’t buy. All of the above, it’s important to stress once again, has nothing to do with boycotting! Only with obeying the law. And in order to help people obey this law, it’s also necessary to demand that all products of the settlements sold in Israel be immediately labeled, very clearly, so as not to put a stumbling block before the blind and not to embroil them, heaven forbid, in abetting war crimes.
United Nations keeps Israel off ‘list of shame’
Al Jazeera 8 June — The United Nations on Monday released a “list of shame” of children’s rights violators and did not include Israel, despite an outcry over the death of more than 500 children during the Gaza war last year. Rights groups had called on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to add Israel to the list, and there was much debate among U.N. agencies before the final decision, which rests with the U.N. chief. Ban decided that last year’s list would remain unchanged but said he was “deeply alarmed” by the “grave violations suffered by children as a result of Israeli military operations in 2014.”
Palestinian poll shows discontent with Hamas, Gaza war
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 June — Gaza residents are unhappy with the territory’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers and their war with Israel last summer, a new Palestinian poll released Tuesday shows. The poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research shows that half of Gaza residents want to emigrate, compared to 25 percent in the West Bank. The center’s director, Khalil Shikaki, said the 50-percent emigration figure in Gaza is higher than ever before and that among young people it is even higher, about 80 percent. “Gaza is definitely showing tremendous frustration,” Shikaki said. A majority, 63 percent, expressed dissatisfaction with “achievements compared to human and material losses” in the 2014 Gaza war that killed over 2,200 Palestinians and 73 people in Israel … .Of those polled, 63 percent said they support launching rockets at Israel while a blockade is in place. The same number said they favor indirect talks between Hamas and Israel to negotiate a long-term truce in exchange for lifting the blockade … Only 30 percent said they can criticize Hamas without fear. In the West Bank, 32 percent said they could freely criticize Abbas. Despite the numbers, the poll found that if free elections were held today with just Abbas and Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh competing, Hamas would win in Gaza and Abbas in the West Bank, both by slim margins. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research polled 1,200 people in early June for the report, with a 3-percent margin of error.
West Bank doctors to go on strike in protest over detained doctor
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 8 June — Doctors in hospitals across the West Bank are to go on strike Tuesday in protest over the arrest of a doctor by Palestinian security services after a woman in his care died during childbirth. Sources in the Palestinian doctors’ union said the strike would affect all hospitals across the occupied West Bank. They did not specify the duration of the strike, although they said an official statement would be released on Monday evening giving all details. They said the strike is being carried out to demonstrate solidarity with a doctor who was arrested for his involvement in the death of a woman and her fetus in Rafidia Hospital several weeks ago. The head of the union, Nitham Najib, told Ma‘an that all efforts to release the detained doctor had so far failed, adding that a technical and medical committee investigating the incident has not yet concluded its work. Najib added that no doctor should be held without a court order. Doctors at Rafidia Hospital staged a strike on Monday in solidarity with their colleague.
Israeli PM wants Arab states to press Palestinians back to peace talks
HERZLIYA, Israel (Reuters) 9 June — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he hoped Arab states could press the Palestinians to return to talks to reach a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu, speaking to a strategic conference near Tel Aviv, blamed the Palestinians for the 14-month impasse in negotiations but said he felt there was a chance to renew them if the Palestinians could be persuaded … Earlier, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said he did not believe a stable peace agreement could be reached with the Palestinians in his lifetime — one of the bleakest assessments from a top-level cabinet member since the talks collapsed.
Report: Russia offers to host Fatah, Hamas reconciliation meeting
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — Russia has offered to host a reconciliation meeting between Hamas and Fatah in Moscow, Lebanese newspaper as-Safir reported Monday. The offer was reportedly made by the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is also the Russian President’s Special Representative for the Middle East. According to as-Safir, Hamas had accepted the invitation while Fatah movement had not yet given an answer. The report added that Russia is also waiting for an official request from President Mahmoud Abbas to host another meeting between other Palestinian factions. Palestinian sources told the newspaper that accepting the Russian offer would solve the question of where to hold negotiations, though other officials said that the matter was more complicated. Hamas previously agreed to meet with Fatah in Cairo, but arrangements ground to a halt after Egypt vetoed the attendance of Hamas politburo member, Khalid Mashal, whose attendance Hamas insisted on.
US top court backs Obama, invalidates Jerusalem passport law
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 8 June by Lawrence Hurley — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a law that would let American citizens born in Jerusalem have Israel listed in passports as their country of birth, saying it encroached on the president’s exclusive power to recognize foreign governments. The 6-3 ruling, a victory for President Barack Obama, comes at a time of strained relations between Israel and the United States, the Jewish state’s most important ally. The Obama administration had said if the law were enforced it would have caused “irreversible damage” to America’s ability to influence the region’s peace process and reversed long-standing American policy not to recognize Jerusalem as part of Israel. Writing for the court in an important ruling on separation of powers within the U.S. government, Kennedy said the U.S. Congress, which enacted the law in 2002, has a role to play in foreign policy but cannot make decisions on recognizing foreign governments. The U.S. Constitution makes that the president’s “exclusive power,” Kennedy wrote. Congress passed the law when President George W. Bush was president. Neither his administration nor Obama’s ever enforced it. While Israel calls Jerusalem its capital, few other countries accept that. Most, including the United States, maintain embassies in Tel Aviv.
Greece officially starts using term ‘Palestine’
Times of Israel 8 June by Raphael Ahren — Palestine is ‘in our hearts,’ FM Kotzias says, hailing ‘centuries-old’ political ties,’ but stopping short of full recognition — Although they haven’t affirmed full, official recognition of a Palestinian state, Greek officials recently started referring to “Palestine.” … Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday mentioned the “State of Palestine” in a tweet about his meeting with al-Maliki. The tweet was deleted a few hours after it was posted and replaced with a similar tweet that merely referred to “Palestine.” Tsipras’s diplomatic adviser also called the Israeli embassy in Athens and apologized for the use of the term “State of Palestine.”
Southerners protest new Israeli fence
SIDON, Lebanon (Daily Star) 10 June by Mohammed Zaatari — Residents from the southeastern villages of Shebaa and Kfar Shuba vowed Tuesday to dismantle a barbed wire fence erected by the Israeli Army if works on disputed territory are not brought to a halt. The residents, most of whom own agricultural lands in the area, raised the Lebanese flag over the fence built one day earlier by the Israeli Army as part of a plan to build new military roads on occupied Lebanese territory. Israeli soldiers last week began carving out an 8-meter-wide military route in an area between Shebaa and Kfar Shuba – roughly 50 meters away from a Lebanese Army outpost near the southern border. A barbed-wire fence was erected Monday along an area stretching from the occupied portion of the Shebaa Farms to the Jabal al-Seddaneh, on the edges of Kfar Shuba. Hundreds of ancient trees that straddle the border between Lebanon and Israel were uprooted in the process, residents say. “These [works] are unacceptable,” Shebaa MP Qassem Hashem, who headed the protest, told reporters. “We call on the Lebanese government to urgently file a complaint against Israel at the United Nations Security Council for carving a road inside the occupied Shebaa Farms.”
‘Combat Proven’: The booming business of war in Israel
The Intercept 5 June by Alex Kane — The Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center was bustling with military personnel. Tall, broad-shouldered soldiers donning masks and sunglasses had their guns at the ready, and a mini-drone built at Ariel University, an Israeli school located in the occupied West Bank, went up in the air, flying high as the press snapped photos. This was not war, but one of the many demos held at the ISDEF expo, an annual June event that attracts thousands of security officials and professionals interested in weapons. Arms fairs in Israel showcase the latest products the profitable Israeli weapons industry manufactures — and the demos are the perfect place to show those products off … In 2013, Yotam Feldman, an Israeli journalist and filmmaker, released The Lab, a documentary positing that war is beneficial for the Israeli economy. Feldman’s film argues that the Palestinian territories are the “lab” where Israel uses its weaponry. Israeli companies profit from war because their products are “tested” on Palestinians, Feldman argued — particularly the residents of Gaza. “After every campaign of the kind that is now taking place in Gaza, we see an increase in the number of customers from abroad,” Eli Gold, CEO of Israeli arms company Meprolight, told the Israeli daily Haaretz last year. The weapons makers at the fair had no qualms with Feldman’s argument. The Israeli company BlueBird Aero Systems, which makes micro surveillance drones that are used by the Israeli military, boasts of how their products are “combat proven.”
Israel tests ‘dirty’ bombs in Negev desert
Middle East Eye 8 June — Israel carried carried out tests in the Negev desert in order to gauge out the repercussions and damage caused by an explosion of a “dirty” radiological bomb by enemy forces, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. A dirty bomb combines radiological materials with other more standard explosives. The tests were carried out following a similar four-year project dubbed “Green Field” at the Dimona nuclear reactor, 36 kilometres from the town of Beersheba, and ended in 2014. The majority of the explosion tests were implemented in the desert, while one was done at a closed facility. For the latter, the area had to be closed off until the effects of radiation were eliminated. The research gathered determined that at the centre of the explosions, high-level radiation was measured. There was also a low-level distribution of radiation, caused by particles carried by the wind, but they were not deemed to present a considerable danger by sources at the reactor … The Negev desert not only houses the Dimona nuclear reactor, but is also home to 200,000 Palestinian Bedouins. Some 90,000 of them live in 46 villages, of which 35 are not recognised by Israel and thus do not receive any basic services such as water or electricity. There are fears from within the Bedouin community that Israel will proceed with a now shelved plan, known as the Prawer Plan, to forcibly displace those in unrecognised villages – around 70,000 – into government-built townships. It has long been speculated that besides planning to build Jewish settlements in place of these Bedouin villages, the government planned to clear some of these villages in order to use them as military training and exercise bases away from urban areas.
Israeli minister cuts funds to Arab play on militant
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 June – Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced on Tuesday that he has decided to cut state funding for a play by an Arab theatre about a militant who killed a soldier. “I’ve ordered the relevant people in the education ministry to immediately remove the play from the culture basket,” he said of the state-funded selection of cultural events intended for youths. Bennett was referring to the play “The Parallel Time” by Almidan, an Arab theatre in Haifa…
Also on Tuesday, Culture Minister Miri Regev announced she would “reconsider” state funding to an Arab-Jewish theatre, after one of its managers refused to participate in a play in the West Bank. “I was disappointed to hear that Norman Issa is refusing to appear with the Haifa theatre in the Jordan Valley as part of the play ‘Boomerang’,” she wrote on Facebook of the popular Arab-Israeli actor. “If Norman doesn’t change his mind, I intend to reconsider the ministry’s support of Elmina Theatre, which he manages,” she wrote. Issa said in response that he and his Jewish wife, with whom he manages the theatre, dedicate their lives to the joint Arab-Jewish ideal of coexistence. “That’s why we established the theatre in Jaffa,” he wrote on Facebook. “You can’t expect me, as an Arab-Israeli, to go against my conscience and perform in disputed sites,” he continued, implying he would perform in the Jordan Valley if that were the only way to continue state funding for Elmina.