Violence / Attacks / Raids / Detentions
Palestinian man dies during attempted arrest by Israeli security forces
The Guardian 27 July by Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem — A Palestinian man has died during an attempted arrest by Israeli security forces, the third such fatal incident in less than a week. Mohammad Abu Latifa, aged 20, was killed after being shot and falling from a roof as he reportedly attempted to flee an arrest raid in Qalandia refugee camp, near Ramallah. Israeli police entered the camp early on Monday to arrest two Palestinians it claims were suspected of plotting an attack in Israel. According to the police account, the dead man attempted to flee across roofs and was shot and fell to his death after failing to surrender. “Despite that, the suspect continued to run and when he attempted to get to the roof of another building, he fell off it and was mortally wounded,” a police statement said. However, Shahdi Awad, who lives in a neighbouring building and said he saw the incident, told Reuters Abu Latifa was shot dead and had not fallen off the roof. “He was shot repeatedly on the rooftop, and that’s where he stayed until the soldiers came and took down the body,” he said. Palestinians who saw Abu Latifa said he had gunshot wounds in his legs but no clear sign of other injuries. Palestinian doctors said his family had refused permission for an autopsy. An Israeli police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, said, “He [Awad] can say whatever he wants. Our account is what happened.” On Thursday, Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian in the southern West Bank while arresting his son. According to Palestinian witnesses, 53-year-old Faleh Hamed Zamel Abu Maria was shot in the chest after throwing a plastic plant pot at soldiers. On Wednesday, 21-year-old Mohammed Ahmed Alauna was shot and killed by IDF soldiers in the West Bank village of Burkin.
Israeli forces injure 14 after funeral of Palestinian teen
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Monday injured 14 Palestinians, including six with live rounds, in clashes that broke out following the funeral of a Palestinian teen who was killed by Israeli forces in Qalandiya refugee camp on Monday morning. Muhammad Abu Latifa, 18, was shot dead by Israeli forces in an early morning raid into Qalandiya refugee camp. Thousands of Palestinians participated in his funeral procession, which started at Ramallah’s Palestine Medical Complex and made its way towards Qalandiya refugee camp’s mosque where thousands prayed before Abu Latifa was buried at Qalandiya’s cemetery. Participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted national songs, while calling for revenge. Clashes soon broke out, with Palestinian youths throwing stones and empty bottles at Israeli forces, who responded with stun grenades and live and rubber-coated steel bullets. Sources reported that at least 14 Palestinians were injured.
Killing of three Palestinians in a week shouldn’t be business as usual
28 July by Mairav Zonszein — If it had been Palestinians who killed three Israelis, we would be having a very different conversation about a ‘worrying escalation’ or ‘wave of violence.’ — Israeli military forces shot and killed three Palestinians in the last week. All three killings took place during raids in the middle of the night to detain suspects in crimes we know nothing about, sometimes crimes the suspects know nothing about. Although it appears there was some level of resistance in the three attempted arrests, there is no evidence at all that any of the three were armed or posed a mortal threat when they were killed. In the early hours of Monday morning, soldiers and police commandos entered the Qalandiya Refugee Camp looking for 18-year-old Muhammad Abu Latifa on suspicion of weapons trafficking, though some reports say simply, “terror activities.” According to the IDF, Latifa was shot in the leg while trying to escape to a nearby roof, from which he fell to his death. His family claims he was simply shot to death, and a report published on +972 on Monday shows evidence that challenges the IDF account. Some reports in Israeli outlets, like Haaretz, didn’t even bother to speak to anyone from the family and only provided the IDF account. Ynet’s English site reported the story with an appalling headline that left many dumbfounded: “Parkour in Palestine: Fleeing suspect falls to his death,” playing on the acrobatic sport that has become popular among young Palestinians, who use their bodies to jump on and between buildings and urban obstacles. It was the top story on their homepage for several hours before being changed. Ynet declined to comment when I approached them asking them what they were thinking.
Jerusalem: Child injured after police assaulted him at home, police station
IMEMC 28 July — The police invaded the family home of Abdul-Karim Aziz Haddad, 15 years of age, and started beating him up, in front of his family. The child’s uncle ‘Ala al-Haddad said the soldiers invaded the home, in the Sa‘diyya neighborhood, around 11:30 before midnight, to ensure he is at home and abiding by a house arrest order that was enforced against him four days ago.
“Although Abdul-Karim was at home, the soldiers accused him of violating the house arrest order,” the uncle said, “They started provoking him, and tried to invade every room, resulting in an argument before the police attacked the child and abducted him.” The uncle added that the police also assaulted the child while moving him to the police station, and held him in the toilet room of the station, in addition to beating him on his private parts. The child was later moved to the al-Qashla Police station for interrogation, where the officers realized his urine had blood in it, and released him. The family instantly took him to the al-Makassed hospital, in Jerusalem, for treatment.
In related news, soldiers kidnapped late at night two Palestinians, identified as ‘Abada Khatib and Mohammad Abu Sneina, and assaulted them while moving them to an interrogation center.
Settlers assault the elderly Sarah Nabali
[with photos] SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 28 July — The 85-year old Sarah Nabali “Um Walid” was injured on Tuesday with bruises after being assaulted by four settlers while passing near the settlement of Maale Zetim in the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud in Silwan. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed by the Nabali family that Um Walid was transferred to Al-Maqased hospital to conduct the necessary check-ups after she was pushed and hit on her hand and shoulder by one of the settlers; note that she has heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure. Nabali family explained that four settlers verbally insulted Um Walid and her son while passing near the settlement that is established on the lands of the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud, and one settler pushed her and hit her on her hand and shoulder for no reason. The family added that the settlers ran away towards the settlement while the occupation forces present in the area provided them with full protection and did not take any action against them. Verbal altercations broke out between the occupation forces and the locals who gathered after the assault, and the forces assaulted another woman during the incident.
possibly refers to the same woman:
Settlers attack old woman in Occupied Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 28 July — Extremist Jewish settlers assaulted Tuesday morning a Palestinian old woman in Ras al-Amoud district in Occupied Jerusalem. The grandson of the old woman told Quds Press that the settlers assaulted her while she was heading to hospital. She had to stop an Israeli bus in order to get to hospital, but when she tried to, the settlers inside that bus pushed and shoved her away, he added. Later on, the old woman was taken to Makased hospital to undergo required checkups.
Settlers attack Palestinian bus driver in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 July — Two Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian bus driver with pepper spray as they were leaving a bus at Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday evening. The driver, Muhammad Husam Barakat, 38, works for the Israeli bus company, Kavim, and his route is from the illegal settlement of Beitar Illit to central Jerusalem. He told Ma‘an by telephone that two young settlers boarded his bus near Beitar Illit and stayed until the last stop in Sheikh Jarrah. When they got out of the bus, they refused to pay and instead attacked the driver with pepper spray. Barakat said that he managed to get out of the bus and received help from passersby who called the police. The driver was taken to Hadassah Medical Center for treatment.
Family of Palestinians killed by Israeli officers tells diffferent story than IDF
Haaretz 27 July by Amira Hass — Members of the Abu Maria family in Beit Ummar say the soldiers were inexperienced, confused and trigger-happy; 16 Palestinians killed in raids this year — …Last Thursday at 3 A.M., members of the Abu Maria family awoke to sounds in their front yard, and then loud knocks on the door. Ahmed lives on the ground floor, and has a separate entrance with an iron door. The parents, Falah and Feika and six of their children – one of them, Haidar, married with two children of his own – live in two floors in an adjacent building, also with a separate entrance. They opened both doors simultaneously and saw about 12 soldiers who had reached the house on foot. In the meantime, other family members went to wake up the rest of the household – to prevent a situation in which children are awoken to the sight of soldiers bearing rifles … Eight or 10 soldiers entered the stairwell, helmets on their heads, their backs slightly bent and their rifles held at eye level, pointing forward. Ahmed followed them, and asked to speak with an officer, why they came and who they were looking for. The soldiers seemed to him scared and confused, and refused to answer. Falah, the father, and his son Mohammed were pushed up the stairs by the soldiers. The soldiers did not have their faces covered, and carried live ammunition as well as stun grenades and tear gas. “We were almost naked,” said Ahmed. “Meaning short pants and flip flops, four or five people who just woke up, against about 10 soldiers.” Mohammed stopped at the seventh stair, rested his right hand on the railing, and gestured “wait a moment” with his left hand. Behind him stood his father, and two or three of his brothers. They even said their names to the soldiers. Mohammed was standing at least a meter away from the soldiers, who stood facing one another on the second stair, rifles pointed. Mohammed tried to explain that there were women in the house who had to dress themselves. The brother Haidar asked who they were looking for in Hebrew, and told the soldiers to wait a moment. Haidar and Ahmed both say that no one ever attempted to choke any soldiers. Suddenly shots were heard. Ahmed was sure it was a stun grenade. Mohammed stayed standing for a moment, then collapsed onto the stairs. According to Ahmed, the soldiers shot his brother twice and hit him in the groin. Blood started to flow, and the father and brothers shouted that he must be taken to a hospital. While Mohammed was on the floor bleeding, the soldiers ran about the hallway, talking anxiously on their radios. During the chaos, one soldier, who stood next to Mohammed, waved his weapon and hit Ahmed in the nose, causing a large gash that was later stitched up in the hospital….
Humiliation and sloppy security checks at IDF checkpoints
Ynet 27 July by Yoav Zitun — A major complaint filed by soldiers and testimonies collected by Ynet reveal an alarming state of affairs at the Military Police’s two crossing battalions in the Judea and Samaria Division — … According to the soldiers’ testimonies, the checkpoint routine included cases of cursing Palestinians, physical violence against them, confiscating their phones and smashing them. In addition, the soldiers were heavily burdened in their activities, and their qualifications were often faked during the training stage. A senior Military Police source admitted in a conversation with Ynet, “The complaint included 70 pages. The people there were real, and we immediately appointed an inquiry team including a colonel, two lieutenant colonels from the battalions, an organizational consultant, and a supervising external source. We held examinations and conversations on the ground. Each of the incidents did happen and was taken care of.” … According to the testimonies, the past 18 months have recorded many violent incidents against Palestinians at the crossings. “A Palestinian who had been waiting for a relatively long time at a checkpoint became irritated and began cursing an officer’s mother. He was immediately beaten up by the troops,” one soldier testified. Another soldier offered details on the security check of Palestinian suspects: “We twist their hand and they immediately go down, and that’s how we check them.” Sometimes, the violence against the Palestinians is carried out in dark places: “In one of the roadblocks there is a sealed building called a court, which is supposed to be used to try wanted Arabs or those causing problems. That’s where they are beaten up.” … According to a soldier in the Taoz Battalion, some troops treat the Palestinians arriving at the crossings disrespectfully. “They shout at them, ‘Get out of here,’ ‘you stink,’ ‘SOBs.’ They have even started arranging them in groups of threes and moving them into rows like in recruit service, or playing with them, making one of them sit and the other stand up alternately,” she said. The soldier added that there was a tendency to delay Palestinians at the checkpoint for more than three hours and make them stand in the sun the entire time….
The occupation arrests 10 children and one young man from Esawyeh
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 28 July — The occupation authorities arrested 10 Jerusalemite children and one young man on Tuesday early morning after raiding their houses. Wadi Hilweh Information Center explained that the occupation forces arrested Hani Shadi Naser (14), Adam Kayed Mohammad (14), Mohammad Obeid (14), Yehya Arafat Dirbas (14), Majd Nayef Mustafa (14), Mohammad Za’roor (15), Munir Dari (14), Ashraf Obeid (18), Ahmad Mahmoud (15) and Yehya Dirbas (14). The forces also arrested the 16-year old Mohamad Samer Taleb Mahmoud.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 July — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian from the al-Shuyukh village in northern Hebron on Tuesday. Activist Ahmad Halayqa said that Israeli forces raided the village early Tuesday and detained Abd al-Fattah Ribhi Halayqa, 23, after searching his home. An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident. Such raids are carried out by Israeli forces in the West Bank on a routine basis, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimating a weekly average of 83 raids since the start of 2015.
Palestinian jailed by PA for ‘planning attacks’ against Israel
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 28 July — A Palestinian man from the town of Qalqiliya in the occupied West Bank has reportedly been held by Palestinian intelligence services for seven months for “security purposes,” his family said Tuesday. Qassam Hajj Hamad, 33, was detained by Palestinian intelligence authorities on suspicion of planning attacks against Israel, Qassam’s brother Muhammad told Ma‘an. PA authorities continue to hold Qassam in a Jericho jail despite being issued a bail of 500 Jordanian Dinars ($700) by the Palestinian High Court of Justice. Qassam reportedly began a hunger strike seven days ago in protest of his continued detention. Earlier this month the PA released Islam Hamed, 30, who was held for two years past his three-year prison term and had gone on an open-ended hunger strike in April.
Video: Life after a live ammunition injury: Basel Kamal Safi
RAMALLAN (DCIP) 13 May 2015—On December 4, 2014, Basel Kamal Safi, then 17, sustained a gunshot wound when he found himself in the midst of clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian youth in the West Bank village of Beitillu. The injury led to two surgeries, and now Basel must use a wheelchair to get around. The incident has also caused financial hardship for Basel and his family. DCIP spoke with Basel about the impact the injury has had on his life.
Israelis enter Aqsa as UN warns against ‘religious provocation’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 July — Right-wing Israelis broke into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday for the second day in a row, as the UN expressed concern over “religious provocations” in and around holy sites in the Old City of East Jerusalem. Witnesses said that 70 right-wing Jews entered the compound via the Moroccan Gate under Israeli police escort. Israeli police reportedly assaulted and detained a Palestinian worshiper, Ahmad Asaliyyeh, from the compound, and detained a Palestinian woman as she was leaving the compound. An Israeli police spokesperson could not be reached for comment. The incident came a day after Palestinian worshipers clashed with Israeli police and soldiers across the compound and inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself, leaving 19 Palestinians and four Israeli police injured. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued a statement on Monday to express concern over “recent incidents and heightened tensions” in and around Jerusalem’s holy sites, and to “call upon people on all sides to maintain calm.” He said: “Provocative actions and language carry the seed of violence and ultimately undermine the ability of worshipers of all faiths to have access to their respective Holy Sites. Respect for the status quo is in the interest of all and is essential for stability.” The UN representative called on religious and political leaders to “prevent extremist elements from abusing the sanctity of Holy Sites and the different religious sentiments of all people.” – Bans, arrests – Israeli forces reportedly detained eight Palestinians from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday, and an Israeli court on Monday banned four Palestinians from entering the compound for periods of up to 60 days. Dania Eid and Alaa Bashi, both Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, were banned from the site for 60 days, while two Palestinians from the West Bank, Akram Daana and a young man identified only as Fadi, were given bans of 30 and 45 days.
The battle for Al-Aqsa: ‘This is not about prayer’
Al Jazeera 27 July by Dalia Hatuqa — On Monday, chunks of rock still peppered the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site. Volunteers worked to remove shards of glass and metal, but parts of the crimson and gold carpet were charred by stun grenades hurled into the holy site by Israeli forces, who also fired rubber-coated metal bullets at Muslim worshipers. Clashes broke out Sunday when soldiers cleared the way for Israelis, including a cabinet minister, to visit the Al-Aqsa compound on Tisha B’Av, a Jewish holiday marking the destruction of two Biblical temples. This has become a reoccurring scene, with ominous implications, which has ignited Palestinian fears of an Israeli takeover of the holy esplanade. Jews call the esplanade the Temple Mount and consider it their holiest site, and Muslims refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary or al-Haram al-Sharif … For years, religious figures and politicians have been warning that any Israeli move to change Muslims’ exclusive control of the site would add an explosive religious angle to the political conflict, with Jerusalem at its core. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a very sensitive area. You can say it’s the most volatile in the world,” said Abdel Azim Salhab, chairman of the Islamic Waqf Council in Jerusalem. “[Al-Aqsa] is the centre of the conflict in Jerusalem and in Palestine. Tensions here will have implications globally.” … In 1990, Israeli border police killed 22 Palestinians during a demonstration triggered by an attempt by Jewish extremists to lay the cornerstone for a new temple in the compound. Several years earlier, two members of an organisation called the Jewish Underground (who were founding figures in the pro-settlement Gush Emunim movement), were caught trying to bomb the two sites with the hope that the Third Temple would be built on their ruins.
Arab ministers to meet after Jerusalem clashes
CAIRO (AFP) 27 July — Arab League foreign ministers will meet in Cairo early next month to discuss clashes involving Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official said Monday. Sunday’s incident saw Israeli police enter the mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, as they clashed with Palestinians angered by Jews’ access to the compound on an annual day of Jewish mourning. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told reporters that foreign ministers from 15 Arab states will meet on August 5 to discuss what he called the “dangerous development” in Jerusalem. They will discuss “Israeli escalations at Al-Aqsa mosque, continuing settlements, extra-judicial arrests and assassinations and forced displacements” of Palestinians, he said after meeting the league’s chief Nabil Al-Arabi at its Cairo headquarters. Erakat said the meeting had been called by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. The 15 ministers represent Arab countries involved in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative that calls for an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories in exchange for full normalisation of ties with the Arab world.
Israeli police arrest youth for calling Mohammed a pig
DPA 27 July — Israel Police arrested on Monday a Jewish youth who shouted insults to the prophet Mohammed, in the second such incident in days and amid heightened Israeli-Palestinian tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank, police said. The religious young man was filmed shouting “Mohammed is a pig” several times in Jerusalem’s historic Old City. A young woman was filmed shouting the same phrase on Thursday. Jerusalem police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the police would show “zero tolerance” toward such provocations. An Israeli settler woman on Thursday was caught on camera shouting “Mohammed is a pig,” as a group of Muslim women were heckling a group of Jewish women visiting the Temple Mount.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli wardens assault PFLP leader in ongoing prison crackdown
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 July — The Israeli Prison Service on Tuesday morning assaulted the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine amid an ongoing crackdown on Palestinian detainees inside Nafha prison, a Palestinian minister said. Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe said in a statement that the Israeli Prison Service assaulted Ahmed Saadat, PFLP’s secretary-general, who is serving multiple life sentences in Nafha prison in the Negev in southern Israel. Qaraqe blamed the Israeli government for the assault on both Saadat and on other Palestinian prisoners at Nafha. He said that Israeli wardens use all means of aggression against Palestinian detainees including torture, beatings, and humiliation. Qaraqe demanded that Israel stop that the “craziness,” warning that the situation in Israeli prisons could “explode” at any moment.
Hunger striking detainee denied wheelchair to use toilet
IMEMC/Agencies 29 July — Detainee Udai Steiti, who was hospitalized after starting an open-ended hunger strike to protest his administrative detention, has asked for a wheelchair to access the hospital’s toilet, but his request was denied by the Israeli Prison Administration, forcing him to “crawl to the bathroom” … PPS said, according to WAFA, that 25-year-old Steiti from the Jenin Refugee camp, who has been on a hunger strike for 41 consecutive days over being detained by the Israeli authorities without indictment or trail, known as administrative detention, is suffering from significant weight loss and severe pain in all body parts, in addition to walking problems. Meanwhile, prisoner Mohammad Allan from Nablus entered his 44th day in his hunger strike against administrative detention. Allan is just one out of around 400 detainees serving administrative detention in several Israeli jails.
Number of administrative detainees doubled in Israel jails
RAMALLAH (PIC) 27 July — The number of Palestinian administrative detainees held in Israeli jails without charge or trial has doubled within a year, Haaretz Hebrew newspaper reported Monday. Since the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli soldiers in al-Khalil last summer, Israeli authorities notably intensified the use of administrative detention policy against Palestinians “due to the Military Advocate General’s decision to lower the requirements in such cases for holding people involved in terrorism.” Israeli administrative detention orders, based on a secret file which neither the detainee nor his lawyer are allowed to see, can be renewed more than once. More than 1,000 administrative detainees were documented in 2003. The number had fallen significantly to 134 in August 2013, only to rise again to reach 473 in 2014 after the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli soldiers. There are currently 391 administrative detainees in Israeli jails … twice as many as were being held before the kidnapping process.
Israeli court sentences 2 Palestinian teens to 4 months in jail
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 July — An Israeli military court on Tuesday sentenced two Palestinian teenagers to four months jail time and imposed a fine of 3,000 shekels ($794), a prisoner rights group said. Saleh Ayub, a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoners Society, identified the teenagers as Amer Abd al-Rahman al-Bajawi, 14, and Sanad Khader Masharqa, 15, from the town of Ya‘bad near Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Both teenagers were detained on May 23, although it is unclear on what charges they were sentenced. An Israeli watchdog, the Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem reported that the two were detained near their homes in the village, located near an Israeli military base at the entrance of the Jewish-only Mevo Dotan settlement.
Three acquitted of 2012 ‘price tag’ attack at Palestinian village
Ynet 27 July by Ilana Curiel & Itay Blumenthal — The Be’er Sheva District Court acquitted on Monday three Jewish youth who were accused of committing a “price tag attack” at the Palestinian village as-Samu in southern Mount Hebron. The three were cleared of charges of hate crime, but were convicted of hindering a police officer in the line of duty, and one of them was also convicted of assaulting the police officer. They were arrested in December 2012 on suspicion they tried to set a car on fire and spray “price tag” graffiti. Police found spray cans, flammable materials, pocket knives and a fake M-16 rifle in their car.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Outrage at Israeli plan to build on historic Muslim cemetery
JERUSALEM (Middle East Eye) 28 July by Jonathan Cook – Officials here have approved a massive construction project, including plans for housing, shops and a hotel, on one of the largests and most historically important cemeteries in the Middle East. A previous project to build a courthouse at the site, part of Mamilla Cemeter, was scrapped two years ago after it provoked a storm of protest. The graveyard, just outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls, is said to be the final resting place of [some of] the Prophet Mohammed’s Companions as well as thousands of Saladin’s warriors who helped expel the Crusaders from the Holy Land nearly 1,000 years ago. It also served as a cemetery for leading Palestinian families in Jerusalem until the city’s division in 1948, when Mamilla fell just within the borders of the newly established state of Israel. Jerusalem City Hall triggered huge controversy seven years ago when it approved a Museum of Tolerance over another section of the cemetery, requiring the hurried disinterment of as many as 1,500 remains.
Israeli military takes over contested West Bank complex
JERUSALEM (AP) 18 July — Israeli troops moved on Tuesday into a contested West Bank settlement housing complex ahead of its scheduled demolition, the military said. The military said troops took over the under-construction complex inside the Beit El settlement overnight to remove protesters that had holed themselves up inside. Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the scene and confronted the security forces. Protesters scuffled with the security forces throughout the day. Israel’s Supreme Court has given the government until Thursday to dismantle the complex, which was built illegally. The government says it will fight the ruling and is making efforts to legalize the complex. The military says it will hold its position and await orders on how to proceed. Hard-line ministers criticized the defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, for deploying the military. Tempers are high among some in the settler community as it marks a decade since Israel’s “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip, when Israel in the summer of 2005 withdrew all its civilians and soldiers from all of the settlements in the coastal territory. Also Tuesday, scores of Israelis entered one of the two West Bank settlements that Israel also withdrew from at the time. They told Israeli media they want to stay as long as possible in Sa-Nur until Israel removes them. “We are returning,” Itzik Amitail told channel 10. “We have been waiting for 10 years and now it’s time to go back home.”
In Pictures: Demolishing an apartment, residential rooms, commercial establishments and warehouses in Silwan
SILWAN Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 28 July — The occupation bulldozers demolished on Tuesday morning an apartment, residential rooms and commercial establishments in the neighborhood of the “Upper Ein” in Silwan. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation bulldozers of the municipality and Nature and Parks authority along with occupation Special Forces raided the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh and the “Upper Ein” in Silwan and demolished two commercial stores, one residential apartment, two warehouses and two residential rooms. – Demolition in Ein Al-Lozeh – Khalil Mohammad Abbasi (Abu Firas) explained that the occupation forces along with the bulldozers raided his stores and an empty apartment in the early morning hours and broke the main doors. They emptied the contents of the stores and prevented the owners from approaching the demolition scene. Abbasi added that the bulldozers demolished two commercial stores used for selling carpets that were 100 square meters; they also demolished a 100-square meters apartment that was empty of residents. He also explained that the establishments have been established since last September and the demolition came with no prior notice. – Demolition of the “Upper Ein” – The occupation bulldozers demolished two warehouses and two residential rooms owned by Eyad Abbasi in the neighborhood of “Upper Ein” [Ein al-Foqa] in Silwan. Eyad said: “A large Israeli force raided the establishments after surrounding the house and used hand-demolition tools to break the doors. We woke up to the noise of the demolition and the municipality’s workers started emptying the establishments’’ contents.” Abbasi explained that the establishments have been established nearly 10 years ago and the demolition came with no prior notice. The total area of the establishments demolished was 70 square meters that were built from bricks and roofed with tin plates.
Israeli forces demolish wedding hall and workshops north of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 July — Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished a wedding hall and several other structures belonging to a Palestinian resident in the neighborhood of Beit Hanina north of Jerusalem. Israeli bulldozers were reported to have stormed the neighborhood under Israeli army escort and demolished the “al-Khayma” wedding hall belonging to Akram Abu Shalbak. They then gave Abu Shalbak an hour to empty a printing shop, a carpentry workshop, and a yard used for selling construction material that also held a small gas station. Abu Shalbak told Ma‘an that all the structures were demolished when the hour was up. The wedding hall included five rooms and six bathrooms serving the hall, he said. He said that the printing shop measured around 500 square meters, while the other structures measured 1,000 square meters, and were built on a tract of land about 6,500 square meters large. Some of the buildings were made from brick and stone, while others were made of tin boards and steel, Abu Shalbak said. They were all built in 2004 … Abu Shalbak said that some of the structures demolished fell under the jurisdiction of the Israeli Civil Administration, in land classified as Area C under the 1993 Oslo Accord, while the rest came under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem municipality, in occupied East Jerusalem. He said that the Beit El municipality also ordered him to pay fines of 60,000 shekels following the demolition.
Israeli forces seize excavator near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 July — Israeli forces seized an excavator owned by a Palestinian villager near Nablus on Sunday, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) said. Khalid Mansour from PARC said that the excavator belonged to Radi Rayyan, a resident of Qarawat Bani Hassan village, and was seized as he was clearing a dirty road in an agricultural area known to local farmers as Nuweitif. The excavator was then taken to an Israeli military base in Qalqilya. Israeli authorities will likely impose a fine on the owner in addition to transfer fees for each day that the excavator is kept in confiscation, Mansour said.
Israel aims to prevent Palestinians from accessing their land in Area C so that it can be confiscated later, Mansour added. Over 60 percent of the occupied West Bank is classified as Area C, with Palestinian planning and building nearly entirely restricted by Israeli authorities.
IOF confiscates 15 dunums of ‘Aqraba town land in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 28 July — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) ordered the confiscation of 15 dunums of agricultural lands in ‘Aqraba town in Nablus province for military purposes. The activist Hamza Deiriyeh told the PIC reporter that Israeli forces handed a confiscation notice to the municipality of ‘Aqraba on Tuesday. The order stipulates the confiscation of about 15.65 dunums of the town’s lands. The municipality filed a lawsuit at an Israeli court and has been waiting for the court’s resolution, but the IOF issued the confiscation order before the court’s verdict was issued, Hamza pointed out.
Israeli extremists burn harvested Palestinian wheat
IMEMC/Agencies 29 July — A number of armed Israeli extremists invaded, on Tuesday evening, Palestinian farmlands in Turmus Ayya town, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and burnt piles of wheat that the Palestinians had harvested earlier. Media sources said the extremists came from the Adi Ad illegal Israeli colony, built on privately own Palestinian lands. The attack led to excessive losses, especially since the villagers rounded their harvest to prepare it for grinding and processing, before the fanatics invaded the area and burnt the harvest. Israeli soldiers arrived in the area, and observed the devastating outcome of the attack.
Israeli expansion works in Njihut settlement ongoing
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 28 July — The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) continued on Monday construction works to expand Njihut settlement on Palestinian lands south of al-Khalil. Local sources told the PIC reporter that the IOA has renewed construction work to expand western areas of Njihut settlement after establishing housing units on its eastern area. The settlement expansion work would restrict movement in neighboring areas, where Israeli settlers have seized during the past two years large tracts of land.
After 40 years, Bedouin village’s school finally linked to the power grid
Haaretz 28 July by Shirly Seidler — Unlike many Bedouin villages, Al-Sayyid is recognized as legal by the state — After four decades and a petition to the High Court of Justice, an elementary school in the Bedouin village of Al-Sayyid has finally been connected to the power grid. Like many Bedouin schools in the Negev, this one had relied for years on generators, resulting in frequent outages. Moreover, an engineer from Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, concluded that the generators emitted poisonous fumes and sometimes leaked diesel fuel. The elementary school was connected to the grid two weeks ago. Over the coming weeks, four other schools in Al-Sayyid — which unlike many Bedouin villages is recognized as legal by the state — will be hooked up as well. The Israel Electric Corporation has promised that all five schools will be online when the school year opens in September. Two years ago, Adalah helped residents of Al-Sayyid and two other recognized Bedouin villages in the Negev petition the High Court to demand that seven schools serving some 3,000 students be linked to the grid.
Activism / Solidarity
Finnish rebuilders in occupied West Bank
telesurtv 28 July by Bruno Jantti — Finnish people describe why they are acting in solidarity with Palestine –– A couple of days ago, twenty Europeans and U.S. citizens began rebuilding a home for a Palestinian family here in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. These individuals, this writer included, are part of an international activist endeavor organized by the Israel Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD) … Participants of the ICAHD rebuilding camp have traveled to the occupied Palestinian territories to carry out an act of resistance against the Israeli occupation regime … In this year’s ICAHD rebuilding camp, like in previous camps, one can instantly notice how Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians keeps mobilizing a growing number of quite different sectors in Western societies….
1st truckloads of Qatari-funded fuel enter Gaza amid power crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 July — The first truckloads of Qatari-funded fuel left from the Suez Canal in Egypt to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, a Gaza-based official said. An estimated one million liters of Qatari-funded fuel, shipped through the Kerem Shalom crossing, will be used to run the Gaza power station for 45 days using 45 megawatts daily, a member of the Gaza-based committee of independent Palestinian figures Samir Mousa said. The move comes amid a power crisis in the Gaza Strip that has left small workshops and factories working far below their normal capacity. Last week, the enclave’s only power station reduced its provision of electricity to eight hours per day as it was unable to pay taxes imposed by the Palestinian Authority. The current lack of electricity creates huge losses for the local businesses as factories and workshops are producing only 20 percent of their capacity, the speaker of the general federation of Gaza trade unions Samir al-Amsi said Monday … In 2012, Egypt stopped pumping Qatari-funded fuel to the Gaza Strip after 16 Egyptian soldiers were killed in an attack in the bordering Sinai Peninsula. However, the Egyptian authorities now promise to keep shipping the fuel to Gaza in an agreement reached between Palestinian independent officials, the Egyptian government and the Arab League to solve the power crisis in the Gaza Strip.
IOF stages limited incursion into Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 27 July — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) carried out Monday morning a limited incursion into the east of Gaza city, Quds Press reported. Five Israeli military vehicles moved from Nahal Oz military site into Shuja‘iya neighborhood amid heavy shooting at Palestinian farmers in the area, the sources added. No casualties were reported during the attack.
Meanwhile, Israeli Navy forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats while sailing off the Gaza coast on Monday morning. the fishing boats were forced to go back to shore after the Israeli attack. No injuries were suffered. The incident is the latest in the series of Israeli violations of the ceasefire reached between Israel and Palestinian resistance under Egyptian mediation on August 26, 2014.
Israeli navy fires at Gaza fishermen, no injuries reported
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 July — Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats as they sailed off the northern Gaza coast on Tuesday morning, with no injuries reported. Witnesses said the fishermen were sailing off the al-Waha and Sudaniyya coasts west of Beit Lahiya when they came under fire.They then headed back to the shore, with no injuries or damage reported.
Gaza’s fishermen under constant attack by Israeli warships
GAZA, Occupied Palestine 27 July by ISM, Gaza Team — Ahmed: “Once I recover I’ll go fishing again…” Ismail (Ahmed’s father): “No, you won’t! That’s enough…” As Ismail tells ISM, “the occupation establishes the fishing limits according to the season. When there’s fish within 3-6 miles they don’t let us go further than 2-3 miles… even 1’5… When there’s no fish before 7-10 miles they allow us to reach the 6 miles.” — ISM Gaza visited Ahmed Al Sharafi (20 years old) and his father, Ismail Al Sharafi. They explained how, after more than a month without going out to the sea, due to the scarce fish and the huge risk of getting shot and/or kidnapped by the zionist occupation forces, Ahmed tried to convince his father to go out. Finally Ismail accepted, as they didn’t have anything left to feed their 8 member family. After throwing the nets for hours within the 6 miles limit imposed by the occupation without getting any fish, desperately, they decided to take an even greater risk and go further. When they were around 7 miles, an Israeli warship approached them and, without any prior warning, started shooting live ammunition around their boat. They then were told to stop the engine and to jump to the water. Ismail refused to obey and headed to the shore. At this point the Israeli ship started to make big waves around the small boat in order to overturn it, but failed, so then they started shooting live ammunition against them and their boat. The engine was hit, as was Ahmed’s back, just a centimeter from the spine. Luckily the engine didn’t stop working, so Ismail could continue running away with his badly injured son lying on the floor of the small boat and leaving behind the expensive and extremely scarce nets. At this point the zionist soldiers were satisfied and decided to let them go back to the besieged strip of land where they survive. Until they meet again.
Video: Life after a live ammunition injury: Fadel Abu Odwan
RAMALLAH (DCIP) 11 May 2015 — In February 2014, Israeli forces deployed near the Israel-Gaza border fence shot and seriously injured Fadel Abu Odwan, then 11 years old, near his village of Shokat in the southern Gaza Strip. Over one year later, while Fadel survived, the incident has had a devastating impact on his life. Fadel is no longer the happy and healthy child he was prior to the incident. In April 2015, he spoke to Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) about the incident, and the impact it has had on his life. “I cannot marry or have children in the future,” he says. “My future was destroyed – they took everything from me. This injury has changed my life forever.” Last year, Fadel told DCIP that Israeli military jeeps approached the Israeli side of the border fence at full speed as he walked to meet his brother near the area, and shot at him as he fled. After being left to bleed for three hours, in full view of Israeli forces, relatives were able to rescue Fadel and take him to hospital. Fadel sustained injuries to his groin when a live bullet struck him as he ran. At the hospital, doctors placed him in intensive care before transferring him to surgery to extract the bullet lodged in his thigh and remove his testicles. Fadel’s doctor said at the time that the injury “will cause [him] lifelong physical and psychological damage, and will certainly affect his ability to marry and have children.” Since the incident, Fadel has struggled with a host of health problems resulting from the injury. He suffers from incontinence, problems breathing, and pain when standing for even short periods of time. All this has taken a toll on his mental health.
In Gaza’s ruins, ‘we will think of those we lost’
EI 28 July by Charlotte Silver & Ezz Zanoun — …In the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, Ali Zaki Wahdan, 36, lost 12 members of his family last summer, but not all at once. His mother, father and 2-year-old niece were killed along with five other members of their family when Israel bombed his home, which had been previously occupied by Israeli soldiers who detained the family in one room. Wahdan said Israel knew who was in the home when they bombed it. At the time of the bombing, Wahdan was at al-Shifa hospital. Until she was killed, his trapped 27-year-old sister was sending him text messages updating him on the situation inside their home. She informed him that the Israelis vacated the house on 25 July but ordered the family to remain. Wahdan didn’t realize the house had been bombed and his family killed until he returned to the house during a brief humanitarian ceasefire on 26 July. Then he found the charred remains of his family. Afterwards, Wahdan took refuge in a relative’s home in the town of Jabaliya where he reunited with his wife and three children. They were at the home for less than one week before it was bombed, killing his 22-year-old wife. His brother, sister-in-law and their daughter, an infant, were also killed. His three sons — all under six — were badly injured and transferred to Turkey for treatment. Wahdan’s left leg was amputated and his right leg was badly injured. Wahdan recounted his story reluctantly. “There is nothing to say but there is no god but God,” he said.
Relatives of Gaza war victims hold rally to demand compensation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 July — Hundreds of relatives of those killed during the Israeli military offensive on Gaza in the summer of 2014 rallied on Tuesday to demand reparations for their family members, officials said. Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine official, Mahmoud Khalaf, called on the Palestinian government to guarantee financial compensation for the families of the victims of last summer’s war because “they died for their noble cause Palestine.” An agency created by the PLO, the Martyrs and Injured Families Support Organization, supports 30,000 Palestinians inside of the occupied West Bank and Gaza as well as 23,000 Palestinians, Arabs, and foreigners outside of these areas.
Gaza teachers head to Qatar as part of new employment drive
GAZA CITY (AP) 28 July — About 100 Palestinian teachers have departed the impoverished Gaza Strip for potential teaching positions in Qatar. Two buses with banners praising Qatar and its emir dropped off the teachers Tuesday afternoon at the Gaza side of the border crossing with Israel. From there they travel to Jordan and Qatar. The teachers are the first class of those applying for jobs in Qatar since the oil-rich Gulf emirate launched its new Palestinian employment program. Qatar recently launched a series of initiatives in Gaza, building a hospital, repaving roads and funding construction of a large housing project that will accommodate 1,000 families. According to the World Bank, Hamas-run Gaza has the highest unemployment rate in the world at 43 percent.
ICC prosecutor appeals ruling to investigate Gaza flotilla deaths
Haaretz 27 July by Barak Ravid — International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday appealed the recent ruling by a special panel of judges that she must reconsider her previous decision not to investigate alleged war crimes committed by Israel Defense Forces troops when they boarded the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010. Seven months ago, Bensouda had closed the file on the case, in which nine Turkish citizens were killed when an incident occurred between activists and IDF soldiers as the lead ship in a flotilla sought to break the Gaza blockade. Bensouda wrote in her appeal that the judges’ decision altered the mandate she was given under the Rome Statute that established the ICC, and dramatically expands the scope of issues the court is meant to deal with. The prosecutor also argued that the special panel found technical errors in her work solely with regard to those decisions it disagreed with. As such, Bensouda said, the judges had exceeded their authority under the Rome Statute. The prosecutor asked the ICC appeals court to overturn the demand to reevaluate her decision not to investigate, and to finally reject the complaint the Comoros Islands had filed in 2013 on the matter. The Mavi Marmara is a Comoros-flagged passenger ship.
Iran ceases financial aid to Hamas in Gaza, official claims
Newsweek 28 July by Jack Moore — Iran has completely cut off its financial aid to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, a senior Hamas official claimed on Monday, according to Israeli media reports. Since a rapprochement between the two last year after a rift emerged three years earlier over the Palestinian group’s refusal to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Tehran has been a financial backer of Hamas, who have controlled the Gaza Strip since elections in 2006, and their military operations. Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard has transferred millions of dollars to the Palestinian group’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades, within the last year to finance Gaza’s tunnel network and replenish rocket caches used against Israel during last summer’s conflict, according to Western officials. However, Hamas’s politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk, who is believed to currently reside in exile in Egypt, has now claimed that Iran’s financial backing has dried up … The alleged termination of funds to Hamas contradicts recent comments by Iran’s political elite following the landmark nuclear deal, agreed earlier this month with six world powers in Vienna.
11 Salafist activists flee Gaza into Egypt via tunnels
GAZA (PNN) 28 July — On Tuesday, a Hebrew radio broadcast claimed that 11 Salafists fled from the Gaza Strip and managed to escape into Egypt through the tunnels in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. According to the radio report, the Hamas government obtained information about their flight to Egypt and arrested a number of people involved. In recent weeks, Salafist activists — affliliated with the Islamic State (ISIL), took responsibility for rocket attacks toward Israel and threatened to launch more if Hamas did not release detainees and confiscate their weapons. As tensions have risen, Salafist groups in Gaza have been threatened by Hamas leaders.
‘I felt my right was preserved.’ Co-signing of homes in the rehousing project
UNRWA 27 July — The Musa family moved into their new home in the Khan Younis Rehousing Project a few weeks ago, after years of living in unhealthy and cramped housing conditions. As soon as they were informed by UNRWA about their new housing option, Nabil Abu Musa and his two wives, Fatheia and Khadra, visited the nearest UNRWA Relief and Social Services office to co-sign the undertaking and benefit from the new shelter. “I immediately accepted the UNRWA policy of co-signing between husbands and wives – I have no problem with that,” recounted Nabil, a Palestine refugee, sitting on the floor of their new light and welcoming four-bedroom house with rose-painted walls and black-and-white floor tiles. “This is an internal family business, and I want to make my family happy. And who is my family? My wives and my eight children. We should all enjoy the chance of having a new home together,” he added. “I felt very proud when they asked for my signature; I felt my right was preserved, and I was of course surprised as well,” commented Fatheia, satisfied. “It is good that a woman can feel that she has a right to the house she is living in,” added Khadra. UNRWA is currently allocating 449 housing units in the Khan Younis Rehousing Project to select refugee families … Almost half of the caseload of eligible families for the Rehousing Project are Social Safety Net (SSN) Programme cases like Nabil’s family, living in constricted shelters – more than three persons living in less than 50 sq m – and identified across the Gaza Strip according to an UNRWA scoring system that considers social, financial, cultural and technical criteria.
Pictured: The all-female Hamas police force taught how to fire machine guns and keep the peace on the Gaza Strip
Daily Mail 27 July by Celia Peterson — MailOnline was granted unprecedented access to the female police force’s recruits during their rigorous training programme, the officers’ homes and their chief of staff — …On a searingly hot day during Ramadan, in their conservative Hamas uniform complete with baseball cap, the women parade under the sun with their Kalashnikovs. They practice marching for an hour before heading indoors to learn how to dismantle an M16. Umm Mohamed is teaching the women to become trainers themselves. They spend an entire year in a military training course before entering a six-month probation period – when the skills they learned in the classroom are tested for real. And there are strict entry requirements. The girls have to be under the age of 28, they have to be religious and although they used to accept married women only, the rule has since been relaxed. If and when they pass, they will be assigned to various departments by the head of police, Dr Narimeen Fadel Adwan, who has a PhD in Philosophy of Education from an Egyptian University. Those who show physical prowess could be tasked with conducting raids and storming houses while others with the right qualifications will be trained for other jobs including interrogation. ‘The most important factor in the selection is to choose those who share your belief in the mission,’ Adwan says. Because of Hamas’ failing economic situation they have not received salaries in a year and a half but Adwan feels they are still as committed – with or without pay … Before 2007, women in the police force were allowed to mix with men but now only focus on providing security for Palestine’s female population – dealing with ‘moral crimes’ drugs and violence. They perform the same jobs as the men except they do not take part in any military action against Israel, stand guard at buildings or work in the traffic department. If their male counterparts search a woman’s house, the case is dropped regardless of the crime – making their presence vital, according to Adwan. She adds: ‘This is not allowed to be done by our fellow brothers in the police. Storming a house without the escort of police-women invades the sanctity of the Muslim House, the Palestinian House, which has customs and traditions that does not allow the entry of men without permission.’
IDF deepens probe of 2014 school bombing, in wake of UN complaint
Haaretz 27 July by Gili Cohen — The Israel Defense Forces is continuing to investigate high-ranking officers on suspicion of violating international law and exceeding their authority during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. Army Radio reported on Monday morning that two senior officers, one of them a colonel, have been questioned under caution by the Military Police. They are suspected of having exceeded their authority during a strike on a United Nations school in Jabalya on July 30, in which 20 civilians died and dozens more were injured. The IDF probe began over four months ago, after a complaint was received from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees … The incident is one of six being investigated in regard to the use of force and the judgment of the commanding officers. One of these investigations – into the deaths of four children on a Gaza beach that was shelled by the Israel Air Force – was closed without disciplinary action or criminal charges against those deemed responsible. The IDF has not yet announced whether it intends to prosecute members of the Givati Brigade in connection to what has become known as “Black Friday,” when dozens of Palestinians died in the city of Rafah during a single day, August 1, 2014, as well as the use of the so-called Hannibal directive that day after the abduction of Lt. Hadar Goldin.
Future of presidency in question after reports Abbas to step down
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 July — Questions remained on Tuesday whether Mahmoud Abbas is planning to step down as Palestinian president in the coming months, with PLO officials strongly denying the claims, while sources close to the embattled president did not deny the possibility.On Sunday, Israel’s Channel 1 cited unnamed Palestinian Authority sources as saying that Abbas is planning to quit in two months due to “fatigue.”PLO officials quickly dismissed the report as rumors circulated by Israel, but sources close to Abbas did not deny the report, saying that “important, and maybe dangerous, decisions” are likely to be made in September, coinciding with the UN General Assembly’s 70th session. They said that Abbas is likely to address his future at the UN summit.However, they noted that the Palestinian president has in the past faced difficulties attempting to step down, with the US in particular pressuring him to stay on, as it views him as a partner in peace negotiations.If Abbas does resign, Fatah is likely to select a new leader at their seventh congress, currently scheduled for October, the sources said.They added: “The new leader of Fatah is the president.”If Fatah selects Marwan Barghouti — widely recognized as Palestine’s most popular presidential candidate — the question will be whether Israel chooses to release him from prison, where Barghouti is serving multiple life sentences, the sources said. Earlier this month, senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat took office as secretary-general of the PLO, prompting speculation he is being lined up to succeed Abbas as president … However, PLO officials have publicly dismissed the report of Abbas’ future departure, accusing Israel of circulating rumors in a bid to create “political chaos” in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Fatah official: Hamas must hand over Gaza rule for reconciliation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 July — Hamas must hand over rule of the Gaza Strip as a condition to forming a unity government,Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad said Sunday. Hamas has to “lift their hands” from the Gaza Strip and allow the unity government to work according to agreements signed by the Palestinian factions, al-Ahmad told Ma‘an. Al-Ahmad, who heads reconciliation talks for Fatah,added that his Hamas counterpart, Moussa Abu Marzouq is “unqualified” to call for a unity government after their work was “foiled” by Hamas. The unity government formed in June 2014 has repeatedly failed to overcome divisive issues between political factions Fatah and Hamas, and last month it was announced at a Fatah council meeting that the entire government would soon be dissolved. Negotiations on the new Palestinian government were set to restart after the Eid celebrations marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Earlier this month, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah criticized Hamas for creating a shadow government in the Gaza Strip and blocking efforts to reach political unity.
‘Private individual’ arranged meeting between Israeli-Palestinian negotiators, US not updated
Haaretz 27 July by Barak Ravid & Jack Khoury — Palestinians say no new Israeli position presented at secret Amman meeting between Interior Minister Silvan Shalom and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat — …Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas were aware of talks about the meeting and approved it. Senior officials in the Jordanian government and the European Union were also involved. The United States, however, was kept in the dark and Israel did not update the Americans before or after the meeting took place. Talks about holding the meeting began a few weeks after the government was formed in May and Shalom was given responsibility for negotiating with the Palestinians. The private individual knows both Shalom and Erekat, suggested organizing the meeting and passed messages between the sides … The two-hour meeting was mainly intended for the two to get acquainted.
PLO official: Secret peace talks serve Israeli interests
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 July — A PLO Executive Committee member on Tuesday said that secret meetings between Palestinian and Israeli officials serve Israeli interests and violate previous PLO decisions on resuming peace talks. Tayseer Khalid, from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that several meetings have occurred recently in Arab and European countries, with the most recent talks involving PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom. “Sadly, the PLO Executive Committee and Palestinian leaders know about such meetings only from Israeli media,” Khalid said, adding that such talks serve Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by relieving international pressure on his government. The meeting also violates decisions taken by the PLO Central Council and Executive Committee which stipulate that peace talks with Israel can only resume when the government ceases illegal settlement activity in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Delegation of West Bank businessmen to visit Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 July — A delegation of 115 businessmen from the West Bank will visit the beleaguered Gaza Strip next week, a Palestinian business federation said Monday. Khalil Rizq, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (PFCCIA), said that the delegation will consist of directors and members of administrative boards from private sector institutions in the West Bank. He said that the purpose of the visit is to enhance “economic and commercial cooperation” between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Walid al-Hussari, the director of Gaza’s Chamber of Commerce and PFCCIA’s deputy head, said the visit will be the first of its kind since last summer’s devastating Israeli offensive on Gaza. Hussari added that he hopes the visit will enhance connections and achieve economic cooperation across the occupied Palestinian territories. The delegations’ visit will last until next Friday.
Israel’s media war targets journalists in Gaza, West Bank
Deutsche Welle 27 July — Israel is fighting several diplomatic and military battles. However, one war it may be losing is over its treatment of journalists. As Mel Frykberg reports from the West Bank, the pen is often mightier than the sword — The Israeli foreign ministry released a video recently ridiculing the foreign media as being naive and uninformed prompting the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel to slam the ministry. The Tel Aviv-based FPA said it was “surprised and alarmed by the foreign ministry’s decision to produce a cartoon mocking the foreign media’s coverage of last year’s war in Gaza.” “Posting misleading and poorly conceived videos on YouTube is inappropriate, unhelpful and undermines the ministry, which says it respects the foreign press and its freedom to work in Gaza.” The release of the video coincided with a letter published in the Israeli daily Haaretz by Robert Mahoney, the deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, attacking Israel’s treatment of journalists … The International Middle East Media Center says that 17 journalists were killed in Gaza, while Reporters Without Borders gave the figure as 15, most of them Palestinian … – Journalists living dangerously – However, these figures do not include the high number of injured Palestinian journalists who are regularly targeted by Israeli security forces, including being shot at and assaulted. The FPA has regularly complained about the indiscriminate targeting of foreign and Palestinian journalists by Israeli security forces. “The Foreign Press Association condemns in the strongest terms the abusive behaviour of Israeli security forces toward photographers covering the weekly protest in Nebi Salah,” said the group in a statement several months ago. “During the unrest, soldiers pushed, cursed and beat photographers on the scene. In one incident caught on video, a soldier threw a stone at an AFP photographer, chased him and then violently threw him to the ground – all without any signs of provocation. Unfortunately, this is not the first time our members have been subjected to such behaviour,” added the FPA. DW was present during a number of these incidents and at no time were there any verbal or physical confrontations between the journalists and security forces. The journalists involved were also standing out of the way of the clashes and moved away when ordered to do so by the security forces. – Intimidation – “They’re trying to intimidate us and stop us doing our work. They are particularly harsh with Palestinian journalists because we cover most of the events in the West Bank and Gaza, often when there is no foreign media present,” Jaffer Shtayyeh, a Palestinian photojournalist with AFP for the past 19 years, tells DW. Shtayyeh, 47, a father of six children, says he was clubbed and beaten up by Israeli soldiers in the village of Kafr Qaddoum in the northern West Bank several years ago, sustaining a broken hand….
Jail for Jordanians convicted of recruiting for Hamas
Amman (AFP) 28 July — Twelve Jordanians were sentenced on Tuesday to jail terms of up to 15 years for their involvement in a cell recruiting members for the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. Of 16 defendants, “four were acquitted and 12 convicted of terrorist offences”, a judicial source said. “Four were sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison, while three detainees got five years,” the source said. One was sentenced to three years and four to one year. All were found guilty of manufacturing explosives, carrying out acts to disturb the peace and “recruiting people on behalf of armed groups.” Ties between Jordan and Hamas, the de facto power in the Gaza Strip, have been strained since 1999 when the kingdom expelled the Palestinian movement’s chief Khaled Meshaal. Two years previously, Meshaal had survived an attempt by the Israeli secret service Mossad to kill him. Relations between Jordan and Hamas worsened further in 2006 when Amman accused the group of arms trafficking from Syria.
A day in the life of a fourth-generation Palestinian-Chilean
This Week in Palestine July by Omar Salame — A young Palestinian descendant in Chile celebrates and maintains Palestinian traditions and culture, even though his family emigrated from Palestine over 100 years ago — I am a 22-year-old law student who was born in Chile. My family, however, is from Palestine. Actually, my parents and grandparents were also born in Chile, but their parents came from Bethlehem from more than a hundred years ago. I have a normal life. Every day I get up early and go to the university. It’s not very easy because as a law student I have to read a lot and study hard, so it takes most of my time. If everything goes well, I will be finishing my studies by the end of next year. In my free time I like to go out with my friends and also I have many extracurricular activities. Every Monday I meet with other students from the General Union of Palestinian Students of Chile (GUPS). We meet in the Palestinian Club and organize activities in our universities to promote awareness regarding the Palestinian cause. The members are all descendants from Palestinians, and we are proud of being part of this organization … One thing that I always wanted to do is learn the Arabic language. In spite of the fact that my grandparents spoke Arabic, my parents didn’t learn. My grandparents used to teach me some basics, but they died when I was a kid. Then I studied at the Arab School of Santiago, but I just learned the formal language and how to read and write, not how not to speak. Recently I travelled to Palestine for three months to study Arabic….
Poll: Most Americans oppose compensating Israel for Iran nuclear deal
WASHINGTON (PR Newswire) 27 July –– The following is being released by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy: An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose providing any special compensation to the state of Israel in order to assuage its concerns about the Iran nuclear deal. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the Iran deal as an “existential threat” and retains Israel’s right to attack Iran. Asked to indicate their level of support for various compensation options proposed during and after negotiations: 7.9 percent support increasing annual US aid to Israel from $3.5 billion to $5 billion … 4.1 percent favor giving Israel deep penetrating “bunker buster” bombs of the type designed to destroy fortified targets … 4.0 percent support providing Israel with B-52 long-range bombers. … 3.4 percent favor releasing jailed Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to Israel. While 12.8 percent favor “all of the above” compensation options be given to Israel, an overwhelming 67.8 percent of Americans chose “none of the above.”
US says may weigh in on PLO terror support lawsuit
NEW YORK (Reuters) 28 July by Nate Raymond — The U.S. government may weigh in on whether the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority must post a multimillion-dollar bond, which they have resisted doing, while the groups appeal a jury’s finding that they supported terrorist attacks in Israel. The U.S. Department of Justice disclosed its potential interest in the case in a letter filed Monday in Manhattan federal court, six months after 10 American families won a $655 million verdict against the PLO and Palestinian Authority. If the Justice Department filed a so-called statement of interest, it would mark the U.S. government’s first formal role in the diplomatically sensitive lawsuit, which was filed in 2004. The Justice Department said it would decide by Aug. 10. A spokeswoman declined to comment. On Tuesday, lawyers for the families urged a federal judge to add $165 million in pre-judgment interest to what they won at trial. The families had won $218.5 million of damages, a sum automatically tripled under a 1992 U.S. anti-terrorism law to $655.5 million. Defense lawyers said adding the requested interest would, after tripling, boost the total award to $1.15 billion. “This could be the end of the Palestinian Authority,” Mitchell Berger, its lawyer, said in court. “And that’s why we’re here to argue over the judgment.”
US to parole convicted Israeli spy Pollard on Nov 21
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 28 July by Matt Spetalnick — Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel, will be released on parole on Nov. 21 after 30 years in prison, a federal parole board ruled on Tuesday. Pollard’s planned release, which was quickly welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would remove a longstanding irritant in U.S.-Israel relations at a time of increased friction between the two close allies over President Barack Obama’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran. Pollard, who has remained jailed for decades despite numerous efforts by Israel to secure his early release from a life sentence, will be required to remain in the United States for five years under the terms of his parole, his attorneys said. The U.S. Justice Department helped smooth the way for the freeing of Pollard, who was already eligible for mandatory parole in November, by declining to raise objections that could have delayed his release, Pollard’s attorneys said. Secretary of State John Kerry denied that the unanimous decision by the U.S. Parole Commission was in any way linked to the Iran nuclear agreement, which Netanyahu fiercely opposes.