Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Arrests — West Bank & Jerusalem
Israeli forces quell march protesting takeover of church property near Hebron, injuries reported
HEBRON (WAFA) 11 July – Israeli forces quelled Saturday a weekly march calling to provide protection to al-Baraka church compound, near al-‘Arrub refugee camp between Hebron and Bethlehem, against settlers’ attempts to take it over. Palestinian and international anti-wall and settlement activists organized a weekly march in protest of Israeli ‘Defense’ Minister Moshe Yaalon’s approval of the renovation of Beit al-Baraka church compound, which settlers claim they have previously purchased, as a prelude to the construction of a new settlement in its place. Protesters raised flags of Palestine and chanted slogans condemning Israeli occupation policies aimed at expropriating Palestinian land. Prepared to forcefully quell the march, Israeli forces cordoned off the area and physically assaulted protesters using their rifle butts, causing several protesters to sustain bruises and injuries.
Shu‘fat refugee camp: A young man was injured in his eye by a rubber bullet and another was arrested
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 12 July — Violent clashes broke out today afternoon in Shu‘fat Refugee Camp; the occupying forces arrested a young man and wounded two others with rubber bullets. Thaer Fasfoos, Fateh movement spokesman in Shu‘fat Refugee Camp, stated that violent clashes broke out in the Refugee Camp after the Arabists unit (undercover forces) arrested a young man from inside a commercial building in a clothes shop. Fasfoos added that the undercover forces arrested the young man after a group of special occupying forces broke into the refugee camp to secure the exit of the undercover forces; during the process gas bombs and rubber[-coated steel] bullets were fired heavily in the direction of the citizens. Fasfoos added that one of the young men was injured in his eye by a rubber bullet and was rushed to hospital, in addition another was injured in his stomach by a rubber bullet.
Israeli troops raid Dheisheh refugee camp, threaten residents
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli forces raided Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem early Monday and threatened locals, witnesses said. Soldiers raided the house of former prisoner Faris Hasanat and notified him that his brother, Karim Hasanat, was to turn himself in to Israeli forces or “be killed,” locals told Ma‘an. An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment. Clashes broke out, with local youth throwing rocks at the Israeli soldiers who responded with live fire, tear gas, and stun grenades. No injuries were reported. Witnesses said that Israeli forces positioned snipers on rooftops inside the camp and entered it from all sides. A number of other houses were reportedly ransacked during the raid.
Palestinian girl attacked on her way to Al-Aqsa
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 11 July — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stationed at the northern Bethlehem checkpoint beat up Friday afternoon a 16-year-old Palestinian girl before arresting and taking her to an unknown detention center. Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli soldiers deliberately provoked the girl, Noor Manasra, and did not allow her to cross into occupied Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque. The IOF soldiers assaulted the girl when she insisted on her right to cross into occupied Jerusalem before arresting her, the sources added. The IOF soldiers were deployed since the early morning hours of Friday at main checkpoints linking between the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, allowing only women over the age of 30 to cross into Jerusalem, as well as men over 50.
Army kidnaps a child in Hebron
IMEMC 11 July by Bassam Shweiki — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Saturday before noon, a Palestinian child in Tal Romeida neighborhood, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, as he was standing in front of his parents’ home. Eyewitnesses said there were no clashes or confrontations taking place in the city when the soldiers kidnapped Awni Emad Abu Shamsiyya, 16 years of age. His father, Emad, said he asked soldiers, stationed at a nearby roadblock, about the reason for abducting his son, and they claimed that “he engaged in a dispute with a police officer.” It is worth mentioning that, two days ago, Abu Shamsiyya suffered mild fractures in his right leg, and bruises to different parts of his body, after the soldiers beat him with their clubs and batons.
Israeli police detain Palestinian teen in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli police officers detained a 17-year-old Palestinian boy from al-‘Issawiya neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday evening, locals told Ma‘an. Police officers accused the unnamed teenager of throwing stones at the gate of an Israeli military base in the nearby French Hill settlement, according to locals … Earlier, Israeli police said unidentified attackers hurled Molotov cocktails at an illegal Israeli settlement outpost in Ras al-‘Amoud in the Old City of Jerusalem. No casualties were reported.The village of ‘Issawiya has experienced nearly nightly clashes since May, when the Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee confiscated 700 dunams (I73 acres) of land from the village for the building of an Israeli national park.
Army kidnaps six Palestinians in Hebron, one in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 13 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, Bethlehem and the southern West Bank district of Hebron, broke into and searched several homes, and kidnapped six Palestinians in Hebron, and one in Bethlehem … Media sources in Bethlehem said dozens of soldiers invaded Wadi Maaly area, in the center of the city, and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Mohammad Abdul-Nasser Shoman, 24 years of age … In Hebron city, Soldiers invaded several homes, and violently searched them, before kidnapping three Palestinians, identified as Islam al-Atrash, 18, Mohammad Ghaleb ar-Rajabi, 18, and Mohammad Sa’id al-Karaki, 20 years of age. The army also invaded Ethna town, west of the city, and kidnapped one Palestinian, after breaking into his home and violently searching it, causing property damage. The kidnapped Palestinian, identified as Ismael Talab an-Nattah, 38 years of age, lives in the al-Qarna’a area, in the center of Ethna. In addition, several military vehicles invaded Doura town, south of Hebron, before the soldiers searched homes, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Yousef Nassar ‘Aser. The army also invaded Shiokh town, northeast of Hebron, searched a number of homes, and kidnapped a Palestinian, identified as Majd Mousa Mohammad al-Halayqa.
Video: Palestinian stone-thrower killed by Israeli officer was fleeing when shot
Haaretz 12 July by Gili Cohen — Officer investigated under caution; video obtained by B’Tselem handed over to Military Police — A Palestinian youth killed after throwing rocks at an Israeli officer’s vehicle in the West Bank was shot dead after fleeing the scene, security camera footage [YouTube] obtained and released by the human rights group B’Tselem appears to show. The officer, Binyamin Brigade commander Col. Yisrael Shomer, has been investigated under caution by Military Police. Mohammad Kosba, a 17-year-old from the Qalandiyah refugee camp north of Jerusalem, was shot dead by IDF fire about 10 days ago after he threw a rock at Shomer’s vehicle near the West Bank village of Al-Ram. According to the IDF, after stones were thrown at the vehicle Shomer initiated the IDF-sanctioned procedure to arrest Kosba, in which it is permissible to shoot at a suspect’s legs. In the video, soldiers are seen quickly exiting the jeep after a rock hit it and broke the windshield, but it does not show that the force continued to come under attack after the first rock hit. As the soldiers exit the vehicle, Kosba can be seen running in the other way. The camera also does not show the shooting itself, but after about 30 seconds, the soldiers are seen returning to the jeep and driving away. According to B’Tselem, Kosba had fled by this time, and was not a danger to the soldiers. Kosba was rushed to the hospital in Ramallah where he was declared dead. B’Tselem researcher Iyad Hadad, who photographed Kosba’s body, said the Palestinian had been hit by three bullets, one in the face and two in the back. There is no indication of gunshot injuries to Kosba’s legs, as shooting a suspect during the process of an arrest would have produced. These pictures, together with the security video, were handed over to the IDF military police, which is investigating Kosba’s death. B’Tselem says that the support given to Shomer by politicians and senior IDF officers raise doubts as to whether the military can properly investigate the case. The brief time that elapsed before the soldiers returned to the jeep, as well as the photos taken by the researcher, raise questions as to whether the procedure for arresting a suspect had indeed been followed. B’Tselem says that the soldiers left without helping the wounded Palestinian and it regards the incident as a breach of IDF orders that require proper medical assistance be rendered to a wounded person.
Palestinian jailed for 25 years over Jerusalem car attack
JERUSALEM (AFP) 12 July — A Palestinian who injured four Israeli border policewomen and a civilian when he drove his car into them was sentenced Sunday to 25 years in prison, the Israeli justice ministry said. Court documents released by the ministry said that Mohammed Sleiman, from Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, admitted to five counts of attempted murder in a plea bargain. In March, Sleiman ploughed into a group of Israeli border policewomen as they crossed a busy road outside their base on the line separating west and east Jerusalem, wounding four of them. He then hit a civilian cyclist, the court transcript said. “Immediately afterwards, the accused stopped his vehicle, and got out, carrying an axe,” it said. [Ma‘an: Reports at the time said he had carried a knife.] It added that he ran toward a border policeman and a security guard at the base entrance who both ordered him to halt, then shot and wounded him when he continued to advance. The prosecution said the attack was premeditated. “He had decided in his heart to carry out a terrorist attack by murdering Jews,” the transcript read. In addition to the jail term, Sleiman was ordered to pay compensation totalling 260,00 shekels ($68,420, 61,900 euros).
242 Palestinians nabbed by PA forces in W. Bank in Ramadan
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 July — At least 242 Palestinian citizens were detained by the Palestinian Authority (PA) devices across the West Bank, the committee of the families of political detainees’ said, raising concerns over the striking upsurge in abductions of Palestinians on account of their political positions. The political prisoners’ families committee raised, in a press statement, alarm bells over the unprecedented increase in the number of political detainees during holy Ramadan month. Al-Khalil has hit a record high of 56 arrestees, followed by 36 in Nablus, 27 in Tulkarem, 25 in Bethlehem, 22 in Ramallah and al-Bireh, and 16 in Salfit. The PA forces also detained 15 Palestinians from Tubas, 12 from Jenin, nine from Qalqilya, six from Jericho, and five others from Occupied Jerusalem. The newly detained batch includes 37 university students. 12 of those kidnapped in the campaign have gone on hunger-strikes, joining two hunger-striking detainees held in PA custody. Three prisoners have reportedly been subjected to torture at the PA lock-ups. The committee further kept record of interrogation summonses issued against three women from the al-Souwi family.
Gaza man burns himself to death
IMEMC/Agencies 13 July — A Palestinian man aged 33 years was announced dead, Sunday, after he allegedly burned himself. Local sources said that he carried out the act in the center of Gaza city. The man, who lived in Al-Daraj neighbourhood in Gaza city, was moved to Al-Shifa hospital but was shortly announced dead by medics. Family sources said that he suffered mental illness, according to the PNN. The reasons to his suicide are still unidentified. Suicide rates in Palestine seem to be on the rise, especially after the latest attack on Gaza last summer. About three weeks ago, A Palestinian youngster from Khan Younis refugee camp south Gaza strangled himself in his family home, committing suicide. According to governmental statistics, 2014 recorded a 68.4% rise in suicide rates, since it witnessed 39 suicide cases in the West Bank and Gaza.
Report: 120 Gazans arrested since the beginning of the year
GAZA (PIC) 10 July — 120 Palestinians were arrested in Gaza Strip since the beginning of year including minors, fishermen, traders, and a woman, a Palestinian rights group said. The Palestine Center for Prisoners’ Studies revealed that Israeli forces kidnapped 120 Gazans since the start of 2015, representing an increase of 90% compared to the same period last year, where 70 arrests were reported from the Gaza Strip. Spokesman for the center Riyad Ashqar said that most of the reported arrests were carried out at the Israeli border checkpoints as Gazan residents are forced to cross through it for medical treatment or education purposes. Four Palestinians were arrested at Bit Hnoun (Erez) checkpoint including a woman while on her way back from West Bank. The center pointed out that 27 fishermen were kidnapped during the same period after the confiscation of their fishing boats while sailing off Gaza shores. Since the beginning of 2015, 72 Gazan youths including minors were also arrested for approaching the border fence in an attempt to look for job opportunities in Israel in light of the high employment rates and economic crisis in the besieged strip. The center documented the arrest of 20 Gazan traders at Israeli checkpoints despite obtaining travel permits. Ashqar considered traders’ arrest as part of Israeli policy to restrict Palestinian economy and tightening the siege on Gaza.
Soldiers open fire on farmers east of Khan Younis
IMEMC/Agencies 13 July — The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, east of Khan Younis, fired several of rounds of live ammunition at the Palestinian farmers, forcing them to leave their lands [Monday morning]. The soldiers also targeted a few nearby homes, and property, causing damage but no injuries. In addition, Israeli military bulldozers placed sand barriers near the border fence, east of Khan Younis, while several armored vehicles were deployed across the border fence.
Israeli navy opens fire at fishermen offshore Gaza
GAZA (WAFA) 12 July – Israeli navy Sunday attacked Palestinian fishing boats despite sailing within the unilaterally designated fishing zone, according to WAFA correspondent. Israeli navy opened a hail of gunfire toward fishermen boats sailing offshore As-Sodanyieh area to the northwest of the Gaza Strip despite sailing within the allowed six-nautical miles; however, no injuries or damages were reported as fishermen managed to sail back to shore.
Israeli forces detain Gazan traveling to West Bank for treatment
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 July – Israeli forces on Friday afternoon detained a young Palestinian man from the Gaza Strip as he tried to pass through Erez crossing near Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza strip. Ibrahim al-Shaer, 20, was attempting to travel to the West Bank for medical treatment when Israeli forces stopped him and took him into custody, Palestinian sources and family relatives told Ma‘an. He was taken to an unknown destination. Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip regularly attempt to travel outside of the blockaded coastal enclave for medical treatment.
Turkish-funded water desalination plant opens in Gaza
Middle East Monitor 12 July — A water desalination plant funded by a Turkish aid organisation was inaugurated on Saturday near the Gaza Strip’s Al-Shati refugee camp. The project will allow the purification of seawater with a view to providing some 5,000 camp residents with fresh drinking water. The plant was funded by Turkey’s Ribat humanitarian relief association, in coordination with Gaza’s Ard Al-Salam association. Ard al-Salam Director Mohamed Al-Harazin told Anadolu Agency that the new plant would provide camp residents with some 25 thousand cubic meters of drinking water each day. The provision of fresh drinking water remains problematic in the war-battered Gaza Strip, which is home to some 1.8 million people.
Israel opens first investigation of senior IDF officer
Times of Israel 12 July by Tamar Pileggi & Daniel Bernstein — Investigators suspect Lt. Col. Neria Yeshurun may have ordered bombardment of a clinic as retribution for the death of a soldier — Israel is set to launch its first investigation of a senior IDF commander for alleged criminal decisions during last summer’s Gaza war. Lt. Col. Neria Yeshurun will face allegations that he ordered the shelling of a medical clinic in the northern Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya in retribution for the death of one of his soldiers killed the previous day by a Hamas sniper firing from the clinic, Ynet reported on Saturday. The investigation into Yeshurun is one of three new criminal investigations into IDF conduct during the Gaza war opened by the Military Advocate General last month. Army investigators will review allegations that one day after Capt. Dimitri Levitas was shot by a Palestinian sniper hiding atop the clinic, Yeshurun ordered the heavy strike on the complex as a way to honor his slain comrade. “We decided to fire a barrage of shells at the place [from which] we believed his life was taken, but life has a rhythm of its own, and a second after we began firing, we received incoming fire,” Yeshurun told one army newspaper, Bayabasha (“On Land”), in a post-war interview. According to Palestinian sources, the July 23 strike on the medical facility killed five people, four of whom were civilians, and injured 45 others.
Interview to Dr. Rami Mokdad, head of the oncology department from Shifa hospital in Gaza
GAZA, Occupied Palestine 10 July ISM Gaza Team — No private hospital in Gaza treats cancer, only the public ones, and that the treatment is free of charge. “At Shifa Oncology Department we treat everyday 150 patients, and we are in total 3 doctors, 5 nurses and have just 15 beds. Obviously that’s not enough.“ Dr. Rami Mokdad: “In the last 10 years it has grown a lot the number of patients with cancer in the Gaza Strip. Especially in young people and children, before most of the cases affected old people, but since the Zionist aggressions against Gaza started it became normal to receive children and young people with cancer. The three kinds of cancer that have grown more in those years are thyroid cancer, leukaemia and multiple myeloma cancer. For example, in 2005 we had less than 50 cases of thyroid cancer, in 2014 we had 300 cases. Actually we are receiving each month between 70 and 100 new cases of cancer patients. In this oncology department, the most important in the Gaza Strip, we treated in 2010 around 2800 patients. On 2013 the number grew to 5000 and the last year, 2014, we treated around 6000 patients. And I’m afraid these numbers will continue to grow even more. In 10 years we’ll have a huge crisis in Gaza, as the risk factors are getting worst; the use of war weapons by Israel in highly populated areas, the consumptions of polluted water, the use of polluted land for growing food, etc. Another special case we find in Gaza is the nasopharyngeal cancer, especially in children. Those cases come from areas where the people had primary contact with the Zionist bombs, especially with white phosphorus, but also in cases where their home was bombed. Due to the blockade we find a lot of difficulties for making the diagnosis and treating those patients. For example in Gaza we don’t have either radiotherapy or molecular therapy, and we find a lot of obstacles to send the patients to the West Bank to receive the appropriate treatment. We also don’t have PET scan, isotope scan or laboratory markers. We also suffer from an important shortage of chemotherapy supplies and other drugs, we could say that we work with the 40% of the supplies we really need.” … The Palestinian Authority is responsible for this shortage of drugs, as they don’t send the supplies intended for Gaza due to its will to punish Hamas….
Cancer in Palestine: Children fight disease and occupation
Middle East Eye 10 July by Eloïse Bollack — Israel’s war and siege have devastated medical care for cancer sufferers in Palestine but a new paediatric oncology unit has recently opened — Hana is an eight-year-old girl from Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip. When she started to get sick her family took her to the doctor, to no avail. They ended up visiting every single hospital in the Strip for help but it was only when her condition deteriorated so badly that the little girl could no longer walk, that her doctors finally ordered her transfer to a Palestinian hospital in Jerusalem. Within a day, she was diagnosed with Leukaemia and she is currently being treated at the Augusta Victoria hospital in East Jerusalem. Medical infrastructure has been devastated by the recurrent wars and, as a result, health services for cancer patients in Gaza are extremely inadequate. Currently, there is only one paediatric oncology department in the besieged Strip. It’s located in the Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital. It has just four doctors on duty and only 13 beds and lacks the necessary basic equipment needed to carry out a comprehensive examination … Noticing the terrible gap in the public healthcare system, an American nonprofit medical relief organisation, the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), has taken it upon itself to build a high-quality public paediatric oncology department in Gaza that will mean that children with cancer will not have to endure the onerous travel abroad for treatment anymore. The NGO is in the process of raising the tens of millions of US dollars needed to build the 200-square metre department on the top of the specialised hospital in Gaza City. Steve Sosebee, chief executive of the PCRF explains that “Beside the huge financial need, cement is the number one challenge
Gaza: Odai couldn’t hear the bombs coming
Handicap Int’l 10 July — One year ago, the conflict that gripped Gaza during the summer of 2014 was just beginning. Odai Ali, 21, was at home helping on the family cattle farm, as he did most days. Odai had a difficult childhood. As a baby, he was struck by a fever that left him unable to hear, and affected both his physical and intellectual development. Around the age of four, his condition slowly started to improve and he began to walk. He started learning sign language at a special school in Gaza. But he didn’t get far—at the age of 10, he developed severe epilepsy. The young boy dropped out of school, and began working on the family farm. He enjoyed the work, and with treatment, his epilepsy improved. As he grew older, Odai became well-known by many people in the community, and he had an active life. His father, Abu Abdullah, explains, “Odai greets all the neighbors when he is down in the street, both old and young people. In the area where we live, they are not underestimating people with disabilities. He participates in all activities, in all occasions.” Last July, during the 2014 Gaza-Israel Conflict, tragedy again struck Odai’s life. The family’s neighborhood was being bombed, due to his hearing impairment, Odai didn’t know that he was in danger. His father Abu Abdullah describes what happened: “When the bombing happened, Odai was in the yard watering the cows. The explosion flung him 15 feet in the air and he fell back down on the ground. He didn’t get up.” The bombing injured two other farm workers and blew apart the cattle sheds, killing all of the animals. “We took Odai to the hospital. At first they only saw a head injury and provided him with first aid. But before it was time to go we realized that he couldn’t stand or walk. He was immediately transferred him to intensive care.” A spinal cord injury had left Odai paralyzed from the waist down and in desperate need of more advanced care. But, with the conflict escalating, it was difficult and dangerous to access health services. During the conflict, Handicap International’s staff and partners in Gaza sent mobile rehabilitation teams into the community to find and treat people with injuries and disabilities….
Minutes to survive: Reflections on Israel’s ‘roof-knocking’ policy
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 July — On the afternoon of July 16, Umm Hashim was sitting in the front room of the top floor of her apartment reading the Qur’an while her son slept on the ground floor to escape the Mediterranean summer heat. The rest of the family were outside the front of the home, awaiting prayers for the holy month of Ramadan. A loud sudden bang broke the silence of the afternoon and shook the property, covering her son in dust and debris. The family knew at once what had happened; they had five minutes to escape death. Barefoot, Umm Hashim rushed out of the home with her son and daughter-in-law. Seconds later, an Israeli missile turned the apartment into rubble. The time between a warning missile and complete destruction become a common reference point for Gazans during the 51-day conflict. Mostly minutes, but often just seconds, the policy referred to by Israel as “roof-knocking” was heavily criticized by the UN’s Commission of Inquiry, which said that most of the time Gazans were not even aware that their home had been issued a warning amid the noisy urban environment. Residents often confused roof-knocks with distant explosions, remaining in their homes as Israeli missiles destroyed entire apartment blocks. Israel’s military claimed that the policy was an effective way of preventing harm to civilians, but in densely populated Gaza, any high-powered explosive is likely to kill or maim. In a number of cases, the warning explosion itself killed innocent civilians. On July 17, 10-year-old Afnan and his two younger cousins Jihad and Wissam were playing on their roof in Gaza City when a warning missile struck the house. All three children were killed instantly by shrapnel.
Civilian killed and two others wounded by Palestinian police in Khan Yunis
PCHR 9 July — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses its deep concern over the killing of a civilian, Mohammed Abdeen, and wounding of two others in Khan Yunis by the Palestinian police. Clashes erupted between the Palestinian police and civilians who were angry due to the death of a relative during a family dispute. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to investigate the reasons that prompted the police to open fire, verify whether that the police took all the necessary measures before shooting at the civilian, and publish the results. According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 2:00 on Wednesday, 8 July 2015, following the funeral of Fayeq Mohammed Ali Bayouk (21), who was killed, on Monday by a sharp tool by a mentally disturbed person in Khan Yunis, dozens of mourners went to two house belonging to the suspect’s family. A number of them threw stones at the house and attempted to attack them. Clashes erupted with members of the riot control police who were deployed in the area to prevent the civilians from attacking the two houses. Events quickly developed into skirmishes and clashes between the two sides, in which stones, empty bottles and firearm were used. The police opened fire. As a result, Mohammed Khamis Abdeen Khafez (36) was killed by a bullet that penetrated his left eye and exited from head, when he was inside a shop in the area although the doors of the shop were closed because of the violent clashes outside. A bullet penetrated the closed steel door and hit him. Moreover, two civilians from the al-Bayouk family were injured during their presence in the area….
Gaza abandoned: UNRWA’s betrayal of Palestinian survivors
GAZA, Occupied Palestine 12 June by ISM Gaza Team — This past 8th of June, UNRWA decided to expel the remaining families from its schools in all of the Gaza Strip. Those families don’t have anywhere else to go, since their homes were bombed during the last massacre on Gaza … H.Q.*, his wife and 4 children find themselves in a similar situation. 2 months ago they were expelled from the UNRWA school of Jabalia. UNRWA told them that after one week they’d start to receive the monthly payment for the rent of an apartment. Even now, they haven’t received anything. They are forced to live in the ruins of their bombed home. “Once, a foreigner from UNRWA came to see our situation… he didn’t even want to enter my home, because he was disgusted by the bad conditions we are living in. We never heard anything else from them. What are their expectations for putting us in this situation, for putting us under all this pressure?” “In the school a lot of people got sick in winter, they didn’t give us medicine… the conditions were very bad, humiliating…”When Ban Ki Moon came to Gaza after the massacre, Ibrahim tried to reach him in order to hand him a letter from his mother. He was initially prevented by the security of the Palestinian Authority, who beat him badly despite his condition. In a second attempt, he made it to the UN president, who received the letter and promised him treatment and a couple of orthopedic legs. Six months after this encounter, he hasn’t received any news from UNRWA. He decided to go to the headquarters in Gaza City in order to meet a representative. This time UNRWA personnel insulted him, spit on him and cursed his dead father before expelling him from the headquarters.
My boss was a resistance fighter
EI 10 July by Hana Salah — When Israel launched its offensive last July, I did not think it would last 51 consecutive days, or be waged against all Palestinians in Gaza. The announcement of the operation came in the middle of the night, but the next morning I woke up thinking that I should go to work. My mother stopped me. Life seemed normal; people went about their routines since we thought the assault would end after a few air strikes and assassinations, based on our long experience of Israel’s hostility and violence. But the attacks expanded. It was far worse than our darkest fears … The death toll relentlessly increased until it exceeded 2,200 people. One of those deaths hit shockingly home. The news came through a Tweet that night: “an Israeli drone targeted someone called Mahmoud Horani.” In Arabic, a mere dot distinguishes this name from that of my boss, Mahmoud Jorani … They can’t mean Mahmoud Jorani, I thought. On Facebook, a mutual friend wrote on Mahmoud’s profile: “blessed be your soul, my dear friend.” The shock hit me. It can’t be him. It’s not him! Why him? I could not bring myself to call him. I was too afraid to find out, or even to believe, what had happened. I was full of doubt, but insisted to myself that he wasn’t, he couldn’t, be the martyr. That night, I called a friend who told me the horrible news: Mahmoud was assassinated because he belonged to Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades — although he wasn’t fighting when he was killed. He was on his way to the mosque.
On the one-year anniversary of Israel’s attack on Gaza: an interview with Max Blumenthal
The Intercept 8 July by Glenn Greenwald — One year ago today, Israel invaded, bombed and shelled Gaza, and continued to do that for the next seven weeks. According to the U.N., at least 2,104 Gazans were killed — 1,462 of whom (69 percent) were civilians, including 495 children … As harrowing as that data is, it tells only a small part of the story. Statistics like these have an abstract property to them: cold and clinical. Viewing the devastation of Gaza through their lens can have a distancing effect. They erase the most affecting facts: the stories of human suffering and devastation caused by this attack, the sadism and savagery that drove it. That is what makes Max Blumenthal’s new book about this Israeli attack so compelling, so necessary. Entitled The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza, it humanizes this event like nothing else I’ve read. Blumenthal spent weeks on the ground in Gaza in the middle of the war (during a five-day ceasefire) and after it concluded. The book is filled with very well-documented history, facts and statistics relevant to what the Israeli military calls Operation Protective Edge. And all of those are both interesting and important. But his interviews with individuals in Gaza about their lives and what they witnessed will reshape how you think about all of this even if, as was the case for me, you followed the events closely while they unfolded … I spoke with him for roughly 40 minutes about his book, as well as his own odyssey that has led him to devote himself to this topic with such singular devotion. Whatever your views on Israel and Gaza, Blumenthal is articulate, thoughtful and deeply knowledgeable, and has done extensive, real reporting to write this book. He’s very worth listening to, and the book is highly worth the read. Our discussion can be heard on the player below, and a transcript is provided here.
Israeli forces free Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan
NABLUS (Ma‘an/AFP) 12 July — The Israeli authorities released Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan on Sunday, two weeks after a deal was reached to end a 55-day long hunger strike that brought him close to death. Adnan, 37, went on hunger strike in June to protest the Israeli practice of administrative detention, under which Palestinians can be held without trial or charge indefinitely. His release Sunday came after 11 months in Israeli custody. He was greeted to a hero’s welcome in his village of Arraba near Jenin that included fireworks, songs and flags for Islamic Jihad, the movement to which Israel says he belongs. Residents wore shirts donning Adnan’s picture. The bespectacled 37-year-old, thin and with a long beard, was taken in the early hours of Sunday by an Israeli military vehicle to a crossroads near Arraba, where he was received by the director of the local Palestinian military liaison office, Mujahid Abu Dayya.Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that the Israeli authorities released Adnan “secretly” and even his family was not aware of the time he would be released. “The Israelis wanted to prevent celebrations,” they said. Adnan refused to talk to journalists upon his release. Locals said that Adnan’s refusal to give comment was stipulated by the Israeli authorities as part of their agreement to release him….
Islamic Jihad celebrates release of Khader Adnan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Major celebrations are planned though Sunday in the hometown of veteran Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan following his release from Israeli custody overnight, the Islamic Jihad movement said. The movement, with which Adnan is affiliated, described the deal that secured his release as “another victory achieved by our people against the Zionist injustice.” The celebrations will take place in Adnan’s hometown of Arraba in the northern West Bank district of Jenin.
Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, others boycott Israeli courts
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 July — Two Palestinian prisoners have been on a hunger strike for over 20 days protesting administrative detention without trial in Israeli jails, the Palestinian committee of prisoners’ affairs said Saturday. The committee explained in a statement that one of the prisoners, a Palestinian lawyer Muhammad Allan from Nablus in the northern West Bank, has been on hunger strike since 25 days. The other prisoner, Uday Isteiti from the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank, has been on hunger strike for the past 24 days. Allan is held at Israel’s Ayala prison, while Isteiti is held at Eshel prison, according to the statement. The committee highlighted that a few days ago Dawood Hamdan from Bethlehem ended a hunger strike after 31 days also in protest of administrative detention.The ongoing hunger strikes come as 60 Palestinian prisoners decided to boycott Israeli courts in protest of administrative detention, the statement added. The decision went into effect on July 1, according to the statement which added that “all 484 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails without trial will join the boycott,” without specifying when the mass strike will take place … In 2014 there was an 80 percent increase in administrative detention cases, according to rights group B’Tselem.
Israel denies Palestinian prisoner family visits for more than 7 years
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 July — The Israeli authorities have denied family visits to Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Ismael al-Bul for more than 7 years, the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs said Sunday. Al-Bul, a 27-year-old from Gaza, was arrested by Israeli forces on Jan. 15, 2008 and sentenced to 12 years in prison, the ministry said in a statement. He has been denied both family visits as well as access to phone calls since then, the statement said, adding that the only contact al-Bul has had with the outside world has been through his ministry-appointed lawyer. Al-Bul is currently being kept in solitary confinement at Megiddo prison in northern Israel. The statement mentioned four other Palestinian prisoners at Megiddo who are also being kept in confinement.
Land, property theft & destruction / Disrespect for non-Jewish religions
Jerusalem proceeding with construction plans on old Muslim cemetery
Haaretz 13 July by Nir Hasson — The Jerusalem municipality is moving ahead with construction plans at a site that for many centuries housed a Muslim cemetery. Last week, the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee approved a massive construction project to be built over the current location of the Experimental School in Independence Park, in the city center. It has been known for years that this location was once a large cemetery [the famous Mamilla] that served the city’s Muslim residents … During preparations for construction at the site, the Antiquities Authority conducted archaeological probes in the schoolyard; in five of the six probes, graves and skeletal remains were found. Construction has been underway on the adjacent Museum of Tolerance since 2011. When skeletal remains were found after work began on the museum, the Islamic Movement and other entities fought hard against construction. Work on the museum was halted for an extended period following a petition to the High Court of Justice, although the court subsequently granted permission for construction to resume. In 2010, a rapid, controversial archaeological probe uncovered hundreds of skeletons at the site.
Sharp rise in Negev demolitions
Middle East Monitor 9 July — An Israeli Ministry of Public Security report suggested that the house demolitions undertaken by the Israeli authorities in ‘unrecognised’ villages in the Negev have sharply risen over the past year. The Israeli authority’s practice of bulldozing agricultural land has also increased. According to the data in the report, there has been a 54 per cent rise in demolitions during 2014 compared to 2013. Based on the report, 1,073 homes in ‘unrecognised’ Arab villages were demolished in 2014, compared to 697 homes in 2013. The report also stated that there had been an increase of “self-demolitions”. Some home owners are forced to demolish their own homes in order to avoid paying large fines and the demolition expenses. In 2014, 716 buildings were “self-demolished” compared to 376 homes in 2013. The report considered this a “success”. The report also showed that nearly 3,208 acres of land were bulldozed in 2014, compared to 1,853 acres in 2013.
Netanyahu approves the building of new settlement [housing] in Ramallah
Middle East Monitor 11 July — Based upon directives of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Planning Committee, which is affiliated to the Israeli army, held a meeting on Wednesday, approving the construction of 12 houses in Shilo and Shavuot Raheel to the north of Ramallah city. Israeli newspaper Maariv reported on Friday that this decision came after much pressure put on Netanyahu by Chief of Jewish Home Party Naftali Bennett and Minister Uri Ariel. Maariv claimed that the meeting of the Planning Committee came after a long phase of settlement building freeze. According to this decision, all suspended construction projects in the two settlements would be resumed. The meeting was held in connection with the attack against Israeli settlers that took place in the north of Ramallah last week, when a settler was killed and three others were wounded. Following the attack, a group of settlers attempted to set up a new settlement near the area where the attack was carried out, but the Israeli police undermined their attempts.
Israeli forces prevent road construction near Salfit
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli forces on Sunday confiscated heavy machinery belonging to Palestinians who were building an agricultural road in the West Bank village of Yasuf in eastern Salfit. Sources in Yasuf’s village council said that Israeli forces stormed the area and forced Palestinians operating a tank truck and a road roller to stop work. They then seized the vehicles and confiscated them, claiming that “they were illegally working in Area C.” A local researcher, Khalid Maali, told Ma‘an that the agricultural land where the road was being built lay between the illegal Israeli settlements of Tappuah and Ariel. He said that Israeli forces stopped work on the road because its presence would upset “plans by settlers to connect the illegal settlements.” Building permits must be approved by the Israeli Civil Administration for construction to take place in Palestinian land classified as Area C under the Oslo Accords. As a result of rarely-approved permits, however, Palestinian residents are forced to build structures without permits, which are liable to be torn down later by Israeli forces. Nearly 75 percent of Yasuf’s village territory are classified Area C, according to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem. ARIJ said in a 2013 report that Yasuf “has been subjected to numerous Israeli confiscations for the benefit of the various Israeli objectives,” including the construction of settlements, outposts, checkpoints and bypass roads. The report added that Israeli settlers “have also carried out a series of attacks against Palestinian landowners in an attempt to intimidate them and deter them from returning to their land.” Last month, settlers chopped down 70 olive trees between Yasuf and the southern Nablus town of Jamma‘in.
Settlers set fire to olive trees west of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 12 July – Israeli settlers Sunday set fire to dozens of olive trees belonging to a Palestinian resident in the village of Nahalin to the west of Bethlehem, according to witnesses. They informed WAFA that the olive trees planted in a land adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Bet Ayn were set ablaze in an apparent settlers’ attack. The land belongs to local resident Abd al-Mutalib Fnoon. To be noted, this was the second settlers’ attack against Fnoon’s land
Restrictions on movement
Israeli forces close major northern West Bank checkpoint
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 July – Israeli forces closed a major checkpoint Saturday morning on the main road near Nablus in the northern West Bank for “security reasons.” Officials from the Palestinian liaison office told Ma‘an that they were notified by their Israeli counterpart that the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus would be closed to traffic in both directions until further notice. Palestinian liaison offices coordinate with Israeli authorities on the movement of Palestinians within the occupied West Bank due to security coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Palestinian drivers were told to use another checkpoint near the town of ‘Awarta south of Nablus. Last week the checkpoint was also closed by Israeli forces who set up flying checkpoints in the surrounding area. Huwwara is one of several Israeli military checkpoints in the Nablus area, where an increasing number of Israeli settlers has been matched by an increasing presence of Israeli forces, who make routine incursions into Palestinian communities. The Nablus governorate, comprising the city of Nablus, three refugee camps and fifteen villages, is home to over 200,000 Palestinians whose movement has been severely restricted for the past six years, with Israeli human rights group B’Tselem describing military restrictions on locals as a “siege.” Entry and exit is possible only via one of four Israeli checkpoints in the surrounding area. Rights group Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed a petition demanding the “siege” on the area be lifted following its implementation in 2006. While the Israeli army argued at the time that such encirclement enables effective control of those entering and leaving the area, making it easier for security forces to thwart “terrorist attacks,” local residents believe the presence aims to protect expanding settlements.
Israel arrests Jewish suspects over ‘miracle’ church arson
Jerusalem (AFP) 11 July by Jean-Luc Renaudie — Israeli police said Sunday they have arrested several Jewish suspects over an arson attack last month at a shrine where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes. The arson had sparked widespread condemnation and concern from Christians globally, with the site visited by some 5,000 people daily, while also drawing renewed attention to religiously linked hate crimes in Israel. “Several Jewish suspects have been arrested for the burning of the church and the Nazareth court has decided to extend their detention for the purposes of the investigation,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement of the overnight arrests. Police did not provide a number or further details on their identities, but an ultra-nationalist organisation said three young Jewish men had been arrested. Another police spokesman said the arrests followed an undercover investigation also involving the Shin Bet internal security agency … One of the buildings within the compound was completely destroyed in the blaze but the church itself was not damaged. Hebrew graffiti was found on another building within the complex, reading “Idols will be cast out” or destroyed. The text is part of a common Jewish prayer … Father Gregory Collins, head of the Saint Benedictine Order in Israel, which oversees the church, last month called the arson “an attack on Israeli democracy, not just on a religious group”. There has been a long line of attacks on Christian and Muslim holy places in both Israel and the West Bank in which the perpetrators are believed to have been Jewish extremists.
Israeli caricaturists mobilize to fight BDS via Facebook
Ynet 12 July by Adva Cohen — Israeli diplomacy has been diligently working in recent months to thwart the efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS), and now the country is receiving assistance from an unlikely group: Illustrators. A new Facebook page recently created by Israeli illustrators seeks to fight the boycott efforts via sarcastic cartoons that paint Israel in a positive light, and unmask its hypocritical detractors … To join the illustrators’ army, the cartoonist must be a talented illustrator, pro-Israel, funny, and know how to put aside Israeli political disputes. “The most important rule – no internal politics, no left and no right, no religious and no secular,” said Finkelstein. “We want to reach BDS’ audience and plant seeds of doubt, balance the picture and explain that the truth is not so absolute.” Almost every day sarcastic caricatures appear on the Facebook page demonstrating the hypocrisy of Israel’s detractors and their anti-Semitic motives, in order to help shatter the web of lies they are spreading.
Game changer: 10 years of BDS
Al Jazeera 9 July by Ben White — A decade later, Israel’s political leaders are unable to deal with the boycott challenge — Just over a decade ago, there was no such thing as “BDS”. Many Palestinians and their allies have, of course, urged a boycott of Israel for decades. However, it is the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, launched 10 years ago today, that has proved to be a game-changer. In the last few months alone, there have been a number of successes for BDS, and further indications of Israel’s deteriorating international image. In April, for example, French multinational Veolia completed the sale of its water, waste, and energy activities in Israel, following a global campaign against the company’s role in illegal Israeli settlements … In Israel, this has prompted an unprecedented level of anxiety about BDS, including warnings by university heads’, condemnation by Netanyahu, and the decision to include an anti-BDS remit as part of Gilad Erdan‘s ministerial responsibilities. Abroad, Israel’s friends have also swung into action, through initiatives such as Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson’s fundraising anti-BDS “summit“. Yet Israel’s political leaders are unable to deal with the boycott challenge. The Right hypes the threat of BDS and blames antisemitism, while centrists point to the lack of a political process but offer no viable alternative – certainly not one that grants Palestinians their most basic of rights. BDS’s strengths are clear. It has provided a unifying focus for Palestinian activists, and their allies, in a time of division and cynicism at the level of national leadership and representation. This is not just a question of its merit as a tactic; it is also due to its emphasis on the rights of all Palestinians: those in the West Bank and Gaza, those with Israeli citizenship, and the refugee diaspora….
Palestinian refugees – Syria
UNICEF delivers aid to displaced Yarmouk families who were unreachable two years ago
Middle East Monitor 9 July — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Tuesday that it has delivered aid to families displaced from Yarmouk, a Palestinian refugee camp in the Syrian capital Damascus. According to a statement issued by UNICEF, a copy of which was made available to Anadolu agency, the organisation said that it was able to reach families in Yalda, Beit Sahem and Babbila, areas located about 10 km to the south of Damascus and which foreign aid has not been able to enter for the last two years. The organisation confirmed that it was able to send medical supplies to over 3,000 people, including 5 midwifery kits (enough for 250 normal deliveries), along with clothing, materials and food supplements for children. According to the UNICEF staff who were part of the aid convoys, 50 000 people live in these areas, in addition to about 2,500 Palestinian refugee families who fled the Yarmouk camp. UNICEF spokesman Juliette Touma said they were not previously able to access these areas because they could not get permission from the Syrian government. UNICEF noted that the aid supplies passed by 5 checkpoints before it reached those areas. Syrian regime forces have been surrounding the Yarmouk refugee camp for nearly three years. The camp is currently inhabited by an estimated 18,000 Palestinians.
Palestinian refugees in rural Damascus appeal for help
Middle East Monitor 13 July — Over 250 Palestinian families in rural Damascus have appealed to the international community to intervene and save their lives. In a statement published by the the National Working Group for Palestinians in Syria yesterday, the families who live in the neighbourhoods of Duma, Zamalka, Hazzah and Humouriya in rural Damascus said they suffer from a severe shortage of food and medical supplies due to the suffocating siege imposed on them by the Syrian regime since the beginning of September 2013. It said the heavy shelling and strict blockade imposed by President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces caused Palestinian families to lose their income and stopped them receiving the aid needed for their survival. According to the statement, the Palestinian refugees are unable to receive any assistance from UNRWA because of the lack of safety and security due to the number of snipers. They appealed to the international organisations, particularly Arab and European relief institutions and UNRWA, to put an end to their suffering and provide them with urgent aid.
Official: No agreement with Syria preventing Palestinians’ movement
DAMASCUS (Ma‘an) 11 July — The Palestinian ambassador to Syria announced Saturday that there are no talks or agreements with Syria regarding the prevention of Palestinians from traveling outside or inside Syrian lands. Ambassador Anwar Abd al-Hadi’s statement came amid media reports that the Syrian government was allegedly preventing the movement of Palestinians living throughout Syria. Abd al-Hadi made the announcement as he met with popular committees in the Yarmouk refugee camp outside of Damascus. Popular committees are official entities affiliated with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Palestinian refugee camps across the occupied Palestinian territories and abroad. Abd al-Hadi discussed the difficult conditions that Palestinians of Syria are experiencing, especially in the Yarmouk camp. “We support a peaceful solution/resolution in the refugee camp based on an agreement signed in June 21st, 2014,” Abd al-Hadi said during the meeting.
Government reshuffle postponed until after Eid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 July — President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah will not decide on a government reshuffle until after the Eid next weekend, sources told Ma‘an Saturday. The president and prime minister reportedly met to discuss candidates for ministerial portfolios on Saturday evening but made no final decisions. Sources said that another meeting would be scheduled following Eid al-Fitr, which takes place on either Friday or Saturday next week, to decide on the new cabinet and come to an agreement with Palestinian factions. While PLO factions are reportedly seeking to form a completely new government along factional lines, sources said that Abbas wants the current unity government to carry on with only a reshuffle of several ministers. There have been weeks of uncertainty about the state of the current government. While there has been talk of a reshuffle for months, in mid-June it was announced at a Fatah council meeting that the entire government would soon be dissolved. The PLO executive committee appointed a committee to consult Palestinian factions — including Hamas — on forming a new government, and it was widely expected that the new government would see factional leaders replace the current government’s independent technocrats. However, the talks have so far proven fruitless, with Fatah officials claiming they reached an “impasse” and Hamas officials claiming they were not consulted beyond “some phone calls.”
Abbas forms committee to investigate Israeli ‘war crimes’ in Gaza
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 July — President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday issued a decree to form a higher national committee to investigate potential Israeli war crimes during last summer’s Gaza war. Abbas appointed Farid al-Jallad to head the committee, which will conduct its investigations along the lines of earlier UN inquiries.The committee will consists of seven legal experts, and is expected to start its work after Eid al-Fitr which ends on Monday, July 20.
Palestinian presidency pledges to abide by court verdicts regarding Dahlah and Fayyad
Middle East Monitor 9 July — The Palestinian presidency has stated that it is willing to abide by the two rulings issued by the High Court and Appeals Court regarding un-freezing the funds of non-profit organisation Future for Palestine, headed by Salam Fayyad, and re-instating parliamentary immunity for Fatah MP Mohamed Dahlan. “We respect the decisions of the Palestinian judiciary in accordance with the principle of the independence of the judicial power,” the president’s legal adviser Hassan Al-Ouri said in a statement published by the official news agency Wafa.
Jerusalem’s Old City prepares for Laylat al-Qader
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Preparations are underway in the Old City of Jerusalem for the holy night of Laylat al-Qader on Monday, the Islamic Endowment that oversees Al-Aqsa mosque compound said Sunday. Laylat al-Qader, meaning the Night of Destiny, takes place toward the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and according to Muslim belief marks the night the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the prophet Muhammad. The head of the Endowment, Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib said 250,000 people are expected to attend evening prayers at the mosque compound Monday, adding that 150,000 Iftar meals will be provided along with other meals. Azzam added that it was important for the Israeli authorities to allow all Palestinians to enter East Jerusalem to pray without restrictions. However, Israeli police announced a number of restrictions on Monday. Israeli police spokesperson Luba Samari said in a statement that Palestinian women between the ages of 16 and 30 will not be allowed to cross into East Jerusalem from the West Bank without permits, as well as men between 30 and 50 years old. Children under 12 and men over 50 are allowed to enter without permits, in addition to women over 30. Palestinian men between the ages of 12 and 30 will not be allowed through at all, Samari said. He added that thousands of Israeli police officers will be deployed throughout the city from Monday morning to Tuesday evening.
Entrepreneurial Palestinian mothers host iftars to help disabled children
BETHLEHEM (The National) 11 July by Kate Shuttleworth — Rua Abuoda is in the kitchen chopping vegetables for the iftar her family is about to host. Her brother Mohammed eventually wakes up after his second seizure of the day, pulls himself down off the bed onto the tiled floor, and sits in the doorway watching his sister. The 15-year-old has cerebral palsy and his epilepsy has progressively become worse. He cannot walk or talk and his muscles are tightly clenched, with his hands forming fists and his feet facing permanently facing outward. The Abuoda family live in ‘Aida, a Palestinian refugee camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where provision for disabled children is severely lacking, with no access to additional funding from a welfare system or from UNRWA, the UN refugee agency for Palestinians. Five years ago, Mohammed’s mother, Islam, decided to try to improve the situation. With the help of a foreign volunteer in the camp, she brought together other mothers of children with disabilities to run traditional Palestinian cooking classes, which visitors to ‘Aida can pay to take. With the money raised through their project, called Noor Weg, the mothers have built a community kitchen and space for the children and families, and are also able to pay the school fees of some of the children.
Israeli Facebook users launch ‘Death to Arabs’ campaign
Middle East Monitor 9 July — A number of Israeli activists have launched a racist campaign against Arabs on Facebook, calling it “Death to Arabs”, Quds Press reported on Wednesday. Quds Press said that the Israeli news website Walla had interviewed a number of the organisers, who added this phrase beside their names on Facebook. The Israeli website interviewed a 14-year-old Jewish Israeli named Ran. He said: “It is my full right to write whatever I want instead of my name on Facebook,” Ran told Walla. “I think it is time to disclose the truth,” he added, “all Arabs [in Israel] must not be here.” Another 16-year-old girl told Walla that she added the phrase “Death to Arabs” beside her name on Facebook, but she was pressured by her relatives to remove it. She justified posting this phrase beside her name based on the freedom given through social media. “I can post whatever I need,” she said, “even if it [offends] some people.” Meanwhile, Israeli blogger Ori Britman, who runs a website called “Freedom of search”, said that he contacted Facebook management informing it about the growing phenomenon of racism against Arabs. Britman was shocked by the irresponsible reply of the Facebook management regarding the “racist” Facebook campaign, which is explicitly targeting Arabs.
Hopeful story of the day:
Island of coexistence in unlikely Jerusalem ‘seam’ neighborhood
Haaretz 10 July by Nir Hasson — A year ago French Hill gas station was firebombed by Palestinians; today Jewish merchant in local commercial center says, ‘The only problem I have with my Arab customers is that there aren’t more of them.’ — Even considering the wave of violence in East Jerusalem at the time, this incident about a year ago was unusual: Dozens of masked young men came from Isawiyah to the gas station between the village and the French Hill neighborhood, set part of its convenience store on fire, and caused major damage to the station. That was one of the heights of violence in the wave of Jerusalem violence that broke out after the ghastly murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir. This attack on the gas station contributed further to the name of French Hill as a seam neighborhood, whose residents suffer greatly from friction between the Arab and Jewish populations. But a visit to the commercial center in the heart of the neighborhood this week finds a different message: The center has become a meeting place, rare in Jerusalem, between Jews and Arabs. According to business owners in the center, about 30 percent of the customers are Arabs, including students from nearby Hebrew University, Arabs from elsewhere in the country who live in the neighborhood, and Palestinians from the surrounding neighborhoods. Some of the businesses are even owned by Palestinians. Fuad Abisan, 34, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood Ras al-Amud, opened a hummus shop in the center four months ago, which has become popular. “They gave me the feeling I had succeeded from the moment I opened,” he said with a smile. “There are tables with Jews and Arabs together. That’s something rare in Jerusalem,” he says….
Netanyahu tries burying bill calling for death penalty for terrorists
Haaretz 12 July by Jonathan Lis — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday ordered Likud ministers to oppose a bill calling for the death penalty for terrorists. The prime minister issued his order just an hour before the Ministerial Committee for Legislation was meant to discuss the bill. In addition, Netanyahu ordered the establishment of a governmental team, headed by Minister Yariv Levin, to further examine the matter. The creation of such a committee would essentially bury the initiative and postpone its discussion for three months. MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beiteinu), who submitted the bill and who was authorized to decide how to proceed, said he opposed the establishment of such a committee and demanded that the bill be brought before the ministerial committee as planned. “Let’s see who is in the real nationalist camp and who is not,” he said … A Haaretz examination found that the bill was expected to win a majority approval, but even if it were to be approved, it would not likely be advanced. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was expected to prohibit the Knesset from bringing it to the plenum until the bill’s legality has been thoroughly examined. According to academic research, stiffer sentences in general, and the death sentence in particular, are no more effective in deterring criminals than existing punishment, particularly when the offenders are ideologically motivated and prepared to die, as is the case with terrorists. In addition, the bill is not in line with current international norms regarding the death penalty, and goes against a recent worldwide trend of eliminating it.
Israeli drone crashes in Lebanon for 2nd time in 3 weeks
Beirut (AFP) 11 July — An Israeli drone crashed in the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli on Saturday, the military said, in the second such incident in three weeks. “At around 8:30 am (0530 GMT), a drone belonging to the Israeli enemy went down in the port of Tripoli, and the army has taken the necessary measures,” the Lebanese military said in a statement, without elaborating. A security official said the pilotless aircraft crashed into the sea. “Fishermen had the impression a plane was falling down towards their harbour, close to the main port of Tripoli,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “They alerted the army which has retrieved the aircraft from eight metres (26 feet) under water. It turned out later that it was an Israeli drone,” the source added. An spokesman for the Israeli military refused to comment on the reports. On June 21, Israel carried out an air strike in eastern Lebanon to destroy one of its drones that had crashed in the mountains outside the village of Saghbine.
Book review: Children of the Stone: Exploring the power of music in Palestine
Newsweek 11 July by Claire Hajaj — Children of the Stone by Sandy Tolan — A group of young Palestinian musicians gather on a West Bank hilltop to play Mozart’s Sixth Symphony to a passing Israeli train. As they play, they imagine music filling its carriages, carrying part of them down to their lost villages – and onwards to new worlds they dream of seeing … Tolan describes a remarkable journey: Ramzi Aburedwan, stone-throwing poster child for the first intifada, grows to become a classical viola player founding music schools across the West Bank and playing with star Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim, right. Ramzi’s story is woven into both the broader Palestinian struggle and the fraught effort by Barenboim and great Palestinian intellectual Edward Said to find common ground through artistic co-operation. Said and Barenboim believed music could build bridges while politics raised barriers. Tolan strips this concept of sentimentality through visceral, fly-on-the-wall storytelling. How does a child learn an instrument where sheet music and strings can’t be found – where they must build their own music rooms stone by stone? At one point, Palestinian musicians desperate to reach their “co-existence” performance in Jerusalem pay a people-smuggler to help them scale the eight-metre Separation Barrier, throwing down timpani sticks and violin cases to waiting hands below.