Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Arrests – West Bank, Jerusalem
Army: ‘Soldier mildly injured in stabbing attack near Ramallah’
[with photo] IMEMC/Agencies 16 July — According to the Israel Security Agency (Shabak), Israeli soldiers arrested, Thursday, a Palestinian teenage girl who allegedly stabbed a soldier, east of the Central West Bank city of Ramallah. The Shabak said Rawan Abu Matar, 17 years of age, stabbed a soldier on Wednesday afternoon at a military roadblock outside of the Nahliel settlement, northwest of Ramallah. The woman is from Beitello town, east of Ramallah; soldiers forced her onto the ground, cuffed and arrested her, before moving her to an interrogation facility. The Shabak claimed that the woman “confessed she intended to kill a soldier,” and that she is not affiliated with any Palestinian group. The wounded soldier, 20 years of age, was transferred to Tel HaShomer Israeli Hospital, near Tel Aviv.
Palestinian injured by live fire in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 18 July — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and settlements, in Kafr Qaddum village, in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia, leading to clashes with local youths; one Palestinian was shot with a live round in the back. The Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Kafr Qaddum said the protesters marched demanding the army to reopen the main road of the village, which has been blockaded for the thirteenth consecutive year. The Committee added that the soldiers were hiding in a nearby olive orchard, and started firing live rounds, wounding Hekmat Mahmoud Eshteiwy, 38 years of age, in his back. Medical sources said the bullet exited from his right arm, but did not cause a serious bodily harm. Clashes then took place between the soldiers and local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles on the army … Morad Eshteiwy, coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, said the residents marched following evening prayers on the first day of the al-Fitr Muslim feast, and headed towards the gate the blockades their village’s main road.
Teen kidnapped as soldiers attack Nabi Saleh protest
IMEMC 18 July by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers attacked, on Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall and settlements in Nabi Saleh village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and kidnapped one teenager. Nabi Saleh television reported that the soldiers kidnapped Walid Dhifallah, 18 years of age, and took him to an unknown destination. The army attacked the weekly protest and fired several rounds of live ammunition, in addition to rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas bombs.
Soldiers also attacked the weekly protest in the al-Ma‘sara village, in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and assaulted the villagers and their supporters at village entrance and, then, forced them back using rifle butts and batons; no injuries were reported.
Also on Friday, the soldiers attacked the weekly nonviolent protest in Bil‘in, near Ramallah: http://www.imemc.org/article/72276
Israeli light rail guard attacks, wounds two Palestinian teens
IMEMC/Agencies 16 July — Medical sources have reported that two Palestinian teens have been injured, on Wednesday evening, after an Israeli Light Rail guard assaulted them, in Shu‘fat village, in occupied Jerusalem. The sources said ‘Azmi Nassar Salayma, 18 years of age, and his cousin Marwan Nader Salayma, 16, suffered cuts and bruises to different parts of their bodies. ‘Azmi’s father said the light-rail guard was harassing the two teenagers, before asking them to hand him their Identity Cards, without any cause of justification. After obtaining the ID cards, the guard refused to return them, and attacked the two as they reached their destination; the guard first attacked Marwan before assaulting his cousin. The two were later moved to the al-Makassed Islamic Charitable Society Hospital, in Jerusalem, suffering various cuts and bruises. The father said the police refused to open an investigation, alleging there were no investigators available at the time, although an officer took the statement of the light-rail guard.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian, injure brother
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian from the al-Shuyukh village in Hebron and injured a family member while raiding their home Thursday afternoon, local residents said. Moussa Halayqa’s home was raided by Israeli forces who detained his son Qassam, 25, a local activist Ahmad Halayqa said.Qassam’s brother Muhammad, 17, was injured in the foot when Israeli forces shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet during the raid. Halayqa added that Israeli forces had come to Qassam’s home in the early morning on Thursday when he was out, and returned in the afternoon to detain him.I sraeli forces detained Qassam’s brother Majd about a week ago while their father, Moussa, is also in Israeli custody.
Updated: the release of the child Sultan Samer Sarhan
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 17 July — The occupation police released the 10 year old child Sultan Samer Sarhan on Wednesday evening after interrogating him for several hours in Al-Maskobye police detention center. Wadi Al Hilwe information center lawyer stated that the police released the child without restrictions or terms after interrogating him with charges of “throwing stones at a settler’s vehicle parked in Al-Ein Street in the town of Silwan.” From her part, the child Sarhan’s mother said the the Israeli forces “Special Unit” arrested her child when he was present at a shop in the neighborhood of Silwan, they took him to the police station at ‘Sallah Al Din’ Street – accompanied by his cousin – he was interrogated for throwing stones at a settler’s vehicle in Silwan causing physical damage to it. His mother added that the detective intentionally scared and threatened he child Sultan during the interrogation.
Israeli forces detain ten Palestinians from West Bank districts
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 July – Israeli army detained overnight six Palestinians from across the West Bank, whereas Israeli police assaulted and arrested four family members during an arrest and search operation in East Jerusalem, said security sources. Israeli police raided early morning the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ath-Thuri, in search of Amjad Idreis, 20, provoking clashes with local residents. Police physically assaulted and detained four young men. They were identified as Amjad, 20, Talab, Zakariya and Ahmad Idreis. Meanwhile, forces detained six other Palestinians during raids into the East Jerusalem town of Hizma, the Bethlehem town of Nahhalin and the Hebron town of Tarqumia after breaking into and ransacking their homes purportedly for being affiliated to Hamas faction. One detainee was identified as ‘Abdul-Kareem Shakarna, 20, from Nahhalin. Sources said that forces stationed on a military checkpoint near Qalqiliya stopped and detained a Palestinian young man identified as Ahmad N‘irat, a resident of the Jenin village of Meithalun.
Daily arrests continue: Israeli forces detain three from West Bank districts
JENIN (WAFA) 16 July – Israeli forces early Thursday detained three Palestinians, including a minor, from multiple West Bank districts, said security sources. Israeli forces raided early Thursday Rummana, a village to the west of Jenin, where they proceeded to detain a Palestinian after breaking and wrecking havoc into his family’s house, sparking clashes with villagers. The detainee was identified as Mahmoud Abu Sayfin, 21, who is a student studying Shari‘a studies in a local college. Meanwhile in East Jerusalem district, army units raided Abu Dis town to the east of the city, where they proceeded to detain a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his family’s house. The detainee was identified as 20-year-old Salama Hdaidun … Moreover, a Palestinian young woman fainted after suffocating from tear gas fired by Israeli forces in the East Jerusalem town of al-‘Izzariya. Forces raided the town early Thursday, sparking clashes with local youths who confronted them. During the clashes, soldiers extensively fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian local houses, causing the woman, who remains unidentified, to suffocate and faint. In the meantime in Hebron, forces detained Wednesday evening a Palestinian minor from Hebron’s neighborhood of Tal Rumeida. The detainee was identified as Muhammad Abu Haykal, 11.
Israel forces detain Palestinian suspected of West Bank attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli forces have detained five Palestinians from Qalandiya refugee camp, including a man accused of carrying out a shooting near Ramallah last month that left one Israeli dead and another injured, the Israeli army said in a statement Wednesday. The Israeli army said that military forces, police and intelligence officers carried out the detention raid in a joint operation without saying when it took place. The statement referred to the five Palestinians as a “terror cell” and said they had admitted to “plotting and executing” a number of attacks. It identified the alleged shooter behind last month’s attack as Muhammad Abu Shaheen, a 30-year-old from Qalandiya refugee camp. Israeli citizen Danny Gonen was killed and his friend injured when a Palestinian reportedly opened fire on them near the illegal settlement of Dolev in the West Bank district of Ramallah on June 19 last month. Wednesday’s statement claimed that Shaheen committed a total of “six shooting attacks,” including an alleged shooting that left an Israeli soldier injured on Nov. 17, 2014. The statement did not provide details of the other attacks, just adding that he previously spent two years in an Israeli prison from 2006 to 2008 “for plotting stabbing and shooting attacks.” The Israeli army alleged that he and the other four Palestinians had together helped carry out last month’s attack in addition to others. The other four were identified as Amjad Adwan, 35, Ashraf Amar, 24, Osama Asad, 29, and Mohammad Adwan, 37, all residents of Qalandiya refugee camp….
Nablus family home suffers brutal Israeli night raid
[with photos] ‘AWARTA, Occupied Palestine 15 July by ISM, Nablus Team — On Sunday, July 12, at 1:30 am, a group of 40 Israeli soldiers came into the village of ‘Awarta circling and raiding the home of 22 year old Izzat Qawariq right before the family was preparing to go to sleep. His cousin told ISM that the soldiers violently kicked the doors open with a gun, demanded the women and men to stay in two separate rooms, while they trashed, broke glass objects and searched through all the belongings of the house. They took both Izzat’s and his mother’s telephones, and Izzat’s medical papers for the eye treatment he was taking in St. John’s hospital of Jerusalem, as well as his permit paper to be able to travel to Jerusalem for his treatment. The soldiers kept the home under siege until 4:00 in the morning, without allowing the family to have their food according to the tradition of Ramadan. Once the soldiers arrested Izzat, his parents were trying to persuade them to allow him to leave wearing his shoes; the soldiers reacted by hitting Izzat’s father with a gun, injuring his left wrist. His father told ISM that he decided to contain his anger in fear of worse violence and to avoid also being arrested. Izzat’s family has no idea why they arrested him. He and his father would work with their truck plowing the land next to the illegal settlement of Etamar. Izzat has never been involved in a political party. The family also reported that this unit of soldiers was a new unit, called Dov Dovan, who wear special masks on their faces to scare the people….
Israeli forces use live ammunition, tear gas on residents of Nabi Saleh during clashes
NABI SALEH, Occupied Palestine 17 July by ISM, Nablus Team — Of the two main entrances to the village of Nabi Saleh, one of them – which connects to the villages of Kufr Ayn, Karawa and the town of Salfit – has been permanently closed by the Israeli army since 2001. Last week, on the main road that connects the village with Ramallah, there was a car accident that killed a four year old child. The villagers blame the accident on congestion caused by the closure of one of these two gates. On Thursday, July 16th at approximately 5.00 am, young men from the village began trying to open this gate. Since the two gates are next to one another and permanently surveilled by an Israeli watch tower, this led immediately to clashes in which soldiers used tear gas and live ammunition. Within the next hour, four Israeli military vehicles entered the village and began firing rubber bullets, live ammunition, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at random. Largely due to the fact that most inhabitants were still in their homes at this early hour, no one was injured by bullets. However, being unable to take precautions, elderly people and children were particularly affected by tear gas entering through windows. Clashes lasted for three hours, finishing at 8.00 am. As of 7.00 pm, the village’s last remaining entrance to a main road (the one connecting to Ramallah) has been obstructed by a newly established checkpoint. This leaves the villagers with the only alternative of using a backroad entrance leading to a circuitous route which adds up to an hour and a half to journey times. This happened in the eve of the Islamic festival of Eid Al-Fitr, when visiting relatives in other villages and cities is of enormous importance; in addition to the obstruction of access to work, healthcare and education that will inevitably follow for the inhabitants of this small village in days to come … Since 2009, when the village initiated regular protests, numerous villagers have been seriously injured or imprisoned. 22 people have been shot with live ammunition, 15 of whom now face chronic disability as a result. Two people have been killed….
Child injured by army fire in Khan Younis
IMEMC/Agencies 18 July — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a child was shot, and injured, by Israeli army fire in Abasan al-Kobra town, in the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Younis. The sources said Mansour Abu T’eima, 14 years of age, suffered a gunshot injury in his left leg. He was moved to the Gaza European Hospital, suffering a moderate but stable injury. The child was playing in an area close to the border fence when the soldiers opened fire on him and his friends. The soldiers frequently target Palestinians, including farmers and workers, in lands close to the “Security Fence,” across the border with the coastal region.
Palestinian youths stuck at Cairo airport
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 July — Several Palestinian youths from the Gaza Strip heading to Saudi Arabia and European countries have been stuck at the Cairo International Airport for a month. Three young men and two young women were reportedly taken by Egyptian authorities from the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to the airport where they were prevented from traveling due to expired residency permits for their destination countries. One of those stranded said they have been unable to return to the Gaza Strip due to ongoing closures of the Rafah border. The five stranded in the airport called upon the Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, Jamal al-Shubki, and concerned sides to immediately intervene. They requested the ambassador to take measures that would enable them to move freely into Egypt in order to contact embassies of their destination countries where they say they were headed to renew their residencies.
Israeli fighter jets hit target in Gaza Strip
GAZA (Ma‘an) 16 July — Israeli fighter jets attacked a target in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning after a missile fired from the strip hit an open area near the town of Ashkelon in the western Negev, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. No injuries or damages were reported in Israel and have yet to be confirmed in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli spokesperson could not give any information regarding the location of the airstrike in Gaza, only that the target was “terror infrastructure.”
Israel allows 650 truckloads of goods into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 July — Israeli authorities opened the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza on Wednesday enabling 650 truckloads of goods to enter, a Palestinian crossings official said. Raed Fattouh, head of the Palestinian coordination committee for the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip, said that the Israeli authorities would allow the goods to enter for the commercial, agriculture and transportation sectors. Around 650 truckloads of goods pass through the crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip each weekday, according to COGAT. Wednesday’s shipment reportedly includes 100 truckloads of gravel to help rebuild Gaza’s infrastructure as part of Qatari-funded reconstruction projects. An estimated 10,000 tons of diesel, another Qatari donation, currently being stored in Egypt, will also be transferred to the Gaza power station through Kerem Shalom. Wednesday’s goods delivery comes amid the the gradual expansion of the crossing by Israel to enable a steady increase of goods allowed to cross into the strip since 2010, according to a spokesperson for COGAT. Prior to the expansions, the crossing only allowed around 150 truckloads in daily, as documented by Gisha … As of June, UNOCHA reported that only 1 percent of the construction materials required to rebuild houses destroyed and damaged during hostilities last summer had entered Gaza so far.
Dutch scanner comes to Gaza border crossings
AP 17 July — The Dutch foreign minister inaugurated a security scanner Wednesday that he says will increase the truckloads of supplies that enter Gaza from Israel and speed up efforts to rebuild the territory. Israel allows trucks carrying construction materials into the Gaza Strip under strict security measures. Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, who is visiting the region, said the scanner will ease the processing of the various materials. The addition of the scanner is part of an agreement with COGAT, the defense body that handles civilian issues with the Palestinians and which is involved in reconstruction efforts for Gaza. Some 600 trucks cross into Gaza from Israel daily, according to COGAT. Some 1,000 trucks are expected to cross with the new scanner, according to COGAT and the Dutch Foreign Ministry.
IDF planning larger Gaza fence, but says illicit border crossing inevitable
Haaretz 17 July by Gili Cohen — A senior Israel Defense Force officer said Thursday that the army is planning to build a much larger fence on the Gaza-Israel border, and commended the IDF’s conduct during the September 2014 incident in which Ethiopian Israeli Avera Mengistu crossed into the Gaza Strip, but said that “a situation like this shouldn’t happen.” … Plans are in place to construct a much larger fence on the Gaza-Israel border, but even then, says the officer, it would not fully stop Israelis or Palestinians from crossing from one side to the other. According to the IDF Southern Command’s plans, an additional fence will be constructed on the Israeli side of the border, which would in effect create an additional security zone in which any movement will be monitored by remote IDF surveillance. The area between the two fences would be patrolled by unmanned vehicles that search for explosive devices.
ICC orders prosecutor to reconsider probing Israel’s flotilla raid
THE HAGUE (AFP) — The International Criminal Court on Thursday ordered its chief prosecutor to review a decision not to probe Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, saying “errors were made.” Fatou Bensouda late last year dropped the investigation leading to potential prosecution into the incident in which 10 Turkish activists were killed by Israeli forces, saying the incident was “not of sufficient gravity.” The case was first filed by the Comoros, where the activists’ ship the Mavi Marmara was registered. The tiny Indian Ocean island state in January asked the Hague-based ICC’s judges to review Bensouda’s decision. “The Pre-Trial Chamber granted the request… and requested the Prosecutor to reconsider such a decision,” the ICC said in a statement … In her explanation in November last year, Bensouda said “the information available provides a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes were committed on board the Comorian-registered vessel the Mavi Marmara during the interception of the flotilla.” “However, after carefully assessing all relevant considerations, I have concluded that the potential case(s) likely arising from an investigation into this incident would not be of ‘sufficient gravity’ to justify further action by the ICC,” she said. But the ICC’s judges disagreed.
Israeli army investigating Gaza incidents reported on by Breaking the Silence
Haaretz 16 July by Gili Cohen — According to an article in the army weekly “Bamahane,” Military Police has commenced initial investigations into eight eyewitness accounts, some of them just in the past few weeks. Army officials did not specify which of the incidents from the Breaking the Silence report issued in May are being investigated. However, testimonies published by the organization described a number of incidents that raise suspicions of deviations from international law. Allegations include members of the armored corps deliberately targeting a civilian cyclist and a civilian driver, tanks crushing cars, looting, confirming the kill of an elderly man, and killing a mentally unstable woman.
Palestine: Gaza activity update – July 2015 – one year report
Doctors without Borders 16 July — Since MSF launched its surgical programme in 2009, more than 1,400 patients have received surgery. Before last summer’s war on Gaza, more than 60 percent of our patients receiving surgical care were burns cases. During the last war this changed, with some 85 percent of our surgical patients treated for war injuries. In 2015, with the continuing blockade leading to extensive power cuts, around 75 percent of our patients have burns injuries … MSF has 350 patients on its waiting list for reconstructive surgery, and struggles to refer patients to Jordan to its hospital specialising in war surgery, as Gazans cannot easily get permission to leave Gaza, even for specialised care. Up until June 2015, MSF had only managed to refer four patients for treatment elsewhere. Getting specialised burns surgeons into Gaza is also a struggle. In April 2015, the Israeli Civil Administration blocked one of our surgeons from entering Gaza, forcing us to cancel a second round of burns surgeries planned to start in late April.
WATCH — Gaza: Transforming fields of destruction into fertile farming land
ICRC 16 July 5:13 minutes — ICRC Agronomist, David Kuhn Von Burgdorff, paints a vivid picture of the devastation caused by the conflict in Gaza on its agricultural land and farming community. He describes the massive decontamination work and mine awareness training that the Weapon Contamination (WeC) team helped carry out in order to make the land safe again for farming. Coupled with financial and technical support to local farmers, and a huge operation to re-level the land, this work allowed the community to plant new crops on their land without missing a harvest season.
Gaza boy who survived Israeli missile strike returns home
[with PHOTOS] JABALIYA (EI) 15 July by Charlotte Silver and Ezz Zanoun — When 8-year-old Thaer Jouda left Gaza for urgently needed medical care in Germany last October, he did not know that his mother and four of his brothers and sisters were dead. In the late afternoon of 24 August 2014, Thaer was with most of his family in their courtyard in Jabaliya, a town in northern Gaza, when a drone fired a missile directly at the seated group. It was just two days before the ceasefire that ended Israel’s 51-day assault on Gaza. Issam and Rahaf Jouda, Thaer’s father and 11-year-old sister, were inside the house when the missile hit. Issam rushed outside and found the dismembered bodies of his wife Rawiya, daughters Tasnim and Raghida and sons Muhammad and Usama. Only Thaer had survived. But barely. Thaer’s little body was nearly destroyed: the bones of his arms were shattered, his left leg severed from his body and his face severely burned. “Just a few seconds separated the whole family,” Issam recently told The Electronic Intifada. “In just a few seconds everything changed.” Thaer was rushed to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City and soon after transferred to Germany, where he underwent 17 surgeries. Thaer’s first passport photo was taken immediately after he was injured; his eyes are closed and shrapnel lacerations mark his face. He remained in Germany for 10 months, speaking to his father by phone. Issam waited six months to tell Thaer what had happened to his mother and siblings. The Electronic Intifada met Thaer and Issam Jouda in their home a few days after the boy returned from Germany. The walls of the Jouda house, once blackened by the strike, have a fresh coat of paint and a metal pipe is planted in the spot where Thaer’s mother and siblings were killed. The courtyard is decorated with posters of Thaer, who is exhausted from speaking to the Palestinian press in Gaza. He doesn’t want to talk about losing his mother. Thaer says he is happy to be home and says he wants his life to return to normal. He does not say so, but it is obvious that it is painful for him to take his prosthetic leg off and on. He goes to physical therapy three times a week to learn how to walk and use his hands again.
Gaza mother mourns family killed in an airstrike after Eid last year
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 July — Um Bilal al-Ghoul is struggling to celebrate Eid al-Fitr this year after losing most of her family in Israeli attacks on Rafah’s Yibna refugee camp during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip last year. Her youngest child Ibrahim lost his twin brother Mustafa days after the two were born, when the Israeli air force targeted and destroyed their home in the densely populated camp days after the Eid holiday. The strike killed ten al-Ghoul family members and injured twenty more. “Ibrahim does not feel the suffering we feel, but Eid this year has still come heavy and difficult as his twin Mustafa, his father, his brother Ismail, and his sister Malak are gone,” Um Bilal told Ma‘an. Um Bilal had given birth to the twins at the start of the Israeli offensive. Asmaa al-Ghoul, a journalist based in Gaza City and relative of Um-Bilal, had written in a post on Facebook when the twins were born: “In Gaza, there is always hope and new life. A door of light and happiness in the middle of this war.” This year, though, the grieving mother refused to celebrate Ibrahim’s first birthday without his twin….
Gaza Today – Gaza testimonies
B’Tselem 8 July — The bombings of the Gaza Strip began a year ago today. For hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, last summer’s nightmare has become an ongoing reality. There are now some 100,000 displaced persons in Gaza living with relatives or in rented homes, in tents, or in the ruins of their old homes. Nearly 20,000 houses were partly or completely destroyed last summer, and hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza still live in 150,000 damaged residences. After the fighting ended, B’Tselem continued to publicize the stories of Gazans who are still dealing with its consequences.
Mayadah Zaqut recalls bombing that killed her husband in their apartment, and bombing of their entire building several weeks later: …At midnight, the Israeli air force bombed the tower where our apartment had been. I heard the bombardment very clearly. When the first missile hit the tower, I remembered how ‘Ahed and I began to look for an apartment to buy, and how we painted our place and arranged our furniture. I thought about my life with ‘Ahed in our apartment. I recalled the renovations and the new furniture we bought. We lived there together for nine years and took care of every little detail in our home. One of the things that hurt most was that I didn’t have time to take any memento of ‘Ahed from the apartment before it was bombed. I left behind medals and trophies and tokens of appreciation that he was awarded throughout his sporting career, as well as photographs of him. It all went up in flames, even our wedding photos. I have nothing left to remind me of the family life I once had.
Photojournalist Heidi Levine on documenting Gaza’s post-war survivors – VIDEO
The National 15 July — The 50-day war between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip in 2014 resulted in the deaths of over 2,200 Palestinians and 73 Israelis. After a ceasefire was declared, American photojournalist Heidi Levine returned to document the loss of lives, limbs and livelihoods, and how the people of Gaza continue to endure and persist despite all that has happened. Heidi speaks to The National’s photo editor, Brian Kerrigan about the case studies that highlight her photo project on the survivors of the war
Knesset reprimands but doesn’t punish MK for taking part in Gaza flotilla
JPost 15 July by Lahav Harkov — MK Bassel Ghattas (Joint List) behaved unethically by participating in a flotilla meant to break the military blockade of Gaza, the Knesset Ethics Committee determined Wednesday. Ghattas, who sailed toward Gaza with activists on the Mariane last month before the boat was peacefully redirected to Ashdod by the IDF, was severely reprimanded, but did not receive further punishment, because this was his first ethics offense. Following complaints against Ghattas by Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev, and Knesset House Committee chairman David Bitan, the committee did not accept Ghattas’s response that participating in the flotilla is the same as any other demonstration and falls under MKs’ broad, protected freedom of speech. “MKs must make a clear difference between leading a battle to change policies, which is an inseparable part of their job and is under their broad freedom of speech, and publicly declaring that they want to break the law as part of their battle,” the decision reads. “It is known that entering the Gaza Strip by land or sea is forbidden for citizens of the country and is a crime, and breaking the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip has the potential to harm [Israel’s] security.”
Israeli cities ban Gaza documentary film
DW 15 July by Dana Regev — Pressure from right-wing activists led two mayors in southern Israel to cancel screenings of a Dutch film dealing traumatized Gazan heath workers. The film’s director said people in the cities could relate to the movie. The southern Israeli city of Beersheba prevented the screening of the documentary film “Shivering in Gaza,” which deals with trauma therapy in Gaza after the 2014 war with Israel. Following Mayor Ruvik Danilovich’s decision to cancel the Sunday screening, artists’ organizations expressed their dismay and criticized him in a letter. They claimed stopping the showing of the film was illegal and called on Danilovich to reverse his decision. A group of 50 professors and students from Ben Gurion University also signed a separate letter sent Danilovich, in which they too expressed their discontent on Tuesday. The criticism comes among a heightened awareness of censorship among some in Israel following the appointment of Culture Minister Miri Regev after March elections … “Shivering in Gaza” is a Dutch production documenting the work of trauma treatment expert Jan Andreae, who meets with Gaza-based aid workers after the 2014 Israel-Gaza war and helps them to cope with fear, trauma and grief….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Discrimination
Israel orders half of Palestinian village demolished after Ramadan
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 16 July — Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of around half of the homes in a village south of Hebron to be carried out after Ramadan, Israeli watchdogs said on Wednesday. Rabbis for Human Rights and B’Tselem said in a statement that pressure from Israeli settlers had led to the decision to carry out demolition orders in the village of Khirbet Susiya after Ramadan, although a high court hearing regarding the case is currently scheduled for August 3. The Israeli Civil Administration, the Israeli army, and the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) office announced the demolition order to the villagers in a meeting on Sunday. Khirbet Susiya has been under imminent threat of demolition since May, when the Israeli High Court approved the demolition of the villagers’ homes and tents and possible relocation of the village’s around 300 Bedouin residents. The court case has been ongoing since 2012, when residents of Khirbet Susiya applied for the Israeli Civil Administration to approve an outline plan for northern part of the village. Susiya villagers reportedly built homes in 1986 on agricultural land they owned, after being evicted by Israel from their previous dwellings on land declared as an archaeological site.
US warns Israel against evicting Palestinians from Susya
+972 18 July by Mairav Zonszein — Although Susya has been under constant threat of destruction for years, the State Department is now warning Israel that any demolitions in this tiny village in the West Bank would be considered a provocation — Asked about the situation, U.S. State Department spokesperson John Kirby said on Thursday: “We’re closely following developments in the village of Susya in the West Bank, and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village. Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative. Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted. We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution and would set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation, particularly given settlement-related activity in the area. We urge Israeli authorities to work with the residents of the village to finalize a plan for the village that addresses the residents’ humanitarian needs.” While it is significant that the State Department warned Israel against moving forward with demolition, Israel has already, many times over, “set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation,” and the Obama administration has done nothing about it
Arabs living beyond Jerusalem security barrier file petition over foundering infrastructure
JPost 15 July by Daniel Eisenbud — Palestinian residents living in neighborhoods beyond the Jerusalem security barrier filed a petition with the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday, demanding that the city repair their deteriorating infrastructure, which they claim is ridden with unsafe roadways and serviced by only nominal municipal services. The residents were aided in filing the petition by left-wing NGO Ir Amim, which said the petition against the municipality and Mayor Nir Barkat was filed exactly 10 years since the government first committed to improving infrastructure there. “Ten years after the government promised to provide essential services to the east Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the barrier, the Jerusalem Municipality has abandoned tens of thousands of residents,” the document stated, adding that “the situation in these neighborhoods is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster.” According to the petition, while the municipal budget spends tens of millions of shekels each year repairing roads and neighborhoods in other parts of Jerusalem, it allocates “less than 0.01%” of its annual budget toward areas beyond the barrier. The petition demands that the city immediately address “the continued neglect and harsh road infrastructure in neighborhoods beyond the barrier” by repairing dilapidated streets, sidewalks, traffic signs, and drainage systems.
Israel to demolish Palestinian-owned structures in northern Jordan Valley
NABLUS (WAFA) 15 July — Israeli authorities Wednesday ordered to stop the construction work on several Palestinian residents’ structures in the northern Jordan Valley as a prelude to demolish them, according to a local official. Head of Wadi Maleh village council, Aref Daraghmeh informed WAFA that military jeeps of the so-called Israeli civil administration stormed the northern Jordan Valley area and handed out several demolition notices for several structures belonging to a local resident. The notices notified the resident that their structures would be demolished in October. The structures included an agricultural pond, and sheds used for agricultural purposes and others used as animal barns.
Israeli forces conduct military drills across Jordan Valley area
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 15 July — Israeli forces Wednesday conducted wide-range military drills across the Jordan Valley area, according to a local official. Head of Wadi Maleh village council, Aref Daraghmeh, told WAFA that forces were deployed across different parts of the Jordan Valley area, where they conducted military training. The Israeli army often conducts drills in the occupied West Bank, especially in the Jordan Valley, after forcefully displacing dozens of local Palestinian families due to the proximity of their homes to the training sites. Palestinians living in these areas have to also worry about unexploded ordnance left behind by the Israeli army after the drills, which have led to the death of many Palestinians, including children, over the past years. In 2014, three Palestinians were killed by unexploded ordnance left by Israeli forces in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley, while Gaza remains plagued with unexploded ordnance following the most recent Israeli aggression.
Prisoners / Court actions
Addameer: Report on 13 July military court hearing of Khalida Jarrar
Samidoun 13 July — Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association released the following update on the 13 July hearing of imprisoned Palestinian parliamentarian and leader, Khalida Jarrar, before an Israeli military court: “13 July 2015 – At the hearing today for Palestinian Legislative Council Member Khalida Jarrar, the defense team submitted preliminary arguments to cancel the charges. The defense argued concerning the legality of the occupation. Particularly, it argued that the occupation’s situation as continued and long-term deems it illegal. The defense also argued that Mrs. Khalida Jarrar is entitled to immunity as a Palestinian Legislative Council Member … The next hearing is set to take place on 4 August 2015, during which witnesses are expected to take the stand. It was noted that witnesses were not properly informed to attend today’s hearing and did not show up. The prosecution has two weeks to respond to the defense team’s preliminary arguments.
Detainee faces deteriorating condition, awaits treatment
IMEMC 16 July — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported, Thursday, that a detainee suffered health complications but is still denied access to treatment. The PPS said that one of its lawyers managed to visit Haitham Jaber, 40 years of age, in the Ramon Israeli prison. Jaber told the lawyer that he suffers sharp pain in his head, and is frequently vomiting, in addition to other complications that are gradually weakening his body. The detainee underwent medical checkups, but never received a diagnosis of his condition, and is currently only receiving painkilling pills. Jaber was taken prisoner by the Israeli army in 2002, and was sentenced to 28-year imprisonment, allegedly for membership in an armed resistance group. He is from Hares village, in the central West Bank district of Salfit.
Two detainees face deteriorating health conditions
IMEMC 15 July — The Palestinian Prisoners Society has reported Wednesday that two ailing detainees held by Israel suffered sharp health deterioration, while Israel continues to deny them the right to specialized medical treatment. The PPS said the Israeli Prison Authority is even refusing to grant them the right to medical examination, for proper diagnoses, especially since they likely require surgeries. A PPS lawyer managed to visit Mohammad Ebrash, 36, from the central West bank city of Ramallah, and said the detainee requires various surgeries in his eyes, ears and one of his arms, and that he was shot and injured prior to his arrest, causing him to lose one of his legs … The lawyer also visited detainee Ibrahim al-Ghaseen, 38, who suffers a 10-centimeter long tumor in his neck, and that the growth is gradually enlarging, causing him to suffer serious breathing issues while sleeping….
Exclusive: The IDF is monitoring what Israel citizens say on Facebook
+972 Blog 15 July by John Brown and Noam Rotem — Did you post the word ‘demonstration’ in Hebrew on Facebook? The army is keeping an eye on you. Did you use the word ‘Al Quds’ in Arabic in a WhatsApp conversation? You may have just been flagged as a terrorist. How the IDF contracts private tech companies to monitor Israeli citizens on social media — …At its most basic level, the monitoring softwar locates keywords such as “protest” in Hebrew or “shaheed” (martyr) in Arabic. Therefore, any person who writes any of these words is supposed to receive special attention from the company’s information system. At the highest level of monitoring, the company can recognize groups of people who are talking about a specific subject that interests the security services, allowing them to check semantic similarities between posts on social networks and posts by “flagged” individuals. The circle of “flagged” individuals grows into potential suspects based entirely on their writing style … First comes the monitoring, then comes prison It is important to remember that a reality in which the army monitors citizens is not a nightmare that has only recently come true. It has been going on for years, day in and day out, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2014, 43 veterans from the elite Unit 8200 signed a protest letter decrying the signals intelligence unit’s abusive gathering of Palestinians’ private information, including on demonstrations, sexual orientation, financial status and anything else that would aid them in blackmailing or pressuring the population to collaborate.
Police arrest Arab man for incitement via Facebook
JPost 15 July by Daniel K. Eisenbud & Hayah Goldlist-Eichler — Following a months-long undercover investigation into incitement and support of terrorist activity via social media, police announced Wednesday that an Arab man from east Jerusalem was arrested Tuesday night for making multiple posts and images applauding ISIS and urging people to support the terrorist organization. While details of the investigation are limited, according to Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the unidentified suspect is in his 40s. “Police units were tracking what he was putting on Facebook to support ISIS and incite terrorism, which led to his arrest,” said Rosenfeld. “The Israel Police will continue to actively stop incitement online, or otherwise, across the country.” The suspect was arraigned at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday morning, where a judge ordered his remand extended until Sunday. In response to requests from the Israel Internet Association and Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein, Facebook agreed on Tuesday to help the association remove the profiles of users who add “Death to Jews” and “Death to Arabs” to their profile names.
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon
Palestinian facing deportation from Germany to Lebanon told to stay
BERLIN (AFP) 18 July — A teenage Palestinian asylum seeker who burst into tears in front of German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a televised debate earlier this week will be allowed to stay in Germany, officials said Friday. Merkel’s encounter with the teenager named Reem has gone viral over the past few days. The young Palestinian left a Lebanese refugee camp four years ago and was facing deportation back to the unstable area. “I don’t know the personal situation of this young girl but she speaks fluent German and has visibly lived here for a long time,” Integration Minister Aydan Ozoguz said, according to the website of Spiegel weekly. “This is exactly why we changed the law so that well integrated youths” can have a new residency permit through a new immigration law that came into force in August, Ozoguz said. After Reem told Merkel earlier this week in perfect German that she and her family were facing deportation, the teenager eventually broke down. “I have goals like anyone else. I want to study like them … it’s very unpleasant to see how others can enjoy life, and I can’t myself,” she said. The mayor of Rostock’s spokesman told the daily Tagesspiegel that he had no intention of sending Reem and her family back. Merkel had responded to Reem by saying she understood, but that “politics is sometimes hard.” “You’re right in front of me now and you’re an extremely nice person. But you also know in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon are thousands and thousands and if we were to say you can all come … we just can’t manage it,” Merkel had said.
Anti-Arab vigilante group retakes streets of Jerusalem
Ynet 13 July by Roi Yanovsky — Lehava, a self-styled ‘anti-assimilation’ pressure group, has increased its presence in the capital, in order to fend off ‘harassment’ of Jewish women by Arabs. Critics say they terrorize the city’s Palestinians — The far-right fringe group Lehava has been increasing its presence on the streets of Jerusalem lately, following months of keeping a low profile while police were investigating charges of incitement. Members of the group regularly march through the center of the capital, holding anti-Arab banners and chanting “Arabs beware – our sisters are not up for grabs” and “Jewish girls for the Jewish people.” They also chant the praises of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, whose Kach party was labeled racist by the High Court and subsequently outlawed … “Quite often, it results in physical violence against Palestinians,” left-wing activist Aviv Tatarsky told Ynet. “Palestinians are beaten in Jerusalem weeks on end. Violence in the city is on the rise. Palestinian families come to the city center during Ramadan and feel threatened. Arab taxi drivers call me up in the middle of the night and tell me that they fear for their lives.”….
Video: Racist march in Jerusalem
Alternative Information Center 13 July — Lehava is a racist Israeli group that objects to all relationships between Jews and Arabs. Most of the group’s activists are minors. On Thursdays Lehava activists roam the streets of West Jerusalem to intimidate Arab residents and workers.
Israelis share photos of children demanding death to ‘terrorists’
EI 15 July by Rania Khalek — A Facebook campaign demanding the execution of “terrorists” went viral in Israel last weekend, with Israelis posting photos of themselves, their children and their pets holding signs demanding the death penalty. The campaign was launched by Sharon Gal, a former journalist and first-term lawmaker from the far right Yisrael Beiteinu party. Gal recently sponsored legislation that would have made it easier for judges to sentence ”convicted murderer[s] motivated by nationalism” to death both inside Israel and the occupied West Bank … “Terrorist” is a loose term in the Israeli lexicon that is interchangeable with “Arab” and applies exclusively to Palestinians. In effect, “death to terrorists” amounts to a thinly veiled version of the far more common Israeli slogan “death to Arabs.” The response to Gal’s Facebook post was overwhelming, garnering nearly 24,000 likes and more than 1,500 replies, with all but a handful of people pledging their support. While the unsettling incitement to violence from Israeli politicians is nothing new, this latest campaign highlighted a disturbing trend. Israelis posted photos not just of themselves but also small children agitating for executions. This comes in the aftermath of the Jerusalem Day march in April, when The Electronic Intifada documented the participation of children in “death to the Arabs” marches, suggesting an alarming pattern of ever younger children being steeped in Israel’s culture of supremacist violence.
Beitar Jerusalem owner to leave Israeli soccer after fans wreak havoc in Belgium
Reuters 17 July — Beitar are a bastion of Israel’s political right-wing, and a group of supporters known as “La Familia,” that the club has been unable to control, have been openly abusive to Israel’s Arab minority. The owner of Beitar Jerusalem said on Friday he was putting the Israeli Premier League club up for sale because he felt ashamed of supporters who threw smoke bombs, flares and firecrackers at a Europa League qualifying round match in Belgium. Nine-man Beitar were thrashed 5-1 at Charleroi in the first leg tie on Thursday. The match was held up at the start when fans threw dozens of incendiary devices onto the pitch, enveloping it in smoke. Towards the end of the match, Charleroi goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau was hit by a hard object thrown from the crowd, which forced another delay. Beitar can expect severe punishment from European soccer’s governing body, UEFA … The club is the only major Israeli outfit that has never employed an Arab player due to fan pressure and this was one of the grievances that the Palestinian FA cited in its call for Israel to be suspended from FIFA this year….
Other news, analysis
Hamas delegation arrives in Saudi Arabia
Middle East Eye 15 July — A delegation of Hamas leaders is now in Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah, or lesser pilgrimage, for the first time in years, sources told MEE on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, the Arabic news website Arabi21 reported that the Hamas delegation was coming to Saudi Arabia after years of being banned from entering the Gulf country during the reign of former King Abdullah. The relationship between Hamas and Saudi Arabia had been sour for years, but upon the death of the kingdom’s leader on 23 January, 2015, leaders of Hamas have gone to great lengths to foster warmer political connections with the new leadership. Haaretz recently reported that Saudi Arabia has been facilitating contacts between Hamas and its Palestinian rival Fatah, in an effort to advance reconciliation between the two Palestinian factions and improve Hamas’ relations with both Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The Palestinian delegation reportedly includes a number of Hamas leaders, namely the chairman of the organisation’s political bureau Khaled Meshaal. Observers say the visit may signal a thawing of relations between Riyadh and Hamas after King Salman took power earlier this year.
Push to give Palestinians rights group official status
Middle East Eye 15 July — Palestinian Return Centre, a London-based organisation advocating full rights to Palestinian refugees, wants to join UN body as NGO with consultative status — Support is growing in Europe to give a Palestinian refugee rights group official status at the UN in the face of Israeli and US objections. The vice president of the European Parliament, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, has backed the Palestine Return Centre’s request to be given advisory status at the United Nations, following a majority vote at the UN in favour of the move last month. The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) is an organisation focused on the historical, political and legal issues of Palestinian refugees which offers expert advice to agencies and individuals. Its request to join the UN as a non-governmental organisation with consultative status was backed by a key UN committee last month. Papadimoulis stressed to the member states on the UN’s Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UNCESCR) the necessity to back the PRC’s request, on the basis of it being one of the few associations that seeks to find a solution for the Palestinian people that encompasses their rights, especially those of refugees.
Hamas says negotiations without prisoner release impossible
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 July — The deputy head of Hamas said Friday that no negotiations would be possible with Israel before detainees who were re-arrested last summer despite being released in the 2011 Shalit deal were freed. Ismail Haniyeh also said the movement’s armed wing — the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — has gained more power, adding that Palestinians “will not let go of our right to exist.” “No one on earth can pass the Palestinian resistance and Hamas,” he said in a speech marking the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Friday’s address is the second time in the past week that the movement has stipulated potential exchanges with Israel on the release of Palestinian detainees. Haniyeh pointed out that Israel had re-arrested at least 54 of the more than 1,000 prisoners freed in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in a cross-border raid by Gaza militants in 2006. “We have told all the mediators who have mobilized to discuss a new exchange that there won’t be any negotiations before the release of all those Israel detained from among the Shalit deal group,” he said. “There will be no talks without their unconditional release.” Haniyeh did not elaborate on what new exchange was being mooted. Hamas has long acknowledged holding body parts of two Israeli soldiers killed during last summer’s conflict in Gaza. However, the movement has not commented on Israel’s allegation that Hamas is also holding two of its citizens in Gaza.
Hamas leader calls for immediate release of political detainees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 July — Hamas leader and member of the Palestinian parliament Hassan Youssef called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to immediately release “political prisoners” in the West Bank. Youssef told the press that it is “inconceivable” that the movement’s affiliates in the West Bank are being put in a Palestinian prison accused of “harming the security of the enemy.” The leader also denied allegations by PA officials that said those detained were part of cells that targeted the PA. Youssef was released by Israeli authorities three weeks ago in June after being held for around a year under administrative detention without trial in Israeli jails. His demand comes after Hamas accused the PA earlier this month of executing a plan to “eradicate” the movement from the West Bank, saying that an arrest campaign carried out by the PA is targeting reconciliation efforts between the two factions. Hamas leader Abd al-Rahman Shadid alleged at the time that more than 200 Hamas members had been arrested by PA security forces during the first week of July, with most of them left severely tortured.
Disillusioned Palestinian students shun Venezuela’s Arafat scholarships
AP 17 July — The Palestinian students were greeted like celebrities upon arrival in Caracas. President Nicolas Maduro wore a keffiyeh headdress and played up their symbolic importance during an address broadcast across the socialist South American country. But eight months later, about a third of the Palestinians have dropped out, complaining the program lacks academic rigor, and the program has been frozen … Sandra Moreno, director of the Dr. Salvador Allende medical school, did not respond to multiple requests for interviews, nor did federal health and higher education officials … the students who dropped out complain that their first year consisted only of Spanish language lessons and indoctrination about Venezuela’s 16-year-old socialist revolution. They say they were surprised when their teachers presented a curriculum centered on community health and worried when doctors from other institutions warned that their education wouldn’t meet international standards … Razi Sulaimon, who grew up in a West Bank refugee camp, said he believes his Venezuelan degree will enable him to work as a doctor and is among the many who are staying.
Israel haunted by its mistakes in Gaza / Shlomi Eldar
Al-Monitor 15 July — Today, Israelis admit that the disengagement from Gaza was a mistake and wonder how the move could have gone had it been done in cooperation with the Palestinians — July 26 marks the 10th anniversary since Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The eviction of the settlements in the Gush Katif bloc and central Gaza Strip and the deployment of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) along the international border are perceived by a majority of Israelis as a historic mistake that turned Gaza into a security threat to Israel, particularly its southern communities. Polls conducted after the withdrawal, before Hamas forcefully seized power in the Gaza Strip and in the years following, have consistently shown that even those who supported the dramatic decision by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the time came to believe that they were wrong. The sense most Israelis feel of having gotten the short end of the stick stems from the unfounded hope that the IDF’s pullout and the eviction of the settlements would quell the Palestinian demands for an end to the occupation and that they would devote their energy to rebuilding their lives in the Gaza Strip. Not only has Gaza become a significant security threat to Israel in the past 10 years, but also, paradoxically, Israel’s military moves to stop the rocket fire into its territory have seriously harmed its foreign relations and international standing. Even though the facts speak for themselves, the question remains: Could things have transpired differently?
Poll: 47 percent of Israelis would back unilateral Iran strike
JERUSALEM (AFP) 17 July — Almost half of Israelis would support a unilateral strike to prevent Iran obtaining the atomic bomb, an opinion poll carried out after Tuesday’s nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers found. Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the poll published by the Maariv newspaper on Friday said they thought the agreement would accelerate Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, not prevent it as claimed by the powers. Asked “Do you support independent military action by Israel against Iran if such action is needed to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?” 47 percent said yes, 35 percent said no and 18 percent expressed no opinion. Asked: “In your view, does the agreement that was signed bring Iran closer to obtaining a nuclear weapons capability?” 71 percent said yes.