Israel begins construction on ruins of Negev Bedouin village
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Israeli excavators on Sunday morning began work on infrastructure for two Jewish-only settlements in the former Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert in southern Israel, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an that excavators and bulldozers were building a new road under heavy protection of Israeli forces. In November 2013, the Israeli government approved a decision to demolish the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran and passed plans to create two Jewish settlements, Hiran and Kassif, in the area. “There is no room for comments any more as we are not talking about racism, but rather, extermination of a 60-year-old town whose residents have been displaced three times,” a member of a local committee of the displaced Bedouin community, Raed Abu al-Qean, said. Umm al-Hiran is one of dozens of Bedouin villages which the Israeli government does not recognize. It is located in Wadi Attir east of Hurah village.
Israel displaces 19 in Jordan Valley after demolitions
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Eighteen Palestinian Bedouins were displaced after their homes were demolished by the Israeli Civil Administration in the Jordan Valley area of the occupied West Bank on Thursday, a rights organization said. Israeli group B’Tselem reported that the Civil Administration and Israeli military representatives demolished the homes of two families in Khirbet Einun, totaling 11 people — including 7 minors — and a sheep pen. The forces then demolished a home in the nearby Khirbet a-Deir community that housed an eight-person family including three children … Earlier this week on Tuesday Israeli authorities destroyed 12 Bedouin tents in the area of al-Fasayel in the southern Jordan Valley leaving 48 people homeless, including 31 minors.
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Repression of protests / Detentions
Extreme right-wing Zionists with the Kahane group attack Palestinians and international activists in Hebron
[with VIDEO, photos] HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 21 Aug b ISM al-Khalil Team — A group of twenty-five extreme Jewish zionists from France attacked three international activists in front of the shops near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, H2 area this afternoon. When the activists encountered the group of extremists, the extremist started to clap their hands and sing songs while they approached the activists. The activists pulled out their cameras to record what was happening and the extremists responded by threatening the activists in Hebrew, attacking the cameras, pushing and spitting on the activists. One camera was broken by the extremists as they slapped the camera out of the hands and onto the street after which they trapped [stepped]on it. The military occupation forces did not much to prevent the violence. Instead of holding the extremists accountable for their actions, the army encouraged them to walk away and formed a line to prevent the activists from walking the direction they had intended to and were directed to go another way. A little later the same group of extremists reached the house in which other international activists are living. They tried to climb up onto the stairs leading to the front door of the house and enter the building. They did not succeed and walked in the direction of the illegal Tel Rumeida settlement next to the house of the activists. They returned to the house after another half hour and verbally threatened the activists to come outside the house and fight with the extremists on the street. They chanted about Israel and sang songs in Hebrew. The group of extremist zionists then left the house and returned to the area in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque. There they attacked Palestinians and vandalised one of the shops. The tables in front of the shop were smashed on the ground and ceramic products were thrown into pieces on the street. Subsequently two local Palestinians, while being beaten up by the extremists, were arrested. At least one from the extremist zionists was detained by the Israeli police.
While marching around H2 area and attacking Palestinians and international activists, the extremists proudly held the infamous yellow flag with a fist from the Kahane political group together with the Israeli national flag. Kahane is a far-right political group which was barred from the Knesset in 1994. Today it is considered to be a terrorist organisation by Israel, Canada, the EU and the United States. The paramilitary wing of Kahane is the ultranationalist Jewish Defense League. In the illegal Tel Rumeida settlement next to the house of the international activists is home to a former member from Kahane and a leading figure of the Jewish Defense League, Baruch Marzel.
Settlers keep Hebron family prisoners in their own home
HEBRON (The National) 20 Aug by Kate Shuttleworth — Hazem Abu Rajab, a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Hebron, has barely left his home in the past two months. He lives in constant fear that extremist Jewish settlers will try to take over the property, forcing him and the 15 family members that he lives with out on to the streets. The threat of losing his house has been compounded since August 6 when the Israeli military issued an eviction notice giving the Abu Rajabs 30 days to leave the three-storey building that has been their home for 50 years. The notice said the military was no longer able to protect the family from Jewish settlers who have been trying to take over their home for the past two-and-a-half years. After the settlers stormed the house one night in December 2012, taking over the top level of the house, the military booted them out two weeks later following a court order. However, the military did not return the floor to the Abu Rajabs and at least ten soldiers go in and out of it every day. The military claims that it does not have the manpower to protect the Abu Rajabs against the settlers who have ramped up their efforts to evict the family in recent weeks. But the Abu Rajabs are refusing to give in. Hazem, 28, who is expecting his first child in two months, says that he was called in for an interrogation last Sunday with Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, a move he said was only the latest attempt by the Jewish state to intimidate his family. “I was in jail for two years without charge from 2012,” he said. “A judge even said he didn’t have any reason to keep me in jail.” “They are targeting me because they want to punish my family for not leaving the house.
Israeli soldiers destroy Hebron home, leave wounded
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Aug — Israeli forces, on Friday morning, stormed Beit Ummar village, to the north of Hebron city, damaging materials and belongings at the home of Riad Sabarneh, after rummaging through its contents. Mohamed Awwad, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements said that soldiers broke the main door of Sabarneh’s home, completely damaged the kitchen and destroyed other materials in the home. Awwad added that the soldiers detained family members in a room and terrorized the children, causing daughter Diana (17) to faint. The soldiers also prevented the ambulance from approaching the home and aiding Diana. Awwad also said that soldiers fired teargas grenades towards the citizens in town, causing a number of injuries and asphyxiations among them.
PNN further notes that Israeli forces have casually kidnapped seven young Palestinians from various cities across the West Bank. Forces claimed the youth were taken to investigation, but no more information was reported.
Monitor: Settlers assault Palestinian man near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — A number of Israeli settlers on Saturday night attacked a Palestinian man on a main road south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, a local monitor said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that the assault took place at a crossroads near Yatma village south of Nablus. Witnesses told Daghlas that a number of settlers stepped out of a vehicle and physically attacked 32-year-old Mahmoud Ahmad Othman from the village of Majdal Bani Fadil. A witness then took Othman to Rafidia hospital in Nablus. Medics said he sustained moderate to light injuries. Last week Daghlas reported that an Israeli settler allegedly ran over Muhammad Mustafa Najjar, 19, in Yatma village before fleeing the scene.
Monitor: Settlers attack Palestinian farmers in southern Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked Palestinian farmers while they were working on land east of Qusra village in southern Nablus, a local monitor said. Ghassan Daghlas,who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that settlers from the illegal settlement of Esh Kudesh raided the Buslata area east of Qusra after dozens of Palestinian farmers began working on their land. Daghlas said that when the farmers resisted, forcing the settlers to retreat, Israeli forces then intervened causing clashes to break out. Daghlas said Israeli forces shot tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians, leaving a number of Palestinians injured.
IOF assaults Palestinian photographer in Occupied Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 19 Aug — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) assaulted a Palestinian photographer called Abdelaffu Ezghaiyer at noon Tuesday while taking photos in Occupied Jerusalem. Photographer Ezghaiyer who works for Q-Press said two Israeli soldiers took him to a police station close to al-Silsilah gate at the Aqsa Mosque and attacked him by severe beating and cursing regardless of showing his ID at their request. He said the Israeli forces target Jerusalemites especially the journalists in order to limit the spread of news on Israeli violations. Q-Press media center condemned the incident and charged Israel of responsibility for depriving Jerusalemites and journalists of their humanitarian and professional rights.
The story behind the viral ‘apartheid’ photo
+972 blog 19 Aug by Avi Blecherman — Recently, a photograph made waves for its apparent depiction of the disparities in the treatment of Israeli and Palestinian minors. This is what happened to the boys in the photo, with a strange twist involving an Israeli soldier lost in a Palestinian village — The following story is going to make your jaw drop, as it demonstrates the absurdity of this place, a reality beyond any imagination — especially if you are a Palestinian. This is a story about a family in Jerusalem who encounters the police three times in the span of a few days. Each encounter is its own adventure.
Israeli forces injure 4 in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Four Palestinians, including three children, were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets on Friday as Israeli forces dispersed the weekly protest in the village of Kafr Qaddum near Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources said. Popular resistance coordinator in the village Murad Shtewei said that several Israeli soldiers and snipers raided the village before Friday’s noon prayers. The forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets injuring six-year-old Abd al-Rahim Abd al-Salam in the shoulder, Moussa Abd al-Lateef,13, in the hand, Jamil Helmi,17, in the thigh and Odai Qaddumi,who was hit in the hands and stomach . . . According to rights group B’Tselem, Israel’s Open-Fire Regulations “emphasize that the bullets must be fired only at the individual’s legs, and that they are not to be fired at children or from a moving vehicle.” Shtewei added that Israeli forces fired tear gas at a home, sanitation pipes, and electricity lines causing a power outage in part of the village.
Scores injured as soldiers attack weekly protest in Bil‘in
IMEMC 22 Aug — Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Bil‘in village near Ramallah, Rateb Abu Rahma, has reported that dozens of nonviolent protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, after Israeli soldiers assaulted them, during the weekly protest. Abu Rahma said the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades on the nonviolent Palestinian, Israeli and international protesters, causing many to faint, while others suffered severe effects of tear gas inhalation. This week, the protest in Bil‘in comes in solidarity with all hunger-striking Palestinian detainees held by Israel, and to demand Tel Aviv reroute the Annexation Wall, as it illegally confiscates and isolates hundreds of dunams of Palestinian orchards and farmlands, in the central West Bank District of Ramallah. On Friday evening, clashes took place in Abu Dis town, near Jerusalem, after several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded it. Medical sources said dozens of residents, including many children, suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, especially since the soldiers also fired gas bombs directly at a number of homes. The soldiers also fired rubber-coated metal bullets, and withdrew from the town later.
Palestinian Christians clash with police over Apartheid Wall
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug — Palestinian Christians clashed with Israeli border police near Bethlehem, Wednesday, after dozens of demonstrators, including priests, gathered to protest renewed work on Israel’s controversial apartheid wall in the Christian majority town of Beit Jala. An AFP journalist said the protesters, who were joined by a few foreign activists, gathered in Beit Jala to protest building a stretch of the wall, which started Monday, after years of legal battles. The three Roman Catholic priests tried to pray among olive trees that bulldozers and mechanical diggers were seeking to uproot but were stopped by police. One demonstrator was arrested as he tried to plant an olive sapling in front of the excavators. Police wrestled with protesters who chanted, “Israel is a terrorist state. It doesn’t scare us.” There has been fierce opposition from the local Palestinian Christian community, which has enlisted papal support, regarding the area of the wall that approaches Beit Jala and the adjacent Cremisan Valley. The case grabbed special attention when the wall was slated to separate Cremisan monastery from the neighboring convent and vineyards. It would have also separated Palestinians in the nearby Christian village of Beit Jala from their olive groves. Israel’s High Court ruled in April that the work must stop and told the government to consider alternative routes. But, in a new decision on July 6, the court said work could go ahead, ruling that the previous ban referred only to an area of a few hundred meters(yards) alongside the monastery and the convent. The people of Beit Jala were surprised, Monday, when Israeli bulldozers started uprooting olive trees east of the convent and monastery. They are protesting against the confiscation of their land and the fragmentation of their lives and also fear that the path of the wall may herald expansion of the nearby Israeli settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo.
Hundreds protest Israeli separation wall in Beit Jala
BETHELEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Hundreds of Palestinians took part in a march Sunday to protest renewed work on Israel’s separation wall through the Christian-majority town of Beit Jala near Bethlehem, locals said. Locals said that up to 500 residents of Beit Jala, including both Palestinian Christians and Muslims, took part in the protest. The protesters reportedly pulled out a gate and part of a barbed wire fence that Israeli forces recently installed to prevent town residents from reaching their land. Israeli forces responded by firing tear gas canisters at the protesters, causing dozens to suffer excessive tear gas inhalation. Beit Jala’s mayor, Nicola Khamis, said that the protests began when Israeli excavators began leveling land along the planned route for the separation wall, which cuts directly through the town’s land. Khamis said that the protest activities aimed “to tell the whole world that we have the right to object and to defend our land.”
WATCH: Dozens of Palestinian-owned trees uprooted to build separation wall
Activestills 21 Aug — Dozens of Palestinian-owned olive trees uprooted to complete separation wall that will eventually fully encircle the Bethlehem area. Text and photos by Oren Ziv — “The role of the wall here is very simple: to cut off Beit Jala from Wadi Ahmad, an agricultural area of 3,500,000 square meters with thousands of olive trees,” Mazen Qumsiyeh , a veteran Palestinian activist, told +972. “Building this part will complete the ghettoization of Bethlehem. The route has nothing to do with security — the entire goal is to annex the valley.” . . . “This is not merely cosmetic work,” he continues. “They want to show that the army doesn’t uproot olive trees, but rather move them somewhere else. But the way they are doing it, there is no chance these trees survive. You must remove the tree carefully with the roots intact — not in such a brutal way.”
Israeli army quells rally protesting Israel’s closure of Nablus village main road
QALQILIA (WAFA) 22 Aug – Dozens of Palestinians in the village of Kufr Qadoom, in Nablus, suffocated on Saturday by tear gas fired at them by Israeli forces as the latter suppressed a peaceful demonstration protesting Israel’s closure of the village’s main road since 2003, according to a local activist. Coordinator of the popular resistance committee in the village of Kufr Qadoom, Murab Shtawi, said that forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades at demonstrators, who rallied to protest the closure of the main road that connects the village of Kufr Qadoom with the city of Nablus . . . Meanwhile, clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinian locals in the vicinity of Umar ibn Al-Khattāb mosque in the village, after the former raided the area. No injuries were reported. “Before 2003, the residents of Kufr Qaddum would use a shorter road to the east in order to come and go to nearby cities and villages. However, as the settlements expanded so that they overwhelmed the road, it became closed for Palestinian use, said Addameer Human rights Association. The only alternative road is roughly six times longer than the previous route, disrupting the villagers’ ability to attend university, their jobs, and other vital aspects of their economic and social wellbeing, noted Addameer. “Three Palestinian deaths relating to the road’s closure occurred between 2004 and 2005,” it said.
Israel arrests two ex-detainees, summons three for interrogation
HEBRON (WAFA) 23 Aug — Israeli forces Sunday detained two Palestinian ex-detainees from the Hebron area, as well as summoned three other Palestinians to appear before the Israeli intelligence, according to local and security sources. Coordinator of popular committee against the wall and settlements, Mohammed Awad, told WAFA that forces stormed two areas to the northwest of the town of Beit Ummar, south of Hebron, and detained two ex-detainees after raiding and searching their homes. They were identified as Yousif, 21, and Mahmoud Brighith, 23. The arrest of the aforementioned freed youths brings the total number of Palestinians detained from the Hebron area since the beginning of August to 21 people.
Meanwhile in the Bethlehem area, forces raided and searched three homes before handing three Palestinian locals notices ordering to appear for interrogation before the Israeli intelligence. They were identified as Abd al-Kareem As-Shaikh, 23, Jamal Hmaid, and Mohammed al-Bdn.
Palestinian family struggles to pay expenses after deadly arson attack
Al Jazeera 12 Aug by Mairav Zonszein & Samah Salaime — Three weeks after a firebomb attack purportedly carried out by Israeli settlers against a Palestinian family in the West Bank village of Duma killed a toddler and his father, and left his mother and brother severely injured, mourning family members are having to cope with the high cost of medical care and navigating the fraught process of pursuing compensation for their loss. Following the July 31 attack on the Dawabsheh household, cousin Mohammed Dawabsheh has been acting as the family’s caretaker in Israel, traveling daily between Duma and Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer, where he tends to Reham, 27, and four-year-old Ahmed. Both remain in critical condition with burns across most of their bodies. The trip, which costs around $80 each way and requires clever maneuvering of Israel’s complicated military checkpoints and permit system, has proven a heavy burden for a family from an impoverished village. Complicating the matter, Mohammed, who does not speak Hebrew, has been made to represent the family to a myriad of Israeli officials, delegations and journalists. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who visited the Dawabsheh family in Tel Hashomer hours after the attack, took advantage of a photo op with Ahmed to condemn “terrorism wherever it comes from, whatever side of the fence.” Away from the cameras, he also promised the family that he would cover their medical expenses and pay to rebuild their home. Unlike Israeli settlers in the West Bank, however, the Dawabsheh family is not eligible for compensation under Israel’s law for victims of terrorism, since they are not citizens or residents of the state . . . “The commitment is solid,” Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev told Al Jazeera. But no one from the prime minister’s office, Defense Ministry or any government representative has been in contact with the Dawabsheh family thus far or has offered any financial assistance . . . The Palestinian Authority has also yet to offer any compensation . . . In the case of the arson in Duma, no one linked to the actual crime has been arrested.
‘There is no Jewish terror’: Conspiracy theory that Palestinians committed Duma firebombing spreads among Israelis
Mondoweiss 20 Aug by Dan Cohen — A growing number of Israelis believe that the Duma firebombing that killed eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabshe and his father Sa’ad was carried out by Palestinians. In the settlement of Kiryat Arba, whose Chief Rabbi Dov Lior endorsed Torat Hamelech, a book which describes when it is permissible to kill non-Jews, the conspiracy theory appears to be popular. “There’s no proof there was an attack,” said Lior, a restaurant owner. “But everybody thinks it was Palestinians who did it.” He believes that the murder of baby Ali was an honor killing. “It’s the same as the Abu Khdeir killing,” he said, referring to the rumor planted by Israeli police after the discovery of the Palestinian teenager’s charred body last summer . . . As investigative journalist Uri Blau reported, some Israelis are buying into conspiracy theories promoted on social media. “Now on cinema – playing in loops in TV channels – Abu Khdeir 2,” the title of one Facebook post reads.
Never enough evidence to convict ‘price tag’ attackers
+972 blog 21 Aug — by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — The deplorable murder of Ali Dawabshe led to a wave of far-reaching, anti-democratic proposals allegedly meant to augment the fight against hate crimes targeting Palestinians. As Yesh Din sees it, the problem lies somewhere else entirely: the quality of police work. The final week of July — which began with a stunning acquittal and ended with a terrible tragedy — provided us with a good example. At the end of July, a judge in Be’er Sheva District Court acquitted Aharon Sadigorsky, Nethanel Klarman, and Yehiel Lex over the burning of Mahmoud Arnan’s car in the West Bank village of Al Asja near Hebron. They were also charged with spray-painting the words “price tag” and “congratulations Effi” on a nearby wall. The three were acquitted after the court ruled that the nationalist crime unit of the Samaria and Judea Police Department failed to provide evidence connecting them to the arson. Acquittals happen, but this one is particularly galling. One of the accused was arrested while wearing a ski mask; all three were in a car that did not belong to them; the vehicle contained a plastic bottle containing fuel, stones in a sack, a crowbar, gloves, a can of black spray paint, a bag of nails, and a realistic, plastic replica of an M16 assault rifle. The judge stated that he “does not trust the testimonies of the accused, which aside from being late [i.e. provided only in the court, not to police – YZG] seem to be coordinated and make no sense.” None of this was enough to convict them.
Bereaved Palestinian father fights for justice in US
EI 19 Aug by Rania Khalek — The father of a Palestinian teen shot dead by an Israeli soldier in 2014 met with officials from the US State Department on Thursday, 6 August to demand justice for his son. The meeting was one of many stops for Siam Nuwara’s month-long tour of the United States to bring attention to the fight for justice for his son, 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara, to anybody who will listen. Nadim was gunned down on 15 May 2014 by an Israeli border patrol officer in the West Bank village of Beitunia. Israeli soldiers had surrounded the area to suppress protests near the Ofer military prison, where Palestinians had gathered to commemorate Nakba Day, the anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. About an hour after Nadim was shot, an Israeli sniper shot dead unarmed 16-year-old Muhammad Abu al-Thahir in the same location. Both killings were captured on video from several different angles, revealing there were no protests or threats in the vicinity during either boy’s slaying. Siam Nuwara spoke to The Electronic Intifada just hours after his State Department visit. He was wearing the same clothes he wore to the meeting, jeans and a black t-shirt adorned with a photo of Nadim beneath the message “Justice for Nadeem.” “I usually wear a suit, but I wanted to represent my son today,” said Nuwara. Nuwara expressed optimism about the conversation he had with Oni Blair, director of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department, and Christopher Russell, a US foreign affairs officer.
9 Palestinians arrested on terror charges
Ynet 23 Aug by Roi Yanovsky — Nine Palestinians living in Beit Hanina and Jerusalem’s Old City were arrested about two weeks ago for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails at a vehicle on Route 20 near Beit Hanina, wounding two people, it was cleared for publication on Sunday. The arrests were made in a joint operation by investigators from the police’s Central Unit and the Shin Bet. The nine – five adults and four minors – have been indicted for the attack and several other incidents. On the evening of August 3, three Molotov cocktails were thrown at a vehicle on route 20, moderately wounding a woman and burning the car completely. The indictment against the group also mentions the throwing of a Molotov cocktail at a Jewish home in Beit Hanina, wounding two people, and alleges that it also threw firebombs at the house on three other occasions over the past six months without causing casualties. According to the indictments filed by the Jerusalem District’s Attorney, the nine are suspected of organizing as a terror cell. The DA will request that the accused be held in custody until the end of the legal proceedings.
Palestinian witness accounts have different take on West Bank stabbings
Haaretzx 22 Aug by Amira Hass — About a quarter-hour after Anas Taha stabbed Yehuda Ben-Moyal at the Khawaja gas station on Route 443 last week, soldiers killed him. They shot him from a distance of twenty meters as he was sitting on the ground, after they fired in the air twice and after he yelled “Allahu Akbar.” This, according to an eyewitness who spoke to Haaretz. It was the first of four incidents in 10 days in which, according to army and Border Police spokesmen, a Palestinian was shot after stabbing or otherwise assaulting an Israeli in the West Bank. Three of the four Palestinians were killed. Three of the four Israelis were soldiers stationed at checkpoints: a soldier at Beit Ghur (Beit Horon) on Route 443, between Modi’in and Jerusalem, and two Border Police officers at the Za’atra (Tapuah) junction, south of Nablus.
What are called in Israel “atmosphere attacks,” carried out by lone attackers inspired by the tense mood in the West Bank, and not by an organized armed cell, are perceived very differently by Palestinians. As they see it, at any time a soldier at a checkpoint can decide that he is being attacked and can kill a Palestinian. Palestinians don’t buy the idea that teenagers are carrying out copycat stabbings of Israelis, especially soldiers. In their opinion, the soldiers are quick on the trigger because they are hysterical.
On Monday Mohammed al-Atrash, a young man from Kufr A-Ra‘i village, south of Jenin, was buried after being shot dead by a Border Police officer at the Za‘atara checkpoint. According to Israeli reports, he had tried to stab another officer. After the funeral, relatives said there were witnesses who saw Atrash being removed from a taxi, that the officer had provoked him and that he didn’t even have a knife. A spokesman for security forces in the Palestinian Authority, Adnan Damiri, said the Palestinians were not presented with any evidence of stabbing attempts in the two incidents at Tapuah Junction. He added that the Israel Defense Forces both kills and investigates itself.
But at the gas station on Route 443, which is owned by a Palestinian family from Na‘alin, there are Palestinian witnesses who saw Taha, 21, holding a knife. (cont.)
Shin Bet issues 10 restraining orders to far-right activists
Ynet 23 Aug by Itay Blumenthal — Restraining orders were filed on Saturday night and Sunday morning against ten far-right activists, banning them from the West Bank for ten months. In an unusual statement published Sunday, the Shin Bet said that “in light of several terrorist attacks committed recently, in which there was even loss of life, restraining orders were issued against ten activists at the recommendation of the Shin Bet .” In the notification the Shin Bet claimed the purpose of the orders was to keep the right-wing activists away from illegal outposts “such as Habaladim, near the West Bank settlement of Kochav HaShachar, from which they set out to carry out attacks.” The statement also said that “in the spirit of the directive of the state’s security cabinet, as part of a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, in order to smash the terrorist infrastructure which carried out these attacks and to prevent additional activity that could endanger security, these orders contain various restrictions, including demarcation of where they can reside, a nighttime curfew, and exclusion from the West Bank.” Since the murders of two members of the Dawabsheh family in the Palestinian village of Duma, administrative orders have become the most important tool in the fight against right-wing activists.
Ya’alon: Detention without trial of far-right activists prevented series of attacks on Arabs
Haaretz 21 Aug — Had the government not decided to put suspected Jewish extremists in administrative detention, there would have been many more serious attacks against Arabs, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Thursday. In an interview with Channel 10 television, Ya’alon was asked whether the right-wing activists who were recently placed in detention without trial were connected to last month’s deadly arson attack on a Palestinian family in Duma. “Ultimately, on a fundamental level, yes,” Ya’alon replied. He then tried to justify administrative detentions, in which neither the suspect nor his attorney is allowed to see the evidence against him. “In situations like these, any country, certainly a democratic one, must protect itself, including by extreme measures,” Ya’alon said. “There’s no choice; you have to protect yourself.” . . . Administrative detentions are a vital tool, Ya’alon stressed. “Otherwise, we would have gotten into a series of serious attacks against Jews.”
Ex-Shin Bet chief calls for West Bank road segregation
Times of Israel 16 Aug by Tamar Pileggi — Likud MK Avi Dichter says solution to uptick in vehicular attacks on Israelis is to keep Palestinian cars away from settlements — An Israeli lawmaker and former Shin Bet chief on Sunday called for the segregation of West Bank roads to stop the wave of vehicular terror attacks. Likud MK Avi Dichter said that separating Israeli and Palestinian drivers on West Bank highways was an inevitable move. “This is a significant issue, not only politically, but operationally. Ultimately, we must move towards separation,” he said in a morning interview with Galey Israel, a regional West Bank radio station. “The policy allowing for dual-access roads, as if it was one country — like being able to travel between Israel and Nablus [in the West Bank] with your car is a very problematic reality,” Dichter continued. “They are there and we are here,” he said. “Want to get from there [Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank] to here? Pass a checkpoint, get checked to make sure you aren’t in possession of a weapon. And if you’re on the list of suspects, then you won’t be able to enter,” he stated.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Orders to demolish Al-Qa‘qa‘ Mosque, a house and one residential room in Silwan
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 22 Aug –The occupation municipality’s crews hung demolition orders on a mosque, house and a residential room in Silwan on Thursday. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation municipality hung a demolition order on Al-Qa‘qa‘ Mosque in the neighborhood of Ein Al-Lozeh in Silwan. The individual responsible for the mosque, Hani Abu Tayeh, explained that the municipality hung a demolition order on the 110-square meter mosque under the pretext of building without a permit. Hani pointed out that the mosque has been established for 3 years to serve the residents of Ein Al-Lozeh (nearly five thousand people). Abu Tayeh added that the demolition order was issued four months ago which can also be challenged within 30 days. He said: “the order was only hung on the Mosque on Thursday in an attempt to prevent us from objecting”. He also said that the order is based on “law 212” which is used by the municipality and prosecution to execute demolition orders. This law allows the public prosecution to issue a demolition order against an establishment that was built without a permit even if the builder is unknown. He said: “the occupation authorities harass us and want to demolish our mosques even though it is the only mosque in the area while they build synagogues for settlers on our lands.” In a related matter, the occupation municipality hung a demolition order on a residential room owned by Eyad Abbasi in the area of “Upper Ein” in Silwan. Abbasi explained that the municipality hung a demolition order on a room and its facilities with a total area of 35 square meters; note that it was established 12 years ago.
Israeli court orders demolition of football field in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — An Israeli court has ruled to demolish a football field and its facilities in occupied East Jerusalem, a local committee said Thursday. The owners of the property, located in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, received a demolition order in the mail over 70 days after the court had passed the ruling at the beginning of June, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center said. The “demolition and removal” order had allowed for an appeal to be lodged within 30 days of the ruling. The ruling includes the demolition of a 1.5 dunam sports field as well as a neighboring warehouse and animal shed. Silwan committee member Ahmad Qaraeen said the ruling required that anyone who chose to object to the order would be fined and forced to pay demolition and removal fees. He added that Israeli authorities are aware that the owners of the land — the heirs to Atallah Siyam — regularly allowed the area to be used by Mada Creative center for activities. Qareen said that the Israeli municipality attempted to confiscate the land in 2007 and turn it into a parking lot, but that the move was appealed in court and the land owners built a football field on the property in 2009 after receiving approval from the central court. In 2012, the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority demolished several of the family’s facilities under the pretense of “removing trash,” he added.
Israeli forces issue demolition notice for Palestinian home near Tubas
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 20 Aug — Israeli occupation forces on Thursday issued a demolition order for a home and nearby water-well owned by a Palestinian man in Beit Tammoun village west of Tubas, the resident told Ma‘an. Jamal Bani Odah said that the Israeli Civil Administration, the Israeli body responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank, placed demolition notices on his house, informing him of the planned demolition of both his home and water-well. The order said that the notice was issued because Odah had allegedly built the structures without a building permit.
Family home, agricultural facility demolished in Tubas
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug — Israeli forces accompanied with bulldozers, on Thursday morning, demolished homes and agricultural facilities at the Oyoun area, in the city of Tubas, northern West Bank. Soldiers are reportedly still in the area at the time of this report, but it’s not clear if any other demolitions will take place.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) on Wednesday August 19, said that Israeli occupation forces began demolishing a three-story home of the Totah and Totanji families, in the Wadi Joz neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Stated Nureddin Amro a resident of the Wadi Joz: “A large number soldiers and policemen are blocking main road in Wadi Joz, right now. There is no electricity because they demolished the neighbor’s house and the power network. They kicked the families and people into the street, in the middle of this hot weather, showing no humanity… They want to confiscate the entire neighborhood”. On March 31 oif 2015, Israeli forces demolished most of Nureddin Amro’s house and that of his brother, Sharif Amro, both of whom are blind and live with their families, including 7 children under 14 years of age and their mother who is 79 years old. There was no demolition order against the houses and no prior notice. Israeli forces barely waited for the family to leave the rooms that were going to be demolished and physically attacked the family. Some property belonging to the Totah family was also destroyed that day. Since then, the Amros and Totahs have lived in constant fear of further demolitions. Other homes in the neighborhood are also slated for demolition.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing with Gaza on Friday after it had been open for four days to allow emergency cases through, a Gaza official said. Iyam al-Bazem, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, said that 2,579 humanitarian cases left Gaza while 3,178 people entered the coastal territory. Egypt prevented 146 Palestinians from leaving Gaza, he added. Some 17,000 Palestinians need to urgently leave the territory, either for medical treatment or to continue their studies abroad, al-Bazem said. Egypt did not indicate when the crossing would next be opened.
Hamas fighter wounded in 2006 dies in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Aug – A member of Hamas’ military died on Sunday morning, sources in Gaza told Ma‘an. The sources said 30-year-old Ibrahim Ihsan Dmeida from Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip went into a coma late on Saturday night shortly before he passed away. Dmeida was being treated for wounds he sustained previously when an an explosive device went off severing his foot and hand in 2006. During 2006, Israeli Security Forces fired some 14,000 artillery shells into the Gaza Strip
Two Palestinian children injured as object explodes in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Two children were injured Friday evening as a suspicious object exploded in the al-Nasr neighborhood in northern Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip, local medical sources told Ma‘an. Medical sources identified the children, who are brothers, as Muhammed and Saleh Zurub. Both boys were moderately injured. The two were taken for treatment to the Abu Youssef al-Najjar Hospital in Gaza.It is unknown exactly what kind of ordnance caused the explosion.
Israeli tanks conduct limited invasion into northern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug — Eyewitnesses from Beit Hanoun city, northern Gaza Strip, on Wednesday, said that four Israeli tanks and three bulldozers entered the Strip, opened fire and razed civilian lands. Locals said that the vehicles entered more than 150 meters into the strip, and razed private lands, according to the PNN. In the center of the Strip, Israeli soldiers in military watchtowers opened fire on farmlands, and a monitoring plane was seen to be roaming in the Beit Hanoun sky.
PA Ministry of Health sends medical supplies to Gaza
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 19 Aug — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health sent a medical aid convoy worth over two million shekels ($515,896) to Gaza from the ministry’s warehouse in Nablus, a statement said Wednesday. The medical supplies will reach hospitals in Gaza next week, said Omar Nasir, the ministry’s head of media and public relations. The Ministry of Health sends medical aid convoys to Gaza approximately every two months, he added. In July, the ministry shipped eight truckloads of medicine and medical equipment to the Gaza Strip, including medicine for chronic diseases as well as venous solutions and antibiotics. The shipment was worth four million shekels ($ 1.03 million). Two other shipments were made in March and May worth a total value of 13 million shekels ($ 3.34 million). Gaza’s Ministry of Health warned earlier this year that the lives of Gazans were at risk if the Israeli-Egyptian blockade continued.
New limits on travel to Gaza make it even harder for Israeli Arabs to see relatives
Haaretz 21 Aug by Jack Khoury — Restrictions put in place after Ethiopian Israeli and Israeli bedouin go missing in Gaza Strip say entry permissible only under ‘exceptional, unique and urgent circumstances.’ — Jihad Sheikh Yusef, a Palestinian born in the Gaza Strip who has lived in Lod with his Israeli wife since 1987, has been waiting for 13 years to see his four brothers in Gaza. Since 2002 he has asked the army’s Coordination and Liaison Administration repeatedly for a permit to visit them, but to no avail. Sheikh Yusef, 49, has four children. He says one of his brothers has serious heart problems, and he fears that if he isn’t allowed to visit Gaza soon, he won’t have the chance to say goodbye. On July 16, aided by Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, he applied again to the coordination administration. On July 30, the administration responded that “due to the security situation in the Gaza Strip, the GOC Central Command has ordered a temporary curtailment of Israelis going to the Gaza Strip, aside from specific cases entailing exceptional, unique and urgent circumstances.” Consequently, it continued, his request was rejected.This week Yusef applied again, but hasn’t received an answer. Yusef is one of thousands of Israelis who have been barred from visiting relatives in Gaza.
Israel bars Hamas leader Haniyeh’s sisters from Gaza
AP 20 Aug — Israeli authorities have denied a request by a top Hamas leader to allow his three sisters in Israel to visit the Gaza Strip for his son’s wedding. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT) said on Thursday that Ismail Haniyeh’s request was denied because of “Israeli humanitarian cases” in Gaza. It’s apparently a reference to two Israeli citizens who Israel says are being held in Gaza, as well as the remains of Israeli soldiers Hamas is said to have from last summer’s war. COGAT has also refused a request by senior Hamas official Ihab Ghussein to travel to Jordan through Israel for urgent medical care. Israel has also denied recent requests by Hamas officials to allow their relatives to seek medical treatment in Israel.
After Israeli settlers left, these Gazans planted more than eggplants
KHAN YUNIS, Gaza Strip 23 Aug by Hana Salah — A vast agricultural area in southern Gaza was dubbed by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in 2007 as Muhararat, or liberated lands. This term designates the settlements that were vacated by Israel in August 2005 and turned [back] into Palestinian properties after 38 years. Ever since, the Palestinian government has been using these lands for cultivation, housing projects and resorts . . . In Muhararat Yarmouk, Mohammed Shaer, director general of the General Administration of National Muhararat, said, “Israel established settlements in Gaza on the best groundwater reservoir of fresh water, and those settlements occupied 15,000 acres in addition to the space dedicated to the security belt surrounding every settlement.” . . . All of these settlements have turned into fertile agricultural areas, and their production increases by the year despite Israeli obstacles, such as bombardment and preventing the import of production materials or the export of any agricultural surplus . . . The Muhararat management worked in cooperation with the Palestinian Water Authority and the Gaza Ministry of Planning and Housing to allocate spaces for universities, housing buildings and recreational and tourist resorts.” Also, buildings have been established by Palestinians near Muhararat Yarmouk for the Islamic University, the faculty of Applied Sciences and the University of Al-Aqsa. The Qatari Al-Hamad Towers have been established, while some buildings have been allocated to municipalities and resorts such as Al-Noor resort and the Asdaa City. During its visit, Al-Monitor also noticed that Palestinian factions established military sites across those Muhararat to train their members. Some of these belong to the Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Gaza vendor attempts suicide after ‘harassment’ by municipality
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — A Palestinian man in the Gaza Strip attempted to commit suicide on Saturday night to protest “harassment” by Gaza municipality officials, a relative told Ma‘an. The sister of Muhammed Abu Asi said that her brother, who operates a corn stand near Gaza City beach, was taken to hospital Saturday night after he tried to killed himself by ingesting poison. Abu Asi, who is in intensive care, reportedly attempted the suicide to protest what his sister said was repeated harassment by Gaza municipality inspectors while he was trying to run his stand selling boiled corn, coffee and tea by the beach. The stand, which had a number of chairs around it, was torn down and removed completely a few months ago by inspectors, Abu Asi’s sister told Ma‘an. After the stand was destroyed, a charity organization reimbursed Abu Asi and helped him build a new stand, his sister said, but she alleged that inspectors have recently started to harass her brother again. The Gaza municipality has denied the allegations. The Gaza municipality said in a statement on Sunday that Abu Asi’s stand “hasn’t been harmed” and added that while the municipality “can’t be held responsible for what happened with Muhammad, [they] strongly sympathize with him and wish him a quick recovery.” Abu Asi’s sister blamed the mayor of Gaza City personally for what has happened to her brother and said that the family will take legal action against municipality officials. The Gaza municipality said it had not harassed Abu Asi, but that there are rules that the municipality asks vendors to abide by, like not setting up chairs around stands.
Women in Gaza: ‘If we want to live here, we want to live in dignity’
The Guardian 20 Aug by Hoda Elrayes — During the worst of the violence between Israel and Palestine last summer, Gaza student Hoda Elrayes shared her experiences of living on the frontline with GuardianWitness. One year on she tells us about three women in her community whose lives are still affected . . . Rahma Al-Atawy: ‘I’m afraid I will be not be able to take care of my daughters’ Rahma, 33, lost her seven-year-old daughter, her mother and father-in-law last summer after artillery shelling of her house in the Al-Tofah neighbourhood in eastern Gaza city. She was injured in the shelling after shrapnel entered her spinal cord, and now suffers from paraplegia. Her other four children, now looked after by her mother-in-law and sister, were injured as well. At the time Rahma underwent surgery in Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, and was then transferred to the Al-Maqased hospital in Jerusalem – she received further treatment in Turkey after the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, made an offer for some casualties to be treated there. After returning to Gaza, Rahma spent six months at the Al-Wafa hospital for physiotherapy. Every weekend she left the hospital to go home and be with her family but now her injuries are making life very difficult. “I have four little daughters who need me. The neighbours carry me to my apartment on the third floor. When I leave my daughters every week they start crying and I feel so upset. “My daughter in the fifth grade asks when I will be able to join the parents meeting that’s held every month in her school. I do not know how to respond. I’m afraid I will be no longer be able to take care of my daughters.” Despite Rahma’s incomplete recovery, she was discharged from hospital in March. She believes this is due to lack of funds at the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Rahma is now afraid that she will never be able to fully recover. It was, she tells me, suggested in Turkey that she should go to Germany for further treatment, however there is no sign that this is going to happen.
Thousands of teens enroll in Hamas summer camps
Al-Monitor 18 Aug by Adnan Abu Amer — Despite its financial crisis, Hamas is funding numerous summer military camps to train the next generation of Palestinian fighters and to maintain the group’s popularity, especially among youths. Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in June began registering Gazans for the camps, dubbed the Vanguard for Liberation camps. Registration took place in mosques and al-Qassam military sites and targeted several age groups between 17 and 60. The camps were held from July 25 to Aug. 1. According to an official affiliated with the camps, 30 such sites were organized across the Strip. A total of 25,000 campers were distributed among the provinces of Rafah, Khan Yunis, Deir al-Balah, Gaza and Jabaliya. Over the span of seven days, they received basic combat training and sat for lectures on the Palestinian cause. Al-Monitor obtained an exclusive copy of the summer camps’ organizational plan set by Hamas for this year. ( cont.)
Israeli ‘spy dolphin’ captured by Hamas
IMEMC/Agencies 20 Aug — The military wing of Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has captured a dolphin sent by Israeli forces to spy on the Gaza Strip, it was reported on Wednesday. In a statement, Al-Qassam Brigades said that its diving unit had captured the dolphin several weeks ago, and had found cameras and other surveillance equipment attached to the animal. The dolphin was believed to have been sent by the Israeli occupation to spy on the unit, which four of its members infiltrated an Israeli military outpost at the beginning of last year’s Israeli offensive on Gaza. The spying equipment was reportedly found when the dolphin was removed from the water and checked, reports Days of Palestine. Although Palestinians have no official state military force, the Hamas movement recently completed the reconstruction of its “naval commando force” composed of dozens of trained divers whose purpose would be to attack strategic targets in Israel, according to Telesurf TV. During the Israeli’s summer of 2014 disproportionate attacks on Gaza, most of the members were killed, according to Palestinian authorities, however Hamas has trained a new force whose role will be to protect the besieged enclave from further Tel Aviv attacks.
Are Hamas claims that Israel used ‘spy dolphin’ even possible?
JPost 20 Aug by Julie Steigerwald — Can dolphins really be used for aquatic espionage purposes? Are Hamas claims fishy, or is it actually possible that Israel implements the use of ‘spy dolphins’ on its foes? The Jerusalem Post on Thursday spoke to an Israeli expert on the marine mammals a day after Palestinian reports surfaced claiming that Hamas recently captured a dolphin purportedly trained by the Israel Navy to attack terrorists. “It is not so difficult to train dolphins to take pictures and roam around,” Maya Zilber, owner and manager at Eilat’s Dolphin Reef, told the Post. “If human divers can do it, dolphins are also capable, and without as much risk.” She noted that while militaries in nations such as the US and Russia are known to have trained dolphins, their functions were primarily utilized for surveillance and protection purposes and not for attack. “It has been known for years that the US, for example, has used dolphins and sea lions for protective needs, generally for the protection of military areas and around oil rigs,” she added.
Suspects in the sea: Hamas’ naval commandos planning Israel attack
Ynet 20 Aug by Yoav Zitun — Military assessments singal out Hamas naval commandos as significant threat in next conflict with high motivation, advanced training and Western technology — Intensive training and advanced equipment are turning Hamas’ elite naval commandos into a dangerous new weapon according to recent IDF assessments – a weapon with potential to strike along Israel’s coast with little warning. According to the military, Hamas was quick to learn from their infiltration attack from the sea at Ziqim beach during last year’s Operation Protective Edge which took Israel by surprise but ended in the death of four commandos. Recent assessments have officials concerned enough to start considering where the commandos may intend to strike next.
A year after Gaza war, Israel tests new anti-tunnel measures
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 19 Aug by Dan Williams — A year after Hamas used cross-border tunnels to launch deadly attacks during the Gaza war, Israel is testing new techniques to detect the hidden passages as a “top priority”, sources say, but has yet to announce the system fully operational. Beyond standard military secrecy, the reticence to trumpet the measures may be to mask lingering short-falls in the system and avoid giving Israelis a false sense of security as they return to homes near the Gaza Strip abandoned during the war. Israel has been testing half a dozen technologies for spotting movement or cavities below ground, or the resulting disruption of the earth above, using dummy tunnels in a desert base in southern Israel security sources said. Foreign geologists and surveillance experts have been helping, the sources said, declining to give more details. The anti-tunnel system is a “top priority” for Israel’s Defence Ministry, said one security source involved in the project, adding: “It’s working, but it still isn’t 100 percent.” Full coverage of the sandy, 65-km (40-mile) border is a tall order, however. For now, equipment can be seen, half-buried, half-exposed, dotted along stretches of the fortified frontier. Palestinians have long used tunnels under the border with Egypt to subvert the blockade imposed on the Gaza enclave and import scarce goods as well as weapons. During the war of July-August 2014, Hamas used tunnels leading into Israel to infiltrate on four occasions, killing 12 soldiers. Israel said it destroyed 32 tunnels.
Opinion: Is Hamas our new partner for peace? Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 19 Aug by Zvi Bar’el — While Abbas has reached the conclusion that there is no point in conducting talks with Netanyahu’s government, Hamas suddenly looks like a serious partner — So are or aren’t there negotiations with Hamas? Will there be a port in Gaza, or is it all a pipe dream? Turkey says, “They’re going for an overall agreement,” Hamas reports intensive dialogues. The Palestinian Authority is already accusing Hamas of an attempt to establish an independent state in Gaza, with Israel’s encouragement and Israel, as usual, flatly denies it. “There are no direct contacts, there are no contacts via other countries and there are no contacts using intermediaries,” declared the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday. But there’s no need to be overly impressed by the firmness of the denial. Because even if at this very moment there are no contacts, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any “contacts” or that there won’t be any “contacts.” Such denials were also heard at the time of “no contacts” with Hamas in order to release captive soldier Gilad Shalit, and the various tahadiyehs (cease-fires), including the present one, did not appear from nowhere. Ostensibly, not only is there no reason to deny negotiations with Hamas, but we should be excited at the very possibility and act to promote them. Negotiations that would lead to a long-term cease-fire serve the interests and the policy of the present government. Building a seaport in Gaza does not require withdrawal from the territories, recognition of a Palestinian state or granting civil rights to the 1,800,000 residents of the Gaza Strip. Economic rehabilitation of the Strip accords well with the idea of the “economic peace” that is unanimously supported by the government, and particularly by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. The Israel Defense Forces has long been urging an easing of the closure on Gaza and an increase in the transfer of goods to the Strip, and its opinion is being accepted and even implemented to a great extent. Hamas even passed the terror test successfully: It proved its ability to halt attacks against Israel, and when rockets were fired from its territory by rebel organizations, it acted immediately to stop and strike at its internal “terror nests.”
‘Positive contacts’ with Israel on Gaza truce: Hamas head
JERUSALEM (AFP) 21 Aug — The exiled head of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, said “positive contacts” have been made towards securing a long-term truce with Israel, in a video posted Friday on an Arab website. Meshaal’s comments posted by pan-Arab news website Al-Arabi Al-Jadid were the first by a leader of Hamas, which does not recognise the Jewish state, to openly confirm such contacts with Israel. Israel itself has denied any direct or indirect contacts with the Islamist militant movement which rules Gaza and with which it fought a devastating summer war in 2014. “So far the contacts seem positive. But so far we haven’t reached any agreement. We cannot say today that we have something in our hand. There are only discussions,” Meshaal said. “The question is how to resolve the Gaza problem? We are open to all efforts: Palestinian, Arab, Islamic, regional and international… But this will not occur at the expense of the unity of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” he said. On Tuesday, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority accused Hamas of holding secret talks with Israel that would endorse the separation of the Palestinian territories. Arab and Turkish media have carried reports, picked up by Israeli media, of talks aimed at reaching an eight- or 10-year truce in return for Israel lifting its blockade on Gaza . . . Meshaal laid out the other points being discussed apart from the blockade: the reconstruction of war-battered Gaza, the opening of crossing points on the coastal strip’s borders, and opening of a seaport and airport.
Prisoners / Punitive demolitions
Israel suspends detention of Palestinian lawyer who suffered brain damage
JERUSALEM (The Guardian) 19 Aug by Peter Beaumont — Doctors treating a Palestinian lawyer who has been on hunger strike for 65 days in an Israeli prison say he suffered brain damage, prompting Israel’s supreme court to rule it was temporarily suspending his detention. An MRI scan was ordered for Mohammed Allan after a lawyer for the Israeli state told a supreme court hearing that Allan would be released immediately if he had irreversible brain damage. Instead, the Israeli supreme court – after considering the new medical evidence – issued a stop-gap ruling on Wednesday night, temporarily suspending his detention without charge, and ruling he could apply again for release if and when his condition improves. Following the suspension, Israeli media reported that doctors had put Allan back into an induced coma for fear of his worsening medical condition. His supporters and lawyers had hoped the court would order his immediate release rather than freeze it. Justices Neal Hendel, Elyakim Rubinstein and Hanan Melcer ruled that if Allan’s brain damage proves to be irreversible, the administrative order for his detention will be completely revoked. In his judgment, Rubinstein wrote: “[Allan] does not pose a danger because of his medical condition, and so the administrative order is not active now.” The suspension means that Allan’s friends and family will be able to visit him in hospital as his status changes from prisoner to patient
Mohammed Allaan says will resume hunger strike if placed in detention again
Haaretz 22 Aug by Jack Khoury — Mohammed Allaan, a Palestinian detainee and Islamic Jihad activist who ended a 65-day hunger strike on Thursday, said over the weekend that he will go on another hunger strike if Israel puts him in administrative detention again. “I’m now a free man, but if the occupation regime arrests me – I’ll resume the hunger strike until they stop this tragedy called ‘administrative detention,’ which I and many others experience in the occupation’s prisons,” Allaan told the Hamas-affiliated A-Risala website. Allaan noted in the interview that he is in a good mood despite his medical condition, and said his doctors recommended that he stay in the hospital for ten more days, until he can resume eating regularly. “Administrative detention stopped the lives of thousands of Palestinians with no conviction or court ruling, and this policy must be ended,” he said. Allaan also called on the international community and human-rights groups to pressure Israel to end administrative detention. Allaan ended his prolonged hunger strike after Israel’s High Court froze the administrative order for his detention on Wednesday evening. According to the court ruling, Allaan will remain in the intensive care unit at the Barzilai Medical Center, and if it is discovered that he suffered neurological damage, the administrative order would be revoked altogether . . . The video filmed at the Barzilai Medical Center, where Allaan is hospitalized, shows him thanking his supporters and among them Israeli Arabs who rallied for his release. Despite reports that Allan suffered brain damage, Allaan seems to be speaking clearly and coherently in the video.
61-year-old female Palestinian held in solitary confinement
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — Palestinian prisoner Fathiyeh Abd al-Fattah Khanfar, 61, is currently being held in solitary confinement in Israeli jail, the lawyer of a prisoners’ committee said Saturday. Khanfar, from the village of Silat al-Thahr in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, is being held in a “tomb-like” room in unbearable living conditions, lawyer Hanan al-Khatib of the Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Committee told Ma‘an. Al-Khatib visited Khanfar in the Al-Ramla jail and said she is suffering from foot and back pain and infection in her trachea.The detainee reported to al-Khatib that the room she is being held in lacks electrical appliances and is infested with cockroaches. She said she sleeps on a thin mattress on top of the concrete and is prevented from receiving visits or contacting her family. Khanfar added that she needs to request water from the prison personnel as prisoners held in solitary confinement don’t have access to water or restrooms except by permission. Solitary confinement is one of several practices enforced routinely inside of Israeli prisons, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, in addition to torture, forcible transfers, and medical negligence. Khanfar, mother of seven, was held for 18 days and sentenced to 11 months in jail in 2013 for allegedly attempting to deliver a SIM card to her son inside jail.
Israel to demolish home of Palestinian convicted of killing Israeli
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Aug — Israeli forces on Wednesday informed the family of a Palestinian man convicted of stabbing to death an Israeli settler that his home in Hebron would be demolished in a week, his family told Ma‘an. Family members of Mahir Hashlamoun said that Israeli troops stormed the apartment in Hebron early Wednesday and delivered a demolition order. The apartment is part of a multi-story residential building. Hashlamoun was detained in November after he stabbed to death an Israeli woman near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Bethlehem last November. Hashlamoun wounded two other people before a security guard shot and wounded him. In March, an Israeli court sentenced him to two life terms. Israeli forces resumed the practice of punitive house demolitions in November last year, after stopping them in 2009. Israeli forces in November demolished the East Jerusalem home of a Palestinian who killed two Israelis in a hit-and-run attack a month earlier.
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon, Syria
Factions declare ‘ceasefire’ in south Lebanon Palestinian refugee camp
LEBANON (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — The leaders of Palestinian factions in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp said in a statement Sunday that they had agreed to a “ceasefire” inside the camp, a day after intense clashes left three dead and at least 18 wounded. The faction leaders said they met to discuss the deteriorating security situation in Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon. The Palestinian ambassador to Lebanon, Ashraf Dabbour, also reportedly took part in the talks. They condemned Saturday’s failed assassination attempt on the camp’s Fatah security chief, Ashraf al-Armoushi, and agreed to punish anyone who threatens stability inside the camp. The statement added that security forces were being deployed across the camp for security purposes. It was not clear whether representatives of the Jund al-Sham militant group, which reportedly attempted to carry out the assassination, were involved in the meeting. Three Palestinians were killed and at least 18 injured during clashes that erupted when militants attempted to gun down al-Armoushi while he was attending a funeral.
Typhoid outbreak hits Palestinian refugees in Syria
UN (AP) 19 Aug — The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday that there is a typhoid outbreak among civilians from a besieged Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, with at least six confirmed cases. Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the agency known as UNRWA, said its staff gained access to Yalda, an area east of the Yarmouk camp hosting displaced Palestinian refugees and Syrian civilians, for the first time since June 8 and established a mobile health point. UNRWA said in a situation report that its medical personnel provided 211 consultations over the course of Tuesday in Yalda, including confirming six cases of typhoid. But the refugee agency also noted “credible reports” of a typhoid outbreak in the region with other cases in Yarmouk, Yalda and two other areas, Babila and Beit Sahem. UNRWA said it was authorized to provide limited health assistance as well as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to the community. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, typhoid is a life-threatening illness caused by the bacteria Salmonella typhi which is spread by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. It can usually be treated with antibiotics, but can be fatal in some cases without treatment.
At least 9 Palestinian refugees drown off Turkish coast
IRIB 20 Aug — At least nine Palestinian refugees from Syria drowned off the coast of Turkey after their boat capsized. The boat was carrying at least 40 Palestinians from the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Syria when it capsized on Wednesday. According to reports, the boat had set out from Lebanon after arriving there from Syria several days before. The vessel broke into pieces because of the large number of people it was carrying. Turkish forces managed to rescue the rest of the refugees and took them to hospitals across the country for medical treatment.
Abbas resigns as head of PLO Executive Committee
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas resigned as head of the PLO Executive Committee Saturday and several others are set to step down, according to local sources. Tayseer Qubaa, deputy Palestinian parliament speaker, said that the the Executive Committee will hold a meeting Saturday night in order to set a date for the Palestinian National Council (PNC) to discuss plans for filling the upcoming political vacuum. Qubaa said: “As of now, there are six resigning members: President Mahmoud Abbas, Hanan Ashrawi, Ahmad Majdalani, Saeb Erekat, Ghassan al-Shakaa, and Mahmoud Ismael.” Palestinian official Wassel Abu Yussef later said that more than half of the 18-member committee had also stepped down. “The resignation of the president of the executive committee Mahmud Abbas and more than half of its members has created a legal vacuum, and therefore the Palestine National Council has been asked to meet in one month to elect a new executive committee,” Yussef told AFP. Those resigning will be eligible to stand for re-election to the committee when the PNC convenes. “There is no way to change all the members in the Executive Committee, unless all the current members resign,” Qubaa added. Qubaa expected that the PNC meeting will be held in Ramallah by September 10. The 740-member PNC is responsible for deciding on PLO policies and electing the Executive Committee, the PLO’s primary executive body.
Abbas announces plans to visit ‘sister’ Iran soon
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that he is planning to visit Iran soon, although a date has yet to be decided. The Palestinian president, who was speaking to a delegation of Polish journalists in Ramallah following his resignation from the PLO Executive Committee on Saturday, said that Iran was “a sister and neighbor state.” He acknowledged that relations have not always been strong, although he expressed gratitude for Iran’s recognition of the Palestinian state by accommodating a Palestinian embassy in Tehran. The embassy formerly served as the Israeli embassy, before it was handed over to the PLO following the 1979 revolution in Iran. In recent weeks, there have been several indications of warming relations between the two sides. Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority and Iran discussed the possibility of appointing an Iranian ambassador to the State of Palestine.
Palestinian children return to school
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Aug — Around 1.2 million Palestinian children will head to school Monday for the start of the new school year, the Palestinian Ministry of Education said. The MoE said in a statement that there would be 700,000 students in the West Bank and 500,000 in the Gaza Strip this year. Of those, around 792,000 students are registered at public schools, 295,000 at schools run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and more than 113,000 at private schools. The statement added that there are 2,120 public schools, 350 UNRWA-run schools, and 450 private schools serving these students across the occupied Palestinian territory. For Palestinian refugees, the start of the school year comes as a relief after UNRWA warned for weeks that it would have to delay the school year if it was unable to cover a $101 million deficit. The UN agency was only able to announce on Wednesday that the year would go ahead as scheduled, after it secured just short of $80 million in contributions against its deficit. UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl affirmed the agency’s commitment to its schools “because of how central education is to the identity and dignity of Palestine refugees.” He said that education was a fundamental right that never should have risked delay. He added: “It is on the benches and behind the desks of UNRWA classrooms that millions of Palestine refugees, deprived for so long of a just and lasting solution, have built the capabilities and shaped the determination that enabled them to become actors of their own destinies.”
UNRWA staff in Gaza announce strike on 1st day of school year
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — Around 225,000 Gazan schoolchildren were forced to return home on Monday after local staff at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza went on strike on the first day of the new school year. The strike comes amid a financial crisis in the agency that earlier threatened to delay the start of the school year. “We didn’t want to suspend classes, but the administration of UNRWA pushed us to take that step,” secretary general of the union of UNRWA employees, Raafat Hamdouna, said. The union met with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl on Sunday and said the “atmosphere wasn’t positive.” The union is protesting against overcrowding at UNRWA schools and unpaid vacations. At present, there are over 50 children in each classroom, with employees urging the agency to reduce the maximum capacity to 38.
‘We can’t have another year like this’
JERUSALEM (IRIN) 21 Aug by Annie Slemrod — Schools open on time. It hardly sounds like news, but for half a million Palestinian refugee children it certainly is. On Wednesday, the UN body that looks after Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, announced it had overcome a $101 million deficit and the school year wouldn’t have to be delayed after all. After a desperate funding drive, Gulf Arab countries and the United States filled the gap, but with more refugees, growing needs and little new donor money, the underlying problems remain. It is clear the agency must make radical changes to avoid being in the same situation next year. IRIN sat down with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl to find out how the agency overcame what he said was its “most serious financial crisis ever” and what he plans to do to keep it out of trouble for good. In a wide-ranging interview, he addresses new school class sizes, the organisation’s financial situation and protests against his leadership . . . This does seem to be an ongoing problem with UNRWA – funding comes in at the last minute and every few years there is a financial crisis. We know needs are increasing and funding is short, so what kind of long-term changes are you considering in how the agency works to avoid this? There are very few agencies in the humanitarian system that don’t have deficits or funding shortfalls against needs, but the thing about this year is that never before had it put our immediate core activities – and particularly our flagship education program – at risk. That’s unprecedented. So I need everybody to understand that this is not just another financial deficit year
State promises to enforce anti-polygamy law; Arab women’s groups are skeptical
Haaretz 21 Aug by Revital Hovel & Shirly Seidler — Immediate steps will be taken to enforce the law against polygamy, which is mainly practiced in Israel by Bedouin, the justice minister and attorney general announced on Wednesday. ‘[We] plan to act on a number of levels to eradicate the phenomenon, which undermines the foundations of public order in an enlightened society, and in many cases harms women and children, who are subject to neglect and poverty,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said in a statement. “This decision follows a series of discussions with relevant professionals and data that have accumulated in recent years about the scope of the phenomenon and its consequences.” Criminal enforcement will be the primary measure used. It is illegal to have more than one spouse in Israel, and convicted offenders can be sent to prison for up to five years. The law is rarely enforced, however. Weinstein said he will instruct government authorities finding evidence of possible polygamy to alert law enforcement agencies. He added that disciplinary action will be taken against civil servants who violate the anti-polygamy law. The guidelines will also be sent to the country’s sharia courts, which adjudicate in matters of Islamic law.
A little food card with a big impact
World Food Programme 18 Aug by Aiyah Sibay — Along the narrow pathways of Tulkaram, in the north of the West Bank, the State of Palestine, stands a small grocery shop with pink shutters. A sign hanging above reads, ‘Mini Market Al-Odeh’. Inside the store Jihad Al-Odeh stands behind a counter ornamented with festive lights. He is one of the more than 250 shop owners taking part in the World Food Programme’s (WFP) e-voucher programme in Palestine. -Ambitions and struggles of a shop owner- Jihad comes from a family of farmers. From a very young age, he had the idea of opening his own store; leaving the vast fields to the confinements of a small shop with his name printed proudly on its walls. This shop would have shelves filled with everything people needed. -This was his dream!- Thirteen years ago, Jihad stood against the very same pink shutters looking at his dream come true, but only partially so. The shelves were sparsely scattered with products and, as the years went by, Jihad would fall heavily into debt. His customers, who too were struggling, would also accumulate their share of debt – always promising to pay him later and always uncertain when they would be able to. At home, more personal struggles met him; four faces patiently waited for their brother to dress them, feed them and bathe them. Jihad’s two sisters and two brothers were born with mental and physical disabilities – becoming their caretaker upon the passing of their parents. A responsibility he took with open arms. -Recognition and renewed beginnings- Jihad struggled with his small business and family burdens for many years until December 2014, when the shop with pink shutters was recognised. The shop, known for its cleanliness and quality, was selected to become part of WFP’s voucher programme.
WATCH: Skateboards bring joy to lives blighted by occupation
EI 21 Aug by Sarah Irving — Maen Hammad’s short film Kickflips Over Palestine is a beautifully-shot and intimate portrait of a small — but growing — subculture in Palestine. In little more than 20 minutes, it introduces the viewer to the freedoms and joys which skateboarding can bring to the lives of young people confined by the Israeli occupation. But — refusing to romanticize the situation for Palestinian youth — it also depicts some of the impacts that occupation has. Maen Hammad, the Palestinian American director of Kickflips Over Occupation, answered some questions about his film.
The right-wing group trying to keep downtown Jerusalem Arab-free
+972 blog 21 Aug by Ossnat Sharon — They roam the streets looking for either mixed Jewish-Palestinian couples or lone Arabs, protest at mixed weddings, and hand out racist leaflets. Their leaders are militant and well-organized, exploiting disaffected youth to do the dirty work. An inside look at the far-right group, Lehava, and the Jerusalem activists who are trying to put an end to its violence — . . . In the last year, a group called “Medabrim BaKikar” (Hebrew for “talking in the square”), made up of secular, religious, right-wing and leftist residents of Jerusalem meets on Thursday and Saturday nights near Zion Square. We stand by the Lehava activists and keep an eye on them, curbing their attempts at violence as best we can. They know us, and know that unlike the police — we are watching them closely, and are interested not only in their violence, but also in what surrounds it and leads to it. We also initiate conversations with them and with others who gather in the square. We speak openly and respectfully about politics, beliefs, and identity, and the square fills with small public discussions.
Israel pounds Syria targets in response to rocket fire
JERUSALEM (AFP) 21 Aug by Laurent Lozano –– Israel said it carried out an air raid Friday that killed up to five Iran-backed militants it said were behind a rare rocket attack from across the border in Syria. The strike came a day after Israel launched a dozen air raids on the Syrian-side of the occupied Golan Heights, raising concerns about a possible escalation. Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Friday’s raid hit members of a unit behind Thursday’s rocket fire on the northern Galilee region and the zone Israel occupies on the Golan. “Elimination of the squad which fired at Israel yesterday is further proof that we shall not tolerate any attempt to disrupt the lives of Israeli citizens or harm their security,” Yaalon said in a statement
Islamic Jihad rejects rocket fire claims as Israel bombs Syria
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Aug — A senior Islamic Jihad leader on Friday rejected Israeli claims that the group fired rockets from Syria into Israel’s Galilee region, as Israel’s military targeted the Syrian Golan Heights in response. During a conference held in front of the ICRC headquarters in Gaza on Friday in support of Muhammad Allan, Muhammad al-Hind said that Islamic Jihad “resists on Palestinian lands.” Four rockets reportedly struck northern Israel, two in the Galilee and two in the occupied Golan Heights, on Thursday afternoon causing no damage or injuries. The Israeli army said that the rockets were fired from Syria by the Islamic Jihad group and held the Syrian government responsible for the attacks. The Israeli military responded to Thursday’s rocket attacks with artillery fire as well as airstrikes in Syria on Friday, killing at least five people. An Israeli military source said the targets of the attack were “part of the (Palestinian militant group) Islamic Jihad in Syria, acting under the supervision of Iran.”
UK petition calling for Israeli PM’s arrest nears 80,000 signatures
Al Arabiya 24 Aug — A petition calling for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu upon his arrival in the UK next month has so far amassed almost 80,000 signatures. The petition calls for his arrest under international law for alleged war crimes committed in the 2014 Gaza War, which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians – mostly civilians – and 70 Israelis. “At 100,000 signatures [of British citizens or UK residents], this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament,” a statement on the UK Government’s official website explained. Upon reaching 10,000 signatures, the online document prompted a government response which maintained that as head of state, Netanyahu retains “complete immunity from criminal jurisdiction.”
Opinion: Netanyahu’s responsibility for Jewish terror
Haaretz 19 Aug by Sefi Rachlevsky — The time for repressing is over: Most of Orthodox Judaism in Israel is being taken over by a violent, racist, messianic theology — The Shin Bet security service has a great deal of chutzpah. After years of indulging messianic Jewish terror, it places the theological revolution on the shoulders of one Meir Ettinger, as if “he doesn’t listen to the rabbis.” Why it is convenient for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to write it off to uncontrollable “wild weeds” is quite clear; it was convenient in the same way after the murder of Yitzhak Rabin. But where does the truth lie? Ettinger is an important, representative member of the “Derech Chaim” (Way of Life) movement of Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh. On the public list of its thousands of members are generations of terrorists. Ettinger’s articles have been open to all on Ginsburgh’s popular website for years. There is no word of Ettinger’s that does not appear with Ginsburgh too, including the order of duties: Cleansing from idol worship (like in churches), removal of the gentiles, purifying of the Temple, the messianic kingdom. Even the permission and requirement to kill babies that appears in the “Torah of the King (Torat Hamelech) – The Laws of Killing Goyim,” behind which stand Rabbis Ginsburgh and Dov Lior, who also stood behind “Baruch Hagever,” the song of praise for Baruch Goldstein’s massacre in Hebron. There are many other rabbis with Ginsburgh and Lior. Even more important is the support from Netanyahu, who warmly praised, in a broadcast from Moscow, a conference of Ginsburgh’s in which thousands participated. Netanyahu said about Lior that he is at the front leading the people of Israel.
Opinion: Israeli missing in Gaza is an opportunity for Hamas to surprise us / Amira Hass
Haaretz 19 Aug by Amira Hass — The Mengistu case is an opportunity for Hamas to appeal to common sense and interfere with the established prejudices of the Israeli people — Hamas, which has proven that it knows and likes to prepare surprises for Israel, especially of the military and propaganda kind, has a new opportunity to surprise us. It can exhibit special generosity regarding the missing young man Avera Mengistu. Hamas can differentiate between its positions and its demands of the Israeli government and its attitude toward the young man’s tormented family. For a start, and as an expression of solidarity with another depressed community, it can provide details about the location and health of the Mengistu’s son – in the great hope that Avera is alive. Generosity can also be a tool in the battle against the occupier. Today we know that the treatment of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit during his captivity was decent . . . The Palestinians more than anyone are familiar with the cruel side of Israelis and of the regime they established. Hamas is a ruling party that greatly enjoys ruling, but it is also composed of human beings who have experienced all the types of Israeli cruelty since 1948. It is very tempting to respond in the same coin. But a reaction in kind does not teach the Israelis a thing about their own cruelty, and has already proven that it does not reduce this cruelty or change Israeli policy. Hamas can try a different, contrary method.
History: The ‘King of Jerusalem’ who almost burned down Al-Aqsa
Ynet 23 Aug by Yaron Druckman — 46 years ago on this day, an Australian tourist suffering from severe mental illness managed to enter the Al Aqsa mosque compound undeterred, set fire to the mosque’s stage, and fled the scene. The mosque quickly caught fire and incurred serious damage. Muslim worshippers immediately blamed the Jewish population, and soon there after clashes broke out in Jerusalem. The Australian tourist, Denis Michael Rohan, said that god had asked him to set fire to the mosque, saying he would be made a “king of Jerusalem.” . . . On Friday night at 8:00 PM, 36 hours after the arson, the police held a special press conference in which the chief of the southern district police, deputy commissioner Shaul Rozilio said that a 27-year-old Australian named Denis William Rohan was behind the arson. Deputy Commissioner Rozilio said: “The suspect is in our custody, he belongs to a small Christian cult named the ‘Lords church.’ The suspect arrived from Australia as a tourist four months ago.” . . . Rohan’s interrogation revealed that he had previously attempted to burn down Al-Aqsa two weeks prior to the arson (cont.)
The Saturday Profile: Aging extremist laments violence now used against Palestinians
OFRA, West Bank (NY Times) 21 Aug by Jodi Rudoren & Isabel Kershner — YEHUDA ETZION does not regret, exactly, helping plant bombs in the cars of Palestinian mayors and plotting to blow up the Dome of the Rock in the 1980s, nor does he express remorse. But he has reconsidered the role of violence in the quest for a Messianic kingdom of Israel, particularly as he contemplates a new generation of radicals he sees as bastardizing their shared ideology. Yes, the aging right-wing extremist is wringing his weathered hands along with much of the Jewish world after last month’s firebombing in the West Bank village of Duma that killed an 18-month-old boy and his father. It is personal for Mr. Etzion, 64, who said he takes “partial responsibility” for not reaching out to the young zealots “to try and straighten out their thinking,” which he described as a “superficial,” “childish,” “distorted” and even “vulgar” interpretation of Jewish texts. Having spent the decades since he was released from prison in 1989 mostly writing and editing books — while continuing to promote a vision of a third Jewish temple where the sacred Islamic dome now stands — this icon of the Jewish Underground issued a one-page declaration, gave a lengthy interview to a conservative newspaper and went on television to condemn the Duma arson. Mr. Etzion said if he knew the perpetrators, he would turn them in to the police, prompting a backlash from some longtime friends. “Violence has no role now,” he said. “On the contrary, what’s needed now is some quiet, an environment for letting a seedling grow. You need conditions, and violence contradicts those conditions.” Mr. Etzion, in his own recollection as well as contemporaneous accounts of the notorious underground, always opposed attacks on random Arabs: He saw the mayors as legitimate targets, “the heads of the snake,” but argued against his comrades’ 1983 gun-and-grenade attack on the Islamic college in Hebron. Still, half of his recent declaration was devoted to sympathy for the Duma arsonists’ motives; more than himself, he blames the Israeli government for, among other actions, releasing Palestinian prisoners. To visit with Mr. Etzion is to see at once the differences and connections between the old underground and the current crop of so-called hilltop youth, against a backdrop of an Israel growing more religious and settlements ever more entrenched.