Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Detentions
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinians in weekly protests
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 28 Aug — Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian and dozens of others were wounded as weekly protests were dispersed across the occupied West Bank Friday afternoon, locals said. The demonstrations marked ongoing efforts by Palestinian residents to protest the effects of the Israeli occupation, including land disputes, the separation wall, freedom of movement, and water claims. In Kafr Qaddum, 36-year-old Deyaa Shtewei was shot in the foot with a live bullet and taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment, while dozens were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets and treated on the scene, said Murad Shtewei, the village’s popular resistance coordinator. Tear gas and skunk water — a foul-smelling liquid that leaves individuals and homes smelling like feces and garbage for weeks — was also used by Israeli forces against demonstrators, Shtewei added. In the village of Bil‘in, Israeli forces shot journalist Mohammad Basman Yasin with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the leg, and dozens suffered from tear gas inhalation, locals said. Israeli forces detained activist Iyad Burnat, the head of the villages’ popular resistance committee, as well as a photographer, Hamza Yasin. The two were taken to an unknown destination. In Nabi Saleh, a Palestinian child, Salam Basim, was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the foot and suffered a broken toe, while several others were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets but were treated on the scene. Israeli forces raided the southern area of the village where they clashed with activists and detained Mahmoud al-Tamimi and an unidentified Italian activist. The forces also assaulted a child, Mohammad Basim — who suffered a broken arm during an Israeli raid in the village two days ago — in addition to beating his mother Nariman, and Nawal al-Tamimi . . . Over 100 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces during demonstrations and clashes in the first three weeks of this month, according to documentation by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Israeli forces injure 5 in northern West Bank clashes
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 Aug – Israeli forces shot four young Palestinian men with rubber-coated steel bullets and an elderly man suffered from tear gas inhalation during clashes early Saturday morning in the northern West Bank village of Tell, south of Nablus, Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an. Palestinian security sources said that several Israeli military vehicles stormed the village of Tell at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning before local youths responded to their presence and clashes broke out. The security sources, as well as locals, said young Palestinian men threw stones and empty bottles at the the intruding soldiers, who then fired stun grenades, tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets at the young men. The sources said Israeli forces hit 19-year-old Amir Basil al-Hindi with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the head, Yahya Abdul-Karim, 21, in the hand, Anas Yousif Hamdi, 21, in the foot and Ahmad Abdul-Fattah Asidi, 21, in the thigh. The source highlighted that several people suffered from tear-gas inhalation, including Adnan Khalid Ramadan, 65, who needed medical treatment because of the gas.
Videos: Brave Tamimi women of Nabi Saleh take down Israeli soldier assaulting injured child
Mondoweiss 28 Aug by Annie Robbins — . . . As a masked and armed Israeli soldier chases down a hillside you can hear voices yelling, then the unmistakable sound of a screaming child. The boy appears in view as he turns to face the soldier. Screaming, the boy pivots then rushes past the soldier and up the hill through a mass of boulders as the soldier finally catches up with the boy and captures him. Placing the boy in a chokehold the soldier forces the struggling child over a bolder as cameras close in on the scene and record what’s happening. What follows, captured on video and camera, is a sight to behold. The boy has a cast on his left broken arm. Every move the soldier makes, briefly loosening his chokehold before tightening his grip again, I wince at the thought of the boy’s arm and throat. The soldier looks exhausted and somewhat bewildered as the camera pans in on his face (1:13). As the camera pans out you can see the child struggling as the soldier tightens his grip on the child’s neck. One wonders, what threat does this child pose for the soldier. His bravery perhaps, did he throw a stone with his un-cast arm at Goliath?
Two people violently arrested at peaceful demonstration in Nabi Saleh
[with photos] HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 28 Aug by ISM, al-Khalil Team — On Friday the 28th of August 2015, two peaceful demonstrators were violently arrested and a child viciously attacked by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh in occupied Palestine. Today at around 3 pm one Palestinian male, Mahmoud Tamimi, and one international activist was arrested in the Palestinian village Nabi Saleh close to Ramallah. They were arrested during a Friday demonstration against the illegal settlements on the land belonging to the people of Nabi Saleh. Only a few minutes after the protesters peacefully started their march towards the gate, which is regularly blocked by the military preventing any movement in- or outside of the village, the Israeli army began attacking the non-violent protesters with dozens of rounds of tear gas. The soldiers then ambushed the demonstrators escaping the clouds of tear gas by surrounding them. They attacked and then arrested Mahmoud Tamimi, shoving him down the hill towards the illegal settlement, where he was forced to lie on the ground. Around the same time, a Palestinian boy was violently attacked by a soldier throwing him to the ground, choking and almost suffocating him in the process. “While the boy was screaming in pain his family came to rescue him from the soldiers’ vicious assault,” Josephine, a Danish activist, explains. A group of peaceful international demonstrators trying to document the attack on the boy was ambushed by another group of soldiers, who violently pushed a 31-year old Italian man to the ground and proceeded to arrested him. Both the Palestinian and the international were being held captive in a military jeep by the Israeli army for almost nine hours, before being brought to a police station.
VIDEO: Hundreds protest against Israeli separation wall in Beit Jala
ISM 25 Aug — Sunday morning around 300 Palestinians and Internationals demonstrated side by side to block the uprooting of olive yards related to the construction of the apartheid-wall. The protesters where all non-violent and all stood up for the Palestinians rights and for a free Palestine. Protesters successfully removed the illegal metal fence, which was put up by the Israeli occupation forces to prevent local Palestinians from reaching their land and harvesting their olives. The fence was carried away by internationals and Palestinians. This was a huge success for the the local Palestinians, who have had their land taken away. After the fence was taken down, Israeli forces brutally attacked the non-violent protesters, shooting rubber-coated steel bullets, sound-grenades and dozens of teargas canisters. Three persons had to go to the hospital for suffering of excessive tear gas inhalation.
Demonstrators march against Israeli takeover of Umm al-Hiran
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Aug — Dozens of Palestinians protested on Thursday, in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran near the town of Hura, in the Negev, as Israel’s construction of a Jewish town on the village’s land continues, local sources said. The Umm al-Hiran community — around 700 strong — is unrecognized by the Israeli government and residents’ lands were claimed by the state in 2013 in order to make way for the expansion of the Beersheba metropolitan area. As a march set off from the village and moved towards the site of construction, protesters said they were able to force Israeli police to remove the bulldozers from the area. Leaders and members of national and Islamic parties, Palestinian members of the Knesset, members of committees for Palestinians in the Negev, and Jewish-Israelis took part in the march. Sources told Ma‘an News Agency that the contractor responsible for razing the village is a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the Negev, and locals have condemned the use of Palestinian contractors against their people by the Israeli authorities. Participants of Thursday’s demonstration called for launching an international media campaign in support of Umm al-Hiran and other villages threatened with land confiscation in order to pressure Israeli authorities to stop longstanding policies to displace Palestinian Bedouins.
Allan’s brother arrested outside hospital room, clashes reported
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Aug — Israeli forces, Wednesday evening, took into custody three youngsters during clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli settlers outside the Barzilai Hospital, in Ashkelon, where Mohammad Allan lies in ICU, after ending his recent hunger strike. Activist Marwan Abu Freeh said that the clashes broke out in front of Allan’s room in Barzilai, after verbal clashes between the hospital security and Palestinians wanting to visit Allan, including relatives. After the denial of the visit, clashes broke out between Palestinian youths and Israeli settlers. Activists also reported that soldiers also took Allan’s brother and two other Palestinians to Ashkelon police station.
Israeli border guard stabbed in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — A Palestinian man stabbed an Israeli border policeman on Wednesday evening near the Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem, witnesses said. The man reportedly attempted to attack a group of Israeli border police officers before stabbing one. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces severely beat the Palestinian man causing him injuries before detaining him. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that the Israeli border policeman, in his twenties, was stabbed in the leg around 7:00 p.m. by a Palestinian male. The policeman received light injuries and was taken to a hospital in Jerusalem. Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that a knife had been found with the alleged attacker who is currently being held for questioning, and that the attack is under investigation . . . Wednesday’s attack comes at the end of a tense day in the area around the Damascus gate, where earlier in the day several Palestinians were detained and two journalists were assaulted at the nearby Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
In Pictures: Arrests and clashes in the village of al-Tur after burning a police vehicle
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 28 Aug — The occupation forces arrested three Jerusalemites from the village of Al-Tur after violent clashes broke out in the village. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the forces arrested 15-year old Khader Wael Abu Ghannam, 22-year old Ahmad Mohammad Abulhawa and the young man Mohammad Abu Ghannam. The center was informed that a police vehicle caught on fire after it was targeted by a molotov cocktail in the main street of Al-Tur. Witnesses explained that the forces raided the village and randomly fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and sound grenades and infantry units raided the main street and some of the village’s roads looking for the young men. The forces also raided the coffee shop of Abu Ghannam in Al-Tur and arrested the child Khader Abu Ghannam after assaulting and severely beating him. The sound grenades led to the burning of the courtyard of Abu Laban’s home. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was also informed that the forces arrested the two young men Abulhawa and Abu Ghannam while they were putting up a tent in Al-Khalleh Street in preparation for a young man’s wedding. Several young men threw Molotov Cocktails towards the settlers’ vehicle in Ein Al-Lozeh Street and a large Israeli force was deployed in the area afterwards.
Israeli forces close major road in occupied East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Israeli forces on Thursday closed off a main street in the al-Tur neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem a day after an Israeli police vehicle was torched in the same area, residents said. The Sulaiman al-Farsi street was closed with cement blocks, blocking access to the Sulaiman al-Farsi mosque, the Mount Olive sports club, and three schools where around 2,000 students study, residents told Ma‘an. It’s also the main entrance of the al-Khalla area, where 3,000-4,000 people live . . . Palestinians youths in the al-Tur neighborhood threw a Molotov cocktail at a police jeep on the street overnight Wednesday setting it on fire, locals told Ma‘an at the time. Israeli police and special forces raided the neighborhood following the incident and opened fire with live rounds and stun grenades, detaining three residents, locals added. Israeli news site Ynet reported that one of the police officers was lightly injured by smoke inhalation.
Palestinian youth set settler car ablaze in occupied East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Aug – Palestinian youth on Friday torched a private car belonging to Israeli settlers in the al-Tur neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, witnesses told Ma‘an. Witnesses said Palestinian youths hurled firebombs at a car belonging to Israeli settlers from an illegal outpost near al-Khalwa street in the al-Tur neighborhood, setting the car ablaze. No injuries were reported in the firebombing incident. Israeli forces responded to the incident, storming the al-Tur neighborhood and firing stun grenades “haphazardly” at Palestinian youth, before the forces broke into a Palestinian house looking for suspects, witnesses said.
The occupation arrests two students from Al-Aqsa School and impedes the functioning of the educational process
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 26 Aug — The occupation forces arrested two students from Al-Aqsa School for girls while they were near Al-Silsileh [Chain] Gate (one of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates) at times when the Israeli authorities imposed restrictions on the entrance of Muslims to Al-Aqsa Mosque. The director of Al-Aqsa Girls’ School, Ehad Sabri, explained that the Israeli forces arrested two 10th grade students (Isra’ Ghazzawi and Bara’a Ghazzawi) while they were near Al-Silsileh Gate after preventing them from entering Al-Aqsa and reaching their school. Sabri added that the occupation prevented three students from reaching their school (Isra’ Ghazzawi, Bara’a Ghazzawi and Kawthar Ghazzawi). After talking to the officer in charge, he explained that the girls create problems inside Al-Aqsa and asked to get their IDs before allowing them in. Sabri added that the students brought their birth certificates with them today in order to enter Al-Aqsa and reach their school but the police ripped them apart . . . The director added that the occupation deliberately obstructs the educational process since the beginning of the new school-year (three days ago) by preventing students and teachers from entering Al-Aqsa through [any other] Al-Aqsa Gates and forcing them to go through Al-Silsileh Gate where they get delayed and detained. Sabri also pointed out that Al-Aqsa Girls’ School has 120 students from 7th grade until 12th grade.
Israeli police fines Palestinian cameramen filming tensions at Temple Mount
Haaretz 27 Aug by Nir Hasson — With Jerusalem police restricting Muslim women’s access to the Temple Mount, the Jerusalem municipality has fined Palestinian news photographers documenting it for “placing a camera stand in a public passageway.” For three days police have been blocking Muslim women from entering the Temple Mount compound until 11 A.M. After that, they can enter on condition they leave their identity cards at the entrance. These new instructions were issued due to increasing incidents of harassment and violence by the Morbitat, the female guards are appointed to serve on the Mount by the hardline northern branch of the Islamic Movement. According to Jewish Temple Mount activists, the attacks peaked last week and included curses, pushing and other types of harassment. After the police issued its instruction to the Morbitat, the clashes on the Temple Mount decreased, although they increased in the alleys leading to the Mount and at police checkpoints. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Monday asked Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to declare both the Morbitat and the Morbiton, the men’s counterpart, illegal organizations . . . The Arab and international media have been covering the developments at the Temple Mount and on Wednesday morning there were a number of news crews stationed near the Chain Gate entrance. A policeman patrolling the area asked two cameramen, Ali Yassin from Palestinian TV and Mohammed Osho from Russia Today, to move to a different corner. They say they moved, but that the policeman nonetheless asked them for their ID cards. The two say they handed over their ID cards and got them back around 15 minutes later, along with fines for 475 shekels ($121) from the Jerusalem municipality – which must be paid in 15 days, rather than the normal 60 or 90 days. The written explanation for the fines was “Leaving/placing a camera stand in a public passageway.” Osho, however, was using neither a stand nor tripod; he was carrying his camera on his shoulder.
Israeli forces injure 54 Palestinian civilians during third week in August
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Aug — At least 54 Palestinian civilians, including eight children, were injured during the third week of August 2015, in various clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank, said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In a press statement, OCHA, in the Protection of Civilians Weekly Report covering the period between august 18 and 24, said that Israeli forces arrested 98 Palestinians, including three from Gaza, according to WAFA. Regarding settlers’ attacks against Palestinians, OCHA said five Israeli settler attacks resulting in injury to Palestinians and damages to their property were recorded, including a stone-throwing attack against a 6-year-old child. On a different note, OCHA said that Israeli forces demolished 42 Palestinian-owned structures during the third week of August, all of which were located in area C, under full Israeli military control, citing the pretext of unpermitted construction. It said that the demolition of the 42 structures, which OCHA described as the highest number of demolitions conducted in one week since the past six months, left around 54 Palestinians displaced, including 33 children. It said that in 2015 alone, Israel has demolished a total of 417 structures in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, displacing at least 495, including 277 children . . . It said that since the ceasefire agreement, which was reached on August 29, 2014, under the Egyptian auspices, 16 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces’ fire, including one child, while over 170 others, including 24 children, were injured.
The IDF presents: Looting West Bank homes under the guise of a search
+972blog 27 Aug by Yesh Din, written by Yossi Gurvitz — In the West Bank, IDF soldiers have in numerous instances burst into a Palestinian house, wreaked havoc, and disappeared with the money and the gold — The place: the West Bank village of Kalil. The time: 1:30 a.m., the beginning of June 2015. Athmad Aziz Shakhada Mansour, a social activist and a member of the village council, wakes up from a noise she has become accustomed to: violent knocking on the front door of the house. She instructs her husband to secure the money and gold the family holds for the wedding of their son M., who is supposed to marry in two days’ time. The noises continue. Mansour goes to open the door. A large group of hooded soldiers burst into the house. Somehow, the strange custom of IDF soldiers to hide their faces, as if they were not in charge of law enforcement but rather breaking it — as if they were thieves in the night — has become a fixture over the past few years, while the public remains silent. The soldiers, as usual, gather the residents of the house into one room and forbid them from leaving. When they enter the bedroom, they find Mansour’s husband trying to pack up the money and gold. The husband tells them loudly that he wants to protect the gold. Some of the soldiers answer in fluent Arabic, Mansour later remembers, that soldiers are not thieves. The soldiers conduct a search of the house. They are probably looking for arms . . . Finally, the soldiers give up and leave, taking the son, S., with them, but releasing the father. They didn’t find any weapons. A week later S. is released without charge. Once the family leaves the room where they were held, they find the usual trail of destruction — a hallmark of a visit by the IDF. The chicken feed spilled on the floor, all of the dishware thrown from the cupboards, and the contents of the drawers thrown on the ground. Among the missing objects is 30,000 NIS ($7,950) in cash, as well as 22 gold coins, purchased for M.’s wedding . . . Looting is a war crime. Although Israeli military law does not call it that by name, it nevertheless carries a punishment of 10 years in prison. This isn’t the first case of looting on part of the IDF that we know of.
Denying political persecution, PA continues large-scale arrests of Hamas members
Haaretz 28 Aug by Amira Hass — At least 25 Palestinians identified with Hamas were arrested last week by security forces of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This brings the total number of Hamas members or supporters held in Palestinian jails to 70. Seven were arrested late Tuesday night and five over the following two days. The arrests were made in Hebron, Nablus, Bir Zeit and Jenin. In one incident on Thursday, at the Ein Beit Alma refugee camp in Nablus, one person was wounded after being shot by Palestinian security forces. The troops burst into the home of the Zamel family and confiscated 10,000 shekels ($2,800) which was to go to an NGO, according to the mother of the family. One of her daughters was detained for several hours. As they were leaving, children in the camp threw stones and the policemen opened fire, injuring a cousin of the family (not a Hamas supporter). Nineteen of those arrested in recent days are students at An-Najah University, who were participating in a ceremony organized by the Islamic Bloc at the university in honor of new students and the opening of the new school year. Hamas and the Al-Damir Association for Human Rights and the protection of prisoners protest that these are political arrests and persecution. Al-Damir regards these detentions as illegal interference of Palestinian security agencies in academic life and a violation of students’ right to study. The Palestinian authority rejects claims that these are political detentions, saying that they are based on suspicions of possession of illegal weapons or of funds intended for illegal purposes.
Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians overnight
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Israeli forces detained at least ten Palestinians across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem overnight, Palestinian and Israeli sources told Ma‘an. An Israeli army spokesperson said three Palestinians were detained from Beit Ummar, three from Jenin, two near Ramallah and two from the al-Eizariya town east of Jerusalem.
Six more Palestinians kidnapped in Hebron, eleven since dawn
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Aug — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, Thursday, six more Palestinians in the ath-Thaheriyya town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and took them to a number of detention and interrogation facilities. Media sources in Hebron said dozens of soldiers invaded the town before breaking into, and violently searching, several homes, and kidnapped six Palestinians. The kidnapped have been identified as Amjad Majed al-Hawarin, 30, Hasan Misbah Wreidat, 31, ‘Ala Mohammad Najjar, 33, his brother Raed, 25, Rafe’ Majed Wreidat, 32, and Ismael Hamad Najjar, 27 years of age. Earlier on Thursday, soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians in Hebron city and several nearby communities after violently searching their homes.
PCHR Report on Israeli human rights violations in the oPt (20-26 Aug)
PCHR-Gaza 28 Aug — . . . Incursions During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 64 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 in East Jerusalem. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 64 Palestinians, including 19 children. Nineteen of these civilians, including 14 children and the woman, were arrested in East Jerusalem. During this week, PCHR fieldworkers documented that Israeli forces used tools equipped with silencers when opening the outside doors of many houses as their residents were surprised with the Israeli soldiers’ presence in their houses and bedrooms. They also documented the theft of money and jewelry belonging to women from those raided houses. In the Gaza Strip, on 20 and 25 August 2015, Israeli forces conducted 2 limited incursions in the northern Gaza Strip, during which they leveled lands and withdrew later . . . Full Report
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
WATCH: Settlers take over property for new settlement in Silwan
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now on Thursday labeled the settler takeover of a building in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood as a “dangerous expansion” designed to change the status quo in Jerusalem. The Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement that more than 60 settlers stormed Batn al-Hawa in the center of Silwan at 2:30 a.m. and took over a building belonging to Jamal Sarhan. Peace Now said that over the past year settlers have doubled their presence in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan, with the most recent overnight takeover expanding the settlement from 10 to 35 Jewish families. The Sarhan house contains 12 housing units and has five floors, with one Palestinian family remaining in their property as their lease is not up for another month. On Thursday, settlers escorted by police attempted to intimidate the last remaining family to leave. The Sarhan house is located nearby to the Abu Nab house and other homes under threat of eviction based on claims of Jewish ownership before 1948, when the State of Israel was established. “The settlers’ entry must be understood as a strategic takeover; this is yet another step in a larger attempt to alter the character of the neighborhood and change the status quo in Jerusalem,” PeaceNow said. “Last night’s entry is not merely a private act as it was aided by law enforcing authorities. The government has decided in the past not to allow the settlement inside Palestinian neighborhoods and it can do so again.” Today, around 500 settlers live in Silwan among a population of 45,000, one of mainly enclaves in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods surrounding the Old City, such as Ras al-Amud, al-Tur, Abu Dis, and Sheikh Jarrah. Jerusalem’s municipality and the government allocate private security guards paid for by public taxes and send security forces to assist in the takeover of property and subsequent residence.
15% of West Bank settlers are American, study reveals
I24NEWS 28 Aug — New research suggests that 15 percent of the settler population in the West Bank are American Jewish immigrants. According to research by Dr Sara Yael Hirschhorn of Oxford University, there are currently 60,000 American Jews living in the settlements. “This provides hard evidence that this constituency is strikingly over-represented, both within the settler population itself and within the total population of Jewish American immigrants in Israel,” Haaretz reported that Hirschhorn said at the Limmud conference in Jerusalem. It was not fully clarified if this was only American-born Jews, or also included those who had citizenship by descent. Hirschhorn said that this contradicts the presumption within Israeli society that American immigrants have failed at home and have moved to Israel as an attempt to re-start their lives. However it appears that in fact many of them have come to the country due to political beliefs which lie to the right of the spectrum . . . Hirschhorn also explained how settlers can bring together a liberal American background with living in the West Bank. She said that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who founded the settlement of Efrat, was known to speak about “squatting on a hilltop in Givat Dagan near Efrat and squatting with African-Americans in Selma.” This shows, she said, the way many American settlers “use the values and language of the left to justify projects on the right.”
Soldiers stoned, settlers arrested as IDF destroys illegal settlement buildings
TEL AVIV (JTA) 27 Aug — Settlers threw stones and tires at Israeli soldiers as they demolished four buildings in two illegal West Bank settlement outposts. The Israel Defense Forces arrested three of the settlers during the incident, according to Israeli news site Walla. No injuries were reported. The demolitions took place at the outposts of Maoz Esther and Ge’ulat Zion in the northern West Bank. The outposts are near the Palestinian town of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly firebombed two houses last month, burning a family inside and killing a father and baby. This is not the first time the IDF has encountered violence in demolishing settlement structures. Soldiers confronted riots in the settlement of Beit El last month as they destroyed illegally built apartment buildings.
Egypt allows body of Palestinian into Gaza via Rafah
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza late Thursday to allow the body of a Palestinian youth who died in Egypt into the Gaza Strip. The body of Said al-Daadleh, 23, who died in an Egyptian hospital where he was being treated, was delivered to Gaza in order to be buried, officials said.
Families of kidnapped youths protest outside Egyptian embassy
GAZA (PIC) 28 Aug — Families of the four kidnapped students who were abducted in Sinai while on their way to Cairo staged a sit-in outside the Egyptian Embassy in Gaza Strip, calling for revealing their whereabouts. The abducted youths’ families launched an appeal for their release, calling on Egyptian authorities to make all possible efforts for their safe return. The participants held photos of the four kidnapped young men along with banners stressing their right to freedom of movement. The families also called on Egypt to reveal their sons’ whereabouts especially since they were abducted in Egyptian territory. Egypt is responsible for their protection and safe return, the families said. The families also called on PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and human rights institutions to immediately intervene for their sons’ release. On Wednesday evening, armed men stopped a bus that was transferring passengers from Rafah crossing to Cairo Airport, just a short distance after the border crossing, and abducted four Palestinians.
Israeli air strike targets Hamas in response to rocket attack
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 26 Aug — Israel launched an air strike against a Hamas facility on Thursday in response to a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said. No one was hurt in the night-time rocket attack on southern Israel, the army said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of any casualties in the Palestinian enclave after warplanes struck what the Israeli military said was a weapons factory belonging to the ruling Hamas Islamist movement. Salafi jihadist groups that support al Qaeda’s calls for a global holy war have claimed most of the sporadic rocket strikes on Israel from the Gaza Strip since the end of a 50-day war a year ago. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday’s rocket, which exploded in an open area adjacent to the Gaza border, but Israel has said it holds Hamas accountable for any attacks from the enclave of 1.8 million Palestinians.
IOF kidnaps Gazan merchant at Beit Hanoun crossing
GAZA (PIC) 27 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) last Tuesday kidnapped a Palestinian merchant from Khan Younis after he arrived at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, north of the Gaza Strip, in order to enter the West Bank on a business trip. An informed source told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that the family of 54-year-old Sami Tabesh lost contact with him last Tuesday before it was told the next day that he was taken prisoner by Israeli border soldiers at Beit Hanoun crossing. The source added that Tabesh, who has a small business trading in watches and plastic bags, had obtained a permit from the Israeli authorities to cross into the West Bank.
300 Gazans head to Jerusalem to pray in Aqsa mosque
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip headed to Jerusalem via the Erez crossing to pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday. Buses from across the Gaza Strip transported 300 Gazans over the age of 50 to pray at the holy site. Weekly access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Gazans has become routine since October 2014 when some 500 Palestinians in Gaza prayed at the mosque for the first time since 2007, having been prevented by Israel from traveling to Jerusalem since that time.
Gaza ministry says ‘settlement products’ seized at border crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an)28 Aug — The Ministry of Economy in the Gaza Strip said Friday that it had seized a shipment of doors at the Kerem Shalom crossing which had allegedly been produced in an illegal Israeli settlement. Over 200 Rav Bariach doors were confiscated while goods were being checked at the crossing between Gaza and Israel. While the producer of the doors, the Swedish Multi-T-Lock company, was located in the illegal settlement of Barkan for one year, the company had relocated its facilities out of the settlement in 2012 and now resides in the city of Ashdod on the Mediterranean coast . . . The Rav Bariach doors were allegedly part of materials to be used for the reconstruction of Gaza following Israel’s deadly war last summer. The ministry, which was under the impression that the doors were currently being produced within the illegal settlement, said that settlement products should have no role in rebuilding Gaza. The Barkan settlement is part of the greater Ariel settlement block and is home to the Barkan industrial complex where around 120 plants produce goods within the illegal settlement.
UNRWA to build 40 new schools in Gaza Strip
MEMO 27 Aug — UNRWA Spokesman Adnan Abu-Hasna said on Wednesday that the international organisation would build 60 new schools in the Palestinian territories, including 40 in the Gaza Strip, Anadolu agency reported. In a statement, Abu-Hasna said that there are currently 251,000 students in 257 UNRWA-run schools in Gaza, and that there is a pressing need for new schools to be built in order to solve the problem of class overcrowding in the Strip. Abu-Hasna called on UNRWA teachers and the parents of UNRWA students to suspend their protests and to let the school year to start as his organisation is to meet all of their demands. UNRWA teachers have been on strike for four days since the beginning of the new school year, protesting the increasing number of students in classes and the unpaid exceptional holidays to be given to UNRWA employees. “The demands are legitimate,” Abu-Hasna said, “but the number of students is not 50 in each class. The problem is that we have added two or three new students to each class because of the increasing number of students.”
Slim prospects in Gaza force college grads to work as deliverymen
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor 27 Aug by Ahmad Abu Amer — Jobs are limited in the Gaza Strip, which is why some college grads wind up working in fast food — a really fast, and really risky business. They deliver food and other products, zipping through streets on motorbikes with baskets strapped to the back. Mohammad al-Madani, vice president of Yamama delivery company, employs 40 deliverymen and 15 other workers. He told Al-Monitor that most of the deliverymen hold university degrees or are university students who joined the company due to tough living conditions in the Gaza Strip and the lack of job opportunities.
PHOTOS: The Gaza families obliterated in just 51 days
Activestills 26 Aug Photography: Anne Paq Editing: Shiraz Grinbaum — Out of the 2,200 Palestinians killed in last summer’s assault on the Gaza Strip, over 80 percent were civilians. Nearly 150 families lost three or more relatives, with some families disappearing entirely. Activestills’ Anne Paq returns to Gaza to tell the story behind the numbers — “Time will reduce the pain, but we will not forget our brothers,” told me 18-year-old Ibrahim Al Khalili in the midst of the burned ruins of the family factory, when I visited them in November 2014. The entire immediate families of Ibrahim’s brothers, Ashraf and Ahmed, were killed: Ashraf’s wife, Nedaa’ (28) and their children Deema (4), Ziyad (3) and Mahmoud (8); as well as Ahmed’s wife, Aya (23), and their daughter Lama (5). A big fire broke out in the factory due to the plastic and wood materials stored there. The bodies were burned so badly that when they arrived to the morgue they were burned beyond recognition. The eight members were the last ones waiting to be evacuated when an Israeli soldier fired a shell that fell on them. Seven-year-old Mahmoud was the only person who wasn’t killed on the spot; he remained conscious and witnessed the death of his entire family. At the Shifa hospital he fell into a coma, and died four days later.
Imagine it here: Gaza’s lost children
Medical Aid for Palestinians 26 Aug — Imagine it here. 556 children’s lives ended in just 51 days of terrifying military assault. One of MAP’s partners in Gaza – the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights – have recorded the stories of the lives of every one of the 556 children killed during Israel’s Summer 2014 assault. Over the coming year, we will be publishing these children’s stories and photographs in remembrance. For some of these children, there is no photograph. In these cases either the entire family has been killed, or all of their possessions destroyed in the attacks, leaving no remaining images of their child.
Gaza’s cybercriminals get rich hacking Internet-based phone lines
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 28 Aug by Fadi Shafei — Cybercrime is on the rise in the Gaza Strip, where an absence of relevant legislation has facilitated criminals’ efforts to intercept Internet-based phone lines and sell minutes. When an unemployed person in the Gaza Strip suddenly shows signs of affluence, people often suspect he has joined the growing ranks of Internet phone hackers. These hackers have even formed a small social club in Gaza that is difficult to penetrate. The Gaza Strip constitutes a fertile ground for electronic criminal activities in the absence of modern tools for law enforcement. In addition, victims of electronic crimes are unable to file complaints against these criminals, as hacking falls within the digital world, which is hard to pursue and monitor.
EU lashes out against Palestinian use of capital punishment
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — European Union missions based in Jerusalem and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank condemned Friday a death sentence issued in the Gaza Strip earlier this week. The sentence was the fifth issued since the beginning of the year by Palestinian courts. On Monday, the Permanent Military Court in Gaza City — acting as a court of First Instance — sentenced a 37-year-old Palestinian from the al-Daraj neighborhood to death by firing squad after he was convicted of “collaboration with a foreign hostile entity,” the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported. Under Palestinian law, willful, premeditated murder and treason as well as collaboration with the enemy — usually Israel — are punishable by death. The EU called on authorities in Gaza — run by the Hamas movement — to refrain from enforcing capital punishment on the grounds that the practice is cruel, inhumane, fails to deter criminal behavior, and denies citizens human dignity.
Born behind bars: What it’s like to raise a baby in Gaza’s prisons
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip 26 Aug by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Incarcerated women in Gaza, often ostracized by their families and communities, must relinquish their children to uncertain lives at 2 years of age. Fourteen-month-old Barra took his first steps in a prison cell no more than 5 meters (16 feet) long. He stumbled. He got up, walked a few more steps and fell again. Barra is spending the first months of his life with his mother in Ansar prison, where she is serving a seven-year sentence for unlawful sexual intercourse, that is, prostitution. Barra’s mother told Al-Monitor, “I have served nine months of my sentence, and I hope that my appeal will succeed, and I will serve only one-third of the sentence.” She said that the prison does not provide proper food or clothing for her son and that she has to buy everything from the prison’s grocery store. “My son is only eating bread dipped in tea because there is no baby food,” she stated . . . There are four children at Ansar, and all that they see of this world is the cell in which they are confined, a long corridor and the roof where the prisoners take their breaks, which does not seem suitable for children; there is nothing there but cold water taps. In this prison environment, there is not a single toy or a tree.
Former Palestinian hunger striker Allan to be moved to Nablus hospital
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — Former hunger striker Muhammad Allan will be moved to a hospital in Nablus in northern occupied West Bank, his father, Nasser al-Din Allan, told Ma‘an on Saturday. Muhammad, 31, ended his 66-day hunger strike on Aug. 20 after Israel’s top court suspended his administrative detention. He entered a coma twice before the hunger strike was through. Muhammad has been receiving treatment at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Israel, but will be moved to a hospital in Nablus, closer to his home in the southern Nablus village of Einabus. The Palestinian Minister of Health said Monday that Muhammad had been in stable health condition and that his health was improving gradually.
60 Jerusalemite children will not return to school
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 27 Aug — The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) deprived 60 Jerusalemite children from returning to school this year, Jerusalemite Prisoners’ Families Committee said Thursday. 60 Jerusalemite school students, held in Megiddo, Hasharon, Ofek, and al-Maskoubiya detention centers, are deprived of returning to school as the new school year begins in Palestine, the committee clarified. Hundreds of Jerusalemite children were detained since the beginning of the year as part of the Israeli unfair measures against Jerusalemites, according to the statement. For the majority, their crime is resisting occupation’s practices. Most of the detainees were then released under tough conditions including house arrest, an Israeli measure that deprives dozens of children from their right for education provided by all international laws and conventions dealing with children’s rights, the statement reads.
Israel renews ’85 percent’ of administrative detention orders
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Israeli authorities have renewed the administrative detention of 85 percent of Palestinian detainees held under the policy, a prisoner rights group said Friday. The Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that at least 75 of the 480 Palestinians held under the detention without trial policy have had their sentences — which range from two to six months — renewed four times in a row. The detention of 135 detainees has been renewed three times in a row, while 190 Palestinians have had their sentences renewed twice, the center added. Israeli military courts have issued 726 administrative detention orders in 2015 alone, including first time sentences and renewals, the group said, over 340 of which were issued to Palestinians from the Hebron district in the occupied West Bank. Riyad al-Ashqar, a spokesperson of the Prisoners’ Center for Studies, said Israel is keeping Palestinians as political hostages through the policy of administrative detention.
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon
2 dead in breach of truce at Lebanon camp
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Aug — Two people were killed when gunmen briefly opened fire in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, breaching a tense ceasefire, Palestinian sources said on Thursday. A source from the Fateh faction said, according to AFP, that a Fateh official and a civilian had been killed in fire by “unidentified gunmen” overnight, in Ain al-Hilweh, southern Lebanon. The breach threatened a ceasefire that ended several days of clashes between Fateh and an Islamist group in the camp. Palestinian officials said the ceasefire remained in place despite the breach and that high-level contacts were made during the night to ensure it would be respected. Ain al-Hilweh is an impoverished, overcrowded camp near the coastal city of Sidon, home to some 61,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 who fled the war in Syria.
Political, other news
Palestinians ask to fly their flag at UN
UNITED NATIONS, United States — Palestine on Thursday asked the United Nations to allow its flag to be raised at the world body ahead of next month’s meeting of heads of state. The move comes as Palestinians seek to bolster their bid for statehood despite fierce opposition from Israel. A draft resolution was presented to the General Assembly requesting that the flags of the State of Palestine and the Holy See be hoisted alongside those of the 193 member states. The Vatican and Palestine both have non-member observer status at the United Nations. The resolution, co-sponsored by 21 countries including Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, could come up for a vote before 15 September.
Palestinians set date for first congress in two decades
AFP 17 Aug — Palestinian leaders have set September 15-16 as the dates for their first congress in nearly 20 years after President Mahmoud Abbas announced his resignation as head of a top executive body. The meeting of the Palestine National Council (PNC), a congress representing those in the Palestinian territories and the diaspora, is to be held in Ramallah in the West Bank. “It has been decided to ask the Palestine National Council to convene for a session on the upcoming 15th and 16th of September in Ramallah,”senior Palestinian official Azzam al-Ahmad told AFP. “The council’s agenda includes electing a new executive committee for the (Palestine Liberation Organisation).” Ahmad said the congress would also discuss the stalemate in peace talks with Israel, among other issues.
Abbas reopens Palestinian branch of Geneva initiative NGO after EU pressure, officials say
Reuters 27 Aug — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has revoked his decision to close an internationally-funded Palestinian peace center run by a political rival following European intervention, officials said on Thursday. The Palestinian Peace Coalition (PPC) promotes, along with Israeli activists, an unofficial plan – known as the Geneva Initiative – for Palestinian statehood and an end to conflict with Israel. A presidential decree issued last week ordered the PPC to be shut and its assets and property in the West Bank city of Ramallah transferred to the Information Ministry. But a Palestinian official, who asked not to be identified, said European supporters of the center, especially Switzerland, had pressed the government to keep it open.
National campaign begins to reject a ‘temporary state solution’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — A campaign has been launched throughout the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip against any potential agreement reached through indirect talks between Hamas and Israel, officials said Thursday. Jamal Jawarish, a Fatah leader and the coordinator of the campaign, told Ma‘an that a series of national and tribal meetings have been held during the past weeks to reject “unilateral” solutions and what he termed the “Blair-Mashal agreement” regarding a temporary state. Leaders of the Hamas movement — the de facto governing body of the Gaza Strip — have confirmed that the indirect talks have been held over the past months, reports that Israel has so far denied. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is said to be one of the mediators of the talks. Triggered by the potential deal, Fatah, national and tribal leaders started a campaign titled “The popular campaign to reject the temporary state and devote national unity,” Jawarish told Ma‘an.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians are on the verge of retirement, but why?
Al-Monitor 27 Aug by Iyad Qatrawi — Government employees having served 15 years on the job are now grappling with the prospect of being forced into early retirement, as part of large-scale austerity measures in Palestine. A draft resolution amending civil service and retirement laws has raised the ire of Palestinian public sector employees over the added financial burden it would force them to endure. Bassam Zakarneh, president of the Public Sector Employees Union, told local Radio 4 on Aug. 12 that the Palestinian Authority (PA) Cabinet had submitted a proposal to President Mahmoud Abbas on Aug. 4 to amend current laws to release 70,000 employees as part of an early retirement scheme. The changes stipulate mandatory early retirement for those employees who have served 15 years or more and are over 50 years of age. Employees of the Ministries of Education and Health would be exempt under the amendment . . . Zakarneh said the plan was designed to decrease current expenditures by reducing the number of PA employees in Gaza and the West Bank from 150,000 to 80,000 and had been prepared in cooperation with the World Bank.
PA denies claims of $13 million personal presidential palace
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Palestinian Authority officials on Thursday denied Israeli media reports released last week on plans for a $13 million personal presidential palace to be built with government funds. Palestinian leadership sources from the PA headquarters in Ramallah denied the claims that the structure was a personal palace for President Mahmoud Abbas. The sources said the palace is instead projected to be used as a leadership headquarters and a facility to receive guests and world leaders.
The palace is listed as “The Presidential Guest Palace” in the upcoming projects section of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction’s (PECDAR) website. The source within the PA added that most of the construction material used for the new guesthouse in Ramallah came from donations as well as from profits of national companies, and said the claims that the palace is a personal home for Abbas are “fake” and created as an attempt to “pressure Abbas.”
Dahlan calls to integrate Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the PLO
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Former Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan called Friday for integrating all Palestinian factions — including Islamic Jihad and Hamas– into the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Dahlan told BBC Arabic that the “homeland is in danger, and the PLO is in danger.” The Palestinian National Council — responsible for deciding on PLO policies and electing officials for the PLO’s primary executive body — is set to meet for the first time in nearly 20 years next month in order to elect the new Executive Committee. The move has raised criticism from Palestinian leaders across factions, some of whom argue that changes to the national institution are being carried out unilaterally by the Fatah party. Dahlan added that he does not seek to become president but has a a right to run for presidency “if he wants.” The ex-leader and Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member also called to stop security coordination with Israel, and said he considers the Oslo Accords to be invalid.
Boycott-hit Veolia dumps Jerusalem rail, completes Israel withdrawal
EI 28 Aug by Ali Abunimah — Multinational infrastructure company Veolia has sold its last investment in Israel and its settlements. According to Who Profits, a group that monitors companies that do business in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, the French multinational recently sold its 5 percent stake in CityPass, the consortium that runs the Jerusalem Light Rail. The sale “is the final step in Veolia’s gradual withdrawal from the Israeli market and several illegal operations in the occupied Palestinian territory,” Who Profits states . . . Who Profits says that though Veolia is no longer active in the Israeli market and in the occupied West Bank, it has “left behind irreversible facts on the ground.” “The construction of the railway involved the expropriation of occupied land that was not done for the benefit of the occupied population, and hence contradicts international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention,” the group explains. The railway continues to facilitate the colonization of Palestinian land east of occupied Jerusalem.
Israel reveals ‘delegitimization department’ to spy on boycott activists
EI 27 Aug by Asa Winstanley — An Israeli spy agency revealed to Haaretz last week that it operates a “delegitimization department” which “routinely gathers information on foreign, left-wing organizations” that promote the Palestinian-led boycott of Israel. An Israeli activist also told The Electronic Intifada about being questioned by the country’s internal secret police. Also known by the Hebrew acronym Aman, Israel’s military intelligence branch spies on “overseas organizations … [including] dozens affiliated with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement,” Haaretz states. The report, by the liberal Israeli newspaper’s military correspondent Gili Cohen, comes at a time when Israel is increasingly worried about the impact BDS is having around the world. The delegitimization department was established as part of Israel’s response to a global public relations crisis in the wake its attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 . . . The monitoring of the BDS movement was previously known, as reported in 2013. Haaretz had revealed it as far back as 2011. But the latest report is the first to reveal that there is a specific unit called the “delegitimization department.”
New school year in doubt at Palestinian Christian schools in Israel
JERUSALEM (AFP) 29 Aug — Israel’s academic year starts Tuesday, but if tough financing talks with the government bear no fruit, the doors of the country’s 47 Christian schools will remain closed, a church official said. Some 33,000 children, mostly Muslim Palestinians, attend the schools, which have a history predating Israel’s foundation in 1948 and are run primarily by the Roman Catholic church. Traditionally, the schools received 65 percent of their budgets from the state, with parents paying the balance. But that figure was cut to 34 percent two years ago, doubling the amount parents had to come up with. Father Abdelmassih Fahim, director of schools for the Catholic church’s Custody of the Holy Land, said the situation had become untenable and he is pressing for a return to the 65 percent funding figure. “It is a matter of equality,” he said.”A Jewish Israeli child had the right to 100 percent (of school costs financed by the state) while our schools don’t, while our teaching is among the best in Israel.” Fahim said the authorities are proposing that the Christian schools move from being “unofficially recognized” to “officially recognized,” effectively meaning their buildings and staff would come under state control, and be subjected to Israeli state policies concerning the education of students. “We categorically reject that,” he said.
Kuwait pledges $15 million to UNRWA schools
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — The government of Kuwait has pledged $15 million in aid to UNRWA school services during the 2015 academic year, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Friday. UNRWA had faced a $101 million deficit that threatened to delay the school year for 500,000 Palestinian children across 685 schools and cut many core services. Last week UNRWA officials announced $80 million of the deficit had been funded, mostly by the US and Gulf countries, in last-ditch fundraising efforts. “Despite the many challenges and hardships facing UNRWA students today, the contribution from the people and government of Kuwait allows the next generation of Palestine refugees to keep their future hopes alive,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement.
FIFA hosts Israeli, Palestinian football leaders for talks
ZURICH (AP) 26 Aug — A FIFA panel aiming to improve Israeli-Palestinian football relations met for the first time Wednesday and agreed a follow-up session in the Middle East next month. Panel chairman Tokyo Sexwale, a South African businessman, hosted the two football federations’ leaders, FIFA said in a statement. Sexwale, who some football officials want to be a FIFA presidential candidate, was appointed in May after Palestinians dropped a request for the FIFA Congress to vote on suspending Israel. “I’m feeling confident after seeing the team spirit today, as both associations have confirmed their intention to promote dialogue,” Sexwale said in a statement. “As we have witnessed in my home country South Africa, I’m convinced that here too we’ll bring people together through the power of sport.” The latest FIFA efforts revive a process which began in 2013 and stalled this year. Palestinians have long claimed that Israeli security restrictions limit movement of their players, visiting teams and football equipment. Israeli football officials have said that political decisions are beyond their control.
Obama: US, Israel in talks ‘for months’ over security cooperation
Reuters 28 Aug — US President Barack Obama said on Friday that the US and Israeli governments have been in discussions for months about security cooperation. “We’ve been in discussions with the Israeli government for months now about the importance of us getting back on track in working together to enhance our security cooperation,” Obama said during a webcast with U.S. Jewish organizations about the nuclear deal with Iran. He said that cooperation could include next generation missile defense programs, improved intelligence and “how to counteract Iran proxies.”
US congresswoman calls for sanctions on Israel combat unit behind killing teens
EI 26 Aug by Rania Khalek — For the second time in two months, a member of the US House of Representatives wrote a letter to the US State Department demanding concrete actions against Israel’s systematic violations of the rights of Palestinian children. Released on 18 August by Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum of Minnesota, the letter calls for sanctions on the Israeli border police unit responsible for killing Palestinian teenagers Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir on 15 May 2014. The boys were shot at a Nakba Day protest near the Ofer military prison in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia. In June, McCollum penned a letter, co-signed by 18 other members of congress, slamming Israel’s “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of Palestinian children” in military detention as “an anomaly in the world” that demands US action. This second letter goes a step further. By calling for sanctions on the Israeli unit involved in the Nakba Day murders, it marks a daring move in a political space monopolized by Israel lobbying groups.
Israeli-Palestinian bridges crumble under sorrow, anger over Douma murders
Al-Monitor 27 Aug by Shlomi Eldar– The female volunteers of the Israeli Machsom Watch activist group are supporting the Dawabsha family while Riham and Ahmad Dawabsha fight for their lives in the hospital, but some of their students are too hurt and angry to continue seeing them. This is a story that alternates between despair and hope, one strewn with disappointment. It is also a story of women who tried to establish a bridge of rapprochement, understanding and coexistence, and discovered how brittle and fragile the foundations were. It began about three years ago with the women of Machsom Watch (Checkpoint Watch), a nongovernmental organization of Israeli women objecting to the movement restrictions imposed on Palestinians by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) checkpoints. The women wanted to deepen their activities within Palestinian villages in Samaria after two large IDF checkpoint crossings, Hawara and Beit Iba, were dismantled. Two veteran members of the organization, Dvora Oreg and Ra’aya Golmov, offered to organize English study groups for female Palestinian residents. Since those classes opened, Israeli-Palestinian relations have known many ups and downs. Every shock wave, such as the Protective Edge campaign in July and August of 2014, put another crack in the bridge they labored so hard to build.
Palestinians married to traditional wedding dresses
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Al-Monitor) 25 Aug by Aziza Nofal — Dima Ahmad from Ramallah got engaged in 2014. Her mother is now preparing the henna dress that she embroidered by hand for her daughter so that it is ready before her wedding day in August. This is a custom among Palestinians in the central and southern areas of the West Bank. The Palestinian dress has a special significance, as immigrant Palestinians maintain their customs by wearing it on the Henna Night. Palestinian weddings last for two days. The first day is known as the Henna Night, during which two separate parties are held for the bride and groom. The groom’s family then goes to the bride’s family home with henna, and the groom’s mother paints henna on the bride’s face. The bride wears the henna dress on this night. The official wedding ceremony occurs on the second day. The bride wears a white dress, and the groom’s female relatives wear embroidered dresses. (cont.)