Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Detentions
Israeli paramilitary settler gang beats Palestinian worker with steel rods
IMEMC 14 Aug by Celine Hagbard — A gang of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian worker who was repairing a traffic light in an illegal Israeli settlement near Jerusalem Thursday, landing the worker in the hospital with a broken hand and a number of other injuries, according to local sources. The worker, Loay Bakri, 31, works as an electrical contractor, and was sent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev to fix a broken traffic light..When he arrived on the worksite, he was attacked by a gang of six extremist settler youth who beat him severely with metal rods, fists and boots. Bakri suffered multiple injuries in the attack, and was taken to a Jerusalem hospital for treatment . . . two Israeli settler youth were detained, but have not been charged with any crime.
Israeli settlers torch Bedouin tent near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Israeli settlers torched a Bedouin tent in the area of Ein Samiya near Kafr Malik village in northern Ramallah Thursday morning, local sources told Ma‘an. A group of Israeli settlers raided the village of Ein Samiya and threw flammable material on a Bedouin tent before the residents noticed and attacked the settlers, forcing them to flee the area. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the attack but could give no further details. The fire caused substantial damages to the tent but locals were able to put the fire out without any injuries, locals said. Israeli settlers also sprayed “price tag” near the scene and signed slogans calling for the killing of Palestinians and expelling them out of their lands. Graffiti sprayed in red paint also read “administrative revenge” alongside a crudely drawn Star of David. The graffiti seemed to refer to the internment without charge — known as administrative detention — of three alleged Jewish extremists in the wake of a July 31 arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma that killed 18-month-old Palestinian Ali Saad Dawabsha and his father Saad. Locals said Israeli forces and police arrived to the area, investigated the incident, and dusted for fingerprints at the scene. On Wednesday, Israeli forces had closed the Ein Samiya area road and prevented Palestinians from using it.
Mother of ‘Ali Dawabsha‘s health deteriorating, possible brain death
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Aug — The mother of the 18-month-old Palestinian boy who was killed in a recent arson attack on his home, by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, may have gone brain dead, according to a report. (Press TV/Al Ray) Riham Dawabsha who was herself injured, and also lost her husband as a result of the attack, was put on a respirator at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, also known as Tel HaShomer Hospital, in the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday, Arabic-language Akhbaar 24 news website reported on Tuesday. The decision to put her on a respirator came after her general health condition deteriorated, and some of her organs stopped functioning, according to the report. Some doctors and medical officials have also suggested that she might be brain dead. Her 32-year-old husband, Sa’ad Dawabsha, died at a medical center early Saturday.
Assaulting a Christian young man and arresting
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 12 Aug — The occupation forces along with a settler assaulted a Christian young man and severely beat him near Al-Silsileh Gate. The settler pushed the young man and a group of Special Forces immediately arrived and assaulted the young man causing him to lose consciousness; he was carried and transferred to Al-Silsileh gate police station.
For the second consecutive day, the occupation police prevented a group of women from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque and arrested two young men and transferred them to Al-Silsileh gate police station. Witnesses said that the occupation police stationed at Al-Aqsa Gates prevented 15 women from entering Al-Aqsa for no reason; note that they had a list of names for females banned from entering Al-Aqsa but the duration or reason were not classified. In a related matter, the occupation police arrested the young man Tamer Shala’ta.
Arson suspect in Galilee church torching charged with sedition
Haaretz 14 Aug by Noa Shpigel — The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court added new charges to an indictment, including the charge of sedition, against a right-wing extremist initially arrested in connection with the arson attack on the Church of the Loaves and Fishes on the Sea of Galilee last month. The suspect, Moshe Orbach, 24, from Bnai Brak, was arrested after a document was found in his possession, which he wrote, detailing ways to harm Arabs. He was indicted in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on charges of possession of material inciting violence and terror. However, after it emerged that the Nazareth court had no jurisdiction over Orbach because the offenses with which he was charged were committed in central Israel, he was released to house arrest.
The amended indictment now includes a charge of possession of racist materials and the relatively rare charge – acts of sedition – punishable by five years in prison. The court remanded Orbach Thursday until the end of proceedings against him. Judge Menahem Mizrahi ruled that there was “a reasonable concern that if freed the respondent would endanger public safety,” adding that the document Orbach wrote calling for harm to Arabs “was not written by a person expressing his inner thoughts, musing with hopes for the future, but rather a clear concrete prescription how to commit extreme violence.” The indictment contains new details about the document Orbach wrote, which is called “The Kingdom of Evil.” The indictment notes that the document was “created to give rise to conflict and enmity between the Jewish and the Muslim and Christian Arab public in Israel” . . . .
Court compensates Palestinian woman delayed at IDF checkpoint with dying baby
Haaretz 13 Aug by Revital Hovel — The infant died when they arrived at the hospital; state denies the event ever took place, but judge accepted her version of soldiers’ brutality — The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled last month to award 30,000 shekels (about US$7,880) in compensation to a Palestinian woman who was delayed at an Israel Defense Forces checkpoint with her 9-day-old baby boy dying in her arms. In the lawsuit filed by the woman, Hashan Wakaman from the village of Al-Nasiriya in the Nablus district seven years ago, she claimed that in November 2006 she was on her way to the hospital in Nablus because of her infant’s serious condition. She claimed that the soldiers at the checkpoint in did not allow the car in which she was traveling to pass, until an officer intervened. The infant died when they arrived at the hospital.The plaintiff did not claim that her infant son died due to the delay at the checkpoint. Although she said that she believes that he died due to the behavior of the soldiers at the checkpoint, she explained that after she consulted with experts it was explained to her that she would have difficulty proving a causal connection between the death and the incident at the checkpoint. Judge Yael Yitav noted in that connection that the infant suffered from poor health already at birth. The mother’s lawsuit dealt with the damage caused to her as a result of the incident at the checkpoint. According to Wakaman’s description, when they arrived at the checkpoint her relative went out to the soldiers to show them the baby’s referral to the hospital, but she was sent back to the car at gunpoint. Afterwards Wakaman’s brother-in-law went out to the soldiers, and when he approached them they began to beat him. As a result of the beating he lost consciousness and was later handcuffed. Only an hour later, when an IDF captain came and spoke to the soldiers, was he released. She added that the officer ordered a search of the driver and the car, and the soldiers behaved roughly, broke the windows and destroyed the seats. Wakaman claimed that to this day she suffers from fear, and every time she sees soldiers it’s very hard for her.
Clashes erupt during weekly marches
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — Dozens of Palestinians suffered severe tear-gas inhalation on Friday as Israeli forces suppressed weekly Friday marches across the occupied West Bank, local sources said. Murad Ishteiwi, coordinator of a local popular committee in the town of Kufr Qaddum near Qalqilya said that clashes broke out in the village after Israeli forces attacked the march minutes after it set off. Israeli forces had set up a military checkpoint at the village’s entrance earlier in the day and declared the town a closed military zone, preventing people from entering . . . Protesters in the village of Bil‘in, west of Ramallah, held Palestinian flags and signs condemning Israeli violations, coordinator of a local popular committee Abdullah Abu Rahmeh told Ma’an. The group demanded protection for children in addition support for prisoners, particularly Muhammad Allan whose health has seriously deteriorated after 60 days of hunger strike, Abu Rahmeh added. In addition to dozens who suffered from tear-gas inhalation at the marches — including children and foreign activists — Israeli forces reportedly used live fire, tear-gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets. Protesters reported that Israeli forces used a drone to film those marching. Israeli forces also sprayed skunk-water, a foul-smelling liquid often used to disperse protesters, at both Bil‘in and Kufr Qaddum protests.
The occupation attacks three children in Silwan and attempts to arrest them
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 14 Aug — The occupation forces attacked a group of children while walking in “Maragha” neighborhood in Silwan. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation forces attacked the 9-year old Qassam Eyad Al-A’war, 5-year old Mohammad Kamal Al-A’war and the 7-year old Mohammad Ahmad Al-A’war while they were heading home from summer camp. Eyad Al-A’war, Qassam’s father, explained that he was on the roof of his house and heard the sound of a sound grenade and children screaming. He managed to get to the area where the occupation forces were surrounding the three children under the pretext of “throwing stones towards a settler”; the forces fired a sound grenade towards the children and pushed them to the ground. Al-A’war added that verbal altercations broke out between him and the occupation forces who were forced to withdraw from the area. The forces came afterwards to his house and checked his ID and asked about his son Qassam.
Al-Tur: Clashes and arresting one young man
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 14 Aug — The occupation forces arrested on Thursday afternoon one young man from Al-Tur. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the occupation forces arrested the 30-year old Wisam Abulhawa while he was in his private car in the main street of Al-Tur. Abulhawa family explained that the occupation forces pulled over Wisam and detained him after checking his ID and then pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. The Israeli forces searched and confiscated his vehicle. The family added that the occupation police arrested Abulhawa and transferred him to the police station. Witnesses explained that clashes broke out in Al-Tur between the young men and Israeli forces who randomly fired grenades.
Israeli forces detain nine Palestinians, summon another from West Bank districts
HEBRON, August 12, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces detained early Wednesday nine Palestinians and summoned another from West Bank districts, said security sources and an activist. Israeli forces raided a Hebron city neighborhood, where they proceeded to detain a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his house. The detainee was identified as Nasim al-Qawasma, 34. Forces also raided al-Jilda and Adh-Dhaher localities in Beit Ummar, a town to the north of the city, where they broke into and ransacked several houses, according to Media Coordinator of the Anti-Settlement and Wall Popular Committee Muhammad ‘Awad.
During the predawn raid, forces detained three Palestinians and summoned another, raising the total number of detainees from the town since the first of August to 11, including 5 minors. Israeli soldiers also detained Mu‘taz Bahar, 17, and handed his father a notice ordering him to appear before Israeli intelligence in Gush Etzion detention and interrogation center. The other two detainees were identified as Muahannad, 15, and Bara’ Abu Maria, 16.
Meanwhile in Nablus, forces stationed on Huwwara military checkpoint stopped and detained two Palestinians. The detainees were identified as Muhammad Hannun, 21, and Mu‘ath Shehadeh, 20, both from Balata refugee camp.Furthermore, forces raided Burqa, a village to the north of the city, where they detained a Palestinian identified as ‘Abdul-Qader Salah.
In the meantime in Qalqiliya district, forces raided Jayyus town to the northeast of the city, where they broke into and ransacked a house. The house owner was identified as Muhammad Salim. No injury was reported during the predawn raid.
Meanwhile in Bethlehem district, forces raided Taqou‘ town to the east of the city, where they stormed and ransacked several houses. The homeowners were identified as Mousa, Majed, Jamal and Ahmad Ash-Sha‘er.
Israeli forces detain seven Palestinians, shoot two from West Bank district
HEBRON (WAFA) 13 Aug – Israeli forces overnight [Wed-Thurs] detained seven Palestinians and shot and injured two others during multiple raids into some West Bank districts, said security sources and an activist. Five Palestinians were detained from Hebron district, one from East Jerusalem district and another from Bethlehem district. Israeli forces raided Idhna, a town to the southwest of Hebron and Kharsa village of Dura to the west of the city, where they detained two Palestinians after breaking into and ransacking their houses. The detainees were identified as Isma‘il Tmeizi, 35, and Mushir al-Shahatit, 29.
Israeli soldiers also raided several neighborhoods in the southern West Bank town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, where they detained three teens after breaking into and searching their houses. Media coordinator of the town’s popular anti-wall and settlement committee Muhammad ‘Awad identified the detainees as ‘Ammar, 19, and Muhammad Sleibi, 18, and Mu‘ataz Abu Mariya, 17. According to ‘Awad, Israeli troops used sniffer dogs during the detention raids. He added that troops assaulted the detainees, smashed the doors and furniture of their houses and seized a mobile phone and several SIM cards. He reported on locals as announcing that an unidentified sum of money was seized during the detention raids. ‘Awad also said that troops fired rubber-coated steel bullets and gas canisters toward locals’ houses during the detention raids. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile in East Jerusalem district, forces raided early Thursday Qalandiya refugee camp, north of the city, where they detained a Palestinian after breaking into and searching his house. The detainee was identified as Lafi Abu Latifa, whose brother, Muhammad, was recently shot dead by forces.
In the meantime in Bethlehem district, forces raided Ad-Duheisha refugee camp, southwest of the city, where they detained a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his house. The detainee was identified as Muhammad Sajdiyya.
Israeli soldiers also raided al-Basha Bakery area of the Ad-Doha, west of the city, sparking clashes with locals. Forces fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades and live bullets, injuring two Palestinian locals in their thighs. The two injured locals were admitted into a Beit Jala hospital for immediate medical treatment.
Israeli forces ‘refine’ rules of engagement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Israel’s military has allegedly implemented new rules of engagement requiring soldiers in the occupied Palestinian territory to hold their fire except under instances in which there is a genuine threat to their lives, Israeli media reported. Under previous rules, Israeli soldiers have been permitted by their superiors to use live ammunition in circumstances where their lives are not at imminent risk, including firing warning shots and aiming for lower extremities when engaging with Palestinians on the ground. According to Israeli news source Haaretz, Israeli commanders in the occupied West Bank were instructed to “refine” procedures relating to open fire laws. Israeli forces will continue the use of warning shots, but live fire will only be permitted if the forces feel their lives are in immediate danger. Under the new rules, if a subject is fleeing the scene and does not pose an imminent threat to life, live fire would no longer be permitted . . . Israeli media has speculated that the move is temporary and the Israeli defense establishment made the changes in an attempt to avoid more Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli forces. At least 22 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2015, many of whom critics argue did not pose a serious risk to the lives of Israeli soldiers. The new rule has been controversial among Israeli soldiers . . . The changes to the rules of engagement come in line with international law, which says law enforcers are only permitted to use live fire in cases in which lives are in “imminent threat of death or injury.”
Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike slips into coma
Al Jazeera 14 Aug by Basma Atassi — A Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike for the past 60 days has now entered into a state of coma, his lawyer told Al Jazeera. Mohammed Allaan, an alleged “Islamic Jihad” member, stopped eating in June to protest against being held by Israeli authorities without charge. Israeli authorities have transferred Allaan from one hospital to another after they struggled to find a medic who would feed or examine the prisoner without his will. Medics at Barzilai Medical Centre, where Allaan is being cared for, have refused to force-feed him, but are injecting his body with supplements essential for his survival. “Mohammed slipped into a coma last night,” his lawyer Jamil el-Khatib told Al Jazeera on Friday. “He is on mechanical respiratory support now,” he said. Allaan’s mother is at the hospital along with a few activists, but no one is allowed to see him. The Red Cross last week warned that Allaan’s life is in immediate danger, and called upon Israeli authorities to allow his mother to visit him in hospital.
‘Freedom or death’: Family of hunger striker left waiting
EINABUS (Ma‘an) 14 Aug by Killian Redden — Nasser al-Din Allan said that his son, Mohammad, has already written letters to his closest relatives to be read upon his death.“If he dies, he will be part of history,” the father of the Palestinian hunger striker said Thursday. “If he lives, he will be part of history.” . . . “He decided he wanted either freedom or death,” his father said. “The hunger strike was the only weapon he had.” . . . The Israeli authorities have alleged that Allan is affiliated to Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian movement that Israel considers illegal, and they have said he is “dangerous.” But as residents of Einabus gathered before Allan’s home on Thursday, they spoke of a gentle, conscientious man and a well-respected lawyer. -”An honest man”- Nasser al-Din said that from an early age, his son, the youngest of ten children, was always highly principled and well-liked. He said it was while he was studying law at the Arab American University in Jenin — at the height of the Second Intifada — that he came to adopt the resistance ideals of Islamic Jihad. It was due to his political position he was imprisoned by Israel from 2006 to 2009, his father said. However, after he was released, his father said, Muhammad largely cut his political ties to Islamic Jihad and focused instead on his career . . . Mohammad Radshan, the only other lawyer in Einabus, said that Allan, whose cases include criminal, civil and business lawsuits, was viewed by other lawyers as “exemplary.” . . . .
Israeli medical officials meet to discuss Palestinian hunger striker
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — Israeli medical personnel reported Friday that the life of Palestinian detainee Mohammad Allan is in danger after 60 days on hunger strike. An Israeli committee held a meeting at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Israel to discuss the health condition of the hunger-striker, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said. Director of the hospital Dr. Hezi Levi told Ma‘an that Allan’s health had deteriorated significantly during the night and he had fallen into a coma Friday morning. Jawad Boulos, director of the legal department of PPS said that the doctors have conducted a CAT scan on Allan, who is currently connected to ventilators and intravenous fluids. The Israeli medical center is treating Allan according to Israel’s Patients’ Rights Act, Boulous added. A spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross told Ma‘an that the situation is “extremely critical” and a doctor from the ICRC is currently at the hospital. Several days ago, the ICRC coordinated permission with Israeli authorities to allow Allan’s mother to visit him, and she is currently at the medical center, the spokesperson added. When exiting her son’s hospital room on Friday afternoon, Allan’s mother told Ma‘an that her son was dying. ICRC has undergone efforts to uphold Allan’s rights while under the care of Israeli medical professionals, and told Ma‘an the group is in constant contact with doctors at the medical center and Allan’s family in Nablus. Physicians for Human Rights – Israel said Friday that once Allan lost consciousness, “medical ethics requires that his doctors act in accordance to their understanding of the patient’s will and their discretion.” The group urged the Israeli political leadership to reach a decision to release Allan from administrative detention and let doctors concentrate on saving his life.
Lawyer: Hunger striker illegally put under anesthesia
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — The lawyer of Palestinian hunger striker Mohammad Allan said Friday that the Barzilai Medical Center in Israel has illegally put the detainee under anesthesia. Jamil al-Khatib told Ma‘an that it is necessary for the hospital’s administration to receive the consent of his parents before giving him the anesthetic, adding that there were no sufficient reasons to do so. Thirty one-year-old Allan has been on hunger strike for two months in protest of his administrative detention in Israeli jails. The prisoner experienced a dangerous deterioration in his health overnight, falling into a coma. Al-Khatib’s announcement came hours after news broke that Israeli authorities would allow a Palestinian doctor to visit Allan. The Palestinian Prisoner’s’ Committee said that Palestinian MKs Haneen Zoabi, Ahmad al-Tibi, Osama al-Sa’di, Basel Ghattas, Talib Abu Arrar and Jamal Zahalqa requested that a Palestinian doctor have access to Allan during a meeting with the hospital’s chief of staff. The committee added that the Palestinian health ministry and prisoners’ committee have agreed to send Dr. Hani Abdeen to see Allan within the next 24 hours . . . The International Committee of the Red Cross was informed of the day’s developments and sent a doctor to visit Allan, who is currently being given fluids and sodium intravenously.
Islamic Jihad: We will renege on ceasefire deal if hunger striker dies
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — The military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, the al-Quds Brigades, said Friday that the group will not commit to the ceasefire agreement signed with Israel following last year’s Gaza war if prisoner Muhammad Allan, who is in critical condition, dies. Allan, who has been on a hunger-strike for two months, lost consciousness on Friday morning and medical personnel fear that his life is in imminent danger. A spokesperson for the brigades said: “It is an Israeli crime against our prisoners and people if prisoner Muhammad Allan dies, that forces us to respond forcefully and ends any commitment of our side to the ceasefire agreement.” . . . Islamic Jihad’s threats come after a shaky ceasefire has been held between Hamas — the governing body of the Gaza Strip — and Israel for nearly a year. While Islamic Jihad representatives were reportedly involved in ceasefire talks, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all military activity that takes place in the Gaza Strip
The doctor who dared come out against a torturous law / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 13 Aug — Doctors who would forcibly insert a tube into someone’s stomach should be boycotted and ostracized, in Israel and abroad — And then he appeared like a beam of light in the darkness, the least likely person. In a place where there were no people, he was a person: Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman. Looking like a Soviet bureaucrat, an anesthesiologist by specialty, he, of all people awakened the most anesthetized organ in Israel – the conscience – and proved that things can be different. It is hard to remember when a labor leader last acted this way in Israel; when a person who is not a member of the ethics committee went beyond the realms of salaries and private medical services. When someone dared come out against the law. The Israel Medical Association turned briefly into Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, conscientious objection suddenly became a legitimate weapon. Without pathos and without beating around the bush, this courageous and moral physician, who once staged a hunger strike himself, announced that the IMA would not lend its hand to torture and its members would not force-feed hunger-strikers and would not enforce the law that the Knesset had passed. The law? Eidelman noted that in China, for example, doctors torture people according to the law. Bravo, Eidelman.His statement made the darkness more prominent. Suddenly, it emerged how many collaborators the occupation has and how many agents of evil fulfill their functions without an Eidelman to stop them. How labor unions could have protested and should protest, how unions should have instructed their members to stop collaborating and refuse to do so. It’s not only the Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces, the settlers and their people; the entire society is involved. The engineers, the contractors, the architects and the builders on stolen lands, the bankers and those that trade in the money gained from exploitation. Those who quarry the natural resources in the occupied territories – endless areas of life in which people are involved in the occupation and act like they are innocent. And, of course, the lawyers . . . .
Israel issues administrative detention orders to 33 Palestinians
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Israeli authorities have issued administrative detention orders to 33 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, a prisoner rights group said Wednesday. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that 28 prisoners had their administrative detention orders renewed, while five Palestinians being held in prison custody were issued the orders for the first time. Palestinians held in administrative detention are often held without charge or trial for months and without access to the evidence that led to their detention, even though international law stipulates this tactic only be used in exceptional circumstances. The law dates back to the British Mandate. The prisoners were identified as follows:
Meanwhile, in the US-occupied part of Cuba:
Guantánamo hunger striker nearing death
Al Jazeera 12 Aug by Jenifer Fenton — Tariq Ba Odah is 1.62 metres tall, but weighs only 33.7 kilogrammes [74 lbs 4.7 oz]. He does not want to die. But in peaceful protest of his detention, Ba Odah has not eaten voluntarily since 2007, maintaining one of the longest-running hunger strikes at the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. For the 36-year-old man, these may be his final days. Ba Odah was picked up in Pakistan and turned over to the US, who sent him to Guantánamo, where he has been held since 2002. Ba Odah does not know why he was initially arrested by Pakistani authorities, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and according to his lawyer, he has never been charged with a crime. -Force feeding- If his body can take it, Ba Odah is force-fed twice a day. He is strapped down and liquid is pumped through his nose into his stomach, according to his lawyer, Omar Farah. But the force-feeding is not working. “His body appears unable to properly absorb calories or micronutrients,” according to Farah. Joseph Margulies, counsel of record in the Supreme Court case Rasul v Bush, which involved detentions at Guantánamo Bay, also described Ba Odah’s deteriorating health situation, writing that medical experts believe “his body has begun to cannibalise itself to survive, slowly consuming his organs”.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Judaization
Expert: Israel planning a multi-story building at Western Wall
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — The Israeli authorities are planning to build a multi-story building inside the Western Wall plaza in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, a Palestinian academic told Ma‘an on Wednesday. Dr. Jamal Amr, a professor of urban planning at Birzeit University and Jerusalem Foundation member, said that the six-story building would celebrate the heritage of the Jewish Temples, and would comprise a museum, prayer halls, and offices for right-wing Jewish organizations. The organizations are funding the project together with the Israeli government, Amr said, although his claims could not be verified. Amr said that the blueprints for the building were prepared in secret and revealed only after those leading the project began the application process for the needed license. The building is expected to cost $13 million, at a size of 1,400 square meters and a height of 23 meters high, with two of the six floors underground, he said. The complex will include a museum “housing antiquities and belongings stolen from Jerusalem,” Amr said, many of which he claimed date to the Abbasid and Umayyad eras, from roughly 660 to 1260 CE. The complex will also be connected to the series of underground tunnels which run beneath the Old City and to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. In the past, excavations inside the tunnels have damaged Islamic antiquities and even collapsed, threatening Palestinian buildings above. Amr warned that the new project would further “efface” Arab and Islamic features inside the Old City.
Grand Mufti condemns Israel’s decision to build synagogue in Old Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 12 Aug – The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, condemned on Wednesday the ongoing construction of a Jewish synagogue upon the ruins of an Islamic site in the Old City of Jerusalem. He said the construction of the synagogue comes as part of a “Judaization” plan which aims to transfer the holy city and areas surrounding al-Aqsa Mosque into a completely Jewish area. The Jordan-run Islamic Waqf, which has administrative jurisdiction over the compound, has accused Israel of attempting to “Judaize” the holy site and the city of Jerusalem.
A decade behind the separation wall: Jerusalem’s 100,000 outcasts
Haaretz 13 Aug by Nir Hasson — Ten years after the separation wall was built in Jerusalem, it transpires that the state and municipality have broken almost all their promises to the tens of thousands of Israelis left on the eastern side of the fence. The decade that has passed since Ariel Sharon’s cabinet decided to minimize the disruption in the lives of the residents east of the fence “was marked by systematically breaking all the government’s commitments,” the Association for Civil Rights in Israel wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The association accuses the state of violating the basic rights of an entire population, and says the government’s policy “constitutes criminal negligence” and the “abandonment” of the residents beyond the wall. “The government’s policy has turned the neighborhoods into a no man’s land, in which nobody is interested and for which nobody is responsible,” wrote attorneys Nasrin Alian and Ronit Sela. In July 2005 Sharon’s cabinet issued a detailed decision, intended to satisfy the Supreme Court that the wall would not disrupt the lives of the Palestinians residents, most of them Israeli citizens, on the eastern side of it. The cabinet tasked the government ministries and Jerusalem municipality to ensure continued health, education, infrastructure, municipal and government services to the people beyond the wall, in the neighborhoods of Ras Khamis, Ras Skhada, Hashalom, Kfar Akav, Semiramis and the Shoafat refugee camp. But practically none of this was carried out.
For example, no new schools, clinics or hospital branches opened beyond the wall, no branches of the transportation, labor or interior ministries operate there, no roads or infrastructure were built, no access for emergency vehicles was provided into the neighborhoods, no hotline for municipal services was set up at the roadblocks as promised, the waiting time at the roadblocks wasn’t shortened, and on and on.
Israel demolishes structures in Jenin, Jordan Valley
WEST BANK (WAFA) 1 Aug – Israeli authorities demolished multiple structures, including residential units, in the West Bank districts of Jenin as well as in the northern Jordan Valley, according to local sources. In Jenin, Israeli army last night demolished a number of commercial structures in the village of al-Jalameh to the north of Jenin, the village’s mayor, Khaled Abu Farha, told WAFA. He said the army accompanied by bulldozers arrived at the entrance of the village, just a hundred meters away from al-Jalameh border crossing, and demolished a cafeteria, a restaurant, a car repair shop, and a taxi office. The army also ransacked the content of these facilities. Last year, the army notified the owners of these structures about their intent to demolish them, Abu Farha added.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces on Tuesday morning demolished a number of Palestinian-owned residential structures near Hamra checkpoint, in the northern Jordan Valley, according to their owner, Malek Bsharat. Bsharat said he had earlier received a notification from the army regarding their intent to demolish the structures, under the pretext of building without a permit. He noted that some the structures were built before 1967, prior to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
Israeli forces demolish homes, structures east of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — Israeli occupation forces on Thursday morning demolished a number of houses and other structures in the eastern outskirts of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank, local sources told Ma‘an. The first demolition was in the village of Tuqu‘ where Israeli troops escorted a demolition crew that tore down an incomplete home belonging to a Palestinian identified as Mousa Salim Hasan. Another demolition took place in the nearby village of Harmala, where an unfinished house belonging to Muhammad Majid Dabash was destroyed, the mayor of the town’s municipality Aiad Ali told Ma‘an. A third demolition targeted the exterior wall of a home in the town of Za‘atara. The Municipal Council of Za‘atara wrote on its Facebook page that the home belonged to Khalaf al-Himri. Israeli forces also confiscated a shipping container which was used for storage by the owner, who was told by Israeli forces he would be asked to pay the costs of demolition.
IOF searches for agricultural water wells west of Jenin
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 13 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday afternoon launched a campaign in search for Palestinian water wells in different areas of Marj Ibn Amer, west of Jenin city. Local sources reported that employees from the Israeli water authority escorted by soldiers from the military camp of Salem stormed and combed cultivated fields in the area and near the segregation wall to look for water wells. They added that the soldiers interrogated the farmers on their own lands about the wells in the region, without stating if there were any kind of intended Israeli measures restricting the farmers’ use of their wells.
Israel to European governments: Stop funding illegal Palestinian building
JPost 13 Aug by Tovah Lazaroff — IDF West Bank chief Yoav Mordechai: There is a war over Area C; EU says it’s offering humanitarian aid — The Foreign Ministry has warned European governments against flouting Israeli law by funding illegal Palestinian building in Area C of the West Bank and has already razed such structures. “We bring this issue up in almost every conversation we have with the Europeans,” said Aviv Shir-On, Deputy Director General for European Affairs in the Foreign Ministry. He spoke on the issue before a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee sub-group on Judea and Samaria on Tuesday. “We won’t accept illegal building,” Shir-On said. The Europeans have been informed about Israel’s stance on this issue, he added. “We’ve told them they have to take into account, that such construction can be destroyed,” Shir-On said. But he has assured the European officials, Shir-On said, that they will be notified before any demolition occurs. Starting in September the EU, the Foreign Ministry and the IDF will meet regularly to tackle the issue, Shir-On added. He explained that both individual European governments and the EU were funding illegal Palestinian projects. The European Union responded to matter in writing on Wednesday through its Embassy in Tel Aviv. It hinted that Israel violated international law, by failing to allow Palestinians adequate recourse to legal housing in Area C of the West Bank. Its activity, the EU said, fits the definition of humanitarian assistance which it planned to continue to provide . . . The EU called on Israel to approve master plans for Palestinian development in Area C of the West Bank that have been submitted by Palestinian communities in that area, it said . . . .
NGO calls to raze outpost homes: ‘Israel’s complicity in illegal building is outrageous’
JPost 12 Aug by Tovah Lazaroff — Yesh Din has petitioned the High Court of Justice to order the demolition of nine illegally built homes in the Derech Ha’avot outpost in the Etzion region of the West Bank. The organization focused on these homes in particular because they are under construction and located on land that Yesh Din claims belongs to residents of the nearby Palestinian village of al-Khader. In its petition on behalf of the Palestinian property owners, the non-governmental group also asked the High Court to halt all building in the outpost until the legal status of the small community of 60 Jewish families is determined. Those responsible for the building should be “investigated” and “indicted,” it told the court in the petition filed on Tuesday. Residents of the outpost, it said, have shown flagrant contempt for the law. “It seems that in the entire history of illegal Israeli construction in the West Bank, there has never been a case in which the respondents have demonstrated such consistent and determined reluctance to enforce the law as in the case of this outpost,” Yesh Din told the court. Palestinians from the village of al-Khader have spent the last 13 years unsuccessfully petitioning the court against the outpost, which was first built in February 2001. According to the 2005 Talia Sasson report on West Bank outposts, the Construction Ministry provided NIS 300,000 for the construction of the outpost, even though it was an unauthorized community and no permits were given for its buildings.
Israeli MKs attack Palestinian building efforts in Area C
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — An Israeli Knesset subcommittee on Tuesday said that Palestinian efforts to build in Area C were aimed at creating “facts on the ground” to prevent the expansion of Jewish communities, a Knesset press release said. MK Mordhay Yogev, who heads an Israeli foreign affairs and defense subcommittee for the occupied West Bank, said that Palestinian building efforts were “aimed at creating facts on the ground and preventing the expansion of Jewish communities such as Ma’ale Adumim.” Yogev said that while “illegal construction exists also in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, it is on a much smaller scale and takes place within existing communities,” referring to illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank. Yogez is a member of the right-wing Jewish Home party, headed by Nafatali Bennett, who has in the past called for Israel to annex Area C. Area C makes up 61 percent of the occupied West Bank and holds most of its natural resources. The 1993 Oslo Accord places the area under full military and administrative control by Israel with the intention of its eventually being transferred to the Palestinian Authority. However, the Israeli Civil Administration responsible for the area has largely used its resources to expand and develop illegal Israeli settlements, and has confiscated Palestinian land and demolished structures toward that end. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Israel has demolished at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures since occupying the West Bank in 1967.
Israeli MK: Palestinians ‘preventing expansion’ of settlements
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug — An Israeli Knesset member this week convened a meeting to stop Palestinians from “preventing the expansion” of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank. The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria — the biblical term used by the Israeli government for the occupied West Bank — convened to “discuss the efforts to prevent illegal Palestinian construction in Area C,” a Knesset press release said. Committee head MK Mordhay Yogev of the far-right Habayit Hayehudi party said that while illegal construction was taking place in Jewish communities, such construction was happening at a far larger scale in Palestinian communities. Palestinians living in Area C — around 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control — must apply for building permits to construct on their own land. Such permits are rarely approved and Palestinian residents are forced to build illegally, while Jewish-only settlements are constructed and protected by the Israeli government in the same areas. Yogev added: “Illegal Palestinian construction takes place unsupervised, and a large part of it is being funded or aided by European countries and international organizations.”
Israeli water company cuts supply to northern West Bank villages
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Israeli water company Mekorot on Wednesday cut off supplies to areas of the northern West Bank, the Palestinian Water Authority said. The PA body said water supplies north of Nablus were disconnected, with PA crews working to reconnect residents. The PWA has contacted the Israeli company but is yet to receive a response. It is unclear how many people have been affected by the move. Last week, dozens of Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum staged a sit-in to protest the Israeli national water company cutting off its supply to the village. Hamzeh Jumaa, the head of the village council, told Ma‘an that the Israeli water company Mekorot cut off its supply on Aug. 2. He said that the water supplies some 4,000 people living in Kafr Qaddum in Qalqiliya, which he highlighted was an agricultural village. Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said Monday that Mekorot had decided to adjust water supplies in the northern West Bank due to increased consumption, Israeli media reported, leaving residents of the Salfit villages of Qarawat Bani Hassan, Biddya, and Sarta without running water. Israelis, including settlers, have access to 300 liters of water per day, according to EWASH, while the West Bank average is around 70 liters, below the World Health Organization’s recommended minimum of 100 liters per day for basic sanitation, hygiene and drinking.
The quest for the red heifer: An ancient commandment meets modern technology
JPost 13 Aug by Tamara Zieve — The Temple Institute launched a crowdfunding campaign last month to help raise the first authentic, kosher red heifer in 2,000 years in the land of Israel. The Jerusalem Post on Thursday checked in with the Temple Institute’s International Director, Rabbi Chaim Richman to find out how the project is moving along. “The campaign is going quite well but it has had its challenges,” Rabbi Richman tells the Post. “This is about the re-introduction of a concept that’s really quite ancient and doing it in a very modern way with the latest technology – it’s procuring one of the most elusive commandments with modern technology.” In order for a heifer to be considered kosher for the Biblical use, it must be raised from birth under specific circumstances and in a controlled environment. To this end, the Temple Institute has joined forces with experienced cattle ranchers in Israel, who will utilize the technique of implanting the frozen embryos of Red Angus cattle in Israeli domestic cattle. Thus far the campaign has raised some 33 thousand dollars with the help of people from all over the world. Rabbi Richman welcomes the international participation in the project remarking: “Considering that the vision of the prophets of Israel describes the Holy Temple in Jerusalem as a house of prayer and peace for all nations – this is an opportunity for Jews and gentiles to participate in that vision.” . . . The Temple Institute’s ultimate goal is to see Israel rebuild the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah [the Temple Mount or the Haram Al-Sharif] in Jerusalem and it dedicated itself to that end. Since three years ago, the Institute has been raising funds, designing and building a new temple.
Mystery in Gaza over identity of group that claimed rocket attacks
GAZA CITY (MEE) 12 Aug by Mohammed Omer — Many Gazans are puzzled and concerned about the latest rocket attacks on Israel by a hitherto unknown militant group which analysts say is using grievances about the blockade of the Palestinian enclave and Israeli settler violence to raise its own profile. The group, which calls itself “The Grandsons of the Companions of the Prophet”, last week fired three rockets into Israel before using Twitter to announce its presence in Gaza. It claimed it had launched the attack in response to the death of a Palestinian baby in an arson attack by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. On Wednesday, using a Twitter account, the group claimed that it fired another two rockets over Tuesday night at the Zikin Kibbutz in southern Israel. The group also tweeted that Israel denied that their rockets fell within Israeli territory, but insisted they had hit Israeli land. Most groups in Gaza maintaining a presence on the ground and distributing leaflets about their activities, so the announcements of this new group have aroused public confusion and suspicion. Several analysts said they felt Gaza was being used as a convenient launch pad by some whose main motives were not the interests of Palestinians. Ibrahim Al Madhoun, a Gaza analyst and researcher of Islamic groups, said that some new groups were inspired by the mindset of the Islamic State (IS) group. “‘The Grandsons of the Companions of the Prophet’ is more of an unknown, than an actual group. I believe they are individuals inspired by the thinking of Islamic State, but who could not materialise as a power on the ground,” Madhoun told Middle East Eye.
Report: Israel agrees to Gaza-Cyprus sea passage under long-term cease-fire
Haaretz 13 Aug by Jack Khoury — Deal said to have originated in talks between Hamas and former Quartet envoy Tony Blair — Palestinian sources say that Israel has agreed to a maritime passage between the Gaza Strip and Cyprus in exchange for a long-term cease-fire of seven to 10 years, the Al-Hayat pan-Arab newspaper, published in London, reports. According to the report, which cites Palestinian sources in Gaza, Israel is still strongly opposed to rebuilding the strip’s airport and also rejected a Qatari proposal to build an airport in Israel in exchange for rebuilding the airport in Gaza. In addition, Israel is conditioning the cease-fire on negotiations over the body parts and the Israeli citizens who are being held in the Gaza Strip. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Azhar, interviewed by Al Jazeera Wednesday, said that the hostage issue is under a deep freeze since Israel is still opposed to releasing the prisoners involved in the Gilat Shalit prisoner exchange who were returned to prison after the kidnapping of three yeshiva students last summer in Gush Etzion. According to the newspaper report, the proposals arose in the course of meetings between the chief of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Meshal and the former Quartet envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair. As reported Wednesday, Blair and Meshal met for the second time in a month and a half in the Qatari capital Doha, and discussed the case-fire with Israel. It should be noted that Hamas has made no mention of the report, and spokesmen and leaders of the organization have made a point of asserting that there are no indirect negotiations with Israel, that the only plan that can be discussed is the cease-fire proposal agreed on during Operation Protective Edge in Cairo, and the organization has no intention of agreeing to other conditions that have not been accepted by all Palestinian factions.
Hamas military wing claims to have captured Israeli drone
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug –Hamas’ military wing on Wednesday claimed that it had taken over an Israeli drone last month and rebuilt it to make it operational, a statement said. The Al-Qassam Brigades said it had captured an Israeli SKYLARK1 drone on July 22. “Security checks were conducted, and the systems and technologies installed in the drone were examined, and then the unit rebuilt it and put the drone to use in the service of the al-Qassam Brigades,” the group said. Hamas said the achievement was dedicated to the Palestinian youth. Last July Israel shot down a Hamas drone near the southern city of Ashkelon close to the Gaza border and in a separate incident downed another off the Mediterranean port of Ashdod, 17 miles north of Gaza and a similar distance south of Tel Aviv.
PA ministry culls 2,500 turkeys with avian flu in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture and the Khan Younis municipality in Gaza on Monday culled 2,500 turkeys infected with bird flu, officials said. Nanis al-Farra, head of the veterinary department in Khan Younis, said that the Ministry of Agriculture culled 2,500 turkeys in Khan Younis, and destroyed some 2,000 eggs. “The decision was made after testing confirmed the mass infection,” he added. Al-Farra urged all farmers to contact the ministry if they notice any symptoms of the virus, and said that the ministry is sparing no effort to prevent the disease from spreading. In March, the Ministry of Agriculture culled 50,000 turkeys and destroyed 150,000 eggs after testing confirmed mass infections.
The last seamen of Gaza
[with photo gallery] Foreign Affairs 12 Aug — . . . Over the years, fewer and fewer fishermen have been throwing their nets into Gaza’s waters, both because of restrictions that limit their activity to only a few nautical miles off the coast and because of the harassment, or loss of property, they face even when they play by the rules. In principle, under the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinian leadership in 1993, Palestinians can fish up to 20 miles off the coast. But in 2007, when Hamas took over Gaza, Israel imposed a land, air, and sea blockade and a blanket three-mile limit within which fishers could realistically haul in only stray sardines. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the policy has not only led to decreased fishing revenues but also depleted the amount of available fish. Only a year after the blockade, sardine catches had already fallen by 90 percent. After the latest cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas, the fishing limit was extended to six nautical miles. However, an extra three miles is still far from enough for fishermen to make a living. As a result, thousands have abandoned the industry. The number of people making their livelihood from the sea has fallen from 10,000 in 2000 to 3,097 in 2011. Given the limited supply, the demand for fish is high, but the fishermen are able to meet only about 20 percent of the needs of the 1.8 million Palestinian [Gazan] people . . . According to United Nations data from 2013, between June 2007 and July 2013, five Palestinian fishermen were killed for sailing out too far. And since the end of the conflict in late August 2014, Gaza’s fishermen have faced a steadily increasing number of attacks from the Israeli navy. Oxfam noted that there were 77 reported incidents between early December 2014 and early February 2015, which averages more than one attack per day. [if you can’t access FA, read the article here]
Donations — Israel, as the occupier, is of course legally responsible for funding the area it occupies
Saudi Arabia donates $35 million to UNRWA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Saudi Arabia has announced that it will provide $35 million to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in a bid to avert a financial crisis within the organization, a statement said. Yousef al-Bassam, Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development, said the donation aims to mitigate a funding crisis within UNRWA, which has threatened to delay the start of the school year for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees. “The closure of schools for half a million Palestinian children would be a catastrophe. I hope the rest of UNRWA’s steadfast partners will take heart in the continued confidence placed in the agency by the Kingdom with this latest contribution, and step forward with their own pledges to keep UNRWA’s operations going,” al-Bassam said. The money will be spent on education and health in the Gaza Strip, upgrading schools and health centers in Jordan, and constructing three health centers in the occupied West Bank. Around $19 million will contribute to reducing the current financial deficit within UNRWA, estimated at some $101 million . . . In May this year, UNRWA signed several agreements with the Saudi Fund for Development worth $111.5 million, bringing to $146.5 million the total of the SFD’s donations to UNRWA so far in 2015. Saudi Arabia is the third largest donor to UNRWA.
EU donates $26 million to East Jerusalem hospitals
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — The European Union and the government of Denmark have announced $26 million in aid to be transferred to hospitals in occupied East Jerusalem, the EU said Thursday. The latest contribution is being channeled through PEGASE, a European mechanism launched in 2008 by the European Commission to help build a Palestinian state. The aid will cover part of debts owed to hospitals by patients referred by the Palestinian Authority for medical care during 2014. The aid comes from both the EU budget ($14 million) and the Government of Denmark ($11 million). Since 2012, the EU and its member states have donated over $67 million in efforts to relieve the financial burden facing six hospitals in the East Jerusalem Hospitals Network, the statement said. This amount has been donated to cover the costs of referral of patients for treatment to East Jerusalem Hospitals by the Palestinian Ministry of Health for a period of over three years.
KOICA celebrates completion of Korea Palestine Center in Hebron
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 Aug – Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has celebrated the completion of the followup project for Korea Palestine Center of the Hebron Municipality on the 6th of August, with a contribution of around $300,000. This followup consisted of procurement of equipment such as desktops, laptops, transport car, IT and network equipment, electronic games and gym equipment, in addition to construction of a 60m2 cafeteria to serve student and community visitors. The follow up also had another component which is the Mtree Creative and Collaborative Program at Korea Palestine Center, started from July 27th till August 6th, with total support of KOICA of USD 62,650.
Abbas: File to be submitted to the ICC on slain teen
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday announced that the first steps had been made towards submitting a case to the International Criminal Court on a Palestinian teen killed by Israeli forces two weeks ago. Laith al-Khaldi was shot in the chest by Israeli forces after allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at the Atara military checkpoint’s army post on July 31. The 17-year-old later died from his injuries after undergoing two surgeries. Abbas’ announcement came after he hosted al-Khaldi’s family at his home and said that Palestinian FM Riyad al-Maliki had been assigned to prepare a file on the teen’s death for submission to the ICC. The president added that al-Khaldi was killed in cold blood and that the crime would not pass by without justice . . . Al-Maliki’s submission on al-Khaldi’s case will join several that Palestinian leadership is currently using to pursue charges against Israel for war crimes in the International Criminal Court . . . Palestinian leadership hopes to pursue such cases with the ICC as rights groups argue Israel’s investigative mechanisms are not capable of carrying out credible investigations into the alleged violations of international law.
Palestinian rights group files lawsuit against PA ‘torture’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Aug — A Palestinian rights group filed a civil lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority in request of one million dollars in compensation for a Palestinian that was allegedly tortured while in the custody of a PA detention center, a press release said Thursday. The Civil Authority for the Independence of the Judiciary Body and Rule of Law (ISTIQLAL) said that their client, Ahmad Bilal Abd al-Malak al-Deek, had officially registered the lawsuit in Nablus’ First Instance Court. Al-Deek, a student at Al-Quds Open University from the village of Kafr ad-Dik in the region of Salfit in the northern West Bank, was detained for five days in early July after he criticized the local government on his personal social media. During his detention, the plaintiff claims that two Palestinian criminal investigation officers exercised various actions of torture against him, such as depriving him from sleep and beating him with sticks and batons, which at some stages led to broken sticks that were pummeled against his body. The plaintiff said he also suffered from verbal abuse and was forced to perform humiliating acts. According to the statement, Palestinian police released al-Deek after his health severely deteriorated, in fear that he might die in custody. The plaintiff was rushed to the Yasser Arafat hospital, where a specialized physician confirmed that his bruises and injuries were a result of torture.”
Al-Ahli win first West Bank-Gaza showdown in 15 years
AFP 15 Aug — The West Bank’s Al-Ahli emerged triumphant Friday in a dramatic finish to the first footballing showdown in 15 years with a team from Israeli-blockaded Gaza to be proclaimed Palestinian champions. Before a vociferous and flag-waving crowd at Al-Ahli’s packed stadium in the town of Hebron, a goal from a direct free kick in the second minute of stoppage time broke a deadlock between the champions of their respective territories. In a first leg in the Gaza Strip, Shejaiya and Al-Ahli played out a goalless draw on August 6 and the two sides were locked in a 1-1 draw in Hebron before the red-and-black striped West Bank club finally triumphed 2-1. Shejaiya were sportingly cheered at the start and finish of the encounter even though the thousands of Hebron spectators drowned out the modest 35-member delegation of players and staff that Israel allowed to cross its territory and travel to the West Bank for the historic match. Al-Ahli will now represent Palestine, a member of football’s world governing body FIFA since 1998, in international competitions.
Married by a woman: a quiet Palestinian revolution
AFP 8 Aug by Majeda El-Batsh — Holding the young couple’s identity cards in one hand and the Koran in the other, the Palestinian justice of the peace pronounces Thaer and Rawan man and wife. It’s an everyday scene at the Islamic sharia law court in the West Bank city of Ramallah except for one glaring difference — the justice is a woman, the first in the Palestinian territories licensed to perform Muslim marriages. Wearing a long black robe decorated with the Palestinian flag and with a keffiyeh scarf draped over her shoulder, Tahrir Hamad, 33, is leading a quiet revolution in Palestinian society. On July 29, she became the first, and so far the only, woman appointed as a “mazouna” – a Muslim official authorised to carry out marriage and divorce. Until now in the Arab world only Egypt and Abu Dhabi have appointed women to the post. The reason there are not more, she says smiling, is cultural rather than theological.
Palestinian cooking classes support disabled children
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Aug by Anna Kokko — In the middle of ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, a group of Palestinian women prepare for lunch. Unlike a regular day when they would be cooking for their families, this Friday afternoon about thirty foreigners are watching closely as they roll grape leaves and stuff zucchinis. For the past five years these traditional Palestinian cooking classes have been the main source of income for about thirteen women involved in Noor Women’s Empowerment Group (Noor WEG). By organizing cooking lessons about four times a month, the women use the participation fees of 65 shekels ($17) per person to support their disabled children. “The men here worry about the occupation, not the children. If the women don’t do anything, who is going to help us?” asks Islam Jameel Abu Auda, the group’s project coordinator. As the Palestinian government provides almost no support for children with disabilities, it is the families’ duty to buy the necessary medicine, diapers, and pay for special school programs. A few other women in the group have healthy children, but have ended up as single mothers. Despite the growing popularity of their cooking classes, setting up the association was a challenge, as not everyone in the camp supported the idea of working women. Having disabled children added another stigma.
Israel proposes 3G mobile network deal to Palestinians
Reuters 13 Aug — Allam Mousa, the Palestinian Minister of Telecommunication, calls the new outline a “breakthrough” — Israel presented a proposal to the Palestinian Authority that could enable the opening of a long-awaited Palestinian 3G mobile network in the West Bank. Meetings held on Thursday had led to an agreement in principle and hinged on the Palestinians meeting Israeli conditions, said a spokesman for the Communications Ministry. He declined to comment on specific terms. Palestinian mobile operators Paltel and Wataniya, still using 2G technology and losing money, are seeking to offer 3G to meet surging demand for data bandwidth through social media applications. Under interim peace accords, Israel effectively has final say in allocating radio frequencies in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule. In the past, Israel has told the Palestinians there were not enough frequencies for 3G and that they should lease access to them from Israeli providers. “We now have the will” for an agreement with the Palestinians, the ministry’s spokesman said.
Army Radio mustn’t be balanced, Palestinians shouldn’t be heard, Israeli minister says
Haaretz 13 Aug by Itay Stern — The Israel Defense Forces’ radio station shouldn’t criticize the Israeli military and must give less time to the Palestinian position and to Africans seeking political asylum in Israel, cabinet minister Ofir Akunis said in an interview with the Al Monitor website. “There (in the Army Radio station) I wouldn’t want balance. There I would expect to see absolute support for the Israeli position and the position of the Israel Defense Forces,” said Akunis, a minister without portfolio in charge of the Israel Broadcasting Authority . . . Akunis denied that he wants to muzzle freedom of speech, saying that his approach is “just the opposite of muzzling. It’s democracy at its best.” “We’re allowing people to speak. But when it comes to Army Radio, which is funded by the Ministry of Defense, the station’s purpose is to be a station for soldiers,” he told Al Monitor.
Israel expands Hebrew language studies in Arab schools
Haaretz 14 Aug by Yarden Skop — Education Ministry says the new program is meant to help Arab students integrate into the workforce and reduce inequality — The Education Ministry will expand the Hebrew language studies program in Arab schools, starting this coming school year in September. The program will now start with kindergarten instead of third grade, and some 120 kindergartens will participate this year in a pilot program that includes getting acquainted with Hebrew for two hours a week. First and second grade students in Arab schools will also receive two hours a week of instruction in Hebrew to become familiar with the language. The cost of the plan is estimated at 30 million shekels ($7.9 million) a year. Starting from the 2016-17 school year, Arab students in grades 3-9 will study Hebrew five hours a week, instead of the present four, with two of these hours allocated to the Hebrew-speaking skills. This school year the students will have one hour dedicated to learning to speak Hebrew.
IDF set to cut half of mostly Bedouin tracker unit
Ynet 13 Aug by Yoav Zitun — Mostly volunteer unit to see major force reduction; some warn that move will damage Bedouin social integration and strengthen Islamic Movement — The IDF plans to reduce the size of the its tracker unit, which is mostly comprised of Bedouin volunteer soldiers by about half, Ynet learned on Wednesday.The move is part of a multi-year plan to cut manpower and increase efficiency. The Ground Forces Command hopes to enact the move as soon as next year, pending approval from senior ranks. S., who served as a tracker in the Gaza Division in the past few years and lives in the Negev, said: “The tracker unit was always the bridge between Israeli society and the Bedouin sector, and the contribution by the trackers to Israel went far beyond the operational dimension. Shutting down half of the unit and send dozens of trackers home, including many career soldiers who will not be hired in civilian jobs, means shooting the army and society in the foot . . . .
Arab Bank settles US litigation over attacks by militants
NEW YORK (Reuters) 14 Aug by Nate Raymond and Joseph Ax –– Arab Bank Plc has agreed to settle litigation brought by hundreds of Americans who accused it of facilitating militant attacks in Israel, nearly a year after a U.S. jury found the bank liable. The settlement was confirmed on Friday by Michael Elsner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, and a spokesman for Arab Bank. The terms were not disclosed. Elsner said the framework of the deal would be finalized over the next few months. A trial had been scheduled to start Monday to begin determining how much the bank would have to pay the victims and their families. Approximately 500 U.S. citizens had sued Arab Bank under the U.S Anti-Terrorism Act, which permits U.S. citizens to pursue claims arising from international terrorism. The plaintiffs included both victims of attacks carried out by Hamas and other groups, as well as family members of the victims. In September 2014, a U.S. jury in Brooklyn, New York, found the Jordan-based bank liable for two dozen Hamas attacks that took place more than a decade ago in and around Israel, the first time a bank was held liable in U.S. court for violating the act. Several other banks are facing similar claims in U.S. courts under the Anti-Terrorism Act, including Bank of China, Credit Lyonnais SA, HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, among others.
Israeli occupation comes to Paris as police suppress ‘Tel Aviv Beach’ protest
[with videos] EI 13 Aug by Ali Abunimah — A propaganda event in Paris on Thursday was supposed to showcase Tel Aviv as a beacon of fun and tolerance. Instead, “Tel Aviv sur Seine” (Tel Aviv on the Seine) turned into more of a real life taste of Israeli military occupation and a public relations disaster for its organizers. The party at a simulated beach on the banks of the River Seine was supposed to celebrate “Israeli nightlife” and carefree living. Instead it was surrounded by hundreds of riot police and only accessible through a checkpoint. Police violently removed a peaceful sit-in by Palestine solidarity activists outraged at what they saw as the Paris city government’s whitewashing of Israeli crimes. Police also coordinated “security” with the extremist group Ligue de Défense Juive (LDJ), the French counterpart of the Jewish Defense League . . . –Gaza beach– Hundreds more people protested at an event they called “Gaza beach,” sponsored by about a dozen solidarity organizations at a nearby stretch of river bank. Many waved Palestinian flags under the close watch of riot police, as this video shows:
Another example of the Israelification of US police forces
St Louis police bought Israeli skunk spray after Ferguson uprising
EI 13 Aug by Rania Khalek — Three months after Ferguson erupted in protest over the police killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) added an Israeli weapon called skunk to its protest-crushing arsenal, arms industry news website Defense One has confirmed. Skunk is a crowd control “malodorant” developed by the Israeli police in collaboration with Odortec, an Israeli company that specializes in scent-based weapons, and tested on Palestinians. Released at high pressure from a water cannon, canister or grenade, skunk liquid emits an odor — described as a mix of rotting animal carcass, raw sewage and human excrement — that sticks to walls, clothing, hair and skin for days to weeks and is impossible to wash away without a special soap that is only accessible to police.