United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America 28, August — The final session of the UE 74th National Convention on Thursday morning, August 20, discussed and approved several more resolutions, including “Stop the Dismantling of Public Education”, “Build Union Co-ops”, “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel,” “For Peace, Jobs, and a Pro-Worker Foreign Policy”, “Defend Civil Liberties”, “Support the Family Farmer”, “Fight Workplace Closings,” “For a Safe and Healthy Workplace, Fix OSHA Now”, and “Workplace Struggle.”
Delegates upheld the UE tradition of taking courageous stands on foreign policy issues when they adopted the resolution on Palestine and Israel. It points to Israel’s long history of violating the human rights of the Palestinians, starting with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48 that turned most of Palestine into the State of Israel. It cites a statement issued by UE’s officers in 2014 condemning Israel’s war on Gaza last summer that killed more than 2,000, mostly civilians, including 500 children. It calls for cutting off U.S. aid to Israel, U.S. support for a peace settlement on the basis of self-determination for Palestinians and the right to return. The resolution also endorses the worldwide BDS movement – Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions – to pressure Israel to end its apartheid over the Palestinians just as similar tactics helped to end South African apartheid in the 1980s. UE is now the first U.S. national union to endorse BDS.
Speaking for the resolution were Angaza Laughinghouse, Local 150, Matt Braddon, Local 222; Chris Wolford, Local 170; Autumn Martinez and Elizabeth Jesdale, Local 255. Martinez and Jesdale both said they had met Palestinian trade unionists when they attended the World Social Forum in Tunisia, and Martinez said, “It’s absolutely disgusting what is going on. Free Palestine!”
US industrial union votes to endorse BDS
Haaretz 30 Aug — One of the more prominent industrial unions in the U.S. voted to endorse the goals of the worldwide boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) movement against Israel, citing “its long history of violating the human rights of the Palestinians,” thus purportedly becoming the first nationwide union to do so. The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers’ national convention met in Baltimore last week and voted on a string of foreign and as well as domestic policy issues, including the call to boycott Israel and support the nuclear deal with Iran. According to a statement on the UE’s website, the union voted in favor of the “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel”, and cited Israel’s sordid human rights record: “starting with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48 that turned most of Palestine into the State of Israel.” The move’s goal, the union said, was “to pressure Israel to end its apartheid over the Palestinians just as similar tactics helped to end South African apartheid in the 1980s.” The union further called for the U.S. aid to Israel to be cut off and expressed support for “the right to return.”
Violence / Raids / Clashes / Detentions
Violent arrest of Palestinian man in Al-Khalil (Hebron)
HEBRON, occupied Palestine 29 Aug by ISM, al-Khalil Team — A 52-year old Palestinian man was arrested at Shuhada checkpoint in al-Khalil (Hebron) yesterday, for ‘not obeying soldiers’ orders. Israeli forces painfully handcuffed and blindfolded him. Around 1:30 pm, Hisham Azzeh walked through Shuhada Checkpoint in order to reach his house that is located up the hill next to the illegal settlement in Tel Rumeida. At this first checkpoint on his way home, Hisham passed through the metal detector without it beeping to indicate he had to go back and pass again. Therefore, he continued on his way, but Israeli soldiers yelled at him to go back and pass through the checkpoint again for no reason. When he did not immediately comply with the soldiers orders, they arrested him. Israeli soldiers painfully handcuffed him with his hands behind his back with plastic handcuffs, without any regard for a recent operation on his hand. The soldiers also blindfolded him, so he was unable to see what happened to him and where he was brought. On the way up the hill towards the military base, the pain, caused by the plastic handcuffs, was so intense, that Israeli soldiers had to allow Azzeh to sit down on the ground, as he was unable to continue walking. Palestinians observing the arrest were continously telling soldiers about Azzeh’s recent operation on his hand and the plate that had to be inserted during this operation. Even though they were explaining the immense pain the plastic handcuffs were causing to Azzeh due to this operation, the Israeli soldiers shouted at them to leave the area and be quiet. Various requests to call an ambulance were denied. Only after Azzeh’s brother, who is a medical professional, arrived and reasoned with the soldiers, they attempted to cut the handcuffs.
Palestinians clash with Israeli forces after Sunday mass
[photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — Palestinian Christians clashed with Israeli forces following mass on Sunday when demonstrators, including priests, marched to protest renewed work on Israel’s controversial separation wall in the Christian majority town of Beit Jala in the occupied West Bank. The march, the latest in a string of protests, moved through neighborhoods in the Bethlehem-district town where Israeli forces are extending the separation wall, which is considered illegal under international law. Israeli forces shot tear-gas at protesters and physical altercations broke out when Israeli forces attempted to suppress the protest. Two protesters were arrested for allegedly throwing stones at soldiers guarding the construction zone, police said. Several clergymen participated in the march, including Archbishop and former Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah. Sabbah denounced the work that began earlier this month. “This land belongs to us,” he said.”Whatever they do, whatever their courts say, this land belongs to us and it will return to us one day. You are stronger with your guns, but you are not the strongest when it comes to humanity.”
Israeli army: Settler lightly injured in shooting near Nablus
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — An Israeli settler was lightly injured in a shooting Sunday while driving west of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army said. An Israeli army spokesperson said that the Israeli man was shot at from a passing car near the illegal Israeli settlement of Qedumim. She said that he was injured in both his hand and leg, but was unable to confirm whether his injuries were caused by shattering glass or a bullet. The settler then drove to the entrance of Qedumim, where emergency teams treated him and took him to hospital, she said. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the man was around 46 and that he had been taken to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba in Israel. Israeli Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv separately reported that the shooter’s car had Israeli license plates. The army spokeswoman said that the car had “fled the scene,” and Israeli forces were searching the area.
Army displaces 14 families to conduct training near Tubas
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Aug — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday morning, the ar-Ras al-Ahmar area, east of the central West Bank city of Tubas, and displaced 14 families, so that the army can conduct a five-day training drill. Head of the Wadi al-Maleh and Bedouin Tribes Local Council ‘Aref Daraghma said the soldiers surrounded the entire area, declared it a closed military zone and displaced the fourteen families. Daraghma added that the army said its training would last five days, from six in the morning until twelve at noon. The army frequently displaces Palestinian families, especially Bedouin families that depend on their livestock as their only sources of income, in order to conduct live-fire military training in the Jordan Valley, the countryside of the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and various other areas.
Including a child, three Palestinians kidnapped in Ramallah and Jerusalem
IMEMC 30 Aug — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, the town of Silwad, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, kidnapped a child, and held his 10-year-old brother in the bathroom while interrogating and threatening him. The army also kidnapped two young men in occupied East Jerusalem. The child, Hamza Shokri Hammad, 15 years of age, was kidnapped after a large number of soldiers smashed the family’s main door, and detained him in one of the rooms after forcing him brother Bilal, 10 years of age, into the bathroom, where he was threatened and interrogated. Hammad was taken prisoner before the soldiers left the property; the family said the army confiscated mobile phones, Game CD’s, in addition to destroying a computer. The family added that the soldiers also took some of Bilal’s toys, and scattered them outside the property. The kidnapped child is the son of Moayyad Hammad, who was taken prisoner many years ago, and was sentenced to seven life terms. Last week, the Israeli Prison Authority denied Hamza the right to visit his imprisoned father under the pretext that he is underage and needs a permit, although under Israeli law, children do not need a permit.
Also on Sunday at dawn, soldiers invaded the al-‘Eesawiyya town, in occupied Jerusalem, kidnapped two young Palestinian men, and took them to an interrogation center in the city. The two have been identified as Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf Mahmoud, and ‘Amid ‘Obeid.
PA escalates detention campaigns against Hamas members in West Bank
Occupied West Bank (Alresalah.ps) 31 Aug — PA security apparatuses have escalated detention campaigns against political leaders and supporters of Hamas in the occupied West Bank. The PA forces detained 8 Hamas-affiliated members and handed two others orders for investigation in the province of Tubas. Nader Sawafta, one of the eight detainees, has been engaged in a hunger strike, ever since he was imprisoned by the PA forces, his family confirmed.
Settlers set up checkpoint, inspect Palestinian vehicle near Salfit
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 30 Aug – Dozens of Israeli settlers on Saturday night blocked a main road in the Salfit-district village of Yasuf in the northern central West Bank and set up a checkpoint where they inspected Palestinian vehicles for several hours, local Palestinian officials said. Head of the Yasuf village council, Hafith Ubayya, told Ma‘an that settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Kfar Tappuah closed the main road leading to Yasuf village and inspected the vehicles. Ubayya said that the incident took place close to Tappuah checkpoint, a major Israeli military checkpoint between the Palestinian villages of Yasuf and Zaatara. Ubayya added that a large group of settlers tried to raid Yasuf and “vandalize properties and attack unarmed Palestinian citizens,” but that villagers confronted them and prevented the attack. He added that locals contacted Palestinian Authority officials asking for protection from the settlers who he said attempted to attack the village “before the very eyes of Israeli occupation soldiers who intervene only to protect the settlers.” An Israeli army spokeswoman said that she was “not aware of any attempt” to set up a checkpoint. She said that “a group of civilians” living in Kfar Tappuah settlement “were looking for a missing horse, so there was a huge crowd” out on the road and surrounding fields.
A picture of a headlock that’s worth a thousand words
Haaretz 30 Aug by Anshel Pfeffer — Why hasn’t the IDF, one of the most sophisticated and advanced militaries in the world learned a damned thing since the first intifada? – –Let’s set aside for a few paragraphs the question of whether Israeli forces should be in the West Bank, the competing claims between the Nabi Saleh villagers and the neighboring settlement over the local spring, around which the weekly protests take place, and even stop asking for a moment which side’s leaders are more at fault for the lack of a viable solution. Let’s just ask why that picture is so unsurprising. -Shouting for help- Look at it again. Only one part of the soldier’s body radiates confidence. His right hand is holding on to the assault rifle, correctly pointing it towards the ground, and even though you can’t see it, you absolutely know all his fingers are around the handle, outside the trigger-guard. He’s a pro rifleman. All the rest of his body is shouting for help. He’s overpowered a child half of his size, who may or may not have been correctly identified as throwing stones, but the soldier doesn’t know what to do next. He’s been intensively trained by a crack infantry battalion to go after Hezbollah fighters in the Lebanese underbrush, but nothing in the few days he spent mastering the use tear gas and stun grenades before this deployment could have possibly prepared him for what he’s doing now. And that’s before the mother and sisters of the boy start jumping on him and biting his hand. Unlike him, they’ve been in this situation dozens of times in recent years. They know he’s going to keep on using his strong arm to cling to the useless rifle, the other one to cling inexpertly to the wriggling child, while trying to keep balance on the rocky slope. Deployment after deployment, year after year, decade after decade, some of the IDF’s most accomplished combat units are sent to places like Nabi Saleh, Na’alin and Bil’in, where these dramas have played out with depressing regularity every Friday at noon, and insisted that they’re soldiers doing a soldier’s job, not glorified riot police. It’s no longer a tactical mistake, it’s a national headlock in which an entire army, and behind it a nation, remains in a state of denial that there are military solutions to the conflict.
The Palestinian family who fought off an Israeli soldier arresting their young son
NABI SALEH, West Bank (MEE) 30 Aug by Sheren Khalel — The Tamimi family say the presence of journalists was key to them fighting off an Israeli soldier from arresting their 11-year-old Mohammed — Nariman Tamimi says she and her son were watching the protest from afar when she noticed something was not right. The soldiers, who she says would usually block the protest before it could reach the steep hillside of her village, seemed to be encouraging protesters to descend down the slope. By the time she had figured out why, it was too late. She says dozens of soldiers were hiding behind trees and boulders on the hillside, jumping out to capture unsuspecting protesters. “We saw that the soldiers had my nephew and a foreign activist they were going to arrest, and everyone ran to help them,” Nariman says. When the other demonstrators ran to the aid of the two protesters who were being arrested, Nariman’s son, Mohammed Tamimi, 11, stayed behind and continued to watch from a distance. That’s when he was captured alone. What happened next was caught on camera in a series of photos depicting a young boy being pinned to the ground by an Israeli soldier, as the boy’s mother, aunt and sister struggle to pry the grown man off the child . . . -‘No safe place’- All of Nariman’s children, even her youngest son, 9, partake in Nabi Saleh’s demonstrations. She says she doesn’t keep her children home during the protests because even in their home they aren’t safe. In the photos, the young boy being pinned down is wearing a cast on his arm, an injury his mother says was caused when Israeli forces attacked their home only two day before Friday’s incident. “You can see in the photos he is wearing a cast,” Nariman says. “The soldiers shot tear gas into the house and broke our windows, one of the metal canisters that flew inside hit his arm and broke his wrist. Mohammed wasn’t protesting on Friday because his wrist had just been broken.” “So, there is no safe place in Nabi Saleh inside or outside, but the children are less traumatized being out there facing their fears than in here hiding, it makes them feel better, psychologically,” Nariman insists.
Israel has failed to reform Jewish radicals, critics charge
SHIR HADASH OUTPOST, West Bank (AP) 30 Aug by Daniel Estrin — The Israeli government initiative has a soothing biblical name, the Hebrew Shepherd, and a serious aim: to keep ultranationalist Jewish settler youths from turning to violence and attacking Palestinians and their property. But the program — which included plans for a summer camp and carpentry courses to keep the kids out of trouble — has foundered. Many settler youths have refused to cooperate after rumors spread that Israel’s domestic security agency, Shin Bet, which snoops on Jewish extremists, was involved.It is but one example of Israel’s failure to rein in youths suspected of carrying out ultranationalist attacks. The deadliest such assault, a firebombing last month on a West Bank home, killed an 18-month-old toddler, Ali Dawabsheh, and his father, Saed, and critically wounded his mother and 4-year-old brother . . . But there has been complicit tolerance of the phenomenon for years, say Palestinian leaders, former Israeli security officials and even some settlers. They blame holes in Israel’s juvenile welfare system, lax law enforcement, a lenient justice system and rabbis and Israeli leaders unwilling or unable to tackle the elusive young fundamentalists . . . After last month’s firebombing, Israel carried out arrest raids of hilltop outposts and jailed three Israeli settler activists in their early 20s for six months without charge, a measure used regularly against Palestinian detainees but rarely on Israelis. Israel has not yet found the culprits of the deadly attack. The Israeli rights group B’Tselem said despite the recent crackdown, Israel is unwilling to prosecute settlers suspected of crimes against Palestinians. In the past three years, the group said, Israeli civilians set fire to nine Palestinian homes in the West Bank and hurled a firebomb at a Palestinian taxi, but no one was charged. “The government has created a climate of impunity with settlers,” said Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem . . . Recent arrests of young settler activists offer a peek into what the Shin Bet says is a fringe group suspected of arson attacks on Palestinian property in order to bring about religious “redemption.” One suspect, Moshe Orbach, is accused of writing a detailed instruction manual on how to set fire to mosques, churches and Palestinian homes. Entitled “Kingdom of Evil,” it instructs activists to form underground cells committed to “sanctifying God’s name” — and with members who know how “to keep silent in interrogations.”
West Bank watchmen on guard for Israeli intruders
DUMA, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 29 Aug — During the darkest hours of the night in the village of Duma, east of Nablus, Palestinian men stood guard at the edge of their village. They were waiting and watching for potential intruders. After an attack on a family home in Duma on July 31 that killed two members of the Dawabsheh family, including an 18-month-old infant, men and boys from the village formed a neighbourhood watch group. They were wary of the presence of Israeli settlers whose land surrounds them, accusing them of “terrorist” attacks. “The groups are following the village council, so anything that happens, they have to call, and I will handle everything,” village leader Abdul Salam Dawabsha told Al Jazeera, noting that he communicates directly to Palestinian authorities on behalf of Duma. There is no police station in Duma, and the closest one is nearly six kilometres away. But if intruders make it into the village, Dawabsha said, he can call government officials for assistance. Al Jazeera patrolled with the watchmen on a recent night and agreed not to use the men’s family names in order to shield their identity, as they expressed fears that they could be targeted by Israeli authorities. At the entrance to Duma, nearly two dozen young men gathered on the road with heavy tree branches, which they were prepared to wield as weapons, and flashlights. Their work begins at 10pm and ends at 4am, before the first calls to prayer. The night is split into two shifts to help those who have work the next morning. But most participants come out all night, every night. “We are all brothers; we can face the [Israelis],” said Mohammed, 27, the leader of the patrol group. “If we are forced to fight, we will do it. We will not stay and sleep in our houses.” He admitted his frustration with the Palestinian Authority, saying he wished they would send a police force to assist them. The men on watch are all volunteers, and most have jobs or university studies during the day.
Gaza News photo: ‘What was I burned for?’
[with photo] 28 Aug — “What was I burned for? Where is my family” were the very first words mumbled by four-year-old victim of an Israeli arson attack, Ahmad Sa‘ad Dawabsheh, after his health status has seen a slight improvement. Ahmad’s brother, an 18-month toddler, was burned to death after Israeli vandals set fire to their family home in Duma. His father succumbed to his wounds few days later in the Soroka hospital in Beersheba. “What was I burned for? Why am I held in this bed?” Ahmad asked his grandfather. “Ahmad keeps asking me to contact his father to take him back home from the hospital,” Ahmad’s grandfather said . . . Both Ahmad and his mother underwent skin grafting surgery. Medics said their health status is still critical despite the slight improvements in Ahmad’s health.
[Allegedly] Israel restricts access to Aqsa to establish ‘daily Jewish prayer’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Endowment said Sunday that Israel is imposing severe restrictions on Palestinian entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in a bid to initiate a daily schedule for Jewish prayer at the holy site. The allegation, which echoes concerns expressed by Palestinian worshipers and the PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came as restrictions for Palestinian worshipers to the compound ran into the second consecutive week. Israeli officers inspected all Palestinian men entering the compound and denied entry to a number of men below the age of 40, worshipers said. They added that many others were asked to leave their identity cards at Israeli checkpoints outside entry gates. Meanwhile, around 30 right-wing Jews were allowed into the compound through the Moroccan gate under heavily Israeli police escort, worshipers told Ma‘an. The Moroccan gate is typically used by non-Muslims to enter the Aqsa compound who are allowed inside during designated times of the day. While non-Muslims are allowed inside, non-Muslim prayer is banned and worshipers say that recently the gate has been designated for use almost entirely by extremist Jewish groups heading to pray in the compound. The director of the Ministry of Endowment’s Jerusalem office, Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, condemned the “daily occurrence in the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque,” saying that all Palestinian women were being denied entry to the compound before 11 a.m . . . Ihad Sabri, the headmistress of Al-Aqsa’s religious school, said that Israeli police officers were continuing to impede the entry of schoolgirls and faculty members to the holy site. “Israeli police temperamentally decide when and how to allow schoolgirls and teachers to their school inside al-Aqsa compound,” she said.
Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah discuss flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque
AMMAN (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — President Mahmoud Abbas met on Sunday with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman to discuss recent tensions at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as regional issues.Abbas briefed Abdullah on his latest meetings with international and regional leaders that allegedly aimed to revive the peace process.The Palestinian president told Abdullah about the current situation in Jerusalem, and the Jordanian role in protecting the city and its holy sites was discussed between the two . . . . Jordan has custodianship over the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem — which is holy to both Jews and Muslims — and other Muslim holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state. The custodianship is enshrined in the peace treaty that the Hashemite Kingdom signed with Israel in 1994. Amman is also seen as a key player in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and King Abdullah II has repeatedly called on Israel to end “its unilateral action and repeated attacks” against Jerusalem’s holy sites.
Israel issues actual imprisonment sentences against five Palestinians, imposes fines
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 Aug – The Palestinian Prisoner’s Club (PPC) Sunday reported that different Israeli military courts have issued actual imprisonment sentences against five Palestinian detainees and imposed fines on them. In a press statement, PPC said the courts sentenced Qadri Bsharat, from Tubas, to 30 months in jail, while Mohammed Sleem, from Qalqilia, received a 28-month sentence. Both prisoners were fined about $1000. Meanwhile, prisoner Abd al-Ellah Sabha, from Tubas, received an 11-month sentence and a $1250 fine, whereas Hamza Radaydeh, from Bethlehem, was sentenced to two months and to pay a fine of around $500. In the meantime, Israeli military courts renewed the detention orders of around 43 prisoners under the pretext of finishing investigations and judicial proceedings.
‘What’s the number of your room, child?’
+972 Blog 29 Aug by Sawsan Khalife‘ — Attacking and imprisoning Palestinian children has shaped Palestinian generations for decades. The more rights-deprived the childhood, the more hungry for freedom adulthood will be — . . . While watching the child [Muhammad Basim Tamimi] running from the soldier and crying for help, I couldn’t help but wonder whether he knew what would happen to him if he were arrested. I wondered whether there is a room for children in the West Bank similar to “Room Number 4,” which Palestinian children in East Jerusalem know all too well. It would be surprising to find a child, or even an adult, in East Jerusalem who is not familiar with “Room Number 4.” This is the name of the interrogation room in Jerusalem’s police station in the Russian compound neighborhood, where Palestinian residents, including children, are interrogated. While hundreds of children are arrested annually, it is the conditions they undergo during their arrest and interrogation that represents possibly the most severe violation, under both Israeli and international law. The name of the room comes from the Israeli interrogators who ask the children about to be interrogated, “Do you know why we call this room ‘Room Number 4′? Because when we are done with you Arabs you will crawl out of this room on all fours, like babies.” Nearly two years ago local activists launched a campaign called “Room number 4”, aiming to raise awareness of child abuse at the hands of Israeli police forces in East Jerusalem. The website they established serves as a platform for many testimonies of Palestinian children, and provides reports from the Madaa Center in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Using interviews with children between the ages of seven and 17 and their testimonies, as well as statistics, the Madaa Center initiative shows the impact of the arrests and detentions. According to the report, 63 percent of detained children are denied food, water and access to the restroom during interrogation. “I was thirsty and hungry. When I asked to go to the toilet they told me to pee in my jeans,” said one eight-year-old child.
5 Palestinian detainees continue hunger strike
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Aug — Five Palestinian detainees in the Israeli Nafha prison have been on an open-ended hunger strike for seven days in protest of their administrative detention without charge or trial, according to a Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee attorney. The detainees are Nedal Abu ‘Akr, 45, Shadi Ma‘ali, 39, Ghassan Zawahra, 32, Bader al-Ruzza, and Munir Abu Sharar, according to WAFA correspondence. Fadi ‘Ubeidat, an attorney representing the Detainees and Ex-detainees Committee, said that the detainees gave the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) until September 1 to respond to their demand to end their administrative detention. It said that if the prison administration failed to meet their demand, they would stop taking liquids as well. Nedal Abu ‘Aker, who has been held in administrative detention since 28 June 2014, said that he together with the four other detainees would boycott Israeli courts, for holding false unjust trials. Having no access to evidence that led to their detention, Abu ‘Aker said that these pieces of evidence are merely malicious files.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli company surveys land in Hebron for settlements’ road expansion
HEBRON (WAFA) 30 Aug – An Israeli land surveying company Sunday surveyed tracts of land adjacent to Hebron-Jerusalem highway 60, and belonging to several local Palestinian families, said a farmer from Hebron who witnessed the Israeli company begin surveying works. Atta Jaber, a local Palestinian farmer, told WAFA the company was surveying Palestinian private-owned lands at a 12-meter-depth from both sides of the road, just to the outside of Beit Enoun junction. According to WAFA’s correspondent, the company which is yet to be identified is most likely surveying land to expand the Hebron-Jerusalem highway 60 starting from the Beit Enoun junction all the way to al-Baq‘a area, in which the Jaber family has few dunums of land. Jaber said the lands being surveyed, including al-Baq‘a, are the most fertile in the area and are planted with thousands of grape trees. The witnesses said if the land in question was confiscated, they would be seized for the benefit of illegal Israeli settlers who use the road to move between the southern illegal settlements. [See 2011 ISM story on this family and their land]
Israeli drilling endangers Bethlehem area village
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Aug — Ongoing Israeli drilling works, including detonation of rocks, near the village of Wadi Fukin, to the west of Bethlehem, may put the lives of nearby Palestinians at risk, according to village mayor Ahmad Sukkar. Sukkar said recently that renewed drilling work by the Israeli authorities in the area also involve the use of heavy explosives to detonate rocks. This, according to him, has put the lives of many Palestinians as well as their properties and homes at risk, as a great amount of stone shrapnel splattered and fell near homes during detonation of rocks. According to WAFA, the mayor also said that detonations work have badly affected water resources in and outside the village, and the outcomes are much worse given the nature of the village and the fact it relies heavily on agriculture. The village is just close to Beitar Illit illegal settlement, one of the largest and most rapidly growing Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The settlement was established in 1984 on the lands of the Palestinian village of Husan.
Twilight Zone: Israel leaves 80 children at mercy of August sun / Gideon Levy & Alex Levac
Haaretz 29 Aug — In one of its more widespread acts of demolition, the Civil Administration last week left 127 men, women and children without shelter in 42-degree-Celsius heat — Hudeifa crawls across the barren, rocky ground. She’s receding into the distance. Every so often, her father goes after her and brings her back to the only bit of shade in view, under the only tree in the area. Sometimes he even ties her leg to the tree trunk, to keep her from crawling away again. The 1-year-old baby is covered in dust from head to foot. She no longer has a home, a roof, not even a tent. Nor does her father, Ali Hussein Abdullah. Or any of the 24 members of her family, some of whom are also sheltering in the shade of the tree, along with chickens that survived the raid. They have nowhere else to go. Since personnel from the Civil Administration – Israel’s governing body in the West Bank – left their property in ruins last week, they no longer have a home, not even a tent, not even a water container. They sleep on this hard, rocky ground, under the tree. It was hot this week in the Jordan Rift; 42 degrees Celsius. But last week, when administration forces arrived to demolish and destroy, the valley was broiling hot. That was of no interest to the troops: They were just doing their job . . And here’s the result: Hudeifa crawling across the sand under the blazing August sun of the Jordan Rift. A sweet baby who likes to suck her thumb, she has actually been homeless for more than a week. She’s one of 127 people suffering the same plight, 80 of them children and infants, in the two sites of last week’s devastation – in the Jordan Rift and next to the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, close to Jerusalem. Not by chance, of course: These are two of the three sites of Israel’s ethnic-cleansing efforts (the third is in the South Hebron Hills). These sites are meant to be annexed to Israel one day, to come under its sovereignty; until then, they need to be made ready, cleaned out. The Bedouin population in these areas is the weakest link, so naturally, they were chosen by the administration to bear the brunt of its malicious abuse. (Cont.)
Israel’s destruction of Mamilla cemetery part of effort to remove Palestine from Jerusalem
Mondoweiss 27 Aug by Pablo Castellani & Chiara Cruciati — Mamilla cemetery does not exist anymore. What exists now is a hotel, a school, a parking lot, a public garden, a nightclub and the US consulate. Also a museum to celebrate tolerance. But the meaning of tolerance in West Jerusalem, a few steps away from the Old City, is surreal — to build the story of a new Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities are erasing its past. Mamilla cemetery is a prominent cornerstone of the Arab, Islamic and Palestinian identity of the city. But today it’s a forgotten place. Since the creation of the State of Israel, the Israeli government has worked to remove the graveyard from the heart of West Jerusalem. “In 1948, the year of Nakba, the catastrophe of the Palestinian people, the upper part was immediately transformed into a public park, renamed ‘Independence Park’, aimed at celebrating the victory in the ’48 war. They created the garden, uprooting and removing dozens of ancient tombs.” explains Nader Dajani as he walks between what remains of the cemetery of his ancestors. The Dajani family is one of the most ancient and wealthy families in Palestine, several of its members are buried in Mamilla . . . Today, the graveyard has almost disappeared. A few ancient tombstones are relegated into the lower part, covered by grass and trash. It’s not easy to estimate how many gravestones were located there but, according to an investigation by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, at least 1,500 tombs were removed by bulldozers and the human remains just thrown away. “The Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have to ask the Israeli State for the permission to clean and take care of the cemetery,” Dajani says.
Why a pro-settler group wants to talk about Isis
Haokets 28 Aug by Yonathan Mizrachi — An Israeli group working in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan is presenting ISIS destruction of antiquities as a cautionary tale for its own struggle with Palestinians — . . . After construction undertaken by the Islamic Waqf led to the destruction of antiquities on the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif in the 1990s, it was Elad which invested funds and acted to sift the debris dumped into the Kidron Valley. To this day, it is one of the key projects that Elad finances and operates in East Jerusalem. But this activity, presented as an attempt to rescue the antiquities of the Temple Mount, has no archeological value and its importance is primarily educational and political, both in terms of having archaeologists engaged in sifting through the dirt, and with its links to settlers in East Jerusalem. The message is clear: Muslims aims to destroy antiquities and Israel intervenes to prevent such atrocities . . . While archaeological research has long disregarded many of the methods used in past centuries, in Jerusalem, the Elad-funded Israel Antiquities Authority still considers them as legitimate tools in Silwan and in the Old City. For example, in the Givati Parking Lot excavations, the IAA removed Muslim layers, and excavated using tunnels and in underground spaces — methods that destroy antiquities and have been discontinued a century ago. . . . ISIS and right-wing organizations in Israel and the West are using archaeology for the same purpose — to distinguish themselves from others and to portray a division between ‘good’ and ‘evil.’ In conservative circles in the West that see Islam as a threat, the shock from the destruction of antiquities is related to the perception of the gap between the two cultures. It is easy to forget that the Palestinians are not ISIS, that Elad is not a protector of antiquities as it presents itself to be, and that Jerusalem is a city whose heritage is shared. No matter how many ancient sites are being destroyed in the war in Syria or Iraq, it is here in Jerusalem where joint preservation of the relics of the past will ensure the future of those places and our ability to respect and accept one other.
Hebron Palestinians protest settlers’ seizure of hospital
MEMO 30 Aug — Dozens of Palestinians staged demonstrations on Saturday outside the Al-Baraka hospital complex in the southern West Bank city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) to protest the occupation of the premises by Jewish settlers. The demonstrations, which included a number of Palestinian Christians, were organized by local popular resistance committees. “Palestinians will never accept Israel’s policy of illegal Jewish settlement,” Fr. Attallah Hanaa, a Palestinian Christian clergyman who participated in the protest, told Anadolu Agency. “We will always reject Israel’s seizure of Islamic and Christian institutions,” he said. “We are of this land; it is our home, our history, our identity,” the priest added. “And we will never surrender it to the Israeli occupiers.” According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the settlers claim to have purchased the hospital complex from a U.S.-based Christian NGO through a Swedish firm that served as middleman. Located near the Al-Aarub refugee camp, the hospital complex sits on 40 dunums of land and comprises eight buildings (a dunum is roughly equivalent to one acre). Since its establishment in the 1940s until its closure some four decades later, the hospital had provided free services to Palestinians who suffered from tuberculosis. According to Palestinian residents of the area, Israel plans to build a new Jewish-only settlement on the site, which sits adjacent to thousands of dunums of agricultural land.
Israel to remove Jordan Valley settlers farming private Palestinian land
Haaretz 30 Aug by Chaim Levinson — Haaretz exposé prompted High Court petition over allocation of land to settlers — The Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration is planning to evacuate settlers from more than 5,000 dunams (1,250 acres) of private Palestinian farmlands in the Jordan Valley, Haaretz has learned. In recent weeks a Civil Administration team has begun negotiating with the settlers on the compensation they would be paid for their evacuation. The settlers have been farming the lands in question, located between the border fence and the actual border with Jordan, since the 1990s. The lands’ owners fled in 1967 and the entire area was closed to Palestinians in 1969, when Israel declared it a military zone. Until 1994, the area was completely abandoned, including the ancient churches in the area, because of a large number of minefields in the region. At the beginning of the 1980s, the government decided to encourage farmers to work the fields in the area to create a buffer zone along the border and prevent infiltration from Jordan. However, the government also banned farming the privately owned Palestinian lands. In January 2013 Haaretz reported that the World Zionist Organization’s settlement division, which had received the lands from the state, had leased the land to Jewish farmers in the Jordan Valley, after an assistant to the defense minister revoked the state’s decision not to farm them. The original owners, some of whom returned to the West Bank after the 1993 Oslo Accords signing and the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, are still not allowed to access the land because of a military order preventing them from entering the border area. Following Haaretz’s exposé in January 2013 of the allocation of the lands to the settlers, some of the owners petitioned the High Court of Justice and asked for their land back.
Al-Qassam announces death of a fighter in tunnel accident
IMEMC 30 Aug — The Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) has reported that one of its fighters was killed, Saturday, in a tunnel accident, in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. On its webpage, the al-Qassam said Anwar Faraj Abu al-Ghalban, 23 years of age, died while working in a tunnel, and that the slain fighter is from Khan Younis city. The Brigades said it will continue its operations and activities, including digging siege-busting tunnels, and military training, until ending the Israeli occupation, and the liberation of Palestine. Dozens of fighters, and tunnel workers, have been killed in similar accidents, while many were killed after the Israeli army bombarded tunnel areas as they were working in them. Many Palestinians in Gaza, not affiliated with the armed resistance, work in tunnels to provide food to their families due to the deadly Israeli siege on the coastal region.
IOF open fire at Gaza’s fishermen
GAZA CITY (Alresalah.ps) 31 Aug — Israeli naval gunboats opened heavy fire Sunday at the Palestinian fishing boats off the coasts of the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli gunboats targeted the Palestinian fishermen off the coasts of Beit Lahia City, situated in the north of the Gaza Strip, sources said. No injuries were reported. Israeli navy also targeted Palestinian fishing boats off the coasts of Central Gaza Strip, sources added.
IOF open fire at Palestinian farmers in Khan Younis City
GAZA CITY (Alresalah.ps) 31 Aug — Israeli tanks, on Monday, opened fire at Palestinians on the eastern borders of Khan Younis City, south of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli forces opened fire at the farmers and houses situated in the east of Khuza‘a village, locals said. No injuries were reported.
More children to work as Gaza siege forces families out of jobs
GAZA (Channel NewsAsia) 30 Aug by Halla Alsafadi — In Gaza, more than 65,000 children between the ages of 7-14 work to support their family — For many impoverished families living in the Gaza Strip, the sole breadwinner of the family is usually not yet ten years old. Years of Israeli occupation and an increasingly deteriorating economic situation have resulted in thousands of children quitting school to help support their families. For many children, the few cents they bring home from selling chewing gum, cigarette lighters and tissues is sometimes the only income their families will receive. Mohammed is one of these children. He works up to ten hours a day, for less than six dollars. He misses school and wants to go back as soon as his father finds a job. He and his brother Saleh sell shoes in the local market. “I have been working for a year so that I can buy food for my family,” said Mohammed Alzaharna. “We need money to bring food for the house. There is no market, no work, no borders. They need money at home because we have kids and adults who need to spend money for their university.” Thousands of Gaza children have dropped out of school to help their family.
A year ago, a cease-fire was announced in Gaza. But this boy’s life had already changed forever.
HuffPost 28 Aug by Mohammer Omer — Thaeer Juda’s mother, sisters and brothers passed away a year ago. That day a cease-fire was announced in Gaza. After 50 days of fighting some 1,800 children had become orphans, according to Euro-Mid Observers for Human Rights. Below is an excerpt from my book, “Shell-Shocked: On the Ground Under Israel’s Gaza Assault” based on my experience reporting from Gaza on this day. JABALYA Refugee Camp, Northern Gaza — As shouts of celebration about the cease-fire ring out across Gaza, 10-year-old Thaeer Juda lies in Gaza’s Shifa hospital ICU unit. He’s badly injured and has had his right leg and some of his right fingers amputated. His left side is only marginally better off. His hands have been shattered, while his face and chest have been pocked by shrapnel that ripped through his little body after an Israeli strike. Thaeer will survive, but will have to do so without many of the loved ones he expected to know for the rest of his life. He doesn’t know what happened to his mother, Rawia, or his two sisters, Tasnim and Taghreed, nor his brothers Osama and Mohammed. But they are all gone — killed in one foul swoop by the same Israeli strike that landed Thaeer in hospital and will keep him there, long after the “victory” cries outside have died down.Disaster struck this family just before sunset, on a very hot August night.
Hamas releases new details of Israel’s ‘Black Friday’ massacre
MEE 29 Aug — Al-Jazeera has aired a new documentary called “Black Box” that sheds new light on the events that took place on Black Friday in Rafah, south of the Gaza strip this past summer. Described by an Amnesty International report as a day of “carnage”, Black Friday, or 1 August, was supposed to be the first day of a 72-hour ceasefire between the Israeli army and Palestinian armed factions. Israeli media reported that three soldiers were killed during a tunnel kidnapping attempt by Hamas’s military wing, the Qassam Brigades. The response was a massacre of over 100 Palestinians, over half of them children. The documentary airs never-before-seen interviews with Hamas commanders, who claim that the Israeli army arrived at the scene of the ambush and recovered three bodies. Two were Israeli soldiers. The documentary revealed the new information that Hamas confirmed one year later: one of the bodies was a member of the Qassam Brigades, Walid Tawfiq Massoud, dressed in the Israeli army uniform. The Israeli media reported that Hamas had breached the ceasefire by attempting to capture an Israeli soldier, 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, in Rafah after the ceasefire took hold. However, Hamas commanders told Al Jazeera that Goldin was grabbed at 7:30am – half an hour before the ceasefire was due to begin at 8am. The Israeli army claimed the incident took place at 9:30am, and corroborated the media’s original claims on breaching the ceasefire. Yet if what the Hamas commanders claim is true, that would mean that Israel began the “Hannibal Directive” – a controversial and secretive procedure used to force the release of any captured solider through any means necessary – even if that entails injuring the captured soldier. The army bombarded the tunnel and the rest of Rafah two hours after the soldier was seized, meaning that Hamas could have very well taken him alive. (Cont.)
Gaza footballers play in West Bank after 15-year ban
HEBRON, West Bank (Gulf News) 29 Aug by Mel Frykberg — “It was a dream come true to see Jerusalem and our holy and beautiful Al Aqsa Mosque,” said Mustafa Al Dawer from Shujaiyeh in Gaza City. “This was my first trip to the West Bank. When we crossed from Gaza, through the Erez border post, into pre-1948 Palestine, the team was so excited. I was crying and smiling at the same time,” Al Dawer, an anaesthetic technician from Gaza’s European Hospital, told Gulf News. What would have been an ordinary event in any other country took on enormous significance for Palestine football. The ability to travel freely around their country. Under enormous international pressure the Israeli regime finally allowed Gaza’s Ittihad Al Shujaiyeh team to travel to the West Bank to take part in the Palestine Cup football final on August 15 against Ahli Al Khalil in Hebron . . . Al Dawar found walking around occupied Jerusalem’s old city invigorating. “The sights, smells and sounds, and seeing people from all around the world were something I will never forget,” said Al Dawar. The boys also made comparisons between the West Bank, ruled by the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Authority (PA), and Gaza under the rule of the Islamist organisation Hamas. “I found the West Bank more beautiful than Gaza,” said Madi. Al Dawar said he noticed the strong differences between the accents of Gazans and West Bankers. “The weather in the West Bank is better and the houses are also bigger and better than most of the homes in Gaza,” Al Boab told Gulf News. “The food in Gaza is better and we have more freedom because we don’t have Israeli colonists living there and harassing and attacking us all the time like they do in the West Bank.”
Gazan brothers reflect dreams with rap music
Daily Sabah 31 Aug — Two Gazan brothers, Muhammad es-Susi and Usame es-Susi, have formed a rap group, “Revolutionists,” to reflect their hopes and ideals for the future through music. Muhammad, 22, and Usame, 20, have spent their transition period from childhood to adolescence under the Israeli blockade. Starting to compose their songs a few years ago, the two brothers have created 15 songs so far. “I decided to form a music band with my brother after five years of the Israeli blockade. Our songs depict the world’s greatest open-air prison, Gaza, the youth’s dreams and hopes as well as the social and political problems of Palestinians,” Muhammad said, adding that the songs explain their daily troubles. “Gaza is a very productive place for writing songs if you consider problems and concerns that add to our lives every single day,” he further said. Muhammad stressed that Gazans do not criticize their music even though they perform rap, a music style that is not well-known in Gaza. “Rap music is recognized in the country. The problem is for which purpose you perform music.
New Hamas video boasts of reconstructed tunnels
Ynet 27 Aug by Roi Kais — Hamas showcased its recovered tunnels unit in a video released on Thursday, a year after the end of Operation Protective Edge, during which the IDF destroyed a large part of the tunnel infrastructure in the Gaza Strip . . . Hamas is attempting to show that it has managed to rebuild the tunnels that were destroyed in last summer’s operation. A recent IDF assessment said Hamas’ commando unit is now better trained and equipped with the most advanced equipment.
Palestine remembers prominent political cartoonist Naji Al-Ali
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 28 Aug – Today, August 29, 2015, marks the 28th anniversary of the assassination of renowned Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali, who was known for his honesty and dedication to truth he showed in his work. Born and raised in Ash-Shajara village near Nazareth in 1937, Naji Al-Ali was a victim of the Nakba (catastrophe) which took place in April 1948. He, along with his family, were among the 750,000 Palestinians who were forcefully displaced by Israeli troops from their homes to Ein Al-Hilweh Refugee Camp in south Lebanon, where he started his artistic career during the late 1950s. He was frequently detained and censored for his political activism and used to draw on the walls of his cells . . . During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Al-Ali was forced to leave his home again, but this time on ships filled with hundreds of Palestinian fighters. After several years of displacement, he finally settled back in Kuwait, where he found work with the prominent Arab daily, Al-Qabbas. In 1983 he worked in Al Qabas’ branch in London. It was his last move before his death in 1987. On Wednesday 22 July 1987, Palestinian cartoonist Naji Al-Ali was shot by an unknown gunman outside his office at the Al-Qabas Kuwaiti newspaper in southwest London. After five weeks in a coma on a life support machine at a London hospital, Naji al-Ali passed away on Saturday, August 30, 1987 at the age of 49. Naji Al-Ali produced over 40,000 illustrative, sarcastic and poignant cartoons, most of which illustrate symbols of the occupation and resistance. His most famous illustrated character is Handala, a barefoot little boy who turned his back to the world and became an icon of Palestinian resistance. He published three books on his cartoons in 1976, 1983 and 1985 and was working on another book at the time of his death.
Video: A West Bank town’s fragile rebirth
28 Aug — FRANCE 24’s correspondents returned to Jenin, in the northern West Bank, thirteen years after Ariel Sharon launched “Operation Defensive Shield”, which devastated the city. On March 29, 2002, Ariel Sharon’s government launched “Operation Defensive Shield” in several West Bank towns, two days after a suicide bombing killed 29 Israelis. 2002 was the deadliest year of the second Intifada. Israel was subjected to frequent bombings and so the Israeli army decided to invade the Palestinian Territories. Over eight days, it shelled whole areas of the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. For Israel, Jenin is the “capital of terrorism”; for Palestinians, it is “a symbol of Palestinian resistance.” The Israeli air force and infantry faced 100 armed men. As was often in this conflict, civilians were caught in the crossfire. And still to this day, no one can agree on the death toll from the eight-day operation. The Palestinians call it a massacre, pointing to the hundreds of dead and wounded. The Israeli army, however, minimised these figures and claimed it only targeted Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. TV cameras from across the world showed the devastation: houses flattened by bulldozers and missiles. The UN promised an investigation, but to date the conclusions have still not been published. Jenin will never forget the events of 2002. Moreover, the Israeli army is never far away and its soldiers regularly make incursions. Even though businesses, shops, malls, and upscale restaurants have sprung up across the city, the memory of the “martyrs” lives. [Read this about the bulldozer driver if this event was before your time: Israeli Army bulldozer driver Moshe Nissim, also known as “Kurdi Bear,” did enjoy his work in Jenin camp, fortified by an arsenal of alcohol.]
‘The Wanted 18’: Palestinian animation film nominated for Oscar award
MEE 30 Aug — A documentary about 18 cows wanted by the Israeli army during the first intifada has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Award — The Oscar-nominated film, directed by Palestinian Amer Shomali and Canadian Pal Cowan, tells the story of 18 cows that were hunted down by the Israeli army during the first intifada. The documentary distinguishes itself by using a combination of animation, interviews, and reenactments to tell the story of the cows, who were used for “independent milk production” on a Palestinian collective farm at the height of the boycott of Israeli products. In the film Israel considered the cows to be a “threat to the national security of the state of Israel.” Shomali, a cartoonist, spoke of how “terrifying” it was to tell a story from the grim intifada days in a humorous way. “Humour is part of the way I see things,” he once said in an interview. “I believe that a nation that can’t make fun of its own wounds will never be able to heal them.”
Palestinian brothers look to tap into West Bank beer market
Al-Monitor 27 Aug by Miriam Berger — Alaa Sayej knows it’s a tough time to invest in “Made in Palestine” products. Formal talks to end the Israeli occupation are dormant, while the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the longstanding contours of a promised Palestinian state, are as divided as ever. International movements to boycott Israeli companies are growing, but for Palestinians on the ground, creating their own local alternatives remains an uphill battle. Still, business-minded Sayej said he has just what Palestine needs: a new brewery. The new Birzeit Brewery started selling its signature line, called Shepherds Beer, in July. The brewery was conceived, funded, owned and run by the Sayej family. They are wealthy Christians from Birzeit, a town north of Ramallah, the West Bank’s political and economic center. Sayej, the eldest of three brothers, said the idea seemed simple: Produce distinctively Palestinian beer that people can enjoy locally. “A beer a day keeps the problems away, Palestine,” goes one of the brewery’s slogans. Already, Sayej said, the brewery is gaining a legion of loyal drinkers. It’s also a gamble against long odds, Sayej admitted. The Israeli occupation makes the movement of people and products a very costly and at times dangerous process.
Bedouin town rewrites the rules by developing infrastructure and business
Haaretz 28 Aug by Meirav Arlosoroff — Led by a dynamic PhD chemist, the Negev town of Hura scores high on the socioeconomic scale. ‘Instead of whining, we need to see how we change the facts,’ he says — Driving around southern Israel, you can’t help but notice differences between the Jewish and Bedouin towns. The Bedouin towns, recognized and otherwise, have dirt roads, illegal construction, donkeys and horses wandering about. The Jewish towns have paved roads, legal homes, no donkeys and no horses. They do have swimming pools, though. From 2011 to 2014, according to the group Beterem Safe Kids, 47 children drowned in Israel, half of them Arab — which is way beyond the Arabs’ 20% share of the population. When children who almost drowned are added to the list, the number shoots up to 66%, clear evidence that too many of them don’t know how to swim. And that, in turn, is because few Arab towns have a swimming pool — probably less than 10 in all Israel. All are in the north, and none are in the Bedouin areas in the south, where 200,000 people live. This zero-swimming-pools statistic symbolizes the discrimination against the Negev Bedouin. And they have little access to swimming pools in Jewish towns, whether because of cost or modesty — women and men swim together. So the state, which seeks to eradicate this inequality, tried to build the first Bedouin pool as part of a modern country club. For purpose it turned to Muhammad Al-Nabari, chairman of the Hura municipal council. Hura is a town east of Be’er Sheva with 18,000 residents.
Campaign for Palestinian refugee selling pens in Beirut goes viral
MEMO 29 Aug — An internet campaign to raise funds for a Palestinian refugee filmed selling pens in Beirut with his daughter asleep on his shoulder has raised more than $100,000 within hours. The campaign went viral on its first day. Abdul Halim Attar, who fled from the Syrian regime’s bombardment of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, started selling pens in order to feed himself and his two children, Abdelillah, aged 9, and his daughter Reem, aged 4. An Icelandic man who helps to run Conflict News and a Lebanese broadcaster Tweeted Attar’s image hoping to raise just $5,000 to help him start a new life. At the time of writing the crowdfunding campaign has raised a staggering $114,000 and is still climbing.
Why are Jerusalem’s residents leaving?
Israel Hayom 28 Aug by Nadav Shragai — A new study reveals that it is not just secular residents of the capital who are leaving in droves, but also the religious and the ultra-Orthodox, all of them for one major reason — and it is not terrorism or the Shabbat wars — . . . The departing Jerusalemites — some 18,000 people annually (and some 320,000 in total over the last two decades) — are not troubled by whether or not the local movie theater is open for business on Shabbat. The disconcerting terrorist attacks around the capital are also not the culprit. The real reason for the mass exodus is far more prosaic, and it is not at all exclusive to Jerusalem: a severe shortage in available housing. In Jerusalem, this shortage is particularly serious. Over the last decade, only 2,000 new housing units have been built every year (according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies), while annual demand is around 4,000 to 4,500. The Shabbat wars and terrorism may generate headlines, but the key factor driving Jerusalemites out of the city is the lack of housing, which has driven housing prices in the city sky-high . . . The second most cited reason for leaving was trouble finding work — cited by 20% of the secular population, 11% of the religious population and 4% of the ultra-Orthodox population. (cont.)
Former Israeli president Peres to meet with Iranian peace activist
I24News 30 Aug — Daughter of prominent Iranian Ayatollah brings message of peace and economic cooperation to Israel — Former Israeli President Shimon Peres will meet an Iranian peace activist who arrived in Israel on a special visit to promote peace in the Middle East on Monday, a statement from Peres’ office said. Maryam Faghih Imani, the daughter of Sayed Kamal Faghih Imani, a senior Iranian Ayatollah, “came to Israel to convey a message of reconciliation and dialogue among peoples,” the statement reads. Imani and Peres will meet at the Peres Center for Peace to discuss projects to promote peace between nations in the Middle East, and the development of cross-border initiatives. The meeting will also be attended by Iranian-born Israeli singer Rita, whose 2012 album “All My Joys,” which was also sung in Persian, was popular in both Israel and Iran. Imani grew up playing with the children of other prominent ayatollahs, including those of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and attended a religious institution, where Israel was erased from all maps and there was no mention of the Holocaust in any history books.
‘Largest ever’ Med gas field found off Egypt
CAIRO (AFP) 30 Aug — Italian energy giant Eni on Sunday announced the discovery of the “largest ever” offshore natural gas field in the Mediterranean, in Egypt’s territorial waters. The discovery, confirmed by Egypt’s oil ministry, could hold a potential 30 trillion cubic feet (850 billion cubic metres) of gas in an area of about 100 square kilometres (40 square miles), Eni said in a statement. “It’s the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea and could become one of the world’s largest natural-gas finds,” the firm said. The so-called Zohr project discovery is expected to meet Egypt’s own natural gas demands for decades . . . “A find of this size should be enough to cover a lot of Egypt’s energy gap,” Robin Mills, a Dubai-based analyst at Manaar Energy Consulting, told Bloomberg News. “They’ll likely have to meet domestic needs first, before any export plans are discussed. This will also put a damper on Israeli plans to export gas to Egypt,” he added.
What did you do at work today, Dad? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 30 Aug — Quite a few Israelis, whose number is rising alarmingly, may find it extremely difficult to answer the above question — . . . What will the Arad municipal inspector tell his children, after standing last week at the entrance to the southern Israeli town and forcibly preventing asylum seekers who had just been freed from prison – after more than a year of detention without trial – from entering the town and finding shelter? How would the inspector describe that work to his children? Would he say, “I stood on the road and checked every car to make sure no black person was hiding in it”? “I pulled every black man out and sent him back to the desert”? I did it in the name of the law”? A law forbidding entrance to a city because of the color of one’s skin has yet to be enacted in Israel. Security? That excuse, which always justifies everything, doesn’t hold water this time. “Did you carry out the mayor’s instructions?” “Yes.” “But Dad,” the child will ask, “will you carry out every illegal order you get from the mayor? Is that what you’re like? And what do you think of those who once treated the Jews like that?” . . . What will the Civil Administration inspector tell his children, after destroying – in blistering temperatures – the tents and tin shacks of 127 people, 80 of them children, who were left without a roof over their head in the Jordan Rift and near Ma’aleh Adumim last week? How will he explain his malicious behavior to his children? His wickedness? His inhumanity? Clearly, without these qualities, there is no way to carry out this filthy, heinous work – destroying shabby homes and abandoning their inhabitants in this terrible heat . . . What did the Israel Prison Service guards who stood watch in the room of hunger striker Khader Adnan tell their children? Did they tell them they shackled him with his hand and leg to the bed, even when his consciousness clouded over? How did they not feel compassion for him, if only for a moment? Did they tell their kids about the pizzas and shawarmas they ate in his room, and the sunflower seeds they cracked in the face of a prisoner on his deathbed, the smell of the food driving him crazy? And what did the doctors of Assaf Harofeh Hospital, who kept mum and enabled all that to go on, tell their children?
In an endless war on terror, we are all doomed to become Palestinians
MEE 29 Aug by Jonathan Cook — For 18 years Jeff Halper has been on the front lines of the Israel-Palestine conflict, helping to rebuild Palestinian homes in the occupied territories demolished by Israel. As he prepares to step down as head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), he is publishing a new book on Israel. Halper’s main conclusion is disturbing. Israel, he says, is globalising Palestine. The former anthropology professor’s wide-ranging research has forced him into an expertise he is not entirely comfortable with: the global arms industry. Halper argues that Israel is cashing in – both financially and diplomatically – on systems of control it has developed in the occupied territories. It is exporting its know-how to global elites keen to protect their privileges from both external and internal challengers. In a world supposedly mired in an endless war on terror, we may all be facing a future as Palestinians. Halper’s book, entitled War Against the People, due out next month, suggests that Israel provides a unique window on some of the most important recent developments in what he terms “securocratic warfare.”The book’s central thesis emerged as he tried to understand why tiny Israel hits way beyond its weight economically, politically and militarily. How does Israel have so much clout – not only in the US and Europe but, more surprisingly in countries as diverse as India, Brazil and China? None of the usual explanations – Holocaust guilt, the power of lobbies, even the growth in Christian fundamentalism – seemed to provide a complete answer . . . Today, Israel’s growing influence, Halper claims, reflects its positioning of itself at the heart of the rapidly burgeoning “global pacification” industry, advising and assisting militaries, police forces and homeland security agencies around the world. In the post-9/11 world, Israel is security king – or “securityland”, as a leading Israeli analyst recently described it. And significantly, Israel is starting to parlay this usefulness into wider political and diplomatic support, says Halper, even as the international community grows exasperated by nearly 50 years of occupation. Such backing, including from much of the Arab world, often remains hidden from view . . . He describes the emergence of what he calls the MISSILE complex: full-spectrum dominance by the US and its allies through the joint activity of the military, internal security, surveillance, intelligence and law enforcement. After decades of controlling Palestinians under occupation, he notes, Israel is unrivalled in all these spheres. It uses the occupied territories as a giant laboratory for developing and testing new ideas, technology, tactics and weaponry.