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Gaza Ministry of Health: Hospitals on the verge of collapse

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Health ministry: Gaza hospitals on verge of collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Aug — The healthcare system in the Gaza Strip is on the verge of collapse, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said Monday, warning that hospitals could stop operating within hours due to the territory’s energy crisis. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for the ministry, said that “Shifa Hospital, Kamal Adwan hospital, the European Gaza Hospital, and Rantisi Hospital could stop offering services because they are about to run out of fuel.” “The current situation is the worst since the Ministry of Health was created in the Gaza Strip,” he added. The Gaza Strip, which receives its electricity from Israel, Egypt, and its one power plant, has been struggling to produce enough power for months. The hospitals depend on private generators in addition to the power grid, but Israel’s eight-year blockade has severely limited the supply of fuel to the coastal enclave. The healthcare crisis been exacerbated by the blockade as well as three devastating wars since 2008. The World Health Organization says there is a chronic shortage of pharmaceutical supplies and medicine in Gaza, with patients in need of tertiary care prevented from traveling from the territory due to the blockade, which Egypt maintains in Gaza’s south. Meanwhile, Israel’s military offensive on Gaza last summer damaged or destroyed 17 out of 32 hospitals as well as 50 out of 97 primary health centers, according to a UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs report last September. Six hospitals were forced to close during the conflict and four primary health centers were totally destroyed, the UN added.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767226

Gaza’s Health Ministry holds national unity government responsible for closure of hospitals
MEMO 25 Aug — The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has announced that many hospitals and health institutions in the Gaza Strip have shut down as a result of lack of fuel, and that the Ministry holds the national unity government accountable for any harm that may befall their patients due to “the government’s lack of responsibility.” In a statement issued on 24 August, the ministry also revealed that it has halted heart surgery services in Gaza’s European Hospital and has limited its services in Al-Shefaa Hospital to emergency cases only; noting that each of the hospitals of Kamal Adwan, Gaza European, Al-Shefaa and Al-Rantisi are all threatened to stop offering services as a result of current fuel shortages meaning they are unable to continue their operations. The Ministry explained that such actions are a result of the worsening Gaza crisis and the government’s “lack of responsibility” towards the situation despite repeated appeals. The Ministry has asserted that the action taken is “an attempt to contain the crisis so as to ensure that the basic services could be offered for as long as possible.”
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/20602-gazas-health-ministry-holds-national-unity-government-responsible-for-closure-of-hospitals

Israeli military vehicles cross border into Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers raided Palestinian land in the northeastern Gaza Strip Tuesday morning, witnesses said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that they saw four bulldozers and a number of military vehicles cross the border fence into Palestinian territory. The bulldozers carried out some light work and then left the area, the witnesses said. There were no reports of confrontations.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767247

Gaza parents keep back children from UNRWA schools in protest
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Parents in Gaza joined a protest against overcrowding in schools run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Tuesday by refusing to send their children to the schools for the rest of the week. The decision came after staff in UNRWA’s schools went on strike Monday, which was supposed to the first day of the school year, forcing around 225,000 Gazan schoolchildren to return home. Parents in the Gaza Strip said Tuesday they would not send their children to school for the rest of the week to protest overcrowding in classes, which currently hold more than 50 children.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767250

Public institutions in Gaza to go on strike over treatment of workers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — All public institutions in the Gaza Strip will go on strike on Thursday to protest the unity government’s failure to address the rights of employees in the public sector, a public employees union said. The head of Gaza’s public employees union, Muhammad Siyam, told Ma‘an that government ministries, public institutions, and schools will launch a general strike to protest the “unity government’s actions and its disregard to employees’ rights.” The strike will also be a show of solidarity with striking UNRWA employees currently protesting classroom conditions and unpaid vacations, he added. The Gaza public employees’ union called on the Ministry of Finance to work on paying the full salaries of all employees, to halt salary cuts, and provide transportation to the workplace for all employees.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767255

Hamas names new intelligence chief, sidesteps agreement with Fatah
Al-Monitor 25 Aug by Mohammed Othman — The Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip announced a series of promotions, transfers and new appointments Aug. 4, including a new chief of intelligence and chief of staff. Deputy Interior Minister Kamel Abu Madi said that all the personnel changes fall within the normal framework of rotating positions and do not involve the creation of new posts. Others, however, disagree, arguing that there is no precedent or legal basis in Palestinian governance for a chief of intelligence assigned to the Interior Ministry in Gaza. Abu Madi told Al-Monitor that the appointments were made without coordination with the interior minister and prime minister of the government of national consensus, Rami Hamdallah. “Since the announcement of the [consensus] government on June 1, 2014, communication between the prime minister and us has been severed,” he said. Responding to criticism concerning the legal basis for the changes at the ministry, he said, “To those who are speaking in legal terms, I ask them: How could the minister of interior leave his ministry without any budget or any contact? Before we are questioned about the legality of our work, we need to ask the minister about his legal work.”
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/08/gaza-interior-ministry-chief-staff-intelligence.html

Gazans use WhatsApp to see what’s up with the news
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 24 Aug by Ahmad Abu Amer —  Once a social media application, WhatsApp is now being used as a news tool in Palestine. Since the last war on Gaza in 2014, media outlets such as Quds TV, Felesteen newspaper and Quds News Network entered in a fierce competition to beat the other to announce the activation of WhatsApp as a free news application. The majority of news websites and some satellite channels in Gaza are now providing this service to the public. Using WhatsApp, media outlets send news digests covering the daily events on the Palestinian and international arenas. Seventeen media outlets are currently using WhatsApp in Gaza as a news service, including Quds News Network, Safa News Agency, Paltimes, Sawa and Media 24, among others. Al-Monitor reached out to the majority of news organizations in the Gaza Strip. They said that the number of subscribers to the WhatsApp news service in the Gaza Strip is in the tens of thousands. According to Ezzedine al-Akhras, one of the managing directors at Quds News Network and a new media expert, this figure seems insignificant when compared to the number of WhatsApp users in Gaza, which is more than 400,000. According to information gathered by Al-Monitor, Hamas’ website has the largest number of subscribers — about 8,000 — while the number of subscribers to the remaining outlets ranges from 5,000 to a few hundred subscribers only.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/08/palestine-gaza-whatsapp-application-news-service-telecom.html

Palestinian sentenced to death in Gaza for providing info to Israel
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 24 Aug — A Hamas military court in the Gaza Strip on Monday sentenced a Palestinian to death for allegedly providing information to Israel said to have led to Palestinians being killed, judicial sources said. The 28-year-old man was identified only by the initials N.A. and no other details on the accusations against him were provided by Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Palestinian territory which has seen three wars with Israel in six years. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 157 people have been sentenced to death in the occupied territories since the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. Thirty-two have been executed, including 30 in the Gaza Strip. All execution orders must in theory be approved by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas before they can be carried out, but Hamas no longer recognises his legitimacy. In Gaza, beyond death sentences handed out by courts, Hamas has also carried out summary executions for collaborating with Israel, sometimes in public places. The most prominent occurred during last summer’s 50-day war between Palestinian militants in the territory and Israel, when a firing squad of men in uniforms from Hamas’ armed wing shot dead six people in front of Gaza City’s main mosque.
http://news.yahoo.com/palestinian-sentenced-death-gaza-providing-israel-215102704.html

PHOTOS: Walking in war’s path
NY Times Photographs by Thomas Munita. Text by Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner —  For residents of Israel and Gaza, routine paths are full of reminders of last summer’s war.  Tukka Najjar, 5, stands where her  home used to be. About 250 members of Tukka’s extended family are crowded into 26 trailers across from their former homes in Khuza‘a, a border village in southern Gaza.
See also other ‘walks’ here like this one: Nursing wounds. Abdul Hamid, 33, is a physiotherapist at the Doctors without Borders clinic in Gaza City, where he worked throughout the war.
http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/08/22/world/middleeast/gaza-israel-walk-war-anniversary.html

NGOs want criminal probe into killing of 4 children on Gaza beach
Haaretz 25 Aug by Gili Cohen – Two human rights groups have appealed the closing of a probe into the killing of four children on a Gaza beach during last summer’s fighting and demand a criminal investigation. The organizations, Adalah and Al Mezan, submitted an appeal to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Monday, arguing that the rules of combat had been violated in the incident, so legal action was required. The two groups are asking Weinstein to overturn the decision by Military Advocate General Danny Efroni to close the file. They demand an “independent and effective” criminal investigation as well as “criminal charges against those responsible.” Ismail Bakr, 9, Ahed Bakr, 10, Zakariyah Bakr, 10, and Mohammed Bakr, 11, were killed a year ago by the Israeli airstrike on the beach. One missile was fired after one of the children, whom the military believed was a Hamas member, entered a shipping container in the area, which had already been bombed by Israeli forces. When the other three children tried to flee, another missile was fired at them. According to an initial investigation by the Israel Defense Forces, the Bakrs were the victims of an airstrike based on information that Hamas naval commandos were in the area near the Gaza marina. According to an investigation by the military police, the pilots believed that Palestinians running in the area were Hamas naval commandos. “At no stage of the incident were the figures identified as children,” the military advocate general said when stating the reasons for closing the file. But Adalah says the IDF should have been able to realize that the Bakrs were young civilians. The authors of the appeal, attorneys Sawsan Zaher and Muna Haddad, say restaurant workers who witnessed the attack submitted affidavits but were not summoned to give testimony.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.672765

Voices without borders: Four young writers from Gaza tell their story
+972 Mag 25 Aug by Natasha Roth — Young Gazans are finally getting an opportunity to present themselves to the world in their own words. +972 speaks to some of the participants in the ‘We Are Not Numbers’ writing project about hope, love, war and, of course, writing —  Just over a year has passed since the most brutal war the Gaza Strip has yet witnessed. It was perhaps the most internationally-covered event in Gaza in a tumultuous and torturous decade, yet the war and its coverage highlighted a long-running problem: that the international media frequently lacks nuance when covering the Gaza Strip and its inhabitants. All too often, when it comes to Gazans, we find ourselves talking about them without them . . .  Eman Basher, 23, Jabaliya refugee camp:  On the war last summer: “We used to have electricity for one hour a day during the war. I used to send letters to my friends on Facebook and wait for “seen” to appear so I can make sure they’re still alive. On living day-to-day: “We don’t try to cope, it just happens. We feed on hope. They say power is going to be on for six hours a day. We cope, waiting for it to become 8 hours until it really does. They say we are facing a financial problem and there won’t be any salaries for three months. We cope, until the problem is solved. We keep coping until we get the big prize. Freedom. I have never seen or talked to a person here who has lost the hope that we are eventually getting back to our stolen lands.”
http://972mag.com/voices-without-borders-four-young-writers-from-gaza-tell-their-story/110470/

Report: Likelihood of Israeli-Hamas war greater then that of multiyear cease-fire
Haaretz 26 Aug by Amira Hass — The chances are greater of a new war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas than of a medium-range cease-fire between them. The likelihood of a new war is also greater than that of success in reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas, based on resolution of the salary crisis among civil servants or on lifting the closure of the Strip. These are the findings of a report by the conflict-resolution NGO International Crisis Group. The report was released Tuesday on the first anniversary of the cease-fire that ended the 50-day war in Gaza. According to the report, neither side is interested in war, but the root causes for last year’s war are still there: siege of Gaza, economic and financial crisis, and Hamas-Fatah rivalry. The report also summarizes the tangle of opposing interests and frictions between Hamas and Israel and Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and Egypt. Residents of the Strip are living in conditions of unprecedented distress and feel that Palestinian political leaders have abandoned it, the report notes, adding that per capita income in the Gaza Strip is 31 percent less than it was in 1994. Based on conversations over the past year with officials from all sides, the report concludes that under circumstances of economic and social stagnation, Israeli restrictions on movement and the internal Palestinian disconnection, war might serve Hamas as an outlet in facing internal challenges such as attacks by Muslim Salafists, the collapse of government services and social protests. A war would allow Hamas to gather its strength, reestablish its military credibility and perhaps ease the closure on the Strip by means of a new cease-fire agreement.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.672953

Opinion: Teaching Kafka to Gazans / Amira Hass
Haaretz 25 Aug — The process directed at the Abu Saids is not some bizarre harassment of one family. It is one of Israel’s standard operating Catch-22’s for residents of the Strip —  Someone wants to prosecute the state after one of its agencies hurt him and his family, but the state – the accused party – refuses to let him see a lawyer so he can sign a power of attorney and hand over his documentation. This conflict of interest is objectionable, unreasonable and unacceptable. However, it’s perfectly acceptable when speaking of a family in Gaza, one in which the mother was killed and three other family members were injured during the IDF’s routine incursions. The Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration, which deals with Gaza, is barring the plaintiffs, members of the Abu Said family, from meeting their lawyer from the Abu Hussein law office in Umm al-Fahm. The Abu Saids may not meet their lawyer in Gaza, nor in Israel, nor at the Erez checkpoint on the northern Gaza Strip border, a heavily protected Israeli compound. In all the drawn-out correspondence between the bureaucrats of the liaison administration (a hybrid of IDF and Defense Ministry officials) and the lawyers, then later with Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, which tried to get exit permits for the family, the prohibition on the family’s meeting with their lawyer was not explained away with the routine excuse of “security considerations.” In other words, no one claimed that members of the Abu Said family were a threat to Israel’s security. Likewise, they didn’t pose a risk to Israel’s security when IDF soldiers shelled an area close to their home while they were sitting outside on the hot summer’s day of July 13, 2010. There were 17 of them there, watching TV. The first shell injured two women and everyone hurried inside. An ambulance was late in arriving. Na’ama Abu Said went out to look for her young son and was hit by another shell, apparently a flechette, which sprays lethal iron nails across a wide area. She was killed instantly and another family member was injured. (continued)
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.672935

Al-Aqsa and Ibrahimi mosques, Joseph’s tomb

Israeli police denies worshipers access to al-Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 25 Aug – For the second day in a row, Israeli police Tuesday imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Muslim worshipers to al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, according to the Islamic Waqf. Women of all ages have been denied entry, while only few male worshipers were allowed there and after passing through Israeli checkpoints. Israeli police also withheld the Identification cards of many male worshipers until they left the compound. Meanwhile, groups of Jewish fanatics resumed their daily provocative visits to the Islamic holy site. An Islamic Waqf official told WAFA it was the first time Israeli police enforced a temporal limit on the presence of Muslim worshipers at the compound. He said some worshipers were asked by the police not to remain there for more than half an hour. In the meantime, dozens of worshipers who were denied entry gathered at Bab al-Silsila [Chain] Gate, which leads to al-Aqsa compound, in protest of the orders. The protesters chanted religious and national slogans before the police attempted to disperse them, physically assaulted many including women, who were slightly injured. This came a day after Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan sent a letter to Israeli “Defense” Minister Moshe Ya’alon urging him to outlaw a group of male and female Muslim protesters, often referred to as Mourabitoun, who gather at al-Aqsa Mosque around the clock to block settlers’ entry to the Islamic holy site.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=29159

Islamic-Christian Committee warns against outlawing Palestinians at Al-Aqsa Mosque
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 25 Aug — Secretary-General of the Islamic-Christian Committee to Support Occupied Jerusalem and Holy Sites, Hanna Issa, Tuesday warned against the recent Israeli proposed move to outlaw Muslim Palestinian guards and worshipers who are present at al-Aqsa Mosque compound around the clock to prevent Israeli settlers’ entry. Israeli media sources, namely Haaretz daily, reported that Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan is considering a bill, which if passed, would outlaw the Mourabitoun, female and male worshipers and guards who stay at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, because of their activity against Israeli right-wing settlers groups, which seek to allow Jewish presence at the Islamic compound. The move comes amid rising calls by Jewish right-wing groups to facilitate settlers’ entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and allow them to perform religious prayers there. According to Haaretz, both the internal security agency Shin Bet and Israeli police support Erdan’s proposed move.
In a related topic, Issa condemned an upcoming beer festival, which will be held on a historical Islamic cemetery in Jerusalem. He described the festival as a blatant violation of all international charters and conventions that guarantee protection of worship sites and religious and historical places.  Israeli media reported that Haifa and Jerusalem are both holding beer festivals on August 26 and 27, in what is known as the independence park, which was built on Jerusalem’s Maman Allah cemetery (Mamilla). Issa said the Israeli occupation continues to escalate its violations against the city of Jerusalem in an attempt to turn it into an exclusively Jewish city. Israel attempts to obliterate Islamic and Christian holy sites and support the Jewish narrative.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=29160

The occupation prevents Al-Aqsa Schools from bringing textbooks inside Al-Aqsa Mosque to distribute them to their students
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 24 Aug — The occupation police prevented on Monday morning Al-Aqsa Schools’ books from being brough inside Al-Aqsa Mosque.  The Islamic Awqaf Department explained that the police prevented the books from being entered inside the Mosque and distributed among the students of Al-Aqsa Schools (Al-Aqsa Boys School and Al-Aqsa Girls School). The department added that the administration was forced to distribute the books at Al-Aqsa Gates.
http://silwanic.net/?p=61313

How one West Bank mosque is reconnecting with local Palestinians
Al-Monitor 24 Aug by Daoud Kuttab — Azmi Shuokhi has been on a mission for some time now. As the head of the local popular committees for Hebron, he has been trying to convince fellow Hebronites not to abandon the Ibrahimi Mosque. His idea is simple and peaceful: He wants all the Palestinians of the city to hold their social events — especially weddings — on the mosque’s grounds. Shuokhi, who is also the head of the consumer protection committee in the city, doesn’t just talk about his idea, he practices it. Speaking to Al-Monitor, Shuokhi explained that he has applied his theory in his own family. Shuokhi held his own son’s wedding at the Ibrahimi Mosque and invited the local boy scouts to participate in the celebration with their drums and bagpipes. The wedding celebrations were filmed and posted on YouTube May 2. Even the his grandson’s circumcision was celebrated at the mosque Aug. 14. Shuokhi’s call for increased visits to the mosque aims to stem the tide of Jewish settlers trying to isolate Muslims from the mosque . . . The old city of Hebron is the site of the Tomb of Abraham, the spiritual father of Israelis and Arabs. Abraham’s grave, as well as those of his wife and children, make up what is called the Cave of Machpelah, an ancient double cave revered since at least 1,000 BCE as the burial site of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives.
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/08/hebron-ibrahimi-mosque-muslim-jews.html

Israel says foils plan to attack Nablus tomb
JERUSALEM (AFP) 25 Aug — Israeli authorities on Tuesday said they had foiled plans to attack Jews at the Joseph’s Tomb shrine in Nablus in the occupied West Bank and arrested four Palestinians. The suspects allegedly planned to plant home-made bombs at the site and open fire on visiting Jews, the Shin Bet domestic security agency said in a statement. Authorities identified an alleged Islamic Jihad member named Rafat Mohamed Darwish whom they accused of directing and arming militants for the planned attack. They alleged that Darwish served as a link between the Islamic Jihad branches in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the two Palestinian territories separated by Israel. Joseph’s Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians and Samaritans, and the Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organised pilgrimages, with the shrine in an area under Palestinian Authority control. Ultra-orthodox and nationalist Jews regularly try to visit the shrine without approval, however. Many Jews believe the tomb to be the final resting place of the biblical figure in the Old Testament. [See Wikipedia for the amazingly complicated history of this place]
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767260

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israeli forces demolish 2 homes, 7 stores in al-Eizariya
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Israeli forces on Wednesday morning demolished nine tin shacks, including two homes, in the town of al-Eizariya, east of Jerusalem, on land Israeli authorities have earmarked for construction of the separation wall, locals said. A popular resistance committee spokesperson, Hani Halabiya, told Ma‘an that large numbers of Israeli troops escorted bulldozers and Israeli Civil Administration inspectors into the town. The bulldozers then demolished nine shacks without any prior warning, saying that they had been built without the necessary licenses, he said. Halabiya said that some of the structures belonged to Sami Abu Ghaliya, a local Fatah official representing Bedouin tribes on the outskirts of Jerusalem, while the others were being rented by Palestinians from Jerusalem, Hebron, al-Eizariya, and the Bedouin al-Jahalin tribe. Two of the structures served as homes and seven as commercial stores, including a grocery store, a car wash, and shops selling brassware and used furniture, Halabiya said. He said that the same structures had been demolished five times, and added that they would be rebuilt as soon as possible, “in order to prevent construction of a section of the separation wall in the area.” Sami Abu Ghaliya, whose house was demolished, said he was not allowed to evacuate his belongings before the demolition. The house measured 100 square meters and was the only place for him and his family of six, he added.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767266

Israel demolishes two Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 25 Aug – Israeli authorities Tuesday demolished two houses under construction in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to local sources. WAFA correspondent said an Israeli police force accompanied by bulldozers broke into Silwan in the predawn hours, and cordoned off the area before proceeding to demolish the two homes, without any prior notice. The two homes belonged to two brothers identified as Mohammad and Khaled Abbasi. Khaled Abbas told WAFA that the two homes were supposed to shelter 12 members as both brothers have been living in their father’s home with their families for the past six years, noting that this is the second time forces demolish the two houses in a matter of four months, citing the same pretext. He added that the demolition of their homes incurred some 700,000 shekels (about $181,000) in construction expenses that all went in vain, adding: “We need to work for almost 10 years to cover our debts incurred by the construction of the two homes.”
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=29156

Scuffles in Jerusalem’s Old City as settlers build new synagogue door
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Palestinian residents of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem clashed with Israeli forces on Tuesday as settlers began construction work on a new door for a synagogue, locals said. Activist Alaa al-Haddad told Ma‘an that Jewish settlers in the Old City tore down a brick wall and began building a door for the synagogue which leads directly into a private alley belonging to the Awad family. “After the wall had been torn down, it was revealed that the settlers had already prepared a new wall with a steel door already installed behind the brick wall,” he said. Palestinian residents say that the new door will affect access to their homes and impose restrictions on their freedom to move in the area. Scuffles broke out with Israeli police at the scene, who reportedly threatened to use tasers on the residents. East Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community, and four decades of Israeli policy in the area have neglected the Palestinian community while fostering the growth of Jewish settlements.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767258

Israeli army destroys Samra school in the Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign 20 Aug — At 6.30am on August 20th 2015, the Israeli army entered Khirbeit Samra in the north of the Jordan Valley with ten military jeeps and two bulldozers and destroyed Samra School. The school was built by Jordan Valley Solidarity and international volunteers, in co-operation with local Palestinians, in 2013/14 to provide Khirbeit Samra and the surrounding villages in the Beqaa area with a space where children could practice their right to education. Before the school was built, the children in these villages had to go by bus to a school 25 kilometres away in Ein el Beida; in the winter, heavy rains often washed out the roads making it impossible for the children to reach school. Today, the army demolished all four classrooms and the educational materials inside the school. Samra is part of the 95% of the Jordan Valley that is designated as Area C, where Israel does not allow Palestinians to build . . . There are now a total of 37 illegal Israeli settlements in Jordan Valley. Samra is surrounded by four illegal settlements: Ro’i, Beqa’ot, Maskiyyot and Hamdat. Palestinian communities in Samra do not have access to the water or electricity networks provided to the illegal Israeli settlements in the area. Samra does not have electricity despite the cables just 100 metres away supplying electricity to the illegal settlements in the area; Palestinians also have to buy back their water that has been appropriated by Israel for 18 shekels per cubic metre.
http://www.jordanvalleysolidarity.org/index.php/home-2/190-english-categories/news-from-the-jordan-valley/2015/856-israeli-army-destroys-samra-school-in-the-jordan-valley

Video: Dogs treated better than Palestinian Bedouin in Israel
EI 24 Aug by Ali Abunimah — “In the Naqab (Negev), dogs can check into a very fancy animal hotel while in the nearby Arab Bedouin village of Atir Umm al-Hiran, people are not so privileged.” This animation contrasts the luxury dogs can enjoy at the Goldog pet hotel with the deprivation in the adjacent Bedouin village that is slated for demolition by Israeli authorities. At the hotel, dogs get 12 square meters (130 square feet) of space each and custom meals. There is also a pet cemetery where animals are given individual grave sites and memorials. The video was produced by 7amleh (pronounced “hamleh” – Arabic for “campaign”) as part of the ongoing #Save_UmAlHiran campaign by Palestinian civil society groups to halt the destruction of the village. -Demolition- In May, after years of litigation, the Israeli high court ruled that Umm al-Hiran could be demolished to make way for a Jewish town. In the Naqab (Negev) region of southern present-day Israel, tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins live in unrecognized villages and are denied basic services such as electricity, water and education, among others. Adalah, a legal advocacy group for Palestinian citizens of Israel, notes that the court “recognized that the residents were not illegal trespassers – as initially claimed by the state – but were moved there in 1956 by Israeli military order, after being displaced from their original village of Khirbet Zubaleh.” Nevertheless, the Israeli court ruled that because they were on so-called “state land,” the government could “retake it and do with it as they wished.” “The court did not ask why the new town had to replace the Arab village, when there were vast and empty lands in the surrounding area,” Adalah adds.
https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/video-dogs-treated-better-palestinian-bedouins-israel

Settlers take EU to court for funding illegal Palestinian building
JPost 24 Aug by Tovah Lazaroff — Settlers on Monday asked the High Court of Justice to order the demolition of 15 Palestinian homes in Area C of the West Bank, which they say are illegal and funded by the European Union. The modular structures with cement floors located within the boundaries of the Kfar Adumim settlement were built in 2015 and house Palestinian Beduin. The settlement and the non-governmental group Regavim, which monitors illegal Palestinian building, are the co-petitioners. They asked the state to force the Civil Administration to remove the structures, which they said were built illegally on state land. They presented photos of the structures, which have signs on the walls with the EU logo. The petition comes as the international community, including the EU and the US, is pressuring Israel not to demolish illegal Palestinian buildings. “We had no choice but to turn to the High Court of Justice because the Defense Ministry and the Civil Administration failed to respond to us [on this matter],” Regavim said in a statement. It noted that illegal building was a criminal offense. By funding such construction, it said, the EU is acting unilaterally in Area C to help the Palestinian Authority annex that territory for its future state. “The criminal intervention of foreign governments in territory under the responsibility of another nation should not be tolerated,” it added, explaining that such action is a breach of both the Oslo Accords and agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The NGO asked the court to force the government and the Civil Administration to take measures to ensure that the homes will be razed, restitution made and criminal proceedings opened against the EU in spite of its diplomatic immunity.
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Settlers-take-EU-to-court-for-funding-illegal-Palestinian-building-413149

Rivlin: Settling the Land of Israel is our historic right
Haaretz 24 Aug — President Reuven Rivlin expressed sympathy on Monday for Israeli settlers faced with a recent upswing of violence in the West Bank, while also cautioning against extra-legal activities. Speaking at the President’s Residence to a group of elected officials from Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the president said that “over the past months and especially over the last few days, the communities of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] have faced very serious terror attacks… The settlements are at the forefront of the struggle, and the price paid by the settlers is a painful price indeed.” According to Rivlin, “Our sovereignty in this land means responsibility for all those who live here, and obliges all of us to uphold the strictest of moral codes, which is inherent in each and every one of us.” Underlining his support for residents of West Bank settlements, the president added: “Our right to this land is not a matter of political debate. It is a basic fact of modern Zionism. We must not give anyone the sense that we are in any doubt about our right to our land. For me, the settlement of the land of Israel is an expression of that right, our historical right, our national right, stemming from a love for the land of Israel, [and] from a recognition of our roots, which come together here.” . . . Rivlin, who was an MK in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, has a long record of support for the settlement enterprise. Since his 2014 election as president, he has also made efforts to identify with the concerns of Arab-Israelis.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel/1.672730

Violence / Attacks / Detentions

Another Palestinian house burned in Douma
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Aug — Unknown assailants have set fire to a Palestinian house in Douma village, to the east of Nablus, on Monday; no causalities reported. Locals believe that Israeli settlers are behind the attack. Al Ray reports that the official presiding over the West Bank settlements file, Ghassan Douglas, said that the house of Mnour Dawabsha was burned, causing suffocation among the inhabitants. They were taken to the hospital immediately. Civil defense reached the house, put out the fire, and rescued the family members. Palestinian police have begin an investigation on the incident. Douglas explained that the circumstances of this arson attack is similar to the attack on Sa‘ad Dawabsha‘s family, last month, in which a one-year boy was burned alive, His father later died of injuries sustained in the fire, while his brother and mother are still in critical condition. Douglas said that it was too early to confirm the identity of the doers, calling for caution from rushing in charging the settlers, for if it is proved that there is no connection between the settlers and the attack, the Israeli occupation will take advantage to acquit the Israeli settlers of the former crime.
http://www.imemc.org/article/72768

Palestinian police: No evidence Jewish settlers set blaze in Palestinian home
JERUSALEM (JTA) 24 Aug — There is no evidence that a fire in a home in the West Bank Palestinian village of Duma was set by Jewish settlers, Palestinian security officials said. The fire early Monday morning sent three Palestinian residents to the hospital suffering smoke inhalation and damaged the home, the Palestinian Ma‘an news agency reported. The security officials said that they would not rule out any possibilities, however. A home in Duma was firebombed last month in what was believed to be a nationalist attack by Jewish extremists. Saad Dawabsha and his 18-month-old son, Ali, were killed. Members of the extended Dawabshe family own the house that suffered the fire on Monday. Palestinian Authority police said the fire could have been the result of an electrical problem, though Ma‘an reported that unidentified assailants threw flammable material on the house. Israel Fire Services reportedly believe an electrical problem was at fault.
http://www.jta.org/2015/08/24/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/palestinian-police-no-evidence-jewish-settlers-set-blaze-in-palestinian-home

Israeli forces detain eight Palestinians from Jerusalem, Hebron districts
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 24 Aug – Israeli forces overnight detained eight Palestinians, including at least five minors, from Jerusalem and Hebron districts, reported WAFA correspondent and security sources. Six Palestinians, including five minors, were detained from Jerusalem district and another Palestinian was detained from Hebron district. Israeli police launched house-to-house raid and detention operation in several East Jerusalem towns and neighborhoods. Police stormed al-‘Issawiya town to the north of the city, where they proceeded to detain a Palestinian minor after breaking into and ransacking his family’s house. The detainee was identified as Qusai Dari. Israeli Police members also stormed Shu‘fat town to the north of the city, where they detained two Palestinian minors after breaking into and ransacking their families’ houses. The two minors remain unidentified until the moment. They also raided ‘Anata town to the north of the city, where they proceeded to detain a young Palestinian after storming his house. The detainee was identified as Ahmad al-Sheikh. Another Palestinian minor was detained during clashes with Israeli police in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Zaitoun, also known as al-Tur. The detainee was identified as Ahmad Ashayer, 17. Furthermore, Israeli intelligence officers re-detained a Palestinian minor from the city shortly after he was released. The detainee was identified as Laith Abed-Rabbu, 16. A Palestinian young woman was detained Monday morning from Bab Hatta (Hatta Gate) leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. However, she remains unidentified. This came as police prevented Palestinian Muslim women’s access into the holy site. The women were stopped by police at al-Silsila Gate. On the other hand, groups of settlers forced their way into the compound via al-Maghariba Gate (Moroccan Gate) protected by police, sparking tensions and prompting Palestinian worshipers to shout slogans in protest.
Meanwhile in Hebron city in the southern West Bank, forces detained a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his house in al-Sheikh neighborhood. The detainee was identified as Yusuf Abu Hammad, 25.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=29149

UPDATE: Israel detains 12 Palestinians, assaults youth
NABLUS (WAFA) 25 Aug – At least 12 Palestinians were detained, late Monday and early Tuesday,  by Israeli forces in the West Bank, including a minor from Jerusalem, whereas a youth was assaulted by the army  at a checkpoint to the south of Nablus, according to local and security sources. Israeli soldiers at dawn detained at least five Palestinians from the Nablus area; three were detained at the Israeli Zaatara military checkpoint to the south, while two others were arrested from the city of Nablus. The detainees were identified as Amjad Qmiha, Anan Halboni, Firas Hashash, Motasim al-Hayt, and Ameer Salameh. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers assaulted Ameed al-Bahsh, 33 from the city of Nablus, at the aforementioned checkpoint; Forces stopped and searched al-Bahsh’s car and beat him up, causing him light injuries. He was transferred to hospital for treatment.  In the meantime, forces detained Khalil Abu Awad after storming the city of Qalqilia at dawn. He was taken to an unknown destination. In Hebron, Forces detained four Palestinians, including three aged 17, 18 and 19, after raiding their homes in al-‘Aroub Refugee Camp to the north of Hebron. They were identified as Ihab Abu Rayya, 17, Abd al-Kareem al-Titi, 18, Malik Hajajreh, 19, Ra’fat al-Ra’I, 35. The army further set up military checkpoints at the entrances of the towns of Sa‘ir and Halhoul, as well as at the northern entrance of the city of Hebron, where they stopped and searched passing Palestinian registered cars and checked their identity cards, causing a traffic jam. In Jenin, forces detained Moath Abu al-Rob, 30, after raiding his home in the village of Jalboun to the east, security sources reported.  Meanwhile in Jerusalem, Israeli police detained minor Mo’ayad Idris after raiding and searching his family’s home in the old city of Jerusalem. He was taken to an interrogation and detention center in Jerusalem.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=29155

Israeli forces detain 31 in predawn raids across West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Israeli forces detained 31 Palestinians in predawn detention raids across the occupied West Bank Wednesday, the Israeli army and Palestinian security sources said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that 16 Palestinians were detained in Nablus district, 12 in Bethlehem, two in Ramallah, and one in Jericho, all for “illegal activity.” Palestinian security sources identified 12 Palestinians detained in villages across Nablus. They told Ma‘an that Israeli troops stormed the village of Salem and detained six Palestinian men including the son of a high-ranking PA security officer. The detainees were identified as Hilmi Nasim Karaki, Abdul-Salam Issa, Rafe Ratib, Thamin Ratib, Ahmad Abid, and Ghassab Jubara. The sources said that Nasim Karaki, whose son was among the detainees, is a lieutenant colonel in the Palestinian national security and that Israeli forces “stole money and jewelry from his house” during the detention raid. Separately, Israeli troops raided the nearby village of ‘Azmout and detained four young Palestinian men. Local sources identified them as Mahdi Jawad, 35, Khalil Bahaa, 32, Alaa Thawabta, in his 20s, and Shawkat Bahaa, 28. The sources said Israeli soldiers smashed a private vehicle belonging to Abdul-Jalil Salah after ransacking his home in Azmout. Israeli forces also raided the village of ‘Awarta east of Nablus and detained Ali Abadat and Majdi Qawariq. Palestinian sources also identified eight Palestinians detained in predawn raids in the village of Husan west of Bethlehem. Local sources identified the detainees as Muhammad Raafat Hamamra, 20, Rayan Iyad Hamamra, 20, Majd Jamil Sabatin, Omar Majid Hamamra, 20, Muhammad Hasan Hamamra, 19, Ghassan Muhammad Hamamra,20, Saqr Ibrahim Hamamra,22 and his brother Muhammad, 20 . . . Prisoners’ rights group Addameer estimates that 40 percent of the Palestinian male population has been arrested at some point.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767267

License to kill: Stone-throwing while Palestinian could get you killed
+972 Blog 24 Aug by John Brown* and Noam Rotem — An IDF brigade commander earns praise from the political establishment for killing a Palestinian stone-thrower, while soldiers are commended for using ‘restraint’ in the face of Jewish stone-throwers. The fourth installment in a series examining the case files of soldiers who killed unarmed Palestinian civilians. [Read parts onetwothree, and four] — On Friday, July 3, Colonel Yisrael Shomer, commander of the Binyamin Brigade, shot two bullets into the back of 17-year-old Muhammad Ali-Kosba, and another in his head. Shomer claimed the boy was throwing stones at his vehicle. The political establishment was full of praise for the colonel’s conduct due to the “life threatening” situation, stating that he acted “as was expected of him” in such circumstances. Praise also came from General Roni Numa, head of the Central Command, whose track-record of treating Palestinians life with disregard has been covered in the past [Hebrew]. How can a youth who is shot in the back pose a threat at that moment? And how could he keep posing a threat to the commander after two bullets had already entered his body? This has yet to be explained.
http://972mag.com/license-to-kill-stone-throwing-while-palestinian-will-get-you-killed/110972/

Prisoners / Court cases

Allan prevented from leaving hospital
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Aug — Israeli Public Prosecution informed the Barzilai, on Sunday, not to discharge Palestinian hunger-striker Mohammad Allan. Allan has begun to take food and medicines. However, the medical center had said that he has suffered brain damage, Days of Palestine reports. The hunger striker spent 65 days on hunger strike and was admitted to the medical center after falling into a coma due to a deterioration in his health. He is now reportedly conscious and aware of everything around him, his health improving. Israeli Public Prosecution told the medical center that he will not leave until official approval. Ynet said that an Israeli coordination committee issues daily permits for Allan to remain at the center. It also reported that an Israeli security guard was placed at the entrance of the hospital in order to prevent Allan from leaving. Allan’s family was informed that if he left the medical center, he would be punished, and, if the family wanted to move him to another hospital, this must be coordinated by the Israeli security services. Israel’s High Court, last Wednesday, suspended Allan’s administrative detention order, but said that he must remain in hospital pending a decision on his future.
http://www.imemc.org/article/72771

Khalida Jarrar trial hears witness confessions ‘obtained under duress’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Two witnesses giving testimony at Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar’s first witness hearing on Monday told the court that their confessions were obtained through “torture and ill treatment” by Israeli forces, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights group said. Addameer said in a press release Tuesday that due to time constraints only two witnesses testified at the hearing, which had been previously postponed three times after the military prosecution repeatedly failed to bring the witnesses to court. “The two witnesses spoke about the conditions of which their confessions were obtained, including torture and ill treatment,” the rights group said. The prosecution, which had called the witnesses forward, then requested that they be held as “hostile witnesses.” This allowed them to cross-examine the witnesses and “claim that the confessions obtained initially were true, whereas the witnesses were making false statements in the courtroom,” Addameer said. However, Jarrar’s lawyer argued that their initial confessions were flawed as they were “obtained under duress.” According to Addameer, the witnesses spoke of “pressure and ill-treatment during interrogation including sleep deprivation, being tied in painful stress positions for long hours, being threatened with further torture and with the arrest of family members.” The rights group added that it was also “brought to light that witnesses were banned from lawyer visits for long periods, indicating that their confessions were made without legal counseling.” The next hearing for testimonies was set for Sept. 20.  ‘Right to a just trial’  Jarrar, an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, earlier this month marked four months behind bars. She was detained from her home in Ramallah on April 2, and initially sentenced to six months’ administrative detention, although international pressure later forced the Israeli authorities to bring 12 charges against her, focused on her political activism.
The trial has already dragged on for weeks, with three previous witness hearings postponed after witnesses failed to show up.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767259

British national challenges Israel’s policy of deporting peace activists
+972 Mag 24 Aug by Haggai Matar — Israel’s Interior Ministry banned British peace activist Gary Spedding from the country for 10 years, claiming that he was an anti-Semitic liar who might start a riot. Unlike other activists who have suffered the same fate, Spedding isn’t giving up without a fight — An Israeli court is slated to rule next month on a case involving a British human rights activist who was denied entry into the country, deported, and banned for 10 years, who claims that the Interior Ministry is targeting him for his political views. It all began on January 9, 2014. Gary Spedding, a 25-year-old British pacifist and human rights activist, arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport for a short visit of a little over a week in Tel Aviv and Bethlehem in order to meet with local activists (myself included) and political leaders. It was supposed to be Spedding’s fifth visit to Israel/Palestine in four years, with the previous four going off without a hitch. The visits were intended to allow Spedding, who is committed to peace between Israelis and Palestinians, to continue learning about the issue from up close, and talk to people about the relative success of the Northern Ireland peace agreement. Despite his young age, Spedding is a one of the central activists in the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland — the only joint Protestant-Catholic party in Northern Ireland’s parliament. But upon stepping up to the passport control at Ben-Gurion Airport, Spedding was taken to a small room where he said the security team logged onto his mobile phone without permission and scanned through his contacts, text messages and email, manually copying some of the content onto a notepad. He also underwent a lengthy full-body check, and was eventually jailed before being deported. I was told by the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration that Spedding had been banned for 10 years because of his activities on social media, fearing that he could start riots in Israel or the occupied territories if allowed into the country. Countless activists have undergone the same procedure, from artists to intellectuals to left-wingers.
http://972mag.com/british-national-challenges-israels-policy-of-deporting-peace-activists/110938/

Palestinian refugees – Lebanon, Syria

Three killed in clashes at Lebanon Palestinian camp
AFP 25 Aug — Three people were killed in clashes overnight and into Tuesday morning between rival armed groups in Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp, near southern Sidon, medical sources told AFP. The fighting between the Jund al-Sham Islamist group and members of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement prompted hundreds of residents to flee Ain al-Helweh camp and shelter in nearby mosques. Medical sources said at least 35 people were wounded, with ambulances unable to enter the camp to retrieve other injured people because of the heavy clashes. At least two of the dead were Fatah members, one of them an officer, Palestinian sources said. The identity of the third person was unclear. The sound of fierce gunfire and rocket fire could be heard in neighbouring Sidon, and the Lebanese army reinforced its positions at the four main entrances to Ain al-Helweh. It was allowing those able to reach the entrances to leave the camp, but preventing anyone from entering, an AFP correspondent said. The clashes first broke out on Saturday after two Fatah members were killed during an apparent assassination attempt by Islamists on a leading Fatah official . . . More than 450,000 Palestinians are registered in Lebanon with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA. Most live in squalid conditions in 12 official refugee camps and face a variety of legal restrictions, including on their employment.
https://in.news.yahoo.com/three-dead-clashes-lebanon-palestinian-083048849.html

Thousands of Palestinians displaced by Lebanon camp clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an)  25 Aug — Thousands of Palestinians have been displaced by violent clashes in Lebanon’s largest refugee camp near southern Sidon, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Tuesday. UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness said that armed clashes in the Ain al-Helweh camp have had a “serious impact on the Palestine refugee community.” Three people were killed in clashes overnight and into Tuesday morning in fighting between the Jund al-Sham Islamist group and members of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement. Despite reports of a ceasefire, as many as 3,000 Palestinians may have been displaced, Gunness said, with UNRWA having limited access and movement in and around the refugee camp. “We are deeply concerned over reports that civilians are endangered and that our installations have been directly affected by the fighting,” he said. “UNRWA condemns any armed group that fails to respect its obligations under international law to protect civilians and to respect the inviolability of United Nations premises.” UNRWA has mobilized a humanitarian response with its partners to provide food, medical assistance, and shelter and will continue to monitor the situation, Gunness added. Tensions have been running high for months between Palestinian factions and Islamists inside Ain al-Helweh, an impoverished and overcrowded camp.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767263

Palestinian journalist recalls torture by Syrian jailers
BEIRUT (EI) 25 Aug by Patrick O. Strickland — A Palestinian journalist was shocked when more than a dozen Syrian security officers showed up to arrest him in July 2013. They approached his table at a Damascus bar, yanked him from his seat and dragged him to a police car. The journalist, who asked not to be named due to ongoing safety concerns, believes he was targeted because he had opposed the government of President Bashar al-Assad. “I was shocked – all these soldiers just for me,” said the journalist, who lived in Yarmouk, a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus. “I had only participated in civilian protests; it was civil resistance. We just expressed our opinions.” . . . “Of course, there was violence, hitting, torture… during the interrogations,” he said. “They would beat me and curse at me, trying to get information from me — about my work as a journalist. But everything I’d written about Syria wasn’t published in my name, so they had nothing on me.” . . .  “I had a script and I stuck to it,” he explained. “I said ‘I support the regime and that the regime supports Palestine more than anyone else.’ One of them [prison guards] stomped on my face repeatedly. But no matter how much they beat me I kept saying the same thing. I think that’s why I survived. I’m so lucky.” -Weight loss- For two and a half months, he remained behind bars, often getting sick from the poor conditions and the dirty water and food. “Throwing up, diarrhea — the last day before I was released I had to go to the bathroom 23 times. I was very sick,” he said. “My mother didn’t recognize me because I had lost so much weight,” he recalled, adding that a doctor later told him he had been suffering from severe skin and stomach infections. Fearing the possibility of rearrest, he was eventually smuggled out of the country and into Lebanon. He has been unable to obtain a residency permit from Lebanese authorities, who impose strict restrictions on Palestinian refugees, including banning them from more than 70 professions. The journalist now lives in Shatila, an overcrowded Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. His family has fled Yarmouk to another area near Damascus . .  .  Jordan effectively sealed its borders to Palestinian refugees from Syria early in the civil war, with Lebanon doing so in May this year . . . According to the UK-based Action Group for Palestinians in Syria, nearly 3,000 Palestinians have been killed in Syria’s civil war. Meanwhile, at least 943 Palestinians are detained in Syrian prisons and another 277 are believed to have been abducted. Yet that number is likely much higher because many families of detainees are scared to speak out  
https://electronicintifada.net/content/palestinian-journalist-recalls-torture-syrian-jailers/14802

Other news

Palestinians seek to raise flags at UN before pope visit to US
Reuters/AP 26 Aug — The Vatican on Tuesday asked the Palestinian UN mission to remove all references to it from a draft resolution the Palestinians have prepared for the General Assembly calling for the flags of Palestine and the Holy See to fly at the UN. The Palestinian draft resolution, which was seen by Reuters, would allow non-member observer states — there are only two — to display their flags with the 193 member states. The initiative comes one month before the scheduled appearance of Pope Francis for a major speech before a high-level gathering of the 193-nation UN General Assembly on September 25. Supporters of the idea hope the UN General Assembly will adopt a resolution on the flag-raising shortly before the pope arrives. They’re betting that the United States or other allies of Israel will not block the plan and risk offending the Holy See on Francis’ first U.S. visit. The draft resolution specifically refers to both the Vatican and the State of Palestine, both of which are non-member observer states at the United Nations. Currently, only member states’ flags fly at UN headquarters. UN diplomats say the United States and Israel, which do not recognize Palestinian statehood, would likely be irked by any move to fly the Palestinian flag at UN headquarters in New York City. The flag-flying resolution, which diplomats said the Palestinians were expected to circulate to the full assembly as early as on Wednesday, had apparently been prepared without the explicit consent of the Vatican’s mission to the United Nations. In a note circulated to some UN members and seen by Reuters, the Vatican made clear that while it did not object to the Palestinians proposing a resolution to fly their own flag, the Holy See had no plans to join the initiative — even though the Vatican formally recognized the State of Palestinian earlier this year.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/1.672967

UNRWA Commissioner General freezes controversial ‘unpaid leave’
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 24 Aug – UNRWA’s Commissioner General, Pierre Krähenbühl, canceled a decision which allows him to put a number of UNRWA personnel on unpaid leave up to one year, said an UNRWA press release. UNRWA spokesman Sami Mshasha said the previous decision, which was taken a few weeks earlier, came in light of the severe financial hardship that UNRWA has been going through, and the purpose of such decision was to prevent the termination of UNRWA staff’s work contracts at times of financial crisis. In response, tens of UNRWA employees and students took to the streets in the last few weeks to protest the possible cuts to refugees’ services and the delay which would “undermine students’ right to education”. However, over a million Palestinian students, including some half a million studying in UNRWA-run schools, Monday began the school year 2015 – 2016.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=29150

PA forces seek suspects after attack on Hebron community center
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Palestinian Authority forces on Tuesday reportedly came under fire during a failed operation to arrest Palestinians suspected of attacking a community center in Hebron city. Palestinian police spokesperson Luay Irzeiqat said that police officers carried out the operation in an area south of Hebron known as Jabal Thahir, after unidentified Palestinians attacked the municipality-run Tariq Ibn Ziad community center on Monday. Irzeiqat did not provide any details on the nature of the attack on the community center. One suspect was arrested on Monday evening, he said, but Tuesday’s operation in Jabal Thahir failed after police officers said they came under fire. One security official told Ma‘an that police fired back before the attackers fled the scene. However, Irzeiqat claimed that police had not returned fire, saying that the police officers were unable to determine whether they had been targeted or not. No injuries were reported. Irzeiqat added that police searched a three-story building in the area. He said that the operation was coordinated with Israeli forces, as it took place in Area C, which falls under Israeli civil and military control as part of the 1993 Oslo Accord.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=767254

Study: Israeli Arabs have a hard time finding suitable jobs
Haaretz 25 Aug by Or Kashti — Far more Israeli Arabs than Jews are employed in jobs that do not fit their education — The chances that an Israeli Arab will be hired when he has less education than required for the job are 400 percent lower than those of an Israeli Jew. On the other hand, the chances that an Israeli Arab will be hired for work for which he has more education than required is about 25 percent higher than the parallel figure for Jews. This is the result of a study recently completed by the Israel Democracy Institute . . . The study also indicates that where the worker has less education than is usual in his workplace (underqualified), an Israel Arab who is employed in the same job as a Jewish worker will earn about 12 percent less. In the opposite case, where both of those employed at the same job have more education than is usual in the workplace (overqualified), the Arab worker will earn less than his Jewish colleague: For example, a fully qualified Arab engineer who is employed as a practical engineer will earn 15 percent less for his superior training than a Jew in the same situation.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel/.premium-1.672758

Palestinian museum set to open next year in West Bank
DPA 24 Aug — The biggest museum yet of Palestinian history, culture and art is to open its doors in the West Bank next year. The Palestinian Museum’s inauguration ceremony is scheduled for May 15, organizers announced Monday, a symbolic date as it marks the Nakba, “catastrophe” in Arabic, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were dispersed into exile in the war that accompanied Israel’s creation in 1948. The 3,800-square-meter museum, located north of Jerusalem in Birzeit, aims to serve as a “link between Palestinians in historic Palestine and those living in the diaspora,” a statement said. It will be “dedicated to preserving and celebrating the culture, society and history of Palestine over the past two centuries,” it said. “The decision to open the museum on the 15th of May is designed to underline the enduring importance of the Nakba to the museum’s work,” said the museum’s director, Jack Persekian. A first exhibition, “Never Part,” will gather stories of Palestinians’ most treasured possessions in order to explore the interplay between material culture and collective identity. The museum is an initiative of the Welfare Association, a Palestinian NGO. The construction costs are $30 million, spokeswoman Rana Anani said. The number of Palestinians worldwide has crossed the 12-million mark, according to the Palestinian central bureau of statistics. Under half of them live in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The rest live abroad, including some 5.5 million registered Palestinian refugees and their descendants who reside in UN-run refugee camps in neighboring Arab states.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel/1.672694

Israeli biogas digesters energize isolated Palestinian village
BEIT YANAI, Israel (Reuters) 24 Aug by Ori Lewis and Elana Ringler — Palestinian villagers living in desolate, off-grid areas in the West Bank have begun using Israeli-made biogas generators that supply free, clean energy by gobbling up organic waste. The portable, household “anaerobic digesters” made by Israeli start-up company HomeBioGas turn food leftovers and manure into methane for cooking and lighting. They can be taken along if people living in ramshackle huts or tent dwellers, such as local Bedouin, decide to relocate or move home. “HomeBioGas has invented this simple digester that can easily be assembled and transported,” said Palestinian engineer Amer Rabayah, who coordinates installation of the devices. Rural West Bank areas that Palestinians want as part of a future state with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem have been left under-developed, while Israel, which captured the territory in a 1967 Middle East war, has invested in adjacent settlements. Palestinians – largely left to fend for themselves – have relied on donations from foreign states and international aid agencies.http://news.yahoo.com/israeli-biogas-digesters-energize-isolated-palestinian-village-083713799.html

US judge orders Palestinian deposits over attacks
NEW YORK (AFP) 24 Aug — A US judge Monday ordered Palestinian authorities to post $10 million in cash or bond while they appeal a ruling to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to American victims of attacks. Judge George Daniels said the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization must also deposit $1 million every 30 days, pending appeal of the February verdict. A New York jury found the PA and PLO liable for six attacks in Jerusalem between 2002-2004, awarding American victims and their families damages that amounted to $655.5 million. Daniels said the judgment in favor of the plaintiffs would be entered in the next 60 days, but would be stayed pending appeal as long as the deposits were made with the clerk of the court.
http://news.yahoo.com/us-judge-orders-palestinian-deposits-over-attacks-215005617.html

Israeli NGO accused of subsidizing Jewish extremists with US money
NEW YORK (JTA) 25 Aug — Taxpayer dollars in the United States and Israel are subsidizing Jewish terrorism against Arabs, a complaint filed with the New York state Attorney General’s Office alleges. The accusations follow a recent expose by Israel’s Channel 10 about the work of Israeli nonprofit Honenu, which provides financial support to Jews convicted of or on trial for violence against Palestinians, including so-called price tag attacks in the West Bank. The television program aired earlier this month in the aftermath of the July 31 firebombing of a Palestinian home in the village of Duma that killed an 18-month-old boy and his father. No suspects were arrested in the attack, but Jewish extremists are suspected. The attackers scrawled the Hebrew work for “revenge” at the site of the arson. Since 2003, Honenu has operated a New York-based US fundraising arm. In 2010, the last year for which data is listed, the tax-exempt organization has raised $233,700 in the United States, according to tax filings. “Honenu is doing exactly what Hamas and the PLO have been criticized for — providing personal support, if not incentives, for those who commit terrorist acts against others,” says the complaint sent Monday by T’ruah, The Rabbinic Call For Human Rights, to the charities bureau of New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Israeli-NGO-accused-of-subsidizing-Jewish-extremists-with-US-money-413194

Israel’s Barak says army blocked three Iran attack plans
JERUSALEM (AFP) 22 Aug — Israel’s former defence minister Ehud Barak has said in an interview that three Iran attack plans backed by both himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were blocked by the military. Barak, defence minister from 2009 to 2013 told the privately run television station Channel 2 overnight Friday that the plans were drawn up between 2009 and 2010. They were approved both by him and Netanyahu, but the response of the then chief of staff, General Gaby Ashkenazi, “was not positive.” Ashkenazi’s successor Benny Gantz told the country’s political leadership that “the possibilities (for an attack on Iran) exist, but you know its limitations and risks,” Barak said.He said the military’s reservations convinced two members of the eight-member security cabinet — Moshe Yaalon and Yuval Steinitz — not to back such a plan, depriving the premier of the necessary majority to proceed.
http://news.yahoo.com/israels-barak-says-army-blocked-three-iran-attack-221043213.html

UN Report: Israeli weapons fueling South Sudan civil war
Haaretz 26 Aug by Gili Cohen — Israeli weapons are being used in South Sudan by the local army and its senior officers, according to a recent UN report. The report, issued by a panel of experts appointed by the UN Security Council to study the civil war in South Sudan, is based on photographs from the field showing weapons manufactured by Israel Weapon Industries (IWI). According to the interim report, which summarizes the first 10 weeks of the panel’s activities, the weapon in question is an Ace, an upgraded version of the Galil assault rifle, which was developed by Israel Military Industries (now the IWI). South Sudan has been in the midst of a civil war for the past 18 months, and the United Nations has reported in the past on extensive human rights violations there during the fighting, including the drafting of child-soldiers and the burning of villages. According to the current report, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army has been implementing a scorched-earth policy, and has been involved in indiscriminate killing, rape, pillaging, destruction of infrastructure and uprooting of civilians from their homes.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.672952

Review: A Palestinian novel par excellence: The Blue between Sky and Water
Palestine Chronicle 24 Aug by Vacy Vlazna — If poetry be the food of love, read on.* The Blue between Sky and Water places Susan Abulhawa among the Illustrissimi of Palestinian literature. It is a novel one must read, at minimum twice. Once to follow the ‘what’s next’ of the evolving plot with its larger than fiction characters. And the second time? To slowly savor the luminescent beauty of the writing: human life, generically Palestinian, from the minute to the magnificent, is caught in the net of Abulhawa’s lyrical genius and comes up from the depths of her creativity shimmering. The novel, set in Gaza, spans four generations of the Baraka family’s experience of the great Palestinian tragedy of the Naqba, past and present, ‘The Naqba, the Catastrophe that inaugurated the erasure of Palestine, started slowly in 1947, one atrocity at a time throughout the country.’ Chronicling the rape of Palestinian land, the rape of Palestinian women, the rape of Palestinian daily life and the rape of Palestinian independence by Zionist terrorists ‘who were drunk on an ancient virulence that mixed greed and power with God.’ . . . Like Gaza, the novel, is crammed with heroic legends and love stories. In defiance of Zionist oppression, sumoud, Palestinian steadfastness, is expressed in the daily resilience of refugees that turn loss into nobility
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/a-palestinian-novel-par-excellence/

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