Talks fail between Israeli Prison Service and Palestinian prisoners
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — A fresh round of talks between the Palestinian prisoners and the Israeli Prison Service to end a campaign of disobedience in Israel’s Rimon and Nafha prisons failed on Tuesday, a prisoners’ center told Ma‘an. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that IPS officials met with leaders inside Nafha after tensions came to a head Monday when hundreds of prisoners declared a campaign of disobedience. IPS reportedly said Tuesday afternoon that a decision to impose restrictions on prisoners was a political one, not made by IPS authorities, but they offered to lift all the restrictions after six months. The offer was refused by prisoners who demanded that restrictions be lifted immediately, the prisoners’ center said in a statement. The center added that as the situation remained tense in Nafha, detainees across other prisons were carrying out acts of disobedience in solidarity with the campaign. Tuesday’s meeting was the latest development in Israel’s southern prisons, which have seen chaos in recent days. Last week, nearly 200 prisoners began hunger strikes to protest their treatment at the hands of the IPS. Around 120 Fatah-affiliated prisoners agreed to temporarily suspend their strikes following talks with the IPS on Monday. However, around 560 prisoners then declared a campaign of disobedience to protest conditions inside of the jails, according to the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs.
Campaign of disobedience continues in Israeli prisons
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Rimon and Nafha jails on Tuesday continued a campaign of disobedience that was declared on Monday, the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said. The committee said in a statement that around 560 prisoners in Rimon and Nafha were now taking part in the campaign to protest conditions inside the jails, with prisoners in other Israeli jails expected to join them. The campaign will continue until the end of August, the statement said, after which time the prisoners are expected to announce an open-ended hunger strike. “Disobedience” include a boycott of domestic work, daily roll-call, security checks and prison clinics, the statement said. It added that the prisoners will also refuse to distribute meals, will return meals at irregular intervals, close prison wards, refuse to deal with wardens, and refuse to answer jailers when they call prisoners by their names. The statement said that the prisoners began the campaign following incursions into their rooms by the Israeli Prison Service, as well as the arbitrary movement of prisoners from one jail to another, and the denial of regular family visits to prisoners.
MK Tibi: “Barzilai Hospital will not force-feed ‘Allan”
IMEMC 10 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Dr. Tibi, of the Joint Arab List, said he phoned the head of Barzilai Hospital, Dr. Hezi Levy, inquiring about the case of ‘Allan, and that Levy stated that the hospital “will not force-feed or allow the force-feeding the detainee.” Tibi also filed an official request to visit ‘Allan. On his Facebook page, Dr. Tibi said that Dr. Levi clearly stated that the physicians “might try to convince ‘Allan to end his strike,” and conduct medical checkups should his condition worsen, but only if the detainee agrees to have checkups or other medical interventions.” Dr. Levi also said that should ‘Allan lose consciousness, the physicians will do what is needed to save his life, “but will never force-feed him, since doing so violates the Tokyo and Malta Conventions.”
Israeli medical ethics expert: Hunger-striking prisoners should be force-fed
Haaretz 11 Aug by Ido Efrati — Prof. Gil Siegal: ‘The hunger striker waves the banner of autonomy, but realizing this right conflicts with realizing the sanctity of life — Doctors should save the lives of hunger-striking prisoners even against their will, an expert in medical ethics said on Monday, in response to the Israel Medical Association’s opposition to letting doctors force-feed Palestinian prisoner Mohammed ‘Allaan, who has been on a hunger strike for 54 days. “I’m embarrassed by a doctor who’d be willing to see a person die in the name of a political protest,” said Prof. Gil Siegal, a leading Israeli expert in medical ethics. He is a member of the National Bioethics Council, head of the Center for Health Law and Bioethics at Ono Academic College, a visiting law professor at the University of Virginia and an ear, nose and throat surgeon . . . In an article posted recently on the DoctorsOnly website that has generated shock waves in the medical community, he said the IMA’s position is an import from other countries that has nothing to do with Israel’s character and needs.
The only way to end Palestinian hunger strikes
+972blog 11 Aug by Yael Marom & Noah Rotem — We have become so accustomed to the idea that detaining people without charge or trial is fine. So much so that the discussion now revolves around how we should allow them to die, rather than why we have reached this point in the first place — It may be true that Attorney Mohammed Allan, who has been on hunger strike against his administrative detention for the past 54 days, is a bloodthirsty criminal. It may be true that Meir Ettinger, who was put in administrative detention last week, is the source of all evil in the world. But if this is true, let the army, the police, or the Shin Bet produce evidence against them. They will go to court, be served with an indictment, and stand before the judge. This is how it works in a country that pretends to be democratic. A person is innocent until proven guilty. The use of administrative detention, in which a detainee is held indefinitely without trial or charge, can only be deemed legal in very extenuating circumstances — a last resort to prevent potential danger . . . The main collaborators in Israel’s excessive use of administrative detainee are the courts. Those that are meant to be the gatekeepers are willing to be the rubber stamp for procedures that are clearly not up to the standard of the law, not to mention justice . . . The medical teams in Barzilai and Soroka hospitals, respectively, are now showing the justice system what a real commitment to medical ethics looks like. Their refusal to force-feed administrative detainee Mohammad Allan in a country where public courage is a rare commodity nowadays is commendable.
Palestinians occupy ICRC offices in support of hunger striker
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Up to 80 Palestinian activists on Monday evening occupied the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in occupied East Jerusalem to express solidarity with a Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike more than 50 days. The Palestinian youths were reported to have set up tents and raised Palestinian flags and posters inside the offices in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Activist Muhammad al-Shalabi said that around 80 Palestinians had declared an open sit-in that will last until Israel ends the administrative detention of hunger striker Muhammad Allan. Allan, who has been held without trial or charge since November, has been on hunger strike for at least 56 days, although the exact length is unclear. On Monday, he was transferred to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, where it is feared Israeli doctors intend to force feed him. Al-Shalabi said that the Palestinian activists are demanding that the ICRC send a permanent representative to the Barzilai Medical Center to be with Allan to prevent any attempts to force feed him. They are also demanding that Allan’s mother and family be allowed to visit him, and that the ICRC provide “protection” for Palestinians supporting Allan. The activists condemned the ICRC for “silence” on Allan’s case, and accused the organization of not doing enough to save his life.
Jarrar trial postponed
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Aug — Ofer Israeli Military Court has decided to keep Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar in custody without charge, refusing to release her on bail. According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, the judge at Ofer Court postponed the hearing due to the absence of the witnesses for the third session in a row. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association explained that the Israeli military judge rejected a request submitted by the association, last week, to release Jarrar on bail. Addameer stated that the court has decided to keep Jarrar in custody until it accomplishes court proceedings. Director of Addameer’s legal department, Mahmoud Hassan, said that the defense lawyer objected to not bringing the witnesses before the court, which hinders the completion of the hearings. This procedure will extend the arrest time and violate her right to a fair trial within an appropriate time frame.
Violence / Raids / Attacks / Clashes / Detentions
Hundreds mourn Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Aug — Hundreds of Palestinians on Monday marched in the funeral procession of 20-year-old Palestinian Anas Muntaser Taha, who was shot dead by Israeli forces the day before. Taha, from the village of Qutna northwest of Jerusalem, was shot dead by Israeli forces after he allegedly took part in a stabbing attack on an Israeli civilian at a gas station on Route 443, southwest of Ramallah. An Israeli army spokesperson said that Israeli forces opened fire “to prevent the suspect from escaping,” adding that they were searching for up to three other Palestinians allegedly involved in the attack. Taha’s body was handed to his family at al-Jeeb checkpoint after an autopsy was performed at Abu Kabir Forensic Institute. The funeral procession started from Palestine Medical Complex and made its way to his hometown of Qutna where prayers were held and his family saw him for the last time before he was laid to rest. Palestinian and factions flags were held during the funeral procession. Taha’s death brings the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces across the occupied Palestinian territories to at least 23 since the beginning of the year, according to UN figures.The UN reported that in the same period, Israeli forces also injured 1,149 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and 52 in the Gaza Strip.
Prosecutor: Body of Palestinian killed by Israeli force not autopsied
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Aug– The body of a Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces on Sunday near Ramallah was not taken for an autopsy to obtain additional details about his death, a head Palestinian prosecutor said Tuesday. Anas Taha‘s body was taken without the permission of the public prosecutor as his family rushed to bury him, the head of the Palestinian Public Prosecutor’s Office of Ramallah and Al Bireh, Ahmed Hannoun, told Ma‘an. Hannoun added that the representative of the public prosecutor had waited for the body in the Palestinian Legal Medicine Institute, but it was never received. Officials had previously said on Monday that Taha’s body had undergone autopsy at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute before being handed to his family at the al-Jib checkpoint prior to his funeral.
Israeli forces detain six Palestinians, summon another from West Bank
JENIN (WAFA) 10 Aug – Israeli forces early Monday detained six Palestinians and summoned another from West Bank districts, said security sources. Israeli forces raided the Jenin city neighborhoods of Jabal Abu Dhuheir and al-Marah, where they proceeded to break into several homes and interrogate their homeowners. Two of the interrogated homeowners were identified as Muhammad An-Nasra and his son, Hani. During the pre-dawn raid, forces detained four Palestinians identified as Jehad ‘Arqawi, 26, Ahmad Khalaf, 25, Yahya Najm, 19, and ‘Awad al-Jamal, 24. Meanwhile in Jerusalem, police detained a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his house in Beit Hanina town. The detainee was identified as Wisam Kastiro. In the meantime in Hebron district, forces detained a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his house in Bani Na‘im town to the east of the city. The detainee was identified as Walid Ziadat. Israeli forces also raided several Hebron neighborhoods and set up roadblocks at the entrances of Sa‘ir and Halhul to the north of the city, where they stopped and examined Palestinian registered vehicles travelling along the way, interrogated passengers and inspected their ID cards. In the meantime in Bethlehem district, forces summoned a Palestinian from Ad-Duheisha refugee camp, south of the city. Karam ‘Abed-Rabbu was handed a notice summoning him to appear before Israeli intelligence in the Gush Etzion interrogation and detention center.The raid sparked clashes with Palestinian local youths. Armed Israeli settlers fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades at local youths [who hurled stones and empty glass bottles at them], causing several to suffocate.
Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians from East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Aug — Israeli forces on Monday detained five Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem after raiding their houses, a prisoners’ rights group said. A lawyer for rights group Addameer said that Israeli forces detained Ali Muhesin, Odai Dary, and Mahmoud Muhisen from al-‘Issawiya. They also detained Ahmad al-Bakri and Wisam Kastero from Beit Hanina. The lawyer said that the detainees were transferred to the Russian Compound police station for interrogation.
Palestinian arson victims not eligible under Israeli compensation law
Haaretz 11 Aug by Revital Hovel — Though there’s no dispute in Israel that the July 31 arson attack on the Dawabsheh family in Duma was a terror attack, the family won’t be entitled to the government compensation granted Israeli victims of terror. The attack killed two members of the family, father Sa‘ad and 18-month-old Ali, and seriously wounded the mother and the elder son, aged 4. The law governing compensation to victims of terror applies only to Israeli citizens and residents – including West Bank settlers, who live in territory Israel never annexed. In 2006, following a shooting spree by a Jewish gunman the previous year that killed four Arabs in Shfaram, the law was amended to encompass Jewish terror attacks against Israeli Arabs as well, as long as they “stem from the Israeli-Arab conflict.” But it still applies only to Israeli citizens or residents. Thus to seek compensation under the law, the Dawabsheh family would have to apply to a special interministerial exceptions committee that has operated under the Defense Ministry’s auspices since 1999. Earlier this week, MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to apply the law to all Palestinian victims of Jewish terror.
Israel releases suspects held in raid linked to deadly firebombing
JERUSALEM (AFP) 10 Aug – Israel has released all suspects detained in raids as part of a probe into the firebombing of a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old child and his father, authorities said Monday. They did not provide the number of those detained in the raids early Sunday in wildcat Jewish settlement outposts in the West Bank near the Palestinian village of Duma, where the July 31 firebombing occurred . . . “All those arrested yesterday for interrogation have been released,” a spokeswoman for the Shin Bet domestic security agency told AFP, without providing further details.
Israel police quiz Jewish extremist who defends torching churches
JERUSALEM (AFP) 11 Aug — Israel police questioned Tuesday a Jewish extremist leader who condoned torching churches amid an uproar over recent hate crimes, including the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian home. Benzi Gopstein, who heads far-right group Lehava, has not been linked to any recent attacks, but his comments regarding churches came at a time of heightened sensitivity over Jewish extremism and drew outrage from Roman Catholic officials. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said Gopstein had been called in for questioning “about his comments regarding the burning of churches.” He was later allowed to go free, she added. During a debate with religious students last week, Gopstein defended the idea of burning churches, invoking a mediaeval Jewish commandment to destroy places of idol-worship, according to a widely broadcast recording of the event. A formal complaint to Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was later filed by the body in charge of Catholic properties in the Holy Land. In a letter seen by AFP Monday, the Custodian of the Holy Land called for Gopstein to be prosecuted and for Lehava to be outlawed . . . . Gopstein, who lives in the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, has previously faced police questioning. He was one of 10 Lehava members detained last year over an arson attack on a Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem.
Settlers firebomb public park in Nablus village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli settlers hurled Molotov cocktails at a public park in the northern West Bank village of Qaryut overnight Monday in a failed attempt to set fire to the park. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that a number of settlers arrived in three vehicles at 2 a.m. and hurled several Molotov cocktails at the park before fleeing the scene. The sources said local youths tried to chase the attackers but they sped away. No injuries were reported. Residents of the nearby village of Beita said that settlers tried to carry out a separate attack there, but locals noticed them and managed to prevent the attack.
Palestinian vigilantes patrol villages amid fear of more arson attacks
QUSRA, West Bank (Reuters) 11 Aug by Hassan Titi — Armed men stopping cars at checkpoints in the West Bank are usually Israeli security forces policing the occupied territory, but in some areas they are Palestinian civilians patrolling their own villages. Fears of attacks by far-right Jews have increased since a Palestinian man and his 18-month-old son were killed when their house in Duma village was set ablaze on July 31, giving the farmers-turned-volunteer watchmen a renewed sense of urgency. “They used to break glass, damage houses, and torch the mosque and vehicles,” said Abed al-Atheim Adi, mayor of the village of Qusra where locals have been patrolling the streets at night since 2001. “The youths in the village formed teams to defend the rights of their children and families and provide more protection at night,” said Adi. Reuters accompanied a patrol in Qusra this week. Watchmen, some of whom were masked, carried cudgels and a pick-axe as weapons and used a flashlight to peer into the dark fields on the thorny plains near the city of Nablus. They had no guns, perhaps fearing crackdowns by the Israeli army, which, under interim peace deals that set up the self-ruling Palestinian Authority (PA) in the 1990s, has overall responsibility for security in the area. In a nearby village, Turmus Ayya, residents sometimes set up checkpoints on the access road at night, where they question motorists and search their vehicles. “The number of the team members can be seven, 17 or 40, depending on who is free,” Adi said. “These teams don’t get support or funding from anyone. The Palestinian Authority promised to provide support, but nothing has happened.” If an intruder is spotted, the watchmen phone the village imam, who summons reinforcements over the mosque loudspeakers. . . .
Palestinian car attack suspect in critical condition in hospital
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — A Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a car attack which injured three Israeli soldiers last week is still in critical condition after being shot at the scene of the incident by Israeli forces, the Palestinian Authority said Tuesday. Muhammad Badwan is in the Intensive Care Unit of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Israel, the PA Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said, and has mostly been unconscious. Badwan, 48, from Biddu village east of Ramallah, was shot four times after he allegedly rammed his car into Israeli soldiers near the entrance to Shilo settlement north of Ramallah. An army statement said two of the three wounded soldiers “sustained severe injuries.”
Muslims in Jerusalem denounce café built on historic cemetery
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Aug — A recently opened Acafe in West Jerusalem, which is built on a park that Muslims say is the site of an ancient cemetery, is drawing outrage from religious leaders in the Holy City. The Al-Aqsa Association, a group which advocates for protecting the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other holy sites in Jerusalem, released a statement after the cafe opened earlier this month, calling the move part of a “systematic scheme to destroy the landmarks of the cemetery.” “This is a sanctified location, a holy place for Muslims, and it’s been a cemetery for 1,400 years. It’s impossible to treat a holy place like this,” Amir al-Khateeb, the director of the organisation, told Al Jazeera. Al Ray further reports that representatives of the Landwar Coffee chain, to which the cafe belongs, were unavailable for comment. Mamilla Cemetery is believed to date back to the seventh century, and it houses the remains of many important figures from the early days of Islam, including companions of the Prophet Mohammed. It is also the resting place of many combatants from the Crusades, both Muslim and Christian . . . In 1986, the Israeli government told the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that “no project exists for the deconsecration of the site and that, on the contrary, the site and its tombs are to be safeguarded,” in response to a UNESCO investigation of Israel’s development projects on Mamilla. However, the current government seems to be taking a different stance. Khateeb asserts that of the 20 hectares of land that belong to the historical location, only two hectares are still visible as part of the cemetery. “They have built a hotel, a garden, a pool, and now the cafe – all on top of graves,” Khateeb said.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian woman, child at Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli forces on Tuesday detained a Palestinian woman and child at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, locals said. Muhammad Murad, 13, was detained for allegedly throwing eggs at Israeli forces, while Siham Odah was accused of biting a member of an Israeli special forces unit. The arrests took place after a group of women and children from a summer camp were reportedly denied access to the holy site for the second day in a row. A crowd began to chant slogans at Israeli forces after which scuffles broke out and the detentions were made.
Israeli police prevent women, children from entering Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli police on Tuesday prevented Palestinian children taking part in a summer camp as well as a number of Palestinian women from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, witnesses said. Witnesses said that Israeli police “suddenly” deployed at the compound gates and set up iron barriers. Israeli police reportedly distributed a list of women’s names at all gates and prevented a number of women, as well as children taking part in a summer camp, from entering the holy site. Witnesses added that police deployed at the Lion’s Gate chased children from the area, causing them to panic. Tensions have risen sharply at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in recent days, with near-daily clashes as right-wing Jewish organizations call on their members to tour the site.
Israeli officers detain Aqsa security guard
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Aug — Israeli border police officers on Monday detained an Al-Aqsa Mosque compound guard during clashes at the holy site, witnesses told Ma‘an. Clashes broke out after Israeli police officers prevented a group of youths attending a summer camp from entering the compound, locals said. Palestinian mosque guards arrived at the scene and were assaulted and attacked with pepper-spray by Israeli forces, witnesses told Ma‘an. Muayyad Hashima was detained during the incident, while the other guards present were identified as Ashraf Abu Rmeila and Yahya Shehada. Israeli media reported that Hashima attacked Israeli border police officers at the scene. Tensions have soared at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in recent days, with near-daily clashes as right-wing Jewish organizations call on their members to tour the site.
Israeli police ban 5 Palestinians from entering Aqsa compound
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Aug – Israeli police on Monday banned five Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for up to 90 days. Abdul Rahman Saleh Bukirat, 45, said that police notified him that he is banned from entering the holy site for three months on charges of “incitement” after shouting ‘Allah Akbar,’ or ‘God is Great, in the compound. Abdul-Kareem Haddad, Obada Najeeb, Muhammad Najeeb, and Mahmoud Najeeb were also all banned from the holy site for 20 days, a prisoners’ committee in Jerusalem told Ma‘an. Amjad Abu Asab, a spokesperson for the group, said that the four men were assaulted by Israeli forces during their detention at the al-Qishla police station.
Israeli soldiers open fire on 13-year-old boy in Gaza
GAZA, Occupied Palestine 11 Aug by ISM, Gaza Team — Maher Shitat, 13 years old, was shot in the leg on Friday night by the occupation forces. His father sent him to bring his brother from a relative’s home and on the way there the soldiers shot him without previous advice. He was shot in El Zeraa area, in Beit Hanoun, at 8pm. He was walking at 500m from the fence when he was shot, on a frequently used road. He was first taken to Beit Hanoun Hospital, where due to the lack of medical equipment the doctors where unable to treat him. After that he was transferred to Kamal Adwan Hospital, where the doctors decided not to remove the bullet, as they said it’s located very near to a vein, and removing it would most probably end up with his leg amputated. Now they are trying to stabilize his condition. After a while they hope he will be able to walk again, and after 15 years, when his leg and veins are stronger, they’ll try to remove the bullet. For the moment Maher is not allowed to walk, so he spends his days lying on a mattress. His mother explains: “he is very afraid… he doesn’t want to speak and today spent more than 30 minutes just shaking.” But as his family says, that’s not just because of this attack. During the last aggression his home was bombed, his cousin was killed and his father was injured in the leg . . . His mother explains that since the last massacre, and until now, he can’t go alone to the bathroom, as he is afraid the zionist soldiers will be inside. She also explains how Maher and his brothers ask her all the time why the Israelis want to kill them, and that they keep crying because they don’t want to die.
Israeli naval forces open fire on Gaza fishermen, no injuries reported
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Aug — Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City early Wednesday, witnesses said. The fishermen said that they came under fire as they were sailing off the coast of Sudaniyya in northwestern Gaza City. No injuries were reported, but some of the boats were hit with gunshots, causing the fishermen to return to shore.
1312 reported attacks against fishermen since the end of 2014 massacre on Gaza
GAZA, Occupied Palestine 11 Aug by ISM, Gaza Team — Two days ago, on Sunday’s night at 3am, the occupation forces kidnapped fishermen Mohamed Ismail Sharafi, 34 years old, and Mohamed Saidi, 22 years old, in Gaza City waters. According to the testimony of the other fishermen that were working with them the night of the attack, around 10 boats, one of the two fishermen was injured by live ammunition before being kidnapped. The aggression took place at 5 miles off shore and their boat was also taken to Ashdod. Two weeks ago Ahmed Sharafi, Mohamed’s brother, was shot in his back with live ammunition while working with his father.
Since the end of the last Zionist massacre against Gaza there have been 1312 reported attacks against the fishermen. Since then, 22 boats have been stolen; 26 fishermen have been injured; one fisherman, Tawfiq Abu Riela, has been assassinated; 28 boats have been disabled by bullet fire; 2 big fishing boats have been sunken by rocket fire, one in Deir El Balah at 300m from the coast and one in Gaza City at 5 miles; 51 fishermen have been kidnapped while working and 3 fishermen remain prisoners until now. Those facts, among other practices of the occupation forces, have caused the quantity of fish caught to decrease from 1600 tons the year before the massacre to 1000 tons the year after. At the same time the number of fishermen who work in the Gaza Strip has decreased from 3000 to 1000 and the fishermen who keep working have seen how their monthly income decreased from 2000 ILS to the actual 100 ILS. This last year, just in Beach Camp, 50 children of fishermen have left school in order to work carrying flour sacks at the doors of UNRWA for 1 ILS each sack. It’s becoming something common that the fishermen families have to choose between their children and decide which ones will go to school and which ones will have to work in order to support the family.
Israel says it arrested a senior Hamas fighter from Rafah
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Aug — The Israeli Security Service (Shabak) has reported that the army arrested, earlier in July, a senior Hamas fighter, allegedly responsible for digging tunnels across the border, and various other military activities, including explosives and military training. It said the Palestinian, Ibrahim ‘Adel Shehada Sha’er, 21 years of age, from Rafah in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, was indicted in mid-July, and that he “revealed essential information during interrogation, especially info about Hamas, its “emergency plans,” and “the movement’s intention to use tunnels in attacking Israel.” The District Court in Beersheba (Be’er as-Sabe’) held a session in which the Israeli prosecution presented an indictment that includes “membership with an illegal organization,” “attempted murder,” “contacting a foreign agent,” “conducting military trainings,” in addition to various charges, related to weapons and explosives . . . The Israeli report also said Sha’er has strong ties with senior Hamas leaders, and that he told the interrogators about “relations between Hamas and Iran,” including Iranian military support . . .
Gaza’s summer training camps: ‘No time left for playing’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — The young participants of Talae al-Awad summer camp are decked out in the signature red of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and have had their faces smeared in camouflage battle-paint. They crawl on their elbows and drag themselves through dirt and rocks beneath rusted barbed wire. Talae al-Awda, meaning Vanguards of the Return, is one of several summer camps across the beleaguered Gaza Strip that in recent weeks has started to offer military training to tens of thousands of Palestinians, some as young as 14. The summer camps are each organized by a separate political faction, and Talae al-Awda is run by the military wing of the PFLP. “We undertake military training so that we are prepared to protect our homeland and ready to take back our land that was occupied in 1948,” said Saif al-Khalifa, one of the camp’s youngsters. The boy’s friend and a fellow participant, Karam Arafat, said that he hoped one day to be a leader like the camp trainers, and that meant it was time he put his childhood behind him. “If you want to be a leader, there is no time left for playing,” Arafat said. -‘Growing up to the sound of shells’- Human rights activists have condemned the camps as a forced militarization of Gazan society and a violation of children’s rights. Fadil Abu Hein, a Gaza-based psychoanalyst, said he was worried that Gaza’s children are being forced into a stage they are not psychologically prepared for.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Apartheid / Settlements
New illegal colony planned in Silwan, in occupied Jerusalem
IMEMC 12 Aug by Saed Bannoura — Palestinian researcher in settlement affairs, Ahmad Sob Laban, has reported that the Israeli colonization organization “Ateret Cohanim,” based in the Muslim Quarter in occupied Jerusalem, has presented a construction plan to the Jerusalem City Council, in preparation to build a new illegal colony near Bet Yonatan colony, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem. Sob Laban said the new plan aims to construct three outposts, each composed of four floors, in addition to expanding the road between Bet Yonatan (illegally installed on Palestinian property in 2004) and the new outpost, which would also be built on illegally seized Palestinian property adjacent to Bet Yonatan. He added that Silwan, especially Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, is facing serious threats from Ateret Cohanim, an organization that is responsible for the construction of 71 illegal outposts in the Old City, in both the Muslim and Christian Quarters, since 1967.
Israel laying new roads in occupied West Bank
MEMO 10 Aug — Israeli occupation authorities have started laying new roads across the occupied West Bank in an attempt to provide separate routes for settlers, Qudsnet reported yesterday. Palestinian sources told Qudsnet that a deal was reached between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Israeli occupation to expand the southern entrance of the Palestinian city of Ramallah, which is known as Qalandia checkpoint. It is hoped the expansion will help alleviate congestion at the checkpoint caused by the Israeli restrictions. The expansion is to be carried out within 80 days, PA officials said. Qudsnet said that the main road that the Israeli authorities are working at is the one lying between the neigbourhood of Jaba‘a, north of Jerusalem, and the Qalandia checkpoint. It will separate the Palestinian neighbourhood of Al-Ram, which will have a tunnel entrance instead. The project, Qudsnet said, is aimed at connecting the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank with the Israeli cities and will facilitate the movement of Israeli settlers who will no longer have to use the same roads as Palestinians.
Israel allocates 3m for mikveh in Jewish enclave in East Jerusalem
Haaretz 10 Aug by Nir Hasson — The Jerusalem municipality recently approved a budget of 11.2 million shekels ($2.94 million) to build a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath, in the Ma’aleh Zeitim enclave, where some 100 Jewish families live in the heart of the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces demolish 3-story building in Qalandiya industrial zone
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Israeli forces on Tuesday morning demolished a three-story commercial building in the industrial zone of Qalandiya north of Jerusalem, the owner told Ma‘an. Mazin Abu Diab said that Israeli forces stormed the industrial zone and sealed it completely before bulldozers demolished a three-story building he owns in the area. He said that the building consisted of two meeting halls, four offices and additional utilities measuring 220 square meters in total. Abu Diab said that part of the building was constructed in 1971, and another part measuring 100 square meters was added on in 2013. He said that he had tried to obtain the necessary permits from the Israeli authorities for the additional structure, but said that the Jerusalem municipality decided to demolish the entire building rather than give him a license. Abu Diab said that he started to refurbish the building about five months ago.
Israeli forces demolish Palestinian house, structures in Salfit, Hebron towns
SALFIT (WAFA) 10 Aug – Israeli forces early Monday demolished a Palestinian house in Deir Ballut town to the west of Salfit as well as two residential structures and a livestock barn in Adh-Dhahiriya town to the south of Hebron. Israeli forces, escorting two bulldozers, raided the town, where they demolished a Palestinian house under construction belonging to ‘Adnan ‘Abdullah in Khallet Qasul locality to the south of Deir Ballut. This was the second time that ‘Abduallah’s house was demolished. It was demolished about a year and a half ago in the same spot in Khallet Qasul, a locality in Area C that has over 60 Palestinian houses and is considered one of the areas that regularly receive stop-construction and demolition notices. Local media reported on ‘Abdullah as saying although he submitted proper building permits, he was served a notice two months ago to demolish his house, prompting him to leave no stone unturned in order to halt the implementation of this notice, but with no avail. Furthermore, forces demolished two residential structures and a livestock barn in the Adh-Dhahiriya village of Ar-Rahwa. Israeli soldiers escorting a bulldozer raided the village, where they proceeded to demolish two residential structure and a livestock barn belonging to Farhan As-Samamra, displacing 24 people. Meanwhile, forces served demolition notices for several Palestinian houses near al-Hamra permanent military checkpoint on Road 57 controlled by Israeli authorities. All Palestinians whose houses are located to the north of the checkpoint were handed notices, giving them only 10 days to evict their homes as a prelude to demolition.
IOF blocks water tanks in Jordan Valley
WADI AL-MALEH (PIC) 10 Aug — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Sunday blocked water tanks from reaching Bedouin families in Wadi al-Maleh in the northern Jordan Valley in absolute disregard to the severe hot weather. Local sources revealed that the IOF soldiers stopped Palestinians’ tractors towing water tanks, blocked their traffic, and prohibited them to access the area. The sources pointed out that the IOF deliberately pressures Bedouins in the region with the aim of forcing them to leave their homes in Wadi al-Maleh. The Israeli forces prevent Bedouins from using water springs in the area and consider water transfer via tanks an offense for which drivers get penalized by confiscation and fines. Besides, the confiscated water tanks are usually transferred to Israeli military camps.
‘Tip of the spear’: Israel razes ‘illegal’ Palestinian homes amid West Bank settlement expansion
RT 9 Aug — Amid the outrage caused by a deadly arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists, Israel has continued razing Palestinian properties and making space for newly-approved housing units intended for “tip of the spear” Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. “We are the tip of the spear” and the “shield” that protects Israel, a spokesman for the settlers of Yitzhar in West Bank, Ezri Tubi, told the Washington Post. While he admitted that some of the Israeli settlers are radical, Tubi denied that any of them supported the shocking arson. Even the most hardcore Israeli settlers would not go beyond “puncturing [the] tires” of the Palestinian vehicles or other small acts of vandalism, Tubi insisted. Speaking to Washington Post reporters, he complained that the international community has been wrongfully demonizing Israeli settlers and condemning them for the “Jewish extremism” which they have had nothing to do with, and that Israeli authorities have not been doing enough to help and shield ideologically-driven Jewish settlers from unjust criticism.attack on a Palestinian village which killed a Palestinian toddler and his father, and seriously injured the rest of their family . . . Meanwhile, amid Palestinian grief and fury, Israeli forces went on to destroy at least 18 homes and stores in three Palestinian villages in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley – without any warning according to reports. Israel claimed that the structures were “illegal” because they were built without a permit from the Israeli Civil Administration.
Israeli defence minister visits flashpoint Hebron mosque
MEE/Agencies 11 Aug — Surrounded by security forces, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Tuesday visited the historic Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron. Yaalon stayed in the mosque for 40 minutes, Munther Abu Fielat, the mosque’s Palestinian director, told Anadolu Agency. “Muslim worshipers, meanwhile, were prevented from entering or leaving,” Abu Fielat said. According to Munther, Israeli authorities plan to close the Ibrahimi Mosque to Muslims on Wednesday and Thursday to allow Israeli settlers to pray at the holy site.
Archaeological dig inside settlement must be open to Palestinians, Civil Administration decides
Haaretz 12 Aug by Nir Hasson — Civil Administration gives retroactive approval to illegal development of site at Shiloh, but insists site should be made available to all — The Civil Administration in the West Bank has ruled that Tel Shiloh, an archaeological site inside the Shiloh settlement, must be open to Palestinian visitors. And while the Supreme Planning Council of Judea and Samaria found that construction done at the site by the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council was illegal, it gave retroactive approval as well as approving future building plans. A massive development plan for the site includes the construction of an amphitheater, a 60-room hotel, a large parking lot and commercial center and shops. Objections were filed by residents from adjacent Palestinian villages, who claimed it would encroach on their lands, and by the archaeological advocacy organization Emek Shaveh, which claimed it would damage the site and its antiquities, as well as violating international law and agreements with the Palestinians on preserving the area’s archaeological heritage . . . Yoni Mizrahi, an archaeologist with Emek Shaveh, said the decision could have implications for other archaeological sites in the West Bank, like the site of ancient Sussia: “The council recognized that the Palestinian residents have a part in the archaeological heritage of these areas and have the right to visit them.”
Other news, opinion
West Bank refugees block roads to protest UNRWA cuts
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — Palestinians in a number of refugee camps across the occupied West Bank on Tuesday reportedly closed main roads near the camps to protest a possible decision by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to delay the school year. Ahmad Abu Kheiran, the head of a popular committee in the southern West Bank’s refugee camps, said that protesters used classroom chairs to block the roads. He said that the protest was the first of many that would be carried out against UNRWA. Abu Kheiran said that a possible delay to the school year, in addition to a wider reduction of UNRWA’s services, was a dangerous step that could lead to terminating the UN agency entirely. Abu Kheiran made his comments a day after a Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine official in the Gaza Strip lambasted the UNRWA cuts. Mahmoud Khalaf claimed that “the alleged financial crisis in UNRWA” had been made up as a pretext to shut down the UN agency and undermine the Palestinian refugees’ right of return to land inside Israel from which they were expelled in 1948. UNRWA was established in 1948 to provide relief to more than 700,000 Palestinians who were violently expelled from what became the state of Israel. After nearly 70 years — with no solution to the Palestinian refugee problem — the UN General Assembly has repeatedly renewed UNRWA’s mandate every two years. The agency now attempts to provide basic needs to over five million Palestinians across the Middle East. In recent months the agency has been struggling to secure donor funding, forcing it to scale back on its core services, including education, in addition to its emergency relief programs.
Gazans plan new round of protests against UNRWA cuts
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 Aug — Palestinian factions together with committees representing UNRWA employees on Monday agreed to ramp up protests against the embattled UN agency for Palestinian refugees, an official with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said. Mahmoud Khalaf said that factions had agreed to stage a rally next Monday in front of the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City, as well as a number of sit-in protests outside UNRWA offices and UNRWA-run schools in refugee camps across the Gaza Strip. Khalaf described ongoing cuts to UNRWA’s services as “unjust,” and claimed that they were part of a plot to undermine the Palestinian refugees’ right of return to land inside Israel from which they were expelled in 1948. He said that “the alleged financial crisis in UNRWA” had been made up as a pretext to shut down the UN agency and forego the refugees’ right of return.
Hamdallah: UNRWA crisis to be solved in coming days
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Aug — The financial crisis within the UN refugee agency for Palestinian refugees will be solved in the coming days, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Tuesday. Efforts are being made to ensure the school year starts on time, Hamdallah said, adding that the PA has been in touch with donor countries to urge them to support UNRWA in the provision of vital services to Palestinian refugees. The PM did not provide further details about how the financial crisis will be resolved.
Anonymous attacks Israeli government for baby Dawabsha
MEMO 11 Aug — Hackers today attacked the website of the Office of the Prime Minister, that of the Israel army and that of a number of ministries and government departments. In a statement the international group of hackers known as Anonymous said this was “because the Palestinian toddler’s voice was not heard / and because the world’s wicked silence was all over heard / and because we decided to be the toddler’s voice and pain / and because Israel, the criminal state, decided to set the Jewish Extremist settler / who burnt the toddler alive, free we decided this OP.” Yesterday, Israeli officials announced that a number of settlers who were arrested following the murder of a toddler and his father in an arson attack on a Palestinian home near the city of Nablus were released without charge. The operation, #WasBurnedAlive, part of the greater #OpIsrael, started approximately 9 hours ago. At the time of writing, most of the websites were still down. List below from RedCult.
With no land to farm, Palestinian refugees are looking up for answers
BETHLEHEM (Haaretz) 10 Aug by Sheren Khalel — Narrow, uneven alleyways weave between mismatched, poorly planned housing blocks in the ‘Aida refugee camp on the edge of this West Bank city. ‘Aida, like most Palestinian refugee camps, is cramped and overpopulated. With open land nearly nonexistent, traditional farming for camp residents is impossible. Thus, to preserve their heritage and to combat the high cost of living in the West Bank, the refugees have begun looking to their roofs for answers. ‘Aida resident Khalid Azrak, 50, has not had to buy vegetables all summer. He’s thankful for the money he’s saved and proud of the food he’s grown. Like a handful of his neighbors, he spends a good part of his day up on the roof of his modest home, tending his crops. “I actually grew too much,” says Azrak, a wide smile on his face. “So I’ve been giving some of the vegetables away.” . . . “It’s a problem, seeing only walls,” Karkur tells Haaretz, referring to the concrete separation barrier erected between the West Bank and Israel proper. “Walls, walls, walls, walls – we want to see green things,” he continues. “Our children need to know the land, to see the land. Today all they know is computers and Internet, they don’t know about land, because we can’t teach them, because we don’t have access to land. But with my garden I am teaching my children that part of our culture.”
Leaked documents raise anger over Palestinian corruption
RAMALLAH (AP) 12 Aug by Mohammed Daraghmeh — Documents leaked online detailing two attempts by Palestinian officials to misuse public funds have triggered outrage, highlighting the corruption and mismanagement critics say remains rampant in the Palestinian government. The furor over the documents comes as the Palestinian economy is stagnating and Palestinians grow increasingly displeased with government services. Palestinian Authority officials have defended their record on stamping out corruption, saying they’ve recovered millions of dollars in misspent funds. A senior Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t allowed to discuss the leak, confirmed the documents authenticity to The Associated Press. They have offered a rare glimpse into the wheeling and dealing of the Palestinian government, long bogged down by rivalries. One document signed by Majdi al-Khaldi, a diplomatic adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who accompanies him on his trips to world capitals, asked Bahrain’s foreign minister for $4 million to fund a private neighborhood complex for Palestinian officials in an upscale area of Ramallah in the West Bank. He insisted the complex was “meant to resist the Israeli settlements,” even though there are no settlements where the complex was built. . . .
Nablus mayor resigns over water shortage
JPost 12 Aug by Khaled Abu Toameh — Ghassan Shaka‘ah, the mayor of Nablus, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank, on Tuesday submitted his following protests over a severe water shortage. Shaka‘ah said in his letter of resignation that he and all the members of the municipal council decided to resign to avoid “chaos” in the city because of the crisis. The resignation came following demonstrations in Nablus in protest against the water shortage over the past few days. Earlier this week, dozens of angry residents closed a main street in the city in protest against the water shortage. The demonstrators accused the municipality of “unequal distribution” of water to the city’s neighborhoods. They claimed that Palestinians living in the Balata and Askar refugee camps east of Nablus were being deliberately cut off from water supplies. The residents of the camps were being forced to buy their water from private suppliers at very high prices, they said. Many residents of Nablus are also furious with the municipality for its decision to install prepaid meters in their homes to prevent water theft.
US intervenes in lawsuit over Palestinian terror attacks
WASHINGTON (AP) 11 Aug — The Obama administration has intervened in a lawsuit over Palestinian terror attacks that have killed Americans, advising a judge that requiring a hefty bond payment in the case could financially destabilize the Palestinian government. The filing comes in a case in New York City, where a jury this year awarded $218.5 million to Americans affected by the attacks in a lawsuit brought against the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. That amount is automatically tripled under the Anti-Terrorism Act, lawyers have said. By intervening, the government said it was trying to strike a balance between its support for the rights of terrorism victims to be compensated in court and concerns that a large bond imposed while the verdict is on appeal would weaken the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and undermine “several decades of U.S. foreign policy.” “Senior U.S. officials have made clear to other governments that if the PA were to collapse, we would be faced with a crisis that would not only impact the security of Israelis and Palestinians, but would potentially have ripple effects elsewhere in the region,” Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a five-page sworn declaration filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Opinion: Try West Bank settlers in Israeli military courts just like Palestinians / Alexander Yakobson
Haaretz 12 Aug — At least when it comes to violence, there has to be one law both for Palestinians and Israelis in the territories. If the government really means its promises to fight Jewish terror and extremist violence with determination from now on, there is a simple and easily implemented step it must take: It must ensure that Jewish residents of the territories who are suspected of offenses against security and public order will be investigated and tried under the same laws – and in the same military courts – as their Arab neighbors who are suspected of the same offenses. Nowhere in the Israeli security legislation for the territories is it stated that the laws apply only to Arab residents of the territories and not to Jews or to Israeli citizens. The policy, as is well known, is to arrest and try settlers in the civilian courts on the other side of the Green Line. This policy can be changed without any need for legislation. Of course the thought that Israeli citizens will be tried in the military courts is not pleasant, but in the reality in which two populations are living in the territories under two different systems of laws and legislation – a natural and fundamentally perverse outcome of the settlement project, from a legal and moral perspective – it is impossible to do anything in the area that will not be off-kilter. The least weird step that can be taken is, as noted, to determine that at least in matters concerning violence, security and public order, there will be one law and one court for everyone who lives under the Israeli military government. . . .