Violence / Attacks / Clashes / Detentions
Palestinian shot by Israeli forces last week dies from injuries
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — A Palestinian shot and critically injured by Israeli forces at a military checkpoint in eastern Nablus last week died from his wounds on Thursday, medics said. Medical sources told Ma‘an that Ahmad Izzat Khatatbeh, 26, died from his wounds after being shot three times in the shoulder, chest and abdomen at the Beit Furik checkpoint last Friday. An Israeli army spokesperson said at the time that a petrol bomb was thrown at an Israeli army patrol in the area, near the illegal settlement of Itamar, with soldiers responding by shooting a Palestinian suspect and arresting another . . . Khatatbeh’s death Thursday brings the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2015 to 26, according to UN documentation. The number does not include Palestinian deaths caused by Israeli settlers.
UPDATED – VIDEO: ‘Nablus police chief, daughter injured by police fire in Kafr Qaddoum’
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Sept — The chief of police in the Nablus district and his three-year-old daughter were injured after being shot by Israeli forces with rubber-coated bullets, on Friday, during a raid in the village of Kafr Qaddoum, in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia. Coordinator of the Popular Committee Morad Eshteiwy said that Israeli forces directly shot at [three]year-old Maram Abdul-Latif al-Qaddoumi, injuring her with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the head while she was standing on a balcony in her home. Eshteiwy added that when her father, Colonel Abdul-Latif al-Qaddoumi, attempted to aid her and take her to the hospital in his car, Israeli forces opened fire, injuring him in the head. They were both taken to the Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus where their injuries were reported as moderate. Both are currently in a stable condition. Eshteiwy said that Israeli forces had raided the area and set up several ambushes inside of the town in an attempt to prevent the weekly Kafr Qaddoum march. The invasion led to clashes between the soldiers and dozens of local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles on them, while the army fired more live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, in addition to using trucks to spray homes with wastewater mixed with chemicals. On September 11th, Israeli military forces raided the house of al-Qaddoumi, and turned his home into a military outpost after evicting his wife and children. Days earlier,Israeli forces held al-Qaddumi for more than an hour near the entrance of Hijja village, west of Nablus. Last week Israeli forces shot and injured a 14-year-old with live fire in Kafr Qaddoum during a demonstration.
Clashes as thousands march in slain Palestinian’s funeral
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Thousands of Palestinians marched in the funeral of Ahmad Izzat Khatatbeh, 25, who died on Thursday from wounds sustained by Israeli forces at the Beit Furik checkpoint in the occupied West Bank last week. The procession set off from the Rafidia Government Hospital to Khatatbeh’s family home located near the village’s entrance. His body was carried on the shoulders of fellow residents to the cemetery, as they shouted slogans calling for revenge. Mourners waved Palestinian flags as well as the flags of Palestinian factions during the funeral. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that clashes erupted at the Beit Furik checkpoint between Israeli forces and dozens of youth following the march. Israeli forces fired tear-gas bombs and stun grenades at youths causing severe tear-gas inhalation. Medical sources said that a youth identified as Hammudeh Walid Hanini was injured with live bullets in the leg before being taken to the Rafidia Government Hospital for treatment. Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets at youths who responded with rocks and set several tires on fire.
Four hit directly by tear gas canisters in Bil‘in
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Four demonstrators in Bil‘in were hit directly with tear gas canisters shot by Israeli forces during the village’s weekly march against the separation wall and nearby settlements on Friday. Munther Amireh, head of the coordination committee for popular resistance, and Bassem Yassin, member of the Bil‘in village council, were hit by the canisters, locals said. A Danish supporter, meanwhile, was hit in the leg and an Israeli supporter was hit in the foot. Dozens of other Palestinians suffered tear-gas inhalation when clashes erupted between youth and Israeli forces after the march set off from the village’s center. Coordinator of the local popular committee, Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, condemned Israeli violations against Palestinian lands and citizens, as demonstrators called against the three Palestinian deaths in the last week. Tear-gas canisters also set fire to dozens of dunams of land planted with olive trees belonging to Mahmoud Abd al-Hadi Samara . . . This year marked the tenth consecutive year of weekly demonstrations in the occupied West Bank town, where two residents of the same family have died from tear gas-related incidents. Bassem Abu Rahmeh, 30, was struck in the chest by a tear gas canister on April 17, 2009 at a protest and died shortly afterward from his wounds .His sister, Jawaher Abu Rahmeh, 36, died from excessive tear gas inhalation in 2010.
Israeli soldiers assault AFP team at West Bank demo
BEIT FURIK (AFP) 26 Sept — Two AFP journalists were assaulted Friday by Israeli soldiers who destroyed and seized their equipment in the occupied West Bank after the funeral of a Palestinian killed by the army. A video journalist with the agency, Italian Andrea Bernardi, was thrown to the ground and jabbed in the side with a weapon. He was held on the ground by a soldier, one knee compressing his chest, until he managed to show his press card. Bernardi suffered bruised ribs and an injury under the eye. Israeli soldiers pointed their weapons at him and his colleague, Palestinian photographer Abbas Momani. They smashed a video camera and a stills camera and took away another camera and a mobile phone. At the time both journalists were wearing body armor clearly marked ‘Press’. The incident was filmed and posted online by a local production company. The pair had been covering clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces when some troops took them aside, swore at them in English and told them to stop recording events. AFP has protested to the Israeli military over the incident and said it intends to file an official complaint. “Disciplinary measures will be taken,” army spokesman Colonel Peter Lerner told the agency. “The highest levels of command are aware of the incident,” he said, specifying that this includes the head of Israeli forces in the occupied territory.
VIDEO: Israeli soldiers attack journalists on West Bank
The Guardian 25 Sept by Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem — A dramatic video has emerged showing Israeli soldiers make an unprovoked assault on two journalists working for Agence France-Presse during a demonstration on the West Bank. According to AFP’s bureau chief, Thomas Cox, the two men – Andrea Bernardi, an Italian videographer working for the organisation, and Abbas Momani – had arrived in the village of Beit Furik near Nablus on Friday to cover a demonstration that followed the funeral of a Palestinian who had died after being shot by Israeli security forces a week ago. The video – shot by a Palmedia camera crew from the demonstrators’ side – shows the two men walking down the road towards the protest before having their equipment seized and smashed. During the encounter, which is under investigation by the Israeli army, Bernardi was punched in the neck and face by a soldier. “They had passed the first checkpoint of the border police with their press cards without problem. Andrea paused to check his camera settings and as he was doing so a soldier immediately arrived and told him to stop filming and pushed his camera. He then took the camera and smashed it. “They thought these are crazy young soldiers so, as you see on the video, they left. But the soldiers came and at this moment took the stills camera and took everything in the photographer’s pocket – batteries, memory cards. Andrea then came back to recover his destroyed camera. At this point a soldier jumped on him and put a pistol on his face and attacked him.”
Extremist settler kills 40 lambs
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept — An Israeli settler ran over 40 lambs in the eastern part of the West Bank city of Nablus, on Tuesday evening. Owner Ayesh al-Da‘ajneh said that one of his sons was taking care of the lambs as they were eating in a pasture at the edge of the city. “The Israeli vehicle approached the lambs and my son raised a light sign in his face thinking the settler had taken the wrong side of the road,” Al-Da‘ajneh said, according to Days of Palestine. He continued: “The settler hit the lambs several times and my son, who was unarmed, could not stop him.” Forty lambs, out of 300, were killed and at least 20 others were wounded. Illegal Jewish Israeli settlers and armed forces frequently target Palestinian farmers, killing their sheep and cattle, as well as burning their crops.
The questions nobody is asking about Hebron shooting
+972 24 Sept by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — A young Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the occupied city of Hebron Tuesday morning, hours before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. As usual, there are — at least — two conflicting narratives. There are also a number of details everyone agrees on. Hadeel al-Hashlamon arrived at the “Shoter” checkpoint in the West Bank city of Hebron Tuesday morning. She set off a metal detector and soldiers started yelling at her in Hebrew. Here is where the narratives diverge. According to Palestinian witnesses who spoke with the press, she did not understand the commands being yelled by the soldiers, froze and pulled out her bag for inspection. Soldiers then shot toward her, striking her in the lower and upper body. Israeli military spokespeople told reporters that Hashlamon pulled a knife out of her bag and did not respond to soldier’s commands, and moved toward them with the knife before they shot her. The army supplied media outlets with photos of a knife on the ground, purported to be the one held by Hashlamon. Let’s assume that she had a knife. Attempted stabbings are no rare occurrence at West Bank checkpoints. And although no footage of the shooting itself has been released (the military most likely has surveillance footage of the incident), there are a few things we do know about what went down. In photos of the incident, in which two soldiers can be seen with their guns trained on Hashlamon, there is a distance of at least a couple of meters and a metal barrier separating between her and the soldiers. Photos and video of Hashlamon’s body after she was shot show that she was behind the metal barrier at the time the soldiers shot her.
Why were multiple M16 rounds necessary to stop a young knife-wielding woman meters away behind a metal barrier? One might even ask why combat soldiers with assault rifles, instead of say, police with Tasers and batons and pistols, are manning a checkpoint for civilians in the center of a city. (Ironically, the checkpoint’s name, “Hashoter” actually means policeman in Hebrew.) And herein lies the problem with sending combat soldiers who don’t speak the local language to police a civilian population. Even with the most sensitive rules of engagement, soldiers are trained first and foremost to kill people, not defuse complex situations and safely make arrests. It’s acceptable in Israel to send soldiers to rule over a Palestinian civilian population because Palestinian lives do not matter to the Israeli establishment. Just how cheap Palestinian blood is can be seen in the extraordinarily rare punishments given to the young men and women who spill it. The chance is virtually nil that these soldiers will face any punishment even if it turns out they shot when they didn’t need to, or if they violated regulations in a way that unnecessarily caused Ms. Hashlamon’s death.
B’Tselem: ‘No justification’ for killing of Palestinian teen in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — An investigation into the death of an 18-year-old Palestinian earlier this week found that Israeli soldiers acted “disproportionately” and could have arrested the teenager if necessary, B’Tselem said Thursday. Amnesty International, meanwhile, labeled her death as an “extrajudicial execution.” . . . B’Tselem criticized the conduct of the soldiers involved in al-Hashlamon’s death on account of the fact that they didn’t take measures to “subdue” the woman before resorting to live fire. “The claim that al-Hashlamon tried to stab soldiers…cannot be reconciled with the fact that there was a metal barrier between her and the soldiers at the time of the shooting,” the rights group argued, adding that it was unnecessary for the soldier to continue to shoot the young woman after she had already been hit in the legs. The military should release video documentation of the incident from the checkpoint’s security cameras, the group added.
Israel broadens rules on use of live fire against stone-throwers
JERUSALEM (AFP) 24 Sept — Israel’s security cabinet on Thursday broadened the rules under which stone-throwers can be targeted by live fire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. “The security cabinet has decided to authorise police to use live ammunition against people throwing stones and Molotov cocktails when the life of a third person is threatened and no longer only when the police officer is threatened,” a statement said. Netanyahu has publicly “declared war” on those who throw rocks and petrol bombs, especially after an Israeli motorist died earlier this month, apparently as a result of Palestinian stone-throwing. The security cabinet met to decide on measures to strengthen enforcement against demonstrators throwing stones and incendiary devices after police said 13 Palestinians, including nine children, were arrested overnight. “We have decided to penalise more severely adult stone-throwers with a minimum sentence of four years in prison and also to authorise larger fines for minors and their parents,” the statement said. These sanctions apply to all Israeli citizens and residents of Israel,” it said, referring to Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem who do not have Israeli citizenship.
How Palestinian security forces are cracking down on their own people
Al-Monitor 25 Sept by Daoud Kuttab — The Palestinian security forces in the West Bank are often put in an unenviable position when having to suppress their own people, particularly when it comes to protecting Israelis — It began as a demonstration against Israel on Sept. 18 following the recent incidents at Al-Aqsa Mosque, but it soon became an internal Palestinian problem that gripped the political and security leadership in Bethlehem. The Palestinian police order to quell the protests against Israel suddenly became the focus of public attention because of the police violence against one of their own, the son of a police officer. A video taken Sept. 18 from a nearby restaurant captured Palestinian security members run after, capture and badly beat a Palestinian youth, Mohammad Radwan Hamamreh. His brother was also beaten, and both were arrested and abused on the way to the police station. The video posted on Facebook went viral and resulted in further demonstrations, which included stone throwing later that evening at the site of the Palestinian security headquarters in Bethlehem. Protesters were also recorded on video outside the police headquarters as calling for the ouster of the head of the Palestinian police, Hazem Atallah, and shouting verbal accusations against President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of being a “coward” and “an agent of the Americans.” The speed with which the video was uploaded and the ensuing anti-police and anti-Abbas protests brought quick results. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah appointed a high-level investigative committee Sept. 19 headed by Bethlehem Gov. Jibrin Bakri and instructed it to take severe punishment against anyone “who carries out violence against our own citizens.”
Fourteen Palestinians kidnapped in Jerusalem, 160 in eleven days
IMEMC 24 Sept — Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, on Wednesday at night and Thursday morning, fourteen Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, including one of the guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. A worker of the Islamic Waqf Department said the soldiers kidnapped Hamza Nimir, one of the mosque guards, and took him to Beit Eliyahu police station, before moving him to the al-Qashla station, near the Hebron Gate. The Palestinian was kidnapped after arguing with a soldier who was harassing worshipers marking the Eid Al-Adha Muslim feast. The soldiers also invaded and searched Palestinian homes in various neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and kidnapped 13 Palestinians, including several children, allegedly for involvement in recent clashes with the army and police. Head of the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) Nasser Qous condemned the Israeli escalation and violations in occupied Jerusalem, and said the soldiers and police have kidnapped more than 160 Palestinians in the last eleven days.
Israeli police lift restrictions for Muslims on Eid
MEE 24 Sept — Access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex will be unrestricted for Muslims during Eid al-Adha holiday on Thursday and closed to Jews and other visitors, Israeli police announced late Wednesday. Palestinians from the West Bank, which was sealed for 36 hours earlier this week during the Yom Kippur holiday, will also be permitted to visit the complex known to Jews as Temple Mount, Haaretz reported. The announcement comes after clashes that erupted at the site last week when Israeli police, over three consecutive days, raided the mosque, saying they had received warnings that youth inside were planning attacks on Jews visiting for the Jewish New Year. Last Friday, Palestinians held protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in reaction to the tensions at Aqsa, resulting in clashes between demonstrators and Israeli police and Palestinian Authority security forces. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Tuesday that continued Israeli violations and attacks on the compound could cause the outbreak of a third intifada . . . In recent years, Israeli authorities have regularly imposed restrictions on Muslims entering the compound, but the evacuation of the mosque that kicked off the consecutive days of raids was unprecedented and represents an increasing Israeli attempt to control the site, Knesset member Jamal Zahalka told MEE. “Before 10 years ago, it was crazy to say that Jews go to pray in Aqsa. Now it has become mainstream … we were shocked that they closed the doors. Now, it is a daily regulation to close the doors until the Jewish group finishes their tour,” Zahalka said. “There are small changes here and there and that is the point.”
Jews barred from Temple Mount ahead of Muslim holiday
Haaretz 24 Sept by Nir Hasson — The Israel Police announced Wednesday evening that the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem will not be open to Jews or other visitors Thursday, during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice). Muslim worship at the site, which has been a seen increasing violence in recent weeks, will be unrestricted and Palestinians from the West Bank will be permitted access. The decision – probably taken in wake of pressure from Jordan – is the most recent in a string of attempts to defuse tensions at the flashpoint hilltop Jerusalem compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. For example, Jewish activists claim that the female Muslim group Morabitat, which protests against Jewish visits to the site and has recently been outlawed by the government, has been permitted to resume its activities. . .
There were several clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem on Wednesday as Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) was observed until sunset. A Palestinian boy was lightly wounded by stones thrown by Jewish teens, in one of several incidents of stone-throwing toward Palestinian vehicles. In another incident, a fire erupted when the home of a Jewish family in the Abu Tor neighborhood was attacked with a firebomb. The fire was extinguished, without any casualties. Jewish teens threw stones at moving vehicles near the entrance to the Har Homa neighborhood in East Jerusalem and on the Hebron Road in south Jerusalem – an area with relatively heavy traffic for Yom Kippur, being a main thoroughfare for the Palestinian neighborhoods. In one incident, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy was lightly wounded and treated on site by a Magen David Adom crew. Six Jewish teens were arrested.
In a separate incident, another Jewish teen was detained for allegedly throwing stones on Hebron Road, and two adults who tried to prevent the arrest were also detained. In Beit Hanina, stones were thrown at firefighters who had been alerted to a fire in the area. There were no casualties.
VIDEO: Palestinian Muslims pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Eid
MEE 24 Sept — Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Adha, the holiday marking the end of the annual hajj to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca. Beginning Thursday, the Feast of Sacrifice lasts three to four days, and it is a public holiday in many Muslim countries. During Eid al-Adha, Muslims with the financial means to do so can sacrifice an animal such as a sheep, goat or cow. They are supposed to eat one-third of the meat, share one-third with friends or neighbours and donate one-third to the needy. They also buy new clothes, exchange gifts and visit family, friends and neighbours. Palestinian Muslims had something extra to celebrate with the re-opening of al-Aqsa mosque.
Once again, Israeli forces prevent Palestinians’ freedom of religion
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 25 Sept by ISM, Al-Khalil Team — Today, Israeli forces stopped, searched and harassed Palestinians on their way to the Ibrahimi mosque and in the vicinity on the second day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha for Friday prayers in Al-Khalil (Hebron). Crowds of worshipers were flocking to the mosque around noon. Before being allowed into the mosque they have to pass through metal detectors manned with Israeli forces. Even though the majority of the people had passed from the Palestinian market and through a checkpoint already, only a few meters afterwards they are forced to pass through yet another checkpoint. Small children, boys and girls, clung to the hands of their parents when passing through the checkpoint. In total, 27 young adults were stopped and ID-checked on their way to Friday prayer, and forced to leave their ID with the Israeli forces before being allowed to enter into the mosque. Another two were detained for about fifteen minutes before finally being allowed to pass. All IDs had to be collected at the end of the prayer from the same soldier, delaying Palestinians on their way back home for yet another five to ten minutes during which soldiers were trying to find the right ID for each person. Five teenagers were bluntly refused access to the mosque, denying them their right to exercise their religion. Whereas three of the boys left, two of them after being yelled at and pushed by an Israeli soldier; two other teenagers were forced to perform their Friday prayer outside the mosque in the street. One man, just passing on the street next to the checkpoint, talking to a friend entering to the mosque, was confronted by soldiers. One soldier ran towards him from the checkpoint, demanding him to stop and questioning him about the content of his bag. The man was forced to immediately open his bag, containing meat for lunch with his family, all while soldiers were shouting at him. They then forced him to pull up his shirt and trousers. Bystanders were watching anxiously, as only three days ago, the murder of 18-year old Hadeel Saleh Hashlamoun at another checkpoint in Al-Khalil shocked the community…
In pictures: The occupation isolates the villages and Jerusalemite streets during ‘Kippur’ holiday
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 23 Sept — The occupation authorities isolated the city of Jerusalem from its surroundings during “Kippur” holiday and on the eve of “Al-Adha Holiday” celebrated by Muslims and neglecting the need of Jerusalemites to shop and move on this day. Wadi Hilweh Information Center monitored that closure of the entrances of the villages of Sur Baher and Esawyeh and Silwan in addition to closing the main streets leading to them and closing the freeways leading to north Jerusalem. The residents of Sur Baher explained that the occupation authorities closed the three main entrances of the village and the locals were forced to use side and dirt roads; note that one entrance (Al-Qa‘a round) has been closed for nearly two weeks after the death of a settler under the pretext of throwing stones at his car. The occupation authorities also closed the three entrances of Jabal Al-Mukabber and the locals were also forced to use side roads. In the village of Esawyeh, the authorities closed the main entrance. They also closed the entrance of Silwan by the neighborhood of Wadi Al-Rababa and the neighborhood of Al-Thori and closed some roads in Al-Thori that lead into the Israeli areas; the road from Al-Thori to West Jerusalem was also closed. The occupation authorities closed the streets with iron barriers especially the ones leading into West Jerusalem and the settlements.
Al-Aqsa stormed by settlers wearing priestly garments
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept — As Israeli police continued to severely restrict Palestinian access into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, groups of extremist Jewish settlers wearing priestly garments, Wednesday morning ,forced their way into the flashpoint holy site. Protected by heavily-guarded police officers, dozens of extremist settlers wearing priestly garments forced their way into the mosque compound via al-Maghariba (Moroccan) Gate to mark the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). According to WAFA correspondents, settlers reportedly attempted to perform Talmudic (Jewish) prayers, however their attempts were foiled by the Mosque guards. This came as Israeli police deployed large reinforcements across Jerusalem ahead of Jewish feast and shut if off from the West Bank, making the city a military barrack. Police closed military checkpoints surrounding the city, set up barricades across the city to facilitate Jewish settlers’ access into the Mosque compound and restricted Palestinians’ access to the Mosque via Hatta, al-Silsila and An-Nather Gates. Hundreds of Palestinian worshipers, mostly under the age of 40, were forced to pray in the streets and alleyways of the Old City after they were denied entry into the Mosque compound to mark the Islamic feast of Eid al-Adha. Police have reportedly flown a helicopter and a surveillance blimp over the Old City of Jerusalem.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
How Israel keeps Palestinians off a third of all West Bank land
Haaretz 25 Sept by Amos Harel — Kerem Navot, a nonprofit, reports on how closed military zones have worked to shape the map in the settlers’ favor — . . .what is barely being discussed – except in Amira Hass’ columns – is the systematic way the Israeli establishment is expanding its control and influence in the West Bank, while gradually diminishing any Palestinian room for maneuver. A new report by Israeli nonprofit Kerem Navot, which monitors Israeli land policies in the West Bank, shows in detail how the system works, through the issuing of closure orders for large tracts of land that become closed military zones. The original justification for the land closure procedures, which began immediately after the war in 1967, was on security grounds. However, since then, many other considerations have been added, primarily benefiting the settlement project. The bottom line is that currently nearly 1,765,000 dunams (about 436,000 acres) – nearly one-third of the land in the West Bank – is closed to the Palestinians, on the grounds that these are military zones. The justification is not entirely consistent with the reality, according to the report, in that about 78 percent of the land closed for military maneuvers is not being used for that purpose at all. The report says the rest of the land is divided between areas that the army makes frequent use of (more than one training exercise every three months – about 10 percent of the closed areas) and land for which little use is being made (about 12 percent have, on average, less than one training exercise every three months) . . . Comparing a map of the military training zones with a map of the settlement jurisdictions shows a close correlation between these two types of areas – which together constitute about 82 percent of the total of the closed areas in the West Bank. According to the report, “It is clear that behind this correlation is the intention to make extensive areas closed to Palestinians.” . . . The method of expropriation orders also has another important element: the absence of enforcement against Israelis. The report lists 10 outposts and settlements where houses and public buildings have been built inside closed training zones . . . Settlers are using lands that have been designated as training zones in another way as well. Today they are cultivating about 14,000 dunams of the shuttered areas, which are also supposed to be closed to Israelis. About 73 percent of these agricultural lands have been transferred to the settlers by the authorities in areas that have, de facto, been closed only to Palestinians, along the border and in the Latrun area. Some 3,000 additional dunams of agricultural land are being cultivated by settlers without them having been given official permission to do so. Most of these sites are registered as privately owned Palestinian lands, but the authorities aren’t enforcing the law against the settlers. Indeed, according to the report, they are even supporting the settlers’ cultivation of these lands.
Israeli soldiers investigated for looting during 2014 search for kidnapped teens
Haaretz 24 Sept by Gili Cohen — The Military Police have investigated dozens of claims of soldiers looting and causing damage to Palestinian property during the search for three kidnapped teenagers in the West Bank in the summer of 2014 . . . More than a year after Operation Brother’s Keeper, around 10 of the investigations are still open and no charges have been filed in any of the alleged incidents. Despite appeals by Haaretz, the Spokesman’s Unit of the Israel Defense Forces has not given any information about these investigations. The Military Police have refused to say how many alleged incidents were investigated, but Haaretz has learned that there were 30 such investigations, most of them relating to property damage or the disappearance of belongings. Of the 30 investigations, 15 were subsequently closed. In some cases, this followed the return of money that was stolen, while in other cases investigations were closed because Palestinian complainants did not cooperate or because there was insufficient evidence. The other investigations are still open, but military prosecutors have not filed charges against any of the soldiers who were allegedly involved. One such incident occurred in the village of Aqraba, south of Nablus. Soldiers took an envelope containing more than 15,000 shekels (close to $4,000) and a laptop computer. One complainant told Yesh Din, the nongovernmental organization that filed the complaint, that she was not given a receipt for the items that were taken, as required when money or possessions are confiscated by security forces. She later discovered that her watch and her wallet, containing 400 shekels, had also disappeared.
Sisi destroys thousands of Egyptian homes in anti-Palestinian campaign
EI 24 Sept by Ali Abunimah — On 27 October 2014, soldiers knocked on the door of an elderly woman in the Egyptian town of Rafah, near the border with the Gaza Strip. According to Um Muhammad, a neighbor and eyewitness, an officer told the elderly woman that the army would be blowing up her house the next day. When the woman responded that she and her family had lived there all their lives, the officer said: “That’s it, there’s no time to talk. Move your things from this moment.” If she didn’t, the officer said, “we’ll below it up with everything inside.” The woman said a prayer and then told the officer: “You’re kicking us out of our homeland.” “Go look for another homeland,” the officer retorted. “I don’t want to hear another word.” Um Muhammad’s home too was demolished a few days later, a three-story building that housed many family members, including children. These are just two of the stories detailed in a new Human Rights Watch report on the military regime’s forced evictions of Egyptians to create a “buffer zone” along the border and further isolate Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The destruction has been done on the pretext, never backed up with evidence, that insurgents and weapons have been entering Egypt from Gaza. Egypt’s foreign ministry has responded to the Human Rights Watch report with assertions that it is acting to “secure” its borders against “waves of terrorism.”
VIDEO: ‘Look for another homeland’ Forced evictions in Egypt’s Rafah
BEIRUT (Human Rights Watch) 22 Sept — The Egyptian military’s mass home demolitions and forced eviction of about 3,200 families in the Sinai Peninsula over the past two years violated international law. Human Rights Watch has documented the government’s failure to provide adequately for residents during and after the evictions in North Sinai. Since July 2013, ostensibly to eliminate the threat of smuggling tunnels, the military has arbitrarily razed thousands of homes in a once-populated buffer zone on the border with the Gaza Strip, destroying entire neighborhoods and hundreds of hectares of farmland. [contains aerial photos and maps of the progressive destruction as well as footage of the destruction of individual homes]
Rafah farmers watch in horror as Egypt floods Gaza tunnels
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 25 Sept by Mohammed Othman — The Egyptian army has been pumping large volumes of Mediterranean Sea waters since Sept. 17 into the buffer zone that it began building two years ago, along 14 kilometers of the Palestinian-Egyptian border. The move is the latest attempt to destroy the tunnels dug by Palestinians under the city of Rafah over the years of the Israeli blockade. The operation is causing concern for the Rafah border area inhabitants, who say that it will affect their lives there. Farmer Nayef Abu Shallouf, who owns three acres of land less than 300 meters from the Egyptian border, said all the salt water will leave his land briny and destroy his crops. He told Al-Monitor, “In addition to damaging the soil, sinkholes will appear wherever tunnels were dug, with collapses occurring sooner or later.” . . . Abdel Majid Nassar, a professor of environmental engineering at the Islamic University of Gaza, stated that the whole area will be transformed into marshland as the soil becomes saturated with water and liquefied, with the water seeping into subterranean aquifers. He explained to Al-Monitor, “Afterward, collapses will occur, similar to the ones that we began feeling today, particularly considering that Rafah’s underground is crisscrossed with large numbers of tunnels that extend for great distances under the city. As a result, the coming days will bring sudden landslides throughout large swaths of land due to the destabilization of the area’s topsoil.” Nassar said that the foundations of homes close to the border will surely be affected, with those houses suffering damage and falling apart. He also explained that the pumping of seawater will have disastrous effects on Rafah’s agriculture and aquifers, saying, “The water will also seep toward the surface and result in the salinification of topsoil, destroying agriculture there for years. Furthermore, as the topsoil liquefies, salt water will seep into the upper layers of underground aquifers, used by local inhabitants for irrigation and in homes.”
Australian restrictions leave Gazans without meat
World Bulletin 25 Sept –On the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, it is traditional for Muslims to slaughter an animal, usually a sheep, and share the meat with the poor and needy. This year, however, the residents of Gaza have been unable to afford to buy animals for the Eid sacrifice due to the severe shortages hitting the Strip. The current shortage is a result of restrictions imposed by Australia on exporting animals directly to Gaza. A photographer in Gaza, Mohamed Asad, for Middle East Monitor explained that the restrictions by Australia were “in protest at the way the animals are treated” in Gaza. “This is the reason for the severe shortage of animals in Gazan markets,” he added. Israeli animal traders imported animals to channel to the Gaza Strip to help with the restrictions however authorities in Gaza refused to allow it as the livestock as it was infected with foot-and-mouth disease. Consequently, the price of livestock has soared meaning ordinary Gazans are unable to afford this small annual luxury, Asad said. The price of one kilogramme of lamb or cow’s meat in Gaza currently stands at more than $10, 25 per cent higher than previous years. [See: The mercy behind halal slaughter methods ]
Gazans consider the Strip ‘unhabitable’ now
BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip 24 Sept by Hazem Balousha — Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip questioned the United Nations report that warned that Gaza might not be a livable place by 2020, in the belief that the Hamas-ruled coastal strip became uninhabitable years ago and that there is no need to wait five more years to make it official. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development predicted that the Gaza Strip could become “uninhabitable by 2020.” The report said this prognostication was based on the continuation of current economic trends in the Gaza Strip over the next five years. The UN report also said, “The social, health and security implications of the high demographic growth and overpopulation are among the factors that may make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020.” . . . Ali Alyan, a father of two, believes that Gaza is currently uninhabitable, and that the year 2020 as stated in the UN report is too late. “We have been living in an uninhabitable place for many years. Things have been getting complicated since the war last year, and if you look at our situation you will find that the elements of life are absent here,” he told Al-Monitor. “The electricity is cut off, infrastructure is destroyed, water is not safe to drink, transportation is difficult and agriculture continues to deteriorate. Diseases are spreading as a result of the poor environmental situation, while poverty and unemployment continue to increase.”
Scrap metal trade turns into a problem for Gaza businessmen
MEMO 24 Sept by Motasem A. Dalloul — EXCLUSIVE IMAGES & VIDEO — After years of being a prosperous business in the Gaza Strip, the trade in scrap metal has become a heavy burden on the shoulders of Gaza businessmen since the start of the Israeli economic restrictions in 2006, which developed into full siege in mid-2007. “It was the first commodity which was blacklisted by the Israeli occupation when the Palestinian Islamic Movement Hamas won the general elections in 2006,” said Sami Ayyad, a scrap metal merchant from Gaza. “Blocking it caused fiscal losses for us ” . . . Since the start of the siege, people in Gaza have been able to solve many of the major problems in the tiny coastal enclave, but the problem of all the scrap metal has been insoluble. When asked why traders of scrap metal are unable to recycle, Ayyad answered, “This is very difficult as it needs an iron and steel factory and this is very difficult to afford in Gaza.” He suggested two reasons for this: the first is related to the massive costs to build such a factory, while the second is related to the PA agreements with Israel. “In the Paris economic protocol, the PA and Israel agreed not to have any iron and steel factory in the Palestinian territories,” Ayyad told MEMO. “Hence, it is difficult to build a factory in Gaza; if it was built, Israel would destroy it.” He noted that the Israeli occupation had destroyed many factories in Gaza since the start of the siege, including food production plants. Amer confirmed the restrictions made by Israel and accepted by the PA regarding manufacturing iron and steel in the Palestinian territories . . . .
Gaza City workers make rounds by bicycle
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 23 Sept by Ahmad Abu Amer — The municipality of Gaza — one of the largest in the Gaza Strip — took a new step to address the eight-year-long Israeli siege that greatly affected the work of all service sectors. The municipality’s officials worked for several months to overcome the lack of cars for use during municipal work, and found a solution: bicycles. The project, welcomed by Gazans and environmental institutions, is only just the beginning. Its organizers are waiting for financial support from donors to reproduce in other Gaza municipalities.
Gaza pharmacists survive by ‘lending’ diplomas to investors
Al-Monitor 24 Sept by Fadi Shafei — In the Gaza Strip’s struggling economy, “lending” one’s degree or diploma to obtain income has become an increasingly popular practice in the field of pharmacology. With a dearth of job opportunities due to the political situation and the Israeli blockade, and unable to afford opening their own pharmacy, many pharmacology graduates have been trading on their degrees to help private investors open pharmacies and in some cases to work in them. In the Gaza Strip’s struggling economy, “lending” one’s degree or diploma to obtain income has become an increasingly popular practice in the field of pharmacology. With a dearth of job opportunities due to the political situation and the Israeli blockade, and unable to afford opening their own pharmacy, many pharmacology graduates have been trading on their degrees to help private investors open pharmacies and in some cases to work in them. In Palestine, only someone who has obtained a degree in pharmacology is eligible to apply for a license to work in the field. Some licensed pharmacists are now entering into contracts with an investor who then uses their diploma to obtain a license to handle pharmaceuticals and pays all the costs associated with opening a pharmacy. Such agreements can be verbal or written, but regardless, they violate the code of conduct for pharmacies and pharmacists.
Prisoners / Security services
Israeli authorities place Palestinian detainees in confinement
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Sept — Nine Palestinian prisoners were penalized with solitary confinement for resisting Israeli forces during raids inside Israel’s Nafha jail last week, the Hossam Association for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners said Wednesday. The group said that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) arbitrarily moved five prisoners from Nafha jail, in southern Israel, to solitary confinement in the Gilboa jail in the country’s north. The five detainees were identified as Diyaa al-Agha, Abd al-Rahim Abu Hawli, Salah al-Sudani, Mustafa Abu Ghazal and Rajab Barakeh. Meanwhile, Palestinian prisoners Adham Freij, Jihad Mansour and Rami al-Aila, also previously held in Nafha jail, were moved into solitary confinement in the Ohli Kedar detention center, and Alaa Abu Jazar was moved into solitary confinement in Ella jail after being transferred from Ramon jail, Hossam said. Hossam added that IPS imposed a series of sanctions against the prisoners that had been transferred, including restrictions on family visits for two months and 200 shekel fines (around $50). Nafha jail has been the site growing tensions between the IPS and Palestinian detainees. Seven detainees held in Nafha entered their 34th day on hunger strike on Wednesday to protest their administrative detention — internment without trial or charge. Seven additional detainees joined the open-ended strike on Sunday, and all 14 had reportedly been placed in solitary confinement at the time.
Shin Bet won’t be forced to record footage of interrogations
Haaretz 24 Sept by Barak Ravid — A government panel agrees with the Shin Bet security service that the agency should not be required to record footage of its interrogations, contrary to recommendations by a committee in 2013. The panel was addressing the recommendations by the Turkel Committee, which was established after the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010, when Israeli commandos raided a Turkish protest ship headed for Gaza . . . According to the report, “Shin Bet officials claim that such documentation could impede the nature of their investigation and the foiling of terrorist activities.” Shin Bet officials say they fear that the release of footage in criminal cases would reveal the agency’s methods and thus hamper its effectiveness. According to the Shin Bet, some suspects receive training from terror groups on how to act under interrogation, based on information from previous suspects. Through released footage, militants could learn how to cope with interrogation techniques. Also, some detainees would be deterred from giving information, knowing that their cooperation could be exposed later.
Palestinian refugees – Egypt
Egypt’s forgotten Palestinian refugee community
MEE 15 Sept by Ibrahim Ahmad — Forgotten and maltreated, the last of the 1948 Palestinian refugees in Egypt fade away with their memories that soon will be utterly lost — In Fadel Island, a humble village in a remote area of Egypt’s Sharqia governorate about five hours by car from Cairo, resides a community of second-generation Palestinian refugees. The population was about 2,000 when the original refugees fled to Egypt in May of 1948, fearing a similar fate to those who were massacred at Deir Yassin. They crossed the Sinai desert with their camels, carrying simple belongings, and were welcomed by Egypt’s government. They were settled in the refugee camp of “Gezirt Fadel” – later to become the village it is today – with a promise to be relocated to a better place soon after. El-Haj Hemdan – in his early nineties and one of the very few remaining 1948 refugees, with his amazing ability to recall what had happened nearly 65 years ago – told Middle East Eye his story. “They said it was a matter of a month or two, and we would be relocated to a place closer to the capital,” Hemdan said. “We waited and waited, governments changed, kings fled, presidents died, and nothing happened. After five or six years we abandoned our tents and built houses. But still, some of us retained the hope that we would be relocated to a better place. We didn’t understand the lesson yet: Arabs rarely keep their promises.” The village is in a state of extreme poverty. All the men of the village support their families by collecting and selling garbage from other villages. The nearest hospital is an hour away. This is a big problem for residents who don’t have any means of transportation. There is no plumbing or sewage system and this creates an extreme challenge for the women of the village, as it is their responsibility to go and get water daily from old fashioned wells in neighbouring fields. . . .
Other news, analysis
Top Palestinian negotiator talks peace, elections and Abbas’ departure
MEE 24 Sept by Benjamin Dooley — Marwan Barghouti, the Fatah leader who has been in an Israeli prison for 13 years, is the clear favourite to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian president, said Saeb Erekat, the veteran negotiator and secretary general of the PLO. Speaking days before Abbas is due to address the UN General Assembly in New York, Erekat told Middle East Eye that he was behind the move to convene the Palestinian National Council (PNC) – a body that traditionally represented all Palestinians across the world that has not met for 19 years – so that there should be institutions available when the president, who is 80, announces his retirement. Ruling himself firmly out of the race, Erekat told MEE that according to all the opinion polls Barghouti, who is a central committee member, is favourite to win. “I think he is a good candidate, and he should be [let] out of jail first … Because no one gets more in the polls than Marwan Barghouti. We’re a democracy. I get five percent or three percent, he gets 40,” Erekat said. He described Barghouti as a “true statesman” and said that Fatah needed to get him out of jail. Barghouti, a founding member of Fatah and proponent for a two-state solution, was convicted by an Israeli court for his involvement in five civilian murders during the Second Intifada, although he denies this. He has become known as the “Palestinian Mandela” due to his popularity and political influence that resonated despite being behind bars. MEE spoke to Erekat about the upcoming challenges facing the Palestinian leadership.
Jordan’s King Abdullah refusing Netahyahu’s phone calls over Al-Aqsa
Haaretz 24 Sept by Jack Khoury — Jordan’s King Abdullah has ordered his bureau chief not to pass along phone calls from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the recent incidents at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Haaretz has learned that King Abdullah has told guests in recent days that he refuses to take phone calls from Netanyahu, to prevent Israel from using them to give the impression that the two nations were coordinating their reactions to the ongoing violence on the hilltop complex referred to by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, and called the Temple Mount by Jews. The London-based Rai al Youm newspaper quoted on Thursday morning sources from within Jordan’s royal palace, confirming that the king has refused to take calls from Netanyahu and hear about incidents occurring on Al-Aqsa, although he did meet on Sunday with Arab-Israeli lawmakers to discussed the ongoing escalation on the Temple Mount and the claims that Israel has been coordinating with the Hashemite kingdom.
Analysis: Should Palestinian parents pay for minors’ rock-throwing?
JPost 25 Sept by Yonah Jeremy Bob –With Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s initiative, announced Wednesday, to fine or negate certain monetary benefits related to children for Palestinian parents whose young offspring are convicted of certain rock-throwing crimes, many will ask if fathers can be punished for the sins of their sons. The question is straightforward: How can parents be penalized, monetarily or otherwise, for actions that they did not commit and may even oppose, just because their children, who may be rebelling against parental authority, broke the law? Also, if parents can be penalized for their children’s rock-throwing, does that mean the state may get into the business of penalizing parents when their children are involved with alcohol, drugs, gang activity and other illegal activities that certain teens engage in? Does this law place Israel outside the framework of what other democratic nations do? While views on the issue are split, some experts say that the above questions miss most of the real points. Col. (res.) Aharon Mishnayot, former head of the military court system in the West Bank started by noting that the issue is not a novel one. Rather, he said Shaked’s initiative has substantial precedent. He cited a 1991 High Court of Justice ruling approving a 1988 emergency law during the first intifada to deal with Palestinian children under the age of 12 for rock throwing and other illegal disturbances of the peace by imposing certain monetary penalties for the children’s actions. . . . The Association for Civil Rights in Israel reject fining parents, stating it constitutes “improper collective punishment used to illegally abuse the rights of minors and their parents, and that it is against the spirit of the Juvenile Law, which seeks to rehabilitate and integrate minors back into society and not place harsh punishments on them.” ACRI also implied that the tenets of the law depart from basic principles of criminal law – punishing individuals only for their own actions.
Twilight Zone: Palestinian kids already pay price for stone-throwing / Gideon Levy & Alex Levac
Haaretz 25 Sept — Atta Sabah is sitting on the balcony of his house and releasing his pigeons. His 18 birds, of different kinds, constitute most of his world. They flutter skyward and cruise back to his outstretched hand. He is familiar with the habits of each of them; they are his best friends, maybe his only friends. Atta is a smiling, neat boy of 14 whose parents are now building him an elevator at home with 40,000 shekels ($10,000) that they don’t have. Since the summer of 2013 their son has been wheelchair-bound, with both legs paralyzed. Atta says he only threw stones at Israel Defense Forces soldiers once – but that was four weeks before the soldiers shot him, leaving him crippled for life. At the time he was shot, he says, all he was trying to do was retrieve his schoolbag and hadn’t thrown even one stone. Just before IDF and Israel Police snipers start picking off every child who’s a suspect – in Jerusalem, the West Bank and among the Negev Bedouin, too – they might do well to meet Atta and a few other victims of the previous, supposedly moderate, policy. Atta was paralyzed well before the onset of the new rules of engagement, which allow snipers – including those in the ranks of the Jerusalem police – to shoot anyone who throws stones. There are many other children and teenagers like Atta, yet the stone throwing has not stopped. Nor will it.
When Israel recruits Palestinian informants, Arab society pays the price
+972 Blog 25 Sept by Makbula Nassar — With every wave of political tension, Israel recruits new Palestinian informants en masse. They are resettled in Arab cities, where their presence prompts violence rates to surge. In fact, many will be murdered before even ‘making it.’ . . . It is widely held that collaborators feel they are above the law — and are regarded as such. Last year, Khalil Mahroum, the owner of an Arab grocery in Haifa, was murdered. Mahroum taught physical education, was a paramedic, and volunteered in his community. He was alerted to intervene on behalf of his son who was being attacked for refusing to sell cigarettes to a minor, the son of a family of collaborators. Cameras capture the son being brutally beaten with rakes, then Khalil being shot to death in cold blood during a fight that quickly escalated. The killer was the minor’s grandfather, a former collaborator from the territories (according to reports) to whom the state had given full citizenship and resettled in the heart of Arab Haifa, where he served as a member of Israel’s internal security services, the Shin Bet . . . Whoever shoved the collaborators into Arab cities never envisioned the explosive situation it would create. On one side, a population that sees them as vile traitors, on the other, the collaborators themselves, who believe they are entitled to certain privileges. We are witnessing local residents themselves become victims of the occupation. There is a price for all this intelligence, the targeted and non-targeted assassinations, the ongoing occupation and the settlements, the cost of which is billed to us and mailed directly home (all of this, of course, does not count the damage and suffering caused to the Palestinians of the territories, who also suffer as a direct result of these same collaborators).
After 23 years, Palestinians call Oslo Accords ‘a mistake’
MEMO 24 Sept by Aness Suheil Barghoti — Signed on Sept. 13, 1993, the Oslo Accords were the first direct agreement between Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Israeli government. With the signing of the accords, the PLO acknowledged the state of Israel on 78 percent of historical Palestine, while Israel recognised the PLO as the “legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people. Abd al-Sattar Qasm, a political science professor at Al-Najah University, however, believes the accords were a “historical mistake”. “Through Oslo, the Palestinians recognized Israel, and, in return, Israel acknowledged a Palestinian interim self-governing authority – not a state,” Qasm told Anadolu Agency. “The accords left us with no sovereignty over our land, borders, water, communications or airspace,” he said. “We remain prisoners living in isolated cantons.” Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, Qasm noted, key issues – including the status of Jerusalem, refugees, Jewish settlements, security arrangements, borders, international relations, water, communications and airspace – were all put off until future “permanent-status talks”. According to Qasm, the Oslo Accords have allowed Israel to assert its control over the Palestinian territories without having to bear the cost of an expensive military occupation. “Israel has succeeded over the last 23 years in controlling the Palestinians via security coordination [with the Palestinian Authority], arrest campaigns, and frequent incursions, all of which are a result of the Oslo Accords,” he said. “Meanwhile, Israel has failed to abide by its commitments to the Palestinians as laid out in the accords,” Qasm added. “On the contrary, it has continued to build Jewish-only settlements on confiscated Palestinian land.” . . . “By signing Oslo, the Palestinian leadership – which thought Israel would give them a state – has brought its people into a long, dark tunnel,” Ahmad Rafiq Awad, a Palestinian expert on Israeli affairs, told Anadolu Agency. “The only viable solution for the Palestinians now is to abandon the Oslo agreement and choose the option of armed confrontation with Israel,” he said.
Is Al Jazeera Hamas’ voice to the outside world?
Al-Monitor 25 Sept by Adnan Abu Amer — Hamas has made a habit of giving Al Jazeera exclusive glimpses into its operations, and the news group has been facing criticism for it — Qatar’s Al Jazeera news group aired on Aug. 27 its investigative report “Rafah … Contact missing” about the capture of Israeli officer Hadar Goldin by Hamas’ military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, in Rafah during the Gaza war in 2014. The report, prepared by Gaza correspondent Tamer al-Meshal, revealed for the first time exclusive footage and information about al-Qassam Brigades’ planning process. The footage spiked controversy in Israeli media outlets, as more than 70 articles were published including news reports, commentaries and analyses of what was revealed. It was not the first time Al Jazeera broadcast footage of Hamas’ military operations against Israel. Another Al Jazeera correspondent in Gaza, Wael al-Dahdouh, had worked on a report called “Group 9,” about an organization affiliated with al-Qassam Brigades. The report, aired Sept. 21, 2014, revealed new details about the “Nahal al-Awz” operation on July 29, 2014, east of Gaza City. On Aug. 9, 2014, Al Jazeera broadcast its popular report “Fi Diyafat al-Boundoukiya” on how al-Qassam Brigades were founded. The report, directed by Iyad Daoud, featured first-of-a-kind interviews with al-Qassam Brigades leaders Mohammed al-Deif and Ahmed Jabari. Al-Monitor recently visited Al Jazeera’s offices in the Gaza Strip, and there were dozens of certificates of appreciation and thank you badges given by Hamas and other Palestinian factions to the channel and its correspondents for their journalistic performance. The secret behind the special relationship between Hamas and Al Jazeera, and that the channel is given exclusivity to cover Hamas news and events, might lie in the fact that the movement knows exactly how powerful Al Jazeera’s influence has been since it was first founded in 1996. . . .
Season of prickly pears in Palestine, the fruit of patience
MEMO 20 Sept by Ali Abo-Rezeg — In Padras, a town in west Ramallah, one can find prickly pears in all houses, the summer fruit of choice for Palestinians and a symbol of steadfastness and patience. Zainab Awad, 37, lives in Padras, a town known for its cultivation of prickly pears. She wakes up early every day to harvest the fruit. Awad, who works as a teacher in a private-sector kindergarten, harvests prickly pears in the summer as a second source of income. “In the summer months, I harvest and sell prickly pears,” she told Anadolu Agency. “It is the main source of income for my family and I because I do not receive any salary during the summer holiday.” “Prickly pears are a delicious fruit favoured by Palestinians in summer, especially by the poor due to its low price compared with other types of fruit,” she added. Wearing plastic gloves, Awad uses special brooms or carob tree branches to clean the prickly pears. The price of one kilogram is about three shekels ($0.80) and the name of the fruit differs from one country to the next in the Arab world. In Palestine and the Levant, it is called “sabr,” in Egypt “spiny fig,” and “albershoom” in the Arabian Peninsula. “Sabr” means “patience,” a core value held by Palestinians in the occupied territories.