Two right-wing Jewish extremists indicted for Bedouin tent arson
Haaretz 7 Sept by Gili Cohen & Chaim Levinson — An indictment has been served against two right-wing Jewish extremists, one of whom is a minor, for an arson attack on a Bedouin tent in the West Bank in August. The Hebrew word for “revenge” was also spray-painted near the site of the attack. Three suspects, including two minors, were questioned over the incident. According to a gag order lifted Monday, Avi Gafni, 19, and one of the minors were indicted on charges of incitement, threats, conspiring to commit a felony, and perverting the course of justice. The tent, located near Ramallah, was unoccupied at the time of the attack and no one was hurt. The Hebrew word for “administrative,” presumably referring to the recent administrative detention of right-wing activists, and a Magen David were also spray-painted on a stone nearby. The two teens and an adult man from the Baladim outpost, a satellite outpost of the West Bank’s Kochav Hashachar settlement, were arrested and taken to a Shin Bet security services facility for questioning. The Shin Bet said Monday that Gafni, who is originally from the southern Israeli city of Beit Shemesh, is “a violent ‘hilltop’ activist and a member of a Jewish terror group, which is behind attacks.” . . . Gafni has been living in the Baladim outpost. He had been under administrative order to leave the West Bank a number of times “in light of information that pointed to his involvement in, and carrying out of, a number of incidents of arson against property and religious sites of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem.” At the time of the attack, Ouday Kaaba, the tent owner’s son, told Haaretz, “Just last week we left the tent for a place at a nearby hill because of the heat. Fortunately for us, no one was inside the tent when it was set on fire, otherwise the whole family would have burned.” According to Kaaba, the tent housed eight people, including children. He said the incident occurred late at night, and that they only discovered the damage when they arrived at the scene in the morning. Kaaba said the family stored animal feed for their herd and a lot of property.
Haaretz editorial — Shame on Shin Bet: Almost 6 weeks pass and baby killers still walking free
9 Sept — Almost six weeks have passed since the murderous attack on the Dawabsheh family’s home in the West Bank village of Duma, yet as far as is known Israel’s security agencies still don’t have a clue about who perpetrated it. This is an unreasonable and intolerable situation. The more time passes, the greater the suspicion grows that the security agencies, first and foremost the Shin Bet security service, aren’t doing enough to capture the murderers. The killers are roaming free, thumbing their noses at the authorities and destined to perpetrate additional horrifying crimes. Catching the murderers of the three members of the Dawabsheh family – on Monday, Riham was buried, following in the wake of her toddler son Ali and her husband Sa’ad — isn’t like searching for a needle in a haystack. It can be assumed, with a fairly high degree of certainty, that the murderers came from one of the wild outposts around the Shiloh Valley. And in any case, the population on which suspicion has fallen — the one from which previous arsonists and lawbreakers came — isn’t a group of infinite size or indeterminate character. The Shin Bet, which excels at catching Palestinian terrorists, cannot wash its hands and claim that it is unable to catch the perpetrators of this abominable crime. It’s enough to recall how the Shin Bet, the Israel Defense Forces and the police behaved after three Israeli teens were kidnapped more than a year ago, even once it was clear that they had already been killed: During Operation Brother’s Keeper, thousands of soldiers flooded the West Bank and arrested some 400 Palestinians, including members of the Palestinian parliament, who had no connection to the murder. And the murderers’ end came swiftly: They were liquidated.
The Duma terror attack
Thousands mourn as West Bank arson victim, mother of slain child, buried
DUMA, Nablus (MEE) 7 Sept by Sheren Khalel & Abd al Qaisi — More than a thousand mourners marched in the streets of Duma, a small village outside of Nablus in the northern West Bank, on Monday morning, as the procession carried the body of Riham Duwabsha, 27, to her final resting place. Riham died of her extensive burn wounds just after midnight on Monday morning, after fighting for her life for more than a month. Riham’s brother-in-law, Ahmad Hassan Dawabsha, told Middle East Eye at her funeral that he is devastated to have lost so many loved ones in such an attack. “No one ever thinks something like this could happen to their family,” he said. Riham was the third victim of the arson attack, which is believed to have been committed by Israeli settlers. Riham’s 18-month-old son, Ali, was burned alive on the scene, while her husband, Saad, died from his wounds one week later. The couple’s four-year-old son, Ahmad, who is in critical but stable condition, is the only remaining survivor of the attack. Ahmad Hassan told MEE, that while he is heartbroken Riham has died, he believes that perhaps it was for the best. “Maybe it would be better if she lived to be with her son Ahmad, but sometimes death is better,” her brother-in-law said among the thousand others mourning Riham’s death. “The way she was burned, it is hard to think about. I think maybe it is better that she is with Ali and my brother Saad now. She is with them and she isn’t hurting anymore.” . . . A similar scene was played out for the third time in a little over a month, as family members lowered Riham into the dry ground next to the graves of her husband and toddler. Said Dawabsha, Riham’s cousin, reiterated Ahmad Hassan’s sentiments, telling MEE that he was comforted to know Riham is with her husband and child. “I have never seen two people love each other so much, Saad and Riham were partners meant to be together,” Said said. (continued)
[Photos] Reham Dawabsheh’ funeral
DUMA, Occupied Palestine 8 Sept by ISM Nablus Team — Yesterday, Monday 7th September, at approximately 1pm, thousands of people where waiting for martyr, Reham Dawabshe, to arrive to Duma to attend her funeral. After struggling for five weeks from severe burns all over her body, Reham Dawabshe died in the hospital. Reham’s home was attacked by illegal Israeli settlers on July 31st, by smashing the windows in the middle of the night, throwing in flammable liquids and molotov bombs and setting the whole house on fire. Her 18-month-old baby, ‘Ali, died in the flames trapped in the house and her husband, Saed, died one week later in the hospital. Until this day, only 4-year-old, Ahmad, has survived but is still struggling from severe wounds in the hospital [see photo].
Clashes erupt in Jerusalem after death of slain infant’s mother
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — Clashes erupted in occupied East Jerusalem overnight Monday following the death of Riham Dawabsha, the mother of an 18-month-old toddler who was burned alive in an arson attack carried out by Israeli settlers in July. The East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Wadi al-Joz, Silwan and al-Tour witnessed clashes, as Palestinians also marked a year since the death of Muhammad Sunuqrut, a teenager who was killed by Israeli police in Wadi al-Joz last year. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces deployed across Wadi al-Joz around noon on Monday, and during the night they reportedly raided Sunuqrut’s family home. Israeli forces reportedly fired a stun grenade, and locals responded by throwing stones and firing fireworks. Separately, in the neighborhood of Silwan, clashes erupted in the Beir Ayoub area. A local monitoring group, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, said that Israeli forces fired stun grenades indiscriminately, injuring two Palestinians. The information center added that Israeli forces violently assaulted three Palestinian children on their way home in Silwan. The children were identified as Ahmad Shwiki, 15, Muhammad Kaqour, 14, and Muhammad Awwad, 14. Clashes also erupted in the al-Tour neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Palestinian youths reportedly directed fireworks at the illegal Jewish outpost of Beit Orot.
Hamas urges ‘retaliation’ after death of Dawabsha mother
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Hamas led Palestinian factions in a call for action in the wake of the death overnight Sunday of Riham Dawabsha, the mother of an 18-month-old toddler who was burned alive in an arson attack carried out by Israeli settlers in July. The movement urged its members to “retaliate” for her death, saying in a statement: “Hamas won’t forgive the usurper occupation its crime against the Dawabsha family and the population of Duma.” . . . Hamas called on members of the movement’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, along with all other Palestinian military wings, to “strongly respond to Israel’s reckless attitude toward the Palestinians.” . . . PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also called Monday for Israel to be “stopped and held accountable,” warning that if it is not, “Riham will not be the last victim of Israeli terror.” . . . He reiterated that the PLO holds “the Israeli government fully responsible” for her death, and condemned Israel’s slow response to the attack . . . He added: “There is a culture of hate that has been developing in Israel. … The assassination of the Dawabsheh family reflects the clear connection between hate speech, settlement expansion and the impunity granted to Israel by the International community.”
Rage and restraint: Duma’s third funeral
Haaretz 8 Sept by Gideon Levy — First Ali, then Saad, now Reham: Third Dawabsheh family funeral held in the village, where a terrible silence still grips the house that was burned down — It’s probably the only school in the world named after an 18-month-old baby; on Monday, the third funeral in about six weeks set out from there, this time of the mother of the baby after whom the school is named . . . Reham Dawabsheh died Sunday on her 27th birthday. Saad, her husband, died four weeks before her on their wedding anniversary. Their son Ali died shortly after the terrible fire took hold of his body, a fire set deliberately in the Dawabshehs’ home. A heavy smell of smoke still wafts over the house, a few steps away from the school named after Ali, as if the flames were still licking it. It is a simple, small, cube-shaped house – a living room, kitchen and children’s room, in which the young couple were raising their children and dreaming of a life. The bottle of death was thrown into the room where the children were sleeping, cutting off the dream of the little family, of which now only dust and ash remain. In the center of the children’s room Ali’s Infant stroller still stands, covered in a Palestinian flag, like a memorial to the boy. All the rest is completely burned: The television melted, the microwave charred, the curtains shredded, the windows smashed, the rugs disintegrated. The remnants of a bag of laundry soap and a bottle of dish soap are there, all ash, like a small shrine in memory of the family. Not one stone upon another there / not one branch to gather / no coal for the stove / no bread / no fire / no water / there are handfuls there / only of ash. – Moshe Tabenkin, “Beyom Masa” (“On the day of reckoning”).
Violence / Attacks / Raids / Detentions — West Bank and Jerusalem
Three Palestinians injured near Nablus
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Sept — Palestinian medical sources have reported that three residents were injured on Tuesday evening after Israeli extremists hurled stones at their car, while driving back home in Jenin after paying their respect at the mourning home of the Dawabsha family in Nablus. The sources said the wounded Palestinians have been identified as Burhan ‘Amsha al-Atrash, Taiseer Rashid al-Atrash, and Mohammad Hussein al-Atrash. The three are family members of Mohammad Bassam al-Atrash, 26, who was killed by Israeli army fire at the Za’tara roadblock south of Nablus last month. The wounded Palestinians were moved to the Jenin Governmental Hospital suffering moderate-but-stable wounds.
Israeli settlers stone house of Palestinian family in Salfit town
SALFIT (WAFA) 8 Sept – Israeli settlers Monday night pelted a Palestinian house in Deir Istiya town to the north of Salfit, said a municipal source. Speaking to WAFA in a phone interview, Head of Deir Istiya Municipal Council Sa‘id Zeidan said settlers hurled stones at a house belonging to Mohammad Abu Zeid, at the northern entrance of the town, spreading panic among Abu Zeid’s family, especially children. No injuries were reported during the attack.
Although the origins of the village are not clearly documented, an OCHA study indicates that the village was inhabited in the pre-Islamic and pre-Christian era and there are around 20 cemeteries belonging to that period around the village. Part of the old town dates back to the pre-Canaanite times while another dates back to the Ottoman era. Other parts of the town remain unexcavated. The word ‘Deir’ means monastery. ‘Istiya’ means wall in Aramaic, but in Greek in means military camp. According to data published by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, 83% of the village total area, corresponding to 28,281 dunums, is classified as area C, where Israel retains full control over security and administration and where building and land management by Palestinian is prohibited unless through Israeli consent.
Settlers attack a Jerusalemite young man in West Jerusalem
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Sept — Three settlers attacked the 18-year old Mustafa Jamil Hashlamon on Tuesday morning while he was heading to work in West Jerusalem. Mustafa explained that three settlers attacked him using a stick when he was walking in the area of “Kiryat Moshe” in West Jerusalem heading to work in “Der Yassin”. The settlers chased the young man and attacked him for no reason while one of them hit him with a stick he was holding. Hashlamon added that he managed to flee the area and reach his work location. He pointed out that he suffered bruises and pains in his right arm and the police came to his work location and conducted the initial investigation of the incident.
Israeli settlers set fire to olive trees after West Bank shooting
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Israeli settlers on Wednesday set fire to olive trees in the village of Burin south of Nablus, after an Israeli settler was lightly injured in a shooting earlier Wednesday morning, Palestinian sources told Ma‘an. Settlers said that Israelis from the illegal settlement of Yizhar had set dozens of olive trees west of Burin on fire, in full sight of Israeli soldiers who reportedly did nothing to stop them. A large number of olive trees were burnt before the Palestinian Civil Defense was able to reach the scene and put out the fire. Earlier Wednesday, a female Israeli settler was lightly injured when she was shot at while driving near Yizhar settlement. Palestinian sources said that the Israeli army had deployed its forces around the nearby villages of Beita and Einabus, both south of Yizhar, and completely sealed their entrances, preventing Palestinian residents from entering or leaving “until further notice.” A Ma‘an reporter said that Israeli troops also ordered Palestinian shopkeepers in the nearby town of Huwwara village to close their stores. The Huwwara and Zaatara checkpoints were closed, and a curfew was imposed on the main road running through Huwwara — also the main route between Ramallah and Nablus. The Palestinian residents in Nablus expressed worries over the consequences of Wednesday’s shooing. Tensions with Israeli settlers have been running high in the occupied Palestinian territory since an 18-month-old Palestinian toddler and his parents were killed in an arson attack on their home in southern Nablus at the end of July.
Israeli forces attempt raid on Bethlehem-area school
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Sept — Israeli forces entered the Bethlehem-area town of al-Khader, on Tuesday, and attempted to raid a school, in order to confiscate footage from one of its surveillance cameras, a Palestinian official said. PA Minister of Education, Sabri Seidam, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the Said al-Aas school, near the apartheid wall. The school was closed and had no students or teachers on the premises at the time of the raid. Israeli and Palestinian liaison officials arrived at the scene, in addition to military forces, with Israeli forces eventually withdrawing from the area.
Soldiers close the ‘Container Roadblock’, invade town near Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Sept — Israeli soldiers closed, on Tuesday evening, the Container Roadblock, north of Bethlehem, and searched dozens of cars while inspecting the ID cards of the passengers . . . Eyewitnesses said the soldiers closed the roadblock, causing a huge traffic jam, especially since it is located on the main intersection that links the southern part of the occupied West Bank with the central and northern parts. They added that the soldiers searched dozens of cars without any cause of justification, and examined the ID cards of scores of Palestinians. The army later opened the roadblock.
In related news, several army vehicles invaded, on Tuesday evening, Ras al-Wad area in the al-‘Obeydiyya town, northeast of Bethlehem. Soldiers drove around in the invaded area, and withdrew later, no arrests reported.
Army kidnaps 13 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded several Palestinian communities, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped thirteen Palestinians after storming their homes,and violently searching them. Media sources in Jerusalem said the soldiers invaded a number of homes in the al-‘Eesawiyya town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Yazan Jaber, 17, and Mahmoud Nasser, 20, before taking them to the police station in Salaheddin Street. The sources also said that the army invaded and searched homes in Jerusalem’s Old City, before kidnapping two young Palestinian men identified as Usama Rajabi and Wael Rajabi. In addition, several military vehicles invaded Husan town, west of Bethlehem, searched one home and kidnapped Majdi Ibrahim Sabateen, 16 years of age. The soldiers also invaded the al-‘Ein neighborhood in Bethlehem and ordered Hasan Hosni Shouka, 28, to head to the Etzion military base, south of the city, for interrogation. The family said the army violently searched their property. Clashes took place near the Manger Square in Bethlehem after the soldiers invaded the area; the army fired several gas bombs and concussion grenades. Several military vehicles also invaded the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and Marka village, south of the city, and kidnapped four Palestinians, after violently searching their homes. Media sources said the soldiers kidnapped Ahmad Raed as-Shokhn, 21, in Marka village, in addition to Qaiser Sa’id Jarrar, 18, Ibrahim Mohammad Anteer, 32, and Yousef Abu Na’sa, 19 years of age who was previously shot and wounded by Israeli army fire. Three more Palestinians have been kidnapped by the army in Nabi Saleh village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, after a large military force invaded the village, searched and ransacked several homes. The three have been identified as Odai Abdul-Razeq Tamimi, 22, his brother Luay, and Aseed Ahmad Tamimi, 22 years of age. The soldiers assaulted the kidnapped Palestinians before abducting them, causing various cuts and bruises, and took them to an unknown destination.
Arresting three children from the village of Esawyeh
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 8 Sept — The occupation forces arrested three children from the village of Esawyeh. According to initial information available to Wadi Hilweh Information Center, the occupation forces arrested three children from the village of Esawyeh. They are: 9-year old Dia’ Obeid, 12-year old Salah Ayoubi and the 12-year old Rami Rabee’. The center’s lawyer explained that the occupation police transferred the detainees to Salah Eddin Street police station. [see next article for the release of the two older children]
Soldiers kidnap three Palestinians in Jerusalem
IMEMC 9 Sept — The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic), in occupied Jerusalem, said several military jeeps invaded at-Tour, searched homes, and kidnapped three former political prisoners identified as Mohammad Yasser Abu al-Hawa, Shadi Khweiss and Majdi Sayyad . They were all taken to the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation facility, in West Jerusalem. Clashes took place, late on Tuesday at night, in different parts of occupied Jerusalem, after Israeli soldiers invaded them.
In related news, the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem has decided to release two Palestinian children, at 8 at night Wednesday, and ordered them under house arrest until Sunday. Families of the two children, Yahia Ayyoubi, 12, and Rami Mahmoud Rabea’, 12, were ordered to pay 2000 New Israeli Shekels each. The children and will be subject to further interrogation allegedly for throwing stones at settlers’ cars, on the main road leading to Maale Adumim settlement.
In addition, a young Palestinian man identified as Akram Shorafa received an Israeli police order denying him access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for six months. Shorafa previously received a similar order denying him access to the mosque for 22 months that expired just two weeks ago.
Army kidnaps nine Palestinians in the West Bank, uproots farmlands
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Sept — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday at dawn, nine Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, during military invasions targeting various Palestinian communities, and uprooted agricultural lands near Hebron. Several military vehicles invaded the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, before breaking into a number of homes, and searching them, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported. The soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Ehab Ismael al-Badawi and Khaled Mohammad Masarwa, the PPS added. The invasion led to clashes with local youths who hurled stones at army vehicles, while the soldiers fired gas bombs and rubber-coated metal bullets. It is worth mentioning that 95 Palestinians from the al-Jalazoun are held by Israel in a number of detention and interrogation centers.
In addition, soldiers invaded Doura and Surif towns, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and kidnapped four Palestinians after storming their homes and searching them . . . Furthermore, the PPS said that the soldiers invaded ‘Atteel village, in the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, and kidnapped Mos’ab Samih Eqteish, 23, after invading his home and searching it.
In related news, soldiers invaded and bulldozed Palestinian farmlands in the al-Baq‘a area, east of Hebron, destroyed and confiscated an irrigation network. Resident Badran Jaber told the WAFA News Agency that the soldiers bulldozed three dunams belonging to him, planted with summer produce, and bulldozed a nearby farmland belonging to one of his relatives, before destroying and confiscating its irrigation network.
Palestinian detainee freed after two days finds home razed
Haaretz 9 Sept by Amira Hass — Two days after being arrested by Israeli soldiers, a Palestinian resident of Jenin, Majdi Abu Al-Heija, was released last Thursday from Megiddo prison and went back to his West Bank hometown. However, he was unable to return home because his house was demolished by Israeli security forces the same night he was arrested, during what they claimed was a search for a suspect hiding there. A large contingent of Israeli security forces surrounded the house on Monday (August 31). The Lau missiles and bulldozers brought to the scene were evidence that troops from the Israel Defense Forces, along with forces from the police counterterrorism unit and the Shin Bet security force, planned to flush out a suspect holed up in a building. Dubbed the “pressure cooker,” this tactic involves gradually demolishing the building in an effort to force a suspect to give himself up – or die in the process. Abu-Heija’s unusually prompt release may be an indication that he was not the target of the search. No suspect was found in the ruins of his demolished house, also home to his wife, Alia, and their five children, who range in age from a 16-month-old daughter to a son who is almost 14. Alia Abu Al-Heija told Haaretz that before the demolition began, she and her mother-in-law had begged a Shin Bet officer to allow them to enter the house “as a human shield,” as she put it: to prove to him that no one was hiding in her home. The officer, “who spoke Arabic better than I do,” she said, insisted that the forces would demolish the structure. “I worked on the house for 9 years and you’ll destroy it,” she told him, in vain. (cont.)
Senior IDF officer: Nabi Saleh incident was a mistake
Haaretz 8 Sept by Chaim Levinson — Central Command officer faults decision to allow soldier to act alone during the protest 10 days ago, but praises soldier’s restraint — A senior Israel Defense Forces source says a tactical error occurred in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on August 28, when Palestinian women succeeded to prevent a soldier from arresting a 12-year-old boy who was throwing stones, and grabbed the youth in a headlock. Regarding the uproar sparked by the incident – which occurred during a weekly protest at the site, and involved members of the elite Egoz unit – the officer told reporters Tuesday that, “Nowhere should a soldier act on his own, that’s a mistake of his commanders. The military action taken was faulty. When they decided they wanted to apprehend [the youth], they should have sent in an additional soldier. That would have changed the entire incident.” . . . According to the IDF version of the incident in Nabi Saleh, a stone-thrower was identified during the demonstration there, and a soldier was sent to arrest him; the members of the unit didn’t realize the individual, Mohammed Tamimi, was a minor. (cont.)
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Video: temporary evacuations in the Jordan Valley
B’Tselem August 2015 — On seven different occasions in June, during the fast of Ramadan, the military displaced dozens of Palestinian families in the Jordan Valley for hours on end, for military exercises, sometimes leaving pastures and crops trampled and scorched. Ahmad ‘Ali Najadeh: “The Civil Administration and military came this morning, and told us ‘Leave from now until noon.’ They came at 6:00 a.m. So we went out, put the livestock in the pen. They were still penned in and without water even after 12:00. Even the lambs and the kids. When we got back we found some of the animals had died. We’re made to leave every few days . . . ”
Israel to demolish water wells, residential structures in southern Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 7 Sept – Israeli authorities handed [out] on Monday notices to demolish three water wells, two prefab homes and five other residential units in different southern Hebron areas, according to local sources. Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in southern Hebron area, said an Israeli army force handed Bedouins from the Dababsheh family, in Khilet al-Dabe, a locale surrounded by three Israeli settlements built illegally on Hebron’s land, a demolition notice for their three privately-owned water wells in the area. The army also notified Bedouins from the Hamamdeh family of their intent to remove two residential tents in the area. Meanwhile, an army force broke into the villages of Halawa and al-Markaz in Masafer Yatta, and notified local Palestinians of their intent to demolish five residential units which were built in the southern Hebron area through European funding. Most of Masafer Yatta is located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, where issuance of construction permits for Palestinians is strictly limited. Many Palestinians and Bedouins living in this area often find themselves compelled to embark on construction without obtaining a permit to provide a shelter for their families, risking in the process having their homes demolished. Masafer Yatta, a Bedouin congregation of around 19 small villages, has been a target for almost weekly Israeli violations, including home demolitions, attacks by settlers from nearby illegal settlements on Palestinian herders, and mass restrictions on issuing construction permits for the residents. The area relies heavily on animal husbandry as a main source of sustenance, which is another daily target for Israeli violations.
Thousands of Area C residents face expulsion
B’Tselem 7 Sept — On Thursday, 3 September 2015, the Civil Administration demolished tents and shacks belonging to three families of the Ka’abneh tribe living in one of the Bedouin communities east of the village a-Taybah, Ramallah District, near the settlement of Kokhav Hashachar. Two families – a total of ten people, including six minors – lost two residential structures and one livestock pen to demolition by authorities. CA and military personnel also demolished four livestock structures belonging to a third family. Twenty people live in this compound on private lands they rent from a resident of a-Taybah. The residents said that while the demolitions were underway, CA representatives told them that they plan to demolish other residential structures there as well. This action comes on the heels of an unusually large-scale demolition campaign in August, in which Israeli authorities demolished the homes of 228 individuals, including 124 minors, in Area C. The demolitions are part of efforts by the CA and the military to force Palestinian communities out of Area C. [see other reports from B’Tselem at this site, plus an excellent map of the places where this is going on.]
Israeli army razes land, blocks road near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 8 Sept – Israeli army on Tuesday razed Palestinian-owned land in the village of Artas, south of Bethlehem, as well as closed down an agricultural road in the nearby village of Rashaydeh, according to local sources. Coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in Bethlehem, Hassan Burejiya, said an Israeli army force accompanied by bulldozers arrived near the village in the morning and razed a 10-dunum-square-meter [piece of] Palestinian privately owned land owned by Riyad Qaraqe, a Palestinian villager. The army claimed the land belongs to the state and its Palestinian owner was not allowed to reclaim it. Burejiya said razing his land comes as a prelude to the expansion of the nearby illegal Efrat settlement. He added the area and nearby localities such as Khallet Nahleh and Khallet Quton have recently been a target of the ongoing illegal settlement expansion. Meanwhile, Fawwaz Rashaydeh, head of the village council of Rashaydeh, a nearby village, said the Israeli army closed with berms an agricultural road near the village. The road is used by local villagers and farmers to reach their lands at times of harvest, Rashaydeh said.
Young man injured by Israeli UXO in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Sept — Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip have reported, on Wednesday at dawn, that a young man was hospitalized at the Shifa Medical Center, west of Gaza City, after an Israeli unexploded ordnance detonated near him, causing life-threatening wounds. The sources said the young man suffered wounds to most parts of his body, and is currently at the Intensive Care Room, in a very serious condition. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed and injured, by Israeli unexploded ordnances, in different parts of the Gaza Strip, especially after Israel’s massive aggression and onslaught on the coastal region in the summer of 2014. Many unexploded objects are still buried under rubble of bombarded homes and structures in the Gaza Strip.
Farmlands leveled in southern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Sept — About five Israeli military machines,Tuesday night, entered the town of Khuza’a near Khan Younis city, southern Gaza Strip, to raze agricultural lands. Security sources said, according to the PNN, that farmers fled their lands in fear the moment they saw the machinery coming, but no injuries were reported. Sources added that the machinery entered about 50 meters into the center of the Strip, amidst gunfire noises. The machinery had not withdrawn, at the time of this report, and leveling continues.
Rafah crossing opens for Gaza’s pilgrims
MEMO 8 Sept — Some 800 Palestinian pilgrims from the Gaza Strip yesterday crossed the Rafah border heading to Cairo airport on their way then to Mecca, Saudi, Palestinian sources said. Deputy Palestinian Awqaf Minister Hassan Al-Safi said the pilgrims arrived at the Rafah Crossing early yesterday morning and all the arrangements on the Palestinian side were ready. They did not face any obstacles on the Egyptian side as their passports were checked and stamped the day before and the 800 pilgrims were ready to pass. Meanwhile, Egyptian sources said that the crossing would remain open for three day for pilgrims to travel, but no other travellers would be allowed through, even those who are stranded in Egypt. Some 6,000 Palestinian pilgrims are expected to head to Mecca this year including 2,450 from the Gaza Strip and 3,550 from the occupied West Bank. The first group of pilgrims from Gaza arrived in Jeddah, while the first group from the occupied West Bank left the King Hussein Crossing, between Jordan and Israel, yesterday morning. Images by MEMO Photographer Mohammed Asad.
At least one woman has been refused her religious right to make the pilgrimage to Mecca:
IOF bars wife of senior Hamas official from entering Jordan
JENIN (PIC) 7 Sept — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday prevented the wife of senior Hamas official Nazih Abu Awn from traveling through al-Karama [or King Hussein] border crossing to Jordan before flying to Saudi Arabia to perform pilgrimage rituals. Local sources said the Israeli army deprived Abu Awn’s wife of going on pilgrimage to Makkah in Saudi Arabi for the second time, affirming that she was registered as a pilgrim. Her husband Abu Awn stated on his Facebook page that there is an Israeli travel ban on all members of his family, pointing out that his wife had already been prevented from crossing into Jordan for pilgrimage in Makkah in 2013.
Israel arrests Palestinian in northern Gaza
MEMO 8 Sept — Israeli soldiers today arrested a Palestinian youth in Beit Hanoun near the Erez checkpoint in the north of the Gaza Strip. Fawzi Abdel Al-Al, 22, was on his way to receive treatment in the occupied city of Jerusalem, Quds Net reported.
Palestinians warn of Egyptian plan to flood Gaza border
MEMO 7 Sept — Palestinian officials in the Gaza Strip have warned of the dangers of an Egyptian plan to flood the Egypt-Gaza border with seawater in an effort to destroy cross-border tunnel activity. According to Mazen Al-Banna, vice-president of Gaza’s Water Authority, the move poses a “serious threat to the national security of both Egypt and Palestine because they both share the same aquifer.” Speaking at a joint press conference with officials from the Water Authority and other agencies, he said: “Egypt has begun to dig deep water reservoirs and laid pipes underground containing high-salinity seawater with a view to destroying the cross-border tunnels.” This, Al-Banna warned, “could lead to the destruction of the aquifer.” “Pumping sea water into the reservoirs, which could leak into the aquifer, will be devastating for both sides’ economic, food and environmental security,” he said. Last week, reports emerged that the Egyptian military had begun pumping water from the Mediterranean Sea into the reservoirs with a view to destroying the cross-border tunnels that the blockaded Gaza Strip relies on to import desperately-needed commodities. “About a week ago, the Egyptian army began using heavy equipment to lay massive water pipes – up to 60-centimetres in diameter – along the Egypt-Gaza border,” a Palestinian security source told the Anadolu Agency earlier. “The aim of laying these enormous pipes is to inundate the tunnels with water from the Mediterranean without having to find their exact location,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. Such a move, the source added, “will very quickly lead to the collapse of the tunnels.” Al-Banna called on the UN and the international environmental organisations to intervene to halt the “catastrophic” project.
Israel should be held to account for Gaza’s shocking child mortality rates
The Independent 7 Sept by Amena Saleem — Last month, a UN agency released figures which beggared belief. They revealed that the infant mortality rate in Gaza, which had been declining steadily since 1960, was on the rise for the first time in 50 years. It is a reversal which UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, which released the data, describes as “unprecedented”. “Progress in combating infant mortality doesn’t usually reverse. This seems to be the first time we have seen an increase like this,” explained Dr Akihiro Seita, Director of the UNRWA health programme. “The only other examples I can think of are in some African countries which experienced HIV epidemic.” Gaza is not in the grip of such an epidemic, and yet the number of babies in Gaza dying before they reach the age of one has gone up from 20.2 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 22.4 in 2013. The rate of neonatal mortality – the number of babies who die before they reach the age of just four weeks – has also increased. In fact, it soared by 70 per cent, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013. These figures were so alarming to UNRWA that the agency waited two years before releasing them, while it worked with external independent research groups to examine the data and ensure the increase could be confirmed. Sadly, they proved to be accurate. But, in the absence of health epidemics such as HIV in Gaza, the explanation is even sadder . . . The years 2008 to 2013, when this last survey was conducted, correspond directly to the siege that Israel has placed on Gaza. (cont.)
US puts three Hamas leaders on terror blacklist
WASHINGTON (AFP) 8 Sept – The United States put three senior members of Hamas, a senior commander and two leaders freed by Israel in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit, on its terror blacklist Tuesday. The State Department said Yehia Sinwar, Rawhi Mushtaha and the Palestinian group’s military commander Mohammed Deif had been named “specially designated global terrorists” under US law. Deif has been described as Israel’s most wanted man for his role since 2002 as commander of Hamas’ military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, overseeing attacks in Gaza and Israel. “He is known for deploying suicide bombers and directing the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers,” the State Department said in a statement announcing his new designation. “During the 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas, Deif was the mastermind of Hamas’ offensive strategy.” As “global terrorists,” the three Palestinian figures are subject to the seizure of any assets they hold in areas of US jurisdiction and Americans are forbidden from doing business with them. Hamas denounced the decision as “immoral and against international law” on its Twitter account, accusing Washington of “backing Israeli terrorism.” Separately, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said blacklisting senior figures would not stop the group “from succeeding in our national duty of protecting our people and liberating Palestine.”
Gaza’s blind karate team dreams big
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 6 Sept by Huda Baroud — Mu’min Bitar moved his arm and leg upon hearing his trainer’s instructions. His moves were perfectly synchronized with those of his peer Mohamed Mahaty. Together, they put on a great show. The blind players have mastered their moves by relying on touch and hearing. Mahaty, Bitar and six others make up the first karate team for the blind in Palestine. Despite the seven-year gap in their ages, their passion for the sport is obvious. They were introduced to the sport only recently, yet earned their yellow belts after a brief training period. Bitar, 15, the oldest team member, told Al-Monitor, “I look forward to becoming a famous karate player and representing Palestine in Arab and international championships. I am determined enough to keep going until I get the black belt.” Being able to defend oneself is a common goal for the eight team members, according to Bitar. He said the blind in particular do not get good jobs in Gaza and struggle intellectually and physically to gain their rights in a society that considers them disabled.
Gaza’s children meet sad fate at amusement park
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 8 Sept by Huda Baroud — Children are falling victim to the lack of safety measures in amusement parks in the Gaza Strip — Yasmin Koljah burst into tears as she talked about the death of her son Zaki, 10. “He said he was going on a trip to a resort with his friends from Fathul Mubin mosque near our house. He said the trip was supervised by reliable young people and that he had arranged everything with his father,” Koljah told Al-Monitor. She said, “I learned on Aug. 20 that a child from al-Zaytoun neighborhood, where we live, fell off a water ride and died in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. But it did not occur to me that it was my own son because he had told me he was going to Al-Nour resort in the central Gaza Strip, until someone called my husband and told him that Zaki, our eldest of four sons, was the one who died in the Asda City’s amusement park.” Koljah could not continue to speak . . . On the morning of Aug. 19, one day before Zaki’s death, Izz al-Din Abu Nehme, 8, had drowned in the sea of the northern Gaza Strip during a leisure trip of a Quranic class organized by the Abu Huraira mosque in al-Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza City. Izz al-Din was taken to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
Palestinians paint walls to show resilience
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 2 Sept by Hamza Saftawi — Inflammatory graffiti that once sprawled across the walls of al-Zaytoun neighborhood has been replaced with bright, inspiring colors, as one form of rebellion has been overcome by another very different form. Resident Mohammed al-Saidi took the initiative by painting his house to express the ability of humans to overcome the ravages of wars, stand up for themselves and their humanity, and reorganize their lives and societies as they please — and in such a way that generates development. His idea caught on. In a recent interview with Al-Monitor, Saidi spoke of the artistic initiative that shines from behind the walls of al-Zaytoun, east of Gaza City. “As you can see, using old paint brushes, simple tools and the initiative’s concept, we were able to create scenery through which colors became a revolution. This revolution further expands our awareness and culture, represents anew our openness to life after a year characterized by death, war and destruction,” Saidi said.
Palestinian faction says PNC meeting postponed
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) said Tuesday that the Palestine National Council session has been suspended until further notice, with the consent of all PLO factions. No official statement has been issued about the postponement, although the head of the PNC will hold a press conference at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday in Ramallah. The DFLP said that the meeting will be postponed until a preparatory committee of Palestinian factions is formed . . .
The meeting of the PNC, the PLO’s legislative body, is currently to take place on September 14-15.
Hamas chief urges ‘national unity’ amid uncertainty over PNC session
DOHA (AFP) 8 Sept — Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal on Monday called for “national unity” but said that the first Palestinian National Council (PNC) session in 20 years should be postponed until a compromise is struck. Meshaal, speaking in Qatar where he lives in exile, said Palestinian leaders from both Hamas and Fatah had to present a unified front. “We as Palestinians, we are being divided against ourselves; there’s a lack of authority,” he told a news conference in Doha. “It’s unbelievable and it’s unacceptable from any Palestinian leader.” He added: “The cause of Palestine is bigger than Hamas and Fatah.” But Meshaal said the proposed PNC meeting set to take place later this month should be postponed. “Postpone the meeting of the National Congress until there’s a compromise for the meeting,” he said. “The meeting should be about the laws and regulations we agreed on; otherwise this will lead to more division.” He added that Hamas were ready to meet its rival Fatah “in any Arab country.”
Gazans, Moroccans pay tribute to Aylan
GAZA CITY, (Palestinian Territories (AFP) 7 Sept — Palestinians paid tribute to the tiny boy who drowned while fleeing the Syrian war by building a sand sculpture of him Monday on a beach in the Gaza Strip. The sculpture measuring a few metres (yards) in length depicts three-year-old Aylan Kurdi in the same position and with red and blue clothing like he wore when his lifeless body was found last week. Aylan’s body was photographed lying face down in the sand near Bodrum, one of Turkey’s prime tourist resorts, in a bleak image that rapidly went viral on social media. The sand sculpture is located a short distance from where an Israeli strike killed four Gazan children as they played football during last year’s 50-day Gaza war . . . At the other end of the Mediterranean, dozens of people paid tribute to Aylan on a Rabat beach on Monday by re-enacting the heart-wrenching scene of how his body was found washed ashore. Around 30 people took part, some wearing the same combination of clothes, and lay rooted face-down in the sand for about 20 minutes.
PLO: Israel creates refugees, does not provide safe haven
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi on Monday accused Israel of creating refugees rather than providing them with a safe haven, as she called on the state to allow Palestinian refugees fleeing wars to seek asylum in the occupied Palestinian territory. The PLO Executive Committee member made her comments during a meeting with UN officials in Ramallah, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was too “small” to absorb refugees. “(Israel) bears a moral responsibility for the plight of the Palestinian refugees and the grave injustices of the past,” Ashrawi said, adding that Israel “is in the business of creating refugees and ethnic cleansing.” Reiterating a call made by President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, Ashrawi said: “We call on all members of the international community, in particular the United Nations, to support our efforts to bring the Palestinian refugees to Palestine. Israel should not be allowed to prevent us from welcoming the refugees to their rightful homeland.”
Illiteracy rate drops in 2014, says Statistics Bureau
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 Sept — Illiteracy rates among people aged 15 years and above in the Palestinian Territory declined from 13.9% in 1997 to 3.6% in 2014, said a report issued Tuesday by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on the eve of the International Literacy Day, which falls on the 8th of September . . . The illiteracy rate in the year 2014 among persons 15 years and above in Palestine was 3.6% (97,921 illiterate): 3.8% in the West Bank (66,547 illiterate) and 3.1% in Gaza Strip (31,374 illiterate). It noted, “The illiteracy rate varies considerably between sexes: 1.6% for males (22,161 illiterate) compared to 5.6% for females (75,760 illiterate) in the same year.”
Israel allows Gazan players to enter West Bank for World Cup qualifier
albawaba 8 Sept — Israel issued on Monday a list of names of Gaza-based players and administrative crew to enter the West Bank for the UAE-Palestine World-Cup qualifier match to be held in Ramallah on Tuesday. Once the names of approved players and staff was issued, Gazan players of the national team, heads of some Gaza-based football clubs and members of the Gaza branch of the Palestinian Football Association rushed to Beit Hanoun Crossing. In a phone interview from the Erez Crossing, Ebrahim Abu Salim, the Palestine Football Association (PFA) Vice-President told Gulf News that the uncertainty and late entry of the players could be crucial. “Gazan players will join the Palestine team only hours before the match kicks off,” he said. “The players should have been there in Ramallah a long while ago to give them the chance for prematch training with the Palestine team.” Meanwhile, the Palestinian Football Association has urged the Palestine fans to attend the match at Faisal Al Hussaini Stadium to avoid waving the factional flags during the match. “The Palestine-UAE match is a major sporting activity — which should not have any political background and only Palestine national flags will be allowed at the stadium,” said the official.
Khamseen dust storm sweeps across Palestine
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — A massive dust storm engulfed the occupied Palestinian territory overnight Monday, with doctors warning that the dust may pose a health risk to some. Dr. Kamal Abdelfattah, professor of geography at Birzeit university, told Ma‘an that the dust storm originated in northern and eastern Saudi Arabia. Stretching four kilometers into the air, the storm crossed into Iraq four or five days ago on a wave of high pressure across the Gulf and into Syria on Monday, he said. It engulfed the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel overnight, although Abdelfattah said that the storm was nearing its end. “It will cover the area for one or two days,” he said. He said that the phenomenon is referred to as the Fall Khamseen, and comes following lower pressure across the Levant at the change of seasons. Similar storms also take place at the end of the winter, referred to as the Spring Khamseen. Abdelfattah said that although the storm was in line with regular weather patterns, it was unusual for it to last so long across such a vast area.
Gooey goodness: Ramallah’s stretchy ice cream delights
NPR 8 Sept by Emily Harris — What if a spoonful of ice cream could stretch out like melted mozzarella on a pizza? “Mess!” you think. Or perhaps, “Fun!” Ice cream with an elastic texture is a treat around the Levant. In Ramallah, two shops – with intertwined histories — cater to Palestinian cravings. Rukab’s is the original. It opened in 1941 as a cafe in the same spot where it still stands. But 59-year-old Hassan Rukab, son of the founder, says his family’s ice cream business was operating much earlier. “Before that, my grandmother used to prepare the ice cream at home. And they used to sell the ice cream after school,” he says. Now, even at 10:00 a.m. on a weekday, people are already eating ice cream at Rukab’s. They say they love the taste and the presentation. And oh yes, the stretchiness. Servers can pull the colorful ice cream into taffy-like strands over a foot long.
UK Labour leader, MPs slam Netanyahu’s planned visit over Gaza war crimes
PressTV 8 Sept — A group of British union leaders, lawmakers and other dignitaries has condemned the upcoming visit to the UK by the Israeli prime minister, insisting he “must bear responsibility for war crimes” his regime committed in the besieged Gaza Strip in 2014 — “Our prime minister should not be welcoming the man who presides over Israel’s occupation and its siege on Gaza,” the group stated in a joint letter published Monday in British daily The Guardian, further underlining that the Israeli regime created “hell” in the densely populated Palestinian enclave and that Palestinians fleeing the devastation were among the refugees that drowned in the Mediterranean this year.
Gaza film screening in Israeli town canceled: right-wing pressure
I24NEWS 8 Sept — Yielding to right-wing pressure, the leadership of a community center in the southern Israeli town of Yeruham cancelled the screening of “Shivering from Gaza,” supposed to be shown on Wednesday. Yeruham is the third town in Israel that has canceled the documentary after the southern towns of Sderot and Be’er Sheva cancelled their screenings in July. Amnesty International has been organizing the Dutch film’s screenings, which follows Jan Andreae, a trauma expert, as he visits Gaza last year following Operation Protective Edge. In “Shivering in Gaza,” Andreae talks to Gazan aid workers about mourning, trauma and fear. The idea to screen the film was initiated by Hani Briga, who serves as Director of the Center for Volunteerism and Civil Society in Yeruham as well as on the Center’s Board. Once the screening was advertised, Shami Glick, a right wing activist, started to protest by launching a Facebook campaign and asking locals to message Michael Biton, the head of the local council, who had initially said he would not interfere in what he considered a private initiative.
New hasbara booklet for kids: ‘There’s no such thing as Palestine’
Ynet 8 Sept by Elisha Ben Kimon — The Yesha Council has published a new booklet titled “Occupation Shmuccupation,” starting to teach its dogma to children living in the West Bank at a younger age. The illustrated booklet is filled with messages such as: “There is no such thing as the State of Palestine,” “vandalizing Palestinian property is a criminal offense – but sometimes Arabs do it to other Arabs,” “there is no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” and more . . . Among other things, one of the pages states that quite a few world leaders tried to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but despite the Israelis’ strong desire to reach peace, it did not happen. For that reason, the booklet’s authors assert, Israel should invest in managing the conflict rather than solving it.(cont.)
Israeli hotels warn Jewish guests that Arabs will also be there
+972 mag 8 Sept by Mairav Zonszein — A number of hotels in Israel are warning Jews trying to make reservations for the upcoming High Holidays that Arabs will also be vacationing there, a report on Israel’s Channel 2 News revealed Monday. In audio recordings of telephone calls made to the Crown Plaza, Club Hotel and Astral Hotel reservation lines, employees can be heard actively warning callers that before they book a room, they should take into account that Arabs will also be staying there. The Jewish holidays this year overlap with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, hotel reservation agents proactively inform callers without any prompting, explaining that many Palestinian citizens of Israel will also be on holiday in their hotels. Except the hotel employees don’t dare utter the word Arabs, or even “minorities,” and certainly not Palestinians. Instead, they refer to their Arab guests as members of “hamigzar,” which means “the sector” in Hebrew, and is used in Israel to refer to the large Arab minority, which comprises over 20 percent of the country’s population . . . Considering Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the parliamentary elections earlier this year largely by warning his constituents that “droves of Arabs“ were going to the polls to exercise their right to vote, it can’t be surprising that hotels are warning Jews about Arab vacationers. It’s all part of the increased normalization of the practice of segregation in Israel.
Know your enemy: How Arabic is taught in Israel’s Jewish high schools
Haaretz 8 Sept by Or Kashti — The teaching of the language has been coopted by the army’s intelligence corps, leading to teachers who don’t speak Arabic and students who study it only in the hope of foiling terrorists — “Students studying Arabic … We need your help in foiling a terror attack about which we have received numerous alerts.” This is how a lesson taught by soldiers to junior high school students begins. The goal of the activity — which is part of larger joint program of the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps and Israel’s Education Ministry — is motivate students to “learn and understand the importance of the Arabic language.” The method chosen to convince students to study Arabic is a series of threats and fear-mongering. The imaginary terror attack is meant to take place in the students’ own school, apparently in order to make the experience even more powerful. “For years the educational system has focused on training ‘intelligence fodder’ for the IDF,” says Prof. Reuven Snir, Dean of Humanities at the University of Haifa and a professor of Arabic language and literature.