Violence / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Detentions
Palestinian teen shot in Hebron by Israeli forces dies from injuries
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — A Palestinian teenager shot by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in Hebron died from her injuries on Tuesday, Israeli medical sources said. The teenager, identified as 18-year-old Hadeel al-Hashlamon, was shot three times by Israeli soldiers after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack, Israel’s army said. A spokesperson for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center where she was taken for treatment said the teenager was “terribly injured, and underwent surgery upon her arrival.” She later died from her injuries, the spokesperson confirmed. No Israeli soldiers were injured during the incident, and the Israeli army did not release photographs of a knife, as they have done on several other recent occasions. A local activist group, Youth Against Settlements, later released what it said were photos of the incident, appearing to show Israeli soldiers aiming their weapons at the woman, as first she faced them and afterward turned away from them. Another photo appeared to show the woman slumped on the street, after she was shot and wounded. VIDEO footage from Palestinian news agency PalMedia showed al-Hashlamon left bleeding on the pavement, reportedly for up to 30 minutes before she received treatment. The footage shows the woman being dragged out of camera frame, while soldiers and heavily armed settlers look on. Al-Hashlamon’s death marks at least 25 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2015, according to UN documentation, not including Palestinian deaths caused by Israeli settlers.
Video: Palestinian woman shot, left to bleed by Israeli soldiers
EI 22 Sept by Ai Abunimah — This video posted by the news agency PalMedia shows a young Palestinian woman left to bleed on a sidewalk in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron after she was shot by Israeli soldiers on Tuesday morning. By evening, Palestinian media reported that the woman, 18-year-old Hadil Salah Hashlamoun, had died of her injuries. Instead of being given immediate medical treatment, the video shows her being pulled roughly out of the frame of the camera, her scarf coming off as her head drags on the ground. Israeli settlers and soldiers can be seen standing around, and in some cases smiling and laughing in the background. Wattan TV reported that the young woman was left to bleed for more than 30 minutes . . . One eyewitness, a European activist, told The New York Times that Hashlamoun had simply opened her purse to allow it to be inspected, at the request of a soldier. “When she was opening at her bag, he began shouting: ‘Stop! Stop! Stop! Don’t move! Don’t move!’” the activist said. “She was trying to show him what was inside her bag, but the soldier shot her once, and then shot her again.” Several more soldiers raced over and also fired at her. A second witness, 34-year-old Fawaz Abu Aisheh, told the Times that Hashlamoun appeared “frozen” and in shock. Abu Aisheh said he had opened a gate inside the checkpoint so that Hashlamoun could back away from the soldiers. She tried to do so. “Even if she had a knife, she would have to leap over a barrier about a meter high to reach a soldier,” Abu Aisheh added. “There were six or seven soldiers with heavy weapons. There was no need for that assassination.” The Times said it had seen photos corroborating these accounts. -Unverified claims- While Palestinians undoubtedly have an internationally recognized right to resist Israeli military occupation, the unverified claims of the army should never be taken for granted as accurate. Similar claims have habitually turned out to be false when independent evidence has been available.
Israeli forces murder female student at Shuhada Street checkpoint: ‘They could have arrested her so easily but theyy didn’t’
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 22 Sept by ISM, Al-Khalil Team — A Witness Recounts the Final Moments of 18-year-old Hadil Salah Hashlamoun’s Life. This morning in the Tel Rumeida section of al-Khalil (Hebron) the sound of multiple rounds of live ammunition screamed out from the Shuhada Street checkpoint 56. Standing at the checkpoint around 7:40 this morning, 34 year old Fawaz abu Aisheh ushered a few children from the scene where Israeli forces screamed in Hebrew at the terrified Hadil who was on her way to school. “They were screaming at her, ´Move back! Move Back!´ I knew she couldn´t understand so I intervened in Arabic and she listened to me immediately and I took her from the entrance to the exit of the checkpoint.” In the photo, Hadil, in burqa, stands with Fawaz just off the foreground. “I tried to talk with her, she was terrified. She knew nothing.” Fawaz pleaded with the soldiers, who were multiplying quickly, to allow him to take her away from the checkpoint, to explain to her what was happening, to de-escalate the situation. “She listened to me immediately when first I spoke with her, but they moved me away and continued to scream at her in Hebrew which she obviously didn´t understand.” The scene, plainly described by Fawaz, seemingly had any number of alternatives to close-range, rapid fire, kill shots into a Palestinian female teenager´s body. After the fact, Israeli forces claimed the woman had a knife on her person. Fawaz challenges this contention. “She was covered completely, there was no knife showing at any time. Even if she did have a knife he could have arrested her so easily. I was there… I could have talked to her, she cooperated with me in that very first moment. I asked her to move and she moved but after that I begged him to let me talk to her but they took me away from her and started pointing their weapons at me. After they shot her more and more soldiers arrived. There were still 3 or 4 kids a few meters from the checkpoint so I moved the kids away. ”As if the incident weren´t wholly disturbing in itself, beyond the shooting, Israeli soldiers were seen laughing, smiling and talking casually with one another as Hadil clung to life while rapidly losing blood to the concrete. Israeli settlers similarly stood in circles photographing Hadil. Fawaz noted that the Palestinian ambulance had arrived within five minutes to rush the dying girl to the hospital, yet Israeli forces blocked them from getting to her, choosing rather to let her bleed openly for forty minutes in the street until an Israeli ambulance arrived.”(Continued)
PA demands a UN investigation into Hadeel’s murder in Hebron
IMEMC 23 Sept — The Palestinian National Unity Government has demanded the United Nations to form an international investigation committee to look into the circumstances that led to the murder of Hadeel Hashlamoun, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in Hebron City. The government said images captured and published by the Youth Against Settlements Coalition, revealed that Hashlamoun posed no threat to the soldiers, and that the shooting, unlike military claims, was not justified. It is worth mentioning that the army claimed the young woman “attempted to stab a soldier,” but the pictures revealed she was not even close to any of the soldiers operating that Iron Gate of the Container Roadblock, in Hebron.
Palestinian killed during clashes with Israeli forces in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — A 21-year-old Palestinian was killed during clashes with Israeli forces in the southern West Bank overnight Monday, with contradictory reports of how he died. Palestinian security officials and a local popular committee spokesman,Ratib al-Jubour, said that Israeli forces shot dead Diyaa Abdul-Halim Talahmah, 21, during an Israeli raid near the southern Hebron village of Khursa. The Israeli army alleged that he died after throwing an improvised explosive device that exploded prematurely. An Israeli army spokesperson said Israeli forces received reports of a road which had been blockaded with rocks near the village of Khursa, and that when Israeli forces arrived at the scene they heard an explosion nearby and went to investigate, finding a body.
Israelis celebrate video of sniper shooting Palestinian youth
EI 21 Sept by Ali Abunimah — This video was posted on the Facebook page of the Israeli news website 0404.co.il. It is yet another example of Israeli occupation forces recording their violence against Palestinians, and the Israeli public celebrating it. The video has emerged just as the Israeli government announced it would use snipers against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem as well as against Palestinian citizens of Israel. Human rights defenders are condemning the move, saying it will lead to more deaths and violence. – Sadistic joy – The video shows an Israeli soldier aiming a rifle at a Palestinian after the youth has thrown two stones towards something out of the frame of the video. The soldiers are plainly not in any danger: the youth is far away and the stones were not thrown towards them. At the moment the shot is fired, the Palestinian is standing still, leaning against a wall and clearly no conceivable threat to anyone. He is apparently hit in the leg and falls to the ground, but manages to get up and run off. The incident appears to be in the West Bank, but it is unclear when it took place. The video emerged on 19 September. The status accompanying it says: “This is the only way it will work. You throw a rock? You get a bullet. Share it, friends!” The post has been shared more than 3,000 times and hundreds of comments express sadistic joy at the sight of soldiers shooting a Palestinian who has no rights because he lives under military rule. A common complaint is that the youth was not shot in the head or heart and killed outright. (Continued)
Israel police to use sniper rifles against stone-throwers in Bedouin areas
Haaretz 21 Sept by Yaniv Kubovich — The Israel Police will be expanding their use of firearms against stone-throwers in the south of the country, as authorities struggle to contend with the rise of riots and violence. Legal and police sources say that the decisions on how to deal with stone-throwers in Jerusalem will also be applied to rioters in the south, particularly those who throw stones at vehicles. The issue was raised after several recent instances of Bedouin youth throwing stones at cars driving on Route 31 near Dimona, and the roads near Arad, Rahat, and Segev Shalom. Until now, the Southern District police have been limited to using crowd-dispersal equipment and arresting stone-throwers if possible. Police will now be allowed to use the Ruger .22-caliber rifles, which are generally not lethal. They will be used only in cases where stone-throwers pose a risk to passengers in vehicles, and perpetrators will be shot only in the legs . . . The security discussions about stone-throwers have not addressed protests in Tel Aviv, where demonstrators often throw stones at policemen, nor ultra-Orthodox protests against the draft or desecration of Shabbat, which often result in policemen being wounded by stones. The current decision limits the use of the Ruger to instances of stones being thrown at vehicles or people’s homes.
Israel police suspend sniper use after Jerusalem riots
Haaretz 22 Sept by Jack Khoury & Yaniv Kubovich — Strict ban imposed on using the Ruger rifle until marksmen undergo proper training, police officers were told — The Israel Police on Monday informed its officers that for now it is suspends the use of the Ruger sniper rifle during operational activities, after it was used over the weekend against stone-throwers in East Jerusalem. The Israel Police and Border Police were informed that a plan was being developed to train marksmen in the use of the Ruger, a .22-caliber rifle considered less lethal than a standard rifle. The program for training and deploying these police sharpshooters is being drawn up by senior officials at the Border Police training base and will take into account the rules of engagement. The police training and development department must approve the training program, and until then there is a strict ban on using this weapon, to make sure that all those using it have been properly trained, the police officers were told. Police had already begun to use the Ruger. On Friday live fire was used against demonstrators in Qalandiyah and in other areas where rioters threw rocks at police.
Meanwhile, the Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages in the Negev issued a sharp condemnation on Monday of a plan by police to use sharpshooters against Bedouin stone-throwers in the South, as reported Monday by Haaretz. “We see this as a declaration of war on the community and on our basic right to protest,” the council said. “This is a license to kill demonstrators, because our experience has shown that the police don’t need a reason to arrest or to kill.”
Israel to charge Jewish extremists, pay church after arson attack
JERUSALEM (AFP) 22 Sept — Israel will pay damages to the church where Christians believe Jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes, left in ruins after an arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists, the justice ministry said. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha “should be compensated for the damages caused to it by the arson, in accordance with property tax regulations,” a statement said Monday. Two suspected Jewish extremists have been charged for torching the church on June 18. Tax authorities had initially refused the church’s request for compensation, saying it was not clear that the attack was carried out on “nationalistic” grounds.The justice ministry however determined that, based on the charges against the suspects, the attack was related to the “Israeli-Arab conflict” and instructed that the church be compensated, Weinstein’s office said.Church officials told AFP the sum requested was approximately seven million shekels ($1.7 million) . . . Hebrew graffiti was found on another building within the complex, reading: “Idols will be cast out” or destroyed. Two Jewish extremists, Yinon Reuveni and Yehuda Asraf, were charged in connection with the arson and graffiti. A third, Moshe Orbach, was charged with writing and distributing a document detailing the “necessity” of attacking non-Jewish property and people as well as laying out practical advice to do so. The attack on the church sparked widespread condemnation and concern from Christians globally, with the site visited by some 5,000 people daily, while also drawing renewed attention to religiously-linked hate crimes in Israel.
Two children kidnapped near Nablus, one woman injured
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday afternoon, the village of Madama, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, kidnapped two children, and wounded one woman. Media sources in Nablus said several military vehicles invaded the village, and kidnapped two children identified as Karam Nassar and Khatib Ziyada, near the settler-only bypass road, north of the village. The army claimed the two children hurled stones at settlers’ cars and several army vehicles driving on the said road. In addition, medical sources said one woman was injured, after the soldiers assaulted her while trying to de-arrest the kidnapped children. Soldiers also closed the northern and eastern bridges in the area, and denied access to all Palestinian traffic, while more military vehicles were deployed across road #60 and nearby Palestinian communities.
Soldiers kidnap a young woman in Hebron, three Palestinians injured
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Sept — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, close to midnight Monday, a young Palestinian woman from a village in the southern West Bank district of Hebron . . . Several army jeeps invaded the al-Borj village, west of Doura town, in the Hebron District, invaded and violently searched one home, causing excessive damage, and kidnapped ‘Abeer Ahmad Masharqa, 25 years of age. The soldiers cuffed and blindfolded the woman, and took her to the Etzion military and security base. In addition, the soldiers invaded Kharsa nearby village, and clashed with dozens of local youths causing several injuries.
On Monday afternoon, clashes took place in different Palestinian communities, in Hebron, after the soldiers invaded them. Mohammad Awad, spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, said three teenagers were shot in the town, and that more clashes took place in the southern area of Hebron city, the Halhoul Bridge area, and the al-Hawouz area. Awad stated that one of the wounded teens was shot with a live round in his left leg, and was moved to the Hebron Governmental Hospital. The army also fired dozens of rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs on schoolchildren who marched protesting the ongoing Israeli violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. Two Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, medical sources said.
Army detains three children in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Sept — Media sources in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, has reported that Israeli soldiers detained, Tuesday, three Palestinian children from Tal Romeida neighborhood, and held them in Keryat Arba’ Police station. The sources said the army assaulted and detained Nizar Nidal Salhab, 15, his brother Tareq, 16, and Awni Emad Abu Shamsiyya, 16 years of age. The children were held, and interrogated, for several hours, before the soldiers released them. In addition, soldiers invaded the al-Borj village, south of Hebron, broke into and searched several homes, and withdrew later without conducting any arrests. Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar town north of Hebron, Mohammad Ayyad Awad, said dozens of soldiers invaded al-‘Ein and ‘Aseeda areas, and photographed dozens of homes and stores, especially on both sides of the main road extending from al-‘Ein Junction to the al-Arba‘in Park.
Police deployed across Jerusalem for holidays, soldier injured in Nablus clashes
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Sept — Israeli police said Monday that thousands of officers would be deployed in occupied East Jerusalem ahead of the Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha holidays after three days of clashes rocked the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, last week. Authorities also said 21 Palestinians were detained overnight in East Jerusalem linked to last week’s unrest at Al-Aqsa which saw Israeli police violently clash with Palestinian protesters. According to AFP, those detentions were in addition to 39 others in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the weekend.
Yom Kippur begins Tuesday night and lasts until Wednesday evening, with thousands of Jews expected to visit the Western Wall below the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday begins Wednesday and continues until Sunday. Beginning on Monday night, traffic will be restricted around the Old City and checkpoints will be set up.
UPDATE: Israel suppresses pro-Al-Aqsa rallies across West Bank
WEST BANK (WAFA) 21 Sept – Dozens of Palestinians, including school students, were injured as Israeli forces suppressed a number of protests that set out across the West Bank in condemnation of Israel’s recent escalations at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, according to local and medical sources. Palestinians, including students, took to the streets on Monday following calls by the Palestinian teacher union to hold peaceful rallies to protest the ongoing Israeli aggression on al-Aqsa mosque and worshipers . . . In Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers used teargas canisters, stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets toward Palestinians who rallied in support of al-Aqsa mosque in light of recent Israeli police attacks on the mosque compound and worshipers to enforce a unilateral division between Muslims and Jews. Several suffocation cases were reported. In Hebron, A Palestinian was shot with live ammunition, while others sustained injuries by rubber-coated steel bullets as Israeli forces violently suppressed similar rallies across Hebron. Ayman Aby Ayyash, 17, was shot in the foot with a live bullet, whereas two other Palestinians, who remain unidentified, sustained rubber bullet wounds during clashes that erupted in the Hebron’s town of Beit Ummar. They were both treated at the scene, while Ayyash’s injury necessitated his transfer to hospital. Security sources told WAFA that clashes also broke out between forces and Palestinians in other locations across Hebron, as forces suppressed similar rallies in support of al-Aqsa. Forces crushed a rally organized in Bab al-Zawyeh area, town of Bani Na‘im, and Halhoul bridge, where many students suffocated due to inhaling tear gas fired at them by Israeli army. Meanwhile, Israeli army cracked down on a protest near Ofer prison, west of Ramallah, and attacked the protesters with rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and teargas canisters, causing several suffocation cases among Palestinians . . . In the meantime, thousands of Palestinian students took to the streets in the Arab town of Sakhnin, in the Galilee region, in protest of the Israeli escalations at al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem. The students chanted slogans in support of al-Aqsa and waved the Palestinian flag.
Prisoners / Court actions
Hunger strikers reject Israeli proposal of release in return for expulsion
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 Sept – Hunger striking Palestinian administrative detainees have rejected an Israeli proposal to release them if they agreed to be expelled abroad, said the Palestinian Detainees and Ex-Detainees Committee in a press release. The committee explained that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) offered Palestinian hunger strikers to release them if they agree to be expelled abroad as part of its efforts to force them to end their hunger strike. However, the proposal was rejected by all hunger strikers.
Prisoner goes on hunger strike in solidarity with his son
TULKAREM (PIC) 20 Sept — Prisoner Fathi Raja Khatib, 56, began an open-ended hunger strike in his Israeli jail in solidarity with his son Ahmad who is detained by the Palestinian Authority and who is on hunger strike for three days now protesting his political detention. Khatib’s family confirmed that they had received a message from his lawyer stating that he had gone on hunger strike. The journalist Ahmad Khatib was detained by the Palestinian Authority security apparatuses last week, and then his detention was extended for 15 days. He is now in the Palestinian intelligence prison in Ramallah. Captive Ahmad Khatib, 27, was freed last June from Israeli occupation jails after about a year in administrative custody, without trial or charge.
Hunger-striking journalist held in isolation by Israel
EI 21 Sept by Maureen Clare Murphy — Several Palestinian detainees on hunger strike in Israeli prison remain in solitary confinement, the Palestinian Authority committee on prisoners’ affairs announced over the weekend. One of the strikers, Nidal Abu Aker, told a lawyer with the prisoner advocacy group Addameer that there are no negotiations underway to end the protest, the organization said on Monday . . . – Journalist held without charge – Abu Aker, whose hands and legs were bound during the lawyer’s visit, said that he continues to be held in a narrow cell and that he is not consuming anything besides water. The Israeli prison authorities offer him food on a daily basis to try to break his strike, he said. Yet they delay in bringing him water, which he has to request because the tap in his cell is too low to allow him to refill his bottle. Abu Aker is refusing all medical tests and has stopped taking medication even though he is suffering from head pain, dizziness and a severe sore throat, among other health problems. He called for the launch of a national campaign to end administrative detention and for international supervision of Israeli military courts. Abu Aker is a journalist from Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem and is host of a radio program dedicated to Palestinian prisoners, according to Addameer. The father of three was arrested in June 2014 during a dawn raid on his family’s home during which Abu Aker’s adult son, asleep at the time, was attacked by one of the soldiers who had forced their way into the home. Abu Aker was arrested as part of Israel’s campaign of collective punishment following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths in the West Bank.
Firebomb throwers given light sentences in hopes of ‘rehabilitation’
Ynet 21 Sept by Yael Friedson — A Jerusalem municipal court convicted a group of four 20-year-old men from East Jerusalem on Monday, after the men confessed to being involved in several firebomb attacks and an arson which set fire to a Jerusalem synagogue in November of 2013 – but the prosecution announced it was considering an appeal because of relatively light sentences. The group threw firebombs at Israeli cars and police cruisers on eight different occasions, and the judge handed down relatively light sentences for crimes of this nature, ranging from 2-5.5 years. The District Court judge, Arie Romanov, refused the district prosecutor’s request to hand down cumulative sentences, and the prosecutors’ office is considering an appeal in reaction to the relatively light sentences. The members of the group are Mohammad Abid, who was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison; Ibrahim Darbas (40 months in prison); Mohammad Alian (52 months in prison), and Waleed Alian (three years in prison). All of the convicts are 20 years old, and reside in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya.
Court approves administrative detention of far-right activist Meir Ettinger
Haaretz 20 Sept by Chaim Levinson — Central District Court President Avraham Tal on Sunday approved an order to hold far-right activist Meir Ettinger in administrative detention for six months, as per the wishes of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Ettinger is one of three Jewish suspects in administrative detention, and his is the first detention to receive court sanction. In the coming days, the court will rule on the other detainees, Eviatar Slonim and Mordechai Meir. During his hearing, Ettinger stated that he does not recognize any court that does not abide by Torah laws. Ettinger also claimed that he engages in spreading ideology and is not involved in any acts of violence. The court’s ruling was not published, in accordance with the law. Attorney Yuval Zemer, from the organization Honenu, Ettinger’s counsel, said that he would study the ruling and will likely file an appeal with the Supreme Court. “As we expected, the court has approved the administrative order, giving in, in effect, to a group of witnesses and preliminary documents presented by the Shin Bet and the police. It would be false to say I’m surprised, as the Israeli court has never turned down a request to issue an administrative detention order,” said Zemer.
Mother of five in northern Israeli city charged with trying to join ISIS in Syria
Haaretz 21 Sept by Noa Shpigel & Gili Cohen — A 44-year-old married mother of five from Shfaram was charged with a number of offenses related to an alleged attempt to join Islamic State. Iman Kanjou was arrested at Ben-Gurion International Airport about a month ago after arriving from Turkey, where she allegedly tried to cross into Syria in order to teach religion to members of Islamic State. The Shin Bet security service claims that Kanjou, a doctoral candidate, confessed under interrogation that she “wanted to live under a Muslim regime that observes Islamic religious law.” The Shin Bet says Turkish police arrested Kanjou when she tried to cross into Syria and returned her to Israel a few days later. Kanjou was charged with contacting a foreign agent in an attempt to illegally enter an enemy state. Her lawyer, Daoud Nafaa, said Kanjou sought to live in a Muslim country but not ISIS.
Land, property theft & destruction / Judaization / Hostility to Palestinian heritage / Restrictions on movement
Hebraizing street names across Jerusalem approved
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Sept — The Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem approved, last Sunday night, a decision to replace the original names of several streets and districts in and outside Jerusalem’s Old City with ‘Hebrew’ names that carry Talmudic connotations, according to WAFA correspondents. Among the streets slated for change is the name of Jabal al-Zaytoun (Mount of Olives) district, which is set to be changed into “Har Hamshaha”, the Talmudic reference to the mountain. Other changes also include the name of the neighborhood district of al-Bustan, in the Silwan area, which would be changed into “Shir Hamaalot”, a Talmudic name that refers to a road leading to what is known for Jews as the Temple. Jews claim that the Temple is located at the site of al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the latest Israeli decision, adding that such decision comes as part of Israel’s attempts to change the cultural and historical identity of the city, aimed at changing the status quo there. It said the decision violates international law, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions which prohibit changing street names in occupied territories. According to the Palestinian Information Center, analysts said that the Israeli decision to change the street names is a barefaced infringement and violation of international law, which prohibits changing street names in occupied territories. The Israeli occupation authorities have altered at least 300 street names across occupied Jerusalem so far.
Why did UN erase 1,000 years of Palestinian heritage?
EI 22 Sept by Sarah Irving — Last year, the UN recognized an area of outstanding archaeological and architectural remains, located south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem but lying within the current State of Israel, as a world heritage site. The documentation lists periods of Hebrew, Persian, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, early Islamic and Crusader remains as the key points in thousands of years of human culture to be found there. The recognition stops then – almost a millennium ago. The site, called Beit Guvrin in the Israeli documents, is better known to Palestinians as the village of Beit Jibrin, whose inhabitants farmed the land, went to the mosque, built schools and clinics, ran a regular rural market and left the marks of their presence – both sacred and everyday – as an integral part of the site. The people of Beit Jibrin, however, were expelled by Zionist forces in 1948. Many of them and their descendants now live in the refugee camps of al-‘Azzeh and Fawwar, near Bethlehem. Indeed, al-‘Azzeh camp is also known locally as Beit Jibrin. Now De-colonizer, an art and research project, is demanding that UNESCO, the UN’s educational, scientific and cultural organization, acknowledge the full scope of Palestinian history that can be found in Beit Jibrin. De-Colonizer was founded by Eitan Bronstein, formerly of Zochrot, a group that alerts the Israeli public to abuses of Palestinian rights.
Israeli army seals off West Bank and Gaza on Yom Kippur
Haaretz 22 Sept by Gili Cohen & Ido Efrati — A complete closure will be imposed on the West Bank during the Yom Kippur holiday, just as it has in previous years, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has decided. In addition, all border crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip will be closed for the duration of the holiday, which starts Tuesday night, a statement issued by the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson’s Unit on Monday said. The closure is scheduled to last 36 hours, from noon on Tuesday until midnight on Wednesday. The statement added that the lifting of the closure would ultimately be determined “based on the situation assessment.” The Gaza crossings will be opened during the holiday only for medical or other humanitarian cases, the statement said, and only with approval from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.
Egypt repairs power lines into southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — Egyptian power lines providing electricity to the Rafah district of southern Gaza have been reconnected, Gaza’s energy authority said Tuesday, following weeks of failures along the lines. An official from the authority told Ma’an that all three lines from Egypt’s power grid, providing a total of 28 MW, had been fixed. Two of the three lines initially failed on July 5 and the third failed on Sept. 1, the official said, adding that since then they had been repaired and failed a number of times. For the last three days, all three power lines were down, leaving most of the Rafah district in darkness. The beleaguered Gaza Strip has faced an ongoing energy crisis for months. Last week, Israeli power lines providing 24 MW also failed, and sources inside Gaza’s energy authority told Ma‘n Wednesday that the total supply of energy was now covering only 30 percent of the population’s minimum needs.
HRW: Egypt has evicted 3,200 families from Gaza border
BERLIN (dpa) 22 Sept — Egyptian forces have evicted at least 3 200 families in a campaign of mass demolitions on the border with the Gaza Strip in violation of international law, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday. The New York-based rights group said Egypt’s official plan for the buffer zone in the turbulent North Sinai area would involve clearing the entire border town of Rafah, home to 78 000 people. Families have been expelled with only 48 hours notice since demolitions began in July 2013 and have received mostly inadequate compensation for their homes and none for their farmland, the group charged. Satellite images provided by Human Rights Watch showed entire blocks of buildings in the Rafah area razed to the ground. The actions “violated protections for forcibly evicted residents that are laid out in United Nations and African conventions to which Egypt is a party and may also have violated the laws of war,” it said. – Dangerous insurgency – “Destroying homes, neighbourhoods and livelihoods is a textbook example of how to lose a counterinsurgency campaign,” Sarah Leah Whitson, the group’s Middle East and North Africa director, argued. Egyptian authorities are combating an increasingly dangerous insurgency in the area. The main Sinai militant group, which now calls itself the Sinai Province of the Islamic State extremist organisation, has carried out repeated deadly attacks on security forces as well as killings of alleged collaborators. Security forces said the clearing of a kilometre-wide strip along the border with Gaza is necessary to eliminate smuggling tunnels used by the militants. Human Rights Watch said media reports and some official statements suggested that any weapons being smuggled through the tunnels were being brought from Egypt into Gaza, and not the other way around.
Israel: Egypt’s flooding of Gaza borders ‘beyond price’
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM,(PIC) 21 Sept — Israel’s leadership of army staff praised the Egyptian coup authorities for flooding the Egypt-Gaza borders with seawater. The occupation army staff acclaimed the flooding project carried out by the Egyptian authorities as part of intents to destroy cross-border tunnel activity, saying: “Such a service is just priceless.” In what observers branded an unprecedented move set to please the Israeli occupation, the Egyptian army forces have begun to pump water from the Mediterranean Sea into underground tunnels on the southern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. The Water Authority in the blockaded Gaza Strip warned Saturday of the serious repercussions of such a project, saying the high-salinity water is a threat to nearby civilian homes and cultivated land lots.
New UNRWA chief in Gaza praises Arab support in reconstruction efforts
BRUSSELS (KUNA) 22 Sept — The new Director of the UN aid agency UNRWA’s operations in Gaza, Bo Schack, praised Tuesday Arab countries, in particular Gulf states, for their support in the reconstruction of Gaza following the Israeli military onslaught last year . . . Bo Schack, who was appointed to his post in Gaza on 1 Sept said that Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE are heavily involved in the reconstruction of Gaza.
In first since 2007, Israel okays inports of Gaza products
Times of Israel 21 Sept — The IDF will permit the export of furniture, textiles and iron from the Gaza Strip for sale in Israel the first time since 2007, an NGO said Monday. The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] — the Defense Ministry unit responsible for civil affairs in the West Bank and Gaza — proposed the move in an effort to improve the economy of the Palestinian enclave and raise the employment rate, Israel Radio reported. It is slated to go into effect October 7. Gisha, an NGO advocating freedom of movement for Palestinians, said in a statement that while the Gaza furniture industry has “tremendous potential for growth,” Israel’s limitations on the import of wood beams larger than one centimeter in width stifles production. Earlier this year COGAT restricted the import of wood to the Gaza Strip after officials said it was being used to reinforce terror tunnels . . . Gisha said that while Gazan industries are eager to break into the Israeli market, which is a “mutually beneficial, shared interest,” until they’re allowed raw materials “limited moves like this one… [to] improve Gaza’s economy sound more like a pipe dream.”
Gaza families visit relatives in Israeli prison
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — Nearly 80 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip on Monday crossed into Israel to visit family members in Israel’s Ramon prison, the International Committee of the Red Cross said. An ICRC spokesperson said that 77 Palestinians, including 19 children, left Gaza through the Erez crossing near Beit Hanoun to visit 47 Palestinian prisoners. The ICRC “Family Visits Program” for Gazans was suspended by Israeli authorities in June 2007 when Hamas won Palestinian elections. All communication between Gazan prisoners and the outside world was effectively cut off, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer. During a Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike in April 2012, one of the prisoners’ key demands was that the program be reinstated. Israel agreed to resume the visits on the conclusion of the hunger strike, although Addameer has reported that many Gaza prisoners in Israel have not been allowed to receive visitors. Around 350 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are currently jailed in Israel.
The Oxford student not permitted to visit family in Gaza
LONDON (Videonews) 22 Sept by Mustafa Pazarh — Rawan Yaghi left Palestine in 2013 to follow her dream of a better education at the UK’s Oxford University. She has not seen her family since, because Israel is preventing her from re-entering the isolated enclave of Gaza. Yaghi, 22, was studying in The Islamic University of Gaza when applied for a scholarship at Oxford. She said she could not believe her eyes when she read the acceptance letter in Oxford University, ranked third in the list of the best global universities by The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015. “I was really, really happy. I didn’t believe it. I thought I misread the letter at first so I read it again and again,” she told Anadolu Agency on Thursday. Speaking in the yard outside Jesus College in Oxford, where she is in her third and final year of an Italian linguistics degree, she said her parents were really happy and proud of her. The illustrious college established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1571 boasts former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Thomas Edward Lawrence, more popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, amongst its graduates. But even at the time Yaghi’s family believed there could be trouble ahead: “My parents started crying and after that they just began feeling anxious about me going away for such a long time. Especially with the borders issue, you never know when you can get out and when you can get in.”
Palestinian refugees — Syria, Jordan
Another segment of the journey
ISM 22 Sept by Caoimhe Butterly — A few kilometres away from the small Serbian border town of Sid, a dirt track through corn and turnip fields serves as passage to tens of thousands of women, men and children seeking refuge and lives of more possibility. The unofficial border crossing between Serbia and Croatia is surrounded by sun-lit verdant fields, apple orchards in the distance and a calm that brings temporary respite to those who have been on the road for weeks or months. The threat of militarised borders and recent memory of dehumanising conditions along the way is temporarily kept at bay as those walking stop to drink freshly pressed apple cider handed out by a local farmer, chat and rest before they continue on . . . Mahmoud, a Palestinian student from Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, holds the hand of a younger brother and states “this is our fate – we are experiencing what our grandparents and parents experienced. But with each generation, each exile, we are being scattered further away from home.” Later, during the seven hours spent waiting in the heat for their names to be registered by comparatively engaging Croatian border police, he sings songs of loss, struggle and love to those sitting around him.
Gazan refugees denied rights in Jordan for over 45 years
JERASH REFUGEE CAMP, Jordan (Ma‘an) 17 Sept by Aaron Magid — Born in Jordan, 27-year-old Muhammad’s life hardly resembles a typical Jordanian’s. Lacking any political or civil rights, Muhammad explained that he is forbidden from working in most jobs, even a teacher at a public school. Muhammad faces these rigorous restrictions because his parents fled to Jordan from Gaza following the 1967 War. “Compared to other Jordanian citizens, I am nothing,” explained Muhammad, who declined to provide his last name. Sadly, Muhammad’s predicament is not unique. Approximately 140,000 Palestinian refugees from Gaza live in a similar limbo as Muhammad in Jordan: denied most rights and often forced into a life of harsh poverty. Nearly 2.1 million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, 350,000 Palestinians fled to Jordan with the majority moving to the West Bank, then controlled by the Hashemite Kingdom. The Nationality Law of 1954 provided Palestinian residents of the West Bank with full Jordanian citizenship after King Abdullah I annexed the West Bank on April 24, 1950. However, when the new wave of Palestinian refugees arrived in Jordan escaping from Gaza in the 1967 War, Amman treated them differently than their West Bank countrymen, refusing to provide them with Jordanian nationality or civil rights.
Other news, reviews
Abbas warns of risk of new intifada if Israeli escalations at al-Aqsa continue
PARIS (WAFA) 22 Sept – President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday, during a three-day official visit to Paris, warned of the risk of an uprising (intifada) if Israeli violations against al-Aqsa Mosque compound continue. “What is happening is very dangerous,” stated Abbas following a meeting with his French counterpart Francois Hollande at the Elysée Palace in Paris. Abbas warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “an intifada that we don’t want” and an outbreak of “chaos”, urging him to cease such escalations. For his part, Hollande called for “peace, clam and respect of principles” with regards to Jerusalem’s flashpoint; Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. “I expressed our attachment to the status quo over the mosque compound,” he said following the meeting with Abbas.
Poll: Majority of Palestinians oppose two-state solution
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — A majority of Palestinians now oppose a two-state solution to the conflict with Israel, with only a third believing it is still a practical possibility, a poll released Monday found. The poll, conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Research, found that 51 percent of Palestinians now oppose a two-state solution — up from 48 percent in June — while 48 percent still support it. Moreover, 65 percent of Palestinians said that they no longer believe a two-state solution is a practical possibility due to the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements across the occupied Palestinian territory. The poll found that only 32 percent of Palestinians believe an independent Palestinian state can still be achieved. The research center questioned 1,270 adults in face-to-face interviews for the poll, which it said had a margin of error of 3 percent. It found that an overwhelming 85 percent of Palestinians believe Israel’s long-term aspiration is “to annex the lands occupied in 1967 and expel their population or deny them their rights,” with only 15 percent believing that Israel intends to withdraw from the occupied territory. Meanwhile, support for armed resistance to Israel rose among Palestinians from 36 percent three months ago to 42 percent now, with a startling 57 percent now supporting a return to an armed intifada, or uprising. A majority of 51 percent also support the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, the poll found.
Satisfaction with drops 6 percent in 3 months, survey finds
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — Amid confusion concerning President Mahmoud Abbas’ future in office, a new poll on Monday revealed that Palestinians’ satisfaction level with the president dropped six percent in the last three months. The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that the level of satisfaction with the performance of Abbas dropped from 44 percent in June to 38 percent in their latest poll. Some 65 percent of the public want Abbas to resign, while 31 percent want him to remain in office, the poll found. However, the same research center found in September last year that the public’s satisfaction with Abbas’ performance stood at 39 percent –only just higher than this year’s results. A different poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center earlier this month found that support for Abbas was even lower, at just 16 percent.
World Bank transfers $25 million to PA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — The World Bank on Monday transferred $25 million to the Palestinian Authority to assist with urgent budget needs, a statement from the global financial body said. The funds were taken from the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan Trust Fund (PRDP-MDTF), a multi-donor budget support mechanism in place since 2008. Monday’s funds will be channeled towards macroeconomic and public management reforms. While the primary donors to Monday’s transfer were Norway and the United Kingdom, the total funds allocated via the PRDP-MDTF include $1.38 billion from the United States. The Palestinian Authority relies heavily on international donors whose contributions have historically been related to ongoing peace negotiations.
Female athletes keep ball rolling in Palestine
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 21 Sept by Aziza Nofal — At the age of 18, Mariam Hamdan already has overcome intense pressure and stigma in order to become an advocate for women’s soccer in the West Bank. “I will never quit playing soccer. A day will come when my daughters and I will play together in the stadium,” Hamdan said as she described her passion for the sport. Hamdan hails from the village of Dura, north of Ramallah. Her family has pressured her to quit playing soccer, in keeping with the customs of her town, given that she is no longer a child. She has made concessions, such as leaving the high-school team in the past year to please her family. But she still clings to her passion as she seeks to bring about change. She was recently accepted into medical school in Venezuela. Hamdan said she will soon be traveling to study there, “and I will go back to playing,” assuming her college has a women’s team. If not, she will seek to start one. “I started playing soccer with my brothers when I was little. I remember how I would urge them to let me play in the neighborhood. When I turned 14, it was no longer acceptable for me to play in the street, being a girl.” So she helped form a girls’ team in her town in 2010.
Palestinian cooks put resistance on the menu
NABLUS (AFP) 23 Sept — Fatima Kadumy’s weapons of resistance include stuffed squash and yogurt with garlic — for her, food is just as powerful as stones. “To defend the country some prefer war, but there are other, more pleasing, ways to do it,” said Kadumy, a Palestinian who runs a cooking school in the West Bank city of Nablus. Kadumy came up with the “crazy idea” seven years ago to use Palestinian traditional cuisine to promote her people’s cause and act as advocate for the independent state they have long sought. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Since 2008, she has hosted more than 1,200 visitors from countries including China, Australia, Germany and the United States, among others. “There are politics and resistance behind cuisine,” she said in the small kitchen at her center in Nablus’s Old City that she has named Bait al-Karama, which is Arabic for House of Dignity. “We show our city and our lives as we see them. Foreigners can then judge Palestinians from the inside.”
Palestinian women artists to dominate London fall art scene
EI 21 Sept by Srah Irving — A series of concerts and exhibitions by Palestinian artists — almost all of them women — is coming to London in the coming months. To start, the first solo show in the UK by Jerusalem- and Berlin-based artist Jumana Manna opened at the Chisenhale Gallery on 18 September. Manna, who won the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Palestinian Artist prize in 2012, has exhibited her work and screened films all over the Middle East, including Jerusalem and Ramallah, as well as across the US and Europe.
SodaStream teams up with Bedouin town in offer to take in Syrian refugees
Haaretz 22 Sept — SodaStream International, the Israeli home beverage machine maker that has a factory near the Negev Bedouin town of Rahat, has announced a joint effort to provide “immediate asylum to refugees from Syria, pending Israeli authorities’ approval.” The company, which boosted its profile in the United States by hiring actress Scarlett Johansson as its pitchwoman, has been the longtime target of anti-Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, BDS, over its factory in the West Bank settlement of Mishor Adumim. Citing business considerations and not boycott pressures, this year the company relocated the West Bank factory, which had a large Palestinian workforce, to the Lehavim industrial zone in the Be’er Sheva area. SodaStream says 30 percent of the 1,100 employees at the new plant are residents of Rahat. “SodaStream and Rahat can effectively absorb 1,000 individuals, or up to 200 families, and provide them with an opportunity to build a new life in Israel,” the company said in a statement. “As the son of a Holocaust survivor, I refuse to stand by and observe this human tragedy unfold right across the border in Syria,” the statement said, quoting company CEO Daniel Birnbaum.
Reviews: The Jewish terrorists
NY Review of Books 24 Sept by Assaf Sharon –. . . Execution by fire has always been about more than just killing. It carries a message. The masked men who threw the Molotov cocktail into the Dawabshehs’ bedroom made their message explicit, leaving graffiti of a Star of David with NEKAMA! (Hebrew for revenge) sprayed on the wall. This brand of Jewish terrorism is not new. In 2002 a clandestine group of Jewish settlers attempted to blow up a Palestinian girls’ school. In 1994 an American-born Jewish settler gunned down twenty-nine Palestinians while they were praying in Hebron. A decade earlier a number of loosely connected underground cells carried out terrorist attacks against Palestinian targets, including the Islamic college in Hebron, public buses, and West Bank mayors. The roots of contemporary Jewish terrorism lie in the radical movements and individuals who roamed Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s. Two new books, Bruce Hoffman’s Anonymous Soldiers and Patrick Bishop’s The Reckoning, explore these roots.