Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restriction on movement
Israel intends to authorize West Bank outpost bloc containing hundreds of illegal buildings
Haaretz 1 Oct by Chaim Levinson — Plan revealed in response to Yesh Din petition to evacuate illegal outpost of Adei Ad, east of Shilo, built on private land and home to residents involved in violent acts against Palestinians — Israel intends to authorize a bloc of five West Bank outposts east of Shilo that covers six square kilometers and includes hundreds of illegal structures. The state submitted the announcement to the High Court of Justice in response a petition filed last year by the human rights group Yesh Din and the owners of the lands in question. The petition calls for immediate evacuation of the Adei Ad outpost because it was built without any building permits on private lands, and because outpost residents have been involved in violent acts threatening local security. In its response filed Tuesday to the High Court, the state announced its intention to authorize all the Shilo region outposts. To this end, work is being carried out to verify the borders of state lands in the area referred to as “Blue line team,” as a preliminary stage for authorizing the outposts. After the team’s work is completed, the state intends to evacuate buildings found to be on private land and authorize the buildings on state land. Sixteen buildings in Adei Ad are estimated to be on private land . . . The state response on Adei Ad suggests a total lack of enforcement of building violations over the Green Line. Data indicate that construction in Adei Ad began in the late 1990s, leading to 150 cases of illegal building, including 93 residential structures, nine agricultural structures, 27 instances of land development and 14 general cases. Despite the large number of cases, action was taken in only five instances to halt further construction. After the outpost was evacuated in 1999, the Civil Administration on three occasions seized portable structures and construction equipment, and twice demolished structures. Regarding claims of violence by outpost residents toward Palestinian residents, the state asserted that 36 cases were opened in 2014 in the Shilo area and the adjacent Habladim outpost for illegal political acts including attacks and causing property damage. The cases led to 11 indictments against 19 individuals. In 2015, 16 cases were opened, only two of which have led to indictments.
Haaretz editorial: Abbas was right
2 Oct — The smoking gun is the prime minister’s plan to legalize four more outposts in the West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a desperate speech at the United Nations, accused Israel of a systematic violation of the Oslo Accords and a stubborn attempt to finally do away with the two-state solution. By coincidence, Israel’s response came the same day: authorization for illegal outposts in the West Bank, which proves the justice of Abbas’ claims. The message from a government that whitewashes additional outposts is unambiguous: yes to continued occupation, no to a two-state solution. There’s no other way to interpret it. In responding to a petition by rights group Yesh Din, the state said it intended to legalize all the outposts in the Shiloh area. This region amounts to six square kilometers and four outposts – Adei Ad, Kida, Esh Kodesh and Ahiya. The area contains hundreds of unlawfully built houses, some of which were put up on private Palestinian land.
Defense Minister Ya’alon awards controversial church to settlement bloc
Haaretz 3 Oct by Chaim Levinson & Haaretz — Army radio reports that the area will be a tourist site — not a settler compound — in the Gush Eztion region — Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is awarding a controversial 10-acre church compound to the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank, Army Radio reported Thursday. The former Presbyterian church has a strategic location: on Route 60, which runs north-south throughout the West Bank. A key issue is whether settlers would move to the compound, which sits between Hebron and Gush Etzion. Eight buildings dot the site. In late May, sources told Haaretz that a nonprofit group controlled by U.S. businessman Irving Moskowitz had bought the abandoned compound near the Arroub refugee camp between Hebron and Bethlehem. That reportedly happened three years ago, with the help of a Moskowitz ally on the Jerusalem city council, Aryeh King. In recent months, the purpose of renovations at the site was reportedly concealed from the Palestinian laborers. According to Army Radio, Ya’alon had no legal authority to stop the work; in any case, there were no immediate plans for people to move in, the station said. Instead, the site would be a tourist destination. A similar version was given last week to Palestinian news agency Ma’an by attorney Arieh Sokolovsky, but he said the land actually hadn’t been sold and reports of a plan by settlers to move in were false. “The church owns the land and we’re renovating buildings so that they can serve as a hostel for Jews, Muslims and Christians traveling in the area,” he said.
Israeli soldiers occupy a Palestinian home in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Oct — The Israeli army issued, Thursday, a military order occupying a Palestinian home in Halhoul town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The property owner lives in the United States. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers occupied the home of Fathi Mohammad Mer’eb, in the northern part of Halhoul town, and that the illegally seized property is located next to the Karmie Tzur illegal colony, built in private Palestinian lands. The sources said Mer’eb lives in the United States, and that the soldiers stormed the property while his nephew, Nidal Samih Karaja, was there, and handed him an order informing the family that the military will be “taking control of the property for military considerations.”
Israeli settlers raid park south of Hebron under armed guard
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — Dozens of Israeli settlers raided a park and ancient pool in the Palestinian town of al-Karmil in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, under the armed protection of Israeli forces, witnesses said. The park, part of the Yatta Municipality in the south Hebron hills, lies in Area A, under full Palestinian jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords. Buses carrying the settlers arrived to the park escorted by large numbers of Israeli forces and military vehicles, locals said. Settlers came from the nearby settlements of Maon, Karmel, Beit Yatir, Susya, and the outposts of Havat Yair, Mitzpe Yair, Havat Maon, and Avigal, in order to “perform religious rituals” for several hours, they added. The mayor of Yatta, Moussa Makhamreh, condemned the raid, pointing to the “dangerous nature of Israeli authorities’ and settlers’ racist actions taken under armed security.” Makhamreh called upon local governance to support and protect the park in order to end frequent violations by Israeli settlers in the area. An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident.The park was created in 2011 by the Palestinian Yatta municipality, which renovated an ancient pool located at the site. Settlers have come to the area in the past through the initiative of the Susiya Tour and Study Center, which describes the pool as the historical site of the Biblical settlement of Carmel, according to rights group B’Tselem. Such visits are generally approved by and coordinated with Israeli authorities. In April, Israeli soldiers expelled Palestinians from the pool in order to allow settlers to swim and have exclusive use of the park.
Israeli military checkpoint near Tulkarem to be removed
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — An Israeli military checkpoint near the Palestinian city of Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank will be removed on Friday, a Palestinian liaison official said. “After major effort and pressure, along with the civil liaison, we were asked by Israeli authorities to remove ‘Anabta’s checkpoint in order to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and make movement easier between Palestinian villages,” head of the Palestinian military liaison, Muhammad Yassin, told Ma‘an The ‘Anabta checkpoint — erected by Israeli forces in 2000 — stands on a main road, highway 557, connecting the major Palestinian cities of Nablus and Tulkarem. Yassin added that the Israeli soldiers had withdrawn from the checkpoint in expectation of its removal on Friday. Removing the cement blocks and barriers of the military checkpoint will end 15 years of suffering for Palestinians in the area, he added.
Violence / Raids / Incursions / Clashes / Detentions
Israeli forces comb Nablus area following shooting
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Oct — Hundreds of Israeli troops were searching for suspected Palestinian gunmen on Friday after the killing of a settler couple between the illegal Israeli settlements of Itamar and Elon Moreh near Nablus in the northern West Bank on Thursday evening. A Ma‘an reporter said dozens of Israeli army vehicles were stationed near the Palestinian town of Huwwara and searching vehicles in the area. The Beit Furik military checkpoint north of the town was closed in both directions, with Palestinian residents prohibited from leaving. Residents told Ma‘an that they had been waiting outside at the checkpoint all night to return to their homes. Israeli soldiers reportedly told residents that the checkpoint was closed to prevent clashes with settlers, who had gathered at the other side of checkpoint and were threatening Palestinians. The Huwwara checkpoint was only open traveling north, with no Palestinian cars allowed through towards the southern West Bank. Dozens of settlers protested at the Zatara checkpoint in southern Nablus chanting “Death to Arabs” and calling for a response to the killing of the two settlers, as Israeli armed forces were stationed nearby. Settlers threw rocks at Palestinian vehicles in southern Nablus, witnesses said. Palestinian security sources said the Palestinian side of the Yitzhar-Nablus and Itamar-Alon Moreh roads would be closed to cars until further notice, with all access for Palestinians in and around Nablus highly restricted.
Israeli forces ransack Nablus homes, detain 7 in search for shooters
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Oct — Israeli forces raided neighborhoods throughout the Nablus area in the occupied West Bank at dawn on Saturday as a search continues for the shooters in an attack that left two Israeli settlers dead Thursday night. The heavily armed forces ransacked homes and detained seven Palestinians, injuring several during the raids. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that more than 40 Israeli military vehicles and Israeli intelligence forces raided the ad-Daheya neighborhood south of Nablus. The detainees were identified as Abdul-Karim Mena, Rasim Hattab, Raghib Eliwi, Zahi Kousa, Samir Kousa, Abdullah Kosa, and Bassam abu Ghazalah. Clashes erupted between the forces and Palestinian residents, leaving seven Palestinians injured. A resident of the neighborhood, Nazmi Hattab, was hit with live Israeli fire in his chest. His injuries were reported as serious. Medical sources identified others injured as Diaa Aqouba, Samir Obeid, Hisham Antar, and Zaid Antar. All who sustained injuries were transferred to Rafidya Hospital for medical treatment, while many others suffocated from tear gas inhalation.
In Askar Refugee Camp in Nablus — home to nearly 16,000 Palestinian refugees — Israeli forces raided the home of Noud ad-Din Abu Hashya, believed to be involved in Thursday’s shooting attack, Palestinian security sources said. Israeli forces handed his family a notification for a demolition order on their home, expected to be carried out in the cramped refugee camp on Thursday of next week, they added. Those detained are believed to be Hamas affiliates.
Settlers carry out reprisal attacks, Netanyahu calls to ‘take action’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to US Secretary of State John Kerry Friday that he would ‘take action’ against those responsible for the death of two Israeli settlers, Israeli media reported. His statement came as Israeli settlers continue to carry out out reprisal attacks throughout the occupied West Bank in response to a shooting attack Thursday night that killed Eitam and Naama Henkin in their car and lightly injured their four children in the backseat. In a private meeting with Kerry during a visit to the US, Israeli media reported that Netanyahu said: “This murder will not pass without a response. We have already increased our forces in the field. We are changing the forces’ operations in the field, and we will find these murderers and bring them to justice. Most importantly, we will take action that will ensure there’s no reward for terror,” the PM added.
As Netanyahu blamed Palestinian leaders for inciting violence, hundreds of Israeli settlers rioted across the occupied West Bank late Thursday, with multiple attacks reported on Palestinian homes and vehicles in the aftermath of the shooting. Attacks continued throughout the day on Friday, leaving several Palestinians injured. Settlers burned Palestinian vehicles, attacked ambulances, splayed racist graffiti, and burned Palestinian agricultural lands. The majority of attacks were carried out in the Nablus area of the northern West Bank, while attacks and clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians were reported in areas surrounding Bethlehem and Ramallah. The Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and violent acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents. Palestinians are therefore left to fend for themselves during such reprisals as few options for their personal security remain. The occupied West Bank, especially the Nablus area, was under virtual lockdown Thursday night and Friday as Israeli forces searched for the perpetrators of the attack on the Henkin family.
Settlers riot, attack Palestinians after West Bank shooting
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Hundreds of Israeli settlers rioted across the occupied West Bank late Thursday, with multiple attacks reported on Palestinian homes and vehicles in the aftermath of an earlier shooting which killed two settlers near Nablus. In the Palestinian village of Beitillu, near Ramallah, assailants torched a car and spray-painted “Revenge Henkin” on a nearby wall, the army said on Friday, noting that nobody was hurt. Eitam and Naama Henkin, both in their 30s, were killed while driving on Thursday night between the illegal settlements of Itamar and Elon More. Their four children, aged between four months and nine years, were found unharmed in the back of the car. Shortly after the shooting, over 200 settlers attempted to raid the town of Huwwara south of Nablus under the protection of Israeli soldiers while Palestinians used speakers from a mosque to mobilize villagers to resist the incursion. A large number of Israeli forces raided Beit Furik village and searched the surrounding countryside, while settlers raided Burin and smashed Palestinian vehicles near the Huwwara checkpoint and on a nearby main road. Over 15 Palestinian vehicles were damaged by settlers, including an ambulance, the director of the emergency department in Nablus said. The ambulance was en-route to aid Palestinians suffering from tear-gas inhalation in Burin when settlers attacked it, damaging the windshield. Bashir Jibril Qadus and three of his family members were treated at hospital for tear-gas inhalation after Israeli forces fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters in the village. Another unidentified Palestinian was injured and treated at hospital after settlers smashed his vehicle in the area. The ambulance department in Nablus also received a call that a Palestinian Authority security officer was assaulted by Israeli forces at the Zatara checkpoint. The Nablus area was on virtual lock-down overnight following the killing of two Israeli settlers, a married couple, between the illegal Israeli settlements of Itamar and Elon Moreh. Palestinian security sources said the Huwwara and Beit Furik checkpoints were closed by the Israeli army, while settlers closed down several main roads east of Nablus. In Tulkarem, around 60 Palestinian families were prevented from leaving a park near the Shavei Shomron settlement as settlers blockaded a main road leading to the area, a Palestinian liaison official said. Liaison official Muhammad Yassin said officers intervened and provided safe passage for the families to leave the area. Settlers from Beit El attacked Palestinian vehicles near Ramallah as Israeli forces looked on, witnesses said, after a settler march set off from the illegal settlement to a main road in the area. There were also reports of settler attacks in the village of Sinjil north of Ramallah as settlers closed a main north-south highway, and attacks in Hebron and Bethlehem.
Israeli settler shoots, injures 6-year-old Palestinian near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 3 Oct — A suspected Israeli settler shot and critically injured a 6-year-old Palestinian near the occupied West Bank city of Qalqiliya, witnesses said. Yousef Bayan al-Tabib was standing on the side of the road when the settler reportedly stopped his car, shot the child in the stomach, and fled the scene, a Ma‘an reporter said. The child, from the small Palestinian village of Izbeit at-Tabib — in Area C and around six miles east of Qalqiliya — was taken to the Qalqiliya Hospital for treatment.
Settlers attack Palestinian ambulance, 3 medics injured
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Three Palestinian medics were injured on Friday as Israeli settlers attacked an ambulance traveling from Nablus to Salfit, medical staff said. Dr. Issa al-Imla from the Salfit governmental hospital told Ma‘an that Dr. Samel al-Att, nurse Murad al-Qatuni, and anesthetist Samer Habash were injured when settlers threw rock at the ambulance near Kfar Tappuah settlement in eastern Salfit. The ambulance was damaged and suffered a flat tire after the driver was forced off the main road by the stone-throwing. Hundreds of Israeli settlers have carried out multiple attacks on Palestinian homes and vehicles since Thursday night in the aftermath of an earlier shooting which killed two settlers near Nablus. Another ambulance was damaged by settlers in Nablus overnight, as Palestinian vehicles were set ablaze in both Nablus and Ramallah. The ambulance was reportedly en-route to aid Palestinians suffering from tear-gas inhalation when settlers attacked it, damaging the windshield.
Palestinian injured as settlers open fire south of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — A Palestinian man was injured on Friday as Jewish settlers opened fire at a major crossroads in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Bethlehem, Palestinian medics said. Walid Khalid Qawwar, 35, from ‘Aida refugee camp was moderately injured after being hit by shrapnel when settlers opened fire in the area. Dozens of settlers had gathered at the intersection near a cluster of illegal Israeli settlements south of Bethlehem, witnesses said.
Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian agricultural land in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Israeli settlers set fire to dozens of olive trees on Palestinian agricultural land near the Nablus village of Burin on Friday as tensions remain high in the occupied West Bank following the killing of two settlers and reprisal attacks on Palestinian villages. A Burin village committee member told Ma‘an that a large group of settlers torched dozens of olive trees on land belonging to Um Ayman Sufian and attempted to set fire to her home. A local guard committee set up by villagers to ward off attacks managed to prevent the settlers from burning the house. Mahmoud Musleh, director of public relations in the Palestinian Civil Defense, said that firemen managed to extinguish the fire before it reached other homes in the village. Settlers also set fire to land east of Burin village, he added. In the nearby town of Huwwara, settlers set fire to dozens of dunams of agricultural land, a spokesperson from Fatah said. Awad Najm said firefighters were en route to the scene.
Israeli forces detain seven, injure 25-year-old in West Bank’s Nablus
Al-Bawaba 1 Oct — Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians overnight Wednesday while violently assaulting several others across the occupied West Bank. In the northern West Bank city of Nablus, 47-year-old Fawwaz Hasan Miladi was detained after Israeli troops raided his home in the village of Einabus south of the city, Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an. Separately, Israeli soldiers violently assaulted 25-year-old Muhammad Ghassan Ziyada from the nearby village of Madama. Ziyada was evacuated to Rafidia Hospital after a number of Israeli soldiers attacked him, sources added. In the southern West Bank, Israeli troops detained two teenage Palestinians from the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron.Spokesman of a local resistance committee Muhammad Ayad Awad identified the detainees as Muhammad Mihyar Iseid Awad and Arwad Muhammad Awad Badran, both 18 years of age. Four young Palestinian men were hit with rubber-coated steel bullets and several others suffered from tear gas inhalation during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces during the raid in Beit Ummar, Awad said, adding that the troops stormed several neighborhoods in the town. Meanwhile in the Jenin area, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said that Israeli forces detained Marcel Khalil Kabha,16, Ayham Muhammad Kabha, 20, and Fayez Muhammad Kabha, 24, from Tura early Thursday morning. Israeli forces also detained Abdullah Nayef Maraba, 22, from Beit Lid village near Jenin, security sources told Ma‘an. Muhammad Abudl-Qadu Maraba and Bashar Hisham Maraba from the nearby village of Fahma were violently assaulted and briefly detained by Israeli soldiers.
Israeli forces injure 2 Palestinians in Kafr Qaddum with live fire
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Israeli forces injured two Palestinians with live fire during the weekly Kafr Qaddum march in the occupied West Bank on Friday. A Ma‘an reporter said that Ahmad Talaat, a photographer for an Italian news agency, and another unidentified Palestinian were both shot in the leg with live fire as Israeli forces suppressed the march.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian in clashes near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Israeli forces shot and injured a 28-year-old Palestinian in the thigh during clashes between Israeli settlers and local Palestinians near Tuqu‘ village, south of Bethlehem, on Thursday, medical sources said. Medical sources told Ma‘an that Samih Ali Abed Sabah, 28, was injured in the thigh with live fire during the clashes. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the shooting, telling Ma‘an that Israeli forces fired .22 caliber live fire at protesters after Palestinians “refused to comply” with “riot dispersal means,” and that a “main instigator” was hit in the lower extremities. Sabah, who is reportedly in moderate condition, was taken to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital by a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance. Locals said Israel military forces had fired tear gas, live fire, and stun grenades at Palestinians during the clashes, adding that dozens of people have suffered from tear-gas inhalation in the Dar Sabah and al-Luzia areas of Tuqu‘ village. Locals added that Israeli forces have closed off all roads into and out of Tuqu‘ and that a “large” number of Israeli reinforcements have been deployed at Tuqu‘’s entrance. The clashes began after local Palestinians claimed that an Israeli settler opened fire at a school in the village of Tuqu‘. When the alleged shooter attempted to leave the scene, Palestinians reportedly threw rocks at the settler’s vehicle, smashing a window of the car and lightly injuring the suspected perpetrator. The settler, thought to be a woman from the illegal Israeli settlement of Teqoa, was lightly injured in the attack on her car, locals said. Following the incident, Palestinian locals said settlers from Teqoa settlement blocked the main road in the area, which connects the districts of Bethlehem and Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that “Palestinians were throwing rocks near Teqoa, lightly injuring two, one of which was an infant.”
Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians after clashes with settlers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Israeli forces detained six Palestinian teens early Friday following clashes between Israeli settlers and local Palestinians near the town of Tuqu‘ east of Bethlehem a day earlier. Locals said that Israeli forces raided the town at dawn and searched several homes before detaining the six teenagers. The detainees were identified as Muayyad Sami Hmeideh, 15, Ahmad Ibrahim Sabah, 13, Omar Issa Sabah, 15, Mahmoud Ali Sabah, 15, Muhammad Mahmoud al-Omour, 13, and Ahmad Ismail Sabah, 13.
Clashes, detentions across occupied East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Clashes erupted late Thursday in the al-‘Issawiya village of occupied East Jerusalem during a raid by Israeli special forces as several Palestinians were detained across the city. The local follow-up committee of al-‘Issawiya said that dozens of Palestinian youth clashed with Israeli forces, suffering tear gas inhalation. Israeli forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets at the windows of Palestinian homes before spraying the homes and locals with “skunk water,” a foul-smelling liquid used as a crowd control method by Israeli forces that leaves clothes, homes, and skin smelling for days. Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets at four vehicles that were parked in front of Palestinian homes, the committee said. Israeli forces detained two Palestinians, including a minor, in the raid. Clashes also erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces in the Bab Hatta neighborhood near the Al-Aqsa mosque after Israeli forces assaulted and detained two. Israeli forces raided the al-Suwwana neighborhood in Jerusalem’s Old City and detained two minors, one from his home. Three minors were also detained from the Palestinian town of At-Tur.
Clashes erupt between settlers, Palestinians near Ramallah
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Clashes erupted between Israeli settlers and Palestinian youth from the al-Jalazone Refugee Camp near the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah on Friday. Dozens of Israeli settlers from the Beit El settlement closed the main street between Nablus and Ramallah in protest of a shooting carried out by suspected Palestinian gunmen that left two Israeli settlers dead. Palestinian youth arrived to the area in attempt to prevent Israeli settlers from throwing rocks at Palestinian cars, witnesses said, adding that the youth threw rocks and Molotov cocktails. Israeli forces reportedly forced settlers away from the street after they came under attack from Palestinians from the refugee camp, before opening live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas on the group. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the clashes. The spokesperson told Ma‘an that Palestinians held slingshots, threw rocks, and burned tires, while Israeli settlers “formed a roadblock and hurled rocks at the Palestinians.” Israeli soldiers and border police arrived to the scene and attempted to disperse the crowds.When the crowds did not disperse, Israeli forces fired toward the lower extremities of Palestinians with .22 caliber bullets, confirming one hit, the spokesperson said. The riots were not dispersed and are still ongoing, they added.
Palestinian factions praise deadly shooting of Israeli settlers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Palestinian factions and military wings on Friday praised the killing of two Israeli settlers, a married couple, who were shot dead between the illegal Israeli settlements of Itamar and Elon Moreh near Nablus . . . The Popular Resistance Committees said that the recent killings of Palestinians — including three members of the al-Dawabsha family and Hadeel al-Hashlamun, 18, in Hebron — “needed a painful response to settlers to stop their terrorism against our people in the West Bank.” The military spokesperson of the al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the PRC, said the attack was a “natural response” to Israeli violations against Palestinians and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Resistance is the most effective way to stop Israel and its violations, and violations against the Al-Aqsa Mosque and against worshipers in Jerusalem calls upon the resistance forces to escalate its operations wherever there are settlers on Palestinian land.” The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Palestinians have the right to defend their land, while the National Resistance Brigades, the military wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said Palestinians have the right to resist in all forms, calling for a “joint operation” by factions to respond to Israeli crimes. Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, also praised the attack, with spokesperson Abu Obeida adding that the shooting in Nablus would not be the last. The Fatah movement in Nablus said the killing of the two settlers was a “natural response” to Israel’s military occupation, saying it held the Israeli government responsible for any escalation by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank. Israeli media has reported that the Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades, affiliated with Fatah’s military wing, have claimed responsibility for the shooting, calling it a “necessary action.”
13-year-old shot by Israeli forces may undergo amputation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli doctors on Wednesday were deciding on whether to amputate the leg of 13-year-old Palestinian Ahmad al-Muti after he was severely wounded by Israeli forces last week, a hospital spokesperson said. The spokeswoman for Hadassah hospital, where al-Muti was being treated, told Ma‘an the child remained in moderate condition. She said he was unconscious but stable, and doctors were waiting on further tests before they decided whether or not to go through with the amputation. Earlier Wednesday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society told Ma‘an Israeli doctors had decided to go through with the operation. Al-Muti was reportedly shot by Israeli forces during a protest in Bethlehem with a “dum-dum” bullet — a bullet that expands inside the body on impact — in his right leg on Sept. 18 before he was detained by Israeli forces, the prisoners’ society told Ma‘an. The Israeli army told the society that al-Muti was shot and detained for throwing stones, but al-Muti’s lawyer said that the 13-year-old was taking his brother to a nearby hospital when he was hit. The child was taken by Israeli forces to Hadassah hospital in Ein Kerem for treatment, where he was held under tight Israeli security and registered as a prisoner in the Ofer jail. When one of the society’s lawyers visited al-Muti in hospital on Monday he reported that the child remained chained to his hospital bed despite his injury and was in serious condition. On Sept. 29, an Israeli court ruled that al-Muti would be released on bail of 7,000 shekels ($1,780). The Israeli military prosecutors appealed his release although on Wednesday afternoon the court upheld al-Muti’s release and decreased the bail to 2,000 shekels ($509). The 13-year-old was reportedly no longer being held in Israeli custody. The use of “dum-dum” bullets constitutes a war crime under international law, but Palestinian rights group Defense for Children International has reported instances where the bullets have been used by Israeli forces.The head of the Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe, on Wednesday morning condemned the decision by Israeli doctors to go through with the amputation, calling the decision a “crime” that would cause al-Muti suffering for the rest of his life.
Sponge-tipped bullets cause serious injuries to East Jerusalem children, says child-rights group
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 1 Oct — Misuse of sponge-tipped plastic bullets by Israeli border police during clashes with Palestinian youth resulted in serious injuries to three children, none of whom participated in the confrontations, from East Jerusalem’s Issawiya neighborhood in September, said Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP). On September 19, Mohammad Issa, 15, suffered a skull fracture and brain hemorrhage when a black, sponge-tipped bullet hit him in the head. His mother told DCIP that they were on their way to a pharmacy in Issawiya at the time. Mohammad spent nine days in hospital and doctors said he would require physiotherapy to regain lost movement in his left arm from the brain injury. Aseel Muheisen, 12, told DCIP that on September 15, a black, sponge-tipped bullet struck her as she stood observing clashes from her family-owned small amusement park that overlooks the Issawiya neighborhood. Doctors said Aseel had a broken right collarbone and pulmonary contusions, which required her to stay five days in hospital for treatment. On September 8, Yousef Dari, 10, told DCIP that he found himself caught in the middle of confrontations between masked Palestinian youth and Israeli border police officers when he left the bakery near his home in Issawiya. Israeli border police officers shot him with a black, sponge-tipped bullet in the back as he ran home. Yousef suffered a lacerated spleen that kept him in hospital for a week and confined him to bed rest for at least a month.
Eyewitness to Hebron IDF killing of Hadil al-Hashloumon: I never saw any knife
Mint Press 1 Oct by Richard Silverstein — . . . We have documentary evidence of the scene of the murder thanks to an activist volunteer with a foreign NGO. His work involved escorting Palestinian students through this checkpoint to ensure they were not harassed by soldiers. That is why he had a camera at the ready and recorded the tragic killing that morning. His photographs captured the tense standoff between the victim and killer. But until this week, we did not know who the eyewitness was. Today, he broke his silence. His name is Marcel “Renan” Leme. He is Brazilian Leme not only documented the scene with photographs, to which he’s added a timeline, he also added his own precise account of the incident. Here is his report, published on Sept. 26, which begins with an introductory paragraph explaining the context. I have slightly edited the English translation in order to smooth over a few awkward phrasings:
VIDEO: ‘Palestinian woman injured by the Israeli occupation in Hebron’
Palmedia 21 Sept — Footage of Hadil al-Hashlamoun, still alive, being dragged under a fence after being shot by the IDF – her headscarf coming off and her hair visible to all the settler onlookers. When a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance arrives, a stun grenade is fired at it and the medics are not allowed to evacuate her. Richard Silverstein: “Only 40 minutes after she was shot, did an Israeli ambulance arrive. When she was placed inside the ambulance most of her clothing had been removed and either a soldier or settler took pictures of her half-clothed body in the back of the ambulance. A pro-settler Facebook page published the photo along with derisive comments about the victim. The photo was taken down, presumably on the order of outgoing Israeli military censor Brig. Gen. Sima Vaknin-Gil, who stated in a recent interview with the media watchdog publication 7th Eye that her staff closely monitors social media in order to avert such ’embarrassment.’ The Israeli ambulance took al-Hashlamoun to a clinic in Kiryat Arba which had no critical care facility. She was then taken to Shaarey Tzedek hospital, where she was pronounced dead of blood loss.”
Camera-smashing incident leads to officer’s removal
Ynet 1 Oct by Itay Blumenthal — Commander squad that smashed AFP photographer’s camera removed from current duty, a decision with which some of his fellow soldiers take issue — An IDF officer with the rank of second lieutenant, who headed the squad that smashed an AFP photographer’s camera last weekend in Beit Furik, will be removed from his current duty. The decision was made on Thursday, at a hearing held by IDF Southern Command Chief of Staff Brigadier General Udi Ben-Moha. The Givati Brigade commander’s recommendation to remove the officer from his current duty was accepted. His continued service in the Israeli Defense Forces will be examined further by the army. An IDF spokesperson said: “The squad leader behaved in a way that doesn’t meet the expected standard for an IDF commander.” The officer in question is an amateur singer, who once participated a popular singing reality TV show. His attorney, Idan Pesach, responded to Brig.-Gen. Ben-Moha’s decision by saying: “A sacrifice has been laid on the altar of political and diplomatic interests. We will fight to prove his innocence and the righteousness of his ways. The IDF doesn’t internalize the fact that this kind of decision will lead – and is already leading – many soldiers to refuse to act in combat situations, for fear that they might share the same fate as him.” After the decision was announced, soldiers in the officer’s battalion informed their commander that they would not take part in future routine security operations. Meanwhile, some have begun protesting the soldier’s removal. A Facebook page calling the officer an Israeli hero has bee created. A meeting of Givati Brigade company commanders was held Thursday morning, and a number of them have declared they would protest the decision as well.
PPS: ‘Soldiers kidnapped 562 Palestinians in September’
IMEMC 1 Oct by Saed Bannoura — The PPS said the soldiers kidnapped 294 Palestinians, mainly children, in Jerusalem, and that most of them were taken prisoner after Israeli extremists, and soldiers, intensified their invasions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It added that the soldiers also kidnapped 56 Palestinians from the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip; 40 of them are fishers who were attacked in Palestinian waters, and 16 were kidnapped while crossing the Erez Terminal, on their way to the West Bank. The soldiers also kidnapped 75 Palestinians in the Hebron district, 38 in Ramallah al-Biereh, 32 in Bethlehem, 22 in Jenin, 20 in Nablus, eight in Tulkarem, six in Jericho, five in Tubas, four in Qalqilia and two in Salfit. In addition, the PPS said that the army is still holding captive nearly 230 Palestinian children, while denying them basic rights, guaranteed by International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, and subjected to physical and psychological torture.
Palestinian entry restrictions continue as Israelis tour site
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — For the fourth day in a row Israeli authorities imposed severe restrictions on Palestinian entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, while Israelis entered the holy site under armed police escort, witnesses told Ma‘an. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Waqf which runs Al-Aqsa, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces prevented all Palestinians under the age of 50 from entering the compound and had closed all its gates, except for the Lions, Hatta, al-Mathara, Council, and Chain gates. Some 144 right-wing Jews entered the compound, al-Khatib said, with the majority of them touring the holy site, and some performing prayers. Um Ihab al-Jallad, one of several Palestinians currently banned from the compound, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces beat and pushed Palestinians near the Chain Gate, before chasing them to the Cotton Merchants and Council gates. Al-Jallad added that such incidents had happened several times in recent days. Meanwhile, Al-Khatib told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained a Palestinian woman from the mosque compound and took her to a police station for interrogation. Witnesses said Israeli forces had detained three other Palestinian youths from the area after assaulting them.
In photos: Palestinians pray in Jerusalem streets amid restrictions
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Palestinians performed Friday prayers across the streets of occupied East Jerusalem as Israel banned those under the age of 50 from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the Jewish Sukkot holiday. Israeli authorities deployed special forces, police, border guards and intelligence across the streets of East Jerusalem and throughout the Old City, witnesses said. Palestinians prayed at gates in Jerusalem’s Old City near to the compound as well as in the neighboring Wadi al-Joz neighborhood. At the Lions Gate, witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces suppressed worshipers by using pepper spray and firing stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. At the Chain Gate, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail and took him to a detention center for interrogation, witnesses added. Restrictions to the holy site have been imposed by Israeli authorities on Palestinians for several days this week, as right-wing Israeli groups tour the compound for the Sukkot holiday. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Waqf which runs Al-Aqsa, told Ma‘an on Wednesday: “Al-Aqsa has become a detention center and not a mosque. It has been turned into a military barrack, it has been surrounded by soldiers for four days.” As thousands of Jewish Israelis come to the holy city for the holiday, surrounding Palestinian neighborhoods have seen nightly detention raids and road closures by Israeli forces.
Arab MK to be questioned over taunts of Jews at Temple Mount
Haaretz 2 Oct by Jack Khoury & Nir Hasson — Police have summoned MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint Arab List) to appear for questioning early next week over his verbal attacks on Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount on Tuesday. In a videotaped confrontation, Zahalka shouted at the group of Jewish visitors: “Go away, go home, you’re not wanted. Crazy criminals. This is ours, this is my home. Racist fascists.” The MK’s visit to the Mount followed days of tension that have included repeated clashes between police and Muslim rioters. Despite these tensions, non-Muslims have continued visiting the site; on Tuesday there were 729 non-Muslim visitors, of whom 592 were foreign tourists and the rest Israelis . . . “The police know that I’ve received hundreds of threats but they haven’t lifted a finger. In contrast, they hastened to summon me for investigation even though they know there’s no point to it,” Zahalka said. “Everything I said at Al-Aqsa to the extremists who invaded it and the police who protected them, I’ve said at the Knesset podium hundreds of times. We won’t let the mosque be harmed and we won’t let it be divided.”
Israeli security summons Hamas leader in West Bank for questioning
MEMO 1 Oct — Israeli security on Wednesday evening called on the leader of the Hamas movement in the West Bank, Hassan Yousef, to question him in a military camp near Ramallah. Yousef said in remarks to Turkey’s Anadolu news agency that “the Israeli security has summoned me this evening [Wednesday] to meet with investigators from the Israeli General Security Service, Shin Bet, on Thursday at the Israeli Ofer military camp”. Yousef said the step marks Israeli efforts to intimidate him and thwart his movement’s support for Al-Aqsa Mosque in light of Israeli attempts to divide it. Yousef said he expects anything and everything from the Israeli authorities, including the possibility of him being detained. Yousef is a senior Hamas leader in the West Bank who has been arrested several times by Israeli security forces for leading the movement’s activity in the West Bank.
Egyptian power lines to Gaza damaged by explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Egyptian power lines providing power to the district of Rafah in the Gaza Strip were damaged on Thursday by an explosion on the Egyptian side, cutting electricity to the area. An Egyptian electricity company responsible for the power lines said they are working to fix the problem. The cause of the explosion is unclear. The beleaguered Gaza Strip has faced an ongoing energy crisis for months. Last week, Egyptian power lines providing electricity to the Rafah district of southern Gaza were reconnected, following weeks of failures along the lines. Two of the three lines initially failed on July 5 and the third failed on Sept. 1, an official said, adding that since then they had been repaired and failed a number of times.
Egypt opens Rafah for one day to allow pilgrims to return to Gaza
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing on Wednesday to allow 580 Palestinian pilgrims to return to Gaza from Saudi Arabia following the hajj pilgrimage, security sources said. The crossing will be closed later in the evening and reopened next week to allow a further 2,500 pilgrims to return to the besieged enclave. The Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only connection to the outside world, has been virtually closed since October 2014, allowing only a fraction of Gazans to leave or enter.
Israeli forces cross into Gaza, level land
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Sept — Israeli military vehicles on Wednesday morning crossed into the southern Gaza Strip and leveled Palestinian land, witnesses told Ma‘an. They said that seven bulldozers flattened land for about 50 meters in front of an Israeli border post. The land lay in Qarara village north of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, they said. The Israeli army did not immediately respond when asked for comment. It was the third such incident reported by Ma‘an this month. Israeli forces have made repeated incursions into the Gaza Strip over the past year and have frequently opened fire on Palestinians who approach the border “buffer zone.” In August alone, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights counted 26 incidents of shootings, incursions into the territory, and arrests. This included 13 shootings on land and at sea, PCHR reported.
Israel detains 4 Palestinians after crossing Gaza border
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Four Palestinians were detained after they crossed the barbed wire border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, the Israeli army said. The four were arrested on the Israeli side of the border Eshkol after crossing from the southern Gaza Strip, the army told Ma‘an. They were then transferred to the Israeli intelligence for interrogation.
Union: 70 percent of Gaza workers live in poverty
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Around 70 percent of workers in the Gaza Strip live in poverty, the director of the General Federation of Trade Unions, Sami al-Amsi, said on Thursday. Al-Amsi, at a press conference, warned that Gaza would face a “catastrophe” that will affect the majority of the coastal enclave’s population if the government does not form a clear plan to ease their suffering. Al-Amsi said the Gaza Strip is suffering from the “worst economic crisis in decades,” and called for the opening of border crossings, while stressing the importance of the reconstruction process, which would decrease unemployment by providing jobs to thousands. He called on the Palestinian unity government to take responsibility for the Gaza Strip, noting that since its formation last year, temporary employment programs have been canceled and workers have only been provided “unfulfilled promises.”
Signs of increasing suicides in devastated Gaza
GAZA CITY (AFP) 1 Oct — Muammar Quider was set to marry, but he reached his breaking point as he dealt with the unique pressures of life in the Gaza Strip. The 21-year-old Palestinian recently tried to kill himself by swallowing rat poison. “All doors were closed for me,” he said after having survived and been treated, explaining that police had repeatedly arrested him and shut down his fruit stand, depriving him of an income. Signs have emerged of an increase in suicides and suicide attempts in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian enclave run with an iron fist by militant movement Hamas and devastated by three wars with Israel since 2008.
It is impossible to obtain official figures on the subject, which remains taboo in a territory where traditional and religious values dominate. Police insist that it has not become widespread. But a source within the security services told AFP on condition of anonymity that the numbers were “frightening,” saying there were cases on a “near-daily” basis. Doctors have also expressed alarm over the number of patients having ingested toxic substances, but they say the police have the final word on the causes of such poisonings. Mohammed Abu Assi has been among them, having spent several days in a coma after swallowing poison. He said that “at 30 years old, I did not even have enough to feed my young children.” “I preferred to die instead of seeing them die in front of me,” he said. Gaza is filled with desperation, particularly following last summer’s conflict
Looking into the increasing number of infiltrators from Gaza to Israel
MEMO 29 Sept by Dr Adnan Abu Amer — There has been a recent increase in the number of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip infiltrating the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories via the eastern borders. This growing phenomenon concerns many Palestinians due to the fact that the infiltrators’ objectives include looking for work, escaping the harsh reality in Gaza, or joining the Israeli intelligence agencies. The Israeli army has repeatedly reported its arrest of Palestinians who infiltrated it from Gaza’s eastern borders. These numbers have reached 45 young Gazans since the beginning of this month . . . It is worth noting that the issue of infiltration has not quite reached the level of a phenomenon because the security forces in Gaza monitor these cases and prevent the infiltration of some. The success of some infiltrators is due to the fact that the Palestinian security forces cannot impose its control over the areas targeted by the Israeli occupation army, which uses infiltrators to spy on Gaza and therefore tries to lure young Palestinians to serve its intelligence purposes. Those who illegally escape Gaza range from between 17-24 years old and their main motive for doing so is the bad economic situation . . . There are no accurate figures for the number of infiltrators from Gaza to Israel, but there has been talk of dozens every year.
News analysis: Sporadic tensions in Gaza Strip not to lead to another Israeli war
GAZA (Xinhua) 2 Oct — Despite intermittent tensions between Gaza militants and Israeli forces, local analysts and observers rule out that such acts could lead to another large-scale Israeli military operation in the coastal enclave like that of last year. On Wednesday, Israeli war jets carried out four intensive airstrikes on training facilities that belong to al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Hamas movement, which has been ruling the Gaza Strip since its violent takeover of the coastal enclave in 2007. The Israeli airstrikes were a response to firing two rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel and caused no casualties. -HAMAS vs SALAFISTS- Usually groups like the radical Salafists, who claimed to be affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group, claim responsibility for the rocket fire into Israel. In the last two rocket fire attacks, Salafist group of the Brigades of Sheikh Omer Hadid claimed responsibility. Israel fired missiles back on Hamas bases and training facilities, but Hamas kept quiet and did not fire back on Israel. Israel has been blaming Hamas and holding it responsible for every rocket fired from Gaza, because Hamas is the only power that controls Gaza. A senior Hamas security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that Hamas is fully controlling the field in the Gaza Strip, “but this doesn’t mean that Hamas fully controls some rare individual actions that happen suddenly.” “Al-Qassam Brigades deploys a special unit that includes dozens of militants who are located close to the borderline areas between the Gaza Strip and Israel,” he said, adding “Salafist groups are less influential, very minor and small ones, who have their own considerations when they fire rockets from time to time.” Observers believe that many of the radical Salafist groups consider firing rockets into Israel as a challenge to Hamas’ rule of the Gaza Strip. These groups sometimes carry out bombing attacks on Hamas security facilities.
FIFA to conclude landmark grassroots course in Gaza
FIFA 1 Oct — The first-ever FIFA grassroots course held in Gaza since the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) became affiliated to FIFA in 1998 is set to conclude on Friday 2 October, and has involved the participation of 30 local coaches supervised by FIFA instructor Jamal Lahrache (Morocco). The landmark five-day activity hosted at the Islamic University of Gaza’s stadium has comprised practical and theoretical training in the areas of football coaching and organisation, with the aim of providing participants with the necessary technical tools to run self-sufficient grassroots projects in cooperation with the PFA. A grassroots festival with the participation of children from Gaza will bring the course to an end on Friday.
Study: Pesticide exposure raises Parkinson’s rates near Gaza area farms
Haaretz 29 Sept by Ido Efrati — An Israeli study has found a high incidence of Parkinson’s disease among those living in Jewish agricultural communities near the Gaza border. According to the study, the percentage of Parkinson’s sufferers is 37 percent to 54 percent higher than the average in the Negev. The researchers, neurologists from the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, believe that the reason for the high morbidity is exposure to pesticides, which are used in the cultivated fields . . . There were dramatic differences in the frequency of the disease – among Jews the percentage of Parkinson’s sufferers is 37 percent higher than the average in the Negev in places with few cultivated fields. In communities with many cultivated fields the morbidity is 54 percent higher than the regional average. In the Bedouin diaspora the frequency is 53 percent lower than the average in the Negev as a whole, and 71 percent lower than the average in the permanent communities that are not surrounded by cultivated fields. “The study enabled us to see clearly the differences between the genetic and environmental contribution,” explained Zlotnik. “We know that in the Ashkenazi Jewish population [originating in Europe] there are a number of genes that increase the risk of the disease, and morbidity among Ashkenazim is in fact higher in general. Among the Bedouin, who have no genetic tendency for the disease, we discovered that those living in the Bedouin diaspora near agricultural fields suffer more from Parkinson’s than those living in permanent communities.”
Israel releases Palestinian prisoner after nearly 12 years in jail
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Israeli authorities released 33-year-old Palestinian detainee Hani Mahmoud Bashir from prison on Wednesday after he spent 11 and a half years in an Israeli jail. The prisoner was welcomed at an entrance to the occupied West Bank town of al-Khader, with a car parade headed by motorcycles and horses, locals said. The motorcade crossed into the Bethlehem district to President Abbas’ headquarters in Bethlehem, where crowds and Palestinian leaders gathered in celebration of Bashir’s return. Those awaiting the prisoner included the head of Palestinian intelligence, Majed Faraj, the governor of Bethlehem, Jibrin al-Bakri, and head of the Palestinian Prisoners’ and Former Prisoners’ Committee, Issa Qaraqe. Bashir addressed the crowd, stressing the support of prisoners for the Palestinian president and leadership while demanding serious action be taken for the release of ill prisoners currently held by Israel. The crowd watched President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech televised from the UN before heading to the entrance of the Duheisha refugee camp, where locals awaited the released prisoner and marched to Bashir’s home in the center of the camp. The secretary-general of the Fatah movement in Duheisha, Ahmad Abu Saleh, also gave a speech calling for the right of Palestinian prisoners to freedom. Bashir was a Palestinian intelligence officer as well as a leader in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades — the military wing of the Fatah movement — in the Bethlehem district, and was wanted by the Israeli government for three years before being arrested.
PCHR Weekly Report: Israeli troops kill 3 Palestinian civilians, wound 28 in the last week (17-30 Sept)
IMEMC 2 Oct by Celine Hagbard — In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 17 – 30 September 2015, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that 3 Palestinian civilians, including a girl and a deaf young man, were killed in the West Bank. 28 Palestinians, including 12 children, were wounded. And 135 Palestinians, including 46 children and women, were abducted by Israeli troops. [details of these events and others follow]
Erekat: Palestine cries ‘We exist’ to the world as UN raises flag
30 Sept by Saeb Erekat, Sec-Gen of the PLO — For decades the flag of Palestine has represented the struggle of a whole nation for its human and national rights. Whether it is from the ruins of Gaza, in Yarmouk Refugee Camp in Syria, over the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, in Jericho, in Santiago de Chile or in San Francisco, generation after generation of our people have gathered around our flag, reinforcing our rights for freedom, return, justice and peace. Today, our flag will be raised in New York, after an overwhelming majority of the international community voted in favor of this resolution. The Zionist movement and later the State of Israel, with the complicity of the international community, has for decades tried to negate the existence of the Palestinian people. First, for them Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land,” and several policies were implemented in order to displace Palestinian villagers. In 1948, after Israel destroyed at least 418 Palestinian villages and 70 percent of our people became refugees, some would refer to the Palestinian national cause as a “humanitarian problem of near east refugees”. After 1967, Israel would not talk about withdrawing from the occupied territory but about colonizing what they refer to as “Judea and Samaria” with foreign settlers. Today, despite all the efforts to break our will, the flag of a recognized state flies at the United Nations. This recognized state is called Palestine.
Voices: What does flag at UN mean to Palestinians?
Al Jazeera 2 Oct — The Palestinian flag has been raised at the United Nations for the first time in history. Diplomats and press crowded into the rose garden at the UN on Wednesday to watch the ceremony. The move has roused the support of many who viewed it as a historic step, while it provoked bitter criticism from Israel. Meanwhile, celebrations were held in the occupied Palestinian territory. Speaking to the crowd, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, dedicated the flag-raising to “the martyrs, the prisoners and the wounded, and to those who gave their lives while trying to raise this flag”. Al Jazeera spoke with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip to ask them what the flag-raising meant to them. . . . Islam Shaheen, 24, occupied East Jerusalem, architect: It means nothing to me. It reasserts the Oslo Accords, and it reasserts Israel’s ‘right’ to be allowed to put the wall. It gives Israel more jurisdiction rather than take away from it. It gives [Israel] more legitimacy as an occupying state more than it does impose its obligations on it. So we we are placing an imaginary state in front of the world as Israel uses this fact by saying: “Here is a state with which we have nothing to do with.” Tamara Aburamadan, 19, Gaza City, law student at Al Azhar University: Raising the flag is a sign of hope for Palestinians, and a brave move for [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] to say that we are not bound to any agreement with the Israelis that says we aren’t a state under occupation. I think the idea of [Palestine] being recognised as a victim is one step towards victory. Raising the flag is a way to say that we exist. Even though Palestine is an observer state, it has rights, and its people are fighting for their rights. But they don’t want their acts to be judged as crimes. All states under occupation have the right to defend themselves – and to fight – under international law. Many Palestinians see it as big move to raise the flag. But I don’t see it that way. I think it’s a very tiny step in a very long ladder that will lead us to our goal: freedom.
Abbas speech threatens to upturn peace deal, but results unclear
JERUSALEM (AFP) 1 Oct by Laurent Lozano — Mahmud Abbas’s UN declaration that he is no longer bound by accords with Israel has the potential to upturn what remains of the peace process, but there are doubts whether concrete actions will follow. His speech on Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly was seen as both an attempt to draw renewed focus to the Palestinian cause as well as a bid for leverage at a time when the world’s attention is focused elsewhere. Pulling out of previous agreements, including the landmark Oslo accords of the 1990s, could mean drastic moves such as dismantling the Palestinian Authority or ending security coordination with Israel. The Palestinian president, who reportedly vowed ahead of his speech that he would drop a “bombshell” at the UN, mentioned none of those details, however. “They leave us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of these agreements, while Israel continuously violates them,” he said. “We cannot continue to be bound by these signed agreements with Israel and Israel must assume fully all its responsibilities as an occupying power.” On Thursday, senior Palestinian official Mustafa Barghouti reiterated Abbas’s declaration in an interview with AFP, saying the “Oslo accords are over. So are the rest of the agreements with Israel.” Another official, Ahmed Majdalani, told Palestinian radio that “arrangements” will be made when Abbas returns from New York.
FIFA to meet with Palestine, Saudi FA’s in bid to settle dispute
PARIS (AFP) 30 Sept — FIFA have called a meeting with the federations of Palestine and Saudi Arabia next week in an attempt to decide where a 2018 World Cup qualifier between the nations should be played. “FIFA have invited the two member associations to a meeting that will take place on October 5 in Zurich,” a FIFA spokesman told AFP on Wednesday. The fixture, set for October 13, had been scheduled to take place in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, but Saudi Arabia on September 23 demanded that it be played on neutral ground. That demand was accepted by the World Cup 2018 organising committee, chaired by UEFA president Michel Platini. But the Palestinian Federation refused to accept, their chief Jibril Rajoub saying: “Depriving Palestine of the right to play at home is a dangerous precedent and impossible to accept under any conditions.” The teams met each other in Jeddah in June, with the Saudis winning 3-2. That match was actually supposed to be played in Palestine but Saudi Arabia had refused to travel to the West Bank, citing undefined “exceptional circumstances”. Many Arab national teams refuse to play in the West Bank, saying it “normalises” Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Israel controls all access to the Palestinian territories, and Saudi Arabia has no diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
EU provides $33 million to UN agency for Palestinian refugees
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — The European Union announced Wednesday that it will provide $33 million in funding for the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees, a statement said. The assistance package was announced during a sideline event at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and brings total EU donations to UNRWA in 2015 to $139 million. The money will go towards supporting core programs such as education and health and will also cover a deficit in the organization which had threatened to disrupt the beginning of the school year. The EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, also signed an $11 million agreement with UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl to improve education, health, and livelihood services to Palestinian refugees in Syria.
Why watermelons are a symbol of political protest for Palestinians
Vice 2 Oct by Jackson Connor — & in Palestine,/ where it is a crime to wave / the flag of Palestine in Palestine, / watermelon halves are raised / against Israeli troops / for the red, black, white, green / of Palestine. Forever, / I love you your color hemmed by rind. — Aracelis Girmay, “Ode to the Watermelon” . . . Though the first recorded watermelon harvest took place in Egypt roughly 5,000 years ago — and, in the centuries since, the food has become ubiquitous in nearly every corner of the world—watermelons hold a special place in Palestinian history, culture, and cuisine. In many ways, the red, black, green, and white of the fruit and rind — colors that match those of the Palestinian flag and the flag of the Arab Revolt — tell the story of the plight and pride of the Palestinian people throughout generations. In the years following the Six Day War in 1967, it became a crime to raise a Palestinian flag in Israeli-controlled Gaza and the West Bank. To subvert the ban on the national colors, it is said that Palestinians would carry sliced watermelons through the region in a sign of protest. In October of 1993, just weeks after Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization signed the Oslo Accords in Washington, DC, The New York Times reported that young men were once detained for holding watermelon halves in the Gaza Strip. An editor’s note several months later stated that the paper could not ultimately confirm the claims, but that an Israeli government official also could not deny that such arrests had taken place.
Solar power pays off for enterprising Palestinians
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 2 Oct by Aziza Nofal — Palestinians are installing mini solar stations at home to produce electricity at affordable prices — Three years ago, Rabia al-Rabi stopped purchasing electricity from the Jerusalem Electricity Company, the official power provider in the city of Ramallah. The Palestinian woman actually started selling electricity to the very same company for 800 shekels (about $200) per month after she started a renewable energy generation project at her home. Rabi had carefully studied the economic feasibility of the project. Despite the high cost of installing the solar cells, she decided to run the risk and make her house one of the first in Ramallah to generate electricity from solar energy.
Israeli journalist kicked out of Ramallah event
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Israeli journalist Ohad Hemo was kicked out by Palestinians from Ramallah on Thursday while covering an event. Hemo, Palestinian affairs correspondent for Israeli Channel 2 News, told Ma‘an he and his crew were forced to leave Yasser Arafat square while covering an event in support of president Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestine Exception
Palestine Legal 30 Sept — [Includes a VIDEO in which students and scholars discuss the backlash they have experienced for engaging in Palestine advocacy.] Our report, The Palestine Exception to Free Speech: A Movement Under Attack in the US documents for the first time the widespread and growing suppression of Palestinian human rights advocacy in the United States. Executive Summary: Over the last decade, a dynamic movement in support of Palestinian human rights, particularly active in US colleges and universities, has helped raise public awareness regarding the Israeli government’s violations of international law, as well as the role of corporations and the US government in facilitating these abuses. This activism, fueled by Israel’s increasingly destructive assaults on Gaza, presents a robust and sustainable challenge to the longstanding orthodoxy in the United States that excuses, justifies, and otherwise supports discriminatory Israeli government policies. Fearful of a shift in domestic public opinion, Israel’s fiercest defenders in the United States — a network of advocacy organizations, public relations firms, and think tanks — have intensified their efforts to stifle criticism of Israeli government policies. Rather than engage such criticism on its merits, these groups leverage their significant resources and lobbying power to pressure universities, government actors, and other institutions to censor or punish advocacy in support of Palestinian rights. In addition, high-level Israeli government figures, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and wealthy benefactors such as Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban have reportedly participated in strategic meetings to oppose Palestine activism, particularly boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.
Are pro-Israel bullies on US campuses planning dirtier tactics?
EI 29 Sept by Nora Barrows-Friedman — A member of the University of California’s governing body has called for the expulsion or suspension of students for expressing their views about Israel, under the guise of combating anti-Jewish bigotry. This comes as Israel lobby groups, flush with huge new injections of cash, are stepping up their efforts to silence the Palestine solidarity movement on campuses nationwide. During a 17 September meeting of the University of California (UC) Regents to discuss a “statement of principles against intolerance,” Richard Blum also threatened to have his wife, US Senator Dianne Feinstein, publicly criticize the university if it did not enforce penalties against perceived bigotry. Feinstein’s criticism could put the university system under federal scrutiny . . . Blum and other regents, backed by Israel lobby groups, are pushing the university to adopt policies that free speech advocates warn could violate the First Amendment . . . Palestine solidarity and free speech advocates point out that the government definition conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish bigotry. A key strategy of Israel advocates, they say, has been to urge university administrators to treat criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism as one and the same.