Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Three Palestinians killed, 154 injured, on Friday
IMEMC 14 Nov by Saed Bannoura — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers shot and killed three Palestinians on Friday, and wounded at least 154 others, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. The Ministry stated that the soldiers shot and killed Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Shalalda, 22, from Sa‘ir town, while resident Hasan Jihad al-Baw, 22, from Halhoul town, died of a gunshot injury to the heart. At least 33 Palestinians were shot and wounded in ensuing clashes on the northern entrance of Hebron city and Ras al-Joura area . . .
On Friday evening, one Palestinian, identified as Lafi Yousef Awad, 22 years of age, was shot and killed by Israeli army fire during clashes with soldiers invading Budrus village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Awad was first shot with a rubber-coated metal bullet, before the soldiers chased him, and one of them fired a live round at his back. Awad, a student of the Al-Quds – Abu Dis University, was moved to the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah, where he died of his serious wounds. Eyewitnesses said a sharpshooter of the Israeli army deliberately targeted Awad despite his injury, and shot him from close range.
The Health Ministry said 48 Palestinians have been shot with live Israeli army fire, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. The Ministry also said one Palestinian was shot with a live round in Beit Forik, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus; three Palestinians were shot with live rounds, and 10 with rubber-coated steel bullets, and 15 suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation in Qalqilia, also in the northern part of the West Bank, and dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. In addition, 25 Palestinians were shot with live rounds, during clashes with soldiers invading the al-Baloa’ area, in al-Biereh in the central West Bank. Three Palestinians were shot with live army fire, and seven with rubber-coated steel bullets, during clashes that took place at the northern entrance of Bethlehem. One medic was also shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his ear, as he was trying to rescue wounded Palestinians . . .
In the Gaza Strip, seventeen Palestinians were shot with live rounds, and one was shot with a gas bomb that directly struck him in the pelvis.
Names of the 86 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since October 1
IMEMC 14 Nov – There have been four killed since Tuesday. Many names on this list have links to articles detailing how they died.
Video: Undercover Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian in Hebron hospital
IMEMC 12 Nov by Saed Bannoura — Undercover soldiers of the Israeli military invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the al-Ahli hospital in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, where they assassinated one Palestinian and kidnapped his seriously wounded cousin. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers killed Abdullah Azzam Shalalda, 28 years of age, from Sa’ir town near Hebron, immediately after he entered the room of his wounded cousin, Azzam Ezzat Shalalda, who was shot and seriously injured by live rounds fired by a paramilitary Israeli settler in Hebron. The eyewitnesses also reported that more than twenty undercover officers infiltrated the hospital before executing Shalalda in the Surgery Ward.
Video: Palestinian doctor: ‘Hospitals are supposed to be safe places’
The Guardian 12 Nov by Quique Kierszenbaum — The director of the hospital in Hebron raided by undercover Israeli forces says he was shocked by the incident because hospitals are supposed to be safe places. Dr Jihad Shawar describes how the soldiers pretended to be Palestinians bringing a woman in labour when they opened fire on the cousin of a man suspected of stabbing an Israeli settler. “All the doctors and nurses were being held at gunpoint and could do nothing”
Video: Cousin of Palestinian killed in Israeli undercover raid describes shooting
The Guardian 12 Nov by Quique Kierszenbaum — The cousin of a man shot by undercover Israeli forces during a raid on a Palestinian hospital in Hebron describes the incident, insisting the shooting was unprovoked. Bilal Shalaldeh says his cousin Abdallah Shalaldeh was shot when he emerged from the bathroom where he had been washing his hands in order to pray. “They didn’t even speak to him – the moment he stepped out of the bathroom they shot him.”
Thousands attend funeral of Palestinian shot dead in Hebron hospital
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Nov — Thousands of Palestinians on Thursday attended the funeral of Abdullah Azzam Shalaldah, 28, in the Hebron town of Sa‘ir, hours after he was shot dead by undercover Israeli forces during a dawn raid at a Hebron hospital. The funeral procession set off from the al-Kabir mosque in Sa‘ir and laid Shalaldah to rest at the al-Shuhada cemetery. Mourners chanted slogans condemning the killing by undercover Israeli forces and called for revenge and international protection from Israeli violations. Abdullah was shot several times by forces who raided the surgery unit of al-Ahli hospital in order to detain his cousin, Azzam Ezzat Shalaldah, 20, who was shot by an Israeli settler last month, hospital staff told Ma‘an. Abdullah and another relative were in the hospital visiting Azzam when around 20 undercover Israeli soldiers entered the hospital at around 4:00 a.m., witnesses said. The forces tied up the relative while Abdullah, who was in the bathroom at the time, entered the room and was shot dead on scene.
‘Doctors without Borders’ condemns hospital raid
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Nov — Doctors Without Borders (MSF), on Thursday, condemned Israel’s undercover arrest raid committed earlier that day at al-Ahli hospital, in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. In a statement, the organization urged “the relevant military authorities to respect the special status that [International Humanitarian Law] grants to medical facilities and the wounded and sick.” The organization said that Azzam Ezzat Shalalda, 20, who was shot by an Israeli settler last month, was a patient of MSF and was being treated in their Mental Health Support Program “for victims of political violence.” MSF said, according to Ma‘an News Agency, that the way in which Shalalda was detained was “serious” and contrary “to the principles of neutrality and respect of the medical mission. International Humanitarian Law requires the respect of health facilities and forbids any intrusion of the armed forces in these structures,” adding that international law “demands that sick and wounded people would be treated without any discrimination in conformity with medical ethics.” . . . Shalalda, who was detained during the undercover raid, was still in recovery after undergoing three surgeries at the hospital where he was admitted mid-October.
Amnesty: Hospital killing in Hebron an ‘extrajudicial execution’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Nov — Amnesty International said Thursday that the killing of a 28-year-old Palestinian by undercover Israeli forces during a raid on the al-Ahli hospital may amount to an “extrajudicial execution.” Abdullah Shalaldah, 28, was shot at least three times in the head and upper body while visiting his cousin 20-year-old Azzam Azmi Shalaldah, who was a patient at the hospital. “The fact that Abdullah Shalaldah was shot in the head and upper body suggests this was an extrajudicial execution, adding to a disturbing pattern of similar recent incidents by Israeli forces in the West Bank which warrant urgent investigation,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. “Israeli forces must immediately cease their use of intentional lethal force against people who are not posing an imminent threat to life.” . . . “The killing of Abdullah Shalaldah is the latest in a pattern of killings by Israeli forces which Amnesty International considers to have been unlawful,” Amnesty reported.”The Israeli military’s own regulations allow soldiers in the occupied West Bank to open fire only when their lives are in imminent danger. It appears that this was not the case in the shooting of Abdullah Shalaldah, as he was unarmed.”
Palestinian Authority forms special force to protect hospitals
IMEMC 12 Nov — Secretary-General of the Palestinian Ministerial Cabinet, Ali Abu Diak, said that the Acting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah issued direct orders to the police and security forces to form a special security force responsible for protecting hospitals and medical centers. Abu Diak stated that the invasion carried out by Israeli Undercover Forces into the al-Ahli Hospital in the southern West Bank city of Hebron which led to their murder of Abdullah Shalalda and abduction of his seriously wounded cousin Azzam Shalalda, is a very serious escalation and a crime added to the long list of Israeli violations. “This is a war crime, a violation of International Humanitarian Law, and all related international agreements,” he said, “Israel is escalating its war crimes, its crimes against our people, our hospitals and holy sites.” He said the invasion was carried out by “gangsters of undercover Israeli soldiers, and military units, who also invaded the Specialized Arab Hospital in Nablus last month, and repeatedly invaded the al-Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem . . .”
Palestine Red Crescent denies refusing to treat wounded Israelis in West Bank
JPost 13 Nov — The Palestine Red Crescent Society on Friday denied Israeli accusations that its paramedics intentionally neglected to offer first aid treatment to the Israeli family who came under fire as they were driving along Route 60 in the southern West Bank hours earlier. Ya’akov Litman and his 18-year-old son were killed in the attack, which took place near the Jewish settlement of Otniel . . . A Channel 10 report on Friday featured the audio of the distress call placed by one of the gunshot victims, a 16-year-old boy, who said that he saw a Red Crescent ambulance driving away from the scene. In response to the claims, the Red Crescent issued a denial on its web site late Friday, accusing Gendelman of “disseminating falsehoods and rumors.” The organization said that its ambulance did in fact reach the scene initially after the shooting. “A few minutes later, ambulances belonging to the IDF and Magen David Adom arrived,” the organization said. “Once the paramedics approached the victims, they revealed they were carrying weapons,” which prompted the Palestinian first responders to leave. “In light of the fact that Israeli paramedics arrived on the scene and began treating the wounded, the Red Crescent team left the scene, which had become unsafe in their view,” the statement read. The Red Crescent said that since the start of October, 125 of its personnel have been injured by bullets and tear gas fired by Israeli security services. “Sixty-seven ambulances were damaged and we were prevented from treating 66 Palestinians who were wounded, all due to ‘security considerations’,” the Red Crescent said.
Video: Israeli forces chase, beat student in northern West Bank
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 12 Nov — Israeli forces chased a Palestinian protester through a field in an army jeep on Thursday before assaulting him during clashes that erupted near the Palestine Technical University in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem. Video footage of the incident shows an Israeli soldier exiting the jeep after chasing the young man and hitting him, causing him to fall over. Once the student was on the ground, more soldiers exited the jeep and immediately circled the young man and began kicking and hitting him all over his body . . . Students of the Palestine Technical University have organized frequent marches throughout October and into November in protest against Israeli violations and raids on the university’s campus. When Israeli forces show up to suppress the marches, clashes break out.
Two Israelis killed when their minivan, allegedly shot at, crashes near Hebron
IMEMC 13 Nov by Celine Hagbard — An unknown person allegedly shot at an Israeli passenger car near Hebron on Friday, causing the car to crash, killing the driver and one passenger. Two of the five other passengers in the vehicle were injured. It’s unclear if the deaths are a result of the crash or the shooting. The incident took place around 3 pm on Friday near the entrance to the illegal colony known as ‘Othniel’, built on Palestinian land stolen by Israeli settlers from residents of Yatta and Dhariya villages. Israeli forces moved into the two nearby Palestinian villages on Friday after the alleged shooting, and began raiding homes and setting up checkpoints. Israeli authorities claim that they found fourteen bullets near the car crash, which they say were shot at the vehicle while it was driving. Those killed were, according to Israeli media, a 40-year old man and his 18-year old son. The wounded were a 16-year old male and a woman, identified by some media sources as the wife of the 40-year old man who was killed. The deaths of the Israelis in this incident are under investigation by Israeli authorities. The Israeli Prime Minister issued a statement that, “We will find the despicable murderers and bring them to justice as we have in the past.” The incident follows the deaths of two Palestinians on Friday by Israeli forces who fired live ammunition at Palestinian protesters in different towns in the West Bank. If these Israelis were in fact killed by a Palestinian attacker, their deaths would make a total of 10 Israelis killed by Palestinian ‘lone wolf’ attackers since October 1st. During the same time period, 86 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and paramilitary settlers.
Hebron district under lockdown as Israeli forces search for gunman
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — The Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank was put under lockdown overnight Friday as Israeli forces searched for a gunman that killed two Israeli settlers, locals said. Israeli forces closed roads and entrances leading into Hebron-area villages and towns and several military checkpoints were erected across the district, locals told Ma‘an. The entrances of the Beit Einun crossroads and Nabi Younis street near Halhul were shut and Palestinians under the age of 30 were prevented from exiting the city of Hebron or the nearby town of Sa‘ir. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces closed the entrance of the al-Fuwwar refugee camp as well as the road between the refugee camp and Dura. Villages west of Dura were also sealed, and Israeli forces closed the entrances of al-Karma, Arab al-Ramadin, al-Samu‘, al-Sura, al-Majd, Beit Awwa and al-Thahriya villages with mounds of dirt. Homes and institutions were raided by Israeli forces who confiscated footage from surveillance cameras in the southern Hebron areas of Yatta, al-Samu, al-Simia, al-Thahriya, Dura and Beit Awwa. Israeli forces also raided the Dura court house, smashing all locked doors inside the compound, locals added . . . Palestinian areas nearby the scenes of attacks typically come under harsh restrictions and closures following the attacks in what rights groups have termed over the past month as collective punishment.Such measures include large-scale arbitrary detention, sealing of entrances into Palestinian towns and villages, punitive home demolitions, and invasive and humiliating security checks on individuals.
Attempted stabbing attack in Nablus ‘false alarm’
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 Nov — A stabbing attack that was reported near the illegal Israeli settlement of Migdalim on Thursday was a “false alarm,” an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. An Israeli army spokesperson said “we got reports of an attempted stabbing attack, but forces searched the area and found nothing suspicious.” Initial reports said an attack was attempted, but caused no injuries, however it has been confirmed that the attack did not take place. Hours earlier, a Palestinian man allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a military checkpoint near Rachel’s Tomb in the occupied West Bank town of Bethlehem. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an initial reports were received of the attempted stabbing, and said no injuries had been reported. The attacker reportedly fled the scene and Israeli forces deployed in search of the suspect.
Why can’t Palestinians harvest olives in peace?
+972 blog 12 Nov by Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din — Data shows that the police simply cannot prevent Israeli felons from ruining the yearly Palestinian olive harvest — Yesh Din recently published our yearly datasheet, which tracks the lack in law enforcement in the West Bank when it comes to Israeli civilians harming Palestinians and damaging their property. The 2015 datasheet looks rather familiar to the 2014 one, which in turns looks all too similar to the 2013 one. All in all, a chronicle of a failure foretold . . . A significant number of the attacks on Palestinian towns take place in Area B, which are under Israeli military control. In practice, the IDF does not fulfill its obligation under either international law or the decisions of Israel’s High Court of Justice, and does not protect the Palestinian residents. When the Palestinians attempt to organize civil defense groups, the Shin Bet promptly disbands them. Needless to say, the Palestinian police are prevented from dealing with Israeli lawbreakers. The result is that many Palestinian towns are offered no protection from Israeli felons and arsonists — despite being under Israeli control. Not something to be particularly proud of, I guess. The second point, especially in these days as Palestinians take part in the annual olive harvest, is that the Israeli police particularly fail when it comes to cracking cases of attacks on Palestinian trees and harvests. The positive news is that whereas the 2013 failure rate was 97.4 percent, this year it is “merely” 95.6 percent. I doubt this is of any consolation to the victims. (continued)
Israeli settler attempts vehicle attack on Palestinians in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Nov — An Israeli settler attempted to run over three Palestinian youths at the entrance to Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, on Friday, with no injuries reported. Muhammad Awad, coordinator of a local popular committee, said that the settler “deliberately shifted his car off the road” in a bid to knock down three Palestinian youths crossing an intersection along Route 60.
The youths were not hit during the alleged attack.
Video: Human rights activists evicted from Tel Rumeida apartment again
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 12 Nov by ISM, al-Khalil Team — Yesterday, international activists regained access to their Tel Rumeida apartment after being denied entry for a week. This morning at 8.45am another activist tried to enter the apartment but was prevented by soldiers, even after showing them the rental contract granting her the right to reside in Tel Rumeida. Soldiers then came up the stairs to the front door and threatened the three activists with arrest if they failed to leave the apartment within five minutes. After a short delay, the police arrived and demanded the activists open the door and leave the building. When the activists questioned this, the Israeli forces replied that they were in a closed military zone and were not allowed to be there. This was despite the activists having demonstrated the right to reside in the property on the previous day. The Israeli forces began to batter down the front door with a crowbar. When they were unable to get in after 10 minutes, other soldiers climbed onto the roof and smashed their way in through the roof access door within a few minutes. The commander and two soldiers entered the room where the activists were sitting without showing any resistance . . . The commander then twisted the arm of one activist, forcing him to the floor, although none of the activists offered any physical resistance. The activists were then escorted out of the apartment, down the street to checkpoint 56 and out of Tel Rumeida.
Israeli forces detain over 400 Palestinians in November
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 Nov — Israeli forces have detained 416 Palestinians, including 122 minors, during the first 12 days of November, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said in a statement Thursday. The majority of the detentions recorded were in Jerusalem, where 181 Palestinians were detained, including 42 minors. The southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron was the second city on the list of the most detentions, with 70 Palestinians detained, including 50 minors. The surge in Palestinian detentions, including higher-than-average levels of minors, began in October, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, during Israel’s crackdown in an attempt to quell violence during the latest spate of upheaval. Most of the violence that escalated early last month, including numerous attacks on Israelis, has been centered around occupied East Jerusalem and the Hebron district of the West Bank.
Before the crackdown, there was a weekly average of 78 Israeli army “search and arrest operations” carried out across the occupied West Bank in 2015, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; however there has recently been a sharp increase in such operations. In October alone, just short of 1,000 Palestinians, including 147 children, had been detained by Israeli forces, Addameer documented . . . According to Addameer’s most recent reports, there are currently around 7,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, around 450 of which are being held under administrative detention with no charge or trial.
Jerusalemite minor detained for 11 hours in Israeli police car
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 10 Nov — Tamara Abu Laban, 15, from al-Tour town in Occupied Jerusalem, was detained in an Israeli police car for eleven hours, her father said. Over a phone call with Palestinians Detainees and Ex-detainees Community, the father said Israeli forces arrested his daughter on November 05 after storming the house. She was arrested just for writing on her Facebook page “Forgive me” which was taken as expression of her intention to carry out a resistance operation, he added. She was arrested and detained in an Israeli police car for eleven hours since Israeli jails refused to receive her. She was then released on Friday, November 06 under certain conditions. The minor girl was released on a bail of 1500 shekels under house arrest for five days in addition to third party bail for 10,000 shekels.
What the videos show: Israel is killing in cold blood
TimesWarp 11 Nov by Barbara Erickson — What is inspiring young Palestinians to attempt yet more stabbing attacks on Israelis? The answer, according to The New York Times, has nothing to do with the violence of military occupation, the abuse of Palestinian children or trigger-happy troops; it is merely a “loop-like dynamic” of attack and response inspired by video clips. In a story today, Isabel Kershner reports that videos showing knife attacks and heavy-handed treatment of young detainees are inspiring Palestinian boys as young as 12 to attempt knife assaults. But in a significant omission, the article says nothing about disturbing videos that support a different take: Many Palestinians have been killed when they posed no possible threat.
To understand what ‘to neutralize’ means, look at this broken Palestinian man
Haaretz 13 Nov by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — A young Palestinian participates in a tumultuous demonstration, Israeli undercover men knock him to the ground and shoot him point-blank. The result: Mohammed Ziada, 19, is partly paralyzed and wheelchair-bound — If you want to see what things look like from there – meaning, not in Israel – visit the cafeteria at the Beit Jala rehabilitation hospital, 15 minutes from Jerusalem. Managed by a charity organization, this Palestinian counterpart to Israel’s Beit Loewenstein is considered the West Bank’s best rehab center. Its patients include some of the victims of the events of recent weeks. They were “neutralized” by Israeli security forces but were lucky: They weren’t killed and weren’t arrested (or they were detained and then released); they were “only” wounded seriously and crippled, temporarily or for the rest of their life. The cafeteria probably reflects the atmosphere in the territories better than any opinion survey. It is a spacious hall with three large TV screens attached to the walls, all displaying images of violence that Israelis don’t see and don’t want to see, but which Palestinians watch nonstop. The screens depict a parallel universe, one of turbulent demonstrations and brutal suppression; of funerals and wailing ambulances, all broadcast live and uninterrupted. Columns of smoke, tear gas, shooting, people wounded and killed – courtesy of Palestine Today, a television station that broadcasts from the field. Only a very small fraction of the events broadcast here in an unedited format reach Israeli stations, which are engaged almost exclusively with the stabbing and vehicle-ramming attacks. Indeed, the parallel reality that pervades this cafeteria is unknown in Israel, which is occupied only with its own victims.
Mohammed Ziada is about to be brought in to the cafeteria; we are waiting for him while he undergoes physiotherapy. With us is his father, Othman, who stays here day and night. For the past month, Mohammed has been half a human being, or should we say a whole human being with half a functioning head. (continued)
Israel demolishes 4 West Bank homes of Palestinians accused of attacks
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — Israeli authorities overnight Friday demolished four homes belonging to the families of Palestinians accused of carrying out deadly attacks on Israeli settlers, the Israeli army said. In the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the homes of Yahia Haj Hamed, Samir Zahir Kusa, and Kerem Lutfi Razek were destroyed, the army said in a statement. The three were detained on Oct. 5 along with two others after Israel’s Shin Bet identified them as responsible for killing two Israeli settlers on Oct. 1. In the Ramallah-area town of Silwad, the Israeli army reported that forces demolished the residence of Maad Hamad, who they said killed an Israeli settler on June 29. The demolitions took place under the order of Israel’s defense minister Moshe Yaalon and are a part of a series of punitive measures being carried out by the Israeli government to “deter” future attacks. Israeli watchdog Hamoked filed a petition to the Israeli High Court against the four demolitions on Oct. 29.
Supreme Court approves demolition of 5 attackers’ homes
Ynet 12 Nov by Telem Yahav — The Supreme Court rejected on Thursday five petitions against the decision to demolish the homes of six Palestinians who participated in the terror attacks in which Naama and Eitam Henkin, Malachi Rosenfeld and Danny Gonen were murdered. The only petition that was accepted regarded the terrorist Abdullah Ischak, one of Rosenfeld’s killers, who lived in a rented apartment in Silwad, north of Ramallah. The justices ruled that there was not enough of a connection between him and the family who lives in the home. Justices Hanan Melcer and Noam Solberg joined Chief Justice Miriam Naor in the decision. Naor wrote in her opinion that, “as determined in the ruling, the purpose of the regulation is as a deterrent, not a punishment. This purpose has been recognized as proper. “Demolishing homes is a harsh and serious step, mainly because it can hurt relatives of the terrorist who sometimes did not aid him and did not know of his plans…” However, Noar added that, “Sometimes there is no alternative to using it. Such are the cases in the decrees before us, which deal with cruel terror attacks in which Israeli citizens were murdered in cold blood. The evidence presented to us made me satisfied that destroying homes of terrorists’ families creates deterrence among terrorists.” . . . On the subject of an alleged double standard for Jews and Palestinians regarding the policy, Justice Solberg wrote, “The reason that Measure 119 is not used for Jews lies in the fact that the Jewish sector does not require the same environmental deterrence that is the purpose of home demolitions . . . ”
Demolition order is issued to Jerusalem family of Palestinian attacker
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Nov — Israeli authorities on Thursday issued a demolition order in occupied East Jerusalem to the family home of a Palestinian who carried out an attack on an Israeli bus last month, the family said. Bahaa Elayyan, 22, was shot dead during an attack on Oct. 13 that left three Israelis dead. His family’s home in the Jabal al-Mukkabir neighborhood is the most recent to face Israel’s revamped policy of punitive home demolition. Bahaa’s father, Muhammad, told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities issued the demolition order, giving the family until Friday to appeal. Muhammad said that the home — a 130 square meter flat — is on the second story of an apartment building, and that its demolition would likely result in damage or destruction of the first and third floors. Muhammad added that Israeli authorities are still in possession of Bahaa’s body. The demolition order marks the latest use of the punitive measure by Israeli authorities.
Prisoners / Court actions / Legislation
Justice Ministry to allow jailing of Palestinians as young as 12
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Nov — Israel’s Justice Ministry has finished drafting a bill that would allow children under 14 to be sentenced to jail, Israeli sources reported. Under the bill, which was drawn up by Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, jail sentences could be handed down to children as young as 12, though the offender would start serving the sentence only when he turned 14. Prison sentences could be imposed on children younger than 14 only if they are convicted of murder, attempted murder or manslaughter, the draft bill states, according to Al Ray. Israeli sources reported that, if the bill is passed into law, Israel would become one of only a few Western countries which allow prison sentences for children under 14. The Justice Ministry started drafting the bill after the arrest of 13-year-old Ahmad Manasra, who was convicted of an alleged stabbing attempt, last month. Under Israeli law, Manasra could not be sentenced to jail, but it allows his detention, interrogation and, then, a stint in a closed treatment facility until the age of 14 . . . Under the bill now being drafted, a judge could instead sentence the child to jail, though he or she would be kept in a closed treatment facility until the age of 14. At that point, he would be sent to prison to serve out his sentence, but only after a hearing at which the judge would have to confirm the decision to transfer him to jail.
Shaked calls for fines on parents of underaged Palestinian attackers
Ynet 12 Nov by Tova Tzimuk — Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked published on Thursday evening a legal memo that will introduce heavy fines for parents of stone-throwers under the age of 12. The aim of the memo is to give law enforcement agencies the tools to address criminal activities that are carried out by children who are under the age of criminal responsibility. According to the new law, an authorized officer who believes that a child below the age of criminal responsibility has thrown stones, or has otherwise caused serious damage, will order the minor’s parents to supervise their child and make sure they do not carry out any further such activities. If the authorized officer is persuaded that the child has subsequently engaged in another such activity, he must then ask the court issue a command for the parents to pay a fine.
Israel strip-searches children in new detention center
EI 13 Nov by Charlotte Silver — Israel has arrested so many Palestinian children since the start of October that is has opened a new detention center specifically for them. The center is part of Givon Prison in Ramle, a city in present-day Israel. Children from the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are being held there in conditions that violate their human rights. A spokesperson for the Israel Prison Service told The Electronic Intifada that the newly opened facility at Givon prison is temporary and fulfills standards for detaining children. But lawyers who have visited the imprisoned children there warn of overcrowding, poor hygiene and mistreatment. A total of 56 Palestinian children are being held in Givon, 20 of whom are from the West Bank, according to the Palestinian prisoner advocacy gruop Addameer. It is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention to transfer prisoners out of the occupied West Bank or Gaza into present-day Israel. Lawyers with the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Defense for Children International-Palestine are also investigating the prison’s conditions . . . According to lawyers, the cells in Givon are moldy and very little food is provided to the inmates. In at least one instance, the guards cut the electricity for several hours and confiscated food the children had bought from the canteen. On 1 November, the cells were raided and every child was shackled, stripped and searched inside the prison bathroom. During the raid, the guards physically and verbally abused the children while ransacking their cells. Addameer is concerned that the children detained at Givon are supervised directly by the prison guards and are therefore vulnerable to abuse.
Shin Bet photo lineup: Can you pick out the female suspect?
+972blog 10 Nov by Avi Blecherman — I’ve been in a few court hearings in my day. I’ve also seen a fair number of Law & Order episodes, and I’d like to think I have a pretty good idea of what a lineup of suspects is supposed to look like, be it an in-person or photo lineup. But nothing could have prepared me for the lineup I saw earlier this week during the trial of Palestinian member of Parliament Khalida Jarrar. During his interrogation, the prosecution’s key witness was presented with seven photos. Six of the photos were of men. See if you can pick out which one of the photos is of the female Palestinian parliamentarian currently on trial? The trial of Khalida Jarrar, an elected representative of the PFLP, has been going on for several months now at the Israeli army’s Ofer military court in the West Bank. Jarrar is on trial for 12 counts of membership and activism in her political party, which Israel has declared as an illegal organization. Almost all of the charges deal with her parliamentary activities, like participating in demonstrations, giving interviews to the media, visiting solidarity tents for prisoners and delivering speeches. The final charge is for incitement to kidnap soldiers, but the witness to that alleged incitement says he’s not sure he actually heard Jarrar speak the inciting words she is accused of speaking.
Cancer-stricken youth dies after Israel refuses to hospitalize him
RAMALLAH (PIC) 10 Nov — Former Palestinian prisoner Ghassan al-Rimawi, 27, passed away early Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. Al-Rimawi, a native of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, died in the Jordanian Hussein hospital where he was being treated. Al-Rimawi was offered treatment by the King Hussein Cancer Foundation in Jordan after Hadassah hospital in Israel refused to take him under the security pretext. Al-Rimawi had been detained by the Israeli occupation forces three times, twice in 2005 and again in 2010, during which time he developed blood cancer. He was released after seven months in detention. According to the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), poor conditions in Israeli prisons have led to the deterioration of health for a large number of Palestinian prisoners. “Prison clinics have become renowned for offering only aspirin for all health treatments and physicians within the clinics are all soldiers,” CEPR said in a report.
Security forces: Israeli Arab carried out October stabbing attack in Eilat
JPost 12 Nov by Ben Hartman — An Israeli Arab from the Wadi Ara city of Umm el-Fahm has been arrested for a late October stabbing attack in Eilat, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) cleared for publication on Thursday. The suspect, named as Nidal Yusef Yunes Jabarin, aged 24, allegedly stabbed and lightly wounded a woman in the city on October 29, after “he had been influenced by videos of stabbing attacks which have been published recently,” the Shin Bet said on Thursday. Jabarin had been living in recent years in Eilat, the Shin Bet added. The stabbing on October 29 took place across from a grocery store on Golani Brigade Street. Police at the time said a man had stabbed and lightly wounded a local woman with a small paring knife before fleeing on foot. Jabarin was arrested not far from the scene of the crime hours later, after dozens of detectives, Border Police officers, and special forces soldiers fanned out across the small southern Israeli city. Police announced the arrest at the time, but said that same night that they were unable to determine whether the stabbing was criminal or nationalist in motive. The Southern District police secured a gag order on the case that same night, and no further details were published until Thursday . . . According to the Shin Bet, he has no history of security offenses and has no known affiliation with any terrorist organization.
Indictments expected in lynching case
Ynet 13 Nov by Gilad Morag — The state attorney on Thursday issued summons to a hearing for five suspects in the lynching of Eritrean citizen Habtom Zerhom, killed during the attack at Be’er Sheva’s central bus station last month. The five suspects are two members of the Israeli Prison Service (IPS), an IDF soldier and two civilians. Among other things, they are suspected of causing injury with aggravated intent and face a hearing by the Southern District attorney. IPS officer Meishar Ronen Cohen is suspected of causing injury with aggravated intent and assaulting the bus driver who tried to prevent the attack from continuing. The letter sent to the five suspects revealed that during the incident, while Zerhom was lying bleeding on the floor, and when it was clear that he was helpless and there was a crowd around him, the suspects approached him and beat him, kicked him in his head and hurled a nearby bench at him several times with the intent to cause him severe injury, disability or deformity.
Israel to dig ‘groove’ around Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Nov — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon revealed, on Thursday, that his government would start digging a “groove” around the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli military radio, Ya’alon said that his army is ready to start digging the groove around the coastal enclave very soon. The groove, he said, would be a deep and long hole in the ground to prevent infiltration from Gaza to Israel. Previously, informed and credible sources told Days of Palestine that the Israeli army had already started working on the groove. “They imported 150 new bulldozers and started working in a deep and long groove around the Gaza Strip, from the north and the east,” the source said. He added: “The Israeli groove [is] to be connected to the Egyptian, which already exists and is filled with seawater, from time to time.” According to the source, who preferred to remain unknown, the Israeli occupation is also to fill their groove with water, in order to damage the tunnels dug by the Palestinians from Gaza to Israel. After the Israeli occupation establishes the groove, the Gaza Strip would technically become an island, as it will be encircled with water from all sides.
18 Palestinians wounded in clashes with IOF near Gaza borders
GAZA (PIC) 13 Nov — At least 18 Palestinian civilians were wounded near the borders of Gaza Strip by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in confrontations that started after Friday prayers and lasted till the evening hours. Ashraf al-Qedra, the health ministry spokesman, said that the casualties were suffered in northern, central and southern Gaza Strip, adding that a 16-year-old boy was injured in northern Gaza. He added that five citizens were hit with live bullets in their lower limbs to the east of Gaza City while a young man was hit with a rubber bullet in the head. Two others were wounded in their limbs in central and southern Gaza while two journalists were hit with teargas canisters. Local sources said that dozens of young men hoisted Palestinian flags near the borders and burnt tires while some of them tried to throw stones at the IOF soldiers. The soldiers responded by firing live and rubber-coated bullets in addition to teargas canisters, the sources added.
Israeli soldiers open fire on Palestinian farmers in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Nov — Israeli soldiers stationed across the border fence fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian farmers working in their lands close to the border fence, east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, some on military towers and others in armored vehicles, fired dozens of live rounds, and smoke bombs, at the farmers in their own lands, causing damage but no injuries. The farmers left their lands fearing additional Israeli military escalation.
Israeli navy boats open fire at Palestinian fishermen in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Nov — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of northern Gaza on Friday, a local union official said. Amjad al-Sharafi, secretary-general of the Fishermen’s Union, told Ma‘an that Israeli naval boats fired at fishermen off the shore of al-Sudaniyya, with no injuries reported. One of the boats was hit by gunfire, forcing fishermen to flee back to the shore in fear, he added.
IOF kidnaps two Gazan businessmen at Beit Hanoun crossing
GAZA (PIC) 10 Nov — The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Monday kidnapped two Palestinian businessmen as they were trying to travel to the 1948 occupied territories through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, north of the Gaza Strip. Local sources said that Ziyad Khater and Munir Hamada, both businessmen, went to the crossing to process their travel documents before Israeli officers there gave orders to detain them. Every once in a while, the IOF detain or kidnap Gazan businessmen as they try to cross from and into Gaza. Over 15 businessmen were taken prisoner at the crossing during the last few months.
Hamas hands over Arafat’s Gaza home to his Fatah party
[with photo] GAZA CITY (AP) 10 Nov by Fares Akram — Gaza’s Hamas rulers handed over the house of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to officials from his Fatah party on Tuesday with the intention of turning it to a museum for the iconic leader. The house has been closed since the Islamic militant group Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 after routing the Palestinian Authority’s forces and ousting Fatah under the leadership of Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, in bloody street battles. The ceremony, attended by officials from all Palestinian factions, took place on the eve of the anniversary of Arafat’s 2004 death. . . The house, located near a security compound under Hamas’ control, is full of Arafat artifacts. Old computer screens and photocopy machines sit on desks on the first floor. Arafat’s military uniforms are laid out on his bed. The walls are adorned with pictures of Arafat and his wife and daughter. It was the first time the house was opened to the media. Jameel Al-Majdalawi, a board member of the Yasser Arafat Foundation, told The Associated Press that the establishment “will work on transforming this house to a national museum for all our people, where we will collect the heritage of this peerless leader.”
Gaza dialysis patients face a very real threat of death
MEMO 11 Nov by Motasem A. Dalloul — EXCLUSIVE IMAGES & VIDEO — . . . Palestinian children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip used to receive dialysis treatment either in adult units in Palestinian hospitals or in Israel. Six years ago, under the Israeli siege, the Palestinian government led by Hamas built Al-Rantisi Hospital and set up a dialysis unit for children . . . Mohamed Qoota, 10, is also from Rafah. He has daily dialysis and needs five different medicines, including antibiotics, hormones and supplements. Mohamed’s father, who was watching the dialysis machine beside the bed of his son, was unable to speak. “Excuse me, sir,” he told me, “I cannot speak right now as my eyes are turning from my son to the machine and back again.” Nurse Lamya interrupted me while I was trying to speak to Abu Mohamed. “He has been worried since he knew that some of the spare parts and the other stuff needed for the continuation of the treatment of his son are running out soon,” she explained. Such families, she pointed out, have been living in “total despair” for about two weeks. “That’s when we issued an initial warning about a potential lack of spare parts and medication needed for the Renal Dialysis Unit.” Staff in the unit, continued Lamya, have been doing their best to guarantee the continuation of this service for the innocent children. “However, we told them to be prepared for any potential emergency.” According to Paediatrician Mustafa Al-Eila, the Director of Al-Rantisi Hospital, essential spare parts for medical equipment and medication needed for most of the departments and units are going to run out soon, but he insisted that the situation for the dialysis patients is special. “We urgently need haemodialysis F3 and F 4, bloodlines volume 56cm3 and 80cm3 and erythropoietin epoetin,” Al-Eila revealed. “Almost all 28 patients in the Renal Dialysis Unit are facing the very real threat of death if we don’t get this stuff soon.” The head of medical disposables in the ministry of health in Gaza said that the equivalent ministry in Ramallah has sent only 16 per cent of the needed disposables for hospitals across the Gaza Strip since the start of this year.
Students from Gaza fear losing scholarships in Turkey due to closure of crossings
MEMO 13 Nov — Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip who have been granted scholarships by the Turkish government to complete their university studies in Turkey have said that they are now at risk of losing their places due to their inability to travel as a result of the continued closure of the crossings. In separate interviews with correspondents from Anadolu Agency, the students expressed their concerns over losing their grants in the light of the closure of the Rafah crossing in the southern Gaza Strip by Egyptian authorities on the one hand, and the Israeli authorities’ refusal to issue the necessary permits required for them to exit through the northern Gaza Strip crossing of Beit Hanoun “Erez” on the other hand. This year, 86 Gazan students from different disciplines and levels of study (BA, MA, PhD) received grants from Turkish institutions to pursue their studies.
Thumping football victory for Palestine brings welcome respite to Gazans
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (MEE) 13 Nov by Mohammed Omer— For Palestinians in Gaza, television sets are often the source of bad news, but not on Thursday evening, when the cafes were packed with people to watch a very important football match. In Rafah, many of the people squeezed in to Rotana café were escaping extended power cuts of 20 hours a day to enjoy a moment of pride in watching their national football team play. It was Palestine against Malaysia and Amjad Hassouna, 19, sat in the café enjoying every single moment, hanging on all the words screamed by an overexcited commentator. After Palestine grabbed the opening goal, the audience in Rotana erupted with cheering – young and old smiling and chanting as one. “It is a rare occasion when we sit, laugh, and chant for a positive reason — this is a moment where I feel the joy of being a proud Palestinian” says Hassouna, a student of Public Management in Gaza . . . While the World Cup qualifier was played out in Jordan, due to restrictions on matches taking place in the occupied Palestinian territories, its impact was most felt in Gaza – where there is a youth fanatical about football, supporting mainly either Real Madrid or Barcelona . . . On social media, Malaysian fans expressed solidarity with Palestinians despite their team’s pounding. One tweet, which was read out to the café, asked how Palestinians can train under the stress and restrictions of war. The crowd laughed at this comment and Nearab said: “We have turned the ruins of our demolished homes into football fields, because we love life.”
Perfect conditions for Gaza strawberry season
FreshPlaza 11 Nov by Heather Goulooze — Arava Export Growers, a supplier of fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs based in Israel, recently announced its intentions to market and export strawberries from the Gaza Strip to Europe. All growers are Global Gap certified and all MRL protocols comply with EU standards. To ensure that this compliance is optimized, Arava is planning a seminar in two weeks’ time with growers to address any quality/sorting challenges that may occur . . . Strawberry prices are unknown as the season has not yet started, but they will be determined weekly, based on market conditions.The season is expected to run from 25 November through the end of January. On the back of good weather conditions and an offering of good quality varieties, the company is anticipating a fruitful season ahead and expects to be have sufficient volumes through the season with approximately one truck a day.
A treasure trove of ‘ancient’ archaeology tucked away in Gaza
GAZA (Reuters) 11 Nov by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Nafez Abed’s cramped workroom is filled with sculptures and mosaics with patterns from the Byzantine, Greek and Roman periods. It is an emporium of Middle Eastern antiquity tucked away in Gaza. And none of it is real. Abed, 55, is a self-taught archaeologist, preserver and restorer who crafts reproductions of ancient pieces he finds or has seen in museums. He gives his work so much authenticity that international experts have been wowed by his skills. A fair-haired, intense man, he spends almost all his time in his studio, built on the roof of his unfinished house in a refugee camp in northern Gaza. Its windows are covered in plastic to keep out the rain that blows in from the nearby Mediterranean . . . It was Abed’s father who got him started, imbuing him with a love of antiquity and the rich ancient history of Gaza, where the blinded Biblical hero Samson lived.
al-Aqsa / Joseph’s Tomb
Destruction of al-Aqsa is no conspiracy theory / Ilan Pappe
EI 10 Nov –“It is useless,” asserts the colonizer in Albert Memmi’s classical tract, The Colonizer and the Colonized, “to try and forecast the colonized’s actions (‘they are unpredictable! ‘With them, you never know!).” It seems to the colonizer that “strange and disturbing impulsiveness controls the colonized.” The only explanation official Israel and its supporters could give for why Palestinians have risen up lately is that they were influenced by Islamic propaganda. That propaganda so easily incited the “impulsive and unpredictable” Palestinians in recent weeks, according to Israeli spin. Generally speaking, Western commentators have been more willing to place the resistance in the wider context of the oppression faced by Palestinians. Yet this Western approach, articulated mainly by liberal academics and journalists, has something in common with the Israeli one: it regards as baseless and irrelevant the allegations that Israel plans to demolish al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem or build a “Third Temple” on the Haram al-Sharif, the surrounding compound. The allegations appear in the western media as a mere pretext which have only incidentally triggered Palestinians to rise up . . . It is, therefore, crucial to ask, whether you are religious or secular: is al-Aqsa in danger? If it is, then its precarious future is not just an offense to Islam but also a further indication of how far Israel’s settler-colonial project could go. – Archaeological crime – Demolishing Arab and Islamic sites in Jerusalem is not unknown in Israeli policy and attitudes. In 1967, Israel razed the Moroccan Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. This was an architectural gem of Islamic civilization dating back to the late 12th century and had hosted some of the most important Islamic religious orders . . .When purchasing did not work, it was taken by force during the 1967 War and demolished. The demolition included the destruction of the Sheikh Eid mosque built by a son of Salah al-Din al-Ayubi, who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders. When learning about the destruction years later, Benjamin Kedar, a historian and vice president of the Israeli National Academy of Sciences, declared to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that “it was an archaeological crime.” The destruction of mosques was not a new practice, or one limited to Jerusalem. Zionist forces left intact only very few mosques in the destroyed Palestinian villages and towns during the Nakba — the ethnic cleansing operation of 1948. The Israeli authorities then turned many of the remaining mosques into clubs, restaurants and animal enclosures. Thus, neither historical monuments in Jerusalem nor mosques around Palestine were immune from the destructive policies of the colonizer. This ruination of the country’s Islamic heritage is deeply engraved in the Palestinian collective memory. (continued)
Why do Palestinians burn Jewish holy sites? The fraught history of Joseph’s Tomb
Mondoweiss 12 Nov by Alex Shams — On October 16th, a large crowd of Palestinians near the northern West Bank city of Nablus surrounded the religious site of Joseph’s Tomb and forced their way past Palestinian security guards at the main gate. Once inside, they proceeded to light the shrine on fire. Although the building was somewhat damaged, for the most part the shrine — a simple white structure furnished with only a small tomb — escaped unscathed. The attack on the shrine elicited widespread outrage in the Israeli press, who condemned the attack on what many Israelis consider a Jewish shrine. Some pointed to the fact that the shrine was also targeted in the same way by Palestinian protesters in 2000, when the Israeli military first pulled out of the site and turned it over to Palestinian authorities. For Israelis, the attack seemed to indicate yet again that Palestinian violence is motivated by anti-Jewish hatred. Why would Palestinians attack a Jewish religious shrine if not because they hate Jews? The reality, however, is far different than the Israeli narrative would seem to suggest. Built by Palestinians and located at the heart of a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood, the history of Joseph’s Tomb belies Israeli claims about its identity as a “Jewish holy site.” The identity of Joseph’s Tomb — and the claim that it is a “Jewish” shrine — is instead caught up in the wider history of the appropriation of Palestinian religious sites in the Zionist narrative . . . One of the few things that almost everyone agrees on (even the Jewish Virtual Library) is that Joseph’s Tomb probably has nothing to do with the biblical Joseph . . . When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, religious Zionists began flocking to the grave. In 1975, the Israeli military banned Palestinians — i.e. the people living around the site — from visiting, a ban that has remained in place until this day . . . Unsurprisingly, the ban has ignited intense anger over the years, particularly given that frequent visits by Jewish settlers to the shrine are accompanied by hundreds of Israeli soldiers, who enter the area and run atop the rooftops of local Palestinians to “secure” the tomb. As a result, Joseph’s Tomb has increasingly become associated with the Israeli military and settlement movement in the eyes of Palestinians. Its presence has become an excuse for frequent military incursions that provoke clashes and lead to arrests and many injuries in the neighborhood.
Land, property, theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
891 settlement units to be built in Bethlehem
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Nov — The Israeli occupation municipality in Jerusalem, on Wednesday, approved the construction of 891 settlement units in the illegal settlement of Gilo, which was constructed on the Bethlehem territory of the occupied West Bank. PNN reports that, according to the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, the municipality claimed that the construction plan was approved in 2013 and that only the adoption of the plan is technical.
Photo essay: Village refuses to be wiped off the map
EI 11 Nov by Silvia Boarini — “It is in the Negev that the creativity and pioneer vigor of Israel will be tested,” goes the quotation attributed to the state’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. If anything, it is the creativity and resilience of the southern Naqab (Negev in Hebrew) desert region’s indigenous Bedouin population that’s been put to the test in the decades since Ben-Gurion’s rule. One such village, al-Araqib, is not formally recognized by the state. It has been demolished 90 times and counting in the past five years. Its residents resist Israel’s efforts to forcibly transfer them and bury their land under forests planted by the Jewish National Fund. Once a thriving community of 35 families, al-Araqib has been reduced to five tents inhabited by 20 people. Israel’s policy towards rural communities in the Naqab is the same as in the occupied West Bank — to push Palestinians off the land on which they depend, and to concentrate them in the smallest areas possible . . . It is now impossible for villagers to keep livestock, badly impacting their income.
Families displaced as Israeli soldiers conduct training in Jordan Valley
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Nov — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday morning, the Hamsa area of the Jordan Valley in the West Bank’s Plains, and displaced thirteen Bedouin Palestinian families, to conduct military training. Head of the Wadi al-Maleh Local Council ‘Aref Daraghma said the soldiers forced the families out during early dawn hours, and told them they needed to stay away until noon. He added that the army handed the families several orders informing them the soldiers will be conducting more live fire and explosives’ drills in the area next Monday and Thursday, and that the same eviction orders apply. There are more than eighty families living in the area, and they were displaced and ordered out of their dwellings more than ten times this year alone. Many Palestinians have been killed, seriously injured and maimed, after coming in contact with explosives dropped by the army during training in their dwellings.
State ignored illegal transfer of land to settlers
Haaretz 10 Nov by Chaim Levinson — Contradicting government decision, WZO Settlement Division allocated private Palestinian land near Jordan River to settler farmers in 1980s. The state transferred Palestinian land in the Jordan Valley to Jewish settlers for decades, despite an explicit instruction against doing so by the director of the Civil Department in the State Prosecutor’s Office, Haaretz has learned. The land, amounting to thousands of dunams, was transferred to settlers for cultivation by the Civil Administration and the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization. Documents in the possession of Haaretz indicate that attorney Plia Albeck, director of the Civil Department in the State Prosecutor’s Office, demanded as early as 1988 that the two departments desist from transferring the land, and even ordered the evacuation of plots that were already under cultivation . . . Dror Etkes, a researcher of the settlements who is following the story of the land in the Jordan Valley, told Haaretz that “perusal of this document constitutes a rare opportunity to look into the innards of the establishment system responsible for the theft of land on the West Bank. This system has a patent on the debasing of the concept ‘security,’ under cover of which many people are losing their property, which is being transferred to settlers. The closure of areas by the army, which includes over half of Area C [under full Israeli civil and security control], has become the main means by which the State of Israel transfers land to the settlement enterprise.”
Palestinian refugees — Lebanon
Palestinians appeal for Lebanon to follow international standards for travel documents
MEMO 13 Nov — A Palestinian human rights organisation in Beirut has appealed to the relevant Lebanese authorities to solve the problem with Palestinian refugee travel documents, which are still being handwritten, contrary to international standards. The Palestinian Association for Human Rights — Shahid — said in a statement on Thursday that the appeal came after the International Civil Aviation Organisation called for airlines to stop accepting handwritten documents and passports as of 24 November, as they lack the most basic standards of security and reliability. “Following the announcement we received hundreds of pleas from Palestinian refugee expatriates demanding that this humanitarian problem be rectified,” the statement said. Shahid warned of the implications of this decision for Palestinian refugees, including the inability to travel on various international airlines. “It will also result in the refugees’ inability to renew their residency permits abroad,” the group added, “which will cause a lot of confusion.”
MEMO 30 Oct — When US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in the Middle East last week, for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the senior diplomat had one clear stated goal: to restore ‘calm’ after several weeks of violence. Speaking last Thursday, Kerry stressed the need to “defuse the situation”, and spoke of the need for “parties…to move to a de-escalation.” Other recent diplomatic efforts, and media reports, have used a similar kind of language. It is unclear when exactly this ‘calm’ ended. Many start their timeline with October 1, while other chronologies begin in September, including the confrontations between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. So let’s go back instead to August, and examine what ‘calm’ looks like for Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. What follows is a (partial) snapshot of a typical month.
During August, 3 Palestinians were killed, all civilians, and a further 195 were injured, also all civilians and 35 of whom were children. During the same time period, there were no Israeli fatalities, and 20 Israelis were injured, of whom 9 were civilians. In the West Bank, Israeli occupation forces conducted 254 raids on Palestinian communities – an average of eight per day, every day – and arrested some 380 Palestinians. Dozens had their detention extended, and 33 administrative detention orders were issued. August also saw Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allaan’s hunger-strike take him to death’s door, as he fell into a coma after refusing food for 65 days in protest at his detention without trial (Allaan’s detention was suspended, only for him to be later re-detained). Israeli settlers carried out at least 18 attacks that led to either Palestinian casualties or damage to their property and land (or both), including an attack on a Palestinian vehicle, an assault on a Palestinian near Nablus, and arson attacks on Palestinian village land and a public park. August also saw, in the words of the UN, “the highest number of Palestinian structures demolished by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) in a single month in five years.” Israel demolished 145 structures in the OPT over the course of the month, displacing more than 200 Palestinians. 126 of those displaced were children. In one instance, Israeli forces “left 127 men, women and children without shelter in 42-degree-Celsius heat.” (continued)
ICC issues first report on war crimes in Palestinian-Israeli conflict
JPost 12 Nov by Yonah Jeremy Bob, Ro Yeger — The International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s Office released its annual report on Thursday, including its first preliminary report regarding alleged war crimes committed by Israelis and Palestinians since June 2014. Its greatest focus is on Operation Protective Edge in July-August 2014. Although there have been rumors for months of informal Israeli cooperation with ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, and the government has publicly stayed quiet on the issue, the report states that Israel has been formally cooperating since July 9. The Foreign and Justice ministries did not have official comments, but a senior Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post that “Israel has an engagement with the ICC over competence issues.” “Competence” is a code word for trying to convince the ICC that there is no state of “Palestine” and that the ICC cannot investigate IDF personnel, because the IDF’s own investigations of its personnel meet international law standards. (continued)
Israel stakes claim to Golan after oil find
NAZARETH, Israel (MEE) 13 Nov by Jonathan Cook — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took advantage of a private meeting this week with Barack Obama – their first in 13 months – to raise the possibility of dismembering Syria. According to Israeli officials, Netanyahu indicated that Washington should give its belated blessing to Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria during the 1967 war. Sources close to the talks told the Haaretz daily Netanyahu claimed that Syria was no longer a functioning state, allowing “for different thinking”. Since 2011 the government of Bashar al-Assad has faced off against rebel factions that include al-Qaeda-affiliated groups and the Islamic State (IS). On Wednesday an unnamed White House official confirmed that Netanyahu had raised the matter. The official said: “I think the president didn’t think it warranted an answer. It wasn’t clear how serious he [Netanyahu] was about it.” However, it appears Netanyahu’s comments to Obama are part of a coordinated effort by Israeli officials over several months to shift thinking in Washington. The day before Netanyahu’s meeting at the White House, Michael Oren, Israel’s former ambassador to the US, published a commentary on CNN’s website urging Obama to consider Israeli sovereignty over the Golan . . . Last month Afek, an Israeli subsidiary of Genie Energy, a US oil company, announced that it had found considerable reserves of oil under the Golan. Genie’s chief geologist in Israel, Yuval Bartov, said the company believed the reservoir had the “potential of billions of barrels”. International law experts say any proceeds from such a find in the Golan should revert to Syria, but Israel has so far indicated it will ignore its legal obligations.
Netanyahu says no immediate way forward for Mideast peace
WASHINGTON (AFP) 11 Nov — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on a visit to Washington, voiced pessimism about the prospect of peace with the Palestinians, suggesting the current stalemate was likely to remain in place . . . “Any deal, or any arrangement, unilateral or negotiated, must have Israel maintain the ability to defend itself by itself against threat, including from territories that are ceded,” Netanyahu said. “That’s the most important provision,” he added. “That is something that I don’t see the Palestinians accepting now.” . . . When a question came from the audience about Jerusalem — another key point in any agreements envisaged in the past — Netanyahu motioned that he did not want to broach the matter. “There the question of Jerusalem and specifically the Temple Mount, I think it’s insoluble. I just don’t see right now a solution for that,” Netanyahu said in reference to Palestinians who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. “I think it has to remain under Israeli sovereignty, and that’s the only way to prevent this from exploding.”
Israeli PM’s Spain visit may reopen Gaza flotilla case
MADRID 13 Nov by Kristoff Saunders — A Spanish judge has ordered police to notify him as soon as Israeli premier and six other Israeli former and serving officials enter the country since it may lead to reopening of the Mavi Marmara flotilla case, Spanish media outlets said Friday. According to Spanish newswire Efe, Judge José de la Mata ordered Spanish police and civil guard to inform him whenever Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ex-premier Ehud Barak, ex-foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, ex-interior minister Eli Yishai, Knesset member Benny Begin and Israeli naval commander Eliezer Marom enter Spain “since their visit could reopen a case filed against them in Spain for the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010”. In June, the same national court judge had advised the Spanish government to submit the case of the 2010 Israeli attack on the Turkish-flagged aid flotilla to Gaza to the International Criminal Court. The judge was forced to close the investigation into the case of the Israeli commandos’ attack on the flotilla due to Spain’s legislative reforms in March 2014, which restricted the courts’ powers in international trials. Two Spanish activists and a journalist, who were on the Mavi Marmara and then detained by Israeli authorities, had filed a case against Netanyahu, and six other officials, accusing them of illegal arrest, torture and deportation.
Convicted spy Jonathan Pollard to be set free after 30 years
WASHINGTON (AP) 13 Nov by Eric Tucker — Jonathan Pollard, the Navy intelligence analyst whose 1985 arrest for selling secrets to Israel set off a sensational spy saga, is scheduled to be released from federal prison next week, marking the end of a three-decade diplomatic burr in the relationship between the two allies. Pollard, 61, had been serving a life sentence, but was granted parole this year under sentencing rules in place at the time of his prosecution that made him presumptively eligible for release this month. Although the decision from the U.S. Parole Commission came around the same time as a sharp disagreement between the U.S. and the Israeli governments over a nuclear deal with Iran, officials from both countries have denied the release was in any way tied to that arrangement, or was intended as a concession to Israel. The release, scheduled for next Friday, caps a case that divided public opinion in Israel and America and has been a periodic source of legal and diplomatic wrangling between the two countries.
U of Illinois settles with professor fired for tweets about Gaza
Democracy Now 13 Nov — University of Illinois has agreed to a $875,000 financial settlement with Professor Steven Salaita. Salaita’s job offer for a tenured position at the Urbana-Champaign campus was withdrawn last year after he posted tweets harshly critical of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. Salaita’s case caused a firestorm, with thousands of academics signing petitions calling for Salaita’s reinstatement and the American Association of University Professors calling the school’s actions “inimical to academic freedom and due process.” In August, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise resigned after she was implicated in a scandal that involved attempting to hide emails detailing Salaita’s ouster. In a statement, Salaita said: “This settlement is a vindication for me, but more importantly, it is a victory for academic freedom and the First Amendment.”