Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Shooting in Gush Etzion: 1 Palestinian, 2 Jews killed; Palestinian death toll rises to 91
IMEMC 20 Nov — The Palestinian military liaison (D.C.O.) has received the body of Shadi Zuhdi ‘Arafa, aged 28, from Hebron who was shot dead by Israeli forces [last night, Thursday], at Gush Etzion junction. According to Hebron-based reporter Bassam Shweiki, the soldiers invaded the home of Mohammad Abdul-Baset al-Hroub, in Beit ‘Awwa town, south of Hebron, violently searched it and caused excessive damage, while kidnapping one Palestinian. The army claims that al-Hroub carried out an attack which led to the death of two Israeli settlers in the Etzion area, Thursday evening. The two Israelis who were killed by live fire were identified, by Israeli media, as “an 18-year-old American citizen [Ezra Schwartz] and 49-year-old Yaakov Don.” . . . ‘Arafa was said to be, merely by coincidence, near the place where a Palestinian gunman fired at Israeli settlers, hitting more than 10 of them and killing two of them, upon which Israeli soldiers began to shoot randomly towards Palestinian vehicles. Israeli media said that, after the initial bullets were fired, the suspect “continued driving and rammed into another vehicle”, opening fire again before being shot. An Israeli spokesperson claimed, at first, that “the perpetrators” were three Palestinians; one of them was killed while “it seems”, she said, one of them was taken into custody after being injured, while the third drove away in his car. According to Shweiki, the Israelis claimed that the gunman exited a vehicle occupied by Palestinian resistance members and, afterward, fled with the car, while ‘Arafa was shot while in his car, and then removed from it by the soldiers. Shweiki points out that the move was obviously a blunder on the part of the military, as they immediately handed his body over to the D.C.O., knowing that he was not a part of the incident.
5 killed, several wounded in Tel Aviv, West Bank terror attacks
Haaretz 19 Nov by Chaim Levinson, Yaniv Kubovich & Gili Cohen — Three people were killed and five others were wounded in a shooting and car ramming attack in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank on Thursday afternoon, just a few hours after a stabbing attack killed two in Tel Aviv. The assailants in both incidents were detained.
According to initial details, a Palestinian motorist armed with an Uzi submachine gun opened fire toward cars near the settlement of Alon Shvut around 4:35 P.M., killing three people. He continued driving toward Gush Etzion Junction, where he lost control of the vehicle, ramming into another car. He was then arrested. An 18-year-old American yeshiva student, Ezra Schwartz, and a 24-year-old Palestinian, Shadi ‘Arafa of Hebron, were pronounced dead on the scene. [It is unclear who shot him, the Palestinian assailant or Israeli forces.] A 51-year-old Jewish Israeli man, Yaacov Don of Alon Shvut, died of his wounds at the Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center. Five people were lightly wounded in the attack, including American nationals, according to some reports. It was initially suspected that the Palestinian killed in the attack was an assailant as well.
Earlier, two people were killed and one was wounded in a stabbing attack on Ben Tzvi Road in Tel Aviv on Thursday afternoon. The two were identified as Reuven Aviram, 51, a resident of Ramla, and Aharon Yesayev, 32, a resident of Holon. The wounded individual is in moderate condition. The Palestinian assailant was lightly wounded and is in custody. At least some of the victims were reportedly in prayer at the time they were assaulted. . . . According to a Magen David Adom rescue services spokesperson, the stabbing occurred near the entrance to the Panorama Building in southern Tel Aviv. The assailant was overpowered by a civilian in the area and then taken into custody by a traffic policeman in the storeroom of a shoe store. After launching a search for a second suspect, police confirmed the assailant acted alone. The 36-year-old assailant, a Palestinian from the West Bank town of Dura near Hebron identified as Riad Mahmoud Al-Masalma, received a permit to enter Israel approximately a month ago. He had been working at a local Bukharan restaurant. He told police investigators he entered in order to attack and kill Jews. He had no prior record of security-related offenses, the Shin Bet security service said.
Palestinian shot last week during clashes dies from injuries
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — A Palestinian man died on Thursday evening from wounds sustained in clashes last week in Ramallah’s al-Bireh city, medics said. Mahmoud Said Ulayyan, 20, was shot in the head during clashes with Israeli forces on Nov. 11 during a demonstration to mark the anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat. Ulayyan was moved to a hospital in Jerusalem for treatment before returning to the Ramallah governmental hospital Wednesday evening. The reason for his transfer is unknown. He is from the village of ‘Anata in East Jerusalem and was a senior nursing student at the Modern College in Ramallah.
Last week, large rallies were held in Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and other West Bank cities to commemorate the late president’s death in 2004, with crowds of people waving Palestinian flags and carrying portraits of Arafat. In al-Bireh, Israeli forces shot and injured more than 70 Palestinian youths with live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets, including Ulayyan, during clashes in the al-Balou area in the northern part of the city.
Thousands attend funeral of Palestinian who died from gunshot wounds
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Thousands of Palestinians on Friday marched in the funeral of Mahmoud Said Ulayyan, 20, who died after he was shot in the head during clashes in the al-Bireh area of the Ramallah district. Mourners gathered at a mosque in the village of ‘Anata northeast of Jerusalem before heading to the village cemetery to lay Ulayyan to rest, locals said. A spokesperson of the Fatah movement, Thaer Fasfous, told Ma‘an that Ulayyan was given a military funeral. Participants raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans in support of Palestinians who have been killed by Israel. Fasfous added that clashes erupted at the entrance of ‘Anata following the march.
Hundreds attend funeral of Palestinian killed in Gush Etzion
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Hundreds of Palestinian mourners marched in Hebron on Friday for the funeral of Shadi ‘Arafa, who was killed a day earlier in a shooting attack in Gush Etzion. ‘Arafa’s body was carried by mourners along Ein Sara street towards the al-Shuhada cemetery as the crowd shouted “God is Great” and slogans calling for national unity. Israeli authorities delivered Arafa’s body to the Palestinian Authority late Thursday, the liaison office said. Official Palestinian sources said that ‘Arafa, from Hebron, was killed by Israeli forces who opened fire during the shooting attack. Israeli sources say he was killed along with two other, Israeli victims when a Palestinian gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon.
Health Ministry: ‘233 Palestinians injured on Friday, 118 of them with live fire’
IMEMC 21 Nov by Saed Bannoura — The Ministry stated that 118 Palestinians were shot with live Israeli army fire, 60 Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, including 41 who received treatment by local medics without the need for hospitalization; many suffered fractures and bruises after being assaulted by the soldiers . . . Among the wounded, 29 Palestinians were shot with live rounds, two with rubber-coated steel bullets and were moved to several hospitals in the Ramallah and al-Biereh District, in addition to 13 Palestinians who were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and received treatment by medics without the need for hospitalization. In the Hebron district, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, 51 Palestinians were shot with live rounds in the lower parts of their bodies, six with rubber-coated steel bullets and many suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. In Bethlehem, two were shot with live rounds, and one with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the neck, and were moved to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, while ten others were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and received treatment by local medics, in addition to one who suffered fractures and bruises after the soldiers assaulted him. . . .
In the Gaza Strip, 33 Palestinians were shot with live rounds, one with a rubber-coated steel bullet, and one suffered a fracture in his arm after being shot with a gas bomb.
Israeli soldiers attack the weekly nonviolent protest in Bil‘in
IMEMC 21 Nov by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements in Bil‘in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, wounding four persons. The army also invaded Silwad town, east of Ramallah, and Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron. The protesters, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, marched from the center of Bil‘in, marking the Universal Children’s Day, and demanding protection to the Palestinian people, living under illegal Israeli occupation, especially the children as they are frequently targeted by the soldiers. As the protesters marched, chanting against the occupation, the illegal colonies, the Apartheid Wall and the ongoing Israeli military escalation, the soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at them when they reached Palestinian orchards in the ath-Thaher area. The soldiers chased the protesters in the orchards, until the entrance of the village, but were unable to kidnap any of them. Clashes took place between the soldiers and local youths in the village; medical sources said four protesters were injured, and many suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation . . . In Hebron, the soldiers handed a child, identified as Obada Sami al-‘Allami, only 11 years of age, a military warrant for interrogation in the Etzion military base. The army invaded his family home in Beit Ummar town, north Hebron, and searched the property before summing the child for interrogation.
Palestinian teen shot, seriously injured during Abu Dis clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Israeli forces shot and seriously injured a Palestinian teenager on Thursday during clashes in Abu Dis, a local official said. Hani Halabiya, spokesperson of a the local popular resistance committees, told Ma‘an that an unidentified teenager was shot twice in the stomach and pelvis by Israeli forces during clashes. The clashes had broken out between youths and Israeli forces near a military post by Abu Dis in East Jerusalem . . . Located just four kilometers from East Jerusalem’s Old City, Abu Dis is now cut off from the city following the construction of Israel’s separation wall. In the West Bank, UN Office for Humanitarian affairs reported that the total number of Palestinian injuries from Oct. 1 to Nov. 9 alone had far surpassed the total number injured during the whole of 2014.
Israeli forces raid Bethlehem-area refugee camp, injure 2
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov – Israeli forces on Thursday shot and injured two young Palestinian men in Duheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem during a dawn arrest raid, locals said. Locals told Ma‘an that large numbers of Israeli soldiers stormed the southern West Bank camp, ransacking more than 20 homes before detaining 22-year-old Muhammad Nidal Abu Akar. In response to the incursion, young men and teenagers living in the camp hurled stones and improvised explosive devices at the soldiers, who deployed heavily in the streets and on rooftops of buildings. Israeli soldiers showered the camp and the main street leading to Bethlehem with tear gas and fired live ammunition at the protesters, hitting two in the feet, according to locals. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers also fired gunshots at security guards of an UNRWA-affiliated school near the main road.
Israeli military fires tear gas at school in Hebron’s Old City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Palestinian schoolchildren on Thursday were prevented from accessing their school after Israeli forces covered an area south of Hebron’s Old City with teargas and Skunk water, locals said. The area surrounding the Tariq Ibn Zaid school in the occupied West Bank city erupted after the Israeli army said a Palestinian hurled a tear gas canister at Abu a-Reesh military checkpoint, Israeli media reported. Two Israeli soldiers reportedly suffered from tear gas inhalation, and one soldier sustained minor wounds after being hit by shrapnel from an improvised explosive device hurled by a Palestinian towards the checkpoint, the reports said. Israeli forces then fired tear gas and foul-smelling Skunk water into the surrounding Palestinian area, according to locals. Palestinian medical sources said several schoolchildren suffered from tear gas inhalation after attempting to reach the school.
Israel suspends 1,200 Palestinian entry permits in wake of deadly Tel Aviv terror attack
Haaretz 20 Nov by Gili Cohen — Decision does not apply to work permits, even though stabbing that claimed lives of two was perpetrated by Palestinian who was authorized to seek employment in Israel — Israel on Friday suspended the entry permits of 1,200 Palestinians from the Hebron region pending the completion an investigation into a terror attack that killed two people in Tel Aviv on Thursday. The decision applies to permits granting Palestinians entry to Israel, but not to permits issued for work or medical treatment purposes. There are some 14,000 Palestinians in the Hebron region who have permits to enter Israel. On Thursday, a Palestinian resident of a village near Hebron entered a commercial building in south Tel Aviv and attacked a group of men reciting an afternoon prayer. Reuven Aviram, 51, and Aharon Yesaev, 32, were killed in the attack. The assailant, Raed Mahmoud Al-Masalma, 36, from the village of Dura, received a work permit this week and was employed at a restaurant near the site of the attack. According to the Shin Bet, he did not have a security background.
Settlers throw stones, spray racist graffiti in Ramallah village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli settlers raided the Palestinian village of al-Mazra‘a al-Qabalia northwest of Ramallah overnight Thursday and threw rocks at a home in the village before spraying racist graffiti on the walls. The Times of Israel news site reported that “Death to Arabs” was written in Hebrew and several windows of another home were broken by rocks. Israeli police have said they are investigating the incident.
Police raid east Jerusalem Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance office
JPost 18 Nov by Daniel K. Eisenbud — Less than a week after Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics allegedly refused to treat Rabbi Ya’akov Litman and his teenage son Netanel after they were mortally wounded in the West Bank, police on Tuesday night raided the east Jerusalem office of the emergency medical service. Last Friday afternoon, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a van carrying Litman, his wife, three daughters aged 5, 9, and 11, and two sons, aged 16 and 18. The family was on its way to a pre-wedding Shabbat celebration for a fourth daughter outside Otniel, south of Hebron. Litman, 40, and Netanel, 18, died at the side of the road waiting for Magen David Adom paramedics to arrive, when the Palestinian ambulance passed by without stopping to aid the dying father and son, his wife, Noa, said. Noa and her four other children were lightly wounded by shrapnel and the resulting crash, but were not shot. The PRC denied the claim in a message on its website. While police spokeswoman Luba Samri acknowledged that the raid took place at the Silwan office, she did not provide further details. It remains unclear whether any arrests were made and, if so, what the suspects are being charged with. One day after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the International Committee of the Red Cross, which is affiliated with PRC, explain why the Palestinian medics refused to help the family.
Update: 41 Palestinians kidnapped in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 18 Nov — The Israeli army and police forces, on Wednesday, abducted at least 41 Palestinians, including minors, during predawn raids and searches in various West Bank districts, according to security sources and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS). [Names of villages and of those detained as well as other information follow.]
Israeli forces arrest senior Hamas member in West Bank
ABNA 19 Nov — The Israeli military has detained a high-ranking member of the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, amid ongoing tensions in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli troopers stormed the house of Omar Barghouti Abu Asef in the northern occupied West Bank village of Kobar, located 13 kilometers (8.1 miles) northwest of Ramallah, early on Wednesday and arrested his two sons, Asef and Saleh. Clashes then broke out between Israeli troops and the young residents of Kober as the situation escalated. Israeli soldiers fired live rounds as well as tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters. The 62-year-old Hamas figure turned himself in early on Thursday after Israeli troops threatened to detain his wife as well, according to the report. He was taken to an unknown location. According to his family, Barghouthi recently had a cardiac catheterization, and was about to undergo a liver surgery.
Israeli forces detain 14-year-old for allegedly carrying knife
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 Nov – Israeli forces on Wednesday detained a 14-year-old Palestinian at a military checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City, the mosque director said. Munthir Abu al-Feilat told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers stopped the teen and took him into custody after they said he was carrying a knife. The forces ordered the teen to remove his clothes before transferring him to an Israeli police station by the mosque, al-Feilat said.
Report: ‘Israel kidnapped 1,000 children in less than two months’
IMEMC 19 Nov — A statement issued by the head of the Research and Documentation Department at the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, and a member of its follow-up committee in the Gaza Strip, Abdul-Nasser Ferwana, called on the international community to act in protecting Palestinian children facing ongoing Israeli violations. In his statement, Ferwana said the Palestinian children are increasingly subject to escalating Israeli violations, and called for ensuring the release of all imprisoned children, in addition to guaranteeing their continued freedom. His statements were marking the Universal Children’s Day (November 20) . . . “Since Israel invaded the Palestinian territories, it began treating the children as ‘delayed time bombs, that would detonate when they grow up,’ and this both confiscated their immunity and assassinated their innocent childhood,” Ferwana said. “Their young age was ignored, and they were stripped of their rights; this led to the death and arrest of thousands of children.” “Since Israel occupied the rest of Palestine in 1967, the army has kidnapped thousands of children, including more than 12.000 who were kidnapped since the Al-Aqsa Intifada began on September 28, 2000,” Ferwana stated. “A record high of child abductions was reached since the Al-Quds Intifada began on October 1, 2015, as the Israeli army has kidnapped more than 1,000 children. Many of them are even under the age of 14, and at least 400 of them are still imprisoned.” (Continued)
Closures / Checkpoints
Israeli forces close several main roads in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli forces closed several main roads in the Nablus district on Friday until further notice for alleged security purposes, Palestinian security sources said. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that they were informed by Israeli authorities of the decision to shut the main entrances of the villages of Burin, ‘Awarta, Osarin, and ‘Aqraba. The entrances were closed at 10 a.m. and will be closed indefinitely due to the “deterioration of the security situation,” the sources added. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had also placed large dirt mounds across another road leading into Burin as well as a main road inside of ‘Awarta.
Israeli forces close northern entrance of Bethlehem-area village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Israeli forces on Thursday closed the northern entrance of the Palestinian town of Zaatara east of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, locals said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces put earth mounds at the Ras al-Wadi entrance leading into the village, restricting the movement of vehicles and pedestrians and forcing locals to use alternative routes. Earlier Thursday, the Israeli army told Ma‘an that three Palestinians carrying knives in their bags attempted to enter an Israeli military base near Teqoa settlement, which lies to the south of Zaatara. An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the Zaatara road closure. Israeli forces regularly restrict the movement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank with fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians, and various other physical obstructions.
Demonstrators protest checkpoints, closures in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — Israeli forces detained an 11-year-old Palestinian boy in East Jerusalem on Wednesday as local residents protested against a checkpoint set-up in a Palestinian neighborhood a month ago, witnesses said. Nour Jameel Ghaith, 11, was arrested after Israeli police assaulted a group of students in the al-Thawri area of Silwan. He was taken to the Oz police station for interrogation, local activist Amjad Abu Assab told Ma‘an. Earlier, Palestinian and Israeli activists marched near a checkpoint in the al-Suwana neighborhood which was set up at the entrance to the area a month ago amid increasing restrictions on Palestinian residents. Demonstrators chanted slogans in Arabic and Hebrew to protest the closure of Palestinian neighborhoods and the extra deployment of Israeli forces. Protesters also held signs reading: “No to closures, No to Checkpoints, No to soldiers on the streets.” Cement blocks were set up in the al-Suwana neighborhood in October, delaying the movement of people and cars from the neighborhood, located near al-Tur village. Roads leading into Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem were sealed off in October as the Israeli leadership attempted to deter ongoing attacks in the area. An Amnesty International worker Wednesday referred to measures taken by Israeli authorities in the area as “the collective punishment of thousands of people.”
New apps help Palestinians navigate checkpoints
QALANDIYA CHECKPOINT, Palestine (AP) 19 Nov by Areej Hasboun — A pair of new mobile apps hopes to help Palestinians navigate their way around snarled traffic at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, offering a high-tech response to an intractable problem: constant, burdensome and often seemingly random restrictions on movement. “Azmeh,” which means crisis in Arabic, and “Qalandiya,” the name of a major Israeli checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, join a slew of other global traffic apps, including the Israeli-developed Waze. What sets the two Palestinian apps apart is how they go beyond daily rush hour traffic and touch at the heart of a central Palestinian criticism of Israeli occupation. They are designed to run on slow local networks – a necessity because Israel has not granted Palestinian telecommunication companies swifter 3G access. The free apps, launched over the last month, are still in their infancy, with only a few hundred downloads each. But as they grow in popularity, their developers say the crowdsourced apps present a partial solution to the jams that checkpoints cause, and they hope will catch on with drivers.
Israeli forces raid home of Tel Aviv attacker, issue demolition order
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Israeli forces on Thursday evening raided the home of a Palestinian who reportedly carried out a stabbing attack in Tel Aviv earlier that day which killed two Israelis, witnesses said. Sources close to the family of one of the suspected attackers, Raed Masalma, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the suspect’s home hours after the attack and informed the family that their house would be demolished after searching the property and questioning his wife. Israeli soldiers initially told the family they would demolish the home within an hour of the search raid, but were then told the demolition would take place at a later time, locals said. Masalma is married and has five children. The family lives in Dura village in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron.
Local committee to fix homes damaged during Nablus demolitions
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — Over 50 Palestinian homes in Nablus that were damaged during demolitions carried out by Israeli forces are expected to be refurbished by a local committee. The local committee said it would fund refurbishments to the homes, which received structural damage when Israel last week demolished homes belonging to Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks on Israelis. The decision came after the committee held an emergency meeting to discuss ongoing Israeli military assaults in the Nablus district. During the meeting the Nablus municipality agreed to remove the wreckage of the demolished buildings and the governor’s office said it would pay for accommodations for families whose houses have become structurally unsound. Attendees of the emergency meeting urged the Palestinian government to rebuild the homes belonging to attackers that were completely destroyed. Last week, the Nablus homes of Yahia Haj Hamed, Samir Zahir Kusa, and Kerem Lutfi Razek were demolished. 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 . . . Despite pledges by the Israeli government to Israel’s supreme court to do “everything in its power to prevent damage to adjacent units” during demolitions, Israeli rights group B’Tselem regularly documents damage to neighboring homes.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli officer gets community service for brutal assault on US teen
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — An Israeli border policeman responsible for brutally assaulting a Palestinian-American teenager last year has escaped a jail sentence,Israeli media reported Wednesday, instead receiving six weeks of community service. Tarek Abu Khdeir, 15, was severely beaten by masked Israeli police officers last summer in the Shu‘fat neighborhood of East Jerusalem amid clashes following news that his cousin, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and burned alive by Jewish extremists. Video footage capturing the beating emerged later that evening and went viral as word spread that Tarek was an American citizen.
Muhammad, 16, had been kidnapped and burned alive by suspected Jewish extremists two days prior. The Israeli policeman who repeatedly beat and kicked Tarek in his head, face, shoulders, and upper body was given the six-week verdict Tuesday despite the prosecution’s request for a seven-month sentence in prison, Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Israeli Judge Dana Cohen-Lekac considered “mitigating circumstances such as the policeman’s lack of a criminal record, positive character references and the fact that the policeman lost his job after the incident,” when making the decision.
No justice for Tariq Abu Khdeir — even US State Dep’t faults Israel’s ‘accountability’
Mondoweiss 19 Nov by Annie Robbins — Update: The State Department has sharply criticized the Israeli handling of the Tariq Abu Khdeir case. Spokesperson John Kirby: We were disappointed to learn that the Israeli police officer who severely beat American teenager Tariq Abu Khdeir in July of 2014 was spared prison time by an Israeli court yesterday. Given the clear evidence captured on videotape of the excessive use of force, it is difficult to see how this sentence would promote full accountability for the actions of the police officer in this case. We understand there is a possibility for the Israeli state prosecutor to appeal the decision, and we’re going to continue to follow that closely, as you might expect. I’ll just state again, the safety, security, and protection of American citizens overseas is of paramount importance for this Administration, and we have demonstrated repeatedly – we’ve demonstrated that repeatedly in cases all over the globe.
Israeli prosecutors issue indictment for teenage Palestinian attacker
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli prosecutors have presented an indictment for murder against a Palestinian teenager who stabbed an Israeli security guard on a light rail train in Jerusalem on Nov. 10. Muawiya Alqam, 14, was accused of attempted murder and possession of a knife after the attack on the security guard. Israeli police said the teenager confessed during questioning that his motive to carry out a stabbing attack was ‘revenge’ after a relative of his was killed by Israeli forces while also attempting to carry out an attack. Muawiya told police he left his home on the day of the attack carrying a kitchen knife and met up with his 11-year-old cousin Ali. The two cousins agreed that they wanted to stab a soldier, and boarded the light rail train before agreeing to attack the security guard instead. Ali was shot three times during the attack, and underwent surgery to remove a bullet from his stomach. Video footage of the incident shows Ali and his cousin Ahmad Ali sitting in a light rail carriage before one pulls out a knife and stabs a security guard. The Israeli security guard was moderately wounded.
Israel extends detention of Palestinian kidnapped in hospital raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — An Israeli court in Ashkelon has extended the detention of an injured Palestinian kidnapped from a hospital in Hebron on Nov. 12 by undercover Israeli forces. A lawyer from the Prisoners’ Affairs Committee told Ma‘an that the detention of Azzam Shalaldah, 20, was extended by eight days for further interrogation. Last week his detention was extended by five days. The court also extended the detention of Jalal al-Sharawneh, 17, for five days and Muhammad al-Shalaldeh for five days. Al-Sharawneh was allegedly shot in the leg by an Israeli settler at the beginning of October and was “released from the hospital prematurely” and transferred to an Israeli jail, only to then be transferred back to the hospital after his condition had deteriorated. In October, the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement that the Israeli Prison Service had been intentionally transferring Palestinian prisoners from civilian hospitals back to jails before completing their treatments.
Palestinian faces 30 days in administrative detention for Facebook post
IMEMC/Agencies 18 Nov — The Nazareth District Court issued, Wednesday, a 30-day Administrative Detention order against a young Palestinian citizen for a Facebook post that appeared to be suicidal, but explained by Israel as an “intent to carry out an attack.” The District Court, following an order from Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, issued a 30-day Administrative Detention order against the young man, identified as Ahmad Jawamees, on suspicion that he “is thinking about harming Jewish citizens.” The Court said “there is no sufficient evidence that he intended to harm anybody,” and that he expressed sorrow for his post; therefore “a decision was made to hold him imprisoned for thirty days under Administrative Detention.” (without charges) The Israeli Internal Security claims the young man intended to harm Jewish Israelis, without offering him any psychological support, although he could be facing issues or certain conditions that might make him suicidal. Last Thursday, November 12, the Israeli army kidnapped Tamara Abu Laban, only 14 years of age, from her family home in the at-Tour town in occupied Jerusalem, for Facebook posts that Israeli considered to be “incitement.” On October 18, and on October 10, the Israeli Police abducted Anas al-Khatib, in addition to an activist and poet, Darin Tatour, both members of the National Democratic Assembly, for writing social media posts that was also regarded to be “incitement.”
Palestinian schoolchildren appeal to IOA to restore their bags
RAMALLAH (PIC) 20 Nov — Some 230 Palestinian schoolchildren have appealed to the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) to restore the bags of which they were robbed right after their detention in early October. Head of the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) in al-Khalil, Amjad al-Najar, said in a press statement: “Scores of newly released children, along with their families, appealed to the PPS to retrieve their bags.” “We’ve got used to appeals to restore prisoners’ money, IDs, or mobile devices. But the day has come when children are demanding their schoolbags,” al-Najar stated. He spoke out against the personal and intellectual repercussions of such Israeli policies on the children’s psyche and career. He further warned of the arbitrary interrogation summonses frequently issued by the IOA against Palestinian children and the prerequisite to have those very children handed to Israeli investigation centers by their parents. “The intent is just as clear as daylight: The IOA aims at distorting image of the father and mother as their child’s source of protection and bulletproof vest,” he said, calling on Palestinian families to never yield in to such malevolent schemes.
When the IDF doesn’t pursue justice, the cycle of death continues
Haaretz 20 Nov by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — How does the Israel Defense Forces learn lessons, and how does its system of justice go about bringing to trial soldiers who kill someone for no reason in order to try to prevent the recurrence of criminal acts? Answer: It doesn’t. The result is that the cycle continues, unbroken, sometimes with harrowing similarities, as is evident in the West Bank village of Budrus. In January 2013, IDF soldiers killed a 16-year-old high-school student, Samir Awad. He had gone down to a section of the separation barrier near his school, a definitive act of courage among the village children. He was shot in the leg from an ambush organized by four soldiers concealed amid prickly pear cactuses. When the wounded youth tried to escape, he was shot again, from behind, and killed. One live bullet struck Samir in the head, another in the back. The story of his shocking death resonated to some extent in Israel. One IDF officer even told Haaretz that the incident was “not good.” The military prosecution launched an investigation. Nearly three years passed and, as usual, nothing came of it. But earlier this month, the High Court of Justice, in response to a petition submitted by the teen’s family and the B’Tselem human rights organization, ruled that the two soldiers suspected of having carried out the killing must be placed on trial before the end of this year. It was decided by the Military Advocate General that they will be charged with the ridiculous offenses of “rashness and carelessness with firearms.” In the view of B’Tselem, “the disparity between the gravity of the soldiers’ actions and the lightness of the [charges] is incomprehensible.” Even less comprehensible is that last Friday, soldiers killed a young man from the same village, in exactly the same place, under appallingly similar circumstances, with the same intolerably light finger on the trigger. Twenty-two year-old Lafi Awad was shot in the leg, tried to escape and was then shot in the back at close range. Like Samir, he was killed; like Samir, he was unarmed and posed no danger to the soldiers as he tried to run for his life. (Continued)
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel orders demolition in Jordan Valley village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Israeli authorities on Tuesday issued evacuation orders for makeshift housing structures and tents at the site of a previous housing demolition in the Jordan Valley, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said in a statement. In August, Israeli forces demolished 17 structures in Fasayil village, leaving 48 people homeless, including 31 minors, B’Tselem documented. Following the initial demolition, nearly all the families stayed in the area, setting up tents and other makeshift housing structures, with the assistance of humanitarian organizations. During a visit to the encampment on Tuesday, Israeli authorities told residents that they had to evacuate the area within a week. They said that if they do not vacate the area within a week, all structures built since the demolition that took place in August will be demolished. The evacuation will leave 46 of the original 48 people who lost their homes in August with nowhere to go. Thirty-one of the 46 residents are minors. According to B’Tselem, most of the families whose homes were demolished in August had already had their previous homes demolished in 2014.
Barrier to separate Beit Jala residents from their lands, laying groundwork for annexing settlement
B’Tselem 12 Nov — In August 2015, Israel’s Ministry of Defense renewed construction work on the Separation Barrier near the Palestinian town of Beit Jala in the West Bank. Doing so disregards the legal proceedings on the matter still underway, and creates permanent facts on the ground. The section of the barrier now under construction will separate the residents of Beit Jala from their privately owned farmland in the Cremisan Valley, although farming that land is an indispensable source of income. Also, the Cremisan valley is one of the last green patches left in the Bethlehem District and serves as a recreation area for the locals. In addition, there are two Salesian monasteries in the valley: the Cremisan Monastery, where monks make wine and olive oil from nearby vineyards and groves, and the women’s monastery, which offers educational services to hundreds of local children. By completing this section of the barrier, Israel will effectively annex large swathes of land. At present, the barrier is being built along a route approximately 1.2 kilometer long, with a gap some 225 meters wide near the monasteries. After a prolonged legal battle that has lasted almost nine years, the residents of Beit Jala and the monasteries are now awaiting a ruling by Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) on the matter. (Continued)
Israeli forces open fire at Gaza’s al-Maghazi refugee camp
GAZA (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — Israeli forces on Wednesday opened fire at Palestinians east of al-Maghazi refugee camp in the Gaza Strip near the Israeli border, local sources said. Local sources said Israeli forces opened live fire at Palestinian lands and houses in the camp, but that the fire did not result in any injuries. An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond for comment, and it is unknown if there were protests or clashes in the area at the time. On Tuesday, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth with live fire in central Gaza’s al-Bureij refugee camp, the site of frequent clashes with Israeli forces in recent weeks. Meanwhile, forces also opened fire at Palestinian fishermen on Tuesday, near the Beit Lahiya coast in the northern Strip, damaging fishing nets but causing no injuries.
Egyptian army contaminates Palestinian soil on Gaza border
MEMO 20 Nov by Motasem A. Dalloul — EXCLUSIVE IMAGES — Walking along the Palestine-Egypt border between the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula nowadays is a dangerous adventure. You might, for example, fall deep underground in a hole made by the seawater pumped into the area by the Egyptian army. Huge water pipes have been installed along the border and the seawater is pumped through in order, it is claimed, to “destroy the smuggling tunnels” which are allegedly used by terrorists to attack Egyptian soldiers in Sinai. Such tunnels are, in fact, known widely as Gaza’s “lifeline”, used to smuggle basic necessities in order to break the Israeli-led siege of the enclave since 2007 . . . Abu-Lo’ai, the owner of a tunnel, spoke to MEMO on condition of anonymity. He said that his tunnel is still undamaged, but he has suspended its use and sent the workers away. “I feel it is dangerous because another tunnel, just 15 metres away from mine, was flooded with seawater and large parts of it were damaged. I am afraid that today, tomorrow or after tomorrow the water will affect my tunnel.” He spoke about dozens of tunnels which were filled completely with seawater and either partially or completely damaged . . . The problem that Abu-Lo’ai is afraid of is that the soil might become unstable and this could cause landslides. Engineer Usama Abu-Nqirah, the Director of the Environment and Hygiene Department in the municipality of Rafah, has similar concerns. He said that there were a number of landslides and warned of more if the seawater continues to be pumped in. “There were only a couple of landslides, but there are dozens of cracks along the border and the ground is expected to subside, making huge holes if more and more water is used,” he explained. Abu-Nqirah also warned that soil instability jeopardises residential buildings in the area as there is a lot of subsidence just metres away from a large building in the city. (Continued)
Who decides where the bombs fall in Gaza?
Times of Israel 20 Nov by Judah Ari Gross — The IDF’s Fire Command Center pulls together intel and recommendations from across the army to pinpoint targets for strikes — When Israel’s southern communities are hit by rocket fire, as they were on Tuesday evening, the IDF is called upon to respond to the attack and strike targets in the Gaza Strip to deter future assaults. But who picks those targets? Who decides how and where to strike? Who weighs the possible risk to civilians versus the potential gains in a given operation? The Times of Israel spoke this week with the operations officer of the unit that coordinates these actions — Major Reut of the Southern Command’s Fire Command Center (due to the sensitive nature of her position, Reut can only be identified by her first name). The Fire Command Center works with “anyone you can think of,” Major Reut explained, including Military Intelligence, the Israeli Air Force, the Israel Navy and the Artillery Corps, in order to identify targets and determine the best way of hitting them — by sea, by air, or from the ground. (Continued)
In Gaza, medical permits linked to intelligence gathering
GAZA CITY (Al Jazeera America) 19 Nov by Jen Marlowe — Thousands apply for permission to leave Gaza every year, and those who are rejected say they are never told why — Ramzi Kamal remembers his one encounter with an Israel Security Agency (ISA) officer at Erez crossing, the only passenger terminal between Gaza and Israel. It was early 2014, and he was in urgent need of ear surgery that could not be performed in Gaza. Kamal, a soft-spoken 31-year-old Palestinian plumber (whose name has been changed for his protection, along with those of several other sources), applied to the Israeli military for a permit to exit Gaza in order to have the surgery in East Jerusalem. In June he was instructed to report to Erez for a security interview without being offered a reason. Kamal arrived at the crossing and, after being strip-searched, was led underground to an ISA officer for his interview. The initial questions were about his work. As a plumber, he must have been inside the homes of Hamas members — what did he see there? Who participated in Hamas military parades? Kamal insisted that he had seen nothing and knew nothing. “I want to treat you, to make the surgery,” the ISA officer said. “If you serve the state of Israel, the state of Israel will serve you.” After more questioning, during which Kamal maintained he knew nothing, the ISA officer abruptly denied him a permit to cross. The pain in his ear has increased since then, and the infection has spread. He has repeatedly reapplied for a permit, and in August, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)–Israel took his case to an Israeli court. His case was denied in early October, and his requests were rejected. The reason given was security, but he has a different explanation. “Because I didn’t speak,” he said . . . Most patients interrogated at Erez leave after several hours. But some, like 25-year-old Mahmoud Issa (not his real name) endure a much longer ordeal. Issa, from the Beach refugee camp, was approved to travel to East Jerusalem for testicular surgery. Instead of receiving medical care, he was imprisoned for a month. His ordeal began when he arrived at Erez and, rather than crossing as expected, he was sent for investigation. He remembers four men ripping off his trousers. They told him to remove the bloody bandage over his private parts so they could inspect the aftermath of a previous failed surgery. “I was in shock, and I was in pain,” he said. “I know of many people who had been investigated, but I hadn’t heard that they did this.” After seven hours of questioning, Israeli officers cuffed his hands and feet, blindfolded him and transported him to a prison in the nearby city of Ashkelon. Issa was interrogated for 10 days, during which time his testicle became infected and swollen . . . He was then taken back to the investigation room. “We can help you get surgery and treatment,” Issa recalled the officers saying. In exchange, they wanted him to take photographs for them. He refused. The following day, he was taken back to Erez and allowed to go home — but not to East Jerusalem for surgery.
Gaza’s child workers bear the brunt of a blockaded, failing economy
GAZA CITY (Haaretz) 19 Nov by Matthew Vickery — Many children in the Palestinian territory forgo school to help feed their families; ahead of Universal Children’s Day, Haaretz spoke with four of them — . . . Name: Jihad Suboh Age: 7 Occupation: Rubble collector: Jihad leans against the family donkey, exhausted, his eyes closed as he takes a 10-second break before straightening up and walking back to join his two brothers picking up broken bricks and concrete from the ground. Jihad is only 7, but he already works between six and eight hours a day collecting rubble from buildings destroyed in the 2014 war. With a disabled father, Jihad and his two brothers, Wissam, 11, and Abed, 13, are the family’s breadwinners. “We have to work,” Jihad says with palpable fatigue. “This is our life.” Barefoot, he kneels in a wasteland littered with rubble and rubbish. He seems to avoid looking at the road as schoolchildren, many of them around his age, walk past in their matching uniforms, talking loudly and playing games. “This is the work of death,” says Abed. After collecting four carts’ worth of rubble, the brothers sell their gleanings to a construction company for between 15 shekels and 20 shekels ($4 to $5). Each earns about 1 shekel an hour for his backbreaking work. Their family’s home has no furniture, and there is no bathroom. It’s a struggle to put together a daily meal. “My father can’t work, and we have no money. I make money and I give it to my mother for food at home. It is good to help. We have to,” says Jihad. (continued)
Israel lets Gazans export furniture, but not import wood to make it
Haaretz 6 Nov by Jack Khoury — Woodworkers in the Strip say the ban, which Israel says was spurred by the use of boards in Hamas tunnels, will close 80 percent of Gaza’s carpentry shops — Israel recently announced that it will permit exports of furniture from the Gaza Strip. But since it still bars the entry into the Palestinian territory of the boards used in making this furniture, critics say the decision is largely irrelevant. In September the army’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories announced that for the first time since 2007, Israel would allow furniture, steel and textiles made in Gaza to be exported to Israel and the West Bank. COGAT said the decision was meant to guarantee stability in the Strip by improving its economy and reducing unemployment. But in April Israel prohibited the entry into Gaza of wooden boards thicker than 5 centimeters, and in August the restriction was extended to boards thicker than 1 cm. Israel says the ban is necessary because Hamas has used such panels as substitutes for scarce cement in rebuilding its tunnel network. Palestinians reject this claim, arguing that enough cement has been allowed into Gaza over the last year to build dozens of tunnels. (Continued)
Israel preventing Gaza woman from attending own wedding
+972 19 Nov by Edo Konrad — According to the Israeli army, Palestinians from Gaza can attend a relative’s wedding — just not their own — The Israeli army is denying a 23-year-old Palestinian woman from traveling through Israel to reach her own wedding ceremony in Jordan. According to Israeli human rights group Gisha, the petitioner has been engaged to her fiancé — a Palestinian from Gaza with Spanish citizenship — for the past year and a half. Their wedding date has been delayed twice already due to fact that Israel will not let her leave the Gaza Strip, the second time after the couple had already sent out the invitations. The woman, as well as her future in-laws, have attempted to coordinate leaving from Gaza through Rafah Crossing to Egypt, but the crossing has been mostly closed for the past year and a half and the line for a visa to pass through is some 17,000-people-long, according to Gisha. The Israeli army rejected the woman’s previous exit permit applications on the grounds that she “does not meet the criteria.” According to the government’s own criteria, Palestinians may request exit permits only in exceptional humanitarian cases, including to attend the wedding or funeral of a first-degree relative — but not their own. Gisha filed a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice Thursday on behalf of the woman and her future in-laws.
Video: Life as a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital
BBC News 20 Nov — At the age of 27, Azza Jadalla has already lived through six wars – three in the past seven years alone. She is a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa. Every day she deals with fall-out of the on-going conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas. Living in a place with a failing economy means she faces daily electricity and supply shortages at work. “Sometime we go for two or three months without pay,” she says. “But this doesn’t make me want to do my job any less, because it’s not the patient’s fault.” Despite her dedication and due to shortages in Gaza, there is often only so much Ms Jadalla can do for her patients. For one patient Abdul (name has been changed), who is suffering from leukaemia, the only option for further treatment is outside Gaza.
Restaurants on the rise in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 17 Nov by Iyad Qatrawi — The increasing number of new restaurants is apparent in the streets of Gaza City. At a time when political and economic conditions have led to a scarcity of investment opportunities, the restaurant industry seems to have become a new opportunity for investors in the Gaza Strip. Al-Monitor noticed, during a tour of various restaurants in Gaza City, how they have reached a professional level of customer service. Rizk al-Helou, the director of the Department of Tourism at the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism, told Al-Monitor in this regard, “When foreigners visit the Gaza Strip, they are surprised by the modern and sophisticated entertainment venues, restaurants and cafes, and by the service provided to customers. There are many success stories and it is considered a great breakthrough in this industry.” The scene looks unfamiliar in a city whose name is linked to war and siege. Compared with other countries, restaurants have only recently proliferated in Gaza. Restaurant owners have little to no experience in this industry, and thus those investing in this sector have relied on people with experience in operating and managing restaurants. Yet despite all this, many people are frequenting these restaurants. (Continued)
Why cemetery-dwelling Gazans fear the living, not the dead
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 19 Nov by Mohammed Othman — Life is hard for the children living in the Sheikh Shaaban cemetery in central Gaza City. They were born here, among the dead, and their home is between the graves. The smiles on their faces hide fearful stories. The cemetery sprawls over two large areas. The eastern and western sides are split by an asphalt street that runs through Gaza City. Signs of misery mark the faces of the children playing among the graves. Although they are all under 12, they look much older. Around 22 families live in the cemetery, amounting to over 150 people, the majority children and elderly. Mohammed, a 10-year-old in a school uniform, mistook us for a charitable institution. As soon as he spotted us he said, “Write down my father’s name so we would get aid. We don’t have food at home and the rain has entered the house.” Mohammed and his peers wait for a deceased person’s family to come bury them in the cemetery, or for a family to visit their dead. The children rush to offer help, such as bringing water for the flowers on the graves, in return for a shekel or two (20 to 50 cents) . . . “We do not fear the dead; they do not hurt us and they are peaceful neighbors,” he continued. “They welcomed us among them. We hang our laundry between their tombstones, while our children play at their graves and they do not complain. We do, however, fear the living. We fear the drug dealers and alcoholics who take refuge in the cemetery.” (Continued)
Gaza man shocked after being wrongly identified as Paris attacker
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — A young man from the Gaza Strip has spoken of his shock after being falsely accused of being one of the IS militants involved in the Paris attacks on Friday, which killed over 130 people. Sami Abu Rus, a journalism student at Al-Aqsa University, told Ma‘an that he was shocked after seeing his image posted online by Islamic State media groups praising him as one of the “lions” who attacked Paris. Abu Rus, who resides in al-Nuseirat refugee camp, said he has never left the Gaza Strip and only found out that his photo had been used after being told by friends. He initially dismissed it as a joke, before his photo was also published by a site affiliated with IS. The young man said his family was outraged that he was identified as one of the attackers and immediately denied the accusations and condemned the attacks, saying they had no relation to Islam.
“My family and I condemn terrorist attacks against civilians”, Abu Rus said. One of the photos of Abu Rus appeared in the Egyptian al-Wattan newspaper and other Egyptian media, while IS-affiliated media published two of his photos. He said he believes they were taken from his Facebook page, or another social media group.
Note that not all events in the area can be reported in this newslist. For more detailed compilations consult PCHR’s weekly reports
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (12-18 Nov 2015)
PCHR-Gaza 19 Nov — Israeli forces have escalated the use of excessive force against peaceful protests in the oPt. 7 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed in the West Bank. One of them was killed by Israeli undercover agents ‘Most‘arebeen’ at al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron. 93 Palestinian civilians, including a child, a woman and 5 journalists, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli forces put into force the house demolition policy on grounds of collective punishment. 5 houses were bombed and other neighbouring houses sustained large damage. Israeli forces conducted 77 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 111 Palestinian civilians, including 38 children, were arrested. 36 of them, including 22 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. . . . [Details of these and other events follow – reported hour after hour, day after day]
Israeli forces close 2nd Hebron radio station this month
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 21 Nov — Israeli forces issued an order for the closure of a Hebron radio station Saturday morning, the second news outlet to be shut by Israel this month in the occupied West Bank city. Director of Al-Khalil Radio (Hebron Radio), Amjad Shawar, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed the station, confiscating equipment and damaging offices. Intelligence officers then delivered a military warrant ordering the station to close for six months due to “incitement against Israel.” Shawar said the Palestinian Authority — namely the Ministry of Information — should work alongside human rights organizations to “stop ongoing Israeli piracy.” The Israeli army confirmed that military forces, in operation with Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, and civil administration, confiscated broadcasting equipment from the station. “The al-Khalil radio station has repeatedly broadcasted content which promotes and encourages terror and acts of violence against Israeli civilians and security forces,” the army said in a statement. The closure marks the latest violation of press freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territory. Earlier this month, Israeli forces ordered the closure and ban on broadcasting from Manbar al-Hurriyya (Freedom Tribune) radio station, also located in Hebron and reportedly affiliated with Fatah. The incident came a day after a Palestinian press freedoms watchdog condemned more than 450 violations of media freedoms since the beginning of the year.
Decision to outlaw Islamic Movement criminalizes thousands
Haaretz 18 Nov by Aeyal Gross — There is no evidence that the northern branch was involved in terrorist activities; banning the organization will serve to radicalize Israeli Arabs — . . . When these authorities are still provided for, they should, as in any case when the regime violates basic rights, only be exercised when there is solid evidence of a danger to state and public security. In this case it is violating freedom of assembly, freedom of political expression and probably freedom of religion. This is especially important in light of the declaration’s serious repercussions. Anyone who belongs to an outlawed organization, acts on its behalf, holds a job in it, does any work for it, attends one of its meetings or possesses one of its books, periodicals, fliers or any other publication may be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. In addition to all this, anyone in possession of organization property must inform the finance minister, who is authorized to confiscate it. (Continued)
Germany criticizes Israel’s East Jerusalem settlement plans
BERLIN (Reuters) 19 Nov – Germany on Thursday strongly criticized Israel’s plans to push ahead with the building of hundreds of new settlements in East Jerusalem, saying it would undermine efforts to peacefully resolve the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the marketing of land for the construction of 454 homes in two East Jerusalem settlements on Tuesday, an official said, including in Ramat Shlomo, territory Palestinians want for a future state. The United States has also harshly criticized the decision . . . In unusually strong language, Germany, which has forged especially close relations with Israel in the decades since the Holocaust, said Netanyahu’s plans ran counter to peace efforts. “The plans of the Israeli government to press ahead with the building of settlements in Ramat Shlomo undermine efforts to achieve a peaceful solution of the Middle East conflict,” a foreign ministry spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.
What’s the difference between habbeh and intifada?
Al-Monitor 18 Nov by Daoud Kuttab — Palestinians and Arabs are still unsure about what to call the protest activities that began on the eve of the Jewish New Year on Sept. 13, 2015. Since then, 89 Palestinians and 12 Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers have been killed and many more injured. After the 1987 first intifada and the 2000 second intifada, it has taken pundits and politicians some time to decide whether what we are witnessing today is a full-blown uprising, or intifada in Palestinian terminology, or simply short, popular outbursts of protests, what Palestinians call “habbeh jamaherieh” in Arabic. The differences have followed the split within the Palestinian movement with pro-Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas media and politicians calling it habbeh, while pro-Hamas leaders and media are calling it an Al-Quds intifada or Al-Aqsa intifada. Mohammad Omar, a leading Jordanian media expert and the editor of the Pan-Arab website Al-Bawaba, told Al-Monitor that it is hard to differentiate between the two terms. “What is accepted throughout the Arab world is that the habbeh, or outburst, is usually a reaction, is short winded and doesn’t usually include unified effort,” he explained. (Continued)
Israel agrees to 3G mobile network in West Bank
AP 19 Nov — In move meant to promote economic development, Israel signs agreement to upgrade Palestinian cell service to 3G, except in Gaza — Israel has signed an agreement granting Palestinian mobile phone carriers 3G high-speed data services in the West Bank. It’s unclear when the measure will go into effect. Palestinians have had 2G access since 1998. Israeli Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai and Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh signed an agreement on 3G service on Thursday. The agreement will not extend 3G frequencies to the Gaza Strip, nor will it allow for 4G data transmission. Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says it’s meant to facilitate economic development. Under interim peace agreements, Israeli authorities control cellular networks in the West Bank.
EU delegation meets with PA to discuss Gaza reconstruction
GAZA (Ma‘an) 18 Nov — Palestinian Authority officials on Wednesday met with the European Union’s delegation to the West Bank and Gaza Strip to discuss Gaza’s reconstruction effort, the Minister of Public Works and Housing said. Mufid al-Hasayna said the PA asked EU countries “to keep their promises” concerning Gaza’s reconstruction following Israel’s 2014 Gaza offensive. The delegation met with the PA following a trip into Gaza earlier that morning.
Netanyahu ‘overreacted’ by waging war against Hamas last year, Sanders says
JPost 19 Nov — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “overreacted” by launching Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli military offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip last summer, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders told Rolling Stone magazine. Sanders, the Brooklyn-born liberal senator from Vermont, was asked which policy his administration would adopt as it relates to the Middle East. “The United States will support the security of Israel, help Israel fight terrorist attacks against that country and maintain its independence,” the Jewish senator said. “But under my administration, the United States will maintain an even-handed approach to the area.” “I believe in a two-state solution, where Israel has security and the Palestinians have a state of their own,” he told Rolling Stone. “The United States has got to work with the Palestinian people in improving their standard of living, which is now a disaster, and has been made much worse since the war in Gaza.”
Netanyahu reportedly asking US to release Pollard to Israel
JERUSALEM (AP) 19 Nov by Daniella Cheslow — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked the United States to allow convicted spy Jonathan Pollard to return immediately to Israel upon his upcoming release from a federal prison, a pro-government Israeli newspaper reported Thursday. According to the Israel Hayom daily, Netanyahu has been lobbying Washington to let Pollard travel to Israel instead of completing his five years’ parole in the United States. A spokesman for Netanyahu would not confirm the report. The three-decade imprisonment in the U.S. of Pollard, 61, has been a source of diplomatic tension between the two allies. He has been serving a life sentence but was granted parole this year under sentencing rules at the time of his prosecution. He is expected to be released on Friday from a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina. Education Minister Naftali Bennet praised Pollard as a hero Thursday, even as Netanyahu instructed officials to keep quiet over the sensitive issue of the release. Under the terms of Pollard’s release, he is not allowed to leave the U.S. for five years.
Report: Israel has 115 nuclear warheads, 660kg of plutonium
Ynet 21 Nov — A report by the Institute For Science and International Security (ISIS) released last week claims Israel has 115 nuclear warheads and some 660 kg of plutonium. Israel has never confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons under a policy of ambiguity aimed at deterring longtime Arab and Muslim adversaries. The report, written by institute founder David Albright, is based largely on information leaked by Mordechai Vanunu in 1986, as well as intelligence reports, media reports and other research. In his report, Albright reviews Israel’s alleged nuclear activities at the Dimona nuclear reactor which started, he claims, shortly before the 1967 Six-Day War . . . “Israel has a wide range of delivery vehicles for its nuclear weapons. With French assistance in the 1960s, Israel developed the nuclear-capable Jericho ballistic missile. It has developed several improved missiles since then on its own, as well as nuclear-capable cruise missiles. It also has aircraft that can deliver nuclear weapons. It may have the capability to launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from its submarines.”
Two men temporarily kept off US flight after speaking Arabic
NEW YORK (AFP) 21 Nov – Two men were kept from boarding a flight from Chicago to Philadelphia this week because they were speaking Arabic, one of several incidents reflecting public paranoia since the Paris attacks. Maher Khalil and Anas Ayyad were told by a gate agent at Midway Airport on Thursday that they wouldn’t be allowed on the plane because a fellow passenger had overheard them speaking Arabic — and was afraid to fly with them. The two friends reportedly of Palestinian origin and in their late 20s, were eventually allowed on the Southwest flight, but only after being questioned by airport security and police, who Khalil told the local NBC television affiliate he had called himself. Once on board, Khalil said some passengers made him open a white box he was carrying — filled, it turns out, with sweets. “So I shared my baklava with them,” he was quoted as saying. Similar incidents have reportedly taken place on other US domestic flights in the wake of last week’s attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people, which were claimed by Islamic State extremists.