PA: Israel’s torture of Palestinian prisoner ‘unfathomable’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — The Palestinian Authority’s department of prisoners’ affairs on Monday alleged that Israeli forces tortured a Palestinian prisoner charged with attempting to stab an Israeli soldier. Legal affairs director Louay Akka said Palestinian prisoner Wasim Marouf was covered with 28 cigarette burns on his hands, chest and back. Akka became aware of Marouf’s injuries while visiting Ofer prison where the man is being held. Akka condemned Marouf’s treatment, calling his injuries “unfathomable,” and those responsible “criminal.” “I don’t know the nature of the directives or training [the Israeli guards] must have received to become this brutal,” Akka said. Marouf also suffers from epilepsy, mental illness, and gangrene on the right side of his body. Recently, Marouf underwent surgery to have a diseased kidney removed. Prisoners’ rights group Addameer has long reported that treatment of Palestinian detainees by Israeli forces tantamount to torture is “widespread and systematic.”
PA: 520 Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention
RAMMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Dec – The Palestinian Authority Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said Monday that Israel is now holding some 520 Palestinian prisoners under administrative detention without trial or charge. The head of the committee, Issa Qaraqe, told Ma‘an that among the administrative detainees were five children and two members of Palestine’s parliament, the Palestinian Legislative Council. He identified the children as Baseer al-Atrash, Muhammad Sharif Abu Turkey, Muhammad Ghaith, Khazem Subaih, and Fadi Abbasi. The MPs in Israeli custody are Muhammad Jamal al-Natshah and Hassan Yousef. Yousef has been imprisoned by Israel on multiple occasions in the past, and was most recently released from Israeli custody in June after spending a year without trial or charge. The latest number is up from around 370 administrative detainees before a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory at the beginning of October.
Israel sentences Palestinian MP Khalida Jarrar to 15 months in jail
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — An Israeli military court on Sunday sentenced Palestinian lawmaker Khalida Jarrar to 15 months in jail, her political party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said. The PFLP described the court decision as “tyrannical and part of the ongoing Israeli terrorism against the Palestinian people.” The left-wing political party said it does not recognize the authority of Israeli courts, which are “another tool of oppression by the Israeli occupation.” Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer said that Jarrar was sentenced on the charges of “membership of an illegal organization” and “incitement.” She was also fined 10,000 shekels ($2,582) and given a suspended sentence of 12 months within a five year period. “Addameer underlines that the information used against Mrs. Jarrar involved information as old as 2009, and that the fact that she was charged years later in 2015 indicates the arrest is a politically motivated one,” the group said. Jarrar, an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was detained on April 2 from her home in Ramallah and initially sentenced to six months’ administrative detention, although international pressure later forced the Israeli authorities to bring 12 charges against her, focused on her political activism.
Israeli court upholds re-sentencing of 7 Shalit deal prisoners
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Israel’s High Court on Thursday rejected an appeal against the re-sentencing of seven Palestinian prisoners previously released in the 2011 Galit Shalit prisoner exchange deal, the head of the Jerusalem prisoners’ families committee told Ma‘an. Amjad Abu Asab said the court upheld their reinstated life sentences after the seven men “violated their release conditions.” The prisoners were identified as Aladin al-Bazyan, 57, Jamal Abu Salih, 51, Adnan Maragha, 46, Naser Abed Rabbo, 48, Rajab al-Tahhan and Ismael Hijazi, all of whom are from Jerusalem, in addition to Nidal Zaloum, from Ramallah. All seven prisoners were re-detained during the summer of 2014 in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli settlers near Hebron. Abu Asab said that six of the men were sentenced to 40 year life sentences, while Maragha was given a 45 year life sentence. Abu Asab added that the families of the prisoners had initially received documents from Israeli police which stated that the prisoners were interrogated for “membership in a terrorist group,” and “violation of release conditions.”
PA launches international campaign to release imprisoned children
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — The Palestinian Authority announced on Wednesday the launch of an international campaign aiming to pressure the Israeli government to release child Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said in a statement. The Ministry of Education is sponsoring the campaign, entitled “Give Them Space to Learn and Play,” which will be launched across the occupied West Bank, the society said. As part of the project, Palestinian schoolchildren will write letters and come up with messages to send to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. The letters will focus on Israeli violations against Palestinian children, which have escalated since upheaval swept the region at the start of October. Since the start of October, Israeli forces have detained at least 2,044 Palestinians, 345 of which have been children, according to documentation by human rights group Addameer. Rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine found in July that in the first half of 2014, “86 percent of Palestinian children experienced some form of physical violence during their arrest or interrogation.”
Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Israeli forces kill young Palestinian man in Duheisha camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Israeli troops forces shot dead a young Palestinian man during a predawn detention raid into Duheisha refugee camp to the south of Bethlehem on Tuesday. Medics identified the Palestinian as 21-year-old Malik Akram Shahin. Witnesses said that he was “left bleeding for long before he was evacuated to the public hospital in Beit Jala, where medics pronounced him dead.” Medics said Shahin had been shot in the forehead, where the bullet remained lodged. Locals told Ma‘an that large numbers of Israeli forces stormed Duheisha camp in the early hours of Tuesday, detaining a number of local residents and delivering summons to others. As they broke into Palestinians’ homes, the soldiers reportedly fired live rounds, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades “indiscriminately” through the camp’s narrow alleys. Shortly after Shahin was shot dead, dozens of young men rallied in the camp in protest. A Bethlehem committee announced a halt to all business across the district and stores were closed. [probably fatality #117 – count varies somewhat]
Palestinian shot dead after stabbing Israeli in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — A young Palestinian man was shot dead after he allegedly stabbed and critically wounded an Israeli man near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City on Monday afternoon, Israeli and Palestinian sources said. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said Israeli Border Police shot the Palestinian after he stabbed an Israeli man in his 40s. The Israeli was evacuated to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem for medical treatment in critical condition. Locals identified the Palestinian as 21-year-old Ihab Fathi Miswadi. They said Israeli forces prevented Palestinian emergency services from reaching him to medical care after he was shot. The soldiers did not provide any medical care themselves, locals said.
Palestinian killed after alleged attack in Jerusalem; teen shot in back during West Bank clashes
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Dec — A Palestinian man was shot dead after he allegedly injured two Israelis in a stabbing attack in the center of Jerusalem, on Saturday night, according to Israeli police. An Israeli police spokesperson said that the Palestinian (later identified as Omar Yasser Skafi, 21 years old) was shot and killed after he allegedly hit one Israeli with his car, before stabbing another with a knife. He went on to say that both Israelis had been lightly injured . . . It was not initially clear whether the Palestinian was actually involved in this second injury [with the car], with Israeli newspaper Haaretz reporting that he appeared to have been “hit by a vehicle that passed by the scene as he was attempting to flee.” . . .
In related news, Israeli forces also shot and injured a Palestinian youth with live fire, on Sunday, during clashes in Beit Furik village, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, a member of a local committee said. Munadil Hanini, on the village’s central committee for the popular struggle, said that soldiers shot 18-year-old Muhammad Hamadna al-Imor in the back during clashes in the village, and took into Israeli custody four Palestinians from the area.
Palestinian man ‘killed in cold blood’ on day that claims 4 Palestinian lives
Mondoweiss 6 Dec by Annie Robbins — Friday was another deadly bloody day in Palestine. Israeli forces killed four Palestinians, two in Hebron [Taher Faisal Fannoun, 17, and his cousin Moustafa Fadel Fannoun, 15] and two outside illegal Israeli settlements near Ramallah. [One of those killed near Ramallah was Anas Bassem Hammad, 20, who allegedly rammed his car into a group of soldiers.] The third to die was Abed Rahman Barghouthi, 26, killed at the entrance of the Palestinian village of Aboud, adjacent to the settlement of Halamish. Witnesses told Ma‘an News Barghouthi was an American citizen who “recently arrived back from the US to get married, after getting engaged five months previously.” Update: A relative of Barghouthi in the United States tells Allison Deger that the victim was not a citizen, though he has many American connections. “My cousin is the martyr Abd el Rahman Barghouti. His sister was married to my brother for 10 years and I’m related to him from both sides of my family. Mondoweiss is reporting him as purportedly an American citizen, but only his sister is. His mother and father both hold resident alien cards. And his other brother is in Canada.” Barghouthi was given a military funeral which set off from the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah. Thousands of Palestinian mourners attended his funeral procession in Aboud on Saturday afternoon. Israel alleged Barghouthi was killed for stabbing a soldier . . . But residents tell an altogether different story and circumstances surrounding the event seem unusual. (Continued)
Another Palestinian youth shot dead for alleged stabbing in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Dec — Israeli police, on Thursday, shot dead a 21-year-old Palestinian from the city of Tulkarem, claiming he attempted to stab an Israeli policeman in al-Masrara area. Israeli police announced it had “neutralized” the [as yet unnamed] young man, who resides in al-Ubeidiya town. One police officer sustained moderate injuries said the police. WAFA correspondence said that hundreds of settlers gathered at the shooting scene, while police denied Palestinians’ access for a period of time.
Palestinian bystander shot at Hizma in critical condition
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — A Palestinian bystander hit by live fire during an alleged attack at an Israeli military checkpoint near Jerusalem earlier this week is still in critical condition, relatives said. Khalid Yacub abu Jibna, 47, was taken to the the intensive care unit of the Ein Kerem branch of Hadassah hospital when he was shot with live fire on Wednesday, Khalid’s brother Firas told Ma‘an. Israeli forces reportedly shot Jibna in the back when they opened fire on Mazin Hasan Ureiba, [an officer in the Palestinian Authority general intelligence service and a father of four,] who the army said shot an Israeli soldier near the Hizma checkpoint. The bullet settled in Jibna’s abdomen and required surgery for its removal, Firas added. Firas told Ma‘an that Israeli police called his mother and told her about what happened to Khalid following the incident. Jibna is a father of seven children and lives in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
Palestinian teen loses eye to stray Israeli fire
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Dec — 15-year-old Khalil Mohammed Ahmed Kiswani is now in the intensive care unit of Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, in Jerusalem, after an eye amputation. Kiswani was shot in his left eye with a rubber-coated metal bullet fired by Israeli forces during a raid on Shu‘fat refugee camp, last Wednesday. Kiswani’s family explained, according to Al Ray, that their child was shot after leaving school accompanied with his father. Kiswani sustained a brain hemorrhage and fractures to his skull, leading to the amputation of his left eye. The family said that their son has undergone four surgeries in recent days, as medics attempted to quell the internal bleeding which had occurred. Some 1,200 members of the Israeli army stormed into Shu‘fat last Wednesday to demolish the home of Ibrahim Akkari, provoking the outbreak of violent clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers.
Nineteen Palestinians injured in Tulkarem
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Dec — Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, several parts of the Palestinian Technical University, west of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and clashed with dozens of students, wounding 19, including six with live fire. The soldiers surrounded the university, and fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, during clashes with many Palestinians after the army invaded the campus . . . The Palestinians who were shot with live fire have been transferred to Thabet Thabet Hospital, in Tulkarem, and the rest received treatment by Red Crescent medics. The University, also known as Kadoorie, has been the subject of repeated Israeli military invasions and clashes, especially since the army has a base that was established on lands illegally confiscated from it.
Israeli forces assault two Palestinians in raid into Jenin Camp
JENIN (WAFA) 7 Dec – Israeli forces Monday afternoon assaulted two Palestinians as they raided Jenin refugee camp. Forces raided the northern West Bank camp, where they broke into and tampered with the contents of two houses. Forces then physically assaulted the homeowners identified as Ghadir Sharqawi, 45, and Muhammad al-Shalabi and briefly detained the latter for an hour. Both Sharqawi and al-Shalabi were rushed into a Jenin hospital for treatment.
Israeli forces tear gas Hebron schools, raid medical center
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — Dozens of Palestinian schoolchildren on Sunday suffered from severe tear gas inhalation in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, as Israeli forces fired the gas at multiple schools, the director of the PA Ministry of Education in Hebron said. Bassam Tahboub said Israeli forces “deliberately” fired tear gas at multiple schools in Hebron, adding that he and the ministry denounced Israel’s “provocative” actions against schoolchildren. The director of a health work committee in Hebron, Ramzi Abu Yousif, told Ma‘an that the children who were injured were taken to a nearby medical center. Yousif said Israeli forces raided the medical center while the children were receiving treatment for tear gas inhalation. During the raid, Israeli forces allegedly beat and detained a 14-year-old student identified as Muhammad Abd al-Hafith Murrar, Yousif said . . . Meanwhile, 30 other students suffering from severe tear gas inhalation in Hebron were evacuated to the emergency department at Muhammad Ali al-Muhtasib Hospital, medical sources at the hospital said.
Israeli forces detain 22 Palestinians across West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — Israeli forces detained at least 22 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank in predawn raids on Monday, including 10 alleged members of Hamas, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. At least six Palestinians were detained from their homes in the Hebron district, locals said, included three children from the town of Halhul to Hebron’s north. They were identified as brothers Laith and Ahmad Bajes al-Baw, 16 and 13 years old, and Rashid Ali Abu Asabah, 13, who is mute and deaf.
Palestinian teen jailed for six days on trumped-up charges
+972 Blog 7 Dec by Michael Salisbury-Corech — Ahmed sat in jail for six days after being accused of trying to attack soldiers with a knife. How many other Palestinians are sitting in jail because of planted evidence? — A Palestinian minor was released from military prison last Thursday after spending a week in detention on suspicion of carrying a knife and attempting to stab soldiers. Israeli soldiers stationed in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron said they saw the youth, Ahmed, walking around a military post with a knife with the intention of stabbing soldiers stationed there. After six days in detention, Ahmad was released with no conditions following several tests [including fingerprinting and DNA checking] that proved that he was not in possession of [the] knife. Ahmed was arrested last Friday along with nonviolent activist Issa Amro at the “Youth Against Settlements” community center, where young Palestinians come to learn Hebrew and English, as well as nonviolent tactics against the occupation and take part in video and photography workshops.
Video: Israeli soldier forces knife on Palestinian girl
EI 2 Dec by Ali Abunimah — A video has emerged apparently showing an Israeli soldier dropping a knife on the ground and forcing a terrified Palestinian girl to pick it up before she is arrested. The video was circulated widely in Palestinian media and on social networks on Tuesday, the same day that two more Palestinian teenagers were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces, who claimed that the youths had attempted to carry out stabbings . . . The Palestinian news outlet Donia Al-Watan said [click here to see the video if you can’t watch it on EI] the video was recorded by a Palestinian who witnessed the incident at an Israeli military checkpoint south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday. Several outlets identified the girl in the video as 14-year-old Sabreen Mujahid Sanad. The 3-minute video appears to have been filmed from a vehicle stopped at the checkpoint. At the beginning, a man in civilian clothes can be seen speaking to the girl next to a white truck. Israeli soldiers are standing nearby and giving orders to others. The girl is not restrained by the soldiers and walks toward the cab of the white truck. At 1:30, one of the soldiers throws what appears to be a knife onto the ground. The girl, with her arms raised near her chest, trembles. The soldier then appears to order her to bend down and pick up the knife. She kneels down and picks it up, and then appears to talk to the soldier as she holds it. As she kneels, a second soldier aims his weapon at her. A third soldier then approaches and leads her away with her hands behind her back. As with other similar incidents, the video has fueled widespread suspicions that many of the alleged stabbing attempts in which Palestinians were killed involved the planting of evidence.
PCHR Weekly Report: 9 Palestinians killed, 112 wounded by Israeli soldiers and settlers this week (26 Nov-2 Dec)
PCHR-Gaza 3 Dec — …the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. 9 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a young woman, were killed in the West Bank. One of them was killed by Israeli settlers. 112 Palestinian civilians, including 25 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli forces conducted 91 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 78 Palestinian civilians, including 19 children, were abducted. 9 of them, including 3 children, were abducted in occupied Jerusalem. FULL REPORT
Several arrested in connection with Dawabsha arson murder
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Dec — Several Israeli youths connected to Jewish extremist organizations have been arrested by Israeli forces for suspected involvement in a fatal arson attack on a Palestinian family in July, Shin Bet said on Thursday. An Israeli police spokeswoman for Arab media, Luba al-Samri, confirmed that police “recently arrested young men suspected of membership in a Jewish terrorist organization, and of carrying out different terrorist attacks.” “Specific suspicions are being examined about involvement in the abominable terrorist attack of torching the home of the Dawabsha family in the Palestinian town of Douma,” she added. The information about the arrests was released after a weeks-long gag order was partially lifted on investigations into those responsible for the murder of three members of the Dawabsha family in the Palestinian village of Douma outside of Nablus. All other information regarding the investigation is still under a gag order requested by the Israeli police.
PA, Israel in dispute over Dawabsha family medical bills
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Dec — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health on Thursday said it had been asked to pay the medical bills to treat members of the Dawabsha family after a deadly attack on their home by settlers in July, a claim denied by a senior Israeli official. The ministry issued a statement claiming that the Sheba Medical Center had demanded that the Palestinian ministry cover the medical bills of four-year-old Ahmad Dawabsha, the only surviving member of an arson attack which killed his 18-month-old baby brother and parents, Saad and Riham. On Oct. 25, the PA ministry received a bill from the medical center for 259,643 shekels ($67,000) to cover treatment of the Dawabsha family, including payments for a medical mask for Ahmad, which the ministry eventually paid for. Weeks earlier, on Oct. 6, the PA ministry said it received a bill for 216,754 shekels ($56,454) to pay for the treatment of Riham Dawabsha, who succumbed to her injuries on Sept. 7 after suffering burns to 90 percent of her body. The Dawabsha family has said since that by refusing to cover the medical bills, Israel is not applying its laws on terrorism which offer full coverage by the state for medical bills of the victims of such attacks. “It seems that financial bills in Israel are done faster than holding killers, who are not identified yet, accountable,” Samir Dawabsha, a spokesperson for the family, told Ma‘an Wednesday. “The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Health Ministry have expressed a willingness to pay the sum,” he added.
Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Yoav Mordechai, on Thursday denied the claims by the PA ministry, saying in a statement that Israel had not sought reimbursement from the family of medical bills of up to 1,900,000 shekels ($495,701). The senior Israeli official said that the Israeli government offered to cover all medical costs of the Dawabsha family, including four-year-old Ahmad, but that a lawyer for the family refused the offer, according to the Jerusalem Post. He also denied claims that the medical bills were deducted from tax revenues transferred to the PA every month, the report added, although he did not mention whether the hospital had asked the PA Ministry of Health to cover the medical bills. A spokesperson for the Sheba Medical Center could not be reached for comment.
Israeli forces prepare to demolish 3 Palestinian homes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — Israeli military forces on Monday and late Sunday raided the West Bank homes of several Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks on Israelis in preparation to demolish the properties, locals said. Israeli forces raided the home of Anas Hammad, 20, in the village of Silwad northeast of Ramallah on Monday and told family members that their home would be demolished. Hammad was shot dead on Friday after injuring two Israeli soldiers in an alleged vehicle attack near the illegal Ofra settlement. His friend, 14-year-old Orwa Hammad, was shot dead in the same area a year ago by an Israeli sniper. Overnight, Israeli forces raided two other homes in the Ramallah area in preparation to demolish them. In al-Mughayyir, Israeli forces raided the home of Faris al-Nisan, who is accused of undertaking a stabbing attack two months ago at the Zatara checkpoint in Nablus. Israeli forces also raided the home of Abdul Rahman al-Barghouthi, 26, in Abud village. He died from gunshot wounds to the neck and arm after being shot by Israeli military forces on Friday in the village, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish. Witnesses told Ma‘an following the attack that Barghouthi was a US citizen who had recently arrived back from the US to get married, after getting engaged five months previously. Israeli engineering units took measurements of the three homes in preparation to demolish them. The demolitions are a part of a series of punitive measures being carried out by the Israeli government to “deter” future attacks.
Home of Raghib Elawi demolished in Nablus, damaging surroundings severely
[with photos] NABLUS, Occupied Palestine 3 Dec by ISM, Huwwara Team — Wednesday night, at 1 am, Israeli forces came to the neighborhood of Dahia, in Nablus, to demolish the house of the family of Raghib Elawi, who was involved in the Itamar killings a month ago. Local witnesses say that around 300 jeeps entered Dahia and its surrounding areas to seal the area. Soldiers came in great number and started evacuating the neighboring houses at 1:30 am. They forced men, women and children out of their homes in the middle of the night with their guns pointed at them. Women complained that soldiers entered the houses without minding them not wearing their hijab, before being rushed out of their houses at gunpoint. All the families had to sit down and wait outside, in the cold, without talking. At around 4 am, the home of Raghib was demolished using explosives . . . Raghib’s apartment had been emptied when they received the warning for the demolition two days ago. Next to Raghib’s apartment was the home of his brother, living with his wife and three daughters. They had moved the furniture to the side to avoid it from being damaged from the explosion but the wall between the two brother’s apartments collapsed during the demolition, making both places inhabitable. Two families including 6 children now find themselves homeless . . . Raghib Elawi was accused of being involved on the 1st of October in the killing of two illegal Israeli settlers driving a car near Beit Furik. He was brutally arrested by Israeli forces in the night of the 4th of October while he was recovering from a surgery. The trial in his case still hasn’t taken place as the hearing was postponed, yet without being found guilty, his home has already been destroyed.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Only 7% of Jerusalem building permits go to Palestinian neighborhoods
Haaretz 7 Dec by Nir Hasson — ‘If anyone thinks the Palestinians’ frustration and rage are the result of incitement alone, the numbers and facts on the ground show otherwise,’ charges Jerusalem city councilor Laura Wharton — Only seven percent of the building permits issued in Jerusalem over the past few years have gone to Palestinian neighborhoods where 40 percent of the city’s population lives, according to statistics obtained by Haaretz. A careful examination of the data shows that the situation is even more dire. Of the 158 building permits issued to East Jerusalem neighborhoods this past year, more than two-thirds have been for the neighborhood of Beit Hanina, while only 51 permits were issued for all the rest of Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods. Last year, of the 3,238 building permits issued in Jerusalem, 188 were issued in Arab neighborhoods. Over the past five years, there have been 11,603 building permits issued, only 878 of which were for Palestinian neighborhoods. Data given to Jerusalem City Councilor Laura Wharton (Meretz) points to a sharp drop in the number of permits issued to Palestinians . . . The policy of the city administration and its head is to block not just any movement of Palestinians but also their ability to build and live normal lives. Two cities have been created here, one for Israelis, in which there is investment, and one for Palestinians who are strangulated.” (Continued)
Mayor of Israeli town threatened by irate residents over Arab housing project
Haaretz 7 Dec by Noa Shpigel — Some 200 Afula residents demonstrated at City Hall on Sunday to protest the fact that over 40 Arab families had won a tender to build homes in the northern city’s Young Afula neighborhood. Mayor Yitzhak Meron, who went out to speak to the demonstrators, was greeted with catcalls and curses. Police had to escort him back into the building as some of the protesters chased him, called him a traitor and a terrorist, and demanded he resign. The protesters waved Israeli flags and carried signs that read “Afula – fighting for our home,” and “The mayor has betrayed us, he wants to build a mosque.” . . . An associate of Meron’s told Haaretz that the mayor is against mixing populations and would prefer that Afula remain a Jewish city. “But in this case it’s something totally legal, done in a totally legal fashion, and there’s nothing to pursue when we know the outcome in advance.” The associate said Meron believes that any effort to contest the results of the tender would fail and be a waste of money.
WATCH: When your neighborhood is threatened with disappearance
Israeli Social TV 2 Dec — The residents of a Bedouin neighborhood in northern Israel are vowing to continue their public struggle against efforts to evacuate them from their land. Residents of Ramya, who live in tin shacks and sheds within the Galilee city of Karmiel, have been struggling for years against the attempt to uproot them from their homes. The state expropriated Ramya residents’ land in 1976, and their efforts to thwart evacuation have been going for decades. A recent decision by the Supreme Court once again leaves residents facing the danger of demolition and forced eviction.
Israel issues 7 ‘immediate’ demolition orders to Ramle-area village
LOD (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Israeli authorities on Monday delivered home demolition orders to seven families in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Dahmash between the cities of Lod and Ramle in central Israel, locals told Ma‘an. Arafat Ismail, the head of the village’s popular committee, said the demolition orders were delivered by officials from the Emek Lod regional council’s zoning and planning department, who arrived under Israeli police escort. The planning officials told the Bedouin families that the demolition orders had been issued decades ago, but were now to go into “immediate” effect. The demolition orders were briefly postponed earlier this month, on Dec. 1. Ismail said the families had unsuccessfully appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against the orders, pointing out that the Israeli state should have recognized the village following the recommendation of an Israeli border committee. The orders were issued just hours after Zuheir Bahlul, a Palestinian member of Israeli’s parliament, the Knesset, visited the village with the aim of forming an action plan to solve its “humanitarian case.”
Near Salfit, Palestinians try to save the last hill that is not yet occupied by a settlement
KAFR ADDIK, occupied Palestine 4 Dec by ISM with IWPS, Huwwara Team — On Friday 4th of December, around 50 locals from the villages of Kafr ad-Dik, Bruqin, Sarta and Biddya, in the Salfit governorate, gathered on a hill called Daher Sabbah, located between the four villages, in order to protest the occupation of their land by Israeli forces and settlers. The group had barely arrived, when the Israeli soldiers and border police came towards them and aggressively ordered them to go back where they came from. A first group of people had arrived earlier and managed to reach the top of the hill, but the second group wasn’t let through by the Israeli soldiers. After taking the keys to everyone’s cars, they eventually let the group be united on top of the hill. Locals sat peacefully on the hill and celebrated the morning prayer, guided by Sheikh Youssef Qa’oud, who also happened to own this land in earlier times. After the prayer, the group was urged to leave right away. “I am afraid of [for the?] young people”, explained the mayor, Jamal Ad’dik, a while later. Because this hill is far from villages and roads, it is hard to access if anyone is injured. “The soldiers who were here today, they wanted to make a problem. One mistake, they shoot. They were here to kill”, he added . . . “They want to deepen Israel in this area. Here it is only 19 kilometres wide”, affirms Fares. But if they can take this hill, then they will be able to open a large cut, a “finger”, as they call it, deep inside the West Bank, all the way to the Za‘atara checkpoint, which could, in the end, completely isolate the north from the south of the West Bank . . . One of the factors that explains Israel’s effort to take over land in the Salfit Governorate is that Kafr ad-Dik, Bruqin, Sarta and Biddya are standing on the second largest aquifer in historical Palestine. The water is exploited by Israeli water company Makarot (Continued)
Officials: Israel to confiscate 244 dunams of land in northern Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Israeli authorities have ruled to confiscate 244 dunams of land from the villages of Surif and al-Jabaa in the northern Hebron district, local officials told Ma‘an Thursday. The mayor of Surif, Muhammad Lati Ghneimat, said that the land is located in the al-Ghazal, Khillet Abu Ghneim, Deir Moussa, and Thahr al-Mansara areas in al-Jabaa village. “There are hundreds of olive trees planted in these lands that are very old belonging to the Ghneimat, al-Hur, Hmeidat and other families,” the mayor said. “As soon as we received the military orders from locals we informed specialized sides to legally follow-up on the case.” Israeli authorities issued the confiscation orders on Tuesday this week. Local officials say the confiscation of land in the villages is intended to expand the nearby Gush Etzion settlement bloc. The northern and western entrances of al-Jabaa will be closed following the orders, preventing local farmers from accessing the agricultural lands.
Hebron: Soldiers raid print shops, residential shacks, seize equipment (VIDEO)
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Dec — Israeli forces, at dawn on Sunday, stormed a number of print shops in Hebron, under the pretext of “incitement” against the Israeli occupation . . . Hebrew media claimed that Israeli soldiers took equipment from “Infinity” and “Lamasat” print shops, for supporting Hamas movement, and publishing incitement material. Soldier also broke into several offices, in a building located in the neighborhood of Bab Al-Zawiya, and confiscated computers, in addition to private files.
Also on Sunday, Israeli forces broke into the village of Tabban, east of Yatta town, also in the Hebron district, and removed the doors and windows of several tin shacks used as residential homes, according to local sources. Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in Hebron, told WAFA Palestinian News & Info Agency that an army force stormed the village in the morning and removed the doors and windows of multiple tin houses set up through international funding. The homes belong to two local families identified as Abu Obaid, and al-Hamamdeh. Forces further sized drilling equipment used for digging water wells. The village is part of Masafer Yatta, a collection of almost 19 hamlets to the south of Hebron which relies heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood. Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subject to repeated Israeli violations by settlers. Operation Colomba, Nonviolent Peace Crops, has reported on multiple violations by the Israeli authorities in the area, including house demolitions, demolition of animal barns and other health facilities.
EU statement on Area C demolitions
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Dec — It reads as follows, according to the PNN: The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah express deep concern, once again, at an increasing number of demolitions and confiscations of Palestinian structures in Area C in recent days. These include repeated demolitions and confiscations of human and animal shelters at Al Hadidiya in Tubas Governorate in late November and the dismantlement and confiscation of tents there on 3rd December. The latter were provided through the European Union in response to humanitarian need. In addition on 18th November, the community in Fasayil, already subject to demolitions in August, received verbal warnings of Israel’s intention to carry out further demolitions. All of the communities affected are herder communities mainly depending on livestock. They are particularly vulnerable, faced with homelessness, potential displacement and at risk, especially as winter approaches. The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah call on the Government of Israel to return the confiscated EU humanitarian assistance to the community in Al Hadidiya in order to ensure the community’s physical protection in its place of living ahead of the winter season. (Continued)
Israel delivers 12 demolition, stop-work notices in Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — Israeli forces on Monday delivered demolition notices and stop-work orders to 12 families in the al-Naqqar area of Qalqilya city in the northern occupied West Bank, local officials told Ma‘an. Rafe Rawajba, the governor of Qalqiliya, said that all the buildings that were given demolition or stop-work orders had been built with the necessary licenses, and the families had all gone through the necessary legal procedures to build. Rawajba said he believed the orders were a form of “collective punishment” against the people of Qalqiliya, adding that they were delivered following days of clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces in al-Naqqar.
Israeli authorities deliver stop-work orders in Beit Ummar
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — Israeli authorities on Sunday delivered four stop-work orders to Palestinians who were constructing homes in the West Bank town of Beit Ummar in northern Hebron, a local official told Ma‘an. A spokesperson for the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, Muhammad Awad, said that Israeli forces accompanied officials from the Israel’s Civil Administration into the village to issue the orders . . . A fourth stop-work order was handed to Yousif Abdul-Aziz Abu Ayyash, asking that he abandon a 3,000-square-meter apple grove belonging to him, Awad said. They also reportedly demanded that he remove from the land a shipping container he uses as a warehouse for his agricultural equipment. Awad said that Israeli forces had also detained a 50-year-old shepherd, Said Muhammad Audah Bahar, who was pasturing his sheep in the town’s Khallat al-Kitla district, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Karmei Zur. He was taken in a military jeep into the settlement, Awad said.
40 years of torture in a place where a Palestinian village and an Israeli settlement converge
Haaretz 7 Dec by Amira Hass — With a blue hummingbird flitting over a rock and carpets of yellow flowers, you could forget Hajj Sami’s pain, but only until you see the olives darkening on the trees, unpicked, and the overgrowth of thistles — . . . Hajj Sami explained that his property is trapped within the bounds of the settlement of Elkana. I found this hard to picture, so I promised to come and see for myself, in order to understand and write about it. In the meantime, October came along with its cycles of violence. He says that soldiers demanded several times that he leave his olive grove earlier than planned – before he and his wife had finished collecting all their olives. Last Thursday he called to say he was in Ramallah. “On Monday I was beaten in my grove,” he told me. I rushed over to meet him. He is a 61-year-old man wearing a large white skullcap and sporting a white beard. His eyes are green and slanted. There was a bandage under one eye, covering some cuts. While he was busy picking olives two Israelis showed up, demanding that he leave. They beat him with a club, he said. He fell and lost consciousness. When he woke up and saw the extent of his bleeding he crushed some olives and smeared oil on the wounds, then rode his donkey to the gate where he had to wait for the soldiers to unlock it (late again) . . . In his living room Hajj Sami related his woeful saga dating back to the establishment of Elkana in 1977, along with its land expropriation, construction of roads and fences, prohibitions, and more land grabs and more prohibitions. “These have been 40 years of torture,” he says. “And all I want to do is plow, clear dead brush, weed, remove stones and pick olives, grow vegetables and grains like I used to – to be on my land as I choose and as I desire.” (Continued)
Nisreen Azzeh continues to struggle after the death of her husband, Hashem Azzeh
AL-KHALIL, Occupied Palestine 6 Dec by ISM Al-Khalil Team — The 22nd of November, one month after the passing away of Palestinian activist and dear friend of the ISM, Hashem Azzeh, the team of al-Khalil (Hebron) visited his widow, Nisreen. While sitting in her living room, Nisreen explained how, after her husband’s death, everyday life for her and her family has only gotten worse. The Israeli army does not allow any visitors into the house. She also says that the army refers to them not by their actual names, but with numbers. 4 days before this conversation took place, Nisreen was coming back home to find the main access to the house closed . . . Since the main access to her home is now blocked, she is forced to use an alternative entrance where she must climb some very difficult rocks. Nisreen suffers from knee problems, and she can foresee that when the winter and the snow comes, this passageway will be very slippery, putting her in danger of falling. Both Nisreen and her brother-in-law are afraid of their children going out alone on the street. They are especially afraid for Raghad, Nisreen’s oldest daughter, who is 17, and her cousin, who is 19 years old. Because of their age, both of their parents are scared that the illegal Israeli settlers and Israeli army will shoot and kill them and place a knife next to their bodies, since this is what they have been doing, targeting youth of similar age, almost on a daily basis from the beginning of October. Read more about this here and here. Therefore, Raghad is not going out of the house alone, and she had to stop walking her youngest sister to school. Now her mother has taken on that task. Fear of settler violence is part of everyday life for the inhabitants of Al-Khalil (Hebron). Nisreen will never forget how she suffered two miscarriages due to settlers’ attacks. During the first miscarriage, she was three months pregnant; the second time, she was four months pregnant. (Continued)
Prisoners / Court actions
14 Palestinians missing in border tunnel after Egypt pumps in seawater
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Gazan Civil Defense rescue teams on Tuesday morning were battling to save the lives of 14 Palestinians who went missing inside a smuggling tunnel when Egyptian military forces flooded it with seawater. Muhammad al-Meidana, a Civil Defense official, told Ma‘an that rescue teams had been able to save the lives of seven tunnel workers, but that contact was lost with 14 others, who were now missing. Initial reports that the Civil Defense had established contact with these 14 workers turned out to be false.
Israeli navy detains 2 Palestinian fishermen off Gaza coast
GAZA (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Israeli naval forces on Tuesday detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza, local officials told Ma‘an. Naval forces also reportedly opened fire on fishing boats, although no injuries were reported.
Israeli launches airstrikes on northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Dec — Israeli military forces launched airstrikes on the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, targeting a training site used by Hamas’ military wing, locals and Israel’s army said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at the Tunis military training ground, reportedly used by the Al-Qassam Brigades, in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, causing noticeable material damage but no injuries. The Israeli army said it was responding to incidents of gunfire from the besieged enclave. On Friday and Sunday gunshots fired from Gaza caused damage to Israeli army vehicles patrolling the territory.
Army injures 52 Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 4 Dec — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, dozens of Palestinian protesters near various border areas, in the besieged and improvised Gaza Strip, wounding 47 with live rounds, and 5 with rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. The soldiers fired dozens of live rounds and gas bombs at scores of protesters, east of the Sheja‘eyya neighborhood, east of Gaza City, especially close to the Nahal ‘Oz Israeli military base, across the border fence, wounding 15 Palestinians with live rounds. Medical sources at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza said the wounded suffered moderate injuries. In addition, 32 Palestinians were shot with live rounds; one of them suffered a serious injury, while five Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and many suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, in clashes that took place with the soldiers, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The soldiers also fired many gas bombs targeting homes in the al-Farahin area, east of Khan Younis.
Gaza: Elderly woman shot, critically injured by Israeli forces
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Dec — Israeli forces shot an elderly Palestinian woman in the neck, on Wednesday, near al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, a spokesperson for the Gaza-based Ministry of Health said. Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an News Agency that an elderly woman was hit with a live bullet in the neck, and was evacuated to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital in critical condition. Though clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces have been common in area east of al-Bureij camp, it is unclear whether the woman was shot during such clashes.
Egypt re-seals border with Gaza Strip after two days
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Egyptian authorities on Friday re-sealed the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, upholding a near-permanent closure of the border this year, Egyptian security sources said. Egyptian security sources told Ma‘an that the crossing was closed after Egyptian authorities permitted Palestinian movement through the border for two days. Around 628 Palestinians passed from Gaza into Egypt on Thursday, and 259 from Egypt to Gaza, the sources said. Egyptian authorities also released 34 Palestinian prisoners who had been held in Egyptian jails under charges of “illegal infiltration” of Egypt borders, the sources told Ma‘an. Dozens of trucks passed through the crossing during the rare two-day window, carrying medical supplies and materials for reconstruction of the strip, still devastated from Israel’s 2014 offensive that left tens of thousands homeless. The sources added that 350 Palestinians who planned to cross during the two-day period were unable to leave the besieged enclave Friday evening due to “the curfew in Rafah and Sheikh Zweid,” which began around 7:00 p.m. . . During the recent opening, priority was given to humanitarian cases who had previously registered to cross the Rafah terminal. Authorities in Gaza say that over 25,000 Palestinians in Gaza have registered with “urgent needs” and are still waiting to cross.
The US has realized that what Israel really wants is a 1.5-state solution
WASHINGTON (Haaretz) 7 Dec by Barak Ravid — The conclusion reached by Obama administration officials, as well as those who might hold key positions in the Clinton administration, is that the Democratic Party and the Israeli government are living on parallel universes that are drifting apart — One thing that stood out during the three days of discussions at the Saban Forum were the stunned glances that the American participants, the vast majority of whom came from the Democratic side of the U.S. political map, exchanged with each other as they heard what representatives of the Israeli right had to say. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Yisrael Beiteinu party chairman Avigdor Lieberman left their American listeners with feelings that ranged between frustration, shock and helplessness. The lip service that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to pay to the two-state solution no longer makes any impression on almost anyone in Washington. Senior officials in the U.S. administration and the Democratic Party listened to the senior Israeli government officials from the Likud and Habayit Hayehudi parties and understood that their real policy, in the best case, is a one-and-a-half-state solution – one in which Israel controls most of the West Bank and the Palestinians have an autonomous zone comprised of several cantons. The speech by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, which brimmed with frustration, is the best possible example of this. During a monologue that was all about letting off his pent-up steam, he urged his audience to stop pretending. (Continued)
Haaretz investigation: US donors gave settlements more than $220 million in tax-exempt funds over five years
7 Dec by Uri Blau — Registered non-profit groups are lavishly funding with tax-deductible U.S. dollars the same West Bank settlements the Obama administration considers obstacles to peace. Private U.S. donors are massively funding Israeli settlements by using a network of tax-exempt nonprofits, which funneled more than $220 million (about 850 million shekels) to Jewish communities in the West Bank in 2009-2013 alone, a Haaretz investigation has found. The funding is being used for anything from buying air conditioners to supporting the families of convicted Jewish terrorists, and comes from tax-deductible donations made to around 50 U.S.-based groups. Thanks to their status as nonprofits, these organizations are not taxed on their income and donations made to them are tax deductible – meaning the U.S. government is incentivizing and indirectly supporting the Israeli settlement movement, even though it has been consistently opposed by every U.S. administration for the past 48 years. The findings also show that while Israel’s political right often criticizes left-wing organizations for receiving foreign donations – and has made several attempts to curtail such funding – groups that support the settlements also receive extensive funding from abroad, albeit from different sources. While left-wing NGOs and human rights groups receive large donations from foreign governments and institutions, Israeli settlement groups are mostly supported by private individuals who donate through nonprofit organizations.
US cops trained to use lethal Israeli tactics
EI 4 Dec by Rania Khalek — US police officers are being tutored by Israel on how to employ the tactics that have brought death and serious injury to huge numbers of Palestinians in the past few months. Officers from 15 US police agencies recently traveled to the Middle East for lessons from their Israeli counterparts. For 10 days in late November, police officers from New York, Miami, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department, the Drug Enforcement Agency and US Customs and Border Protection observed the daily operations of the Jerusalem police, the Israeli Border Police and the Shin Bet secret service, all of which play a vital role in administering Israel’s system of control over Palestinians. The training junket was hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a neoconservative think tank that claims to have organized Israeli training sessions for some 9,500 law enforcement officials since 2004 through its Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP). . . While American police were getting schooled in Israeli execution tactics, dashcam footage of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke emptying his clip into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was making headlines. The video shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald, as he walks away from police, a total of 16 times in 15 seconds, thoroughly debunking police accounts that McDonald was lunging at officers with a knife when shot. The killing was so egregious that Van Dyke was charged with murder and Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired, an incredibly rare outcome in the US, where, much like in Israel, impunity is the rule. (Continued)
Right-wing Israeli group protests Christmas tree event in Jerusalem
IMEMC 6 Dec — The right-wing Jewish group ‘Lehava’ held a protest outside of the YMCA in Jerusalem, shouting at Palestinian Christian children and families as they were entering and leaving the annual Christmas-tree decoration party. Lehava is a group that calls for the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian population from their homes in what is now Israel, in Jerusalem and in the West Bank. At a protest last year outside of a business that had some Palestinian employees, the group chanted “Stop hiring Arabs,” “stop dating our women” and “employing Arabs equals Assimilation.” The group, whose name in Hebrew stands for the “Organization for the Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land”, has also disrupted weddings between Palestinians and Israeli Jews, and handed out fliers saying they are trying to “save the daughters of Israel” by preventing them from dating or marrying Arab men. The protesters shouted anti-Palestinian and anti-Christian slogans at the children who came to decorate the Christmas tree, including, “The Arabs won’t defeat us with knifes, and the Christians won’t buy us with presents,” and “Jews want a hanukkiah [menorah], not a fir tree”, according to Israel National News. Around 1% of the population of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza is Christian. The percentage had been higher before the Israeli military occupation and theft of Palestinian land began . . . Many Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth can trace their ancestry back to early Christians who have remained continuously on the land where Christians believe that Jesus was born, died and resurrected.
Frost causes severe losses to farmers in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (PIC) 6 Dec — The frost wave currently hitting Palestine caused severe losses to Palestinian farmers in the northern Jordan Valley. Thousands of dunums of planted plains along with vegetable crops were damaged. Farmer Ahmad Shaban told the PIC reporter that the damage gets increasing and the losses cannot be afforded by farmers due to the unexpected frost wave. The agriculture directorate of Tubas and northern Jordan Valley revealed, in a statement on Sunday, that it is studying the frost consequences and the losses resulted. The directorate pointed out that they had warned Palestinian farmers in advance and urged them to take all possible precautions in order to alleviate losses, but the frost was too heavy and exceeded expectations.