Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
18-year-old Palestinian shot dead after stabbing Israeli soldier in Hebron
[with video] HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — A young Palestinian woman was shot dead on Saturday after stabbing an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian bystander near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. A witness told Ma‘an that the young woman stabbed and lightly injured a soldier at a checkpoint near the mosque before she was shot by Israeli forces stationed on site. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the attack to Ma‘an, saying that “an assailant drew a knife on a soldier guarding the Tomb of Patriarchs,” referring to the Ibrahimi Mosque. A Palestinian at the site of the attack was also stabbed by the young woman under circumstances that remain unclear. A witness told Ma‘an that a Palestinian attempted to grab the young woman after she stabbed the soldier, in what the witness believed to be an attempt to protect the woman from getting shot. The woman then stabbed the man in the waist after he grabbed her, the witnesses said, adding that he believed the young woman may have mistaken the man for an Israeli settler. The Israeli army for their part said: “During an attempt to stab the soldier, the attacker stabbed a Palestinian who tried to intervene,” confirming that the soldier had been lightly wounded. The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the Palestinian killed as Kilzar Muhammad Abd al-Halim Azmi al-Uweiwi, from Hebron city. Relatives told Ma‘an the teen was 18 years old. Her body was handed over by the Israeli authorities hours after she was killed. The injured bystander was identified as 52-year-old Abed al-Rajabi, who was transferred to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center for treatment. Witnesses said the area was closed by Israeli forces following the suspected attack.
Hebron woman killed by Israeli forces died due to lack of medical treatment
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — The life of a young Palestinian woman who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Saturday could have been saved if she had had access to medical treatment, a law official said on Sunday. Kilzar al-Uweiwi, 18, was killed by Israeli soldiers in Hebron after stabbing an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian bystander near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Ashraf Mishal, the head of the public prosecution in Hebron, told Ma‘an that an autopsy revealed al-Uweiwi had been shot three times — once in the elbow, once in the chest, and another bullet went through her lung and settled in her neck. Mishal said al-Uweiwi could have survived the shots if she had not been left bleeding to death. “The forensic physician identified a massive pulmonary hemorrhage as the cause of Kilzar’s death, and it would have been possible to save her life if she had had medical treatment,” he said. The forensic report’s conclusion comes amid criticisms by rights groups that many Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in recent months did not pose sufficient threat for the use of lethal force at the time of their death.
Video: Grieving relatives prepare for funeral of Palestinian girl, 17, shot dead as she tried to stab an Israeli soldier
YouTube 14 Feb — Kalzar al-Uweiwi, 17 stabbed an Israeli soldier and a bystander yesterday. She was shot and killed by Israeli troops near Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Body returned to hospital so family can bury her, authorities said today. Pictured today show relatives standing around dead body and weeping [as well as aftermath of attack]
Hundreds attend funeral of recently slain Palestinian teen
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Feb – Hundreds of mourners marched the streets of Hebron city on Sunday in the funeral procession for an 18-year-old Palestinian woman killed by Israeli forces on Saturday after the teen stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli soldier in Hebron’s Old City. Mourners carried the body of Kilzar al-Uweiwi from her family home to the al-Hussein mosque in Hebron’s Ein Sarah neighborhood for her last rites before her family said their goodbyes. During the funeral march, mourners waved Palestinian flags and held up martyr murals of al-Uweiwi on posters as they shouted slogans against the Israeli occupation and in support of Palestinian “martyrs”. After prayers, the procession continued to Hebron’s Martyr’s Cemetery where al-Uweiwi was laid to rest.
Israeli forces kill two Palestinian teens near Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Israeli forces shot and killed two 15-year-old Palestinian teenagers on Sunday in the northern West Bank after the two allegedly opened fire at Israeli soldiers, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. The spokesperson said the two teens were shot and killed after allegedly shooting at Israeli soldiers near the village of al-‘Araqa west of Jenin. The spokesperson added that no Israeli soldiers were injured. A Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) spokesperson initially told Ma‘an that PRCS was informed that two Palestinians were injured, but that Israeli forces prevented them from reaching the scene to provide medical treatment. She added that the Palestinian Ministry of Health later contacted the Palestinian Red Crescent to inform them that two Palestinians had been killed. The Ministry of Health identified the deceased Palestinians as Nihad Raed Muhammad Waqed and Fuad Marwan Khalid Waqed, both 15-year-olds from al-‘Araqa.
Palestinian teen shot dead after alleged stabbing attempt near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian on Sunday after the teen allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint north of Bethlehem, official Palestinian sources said. The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the teen as Naim Ahmad Yousif Safi from the town of al-‘Ubaydiyya, just east of Bethlehem. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld initially told Ma‘an that a young Palestinian man approached the Mazmoria checkpoint near the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa and took out a knife. Spotting the knife, Israeli soldiers shot at Safi, Rosenfeld said. It was unclear whether the teen died on site or later as a result of his wounds. No Israeli soldiers were injured, Rosenfeld said, adding that Israeli security forces had closed off the area.
Two Palestinians killed in fire exchange with Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Feb — Two Palestinians were killed on Sunday evening while exchanging fire with Israeli soldiers and police officers near the light-rail station in the Bab al-‘Amoud area in occupied Jerusalem. Their deaths bring the number of Palestinians killed on Sunday to five. Israeli sources said they reportedly opened fire on the light rail, before exchanging fire with Israeli soldiers and officers. Palestinian eyewitnesses said the exchange of fire took place at the main road leading to the New Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City, just a few meters away from Bab al-‘Amoud. Following the shooting, the Israeli army closed the entire area, and declared it a closed military zone, while the soldiers conducted large-scale searches. The Israeli police said the two Palestinians carried automatic rifles, and fired on officers of the Border Guards Units . . . It added that several explosive experts also rushed to the scene, and initiated searches in the area. Israeli daily Haaretz said the two Palestinians carried homemade ‘Carl Gustav’-style rifles, and opened fire on officers and soldiers after approaching them, before police shot them dead; the army and police reported no injuries. The first of the slain was identified as Omar Mohammad Amro, who was a member of the National Security Forces in Hebron. The second is Mansour Yasser Shawamra.[From Wafa: Both from al-Qibya, northwest of Ramallah. This brings the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli troops in the occupied Palestinian territories during the past 24 hours to six, including four minors. According to the Ministry of Health, 177 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of unrest in the occupied Palestinian territories in early October 2015. Over 15,000 others have reportedly been injured.]
Earlier Sunday, the soldiers and police intensified their siege and military deployment in the Bab al-‘Amoud area, and all roads leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as the Chief of the Israeli Police, Roni al-Sheikh, toured in the area. The soldiers placed sand hills and iron bars, closing the entire area to Palestinians from early-morning hours until evening.
Israeli forces shoot, critically injure 14-year-old girl
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Israeli forces on Sunday shot and injured a 14-year-old Palestinian girl near Hebron city’s Ibrahimi Mosque after an alleged attempted stabbing attack in the southern occupied West Bank, an Israeli police spokesperson said. Local Palestinian sources provided a conflicting report, and told Ma‘an the 14-year-old was with her sister, and neither had attempted an attack when the girl, identified as Yasmin Rashad al-Zarou [or Tamimi?], was shot. Locals said the two girls had crossed an Israeli military checkpoint known as 160, after which the girls walked a few meters past the checkpoint, when Israeli soldiers fired at the 14-year-old who was walking away from the soldiers, critically injuring her. Israeli media reported that no Israelis were injured during the incident. She was evacuated from the scene by Israeli forces. Minutes after the attack, a graphic video [below] of the injured girl surfaced on social media.
Video: Israeli soldiers push disabled man from wheelchair after shooting
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — A video, released by a Palestinian immediately after Israeli forces shot and critically injured a 14-year-old girl following an alleged attempted stabbing attack on Sunday, shows Israeli forces assaulting bystanders. In the video, an Israeli soldier pushes a disabled man in a wheelchair backwards, flipping over the man and his wheelchair. Two more Palestinians rush to the disabled man’s aid, while Israeli forces charge forward at other bystanders, shooting off a stun grenade. The video shows Israeli forces attacking and threatening Palestinians who were attempting to get near Yasmin al-Zarou [Tamimi?], who was shot near an Israeli checkpoint in Hebron city.
Army runs over boy in clashes with students
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Feb — A 12-year-old student, on Sunday, was deliberately run over by an Israeli military jeep, during clashes that erupted with demonstrating students at the entrance of al-‘Arroub Refugee Camp, to the north of Hebron, according to a local activist. The students were reportedly taking part in a student rally that kicked off toward the home of a local teenager, who was fatally shot by Israeli army on Wednesday, to attend his funeral. Local Omar Yousif Jawabreh, 16, was fatally shot by armed soldiers during clashes that took place in the camp on Wednesday. Coordinator of the anti settlement and wall committee in northern Hebron, Mohammed Awad, informed WAFA that Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint at the entrance of the camp, reportedly clashed with students and attempted to deliberately run over a number of them, before running over a 12-year-old boy. The unidentified student sustained moderate injuries.
28 Palestinians injured in Israeli crackdown on Ramallah camp
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 15 Feb – At least 28 Palestinians were Monday shot and injured by Israeli troops who stormed al-Ama‘ari refugee camp, in Ramallah, according to medical sources. Witnesses told WAFA a number of Israeli military vehicles broke into the camp, located in the heart of Ramallah city, at about 10:00 am Monday and cordoned off a house, provoking clashes with teenagers who pelted stones towards Israeli vehicles. Israeli troops used live fire to disperse the youths, injuring at least 28, including one in the head. The Ministry of Health said 28 Palestinians who were injured in al-Ama‘ari were admitted at Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, adding that most of the injuries were centered in the lower part of the body. Three Palestinians were reportedly detained by Israeli army during the incursion. Israeli army briefly detained journalists from the Palestine Live TV and banned them from covering the clashes in al-Ama‘ari. During the military incursion, army also briefly seized the broadcasting vehicle of Palestine TV and its key for some time, as well as physically assaulted its driver and some of its staff. Nasser Abu Bakr, head of the Journalists’ Syndicate, condemned the Israeli assault on Palestine TV and Palestine Live TV staff, saying it constitutes a violation of the freedom of journalism.
Israeli military threatens village after residents protest settler bypass road
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli forces raided the occupied West Bank village of Izbat al-Tabib overnight Friday after residents demonstrated against the construction of a settler bypass road on their private land. Head of the village’s local council, Bayan Tabib, told Ma‘an that residents had protested during the day Friday after Israeli forces announced plans to confiscate their land to build a new road serving illegal Israeli settlements in the area. Tabib said Israeli military forces then stormed the Qalqiliya-area village in the night, searching several homes including his own. When the forces arrived at his home, an Israeli officer reportedly threatened the village council head to stop residents from demonstrating near route 55, the settler bypass road where locals had protested earlier that day. “An Israeli officer, who said he was the deputy commander of the Qalqiliya area, notified me that Israel won’t accept any more demonstrations on route 55,” Tabib said. “He threatened to take punitive procedures against me including the demolition of my house if I continue to coordinate the demonstrations,” Tabib added. The village council head told Ma‘an that Izbat al-Tabib residents planned to continue “peaceful activities in protest against the confiscation of their land and the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.” [See 2011 Charlotte Silver article about this village’s extraordinary resistance here]
7 wounded after Palestinian car tries to flee Israeli forces near settlement
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli forces opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle after it ran into an Israeli border police jeep near the Maale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem on Saturday, Israeli police said. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri told Ma‘an that Israeli border police noticed two Palestinians crossing over the separation wall near the al-Zayyim checkpoint on Saturday, before getting aboard a car. When Israeli troops approached the vehicle, al-Samri said, it tried to escape, running into an Israeli military jeep in the process and lightly injuring four Israeli border guards. The Israeli border guards opened fire at the vehicle, injuring two Palestinians while a third sustained bruising. All three Palestinians, one of whom had Israeli citizenship, were detained, and the road was closed in both directions, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that security forces were at the scene.
Shin Bet confirms that almost all Palestinian ‘attacks’ occur in occupied territories
[with infographic] MEMO 12 Feb by Ben White — 87 per cent of stabbings or alleged stabbings carried out by Palestinians from October to January took place within the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), according to Israeli authorities. In their latest monthly summary, the Israeli Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) recorded 166 “attacks” by Palestinians in the month of January (excluding Gaza), only one of which occurred “within the Green Line”, the internationally recognised division between Israel and the OPT. While the vast majority of these ‘attacks’ were in the form of “firebombs” (i.e. Molotov cocktails), Shin Bet also logged nine stabbings, all taking place in the OPT. The sole attack within the Green Line during January, according to Shin Bet, was the January 1 shooting at a Tel Aviv café; the perpetrator was a Palestinian citizen of Israel. Thus there were no attacks in January within the Green Line by Palestinians from the OPT. Out of five Israeli fatalities in January, three were killed in the Tel Aviv attack (two at the café, and a taxi driver). The other two were both West Bank settlers. Uniformed occupation forces accounted for 36 per cent of the Israelis wounded during January. These trends are consistent with the pattern over the previous three months, as I wrote about last week in an article on the data being missed out in Western media coverage. Based on Shin Bet’s figures, out of 1,336 attacks and alleged attacks conducted by Palestinians from October 1 to January 31, just 15 of them took place within the Green Line. When it comes to stabbings, 82 out of a total 94 attacks and alleged attacks have occurred in the OPT. For Palestinians, meanwhile, January was another bloody, violent month under Israeli military occupation, with 18 Palestinians killed, and a further 582 injured.
Army kidnaps five Palestinians in Bethlehem, two each in Jenin and Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Feb — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, a number of Palestinian communities in different parts of the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and kidnapped five Palestinians. The army also kidnapped two Palestinians from Jenin and Hebron. Local sources in Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, said several armored Israeli military vehicles invaded it, searched homes and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Saleh Qassem al-Masri, 22, and Ammar Sami Jahajra, 35. Clashes took place in the refugee camp after the soldiers invaded it; the army fired several concussion grenades and gas bombs; no injuries were reported. The soldiers also invaded the al-‘Obeyyat area, east of Bethlehem, searched homes, and kidnapped Saddam Hussein al-‘Obeyyat. Two other Palestinians, identified as Ezzeddin Samih Thawabta, and Rezeq Waleed Thawabta, were kidnapped after the soldiers invaded their home in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem.
In addition, the soldiers invaded ‘Arraba town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched a few homes and kidnapped a young man, identified as Wael Salman Sha‘er, 19. Also, the soldiers kidnapped Jalal Qassem ar-Ra’ey, 40, while crossing the “Container” roadblock, southeast of Jerusalem, and took him to an unknown destination. The Palestinian, from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, is a former political prisoner who was imprisoned by Israel to 14 years. Several military vehicles also invaded Beit Ummar and summoned Ahmad Yousef Ekhlayyel, 30, for interrogation in the Etzion military and security base. On Saturday at night, the soldiers kidnapped Mohammad Hosni Bani Odeh, from Tammoun town, near Jenin, after stopping him on the Za‘tara military roadblock, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Just another arbitrary detention of a Palestinian child
+972 blog 13 Feb by Yossi Gurvitz, written for Yesh Din — Soldiers detain a child in his pajamas and slippers, harshly interrogate him without a parent or attorney present, and then release him 12 hours later as if nothing ever happened. We can already tell you what the military’s investigation will look like — J., a 13-year-old Palestinian boy, lives in the West Bank village of Al-Janiya. One cold morning in the beginning of last December, wearing pajamas and slippers, J. left his house and went to collect items for his relative’s engagement party. A large carob tree stood nearby to where he went for the errand. J. was accompanied by A., a six-year-old child. As J. would later describe it, upon reaching the tree, several soldiers jumped on the children and began hitting them. The altercation attracted the attention of an adult, who arrived and began yelling at the soldiers. The soldiers released A. but held onto J. J.’s mother rushed to the scene and tried to dislodge the child from their grasp. In response, one of the soldiers pressed his rifle barrel to her chest. The mother, who suffers from a medical condition, lost consciousness. In the ensuing chaos, the soldiers threw stun and tear gas grenades, taking off in a vehicle with J. Meanwhile, at home, J.’s father heard the news from children who came to his door in tears. He and his relatives would spend the next few hours in desperate attempts to talk to the Palestinian District Coordination Office (DCO) to try and find out where his son was. J. was first taken to a military base, where – as he later described – the soldiers blindfolded him with a gun cloth, and then tied his hands and beat him with their rifle butts. The soldiers demanded he admit to throwing stones. J. denied the allegation, pointing to the fact he was in pajamas and slippers. One of the soldiers threatened that he would not be released unless he confessed . . . The tactic of taking children away and demanding they incriminate themselves, while isolating and denying them access to their parents is nothing new. In 2011, Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem published a report titled “No Minor Matter,” which documented this phenomenon . . . Yet despite it all, J. refused to confess to the allegations against him and continued pleading his innocence. In turn, his captors increased the pressure. (Continued)
Palestinian woman in labor is delayed passage out of sealed town
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — Israeli military forces on Friday delayed passage for a Palestinian woman in labor out of the Bethlehem-area town of Nahhalin, as the army continued to seal the town after an Israeli settler was stabbed in the area earlier this week. Nahhalin resident Sheikh Muhammad Shakarneh told Ma‘an that the pregnant woman after going into labor attempted to cross a military checkpoint out of the West Bank village to a local hospital. Israeli forces stationed at the checkpoint refused to allow the woman to continue unless she was taken in an ambulance, and she was forced to wait, Shakarneh said. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank frequently take private cars to hospitals instead of waiting a potentially long duration of time for an ambulance to arrive.
IDF lockdown of West Bank village enters seventh day following stabbing
Haaretz 15 Feb by Amira Hass — The Israel Defense Forces has closed off the village of Nahhalin near Bethlehem and has blocked most of the residents from leaving for six days, ever since a man was stabbed and wounded near the settlement of Neveh Daniel and the attacker apparently fled to the village. The southern entrance to Nahhalin, which leads to the village of Jab‘a, has been blocked with a metal gate, while at the northwestern entrance, near the village of Husan, a military force has been stationed that blocks cars and pedestrians from entering or leaving, except for those who need medical treatment and other exceptions. The westward path to the village’s fields and vineyards has also been blocked. One of the soldiers stationed Sunday afternoon at the northern entrance told Haaretz that the stabber had fled into the town, and until he is found there is no choice but to maintain the closure. Village council head Ibrahim Shakhrna said that as of Sunday the army had only searched some 200 of the village’s 1,400 homes. About 10,500 people live in Nahhalin. Villagers said that during the night military jeeps and soldiers on foot patrol the village, with the soldiers periodically throwing gas grenades. They added that the soldiers are polite during their searches.
The closure has affected students and school pupils, Palestinian Authority workers and others who work outside the village, as wells as laborers who work in the settlements and in Israel proper. Shakharna said last Thursday he had heard media reports that the 1,500 Nahhalin residents who work in the settlements would no longer be permitted to do so. Doctors and nurses who live elsewhere but work in the village clinic have also not been permitted to enter. (Continued)
Israeli forces close off main entrance of Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Israeli forces closed down the main entrance to the northern West Bank district of Nablus’s ‘Aqraba village late on Saturday following reports of youth throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at passing cars, official Palestinian sources told Ma‘an. Palestinian security sources said Israeli troops closed the entrance of ‘Aqraba after they claimed youth from the village threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the cars of settlers passing near the village. A resident of the village, Yousif Direya, said Israeli excavators closed ‘Aqraba’s main entrance with mounds of dirt and prevented residents from going in or out the village. An Israeli spokesperson told Ma‘an they were looking into the reports. The two illegal Israeli settlements of Itamar and Gittit surround ‘Aqraba to the north and southeast, respectively. Israeli forces have shut down roads to a number of Palestinian towns since the beginning of the year, including the city of Ramallah and the village of Qabatiya, after residents of these areas carried out or allegedly attempted to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah denounced earlier this month the Israeli practice of blockading Palestinian towns as amounting to “collective punishment.”
Prisoners / Court actions
Al-Qeeq showing signs of stroke
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Feb — Doctors in the Emek hospital, on Saturday, said that administrative prisoner journalist Mohammad Al-Qeeq has been showing stroke symptoms 81 days into his hunger strike against arbitrary imprisonment, adding that he is now fighting death. Lawyer of the Palestinian commission of detainees and ex-detainees, Hiba Masalha, said, according to the PNN, that the hospital put its doctors on high alert due to the seriousness of al-Qeeq’s health condition, the Palestine Information Center (PIC) reported. Masalha asserted that doctors in the hospital started to talk openly about serious complications happening to the prisoner, “who is fighting for his life.” According to PIC, the lawyer also warned that the weak and fatigued body of the hunger striker cannot resist any stroke regardless of its nature, especially in that he has not been able to sleep for more than 48 hours because of acute pain. On Friday, The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) created an online petition on Avaaz to demand the European Parliament (EU) to free Mohammad and to suspend its Association Agreement with Israel until it complies with international law. According to WAFA, the Detainees and ex-Detainees Committee, Sunday, said that the Israeli high court ordered the military prosecution to respond to a request to move al-Qeeq to a hospital in Ramallah.
Palestinian National Initiative holds Gaza sit-in in solidarity with al-Qiq
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Feb — The Palestinian National Initiative renewed its call to release hunger-striking prisoner Muhammad al-Qiq, whose health has severely deteriorated as he reached day 80 without food, by releasing him without any conditions. Abdullah Abu al-Atta, a leader of the center-left Palestinian political party, said during a sit-in in solidarity with al-Qiq in Gaza City that the imprisoned journalist’s cause should concern everyone who cares about freedom. Abu al-Atta demanded all concerned parties to intervene to pressure the Israeli government to end al-Qiq’s suffering and to put a real end to Israel’s policy of administrative detention — internment without trial or charge.
12-year-old Palestinian girl charged with attempted homicide after being caught with knife
Haaretz 15 Feb by Chaim Levinson — An indictment was filed on Sunday by the military prosecutor against a 12-year-old girl from the Palestinian West Bank town of Halhul who allegedly went to the entrance of the settlement of Karmei Tzur with a knife saying that she wanted to kill Jews. The girl, who is accused of attempted homicide, was released by the court to a locked children’s facility in Bethlehem, but the state is appealing the order. The girl went to the entrance to the settlement north of Hebron on Tuesday of last week with a knife concealed under her shirt. A local resident, Amos-Shimon Hacohen, spotted her and ordered her to lie on the ground and remove the knife. He reportedly restrained her until security forces arrived. As can be seen in a video clip of the incident shown on Channel 1, Hacohen asked the girl if she came to the settlement to kill Jews, to which she replied that this was her intention.
According to Israeli law, minors under the age of 14 cannot be jailed. In the territories, however, the army routinely objects to any alternate form of arrest, or youth rehabilitation, for minors suspected in security-related offenses. The girl was handed over to the police, and was interrogated twice in one day. In her remand hearing, the police representative asked for her arrest to be extended by six days, but the military court judge only extended it by one day. “This is a little girl, aged 12 and two months. The court has seen how frail she is, and the expression of fear on her face, but these are not enough to rule out the danger she poses, since we’re discussing a very serious offense that the minor allegedly tried to perpetrate, and without any trepidation.”
Israel closes criminal investigation into two policemen accused of brutality toward Ethiopian
Haaretz 14 Feb by Lee Yaron — The Justice Ministry department for the investigation of police officers announced Sunday that it was closing the criminal investigation against two policemen who used a stun gun on Yosef Salamsa, 22, in 2014, and left him outside the Zichron Yaakov police station afterward. Three months after the incident, Salamsa was found at the foot of a cliff in Binyamina, having apparently taken his own life. His family said he had been in a difficult emotional state that was intensified by the violent confrontation with the police. The department said that the policemen had lied when they reported they had warned Salamsa before delivering the electric shock, but that this was not a criminal infraction and had to be dealt with on a disciplinary level. Salamsa was arrested in April 2014 after reports were received of a knife-wielding man in a public park who was trying to break into a building. Police suspected Salamsa and used a taser gun to shock him during his arrest. His father later reported finding him lying on the ground, his hands and feet cuffed, outside the police station. The family said he had needed psychological treatment after the incident and had been physically injured as well, based on a report they submitted from Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera.
Israel broke ground on 1,800 settlement homes in 2015, Peace Now says
Haaretz 14 Feb by Chaim Levinson — The government’s message to the settlers is that construction will be approved after the fact, the group says — Israel authorized 350 new housing units and broke ground on around 1,800 homes in West Bank settlements last year, Peace Now said in a report released Sunday. For a year and a half, urban planning in the settlements has been frozen and nearly no new construction has been approved. However, nothing bars local government from using existing construction plans. In the absence of new plans, efforts have been heightened to make good on existing plans. According to the Peace Now group, 15 percent of construction last year, or 265 housing units, was done in unauthorized settlement outposts. Only a tiny fraction is being carried out with the participation of the defense establishment’s Civil Administration (the ultimate civil authority in the West Bank settlements) . . . Last year, construction included 1,550 permanent housing units and 250 prefab homes. Also, work began to prepare land for another 700 housing units . . . In addition, three more outposts have been authorized, amid the announcement that several others will be authorized. “The government’s message to the settlers is ‘Carry out illegal construction and we will approve it retroactively,’” Peace Now wrote. “The Netanyahu government claims that the plans receiving approval are plans that don’t add new construction and are therefore not important. But in practice this policy of retroactive approval of plans empties the planning process of meaning. The government’s message to the settlers is that in practice, there is no need for planning and advance approval of plans, as ultimately the construction will be approved after the fact.”
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Emotional scenes as Egypt opens its border with the Gaza Strip for the first time this yeas, allowing Palestinian families to cross over for two days and see their families
MAILONLINE 13 Feb by Tom Wyke
PHOTOS: Gazans hope to get out during rare border opening
Activestills 14 Feb Text and photos: Ezz Al Zanoon — . . . Because of the packed masses of people, ambulances and medics were standing by around every corner. Dozens of unconscious people were evacuated throughout the day, most likely a result of the unbelievable crowd and the stress. Considering that such a high percentage of the travelers appeared to be elderly, between 50 and 70 years old, my guess is a good number were trying to travel for medical treatment. Because of the limited number of buses, the Palestinian passengers tried to pack into the buses — as many people as would fit. “87 passengers on my 54-seat bus!” a friend of mine who managed to travel wrote me via SMS text message. “I can’t bear this crazy situation.” The decision to open the border does not mean that it was open for all Gazan citizens to leave the Strip. Far from it. Thousands of urgent cases are registered with the Palestinian authorities on long lists: they have priority to travel. Injured people, medical patients, students, and people who have residency permits in foreign countries go first . . . .
Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3rd day
GAZA (Ma‘an) 14 Feb — Egyptian Authorities will extended the opening of Rafah crossing for a third day on Monday, the department of borders and crossings in Gaza Strip said. Egyptian authorities exceptionally opened the crossing Saturday, after 70 consecutive days of closure. This is the first time Egyptian authorities opened the crossing this year, a rare move given that Egypt has upheld for the majority of the past three years an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip. On Sunday, Gaza’s Ministry of Interior spokesman Iyad al-Bazam urged Egypt to extend the opening of the Rafah crossing for a few more days to ease the crisis in Gaza, where more than 25,000 people with urgent needs — including around 3,500 medical cases — are registered and waiting to cross. The ministry said that more than 700 Palestinians were allowed to go through the Rafah crossing on Saturday, and more than 700 others were allowed to come in from Egypt.
Israel continues to breach ceasefire by targeting Gaza fishermen
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Feb — Israeli naval boats, on Saturday, continued to breach a truce agreement reached in August of 2014, under Egyptian auspices, opening heavy machine gunfire on Palestinian fishermen offshore, in the north of the Gaza Strip. According to WAFA, the navy fired on the fishermen despite their sailing within the unilaterally imposed 6-nautical mile fishing zone, forcing farmers to flee back to shore, for fear of being injured, killed, or arrested.
State urges court to order Breaking the Silence to identify its witnesses
Haaretz 14 Feb by Gili Cohen — The state has asked the court to order Breaking the Silence to identify officers who testified to the NGO anonymously. The state’s demand, made at the request of the Israeli Defense Forces, was submitted during a classified trial being held in the Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court, the newspaper Makor Rishon reported on Friday. The Military Police has opened investigations into eight incidents, following officers’ testimonies that were published in Breaking the Silence’s report about the 2014 war in Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective Edge. The testimonies raise suspicion that the army committed war crimes and violated international law in these incidents . . . The IDF claims it needs more details and access to the officers who gave the testimonies, in order to investigate the incidents. So far the NGO has refused to disclose the details of the witnesses, who testified on condition of anonymity . . . The report released last May described, among other things, an armored squadron’s firing at a civilian driving a car and another riding a bicycle; tanks running over cars and soldiers looting things from them; shooting an elderly Palestinian several times and killing a woman who looked mentally unstable . . . Breaking the Silence said in response: “Since the organization’s foundation 11 years ago we’ve received requests from the State Prosecutor and other bodies to disclose various kinds of information. Over the years we’ve assisted these bodies as much as we could and will continue to do so, without revealing out witnesses’ identity. “Part of our job is to be a home for soldiers who choose to break the silence about their service in the territories, so we’ll continue to protect their identity. The choice to be identified remains entirely in their hands,” the NGO said. “Breaking the Silence raises the public’s awareness of the government’s policy in the occupied territories and wishes to raise resistance to this policy. We won’t allow shifting the responsibility for the occupation or the acts in Operation Protective Edge onto the simple soldier. The policy is set by the government and IDF top brass and we’ll strongly oppose the attempt to blame the soldiers for its repercussions.”
Analysis: Gaza patients battle cancer and Israeli siege / Isra Saleh el-Namey
GAZA STRIP (EI) 9 Feb — . . . Health care professionals in Gaza have documented a disturbing rise in incidences of cancer in the impoverished strip of land. Dr. Mohammed Abu Shaban is a Palestinian oncologist who works at different hospitals in Gaza. Over the last two years, he said, citing statistics from the Gaza ministry of health, the number of cancer diagnoses reached some 14,600. “Every month, we see at least 120 new cancer patients in Gaza,” the doctor told The Electronic Intifada. Abu Shaban alleged a direct relationship between the increase in the number of patients with cancer and the three wars launched on Gaza over the last eight years. Doctors in Gaza and foreign health professionals have long suspected that Israel has used new forms of weaponry over Gaza, including Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME) or ammunition laced with radioactive material. “Israeli forces have used illegal weapons with lethal radioactive materials that transfer to the soil,” Abu Shaban said. “People who live next to areas that have been shelled risk being exposed to these materials. That enhances the risk of cancer for these people.” Leukemia is the most pervasive cancer in Gaza, according to the doctor. Abu Shaban estimates that some 25 percent of cancer-related deaths among children are due to the condition. In addition to the difficulty of gaining access to treatment is the cost. With poverty and unemployment rates both near 40 percent, Palestinians in Gaza rely on government assistance . . . “What we have observed in the last five years is that the annual referrals of Gaza patients have only risen by only 1.3 percent despite a significant increase in the number of patients,” El Shorafa said. “The very restricted movement has reduced the options open to Gaza patients for specialized care.” In the first 10 months of 2015, the administrative arm of the Israeli military occupation administration — the body known as the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT — denied 1,035 Palestinians in Gaza permission to exit so that they could receive necessary medical treatment in the occupied West Bank, Israel or Jordan. This represents almost twice as many denials as were issued the entire previous year . . . .
French-Palestinian couple fight to give birth in Jerusalem after wife deported
Ma‘an 13 Feb by Chloe Benoist — A Franco-Palestinian couple is racing against the clock after Israeli authorities in January detained and deported French consulate employee Elsa Lefort, then six-and-a-half months pregnant, preventing her from returning to her husband and their home in occupied East Jerusalem. With only days left before her pregnancy is too advanced for her to travel by plane, Lefort and her husband, Salah Hamouri, are desperately trying to push their case so their child can be born in Jerusalem, in an unusually high-profile case illustrating the difficulties Palestinians face to obtain — and keep — their East Jerusalem residency. – Six months pregnant and a ‘danger to the security of Israel’ – Hamouri, whose mother is French and father is Palestinian, is well known after having spent nearly seven years imprisoned by Israel during the Second Intifada. He was detained for allegedly being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and having plotted the assassination of Shas leader Obadia Yossef, charges he denied. Hamouri was freed in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal. He later married Lefort, who had been involved in the French solidarity movement for his release, in East Jerusalem in May 2014. Lefort told Ma‘an that in June 2014, she began the application process for a spousal visa to obtain her own status as a resident of East Jerusalem. However, the procedure dragged on for over a year until August 2015, when she was first notified that her application had been denied. Lefort appealed the Israeli Interior Ministry’s decision to refuse her spousal visa, and in the meantime obtained a work permit from her employer, the French Consulate in Jerusalem, valid for a year until October 2016. But on Jan. 5, as she returned from a brief trip to France for the holidays, Lefort was detained at the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv by Israeli security forces for two days and two nights. She was initially told her paperwork was not in order, before being informed that she was being deported back to France because she constituted a “danger to the security of Israel.” (Continued)
Palestinians’ (lack of) access to water in 2015
AIC 14 Feb — Thirsting for Justice released a newsletter on the status of Palestinians’ right to water in 2015. The report explains that since the Oslo Accords introduced a discriminatory water regime in the West Bank, Palestinians’ access to water has only diminished. According to Thirsting for Justice: “Palestinians have currently access to less water per capital than they used to have in 1995… in 2015, the average domestic consumption rate among Palestinians in the West Bank was approximately 40 liters per capita per day (l/c/d), well below the minimum 100 l/c/d recommended by the World Health Organization. In Gaza, the daily average consumption lies at 79 l/c/d. However, most of this water (96%) is contaminated with nitrates and chloride and thus unsafe for drinking.” In 2015, Israel demolished or confiscated 39 Palestinian-owned water and sanitation structures in the West Bank. Israel even demolished water structures provided to Palestinians by the European Union. Moreover, as a consequence of Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2014, 100,000 Gazans remain disconnected from the water network and 23% of Gazans are disconnected from a sewage network. Israel perpetuates Gazan’s lack of access to water by enforcing the blockade; Israel bans essential materials for water and wastewater projects from entering the border. Egypt’s flooding of Gaza’s border with seawater only exacerbated Palestinians’ access to water in 2015. The seawater has contaminated Gaza’s Coastal Aquifer – Gaza’s sole source of fresh water.
Aid reaches Syria’s Yarmouk camp after nine months
Al Jazeera 14 Feb — Residents of Palestinian refugee camp in urgent need of sustained humanitarian aid access, according to UN spokesman — Humanitarian aid has reached residents of the Yarmouk area on the outskirts of Damascus for the first time in nine months, according to UNRWA, the UN Agency for Palestine refugees. In a statement released on Saturday night, Chris Gunness, UNRWA’s spokesman, said the agency “did not enter the camp itself”, but that it reached the neighbouring area of Yalda, where 900 families displaced from Yarmouk and surrounding areas were in desperate need of humanitarian aid. “Although some humanitarian assistance has entered these areas since the last UNRWA distribution in June, 2015, humanitarian needs remain acute,” Gunness said. Home to Palestinian refugees and Syrians, Yarmouk has been the site of intense fighting between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups, including al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group. Once the largest of the nine Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, Yarmouk was home to nearly 200,000 people. Yet, between 5,000 and 8,000 civilians remain in Yarmouk today, according to the Jafra Foundation. The UN has been unable to access the camp’s interior since late March 2015, days before ISIL fighters invaded and took control of most of Yarmouk . . . Sharif Nashashibi, a London-based analyst of Arab political affairs, said Yarmouk has been “symbolic throughout this conflict because it’s been the scene of a horrendous siege by the government, which caused untellable suffering” . . . Due to the government-imposed siege, hundreds of residents starved to death, while reports told of mass malnutrition and people being reduced to eating stray animals and grass in order to survive.
UK government to prevent public support of Palestinian rights
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Feb — On February 14th, 2016, the UK Government announced that it would be setting up guidelines to prevent public bodies from supporting the Palestinian rights through their procurement and investment policies. Hugh Lanning, Chair of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, has condemned this move as ‘a gross attack on our democratic freedoms and the independence of public bodies from Government interference’. “As if it is not enough that the UK Government has failed to act when the Israeli Government has bombed and killed thousands of Palestinian civilians and stolen their homes and land, the Government are now trying to impose their inaction on all other democratic and public bodies. This makes it clear where this Government stands on international law and human rights. Despite the Government admitting that Israel’s occupation and denial of Palestinian rights is plain wrong and illegal – when it comes to it they will insulate Israel from the consequences of its own actions. It seems that for this UK Government, whatever crimes against international law Israel commits, having a military ally trumps the rights of their own citizens and institutions in this country to support human rights.” (Continued)
‘Faster than Ronaldo’: Palestinian supporters criticize Real Madrid superstar (video)
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Feb — Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been a trending topic on social media since Wednesday, after posting on his personal social media accounts his new appearance in an Israeli commercial. “There are rumors that I’m going to be a star in Israel. Not in soccer… In a HOT commercial,” he tweeted. Palestinians, pro-Palestinian activists and Arabs from other states took to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook to criticize Cristiano Ronaldo for appearing in an ad belonging to an Israeli company. One user commented: “You spelled ‘OCCUPIED PALESTINE’ kinda weird there.” . . . Many others responded on Twitter with the hashtag #freepalestine. The tweet soon became a battleground between Israeli supporters and pro-Palestine ones, according to the PNN.
Turkish president ‘intent on thaw with Israel’
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Feb — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told US Jewish leaders he intends to improve ties with Israel and confirmed that talks on the subject were taking place in Geneva, they said Sunday . . . Israeli officials have declined to comment, and the Turkish foreign ministry has said it would neither confirm nor deny the new talks in Geneva that were taking place last week . . . The Geneva talks reportedly began on Wednesday and were thought to be the first since the December meeting. It is unclear if they are still ongoing. Turkey has repeatedly made clear three conditions for a normalisation of relations: the lifting of the Gaza blockade, compensation for the Mavi Marmara victims and an apology for the incident. Israel has already apologised and negotiations appear to have made progress on compensation, leaving the blockade on the Islamist Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip the main hurdle.
Analysis: Why Netanyahu can’t finish West Bank security barrier / Tovah Lazaroff
JPost 13 Feb — Construction of the West Bank security barrier has been mostly frozen for nine years, even though some 36 percent has yet to be completed. Nor is it likely to be finished in the near future, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s promise last week to wrap a security fence around the entire State of Israel. “We are also preparing a plan to close the breaches in the security fence in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said. At issue is not a “hole” or “breach” in a fence initially designed in 2002, at the height of the second intifada to halt Palestinian suicide bombers, but rather more than 250 km. of a 790-km. route that has yet to be built around three main settlement blocs – Gush Etzion, Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim, including E1. During the last 14 years, Israel has remained orally committed to its right to safeguard its citizens with a barrier. Pragmatically on the ground, however, its work on the route has advanced just 47 km. since 2007, according to United Nations data . . . Most people actually thought it had been finished long ago. The IDF had taken it off its priority list, but wanted to preserve the option to build it if necessary, a security source once told The Jerusalem Post . . . Shlomo Vaknin, who heads security for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, said the sections of the barrier that could be built, have been already been constructed . . . No one argued with Israel’s right to build a barrier on the pre-1967 lines, but the moment it crossed over, the international community and the Palestinians accused Israel of grabbing PA land and unilaterally creating an Israeli border in the West Bank. In 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague issued an advisory opinion that declared the barrier over the Green Line illegal. (Continued)
Israeli and Palestinian bereaved mothers feel the same pain / Robi Damelin
Haaretz 14 Feb — Israel has been in uproar since a radio presenter dared suggest both Israeli and Palestinian families mourn their dead children – soldiers or terrorists – equally. My son’s killing has taught me that grief knows no borders — The host of a national radio show wondered whether there was a difference between how Israeli and Palestinian parents respond to the withholding of their children’s bodies by the other side: Hamas or the Israeli government. Razi Barkai compared the grief of Palestinian mothers – families of Palestinian terrorists killed while carrying out attacks – to the grief of Israeli mothers – families of Israeli troops killed in action. “From the point of view of the feelings of a bereaved Palestinian mother and a bereaved Jewish mother, I don’t think there’s a difference.” His remarks triggered a storm of harsh criticism and personal attacks: how could he make such a comparison? How dare he? The former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin wrote on Facebook: “There isn’t just pain – there’s good pain and there’s bad pain.” What makes you think that the tears on the pillow of a bereaved Palestinian mother are of a different color or substance than those of a grieving Israeli mother? What could make you think that in comparing suffering no mother can suffer more than ‘our’ mothers? Perhaps you think that you know how a Palestinian mother feels, or that their culture is different, or that she does not value the life of her child like ‘we’ do? I for one have spent the past 13 years, since my beloved David was killed by a Palestinian sniper discovering that we share a pain so intense that it changes your very being forever. That was the catalyst that brought me to the conclusion that all mothers who have lost their beloved children share the same pain . . . I can understand the dreadful longing of a mother who does not know the fate of her child, and even if she does, she has no grave to go to in order to mourn the loss, and no garden on the grave to take care of. This, after all is a kind of extension of motherhood. There is of course a certain thought that maybe, just maybe, in the absence of a body that child did not die, and how dreadful is that uncertainty, and how dreadful the pain of never knowing. Why would a Palestinian mother not want to at least have her child returned to be buried? Why would she be any different from an Israeli mother and not want to be able to mourn her loss with dignity? This is not a question of the person lost, this is a question of the mother’s loss . . . Punishment, the withholding of dead bodies, born out of revenge, will only create more hatred and wish for revenge. We should have learnt this by now. (Continued)