Violence / Detention — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces shoot, injure 13-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Apr – Israeli forces shot a Palestinian teen in the back of the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet while he was walking to school in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday morning, his family told Ma‘an. Yasin Abu Mayyala said his son Hatim, 13, was taken from the Ras al-Amoud area in Silwan where he was shot to Hadassah Hospital in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Kerem, where medics said he suffered from a deep wound that required stitches. The boy was suffering from nausea and vomiting, Abu Mayyala said. Abu Mayyala told Ma‘an that Hatim left home with his brother Ahmed and as they stepped out of the bus, each went in a different direction due to clashes in the area between Palestinians and Israeli forces. “While Hatim was looking for Ahmed, Israeli forces fired a rubber-coated bullet at his head, causing severe bleeding and a deep wound,” he added. Hatim told his father that despite his wounds, he was attacked and beaten violently by six Israeli officers before they detained him. An ambulance later arrived and evacuated him. Abu Mayyala said that his son’s school notified him that Hatim was detained. When he arrived he saw an ambulance, and Israeli forces told him his son had been hit. Israeli forces reportedly decided to halt the detention process on the condition that his family bring Hatim to an Israeli interrogation center for questioning after he leaves the hospital, according to his father.
VIDEO: Woman lightly hurt in Rosh HaAyin [Israel] stabbing attack
Ynet 3 Apr by Rotem Elizera, Raanan Ben-Zur — [clearer VIDEO here] A female attacker stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli woman at the Rosh HaAyin industrial area on Sunday afternoon. The attacker, a 23-year-old resident of Kafr Qasem [20 km east of Tel Aviv on the Green Line], was subdued by a security guard who was nearby and arrested with no shots fired. A second knife was found in the attacker’s possessions. Security camera footage reveals what happened during the attack, showing at least 10 civilians surrounding the stabber and throwing objects at her, and two drivers blocking her path with their vehicles so she could not get away. The man who subdued the attacker said that while driving his car, he noticed “two girls fighting, and then I realized one of them had a long knife in her hand.” He stopped his car and overpowered the attacker. He was later questioned by police. The victim, a 30-year-old woman from Kfar Saba, suffered deep stab wounds to her hand and was taken to the Beilinson Hospital at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva. She is expected to be discharged later in the day. (Continued)
Kfar Qasem condemns recent attack in Rosh Ha’Ayin
Ynet 3 Apr by Itay Blumenthal — Kfar Qasem’s city council held an emergency meeting following the attack at Rosh Ha’Ayin where a woman was stabbed by a female resident of Kfar Qasem and sustained minor injuries. At the end of the meeting the council issued a statement in which it “condemns with the strongest condemnation the violent incident today and called for an end to violence”. [from IMEMC: Qafr Qassem, the alleged assailant’s hometown, was the site of a massacre on October 29, 1956, in which Israeli border police attacked a group of Palestinians for allegedly violating a curfew, killing 49 civilians, 23 of whom were children. The border police responsible were charged, but were pardoned after serving less than a year in prison.]
Palestinian detained at West Bank checkpoint after alleged attempted attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man at a checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank on Sunday after he allegedly tried to carry out a stabbing attack. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said the man was detained at the Tappuah junction in the Nablus district after Israeli soldiers noticed him walking towards a group of Israeli settlers waiting at a bus station. The Palestinian man was carrying a knife, al-Samri added, and was taken in to be interrogated by Israeli forces.No injuries were reported in the incident.
Israeli forces chase down Palestinian shepherds, seize 120 sheep
HEBRON (WAFA) 3 Apr – Israeli occupation forces Sunday chased down Palestinian shepherds in the Masafer Yatta area in southern Hebron, and seized around 120 sheep, according to a local activist. Coordinator of the national committee against the separation wall and settlements Rateb al-Jabour informed WAFA that two local brothers identified as Jehad and Ismail Mor were chased down by forces in Masafer Yatta grazing fields, which Israeli occupation authorities have declared a military training zone. Meanwhile, armed Israeli settlers late Saturday night chased down a Palestinian youth while he was present in the said area. The youth was identified as Na’el Abu ‘Eram, 25.
The activist noted that Israeli forces and settlers who reside in illegal West Bank Israeli settlements have intensified their arbitrary measures against Palestinians, including shepherds, in Masafer Yatta, in an aim to force them to leave their land, an area of 50 thousand dunums, as a prelude to seize it for the benefit of settlement expansion, under the pretext of being located in ‘state land’ and ‘closed military zones’. Palestinians in this area face a continuous risk of forcible expulsion. Like many other Palestinian communities located in Area C, which is under full Israeli military and administrative control, Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta are particularly vulnerable and food insecure. “They rely on livestock, mostly sheep and goats, as their primary source of income. Some families are unable to support their livestock since access to grazing areas is restricted due to the threat of settler violence or by the Israeli military, and thus have reduced income with which to meet their own needs, increasing their levels of poverty. All of the communities located in the Firing Zone are dependent upon food assistance from humanitarian organizations,” said the United Nations OCHA
Israeli soldiers kidnap a Palestinian near Hebron
IMEMC 2 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday at dawn, the town of ath-Thaheriyya [al-Dhahiriya] south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and kidnapped one Palestinian. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers searched the home of Sameh Mohammad Zabdiyya, 25, and kidnapped him. The soldiers also invaded several neighborhoods, and homes, in Hebron city, Yatta and Bani Neim nearby towns, and installed many roadblocks on the main roads leading to Sa‘ir and Halhoul towns, in addition to Hebron’s northern entrance. The army stopped and searched dozens of cars, and examined the ID cards of many Palestinians while interrogating them.
Israeli soldiers kidnap eight Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 3 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, several cities and towns in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped eight Palestinians. The soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, searched a number of homes and kidnapped a young Palestinian man, identified as Mohsen As‘ad Thawabta, 20. The soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades, during clashes that took place in the town, while local youths hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading army vehicles. The soldiers also invaded Mrah Rabah village, south of Bethlehem, and kidnapped Mohammad Khalil Mohammad, 23, after breaking into his home and violently searching it. The soldiers also invaded the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, and summoned Anas al-‘Adam, 24, for interrogation in Gush Etzion military base and security center. Clashes took place in Teqoua‘ [or Tuqu‘] and Beit Fajjar towns, after the soldiers stormed and searched many homes. In addition, several military vehicles invaded neighborhoods in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, searched homes and kidnapped four Palestinians, identified as Hamada Khaled al-Ja’bari, 20, Yousef Abdul-Karim al-Ja’bari, 19, Mohammad Shokri Shahin, 16, and Ahmad Shehda ad-Doudi, 22. [also Deir Samet, Nablus, Ya‘bad, ‘Arraba, Budrus, Qalandiya refugee camp]
In related news, the soldiers stopped a Palestinian at a military roadblock southwest of Jenin, and searched him before stealing 1800 shekels from his ID card sleeve while inspecting it. The Palestinian, Rami Jom’a Abu Ghalyoun, from the al-Biereh city in the central West Bank, said that he filed a complaint with the District Coordination Office in Jenin.
Israel detains 3 Palestinians in West Bank, 10 in one day
NABLUS (WAFA) 3 Apr – Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from two West Bank districts, bringing the total number of Palestinians detained since early Sunday to 10, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS said forces detained a local identified as Farooq Dowaikat from the Nablus area. In Bethlehem, armed soldiers detained two Palestinians identified as Mahmoud Taqatqa, 23, and Mohammad Hameedeh, 17. PPS noted that 12 Palestinians have been detained by Israeli authorities in the past two days.
Army kidnaps three Palestinian teenagers in Bethlehem
IMEMC 4 Apr — Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Monday at dawn, Teqoua‘ town and ‘Aida refugee camp, east and north of Bethlehem, searched homes and kidnapped three Palestinian teenagers . . . Luay Habes al-‘Amour, 17, and Malek Jamil al-‘Amour, 17 . . . Mohammad Rafat Abu Srour, 16.
Israeli soldiers kidnap a Palestinian, attack another, in Hebron
IMEMC 4 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the southern West Bank district of Hebron, stormed and searched many homes, kidnapped one Palestinian, attacked and injured another, and searched many homes. The soldiers invaded the ath-Thaheriyya [[al-Dhahiriya] town, south of Hebron, searched homes and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Monir Suleiman Eid at-Till, 35. The Palestinian was kidnapped after the soldiers searched the family home and its stores in the town. The soldiers also assaulted Waseem Saleh al-‘Adam, 19, causing various cuts and bruises, before local medics moved him to the Hebron governmental hospital.
The murder of Abed al Fatah al-Sharif
What went through Palestinian parents’ minds as they watched son’s cold-blooded execution?
Haaretz 2 Apr by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — The Israeli soldier who shot Abed Fattah al-Sharif while he was on the ground wounded is not the only one who should be punished, says his bereaved father. Everyone who was there should be punished — What goes through the mind of a father who sees a video of his son lying wounded on the road, and then being shot to death in cold blood by a soldier, at close range? What goes through the mind of a mother when she sees the superior officers and comrades-in-arms of the soldier who carries out the execution – with a bunch of settlers – standing around and going about their business as though nothing happened, while blood streams from her son’s head onto the road? What goes through the mind of his siblings as they see their brother’s body left untended in the street? The Al-Sharif family from Hebron saw it all. The father, Yusri, watched the video, taken by a volunteer from B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, two or three times; he no longer remembers how many. The mother, Rajaa, saw it once. It’s not hard to imagine the impact the images had on them.
This week, Israel arrested and is questioning the executioner-soldier involved in last Thursday’s incident; many Israelis turned him into their hero. His family, too, came in for plenty of sympathy and compassion.
But no one really bothered to mention that the victim, too, had a family. The young man who was shot, Abed Fattah al-Sharif, lived with his parents on the second floor of an apartment building in the Hebron suburb of Jabal Abu Rumann. Twenty-one at the time of his death, he was the firstborn child of Rajaa and Yusri, who have two other sons and two daughters. A solitary memorial poster, bearing Abed Fattah’s photograph, is draped over the front of the building. There are no flags – not of Hamas, not of Islamic Jihad and not of Fattah. The parents say that theirs is an apolitical home, adding that their late son was also not political . . .
The family is concerned that what they say will not be conveyed accurately. They are also very fearful that the occupation authorities will want to take revenge on them for the things they are saying. At 2:30 A.M. on Sunday, 19-year-old Khaled was arrested. Soldiers raided the family’s home and pulled Khaled out of bed. He was terrified, the family says. His father hugged him and tried to lift his spirits before he was taken away. Since then they have heard nothing from him. The human rights organization Hamoked – Center for the Defense of the Individual informed them that Khaled had been interrogated in the Etzion detention facility in the West Bank and then transferred to Ashkelon Prison. (Continued)
Arrest of soldier filmed executing Palestinian was just public relations
EI 1 Apr by Maureen Clare Murphy — An Israeli soldier shown on video executing an incapacitated Palestinian last week was arrested only “to avoid embarrassment in front of the world,” according to the human rights group Al-Haq. The group’s investigation sheds new light on the incident in which two Palestinian youths were slain, and comes as the arrested soldier, Elor Azarya, faces manslaughter charges, rather than the murder charges previously announced by military prosecutors. He may be released within days. Al-Haq, based in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, asserts that both the slaying of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, shown on video, and that of Ramzi al-Qasrawi, which was not recorded, constitute deliberate killings and are thus war crimes. The group adds that statements made by Israeli leaders – including former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who endorsed the videotaped killing and asserted that “the soldier carried out orders” – indicate that soldiers have been given orders to kill rather than neutralize Palestinians who pose a threat. “The occupation authorities’ detention of the accused soldier is a cover-up of the crime, to show the occupier state as law abiding and holds violators accountable,” Al-Haq’s Arabic-language report states. “The arrest of one soldier and not the other suggests that what the other soldier had done was not a crime because it was not captured on camera,” the group adds
A night of protective presence needed
AlL-KHALIL, Occupied Palestine 3 Apr by ISM, al-Khalil Team — The two boys met us at the store, shouting the name of our Palestinian contact and waving us along. The cobbled stones in the alley made a nice contrast to the darkness of the night. My feet landed softly on the mud where we started our climb. Glimpses of trash were seen from the flickering flashlights, as if we were threading our way across the city dump. We were going to the house of Imad Abu Shamsiyyeh, the man who had managed to catch last week’s execution on film. His name was out in the media and he and his family had received death threats. The local illegal settlers had also put up posters with his name and face on them, saying they wanted him skinned alive. The house had already been firebombed. We were going there as an international presence to act as a deterrent to what seemed a likely further attack. This night his backyard looked like your average neighbourhood barbecue, except that nobody was eating. Imad was sitting by the brazier alongside ten other men from the surrounding houses. His children were buzzing about, and his wife Faisa made sure everyone got their coffee and tea. When the soldiers showed up she made sure everything got caught on film.
There were three of them, all dressed in green, with black automatic rifles and some form of knee pads, which went well with the beret of their leader. They reminded me of turtles with their inability to look back over their shoulders. The execution had been condemned by president Netanyahu at first but later on, as the Israeli public opinion cleared in favour of the soldier, the shooting was surrounded with excuses. The situation for the messenger had however deteriorated. As the soldiers walked in to the backyard a handful of camera LCDs lit up the night, like torches keeping the wolves at bay. Faisa brought her camera close to the officer’s face, where he hopefully saw a reflection of himself, a harasser of ordinary people. The soldiers stood around for a while as they checked our passports and IDs. The situation was a bit tense but as everyone had the right to be there, they turned on their heels and left. They were the second delegation from the Israeli army that night. A lone soldier had come at first, to see if there was any protection present, and Issa guessed, to go back and tell the settlers. Luckily, there were a lot of people showing Imad and Faisa their support/ As the hours passed people started to leave for their homes. Our delegation from the ISM spent the rest of the night at Imad’s place. There was an Indian soap opera on TV, dubbed to Arabic, and the children surfed the internet. It could have been a quiet night in a home anywhere in the world, if it hadn’t been for the occupation, or the death threats.
Israeli forces shut down shops in Nablus-area town, threaten road closures
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — Israeli forces raided the town of Huwwara in the northern occupied West Bank on Sunday, forcing shop owners on the town’s main street to close down. Israeli forces also reportedly distributed leaflets south of Nablus threatening to set up checkpoints at the entrances to Huwwara if there were any clashes with Palestinian residents of the area. The leaflets said the threat of escalation in Israeli security measures was due to a recent rise in stone-throwing incidents around Huwwara . . . Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers’ vehicles were recently damaged near Huwwara, which is located south of the city of Nablus, after Palestinians threw stones at them. Israeli forces have shut down roads to a number of Palestinian towns since the beginning of the year, including the city of Ramallah, after residents of these areas carried out or allegedly attempted to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah denounced in March the Israeli practice of blockading Palestinian towns as amounting to “collective punishment.”
Decision to extend Gaza fishing zone to 9 miles takes effect
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 Apr – An Israeli decision to extend the fishing zone off some parts of the Gaza Strip coast to nine nautical miles took effect early Sunday morning, the Palestinian civil administration said. Official sources told Ma‘an that as of 2 a.m Sunday, Palestinian fishermen would be able to sail for nine nautical miles from Wadi Gaza southward. The fishing zone, the source added, would remain within six nautical miles north of Wadi Gaza. The source highlighted that the Palestinian Authority’s civil administration committee reached an agreement with Israeli authorities to allow the entry of materials for Gazan fishermen into the besieged enclave. This material includes equipment to repair fishing boats. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the extension of the fishing zone to nine nautical miles had gone into effect, adding that the decision was expected to add 400,000 shekels to the fishing industry in the Gaza Strip . . . Last year Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times, killing three, wounding dozens, and damaging at least 16 fishing boats.
Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishermen
GAZA (WAFA) 3 Apr – Israeli naval boats on Sunday opened machinegun fire towards Palestinian fishermen, who were sailing offshore the central Gaza Strip, according to local sources. There were no reports of casualties. This came despite reports that Israel decided to extend the fishing zone off the coast of Gaza from Sunday.
Gaza seniors still denied travel to al-Aqsa for the second Friday; 65,000 worshipers at Aqsa Mosque
ABNA 2 Apr — Around 65,000 Palestinians attended the Friday prayer at al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday amidst tight Israeli security measures. Mufti of al-Quds and Palestine and the Aqsa preacher Sheikh Mohammed Hussein hailed the worshipers who are always keen on maintaining prayers and vigil inside the holy site despite the Israeli occupation’s oppressive measures. He urged all Palestinian factions to restore unity of ranks and to stand united in face of occupation and its schemes especially in Jerusalem and the Aqsa. The Mufti urged Arabs and Muslims to be aware of the plots being hatched against their holy site especially the feverish Judaization attempts and Israeli occupation authority’s (IOA) efforts to wipe out the Arab and Islamic landmarks in the holy city.
Meanwhile, the IOA continued for the second week in a row blocking Gaza senior citizens from heading to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque. The Palestinian liaison office said that the IOA claimed, to justify its blockage, that a number of Gazans did not return to Gaza Strip in the last Friday they were allowed into occupied Jerusalem. However, Hamas spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri lashed out at the IOA for its decision, adding that it was meant to tighten the siege on the blockaded enclave . . . Only Gazans over 60 are allowed by the IOA to travel to Occupied Jerusalem to offer Friday prayer and return on the same day.
Photos: Israeli military destroys agricultural lands in Gaza
GAZA STRIP, Occupied Palestine 3 Apr by ISM, al-Khalil Team — At around 9am on Thursday, the 31st March, four Israeli bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip at El Fakhuri. They came in order to destroy agricultural lands located near the border, once again violating the indefinite truce that ended the 2014 Israeli aggression against Gaza. Meanwhile more than thirty tanks were located along the fence line, pointing at the Palestinian farmers who kept working on their lands despite the great risk that they face doing so. In less than a month the wheat harvest season will start. The families who own land near the border don’t know what will happen then, as no one seems to do anything to stop the systematic aggression. The wheat harvest is vital for the families’ ability to feed their children.
Egyptian forces kill 4 smugglers near Rafah crossing
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 2 Apr – Egyptian forces shot and killed four smugglers Saturday in the Egyptian territory south of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, Egyptian security sources said. The sources, who wish to remain unnamed, told Ma‘an that border guard officers exchanged gunfire with a group of smugglers trying to access an opening of a tunnel in the area of al-Duhniyya about one kilometer south of the Rafah crossing. Border guard officers noticed “suspicious movement,” and when they arrived to assess the movement, smugglers opened fire on them from a hole in the ground that appeared to be a smuggling tunnel, the sources added. The officers returned fire and killed four of the alleged smugglers, while two others managed to escape back inside the tunnel after they had been shot and injured. The source said the slain could not be identified. Egyptian army engineers later arrived to the site and blew up the opening to the tunnel.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli doctors assist in torture of Palestinian prisoners
EI 2 Apr by Charlotte Silver — A growing portion of the Palestinian prisoners held in solitary confinement by Israel have gone on hunger strike to protest their mistreatment. And a new report reveals the ways Israeli doctors are helping carry out abuses amounting to torture. As of last Wednesday, three Palestinians serving lengthy prison terms were refusing meals. Nahar Saadi and Isam Ahmad Zein al-Din are protesting being held in solitary confinement for three and two years respectively. Abdullah al-Mughrabi, who announced his hunger strike this week, has been held in isolation since February. Al-Mughrabi was transferred to a solitary confinement cell after he was scheduled to be released . . . –Solitary confinement– Over the last two years, Israel has doubled its use of solitary confinement for all of its prisoners, both criminal and political, according to a new report from Physicians for Human Rights–Israel (PHRI). While the total number of Palestinians currently in isolation is reportedly 14, that figure does not represent the uncounted number of Palestinian detainees who are placed in solitary confinement during their interrogation or for “punitive” reasons. “Solitary confinement is chosen for the duration of interrogations precisely because of its devastating psychological effects on individuals,” the report states . . . –Collusion of Israeli medical professionals– PHRI finds that Israeli healthcare professionals give solitary confinement “a medical stamp of approval” despite the World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo prohibiting physicians from taking part in any way in torture or cruel punishment. In 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Méndez, argued that solitary confinement for more than 15 days constitutes torture and can result in permanent psychological damage. PHRI reviewed prisoner medical files and found that prison health providers will explicitly state whether a prisoner is “fit for solitary confinement” or “there is nothing to prevent solitary confinement in this case.” Medical professionals also visit prisoners held in solitary confinement. But in spite of the involvement of medical professionals in the process of confining prisoners to isolation cells, Israel’s health ministry and the Israel Prison Service do not consider the practice a “medical matter,” thereby relieving the medical establishment of any responsibility to intervene.
Swap deal detainee begins hunger strike
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Apr — The family of Palestinian detainee Mohammad Dawod, from Bethlehem, has informed the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) that he launched a hunger strike eight days ago, to protest his administrative detention. PPS said, in a press release, that 34-year-old Dawod is detained without charge or trial in Ofer prison. He was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and served 5 years, before being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, in 2011, following an agreement between Israel and Hamas.
Meir Ettinger will not be released for his son’s circumcision
Ynet 3 Apr by Elisa Ben Kimon — Administrative detainee Meir Ettinger will not be allowed to leave detention to attend the ritual circumcision of his first-born son, the Be’er Sheva District Court decided Sunday. Ettinger’s wife Moriya said she was not willing to hold the circumcision ceremony at the jail, adding they are planning on appealing the decision at the High Court of Justice. “Meir hasn’t seen the baby since he was born,” Moriya Ettinger said. “It’s very difficult.”. . . Judge Israel Pablo Akselrad noted in his ruling that there is a risk to releasing Ettinger, the grandson of Rabbi Meir Kahane, for the ritual circumcision, and in the meeting with his family and friends . . . Ettinger is on administrative detention following an investigation by the Shin Bet’s Jewish Division, which claims that he was the main force behind the hilltop youth’s “price tag” activities against Palestinians in the West Bank. Ettinger’s initial administrative detention order issued against him was for six months, following which it was extended two months ago by four additional months. Ettinger allegedly heads a cell that planned to carry out a series of violent acts against Palestinians as part of what he called “the rebellion”. According to his view, unrest must be fostered among the Palestinians in order to bring about the overthrow of the regime in Israel, thus creating anarchy.
Punitive demolitions / confiscations
Israeli forces tear down homes of 3 slain Palestinian attackers in Jenin
[with photos] JENIN (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — Israeli forces on Monday morning tore down the homes of three slain Palestinian attackers in the village of Qabatiya south of Jenin, local officials told Ma‘an. Ali Zakarnah, a local PLO official, said four bulldozers, escorted by more than 60 Israeli army jeeps, stormed the village and demolished the homes of Ahmad Zakarnah, Ahmad Abu al-Rub, and Muhammad Kameel. He said fierce clashes broke out afterward, with five Palestinians evacuated to hospital after they were shot with live and rubber-coated steel bullets.The three Palestinians to whom the houses belonged were shot dead in Jerusalem at the beginning of February after killing an Israeli police officer and wounding another in an armed attack outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. Israeli police said all three were armed with automatic weapons, and that explosive devices were later found near the scene of the attack. Qabatiya, a village of some 20,000 people, has suffered several practices condemned as collective punishment since then.
Israeli court gives Palestinian family 24 hours to evacuate their house
JJERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — The Israeli supreme court gave the family of a Palestinian teen prisoner 24 hours to evacuate their house in occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday. The mother of prisoner Abed Mahmoud Dawiyat told Ma‘an that the Israeli supreme court approved a decision by the Israeli army’s Home Front Command to confiscate and shutter their house in the neighborhood of Sur Bahir. She added that the family’s appeal had been rejected, and that five family members had evacuated the 120-meter house with the help of their neighbors. The Israeli army decided in February to confiscate and shutter the homes of four Palestinian prisoners from Sur Bahir, who were identified as Muhammad Salah Abu Kiff, Muhammad Jihad al-Taweel, Walid Fares al-Atrash and Dawiyat. The four youths, all between 16 and 19 years old, have been accused of killing an Israeli settler in September after throwing stones at his car. However, they have not been sentenced yet, and their case is still being discussed by the Israeli judiciary system. In February, the youths’ families denounced the move to confiscate their homes as amounting to collective punishment. While it has become common practice during the past several months for Israeli forces to demolish homes of attackers as a method thought to deter attacks, it is unclear why Israeli authorities have ruled to confiscate the homes, instead of destroying them.
Land theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Settlements
Israeli forces demolish 5 Palestinian homes built without permits
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Apr — Israeli forces on Monday demolished five homes across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem that they said had been built without permits — the latest in a wave of demolitions that has left hundreds homeless since the beginning of the year. In the village of Surif north of Hebron, Israeli forces tore down a 170-square-meter home belonging to local resident Azzam Mahmoud Gheimat, and lived in by his brother and family of six. Gheimat told Ma‘an he was “shocked” to hear that Israeli bulldozers under military escort had arrived outside the home on Monday morning. He said Israeli forces prevented his family from taking anything out of the house and the Israeli officer present refused to give them a chance to appeal to the Israeli authorities. “He told us the order was issued on Oct. 28, 2015, but we had no idea about this decision,” he said. Gheimat said a scuffle broke out, during which soldiers assaulted his mother as well as several neighbors. Meanwhile, in the community of Khirbet al-Marajim, west of the southern Nablus village of Duma, Israeli forces were reported to have torn down two homes belonging to Jamal al-Taweel and Hisham al-Jabrawi. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an the demolitions took place without prior notice, and that Israeli forces had sealed off the area as a closed military zone. In occupied East Jerusalem, meanwhile, Israeli forces demolished a 120-square-meter home that they said had been built without the necessary permits. Israeli forces were reported to have stormed the al-Farouq area of Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood and demolished a house belonging to local resident Abed al-Basit Abu Rmeila. Abu Rmeila said the house was built five months ago and that he had lived there with his family of six.
Israeli settlers raze Palestinian’s land south of Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 3 Apr – Israeli settlers Sunday razed land in the village of Jallud south of Nablus that belongs to a Palestinian man. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in northern West Bank, said settlers from the illegal settlement of Esh Kodesh razed with bulldozers land that belongs to Ahmad Muhammad. He said works in the village’s land near the illegal settlement of Ahya have been ongoing with the Israeli authorities notifying some Palestinian families with stop construction orders of their homes.
US ‘concerned’ about Israel destroying Palestinian homes
Reuters 2 Apr — The United States is “concerned” about Israel’s demolition of Arab buildings in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, a State Department spokeswoman said on Friday, adding that it raised questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state political solution to the Palestinian conflict. Israeli forces bulldozed a school in the Bedouin village of Khirbet Tana in the West Bank early in March, leaving 23 children with nowhere to study in the community overlooking the Jordan valley. The school had been built by the European Union in an effort to help the community of about 40 families. After destroying the school, the Israeli forces returned two weeks later and demolished 17 homes, 21 pens for sheep, goats and chickens, and five outhouses, according to B’Tselem, a left-wing Israeli nongovernmental organization. “These actions are indicative of a damaging trend of demolitions, displacement and land confiscation,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told a State Department briefing. She said Washington was “concerned” and the demolitions, coupled with continuing Israeli construction and settlement activity “undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.” “They also call into question the Israeli government’s commitment to that two-state solution,” Trudeau said. The State Department previously made similar comments.
Olive tree planting connects Palestinians in the Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY, Occupied Palestine 2 Apr by ISM, Ramallah Team — On Saturday 2nd April, Palestinians and international activists alike worked together in solidarity to plant olive trees in the town of al-Bikaa in the Jordan Valley; the town falls under area C of the occupied territories. The act of planting the trees today was symbolic and had several meanings behind the day’s actions. In November, 2015, the occupying Israeli forces confiscated a field of land from the native Palestinians and used it to plant grapevines, fruits that often end up on the tables of naive western countries whose citizens have very little idea of the vegetation’s origin and the ongoing struggle for Palestinians that is created from these malicious land confiscations. The primary agenda behind the tree planting today was to strategically plant the olive trees in a freshly ploughed and fertilised field to the right of where the Israeli government has planted their grapevines. There is hope amongst the Palestinians that if the fields are being utilised then the occupying forces will not confiscate the land. It was the first activity organised by the popular union to protect the Jordan Valley. It was a symbolic and momentous day as previously, each village throughout the regions of Nablus, Tubas and Jericho have each had their own governing bodies. There have been more than twenty five unions in the past and this has brought them all together under one new body.
Israel bans call to prayer in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque 51 times in March
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — Israeli authorities banned Palestinian mosque employees from playing the Muslim call to prayer through the speakers of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron 51 times in March, the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment said on Saturday. Minister of Endowment Sheikh Youssef Ideis slammed the restrictions as attempts by the Israeli occupation to give the impression that the mosque is Jewish property. Israeli forces, he said, have set up checkpoints at the main entrances to the mosque to inspect worshipers, checking their identity cards and denying them access, while Israeli settlers are able to freely access the site. Ideis added that Israeli authorities have recently put a layer of base course pavement in the Ibrahimi Mosque’s courtyard, preparing to set up movable clinics.“The (Israeli) occupation has been using various means to harm the Ibrahimi Mosque and its worshipers in order to tighten their grip on the mosque as they have done with other mosques in Hebron’s Old City.” Ideis said Israeli forces banned the call to prayer from being played through the mosque’s speakers 635 times in 2015.
Washington’s failure to stem material support for Israeli settler extremists
FPJ 1 Apr by Sarah Marusek — US rhetorical opposition to illegal Israeli settlements rings hollow while it lays favors on settler organizations that fund them — There was an international outcry when video footage was released on March 24 of an Israeli occupation soldier in Hebron shooting a Palestinian lying on the ground, execution style, after the Palestinian had been wounded during an attempted knife attack. The release of the video led to the soldier’s arrest, and an initial condemnation of his actions . . . Additional video footage also soon emerged of the soldier shaking hands with right wing extremist Baruch Marzel immediately after the shooting. As Haaretz newspaper reports, “Boston-born Marzel, a disciple of Rabbi Meir Kahane, was the latter’s successor as leader of the Kach movement,” a militant Zionist party banned for terrorism in both Israel and the US . . . What is often unreported is that Marzel, along with several other right wing extremist Israeli settlers, continues to receive both political and financial support from the US. Although the US government has long stated its objection to Israeli settlements, it has been anything but robust in the policing of individuals and charities funneling tax-exempt money to extremist settlers, including followers of Rabbi Kahane, founder of Kach . . . Many of these extremists have direct and indirect links with American officials. As the Washington Report for Middle East Affairs revealed in 2011, a Facebook account in the name of Meir Kahane was friends with New York City Assemblyman Dov Hikind, himself a former member of the Jewish Defense League. Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), who during his tenure helped to organize Congressional trips to Israel, was listed in December 2010 as Facebook friends with both Kahane Chai leader David Ha’Ivri and another former Kach spokesperson – Baruch Marzel. (Continued)
Gideon Levy: Americans ‘are supporting the first signs of fascism in Israel’
Real News 22 Mar — Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy talks to journalist Max Blumenthal about how the Israeli occupation has poisoned not only the region but much of the world, and how BDS might be the last standing hope to dismantle it — MAX BLUMENTHAL: …Gideon, you spoke earlier today, and you said that if any–if you could show any American visiting the Holy Land anything, you would first take them to Hebron. And I think you’re referring to H2, the section of the city that is honeycombed with very violent, radical settlers, but is still Palestinian. Why would you show them that area? There’s so much to see. GIDEON LEVY: I would start there because there you get it in a nutshell. There is no other place where you can see the Israeli policy, the Israeli apartheid in the West Bank, in such crystal clear colors. Roads are just separated for Jews and for Palestinians. An empty town, because all the Palestinian inhabitants head to run away. I mean, the settlers terrorized them so much, until most of them, there really remained only those who have no place to go. And you see the tyranny of the settlers, their brutality. They are the most extreme settlers and they are, part of them should be questioned by psychiatrists. I mean, really. And only a very small piece of land. And that’s the way it could have–and it will look, one day–if this occupation will continue. So you get it in a nutshell. BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, yeah. It’s like a microcosm of the whole occupation. LEVY: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I know no one who, any honest person, who had been ever there and wasn’t shocked. BLUMENTHAL: And you know, I was on [Shuhada] street, standing around talking to the soldiers. And we were talking about a few hundred settlers guarded by hundreds and hundreds of soldiers, who also are very violent with the local Palestinian population. I’m standing there, I’m filming, and a settler woman walks by, and she’s just staring at me. And I just go “Yalla,” you know, get out of here. And she goes, what do you mean, yalla? What are you talking about? And she has a Brooklyn accent. And that was incredible to me. I think–what you would hear there are New York accents in the middle of Hebron. So how do you think the U.S. has helped create that situation in Hebron? LEVY: The U.S. is the big financer of the Zionist project and the big financer of the settlement project. Without the U.S. there is no occupation. And the U.S. carries responsibility for any of Israel’s deeds and crimes, because without the U.S. Israel couldn’t do it, very clearly. (Continued)
Palestinian refugees — Lebanon
1 Palestinian killed, several injured amid rising tensions in Lebanon camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — One Palestinian was killed and several others injured Friday amid heavy clashes between rival factions at the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Helweh in southern Lebanon, Lebanese state media reported. A dispute between members of the Fatah Movement and “Islamist militants” escalated into gunfire for the second time this week, with sounds of RPG blasts also being reported Friday. Lebanese state-run National News Agency (NNA) identified the slain man as Fatah member Hussein Othman. Several families reportedly fled the camp as a result of the clashes. “Palestinian-Lebanese contacts are underway in a bid to pacify the situation and contain the tensions,” said NNA. While fighting had died down Friday night, Reuters reported gunfire broke out again Saturday morning. The renewed violence in Ain al-Helweh comes after two men were killed in clashes last week in the same camp. It was not immediately clear if there is a connection between the two rounds of violence. Ain al-Helweh, which lies near the Lebanese city of Sidon, has become increasingly unstable over the past year, with violent clashes last summer displacing as many as 3,000 Palestinian refugees.
Other news / Opinion
First National Child Council-Palestine elected in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Apr — The international NGO Save the Children announced on Saturday the creation of the first National Child Council – Palestine after elections were carried out in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in partnership with the Palestinian Network for Children’s Rights.The elections were sponsored by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and Higher Education. Children’s rights groups from across the occupied West Bank cast their votes to elect the council . . . Iman Barghouthi, a representative for Save the Children, said the newly elected council would serve as a consultative committee for Save the Children. Riad Arar, Director of the Child Protection Program for Defense for Children – Palestine highlighted that the council was the first of its kind in Palestine. “The council will represent the children, reflect their point of view and their aspirations, and question decision makers on the implementation of children’s rights in Palestinian society.”
Yes Theatre: Resisting occupation through theatre and socially engaged art practice
HEBRON, Occupied West Bank 3 Apr by ISM, al-Khalil Team — The Yes Theatre in Al-Khalil works with dedication, for a brighter future for the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank through a diverse set of cultural activities. Roughly eight new productions every year reach an audience of over thirty thousand Palestinians, and on occasion also tour theatres of Germany, France and Tunisia. Additionally, the Yes Theatre continually searches for new ways to share and develop its decade-long artistic practice, by engaging in dialogue with its local community, sharing their stories, hosting workshops, providing youth education, and internships with a job-guarantee. Their projects include Yes 4 Future, Yes 4 Kids, workshops that support women speaking in front of an audience, along with several plays that include female actors – something which is not a standard feature in Palestinian theatre. ISM had a chat with general manager Mohammad Issa, and some of the artists, after having watched the powerful performance “3 in 1”, written collectively by Ihab Zahdeh, Raed Shiokhi and Muhamed Titi. The different stories of the play were inspired by meetings with the local citizens of Hebron, and depict the everyday challenges of what Raed Shiokhi (actor) describes as the circles of life for Palestinians. (Continued)
Palestinian police arrest archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Apr — Palestinian police in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem arrested on Saturday the spiritual head of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Palestine and Jordan, Palestinian security sources said. Eyewitness and follower of the Syrian Orthodox Church Shamiran Ketlo told Ma‘an that she saw Palestinian police obstructing a parade celebrating Archbishop Sewerios Malki Murad’s visit to Bethlehem on the main road to the Church of the Nativity, before taking him into custody. Murad was returning from a Syrian heritage celebration held at the Bethlehem Convention Palace in al-Khader south of Bethlehem. Palestinian police spokesperson Luay Irzeikat said the Syrian archbishop was arrested over alleged civil charges following a decision by the general prosecution, without giving further details. Ketlo told Ma‘an that followers of the Syrian Orthodox Church appeal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to release Murad, who is based in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.“ Followers of the Syrian Orthodox Church have threatened to leave Palestine and seek refuge in any other country if archbishop Murad is not released,” Ketlo said. Imprisonment of a spiritual leader like Murad leaves Syrian Christians in Palestine feeling unprotected, she added. A shrinking community of approximately 5,000 Syrian Christians resides in the occupied Palestinian territory, the descendants of Aramaic-speaking families who fled Ottoman massacres across southeastern Turkey during the 1910s.In Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, Syriacs are a prominent part of social life. However, since Israel illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, hundreds of Syrian Christians have been expelled from their homes and businesses in the city.
Netanyahu tells Kerry: Israel doesn’t commit ‘extrajudicial executions’ of Palestinians
Ynet 2 Apr by Itamar Eichner — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday to protest a letter sent by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy asking the State Department to investigate allegations of “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians by Israel.Netanyahu asked Kerry to make a statement saying he knew Israel did not commit “extrajudicial executions” and that it investigates every incident thoroughly. The two also discussed other regional issues.
Palestinian authors in Delhi, March 2016
NDTV 1 Apr — Not West Bank, Not Gaza – Palestine. Suad Amiry, Mourid Barghouti, Tamim Barghouti
Blurring the lines between Palestine and Baltimore
+972 mag 3 Apr by Noa Yachot — A new play tells the story of Aseel Asleh, one of the 13 Palestinians killed by police inside Israel at the start of the Second Intifada. Playwright Jen Marlowe is bringing it to black colleges in the U.S. in the hopes of connecting two struggles — Before his death, Palestinian teenager Aseel Asleh dedicated himself to his Jewish Israeli friends. As a loyal alumnus of Seeds of Peace, a coexistence summer camp, he was convinced that the promise of peace lay in forgiveness and reconciliation. More than 15 years after he was killed at the age of 17 by Israeli police, a play about his life and death is being used to foster a very different dialogue. “There Is a Field” explicitly aims to build connections between movements for Palestinian rights and racial justice in America. It is presently on a tour that focuses on historically black colleges and universities in the eastern United States. Aseel was shot to death in his hometown of Arrabe in the early days of the Second Intifada, while demonstrating in solidarity with Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. He was one of 13 Palestinians – including 12 citizens of Israel – killed inside Israel in a single week in the notorious “October events” of 2000. He was killed and buried in a Seeds of Peace t-shirt. Jen Marlowe had been the boy’s camp counselor. In search of a way to honor Aseel’s memory and cope with the grief that shook her community, she set out to write a play about his life. “There Is a Field” took shape over the next 15 years, finally premiering last month in New York. (Continued)
Analysis: Meet the new Palestinian and the new Israeli / Alon Ben David
JPost 2 Apr — Loss of faith in state institutions is not unique to Israelis and Palestinians — The last six months of terror have revealed the new generations that have emerged on both sides of the Green Line: meet the new Palestinian and the new Israeli. One of these phenomena manifests itself with stabbings and killers and the other with a tumultuous animal-like temper. Both phenomena are worrying, and what is common to both groups is the complete disregard that both have for authority and institutions in society, to the point that both the Israeli and the Palestinian leadership fear them. Instead of leading, the politicians are being led by these defiant youth. IDF soldiers at the checkpoints in the West Bank are encountering something they did not encounter in the past. For decades, when the soldiers would ask the Palestinians where they were from and where they were going, the Palestinians would answer obediently. But lately, young Palestinians are answering these same questions in protest: “What business is it of yours where I’m going? Who are you to even ask me?” The generation that is leading the current wave of terror is very different from those that were at the forefront of the past intifadas. From Israeli interrogations of 90 terrorists in past months, an impression emerges of a generation that did not experience, or that does not remember the traumas of the past uprisings. A generation that has never even visited Israel, has never seen the sea or gone abroad, but that rather lives on the Internet, and via the web has gained its understanding of the world. Its reference point for information is Israel and what happens in the rest of the Arab world is of less significance. This generation of Palestinians is not interested in a framework for a diplomatic solution with Israel and it does not care if Israel negotiates or does not negotiate with the Palestinian Authority. It cares about one thing only: human rights for the Palestinians. It believes that Israel negates its basic rights and it is demanding those rights and the creation of a Palestinian state is a secondary concern for it . . . They do not trust any Palestinian institutions and they first and foremost disregard their parents and do not recognize their authority. They hate the Palestinian Authority – and would rebel against it but for Israel’s occupation – and they also have contempt for the existing terror organizations such as Hamas, Fatah, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It is common for a terrorist to specifically write before setting out on a terror attack that no Palestinian organization should claim responsibility for his act . . . Despite a recent downturn in past weeks in the number of terror attacks against Israel, it is too early to talk about a waning of the current terror wave. The potential of this generation is great. In the West Bank there are 950,000 Palestinians between the ages of 15-30, the main reservoir for the knifing attacks. One third of this group has a high school education and above. One third is also unemployed. They study, earn degrees and then don’t find work . . .
The ‘new Israeli’ also lives online. They also have no reverence for authority and institutions in society and only exalt violence. The hero of this iconoclastic generation is not the person who stopped a Syrian army division on the Golan or who jumped on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers, but rather the soldier who last week shot a dying Palestinian terrorist in the head because “he deserved to die.” A person who doesn’t agree with them is marked as a traitor, the IDF chief of staff and the minister of defense included. Most embarrassing is that the politicians pander to this generation.
The phenomenon of the loss of faith in state institutions is not unique to the Palestinians and the Israelis. It is common among youth throughout the West. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Republican candidate Donald Trump both receive their support from the same disillusioned public.
There were many terrifying results from the Pew Research Poll on Israelis that was published last month. But there was one encouraging statistic: 56 percent of Israelis, including secular, traditional and religious Israelis placed themselves at the center of the political spectrum. This means that with the correct leadership it would be possible to bring sanity back to the country and return the extreme fringe back to its place.