Israeli navy opens fire on Gaza fishing boats, then seizes boats

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Israeli forces shoot, injure 5 Palestinians in Gaza protest
GAZA (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Five Palestinians were injured on Friday with live fire when clashes erupted with Israeli forces in border areas in the northern and eastern Gaza Strip. Witnesses told Ma‘an that two were injured with live fire near the Nahal Oz crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel east of al-Shujaiyya. Medical sources said they were shot in the lower extremities. Three others were also injured in clashes near the Beit Hanun crossing in northern Gaza Strip, according to witnesses . . . Palestinians in the Gaza Strip crowd near the borders with Israel every Friday to show solidarity with what Palestinians in besieged coastal enclave have termed the “Jerusalem Intifada” taking place in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Nearly 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since the unrest spread in October, the majority shot dead during clashes on the Gaza-Israel border.

Israeli forces detain 4 Palestinian fishermen off Gazan coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli naval forces on Thursday detained four Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip and seized their fishing boats. Fishermen told Ma‘an that Israeli forces opened fire on the fishing boats before detaining them, although no injuries were reported. They said the incident took place within the designated nine nautical mile fishing zone. An official with the Agricultural Work Union, Zakariya Bakr, identified the detainees as brothers Iyad and Ahmad Omar al-Bardawil and brothers Bilal and Muhammad Jihad Musleh. He said two fishing boats were confiscated . . .
On Thursday, another two Palestinian fishermen were detained off the coast of Khan Younis after they allegedly passed beyond the designated fishing zone. As part of Israel’s near-decade long blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, Palestinian fishermen have been required to work within a limited “designated fishing zone” off the coast, which was extended to nine nautical miles last week.

Detained fishermen released amid fresh attacks off Gaza coast by Israeli forces
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Apr — Israeli forces on Friday evening released three fishermen that had been detained earlier Friday, before naval forces opened fire on Gaza fishermen Saturday morning off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. Three of the four fisherman Israeli forces detained off the coast of Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip Friday were released. A speaker of the Gaza fishermen’s union Nizar Ayyash told Ma‘an that the fourth fisherman was expected to be released later on Friday night. Ayyash highlighted that the fourth fisherman was injured after Israeli naval boats opened fire at two fishing boats, which were also seized by Israeli forces. Witnesses said the incident took place within the designated nine nautical mile fishing zone. A previous report on Friday mentioned that there had been no injuries among the fishermen. News of their release comes as Israeli naval forces opened fire on Gaza fishermen on Saturday off the coast in the northern Gaza Strip, locals told Ma‘an. No injuries were reported among fishermen.

‘Israel’s expansion of fishing zone in Gaza is not useful.’ fishermen say
MEMO 7 Apr — The Israeli expansion of the fishing zone off the Gaza coast is a “trick” that caused “disappointment” to fishermen, the Anadolu Agency reported the Gaza Fishermen’s Union saying. The union said in a statement that the catch had not increased, but the new area has added to the costs of fishing due to the increasing use of fishing equipment and fuel. In the statement, the union described this Israeli measure as a “trick”, noting that the expansion of three nautical miles did not cover the entire stretch of the Gaza coastline. On Sunday, the Israeli occupation said it expanded the fishing zone from six nautical miles to nine nautical miles, claiming this would help Gaza fishermen increase their catch. The union called for the international community to put pressure on Israeli to commit to its obligations under the Oslo agreement, which allowed fishermen to sail up to 20 nautical miles.

IDF preventing Arab citizens from visiting ailing relatives in Gaza
+972 blog 7 Apr by  Michal Luft — A new Israeli policy makes it nearly impossible for Palestinian citizens from visiting their ailing relatives in the Gaza Strip. All in the name of security — In a press release published July of 2015, Commander of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, announced a new policy intended to reduce entry into the Gaza by Israeli civilians, thereby further undermining the already limited ability of thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel to see their relatives who live in the Strip. The decision came about after it was made public that two Israeli citizens had recently disappeared in the Strip, as well as the “security situation in the Gaza Strip.” The policy was said to be temporary and that Israeli citizens would still be able to obtain permits to enter the Gaza Strip in specific cases, as per humanitarian need. This expression is code for a situation in which people may ask for a permit only if a relative is dying, has died, or is getting married. Even before the new policy was announced, Palestinian citizens with relatives in Gaza were only able to ask to visit them in extreme humanitarian conditions. In recent months, however, they have discovered that they cannot get permits even when these conditions do exist . . . Figures show that in the five months preceding the new ban, the monthly average number of entries into Gaza by Israelis was 337, whereas in the five months since the ban, the monthly average has been about 138 — a 60 percent drop. In fact, the cases in which permits are actually granted, yet no companions are allowed to join, are the ones that fully expose the cruelty of this “new” policy, which is, incidentally, still in effect today. Recently, the military denied a request made by R., a 20-year-old woman, to enter Gaza along with her husband and their six-week-old infant son, to attend her brother’s wedding. Only concerted legal efforts by Gisha finally resulted in the Gaza District Coordination Offices (DCO) agreeing to issue another permit — for the baby . . . Considering the fact that the policy — which has become permanent — was officially predicated on security considerations, one must wonder how tearing apart a mother from her children serves state security? How is Israel’s security bolstered by her passing up a chance to visit her ailing father because she cannot leave her children behind? What sort of security risk is posed by a one-year-old infant or a ten-year-old child who join their parents to visit the grandparents? What security purpose is served by denying a grandparent the rare chance of visiting their granddaughter, and seeing her — perhaps for the first time — on her wedding day?

Gaza’s Rafah cast into darkness as Egyptian power supply fails
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — The southern Gaza district of Rafah was left without power on Friday after the power supply from Egypt’s electricity grid broke down, contributing to the coastal enclave’s already dire energy crisis. An official in Gaza’s electricity distribution company told Ma‘an a technical error had occurred in al-Arish in the northern Sinai, severing 20 megawatts of power to Rafah district. He said the Egyptian authorities were repairing the fault.

Israeli forces level lands in Gaza Strip ‘buffer zone’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Several Israeli bulldozers leveled land within the border area of the central Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, witnesses said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that five Israeli “D9” bulldozers started razing lands ten meters inside Gaza near the al-Bureij refugee camp. They added that Israeli drones flew overhead during the operation. No injuries were reported.

Explosive device detonates under Israeli bulldozer in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — An explosive device detonated under an armored Israeli bulldozer on the Palestinian side of the borderline between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday, the Israeli army said. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a D-9 bulldozer from the Israeli military’s engineering unit was performing “routine activity” near the border in the southern end of the strip when the device detonated as the bulldozer drove over it. No injuries were reported. Israeli military forces enter the Gaza Strip on a regular basis, most often in the Israeli-enforced “buffer zone” on both land and sea side of the besieged enclave. Such activity has had devastating impacts on the strip’s fishing and agricultural industries as workers lives are put in danger on a near-daily basis.

Gaza archaeologists protest development at site of ancient church
MEE/Agencies 5 Apr — The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, which owns the land, is keen to press ahead with building work for commercial development despite find — Archaeologists have called for an ancient church unearthed on a Gaza construction site to be conserved, with different ministries in the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave seemingly at loggerheads over its fate. The site is believed to be a church, or even a cathedral, dating back to at least the 7th century. The Gaza ministry of antiquities and a number of prominent archaeologists called for all building to be suspended until the relics can be protected and preserved. The ministry of endowments and Islamic affairs, however, owns the land and wants the commercial development to continue, with bulldozers working on Tuesday despite protests. Hyam al-Betar, an archaeologist who works with the antiquities ministry, screamed at bulldozers to stop on Tuesday as they roughly moved marble columns from under the sand, breaking one. Technicians from the ministries of antiquities were hurriedly taking columns, as well as ornate marble bases, to the Qasr al-Basha – the only museum in Gaza – to be cleaned and restored before being presented. Mohammed al-Zarad, a researcher in archaeology at Gaza’s Islamic University, said it was a “very important site which must be protected”. “We found many of the rock layers had fossils in them dating back to the Bronze Age,” he added, with other discoveries including plates and pottery – some may have been smashed by bulldozers. Zarad said there were not enough resources to search for relics within Gaza, calling on the world heritage body UNESCO to step in and “save the monuments of Gaza from loss.” Jamal Abu Raida, from the Ministry of Antiquities, said the newly-discovered pieces include a marble column engraved with leaves, pillars and a foundation stone bearing a Greek Christian symbol. Gaza, like much of the Palestinian territories and Israel, is filled with antiquities.

Gaza’s Paralympic games
MEMO 8 Apr — EXCLUSIVE IMAGES — Al-Jazira Sports Club held a Paralympic sports event for Gaza’s disabled athletes, simulating Paralympic games and tournaments abroad. Ali Al-Nazli, the club director, told MEMO that the event was held to bring those players who have been prevented from participating in Arab and world championships due to the Israeli siege to the spotlight, noting that they have achieved various medals in previous tournaments. Restrictions on travel and attending international championships have been ongoing since 2012. These disabled at least should have, at the very least, been excluded from travel bans and the continued closure of border crossings, as this negatively impacts their psychology and reduces their ability to train and do sports. The event included players from both genders, male and female, as well as a variety of sports including spear-throw and volleyball among others. Audiences and fans carried signs calling for the need for the participation of Gaza and Palestine in international champions and against depriving them and shutting the doors in their faces.

British MP performs life-saving cancer operation for Palestinians
AFP 8 Apr — British lawmakers normally spend their breaks catching up on paperwork or holidaying, but one parliamentarian has instead travelled more than 2,000 miles to the Palestinian territories to carry out life-saving breast cancer surgery. Philippa Whitford, a parliamentarian for Central Ayrshire in Scotland and a breast cancer expert before entering parliament, travelled to provide care for a number of Palestinian women, who face an uphill struggle to get quality treatment. Whitford carried out four major cancer operations in the occupied West Bank last week, before travelling to Gaza on Sunday to advise hospitals there on how to improve their care. One operation was on a woman with “very advanced” cancer, said the lawmaker, who returned to the United Kingdom on Thursday. Whitford, who became a lawmaker for the left-wing Scottish National Party (SNP) in the 2015 British election, said breast cancer treatment in the Palestinian territories suffered from a lack of planning, resources and Israeli restrictions. In Gaza, breast cancer kills more women than any other cancer, according to a 2011 research paper by researchers from Harvard Medical School . . .There are regular shortages of medicines including those that treat cancer and no radiotherapy in the coastal enclave. “Getting anything into Gaza is not secure. You can’t say ‘we get a delivery every month and it will be here and the hospital will be stocked.’ So they are forever running out of things,” Whitford said.

Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem

4 wounded, 5 kidnapped as Israeli troops attack a joint Israeli-Palestinian peaceful protest
[with photos] IMEMC 8 Apr by Ghassan Bannoura — Israeli soldiers on Friday blocked  a joint Israeli-Palestinian peaceful demonstration against the seizing of private Palestinian lands. The demonstration, led by activists from the ‘Combatants for Peace’  movement, is part of the local residents’ struggle against the plan to build the Nabi-Elias bypass road for Israeli settlers on private Palestinian lands. Even before the non-violent demonstration could begin, protesters were met with military and border police forces which showed them a Closed Military Zone warrant, which was issued for that specific day only, in order to prevent the protest. Most of the demonstrators were able to meet in the village of Izbat al-Tabib near Nabi Elias and began to march towards the exit of the village, but were met there with troops who blocked the exit to the village. There the demonstrators tried to plant olive trees as a symbol of peace, but the soldiers attacked using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Two Palestinian protesters were wounded by rubber[-coated steel] bullets and two others suffered from tear gas inhalation. Troops also detained four Israeli activists, and one Palestinian activist. In order to build the Nabi Elias bypass road, which will serve mostly settlers’ needs of separation from the Palestinian population and has no benefit for Palestinians, 104 dunams of private Palestinian lands were expropriated in December 2015.

Israeli soldiers attack the weekly nonviolent protest in Bil‘in
IMEMC 8 Apr by Saed Bannoura — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, dozens of Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists holding the weekly nonviolent protest in Bil‘in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. This week’s protest commemorates the 68th anniversary of the Deir Yassin Massacre. The Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, in Bil’in, said the protesters marched in the village, carrying Palestinian flags, chanting for national unity, in addition to calling for removing all Israeli colonies from occupied Palestine, ongoing resistance, and the release of all detainees. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades at the protesters and chased many of them in the Palestinian orchards. The Popular Committee said that the head of Bil‘in Village Council Bassel Mansour, 40, was shot with a gas bomb in his leg, while dozens of locals, Israeli and international peace activists suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. Israeli gas bombs and concussion grenades also led to fires in large areas of olive orchards and lands planted with almond trees belonging to residents Haitham Khatib [a well-known photographer] and Nasser Abu Rahma.

Israeli forces detain 6, break up Silwan sit-in for 2nd week in a row
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians and confiscated a sit-in tent in occupied East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood in an attempt to prevent prayers during a protest in the Ein al-Luza area. A sit-in protesting Israeli policies to push residents out of the area was planned to take place in the tent. Last Friday, Israeli forces threatened Palestinians taking part in the ongoing Silwan protests and attempted to break up the demonstration..Majdi al-Abbasi, a representative of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided Hosh Abu Tayeh in Ein al-Luza and confiscated the tent, detained five youths from the area, and held two vehicles and plastic chairs. The five youths were identified as Jalal al-Abbasi, Firas al-Abbasi, Muhammad Abu Tayeh, his brother Khalid, and Moussa al-Abbasi. In addition to the five youths, Israeli forces also detained Jawad Siyam, head of the center, for allegedly obstructing traffic by driving in the opposite direction to prevent the detention of the five youths. Majdi al-Abbasi added that Israeli forces later released Moussa al-Abbasi after they had accused him of “driving his vehicle carrying plastic chairs to take to the sit-in tent,” which he denied during the interrogation and proved he was headed to a family occasion by showing Israeli forces the invitation card.

3 Palestinians injured in clashes as hundreds of Israelis pray at Joseph’s Tomb
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — An estimated 1,000 right-wing Israelis escorted by Israeli forces prayed at Joseph’s Tomb in the northern occupied West Bank on Wednesday evening, leading to clashes in which at least three Palestinians were injured. Locals told Ma‘an at least three Palestinian youths were injured by live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets, while others suffered from tear gas inhalation, during clashes that erupted after a large group of Israelis arrived at the shrine east of Nablus. Israeli forces also raided student housing compounds in Nablus and interrogated some students. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that approximately 20 buses filled with Israeli worshipers escorted by soldiers went to Joseph’s Tomb overnight to pray when a group of Palestinian “rioters” threw rocks and Molotov cocktails. She added that Israeli troops used “riot dispersal means” against the Palestinians, and that the army had no record of any Israeli or Palestinian injuries during the confrontation.
Israeli settlers frequently visit Joseph’s Tomb under the protection of Israeli forces. During the visits, Israeli forces regularly raid Palestinian villages in the area and fire tear gas canisters into the nearby Balata refugee camp. Joseph’s Tomb is revered by Jews, Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans alike. The Israeli military allows Jews to visit as part of organized pilgrimages, despite the shrine being located in area A under full Palestinian Authority control, and prohibits Muslims from worshiping on the site.

Israeli police detain Palestinian with knife at Damascus Gate
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli police on Friday morning detained a Palestinian for allegedly carrying a large knife outside Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma’an the Palestinian was spotted by police and taken in for questioning.In a separate statement, police said initial investigations found the 25-year-old man entered Jerusalem without a proper permit and “planned to carry out an attack.”Jerusalem’s Old City, and Damascus Gate in particular, have been the site of a number attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals — the majority targeting Israeli police forces — that began there last October and later spread to the occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces carry out predawn raids, detain 2 students
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians including two university students from the occupied West Bank during predawn detention raids Friday, locals and Israel’s army said. Locals told Ma‘an that two members of Palestine Polytechnic University’s student council were detained in the raids, identified as Ibrahim Salhab from Doha and Salsabil Shalaldeh from Sair, both villages located near Bethlehem. Locals added that Salsabil is the daughter of prisoner Sheikh Zawadi Shalaldeh who is currently held in Israeli prison. Israeli forces also raided the town of Silwad in the Ramallah district and delivered an interrogation summons to former prisoner Malik Hamed. Clashes erupted when Israeli military forces raided al-Duheisha refugee camp also near Bethlehem, with no initial injuries reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that four Palestinians were detained from al-‘Arrub refugee camp, one of whom was a suspected Hamas operative. One suspected Hamas operative was also detained from Qalqilya, the spokesperson said, adding that the Palestinian detained from Sair was suspected for “illegal activities.”

DCI: ‘Israeli soldiers abuse children during home invasions, arrests’
IMEMC 7 Apr by Saed Bannoura — Defense for Child International–Palestine Branch has reported that Israeli soldiers are systematically abusing Palestinian children, especially during invasions of their homes and while abducting them. DCI said it documented many cases of abuse targeting Palestinian children after the soldiers stormed their families’ homes without any cause or justification, for both the invasions and the excessive use of force. One of the cases is that of Ahmad Tamimi, 16, from Betunia town west of Ramallah, who was repeatedly beaten and assaulted by the soldiers after they invaded his family’s home to kidnap his uncle. In a sworn affidavit, Tamimi told DCI that, on March 17, he was awakened by a very loud noise, shortly after midnight, to find eight Israeli soldiers surrounding his bed, in his own bedroom. “For the first few seconds, I thought I was dreaming, but reality started sinking in when a soldier stared violently pulling me out of my bed, to drop me on the ground,”  Tamimi said, “The soldiers then started kicking and beating me, and hitting me with their weapons while shouting in Hebrew. I started screaming and calling for my dad, while also trying to fend for myself, using my arms in an attempt to block their kicks and punches.” “They tied my arms behind my back using plastic cuffs, and ordered to me to stand up and walk with them,” the child added, “I said I was unable to do so, and that is when one of the soldiers pulled me from my hair to force me to stand, then two soldiers grabbed me and forced me out of the room.” The child also stated that one of the soldiers hit him with his rifle on his left cheek; he started feeling dizzy when the soldiers dragged him bedroom’s door, and started suffering severe pain . . . Since that incident took place, Tamimi has been afraid to sleep in his room alone, and constantly feels that the soldiers will surround and attack him again. He is always thinking about what they did to him, and is terrified of leaving home after dark. (Continued)

Ahed Tamimi — a dangerous girl? / Nina Fischer
6 Apr — Ahed Tamimi is a teenager living in a small Palestinian farming village, some 20 kilometres from Ramallah. Under normal circumstances, this 15-year old girl would not be the first one to have come to mind when I heard about the Dangerous Woman Project – I probably would not even know her name. But Ahed does not live under normal circumstances. Indeed, her life in Israeli-occupied Nabi Saleh, where her family along with the other villages is engaged in non-violent protests against the occupation, is far outside the realms of ‘normal’. But due to these political circumstances and the connective power of the Internet, the girl has become, according to NBC News, the ‘poster child of the Palestinians’ (Jebari, 2015). Since 2009, the residents of Nabi Saleh, from children to the aged, have marched every Friday from the entrance of their village to a military barrier. They are protesting against attacks from settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish, against the settlement’s continuing expansion on privately owned Palestinian land, and against the settler’s take-over of the village spring. The Israeli army has countered these marches, which are often accompanied by stone throwing against the highly armed forces, who carry tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets, and also live ammunition. Two villagers, Mustafa and Rushdi Tamimi, have been killed. Bassem Tamimi is the vocal and charismatic leader of the protests, but today, the face of the demonstrations is his blond, curly-haired daughter – Ahed appears in most of the pictures taken of the Nabi Saleh anti-Occupation marches. Her fame began in 2012 when a video went viral that showed the then 12-year old with a sparkling peace sign on her t-shirt, yelling at soldiers in English, Hebrew, and Arabic because they arrested her older brother. [1] The video and stills drawn from it showed her repeatedly raising and shaking her fist at the armed men twice her size. (Continued)

IOF military training exercises in the Jordan Valley
Occupied Palestine 4 Apr by ISM, al-Khalil Team — In the north of the Jordan Valley, and adjacent to the town of Tubas, are three agricultural communities: Yarza (with 4 families), Ibzk (13 families) and Samre (11 families). These families have existed on this land for hundreds of years, and some were born in a cave in the hills overlooking their homes. Their homes are regularly demolished; Yarza has been demolished five times with the last demolition occurring in August 2014. The area is littered with ammunition, including bullets and landmines, as a result of the frequent Israeli Occupation Forces training exercises that occur here. These exercises are illegal under international law since this is an agricultural community, and they take place in close proximity to homes. Many of the residents have been injured or killed, according to activists who work for Jordan Valley Solidarity, including a father of three who was burying landmines in order to secure the safety of the community. One exploded, killing him instantly. (Continued)


Jordanian popular committee refuses installing cameras at the Aqsa
AMMAN (PIC) 6 Apr — The Jordanian Popular Committee for Defending the Aqsa Mosque and Sacred Places refused installing cameras at the Aqsa Mosque and called on the Jordanian government to cancel the project. The Jordanian ministry of Awqaf a few days ago embarked on preparation works to install 55 cameras at the plazas of the Aqsa Mosque, according to the Jordanian Minister of Awqaf Hayel Daoud. The committee’s head Abdulla Ebaidat said, in a statement on Wednesday, that over the past few weeks, statements by Jordanian ministers were repeated that surveillance cameras will be installed at the holy site regardless of the large-scale refusal among Palestinians in general and Jerusalemites in particular as well as among large segments of Jordanian people and regardless of the risky consequences of such a move which will be used for the interest of the Israeli occupation.

Israeli police briefly detain Aqsa sheikh for incitement
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Israeli police on Friday detained and later released a leading sheikh at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem for alleged “incitement” after he addressed some 70,000 worshipers at the holy site. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Jerusalem endowment, told Ma‘an that Sheikh Muhammad Salim was detained as he exited the mosque compound through the Hatta Gate for alleged “incitement.” The sheikh was taken in for interrogation and officials began making calls for his release, al-Khatib said, adding that he was released around three hours later. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri confirmed in a statement that police officers had detained the cleric for giving “a sermon that riled up feelings of incitement and agitation.” She added that after his sermon, Palestinians chanted “Allah Akbar” (God is Great), a prayer commonly heard at Muslim places of worship.

Punitive demolitions

People of Qabatiya to rebuild demolished homes at their own expense
JENIN (PIC) 6 Apr — People of Qabatiya town to the south of Jenin city decided to reconstruct the three homes demolished by Israeli occupation forces two days ago on their own expense and refused to organize donation campaigns for this regard. Local sources told the PIC reporter on Wednesday that two committees have been formed in the wake of razing the three houses. The first committee was formed by the people of the town headed by Mahmoud Kmail and the second was established by the mayor of Jenin Ibrahim Ramadan. The sources pointed out that the people of Qabatiya asked the mayor of Jenin to cancel the second committee because they refuse to collect donations for reconstructing the three razed homes. The people of the town took the same position, and they refused to accept donations, when Qabatiya was besieged by Israeli forces in the wake of the anti-occupation operation carried out in Occupied Jerusalem by three of its inhabitants.

Israel aims to ‘save souls’ by making Palestinians homeless
EI 7 Apr by Charlotte Silver — Less than two weeks after Israel’s high court lifted an injunction on punitive house demolitions, Israeli bulldozers arrived in Qabatiya in the occupied West Bank on Monday morning and razed three homes. The houses belonged to the relatives of the young men accused of an attack at Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem in early February that left an Israeli border police officer dead. All three youths were shot to death at the scene of the incident. By the end of Monday, 20 people were left homeless in Qabatiya. Since last October, not a month has gone by without the Israeli army using Regulation 119, a British Mandate era ruling which says the army can demolish the family home of an alleged Palestinian assailant for deterrent purposes. In total, 21 homes have been punitively demolished in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in the last six months. An additional 36 neighboring apartments and homes have been damaged in the process. In each case, human rights organization HaMoked has filed a petition on behalf of the family asking Israel’s high court to halt the demolition. HaMoked argues that the practice constitutes collective punishment and is a violation of international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from demolishing property “except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” Until last Thursday, the court had dismissed every petition, upholding its decades-old precedent. In its decision regarding the homes in Qabatiya, the court’s vice-president, Elyakim Rubinstein, wrote that secret evidence provided by Israel’s security agencies supported the argument that home demolitions serve as a deterrent. (Continued)

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

124 Palestinians made homeless by Israeli demolitions in 1 day
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Multiple demolitions in the occupied West Bank left 124 Palestinians homeless in a single day, 60 of them children, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a statement Friday. A total of 54 structures — including 18 donor-funded structures — were demolished on Thursday in nine different communities located in Area C, the over 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli military control. The northern occupied West Bank village of Khirbet Tana saw its fourth demolition this year on Thursday. Israeli authorities demolished 34 structures in the village displacing 69 Palestinians, 29 of them children . . . Further demolitions in the central West Bank village of Ni‘lin included structures of businesses that employed a combined 87 Palestinians. Demolitions also took place in the village of al-Zayyem near Abu Dis east of Jerusalem and al-Khader in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem where residential, animal, and livelihood structures were demolished. The extensive Israeli Civil Administration campaign included five Bedouin communities where UNOCHA recorded the demolition of 14 structures, which displaced 55 people, including 31 children. The Bedouin communities affected by Thursday’s demolitions are among 46 Palestinian Bedouin communities in the central occupied West Bank at risk of being affected by forcible transfer by Israeli authorities as well the E1 settlement plan. The E1 settlement plan aims to divide the West Bank through the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Adummim, making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state – as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict – almost impossible. A further 293 people, including 98 children, were otherwise affected by Thursday’s demolition campaign, UNOCHA added . . . Thursday’s wave of demolitions adding to the record-high number of Palestinians displaced comes as the Palestinian Authority is expected to present a draft resolution condemning Israeli settlements to the UN Security Council in two weeks. The resolution will be the first to directly condemn Israeli settlements as illegal under international law since the United States vetoed a similar resolution in 2011.

PHOTOS: Israeli forces continue demolition campaign across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Israeli forces demolished structures across the occupied West Bank in Ni‘lin, Khirbet Tana, and Khan al-Ahmar on Thursday, according to local sources and the United Nations. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces demolished a structure for painting vehicles in the village of Ni‘lin in the central West Bank district of Ramallah belonging to Khalid and Yassir Isteih, employing some 15 Palestinians. The sources added that Israeli forces also demolished a poultry slaughterhouse near the military checkpoint in Ni‘lin belonging to Issa Abed al-Ghani Srour that employed some 72 Palestinians. (Continued)

IDF admits discriminating against Palestinians in home demolitions
+972 mag 6 Apr by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Senior army officer testifies to Knesset committee that building enforcement is ‘far more severe against Palestinians’ than Jews. There are over 11,000 Israeli demolition orders pending against Palestinian-owned structures — The Israeli army demolishes Palestinian homes in the West Bank at disproportionately higher rates than it demolishes Jewish settler homes, a senior Israeli army officer told a Knesset sub-committee on Wednesday. The admission demonstrates yet another way in which Jews and Palestinians are held to different legal standards, and often different legal systems in West Bank. “Our enforcement against Palestinians is hundreds of percentage points higher [than against Jews],” Maj.-Gen. Yoav ‘Poli’ Mordechai told the Knesset Sub-Committee for Judea and Samaria (West Bank) Affairs. Mordechai, who serves as the IDF Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a position that is effectively the military governor of the West Bank, was addressing a perception by settlers that Israeli authorities single them out when it comes to enforcement against illegal building. (Continued)

Settlers expropriate Palestinian garden as police stand by
TEL RUMEIDA, al-Khalil, occupied Palestine 4 Apr by ISM, al-Khalil Team — On Saturday 3rd of April 2016 settlers entered land belonging to Muhammad Abu Haikal in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron on the occupied West Bank in Palestine. The settler children built a tent and then brought other settlers who prayed and ate there. It took more than four hours from when the police arrived until the settlers actually left, still claiming that it was their land and running around so that the police would not be able to evict them. The first young settler kids arrived at the land at around 9 o’clock in the morning and started building a tent out of wood and sheets that they had found and playing on the land. They were actually playing in Muhammad Abu Haikal’s garden, but the end of the garden has been declared a closed military area by the Israeli Occupation Forces, who have made a military outpost in the garden and cut off the end of it of with barbed wire. Later on, while the family was trying to pick almonds from trees in the part of the garden that is not a closed military Area, the settler children returned with a number of  adult settlers and more children. Muhammed Abu Haikal and the internationals present asked the settlers to leave the land, but they refused.  He then contacted the police.After the police arrived, the settlers once again claimed to be the owners of the land, with the right to remain there. The Palestinian family was asked to step back and had to stop harvesting their garden. Not until after the settlers had prayed on the land multiple times, brought food and played ball there, did the  police finally try to get them to leave. The police asked all Palestinians and internationals to leave as well, as they said, “it is impossible to make Israelis leave, if there are Palestinians on the land”. It then took the police over two hours to evict the settlers.

Opinion: What happened at this once-idyllic West Bank spot embodies the Israeli occupation’s evils
Haaretz 9 Apr by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — As of this week, Israeli authorities have demolished structures in a Palestinian hamlet near the Jordan Rift Valley four times this year. An improvised school and a small swimming pool also fell victim to the bulldozers. The embodiment of evil is on display in Khirbet Tana. If you want to see evil in its most distilled form, visit the heap of ruins that until two weeks ago was a small swimming pool here. Sheer malevolence and nothing else motivated those who destroyed it. No bureaucratic or legal justification can account for this act of brutality – the destruction of a tiny, unique leisure site in the heart of one of the most spectacular areas of the West Bank, not long after its construction, financed by donations from Palestinian sources. With one wall painted bold turquoise and white steps leading into the water, the pool had a very short lifespan. Locals had precious little time in which to enjoy the cool water of the pool that was the size of an enlarged bathtub, like a mikveh (ritual bath), fed by pure, natural spring water. But purity is the last word that comes to mind after what happened here . . . The ruins of tents and other structures lie along the sides of the dirt road from the successive demolitions, like a recurring natural disaster. Crushed tents, broken pegs, household utensils rendered useless. As with cycles of nature, the people here know that whatever they rebuild will be demolished again. Serial destruction. A little puppy is looking for a bit of shade beneath a smashed refrigerator lying in the dirt. How much is that doggy in the dust? Another battered refrigerator is beached next to it. Two horses are grazing in the green meadow, the sheep huddle in a roofless pen. This is the pasturing season. (Continued)

Israel starts building new part of controversial West Bank wall
AFP 7 Apr —  Israel began construction on a controversial part of its separation barrier in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, near a Palestinian Christian town, an AFP journalist reported. Cranes began lifting eight-metre(yard)-high blocks into place near Beit Jala, south of Jerusalem and close to Bethlehem, a photographer witnessed. This part of the wall could cut Palestinians from their olive groves. Nicola Khamis, mayor of Beit Jala, condemned what he saw as a land grab. “This land is for our families, our children,” he said by phone from the bridge next to the construction site. The Israeli army referred questions to the defence ministry, which did not immediately respond. Residents of Beit Jala fear the construction of the wall may lead to the expansion of the nearby Israeli settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo. Khamis said they hoped to battle the wall’s construction, with emergency strategy meetings planned, but he conceded they had no further appeals within the Israeli legal system. After a nine-year legal battle, Israel’s high court ruled in July 2015 the wall was legitimate, making only small adjustments. “Without this land all the Christians will leave this country,” Khamis said. “It is impossible to build in Beit Jala. We want to widen Beit Jala.”

Hebron: Israeli soldiers demolish an under-construction home, trailer, and a well, uproot farmlands [, and assault elderly homeowner]
IMEMC 7 Apr by Saed Bannoura — The Israeli army invaded, on Wednesday evening, the town of Sammoa’ [or Samu‘], south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, demolished an under-construction home, a trailer and a well, in addition to uprooting farmlands. The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) said the soldiers surrounded the area and demolished the properties, owned by Ra‘ed Daghameen. The soldiers also uprooted many trees and plants in the area, especially those close to the illegal Otniel colony, built on Palestinian lands in Karma village, south of Hebron. On Thursday morning, several Israeli military vehicles, and bulldozers, invaded Beit Forik town, east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and demolished residential structures and tents . . .On Wednesday, Israeli soldiers demolished a home in Yatta town, near Hebron, and assaulted the elderly man [photo] who owns it, causing various cuts and bruises.

Israeli settlers level agricultural land near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — A group of Israeli settlers leveled Palestinian agricultural lands escorted by Israeli forces on Thursday near the village of Deir Ghassana in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers uprooted trees and leveled lands using heavy vehicles. A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) could not be reached for comment. Deir Ghassana, in the town of Bani Zeid, is located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Aryeh-Ofarim. According to the Applied Research Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ), thousands of dunams of land has been lost over the years in Bani Zeid through Israeli confiscations of land for the construction of Israeli settlements, Israeli bypass roads, the Israeli separation wall, and to isolate agricultural land. Attacks by Israeli settlers’ living near Bani Zeid have historically attempted to intimidate Palestinians from accessing and returning to their agricultural lands that are located in close proximity to the settlements.

Special funding for Israeli settlements soared in 2015, report shows
Haaretz 7 Apr — The Israeli government spends considerably more on a West Bank settler than it does on a Negev or Galilee resident, and twice as much as it does on a resident of the center, according to a report by a local think tank that examined the direct costs of the settlements to the government’s coffers. The study, conducted by the Macro Center for Political Economics, shows that the additional budgets the government transfers to settlement residents and local governments grew 28.4 percent in 2015 over 2014, to 1.41 billion shekels ($369.1 billion). The outlay per capita for the residents of Judea and Samaria came to 3,904 shekels – 14 percent more than the public spending per capita in the Negev, 28 percent more than in the Galilee, and 100 percent more than the public spending on residents of the center. (Continued)

Closures / Movement restrictions

Israel reopens Hebron road after 5 months of closure
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — The Israeli authorities on Thursday reopened a road in eastern Hebron city, five months after it was first sealed as part of severe Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement in the divided city. The head of the Palestinian military liaison, Col. Muhammad Eteiwi, said in a statement that after pressuring the Israeli authorities, his team had been able to secure the opening of the road leading to the Shuhada al-Haram School in the Jabal Jawhar area of Hebron’s H2 zone. The road was sealed with dirt mounds more than five months ago amid severe Israeli security measures, the statement said. It noted that it had been previously reopened for a month before being sealed again. A spokesperson for the Hebron activist group Youth Against Settlements told Ma‘an that residents of Hebron face some 100 obstacles to movement in the town, and many other streets that remain closed are more important than the road reopened Thursday. He added that the closures amount to the “collective punishment” of Palestinians in Hebron.


Activists seek release of Palestinian circus performer jailed without trial
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Human rights groups have in recent weeks put a spotlight on the case of a 23-year-old Palestinian circus performer and trainer who has been held in an Israeli prison since last December without trial or charge. Calling for the release of Muhammad Faisal Abu Sakha, Amnesty International said: “He hasn’t been charged with a crime and the authorities refuse to give a reason for his detention.” Abu Sakha was working as a circus performer and teacher at the Palestinian Circus School in Birzeit — where he specialized in working with children with learning difficulties — when he was detained on Dec. 14. He was apprehended at an Israeli checkpoint while travelling from his parents’ home to the circus school. He was initially held in Megiddo prison in northern Israel before later being transferred to Ketziot prison in the Negev. At the end of December, the circus performer was sentenced by an Israeli military court to six months in administrative detention — internment without trial or charge — and late last month, an appeal by his lawyers against the sentence was dismissed.

Other news

Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (31 Mar – 6 Apr)
PCHR-Gaza 7 Apr — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt11 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued to target the border areas along the Gaza Strip. 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. House demolitions on grounds of collective punishment. 4 houses, north and south of the West Bank, were demolished. Israeli forces conducted 77 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the central Gaza Strip. 64 Palestinian civilians, including 8 children. Fifteen of them, including 4 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. A boat was fully burnt off Rafah shore, but the fishermen on board survived certain death. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. A house in al-Mukaber Mount, southeast of the city, was demolished. Israeli forces raided al-Quds University’s campus in Abu Dees and damaged some of the contents inside. [Details of these and other events follow]

Fatah, Hamas hold high-ranking talks in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Apr — Senior delegations from rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas met Thursday in Gaza City in the most high-ranking gathering to convene since a new round of reconciliation talks began in Qatar earlier this year. The Fatah delegation, comprising members of the movement’s central committee, Zakariya al-Agha, Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, Faisal Abu Shalha, and Fatah spokesperson Fayiz Abu Aita, met with Hamas deputy head Ismail Haniyeh, and senior Hamas officials Imad al-Alami, Khalil al-Hayya, Sami Abu Zuhri, and Taher al-Nunu. The two factions discussed the latest round of reconciliation talks that began earlier this year in the Qatari capital Doha and stressed the importance of building on the previous talks to both end Palestinian division and enact past reconciliation agreements. Fatah spokesperson Abu Aita told Ma‘an the meeting was positive and the two factions would maintain close contact in coming days, particularly ahead of talks between the Egyptian leadership and Hamas in Cairo. Haniyeh told the Fatah delegation that Hamas was working to restore relations with Egypt, which deteriorated sharply in 2013 after Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi — a close ally of Hamas — was thrown out of office.

Palestinians seek UN resolution against Israeli settlements
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 7 Apr — The Palestinians have given Arab nations a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace, the Palestinian U.N. Mission said Thursday. The draft resolution was immediately condemned by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “is taking a step that will push negotiations further away” to end the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians refused to provide any details of the text, but said the Security Council has unanimously agreed that Israeli settlements are illegal and it is their responsibility to act on this assessment and adopt a resolution on settlements. They recalled the Security Council’s 14-1 vote on a resolution on settlements in February 2011. It was defeated by a U.S. veto. That resolution would have condemned “illegal” Israeli settlements and demanded an immediate halt to all settlement building. Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast War and built settlements there. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but nearly 600,000 Israeli settlers remain in east Jerusalem and the West Bank . . . The Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which first reported on the resolution, said the Palestinians want the Security Council to vote when Abbas is in New York on April 22 to attend the high-level ceremony where more than 130 countries are expected to sign the landmark climate agreement reached in Paris in December.

UN envoy tells EU to step up pressure on Israel over West Bank demolitions
BRUSSELS (Reuters) 8 Apr by Gabriela Baczynska — The European Union must raise political pressure on Israel over accelerating West Bank demolitions that run against international law and increasingly affect aid projects sponsored by the bloc, a U.N. envoy for Palestinian territories said. With more than 540 demolitions and confiscations in the occupied West Bank so far this year, the Israeli military has already matched or exceeded the total of 2015, tightening the squeeze on Palestinians living there. Robert Piper, a United Nations assistant secretary general and the head of humanitarian affairs for the Palestinian territories, briefed EU officials on that in Brussels on Friday, urging them to respond. “We have entered a new and fairly disturbing phase in terms of the confrontation between international humanitarian law and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank,” Piper told Reuters. The Israeli military, which has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Middle East war, says it carries out the demolitions because the structures are illegal: they were either built without a permit, in a closed military area or firing zone, or violate other planning and zoning restrictions. “The pace of demolitions has exceeded any previous records and we are only in the fourth month of the year. We are very worried about what the rest of the year holds,” Piper said. Piper said around 140 aid projects by donors were destroyed, including more than 200,000 euros worth of EU investments, while some 600 people had lost their homes and about 2,000 their livelihoods.

Stir as Abbas proposes Palestinian constitutional court
WN 7 Apr — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas caused a stir this week with his surprise decision to establish a Palestinian constitutional court. Abbas followed up his Monday announcement the following day by swearing in a number of judges, including two from the blockaded Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, the Gaza-based Hamas movement promptly denounced the initiative. Hamas complained that the court was dominated by members of Abbas’ own Fatah movement and criticized the Palestinian president for making a “unilateral” decision without consulting other Palestinian parties. “The way Abbas set up the court on his own is a deviation from national unity and renders the concept of Palestinian reconciliation meaningless,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahri. Abu Zahri went on to assert that Abbas had failed to seek national consensus, pointing out that it was only with the consent of other political parties that Abbas had been allowed to remain in office — despite the expiry of his term in 2009.

PA has stopped 40 per cent of resistance ops in the West Bank, claims IDF
MEMO 8 Apr — The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has revealed that the Palestinian Authority security forces have doubled their efforts to stop resistance operations, preventing 40 per cent of such activities in the occupied West Bank. Speaking to Israel’s Army Radio, the IDF’s Head of Central Command said that the success rate is up from just 15 per cent a few months ago. The radio station added that such statements were made during the Israeli cabinet’s tour of Ramallah on Wednesday. Along with Intelligence Online, a French website specialising in intelligence affairs, Army Radio has also recently revealed details of the close cooperation between the Israeli Shabak internal security agency and the PA’s Preventive Security Forces, despite the current intifada. They reported that 80 secret meetings were held between the two sides over the past year, which resulted in the thwarting of at least 58 attacks on Israeli targets and the confiscation of large numbers of weapons and explosives.

Bennett threatens: Limiting Israel’s military activity in West Bank cities will undermine coalition’s stability
Haaretz 7 Apr by Barak Ravid  — Briefing ministers, IDF general says talks to reduce military operations in Palestinian cities had already prompted the PA to intensify counterterror activity; Netanyahu: Israel’s freedom of action will be preserved –– If the government decides to reduce Israel Defense Forces operations in Palestinian cities of the West Bank, this is liable to undermine the coalition’s stability, Education Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Thursday. Bennett’s remarks were made during a tour of the IDF’s Central Command on Wednesday, in which the diplomatic-security cabinet received a briefing on the army’s negotiations with Palestinian security officials over this plan. The talks are aimed at reducing IDF activity in Area A, the part of the West Bank that is supposed to be under full Palestinian control according to the Oslo Accords.  A senior Israeli official with knowledge of the briefing said that after the ministers were told that the negotiations were security-related and not of diplomatic nature, Bennett said that he would not opposed the deal. However, speaking to Haaretz, the Education Minister denied this. “Anyone who wants to entrust Israelis’ security to Abu Mazen’s soldiers hasn’t learned anything,” Bennett told Haaretz, referring to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas by his nickname. “The IDF’s control over Area A is the guarantee of Israel’s security. I oppose outsourcing our security, and such a step would reap a heavy political price.” (Continued)

Armed assailants open fire at teacher’s vehicle in Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 7 Apr — Unidentified armed men opened fire at the vehicle of the head of the teachers’ movement late on Wednesday in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya. Jamal al-Qaddumi told Ma‘an that men riding motorcycles stopped in front of his building in the city of Qalqiliya and fired 14 bullets at his parked vehicle before fleeing the scene. Al-Qaddumi only reported material damage to his car.  He added that security services arrived at the scene and opened an investigation into the incident. Al-Qaddumi said that he was affiliated with the Fatah party and had supported Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision on March 12 to end a four-week teachers’ strike. Thousands of teachers defied attempts by Palestinian Authority security forces to stifle demonstrations, as they sought higher salaries pledged to them by the PA in a 2013 agreement which was never implemented. The strike caused serious tensions in the Palestinian territory, with several small-scale attacks by unidentified assailants targeting teachers both supporting and opposing the teachers’ movement.

Japan donates $7M for UNICEF interventions in Palestine
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Apr — The Government of Japan has donated $7 million in support of UNICEF’s humanitarian and development response to children in Palestine. This new grant will enable UNICEF and partners to implement interventions which are critical for children’s well-being and protection from violence, and to ensure their access to basic services such as education, water and sanitation, protection or health and nutrition.

Sanders campaign says overestimate of Gaza civilian deaths distorted
i24NEWS 8 Apr — Audio of interview not included in written transcript reveals Sanders immediately accepted corrected figures — US Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders’ campaign is pushing back against criticism of the candidate’s significant overestimation of the number of Palestinians killed during Israel’s 2014 war with the Gaza Strip during a recent interview, calling it a “distortion” of the discussion. Sanders came under pressure over comments he made during an in-depth interview with the New York Daily News published Monday, in which he estimated the number of Palestinians killed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war to be over 10,000 — a figure four times larger international estimates. “Anybody help me out here, because I don’t remember the figures, but my recollection is over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza. Does that sound right?” he asked interviewers. Sanders’ campaign spokesman Michael Briggs said in a statement on Thursday that “the idea that Sen. Sanders stated definitely that 10,000 Palestinians were killed is just not accurate and a distortion of that discussion.” Audio tapes of the exchange, which were not included in the written transcription of the interview, indicate that one of the interviewers checked the figures giving them to be closer to 2,300 killed and 10,000 injured, which Sanders immediately accepted with an “okay”, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reports. “Understanding that his recollection was about the total number of casualties, not the death toll, the senator immediately accepted that correction and the discussion moved on to other topics,” Briggs said. Michael Oren, member of Israeli Knesset and former Israeli ambassador to the United States called Sanders’ overestimation an accusation of “blood libel”, and the Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday called on him to publicly correct his statements. The ADL welcomed the statement communicated by Sanders’ campaign.

Israel’s war on the Arabic language
TEL AVIV (Al Jazeera) 7 Apr by Jonathan Cook — Rights group warn that advances made in language rights of Israel’s Palestinian minority might be reversed —Israel’s one in five citizens whose mother tongue is Arabic are increasingly fearful of using it in public as hostility has mounted towards the language from both officials and the Jewish public, human rights groups warned this week. The alert comes as lawyers have threatened the municipality of Tel Aviv , Israel’s largest city, with a contempt of court action for failing to include Arabic on most of the city’s public signs – 14 years after the Israeli supreme court ordered it to do so. According to the leaders of Israel’s large Palestinian minority, Tel Aviv’s policy reflects a more widespread antagonism towards Arabic, despite its official status as the country’s second language. Arabic, rather than Hebrew, is the mother tongue of Israel’s 1.7 million Palestinian citizens. According to Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, few public bodies produced documents or materials in Arabic, and many companies and public institutions warned workers not to speak Arabic with other staff or customers. In recent months, there has also been a sharp rise in reports of Palestinian citizens being physically assaulted in Israeli cities, with Jewish mobs roaming the streets shouting “Death to the Arabs”. “The hostile attitude of official bodies, including municipalities like Tel Aviv, encourages a general climate that treats Arabic as an alien and despised language,” Zahalka told Al Jazeera. “How can one expect anything else when the Israeli parliament itself refuses to give proper recognition to Arabic?”

‘Israeli maternity wards segregate Jewish, Arab mothers’
+978 mag 5 Apr by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Despite years of denials and regulators vowing to tackle the problem, a number of major Israeli hospitals continue to segregate Jewish and Arab mothers in maternity wards across the country, according to an investigation published Tuesday by public radio broadcaster Israel Radio. In some hospitals the segregation is unofficial policy; in others it is implemented at the behest of patients. The segment on Israel Radio included recorded conversations with three separate hospitals in which a Jewish reporter posed as an expectant mother shopping around for a maternity ward. The reporter asked a maternity nurse in each hospital whether after giving birth she could avoid being placed in the same room as a non-Jewish (read: Palestinian) woman. “That’s not a problem, we always do that,” answered a maternity nurse at the Mt. Scopus campus of Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital. Is that an official policy of the hospital? The reporter followed up. “Of course,” the nurse responded. “Especially in the maternity ward… we always try to arrange separate rooms.” Another hospital, Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba, told the reporter that it couldn’t guarantee a segregated room but that the maternity staff always tries to keep Jews and Arabs separate. “We try not to mix,” even when patients don’t request it, a representative was recorded as saying. Two hospitals, Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva and Rambam in Haifa, were found to not practice segregation in maternity wards. -Nothing New-  The phenomenon of segregating Jewish and Palestinian women in Israeli hospitals is far from new, and it has been reported by major media outlets for at least the past decade . . . The Knesset has even held parliamentary hearings into the matter over the years. And yet the practice continues and nobody seems to be willing or able to put an end to it.

Israeli milk war threatens Palestinian jobs
SAWAHREH, West Bank  (The National) 5 Apr by Ben Lynfield — A lanky young Palestinian man wearing a blue plastic hair covering is hard at work, placing containers filled with strawberry yogurt into cartons and packing them in preparation for distribution. His work at the Hamoda Company for Food and Dairy Products may be monotonous but at least it is work, nothing to take for granted in a West Bank economy where unemployment is near twenty per cent. But the young man’s job is now in danger, explains Hazem Mashaqi, Hamoda’s quality assurance director. So are the positions of many of the 110 other workers at the plant, located in the West Bank village of Sawahreh, after Israel last month banned imports of Hamoda’s dairy products into nearby East Jerusalem. Hamoda sells milk, yogurt, cheese, labaneh and salads in East Jerusalem which accounts for close to fifty per cent of the company’s total sales, according to executive manager Mohammad Al Sous. “If the ban is not ended, it will cost many jobs, maybe mine, I can’t guess,” says Mr Mashaqi , adding that the company is running promotions with cut rate prices in the West Bank in a bid to compensate for lost revenue in East Jerusalem. Hamoda was one of six West Bank dairy and meat producers to have their products turned back at the Beitunya checkpoint near Ramallah – the transit point for goods entering Israel – on March 9 when the ban started. The other companies were dairy producers Al Rayan and Juneidi, and meat producers Siniora, Salwa and Ghoshe. Israel says the Palestinian Authority has failed to provide adequate assurances that the products affected meet Israeli health standards.

Who occupies whom in Israel-Palestine? Don’t ask an American 2 Apr by Eric Schuler — A new poll published by the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, shows that a plurality of Americans misunderstand a fundamental fact about the Middle East. Specifically, a statistically representative sample of Americans and three other nationalities were asked a simple question about Israel and Palestine. The wording of the question and the results are shown below: 3/16 Poll: Which of the following do you believe to be true? a) Israelis occupy Palestinian land b) Palestinian occupy Israeli land . . . (Note that respondents were allowed to give their own custom response as well; those that did are included within the Other category.) As you can see, the American responses differ significantly from the other countries’. America is unfortunately unique in having a plurality of Americans, 49.2%, who answered the question wrong, believing that Palestinians occupy Israeli land. (listserv) (archive)

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It couldn’t be more clear that Israel’s intent is to choke what’s left of Palestine, to death.

“… Hamoda was one of six West Bank dairy and meat producers to have their products turned back at the Beitunya checkpoint near Ramallah – the transit point for goods entering Israel – on March 9 when the ban started. The other companies were dairy producers Al Rayan and Juneidi,… Read more »

Some people exclaim “Why don’t they (Palestinians) just sign a peace treaty with us?” and fail to see there is absolutely no point signing anything with israel. They’ve demonstrated time and again zero credibility and the habit of changing the rules depending on their collective mood or which way the… Read more »

Firing at civilians at sea: The most moral navy of the world.

Does anyone know what connection the predations upon the Gaza fisherman has with the natural gas discoveries?