Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
IDF commander threatened after testifying against soldier who killed prone terrorist
Haaretz 20 June by Gili Cohen & Chaim Levinson — The company commander of Elor Azaria, the soldier on trial for shooting and killing a prone Palestinian assailant in Hebron, has become the target of threats since he testified in court last week against Azaria. Kfir Brigade company commander Tom Naaman, who told the military court that there was no operational justification for the shooting by his subordinate, has filed a complaint with the police after his cell phone number was posted on WhatsApp groups and social networks. Police subsequently arrested a settler on suspicion of incitement to violence against Naaman. The suspect, a resident of a settlement in the West Bank, was detained for questioning after writing on Facebook that if Naaman had been his commander “he wouldn’t be able to walk on his feet any more.” … Calling this a case of “unbridled incitement,” former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote on his Facebook page that this “unacceptable phenomenon should be clearly and strongly opposed, and support given to a fighter and commander who exhibits courage, not only on the battlefield.” ….
Palestinian shot in back by Israeli forces last month succumbs to wounds
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 June — A young Palestinian man died on Sunday evening after succumbing to wounds he sustained when Israeli forces shot him during clashes in his hometown of Sair in the southern occupied West Bank, his family told Ma‘an. Arif Jaradat, 21, who had Down syndrome, was shot by Israeli soldiers with a live bullet to his back on May 4 when clashes erupted after Israeli forces stormed the Ras al-Aroud area of Sair in Hebron. Ma‘an reported at the time that Jaradat had sustained “moderate” injuries, and was taken to al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron city for treatment. The Jaradat family said on Sunday that his funeral would be held on Monday at the “martyrs” cemetery in Sair. Jaradat is one of more than 200 Palestinians, including at least a dozen residents of Sair, to be killed by Israeli forces or settlers since October, many of whom were killed while carrying out individual attacks on Israeli military and settlers, while others died during clashes or unconfirmed circumstances.
Israeli forces demolish structures, assault locals in West Bank village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 June — Four people were injured and 26 Palestinians were left homeless on Sunday afternoon after Israeli forces assaulted locals and demolished Palestinian structures in the village of Susiya in the southern occupied West Bank, in what activists said was an unprecedented move to carry out a demolition during the holy month of Ramadan. According to the Israeli organization Rabbis for Human Rights, two homes were demolished in the southern part of Susiya, in addition to agricultural structures, including a barn and an outdoor kitchen. Jihad Nawajaah, head of the local council of Susiya, told Ma‘an that an Israeli bulldozer under military protection tore down a two-room brick house that belonged to Khalil Salameh Nawajaah. He highlighted that seven members of Nawajaah family were left homeless and would likely spend the night in the open. A statement released by Rabbis for Human Rights Sunday evening said: “In a shocking, cruel, and rare move, the Israeli authorities carried out demolitions today in Susiya and around Diraat. This despite the fact that it is the holy month of Ramadan, many are fasting, and the temperatures are soaring.” The group said that after Palestinians and international solidarity activists remained inside one of the houses to resist the demolition, Israeli forces violently beat them, injuring four people, and that Israeli soldiers pushed elderly locals as well as women. After carrying out demolitions in Susiya, the convoy of bulldozers and Israeli military vehicles subsequently continued toward the nearby village of Diraat, seemingly to carry out further demolitions, the statement added.Head of Rabbis for Human Rights Rabbi Arik Ascherman said in response to the incident: “I have been dealing with home demolitions for 20 years and I have never seen home demolitions during Ramadan,” the statement quoted him as saying….
IOF arrests three Palestinians, injures another, east of Qalqilya
QALQILYA (PIC) 18 June — One Palestinian man on Friday night was wounded when an Israeli military jeep ran over him and three others were arrested near ‘Azzun town, east of Qalqilya. According to local sources, an Israeli soldier rammed his military jeep into Hamza Oaisat and injured him, while others arrested three young men during their presence in an area near Azzun town. The detainees were identified as Hussein Odeh, Mahyoub Odeh and Mohamed Oaisat.
Will Abbas intervene to save Nablus from mayhem?
Al-Monitor 16 June by Adnan Abu Amer — The situation in the streets of Nablus has become very dangerous in light of the chaos and security unrest, while Palestinian officials exploit the situation to settle political scores — The Nablus governorate in the north of the West Bank has been witnessing security unrest since February, including street shootings, tires being set on fire and the closing down of public institutions. Numerous reasons have led to this unrest. On March 9, young men closed down schools and blocked the main streets in the city of Nablus, and national figures declared a public strike in Askar refugee camp to protest the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) neglect of the issues inside the camp and the marginalization of its residents. On May 2, the residents of some villages in Nablus governorate, such as Deir al-Hatab and Azimut, set tires on fire to protest against the Nablus municipality’s intention to construct a water purification plant, which they believe would destroy their last breathing space. On June 1, unidentified armed men sprayed with bullets the house of Ghassan al-Shaka, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No injuries were reported, but the house sustained extensive damage as a result of the direct fire and broken windows. On the same day, hooded men closed off Rafidia Street in the center of Nablus, setting tires on fire, to protest against the marginalization by the municipality of the Rafidia neighborhood. On the evening of June 10, unidentified men attacked the Greek Orthodox monastery complex of Jacob’s Well in Nablus. The attack included an attempted assault of the head of the monastery, Archimandrite Justin Mamalos. The reason remains unknown. Tayseer Nasrallah, a Fatah leader from Nablus and Fatah member of the Palestinian National Council, told Al-Monitor, “The recent security disturbances in Nablus are due to the poor social and economic situation, especially after the cutbacks by UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East] of its services at the end of May 2016….
Israeli forces detain multiple Palestinians overnight, including two security officers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 June — At least seven Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces overnight and early Sunday across the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. Sources reported that Israeli soldiers stopped a car at the Zaatara checkpoint outside of Nablus in the north, with three young Palestinian men inside. After inspecting the car, soldiers found three disassembled guns hidden in the car and detained the three men. Two of the men detained were identified as Palestinian security officers and brothers Abdullah and Muhammad Al-Masimi, sons of police deputy Jihad al-Masimi. The brothers along with the third passenger, reported to be a resident of Ramallah, were taken to Huwwara military camp south of Nablus. Israeli police also detained a Palestinian man at a checkpoint northeast of Bethlehem for the possession of 9.5 kilograms of an unspecified drug. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samari said the man, who is a Hebron resident in his forties, denied during interrogations that he smuggled the drugs from Palestinian to Israeli territories. His detention was extended to continue investigations.
Israeli forces detain several Palestinians across occupied West Bank, including mother and children
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 June — Israeli forces detained at least 16 Palestinians in predawn [Monday] military raids across the occupied West Bank, according to local Palestinian and Israeli army sources. Among the detainees were a journalist, as well as a woman along with her son and daughter. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the city of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank and detained journalist Adib Barakat al-Atrash, Firas Abu Sharkh, Muhammad Taha, Suhaib Fawzi Abu Nijmeh, Hamza Bassam Jamal, Hazim Neiroukh and Rani Omar Heimouni. Israeli forces also raided the village of Qusra where they detained mother Khawla Badawi Hasan, her daughter Muna and her son Muatasim. The father Khalil Abdul-Haq Hasan, 57 and his son Muhammad were detained two days before. The mother and daughter were reportedly released shortly after they were detained. In Beit Fajjar near Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, Israeli forces detained two teenagers Ribhi Muhammad Taqatqa, 17 and Mahmoud Iyad Tahwabta, 18. Locals said clashes broke out between young men and Israeli troops during the predawn detention raid. Israeli troops fired tear gas canisters to disperse the young men. No casualties were reported.Israeli forces also raided the village of Aroura near Ramallah and detained Nasser Jamal Khamis. The Palestinian Prisoners society identified in a statement 16 Palestinians reportedly detained by Israeli forces in Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah and Bethlehem areas. The statement confirmed the detentions in Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem adding that Muhammad Wajih Hamdan and Nasser Jamal Khasib were detained in Ramallah as well as Muhammad Kayid Hasan from Qalqiliya.
Closures / Restrictions on movement
Israeli forces close main road to Nablus area town
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 June — Israeli forces reportedly closed the main road to the northern occupied West Bank town of Zaatara south of Nablus after midnight Sunday, locals told Ma‘an. The sources said a bulldozer escorted by several Israeli military vehicles arrived and closed the main entrance to the town with rocks and earth mounds. The entrance to the town is not far from the Israeli military checkpoint called Tappuah (Zaatara). Locals said the soldiers told them the decision to close the road came in “response to repeated rock attacks” at settler vehicles which travel on the nearby bypass road. Earlier on Sunday evening, Israeli forces also closed several side streets in the Nablus area villages of Beita and Koza for reportedly similar reasons … Some 12 illegal settlements and 27 settlement outposts are located in the Nablus district, housing around 23,000 of the “most extremist settlers in the Palestinian territory,” which results in frequent violence between settlers, who often set fire to Palestinian agricultural land, and local Palestinians. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there has been a total of 36 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2016, and a total of 221 attacks in 2015.
Military drills east of Tubas
IMEMC/Agencies 19 June — The Israeli army, on Sunday, reportedly conducted military drills across different parts of the northern Jordan Valley area to the east of Tubas, according to an official. Aref Daraghmeh, an expert on settlements and Israeli violations, informed WAFA that Israeli army forces Palestinians living in the eastern part of Tubas out of their homes almost on a daily basis, under the pretext of conducting military drills in the area … Palestinian families often receive notices ordering them to leave their homes for various periods until the drills are over. “It is extremely difficult for whole families, including children, to be evacuated on such short notice. With no properly arranged place to stay, they must find a way to ensure shelter, food and drink away from home in the intense, grueling heat of the Jordan Valley,” said B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights center … B’Tselem said, “The frequent evacuations force residents to put their lives on hold. They evoke fear and uncertainty and involve a great deal of inconvenience.” “In each such evacuation, the families must abandon their homes and some of their property. They must take along mattresses, blankets, and food and water for themselves and their livestock. They have to leave with their children and flocks and find shelter from the weather elsewhere.” It was noted that some of the evacuations took place during severe winter weather conditions. In some cases, the military training sessions damaged residents’ cultivated fields.
CPT: Occupation in photos 06/19/16
Christian Peacemaker Teams — Checkpoint Expansion Pictured here 26/05: Expansion of Israeli Checkpoint Located on a-Sahla Street south of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, close to the al-Ibrahimiya school and the Abu a-Rish Mosque. Local population faces more restrictions and delays in their way to the Old City … Prayer Road Pictured here 09/06: Palestinian men, women and children wait until the Israeli Border Police push the button to operate the turnstile that will allow them to go for noon prayers at Ibrahimi Mosque….
Israel plans to extend 13-year-old ‘temporary’ law that has left 247 children with no legal status
IMEMC 18 June by Celine Hagbard — A committee of the Israeli Knesset is discussing the extension, for another year, of a 13-year old law that has been extended each year as a ‘temporary’ measure. The law prohibits nearly 10,000 Palestinian residents of Israel, including 247 children, from having a legal residency status. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) passed in 2003, and renewed every year since, prevents Palestinian families from living together if one spouse is from present-day Israel and the other is from the West Bank. Numerous human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have declared the law discriminatory. Despite challenges from Israeli human rights groups, including a legal challenge that made it to the Israeli High Court in 2006, the Court decided to allow the law to continue to be enforced, stripping thousands of Palestinians of legal residency in their homes. According to a report by B’Tselem earlier this year, the Israeli laws dividing families date back to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. In 1993, a law was passed confirming this discrimination and separation. Families affected by this law, unable to obtain residency permits, “were compelled to settle for short, broken visits and repeatedly face separation between visits. These visits depended on the Israeli authorities’ granting a visitor’s permit, which was generally given during the summer for a period of up to three months. When the permit expired, the visitor was required to leave the Occupied Territories. Children who entered with their visiting parent were required to leave with them. Once the visitor left, he or she had to wait at least three months before being allowed to visit again. In many instances, the authorities did not approve a new visitor’s permit even after the waiting period had passed….
Palestinian youth injured as Israeli ordnance explodes in Gaza City
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 June — A 23-year-old Palestinian was injured as an undetonated Israeli ordnance exploded in the al-Shujaiyyah neighborhood in eastern Gaza City Saturday evening, according to local sources.The ordnance was believed to be from Israel’s 2014 onslaught on the Gaza Strip. The youth, who sustained shrapnel across his body, was taken to the al-Shifaa Hospital in Gaza City for treatment where his condition was reported as “medium.” … The Shujaiyyah neighborhood of Gaza City was among on of the worst hit areas in the 2014 war in the besiged coastal enclave, that left over 2,000 Palestinians dead, many of whom were civilians. The neighborhood of Shujaiyyah was particularly devastated by an Israeli ground invasion, with reports of bodies strewn across the streets, some burnt almost beyond recognition, with whole appendages missing. At least 66 people were killed, and hundreds more were injured in what many called a “massacre.”
Israeli forces open fire at Islamic Jihad site in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 19 June — Israeli forces deployed at the eastern border of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Sunday morning, where they reportedly opened fire at a site belonging to the Palestinian political movement ‘Islamic Jihad’ in the Khuza‘a town east of Khan Yunis, locals said. Israeli forces shot at a watchtower that belonged to the Al-Quds brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, though no injuries were reported.
Just one day prior to to the shootings at the Islamic Jihad building, Khan Younis and its surrounding areas faced more live fire from Israeli troops. Israeli forces Saturday opened fire at fishermen and farmers in the southern Gaza Strip, according to witnesses. Witnesses told Ma‘an Israeli forces stationed at a military watchtower on the border between the besieged enclave and Israel opened fire at farmers near the towns of al-Qarar and Khuza‘a east of Khan Yunis.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Israeli navy boats opened fire at fishermen off Rafah and Khan Yunis.
Sources: Egypt to open Rafah crossing in the coming days
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 June — Egypt will open its border crossing with the Gaza Strip for both directions in the coming few days, official Palestinian sources said on Sunday. The sources told Ma‘an in Gaza that the Islamic Jihad movement “has been contacting the Egyptians regarding the issue of the Rafah crossing in an attempt to ease the suffering of Gazan residents.” Egypt opened the crossing for four days earlier in June ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, during which time about 3,000 passengers from the Gaza Strip were able to travel to Egypt. The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip said it has a list of about 30,000 people waiting for their turn to travel via the Rafah crossing….
Torn away from the olive trees
GAZA STRIP (EI) 16 June by Rami Almeghari — Ismail Halasa toiled hard to provide his family with a home. From his work in the construction industry of the United Arab Emirates, he managed to save enough for a house in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. Tall and spacious, the house accommodated several generations — until Israel bombed it in 2014. Almost two years after the attack, the Halasa family still does not know when the home will be rebuilt. They have been forced to rent apartments elsewhere in the city. “The family house was extraordinary,” said Samira Hani Halasa, a daughter-in-law of Ismail. “It was surrounded by beautiful olive trees and other fruit trees. Everyone could relax by sitting under those trees. Now I feel I am being imprisoned by the four walls of this apartment.” Samira, her husband Emad and five of their children now live in the Thalathini area of Gaza City. Integrating into the new area has proven difficult. The Halasa family lived in Shujaiya since the 1990s. In Shujaiya, Samira could ask her in-laws for food whenever she needed anything. Now she has to wait for her husband to return home from work so that she has money to buy groceries. She does not know her new neighbors well enough to ask them for help … Emad has asked UNRWA for aid to rebuild the home in Shujaiya. But he does not know when he will receive it. “Every time we go and ask when the reconstruction will start, we only hear promises from UNRWA,” he said. “They say, when funds are available, and promise to get in touch.”….
On the sumoud narrative and its dangers
MEMO 18 June by Rana Baker — One of the most celebrated qualities of the people of Gaza is their sumoud, their steadfastness and capacity to endure the woes inflicted by Israeli terror. Media coverage of the tiny strip is full of soppy stories about how, regardless of the number of times Israel mows the lawn or casts lead, farmers will always sow their buffer zone farmlands and medics will never cease to improvise with what little they have. The question is not whether the people of Gaza have given up on their professions and fell to their knees before their occupiers, but the cheap reproduction of them as an extraordinary population who will continue to endure all sufferings imposed on their lives and cling to their cause. What is more disturbing is that foreign journalists on the ground often steer the conversation to get the answers they are looking for. The people of Gaza have memorised the right answer: No matter what, we will never leave. The truth, however, is that the “people of Gaza” are for the most part sick of this framing and, in fact, a considerable number of them are leaving. In September 2014, nearly five hundred Palestinians from Gaza drowned in the Mediterranean as they attempted to reach Europe. To risk one’s life with smugglers and brave seas in pursuit of a better life elsewhere should tell us something about people’s limited capacity to endure inhumane conditions as well as the limited truth of the sumoud narrative. This is not to say that people are abandoning their struggle for justice and their liberation ideals; many join activist groups or dedicate years of research to them. However, it is time to step back a little and reassess the sumoud narrative; it is perhaps time to understand Gaza and its people on their own terms. To do so, one should look critically at blanket narratives and long-held assumptions, as well as changes that have occurred to established concepts. There are, to my mind, two primary dangers in trumpeting this narrative of sumoud. The first lies in transforming an ordinary population into mythical creatures able to overcome the most excruciating of circumstances. This transformation places a high, and utterly unjustified, expectation on Gaza’s Palestinians to endure Israel’s relentless aggression and to hold on to the land regardless of the level of destruction implemented. This expectation winds up minimising the power and consequences of Israel’s occupation because, no matter how filthy and bloody it becomes, the Palestinians are predisposed to endure…
The second danger is that the sumoud narrative paints steadfastness as a choice rather than a forced reality. Palestinians in Gaza are not given the choice between enduring Israel’s aggression and seeking opportunities elsewhere. Palestinians, at least in part, continue to plough, sow, dig tunnels, and improvise because there is no other option….
Arab MK Haneen Zoabi betrays Israel to join another Gaza flotilla
JNS 19 June — Arab member of the Israeli Knesset Haneen Zoabi (Joint Arab List) is expected to participate in a women’s flotilla to the Gaza Strip in September, sources close to Zoabi told Israel Hayom. Zoabi plans to participate in the “Women’s Boat to Gaza” flotilla to protest the maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. In 2010, Zoabi took part in the Turkish flotilla that aimed to breach the Gaza blockade. She sailed aboard the Mavi Marmara ship, where after Turkish militants attacked Israeli commandos, nine of the Turks died in ensuing clashes. For many in Israel, this move called Zoabi’s loyalty to Israel into question. She has been a frequent harsh critic of the Israeli government; in April, she compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust and refused to attend Israel’s national Holocaust memorial assembly. Zoabi, who recently finished a four-month suspension from the Knesset for meeting terrorists’ families, could find herself embroiled in conflict once again with the Knesset Ethics Committee and face another suspension over her planned flotilla participation. The flotilla will include women activists of various leftist organizations, and European female parliamentarians may join them. Organizers are keeping the location from which the flotilla will set sail under wraps.
Gaza lighthouse guides fishermen, sends message
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 17 June by Asmaa al-Ghoul — In the past when fishermen entered the waters off Gaza at night, they relied on lights attached to their small vessels to guide them. Lighthouses never led their way. Such structures had never been part of their culture or navigational practices. Now, however, a lighthouse stands at the center of Gaza’s port. If compared to well-known lighthouses in the Arab world, it resembles neither Beirut’s 197-foot-tall modern lighthouse nor the 394-foot-tall historic lighthouse of Alexandria. In fact, Gaza’s lighthouse is a 45-foot-tall artwork whose light shines some 2 miles into the Mediterranean Sea. Resting on a 13-foot-wide concrete base, the lighthouse features a tower decorated with multicolored tiles and topped with a clear plastic dome. It’s also made up of previously used and recycled materials, much of it collected from the destruction left by the 2014 Israeli war against Gaza, including building stones, material from cooking utensils and assorted debris. Samir Metr, undersecretary at the Culture Ministry, told Al-Monitor that his ministry was keen on the project, stressing that the lighthouse symbolizes that Gaza seeks humanitarian communication with the entire world. “The lighthouse is a message that after every war Gaza has endured, there is new life. The lighthouse symbolizes the Gazans’ will to break the blockade,” Metr said….
Gaza considering importing watermelon from Israel after 7-year embargo
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 June – The Ministry of Agriculture in the besieged Gaza Strip has been considering importing watermelon from Israel due to the high prices of locally-produced watermelons. Spokesperson for the ministry Fayiz al-Sheikh told Ma‘an in Gaza City that if farmers do not reduce prices, “watermelons will be imported from Israel starting tomorrow.” He pointed out 2 shekels ($0.52) per kilo of watermelon is a high price in the Gaza Strip, given the dire economic conditions due to the near decade long siege imposed by Israel on the coastal enclave. The Ministry of Agriculture prevented watermelon imports from Israel seven years ago, according to al-Sheikh. He said that prior to the embargo, between 20,000 and 30,000 tons of watermelon were imported every year. Local production subsequently improved to the extent that it was able to completely cover market demand, he added.
FILM: We love Gaza. Free-running through rubble in the Gaza Strip
RT 17 June — 48-minute film — Director: Aleksandr Panov — After the 2014 bombardment of the Gaza Strip, much of the region was left in ruins. Most residents try hard to maintain a sense of normality amid the rubble but for some young men the new landscape provides a rich training ground for the extreme sport known as free running or parkour. They scale fragile, partially destroyed walls, jump floor to floor and between bombed out buildings. Every step puts their lives at risk. Their explanation is simple; living in Gaza is dangerous anyway, so free running offers a sense of freedom that’s hard to find anywhere else in their homeland. Two teams, Gaza Parkour from the South and 3Run Gaza from the North are sworn rivals. They reluctantly agree to a competition and prepare for it in the usual way; running, jumping and climbing the ruins of what was once a residential area. The teams do however have safer places to practice too. They go to gyms to learn new elements and attract rookie members who are just starting in the sport
At the ‘only place that’s fancy’ in Gaza city, a Ramadan iftar in the sky
NPR 17 June by Emily Harris — At a long table in the Level Up restaurant, 11 stories above Gaza City, Basil Eleiwa got a cake with a sparkling candle on top — to honor his eatery’s second birthday. “We opened two or three weeks before the 2014 war,” Level Up’s founder and co-owner notes, referring to the conflict that began in July 2014 between Israel and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that runs the Gaza strip. The restaurant had closed during the seven weeks of fighting. “The building was hit a number of times,” Eleiwa says. “It didn’t fall down.” Since then, he says business has been “sort of steady.” On this night, a dozen or so customers have arrived for iftar dinner, to break their daily fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Among them are recently married couple Ramzy Nashwan, 24, and Malak Mahdouna, 20. They come about once a week to enjoy themselves at what Nashwan calls the “only place that’s fancy” in Gaza. They can afford to eat here because he has a decent job as a hotel manager, Nashwan says. But for most Gazans, Level Up is “not a little expensive, it’s very expensive,” he says. “I wish everyone were able to be in a place like this, but life is hard in Gaza.” Most people in this small enclave are poor — they rely on basic food supplies handed out by the United Nations. Last year, the World Bank ranked Gaza as having the highest unemployment rate in the world. One Palestinian media outlet wrote this week about Gazans taking their iftar meals to the beach because a lack of electricity meant their homes were hot and dark. Level Up has its own generators, so it can keep the lights on all the time. Here, the iftar dinner buffet costs about $20 per person. “This menu is special for Ramadan,” says chef Jamal Soboh. “Traditional food only.”… More recently, Eleiwa says, the Israeli military revoked — with no explanation –his business permit to travel to Israel and the West Bank. This makes him feel angry and caged in, he says, but there’s a practical consequence, too: He used those trips to get ingredients like saffron, cranberries and some vegetables that are hard to find in Gaza.”I used to carry them by hand from the Israeli market,” he says. But despite such difficulties, Eleiwa plans to continue….
The price of occupation: Child prisoners in Israeli jails suffer lifelong trauma
Palestine Monitor 15 June by Lili Martinez — When 12-year-old Dima Al-Wawi returned from 75 days in an Israeli prison, she wasn’t the same. “We can’t interact with her normally the way we do with the other children, because it might affect her emotionally,” her cousin Ali Janazreh said to Palestine Monitor. “Every word we want to say to her, we weigh it, think about it before we say it, think about how it might affect her. We have to be very careful.” Dima is the youngest Palestinian girl ever to be detained by the Israeli army. She was arrested on Feb. 9, 2016 on charges of attempting to stab Israeli soldiers at a settlement near Hebron. Since Oct. 2015, a systematic campaign of arrests has increasingly targeted children for offenses such as stone-throwing and carrying knives, creating a new generation of children deeply traumatized by time in Israeli jail … Palestinian children arrested in the occupied West Bank face difficult, confusing and hostile circumstances from the minute their hands are tied with plastic restraints and they are blindfolded and sent to interrogation in a metal truck, the air-conditioner blasting icy air no matter the season. Child detainees like Dima report being interrogated without a lawyer or parents present, forced to sign confessions in Hebrew, subjected to torture and abuse by soldiers, and kept in solitary confinement. Sahar Francis, Director of Addameer, a prisoner support and human rights association in Palestine, told Palestine Monitor that this type of treatment can scar children for life….
At least 60 Palestinian prisoners begin hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 June – The Palestinian Prisoners Society said Monday that 60 Palestinian prisoners affiliated to the left wing Palestinian faction the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have started an open hunger strike in Israel’s Megiddo prison. In a statement the group quoted a lawyer who visited Megiddo and Jilbou prisons on Sunday as saying that 60 PFLP- affiliated prisoners started a hunger strike in Megiddo Sunday. She added that five PFLP-affiliated prisoners would also start hunger strike in Jilbou prison Monday. The decision to start the hunger strikes, added the lawyer, was in protest against Israeli decision to send PFLP- affiliated prisoner Bilal Kayid to administrative detention without trial or indictment for six months after he completed a 14-year sentence. Kayid began his own hunger strike on June 13 in protest of his sentence of six months in administrative detention. Kayid, from the village of Asira al-Shamaliya near Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank has been in Israeli custody since 2001 for alleged involvement in the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades — the armed wing of the PFLP.
What a Palestinian parliament member learned in an Israeli prison
Haaretz 19 June by Amira Hass — Khalida Jarrar knew a lot about prisoner issues, but her 14 months behind bars offered plenty of surprises — …Unequivocally, prisoner transport was the most difficult experience for Jarrar during her arrest and imprisonment, and the only one for which she occasionally mixes an “I” into the description. For the eight months of her trial she was transported in a bosta, as the prison vehicles are known, about 40 times. She joked that she knew all the members of Nahshon, the security unit that accompanies prisoners. But with serious tone she said, switching from “I” to the collective: “If we, the healthy ones, were sick for two or three days after every transport, what can we say about those wounded by gunfire?” The medical treatment for the wounded and sick women prisoners is good, said Jarrar, as opposed to the initial treatment in Israeli hospitals immediately after their arrest. One of the seriously injured women fell ill one night, was rushed from her cell to a civilian hospital and the next day was brought to a court hearing. And all of it in the bosta. The bosta is a kind of bus or truck whose passenger cabin is divided into several two-person compartments. They leave the prison at about 2 A.M. The iron benches are not padded, and every rock, pothole and bend in the road sends waves of pain through the bouncing body of each passenger. A guards cuff the prisoners’ hands and feet before they enter the vehicle, so they must hop carefully up the steps. When they also have baggage, such as when being transferred between prisons, this maneuvering becomes an art. After a few trips, Jarrar stopped reminding the guards that the prison doctor had instructed that she not be placed in restraints because of her chronic blood-vessel disease. Jews, Arabs, common criminals, religious people, women and men, all may ride together in the bosta. Jerboni has filed a number of complaints with the prison service on behalf of women who complained of sexual harassment and racist abuse during these rides, Jarrar said….
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israel: Water as a tool to dominate Palestinians
Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 20 June by Camilla Corradin — As temperatures rise and summer months approach, yet again this year, thousands of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are being deprived of their most basic need – access to water – as the Israeli national water company Mekorot restricted the water supply to villages and towns in northern West Bank. Although extremely worrying for the livelihood and health impact on the affected tens of thousands of Palestinians, this comes as little surprise. Since it occupied the West Bank in 1967, Israel has laid hands on Palestinian water resources through discriminatory water-sharing agreements that prevented Palestinians from maintaining or developing their water infrastructure through its illegal planning and permit regime. As a result, thousands of Palestinians are unable to access sufficient water supplies and became water-dependent on Israel. By building on the myth of a water-scarce region – Ramallah has more rainfall than London – Israel has deliberately denied Palestinians control over their water resources and successfully set the ground for water domination, granting itself a further tool to exercise its hegemony over the occupied population and territory. Palestinian water resources in the West Bank wouldn’t be scarce – they include the Jordan River, running all along the eastern border of the West Bank, and the Mountain Aquifer underlying the West Bank and Israel. Both water resources are transboundary – meaning that, by international law, they should be shared in an equitable and reasonable manner by Israel and Palestine. Yet, since Israel took over the West Bank in 1967, Israel has remained in near full control over Palestinian water resources in the West Bank. Israel fully prevents Palestinians from accessing the Jordan River and using its water. As for the Mountain Aquifer, the 1995 Oslo II interim agreement – which also defined the water-sharing arrangements between Palestine and Israel – came to consolidate the Israeli control that had been in place since 1967. Israel was granted access to over 71 percent of the aquifer water, while Palestinians were only granted 17 percent. While the agreement was supposed to last five years only, 20 years later, it is still in place. Water-sharing agreement discussions are left to the long-awaited final status negotiations.
Israel plans to destroy only water source of shepherds in West Bank village
Haaretz 18 June by Amira Hass — Move comes despite Israeli authorities telling international agencies that there would be no demolitions during the month of Ramadan — Israel intends to destroy a water-holding tank that serves 20 families of Palestinian shepherds and their flocks in the northern Jordan Valley. This, despite the fact that Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories (to which the Civil Administration is subordinate) promised representatives of international agencies that there would be no demolitions during the month of Ramadan, except for structures built during this time, Haaretz has learned. The simple structure collects water coming out of a natural spring. A rubber hose attached to it runs for a few dozen meters to a plastic trough. The Civil Administration claims the structure was built illegally. The shepherds, who live in a community called Umm al-Jimal, own 700 sheep and goats, as well as 300 cows and some horses. Last year, a flood destroyed another holding tank that served the families, also blocking the spring’s exit. The families are concerned that destroying the current holding tank will once more block the spring, which is their only close water source … Residents were given three days to present their reservations at the Civil Administration. At press time, they didn’t know if an attorney for the Palestinian Authority had managed to file on time, or whether Civil Administration officials will arrive in coming days to demolish the tank.
IDF demolishes two houses near TA attackers’ hometown, despite Ramadan ban
JPost 19 June by Max Schindler — It is the third time in a decade that their house has been razed, Nawarjja said, and the family planned to camp out on the site — The army bulldozed two Palestinian homes and related small structures on Sunday near Yatta, hometown of the two gunmen in last week’s Tel Aviv shooting spree. The buildings – two family homes, a livestock pen and a toolshed – were constructed illegally, said soldiers from the Engineering Corps at the scene. The demolitions proceeded despite an assurance to international aid agencies from Israel’s coordinator of government activities in the territories that it would refrain from such activity in Area C of the West Bank during Ramadan unless illegal building took [was currently taking] place, The Jerusalem Post previously reported. The families received a few days’ notice from the army as to the impending demolition, said Muhammad Nawarjja, who lived with his wife and seven children in one of the houses. Outside the homes, dozens of military police officers milled about for two hours, waiting for a bulldozer to arrive. A crowd of locals greeted them by whipping out smartphones for recording. The demolitions of the structures, home to 25 members of the extended Nawarjja clan, had families scrambling to unload dressers with clothing in the midday heat. The bulldozing may not be much of a deterrent; it is the third time in a decade that their house has been razed, Nawarjja said, and the family planned to camp on the site. “I’m going to stay here,” shouted Hisham Nawarjja, brother and next-door neighbor to Muhammad. “I’m going to wait here and practice steadfastness – even in the sun as I fast.” The order’s timing left questions unanswered, said attorney Qamar Mashraki from the left-wing NGO Rabbis for Human Rights. It isn’t coincidental that the razing took place as part of an overall army clampdown on the Yatta area, Mashraki said, especially given the relatively short time notice and the Ramadan time frame. Hailing from Yatta, near Hebron, the Tel Aviv attackers Muhammad and Khaled Makhamra opened fire in the crowded Sarona Market on June 8, killing four Israeli civilians and wounding more than a dozen others….
Israel approves millions in West Bank settlement spending
AFP 19 June — Israel’s government on Sunday approved some $18 million in additional financing for West Bank settlements, calling it a response to security concerns, though the money is to be used in a variety of ways. The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet will see some 70 million shekels ($18 million, 16 million euros) allocated to settlement-related spending. According to Haaretz newspaper, the amount is in addition to an already allocated $88 million … Netanyahu’s government is however considered the most right-wing in Israel’s history, with key members of his cabinet strong supporters of settlement building and opponents of a Palestinian state. The premier faces steady political pressure to support settlements and settlement building, which receive a range of government assistance. The government argued the increase was needed due to security concerns. A wave of Palestinian knife, gun and car-ramming attacks began in October, with much of the violence occurring in the West Bank. Speaking at the start of the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu called it “an assistance plan to strengthen communities” in the West Bank, saying it would “strengthen security, assist small businesses and encourage tourism.” Beyond security, it will include spending on tourism infrastructure, sport facilities and cultural events, ministers said. Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat called the move a “slap in the face of the international community.” “Israel is doing everything possible to sabotage every effort to achieve a just and lasting peace,” he said in a statement….
Israeli Arabs cry foul on move to tie funding to home demolitions
Haaretz 20 June by Jack Khoury — The Israeli cabinet resolved Sunday to establish an entity to supervise planning and construction in the Arab sector, but it conditioned funding to Arab towns on demolition of illegal structures. Outraged, representatives of those locales vowed not to cooperate with efforts to make them part of the enforcement mechanism against illegal construction. Population growth has not been accompanied by a commensurate expansion of Arab towns, or of permits to build new housing, which has resulted in widespread illegal construction there. The resolution would crack down on such building, which has been rampant in the Arab towns and cities, on several fronts. First proposed in January, legislation mandating creation of the new body technically transfers the power of enforcing construction-related regulations from regional councils to local, town committees in the case of locales numbering over 10,000 residents. One possible upshot of the resolution could be the demolition en masse of illegal structures erected over decades, including in Druze towns, Arab sources point out. They reiterated that they will not be “the government’s wrecking ball in Arab towns.” The cabinet’s decision to set up an enforcement mechanism removes an obstacle to implementation of a five-year, billion-shekel scheme aimed at strengthening Israeli Arab society, say sources at the Finance Ministry and Social Equality Ministry. Representatives of the Committee of Arab Local Governments, who met Sunday with staff from those ministries, argue, however, that much of this vaunted plan still remains murky….
Israel setting up ‘dirty tricks’ unit to find, spread dirt on BDS groups
Haaretz 20 June by Amir Oren — In the absence of persuasive arguments to counter boycott calls, much less any plan to change its policies, Israel has issued a tender for a counterdelegitimizer-in-chief — An old Chinese proverb, invented by Benjamin Netanyahu and Gilad Erdan, says that when someone sets out to blacken your reputation, beat him to it. Don’t worry if you’ve missed the boat, the main thing is to get hold of large amounts of black stuff and spread it lavishly on the goyim. Which goyim, exactly? Perhaps Americans in colleges, in explicit violation of David Ben-Gurion’s prohibition against spying in America against U.S. citizens. Will goyim be the only targets? And who will guard the tarnishers? All that remains to be seen. The demon confronted by the Netanyahu government is the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. While the Israel Air Force has precision-guided munitions, the war against BDS calls for new tools. Not, heaven forbid, for changing the policies which so upset many people across the world, who make a distinction between Israel proper and the settlements …Last week an official tender was published, number 61-2016, calling for someone to be the “head of a tarnishing unit, with a 41-43 rank in the social sciences ranking.” This rank is equivalent to a colonel in the army or a department head at the Shin Bet …The lucky winner of this tender, the creatively thinking candidate, will be charged with responsibility for “leading a campaign against groups seeking to delegitimize Israel, with regard to all media and consciousness aspects, in order to create a counterdelegitimization.”….
Israeli students fight BDS using Google
Ynet 17 June by Sapir Kleinbort — Four Israeli students have found a creative way to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) online. They created a “rogue” website that appears to support the boycott against Israel, but in fact provides pro-Israel content. The website, boycott-israel.net, seeks to reach anyone who tries to search Google for “boycott Israel,” expecting to find websites against the Jewish state. But those readers will be disappointed, as instead of articles calling to boycott Israel, they will find content presenting the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an effort to provide an entirely different viewpoint to what is often presented in the international media. Google sees an average of 165,000 hits a month for the term “BDS” and 8,100 for “boycott Israel.” When searching these terms, the first page of results currently doesn’t produce even a single pro-Israel website, showing those looking for information on the subject only anti-Israel content. The students are working to get their website onto the first search results page on Google, using the keywords in question to generate more traffic, and thus increase exposure to a different side of the conflict. “The site has pro-Israel articles collected or written by us, through which we introduce the complex relationship between Israel and the Palestinians in an effort to show all sides of the conflict to those who don’t know anything or don’t know enough about it and don’t live in Israel,” explains Avihay, who serves as the project’s website promoter. The site aims to promote a unique agenda, presented under the title “It’s Complicated.”
Israel engaging with JStreet in bid to counter BDS on US campuses
Haaretz 20 June by Barak Ravid — Strategic affairs minister meets pro-peace group’s Israeli representative, and says that despite disagreements over policy, in battle against boycott ‘there is no left or right, hawks or doves.’ Israel’s minister for strategic affairs, Gilad Erdan, has begun talks with the pro-Israel advocacy group J Street over the possibility of joining forces to counter the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Erdan, who is in charge of fighting the BDS movement for the Israeli government, revealed in a speech that he met with J Street’s top representative in Israel, Yael Patir, last week to examine the possibility of working together against the movement on U.S. campuses. “It is important to understand that in this battle there is no right or left, hawks or doves,” Erdan told the Herzliya Conference last week. “This battle requires cooperation between the government and civil society, both in Israel and abroad.
Palestinian refugees – Syria, Iraq
UNRWA: 3 more Palestinians killed in Syrian refugee camp
IMEMC/Agencies 19 June — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) strongly condemned the ongoing escalation of the armed conflict in Syria which, on 14 June, claimed the lives of another three Palestine refugees in Khan Eshieh camp, and continues gravely to endanger the safety of civilians throughout the country. On 14 June, at around 22:30, as devotees were returning to their homes after the evening prayer, the main road of Khan Eshieh camp was hit by an artillery shell in the vicinity of Al Reda Mosque. The explosion killed on the spot 37 year-old Amir Abu Hamdeh, 56 year-old Mahmoud Asa‘ad Asa’ad and 47 year-old Ibrahim Mahmoud Khalil. The blast also seriously injured 45 year-old Ayman Zaher. UNRWA strongly condemns the parties responsible for these deaths. The thoughts and condolences of UNRWA staff are with the bereaved families. These tragic deaths and grave injuries are the result of intense fighting in and around Khan Eshieh town involving the use of heavy weapons of indiscriminate effect. Since 17 May, at least nine Palestine refugees from Khan Eshieh camp have died, and many more have been injured.
Iraqi militia kills Palestinian refugee near Baghdad
TUBAS (PIC) 18 June — A Palestinian young man was murdered by Iraqi militiamen from the al-Hashd al-Shaabi (popular mobilization) group as part of the mass field executions taking place in the provinces of Baghdad and al-Anbar. Local sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that Jihad Abu Mutawea was lynched by Iraqi militants from al-Hashd al-Shaabi at a roadblock near Baghdad. The sources affirmed that Abu Mutawea was a Palestinian refugee living in Iraq and had no affiliation with any Iraqi faction or group. The family of Abu Mutawea mourned his death and said it would receive condolences from the mourners in its house in Tubas. Similar incidents had already happened to other Palestinian refugees living in Iraq, where many of them were kidnapped and slain by sectarian militias.
Other news and opinion
Palestinian TV series proving popular at Ramadan
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 16 June by Ahmad Abu Amer — Palestinian dramas are making inroads in the Arab drama world despite the lack of funds and high-tech facilities — This Ramadan, Palestinians are entertaining themselves by watching the popular dramas “Kafr al-Lawz,” “Bas ya Zalameh,” “Fida’i 2” and “Watan Ala Watar.” They offer viewers tastes of satire, social commentary and drama in examining life in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The series are positive additions to Palestinian drama, which has to compete with the more than 80 Arab TV dramas that began airing at the start of Ramadan. Arab TV channels bought the rights to three of the series, “Watan Ala Watar” being the exception, to broadcast during Ramadan. Despite their low production quality, the Palestinian series are highly rated as evidenced by the number of views after being posted online following their broadcast. Some of them have registered more than 200,000 views. “Bas ya Zalameh” (“Enough Man!”) is a satirical comedy about the trials and tribulations of daily Palestinian life, including societal and other problems, like electricity cuts. It is being broadcast on the Jordanian Roya TV. The previous seasons had been available to watch online … Fida’i 2” (“Resistance Fighter,” season 2) is a drama being aired on the Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV. The series focuses on prisoners in Israeli jails, Palestinians confronted by settler attacks in the West Bank and the Israeli wars on Gaza. The first season of the series, which proved to be quite popular, aired during Ramadan last year. Mohammed Khalifa, director of “Fida’i 2,” told Al-Monitor that the series tries to offer something different from the common Arab depictions of the Palestinian situation, in particular in Egyptian and Syrian dramas. In other words, the goal is to present the Palestinian situation from the Palestinians’ perspective….
Enforcement of Ramadan laws varies among Palestinian cities
Al-Monitor 16 June by Daoud Kuttab — Differing enforcement of regulations concerning violating the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan is a point of potential polarization — Samia Danna, a young Palestinian woman from Jerusalem, is worried about how she will get through Ramadan this year. Danna works in Ramallah at a communications company, and the holy month has arrived while she is six months pregnant. Although Islam exempts pregnant women and others (the sick, travelers and women menstruating) from the all-day fasting ritual, Danna was worried that she wouldn’t be able to find a restaurant open from which to order lunch. Responding to Al-Monitor by email, Danna said that she has not had a problem finding food. “While many restaurants are closed, many restaurants whose owners are Christians are open,” she reported, ticking off the names of some half dozen eateries in Ramallah that are open during the day. In Bethlehem, the situation is no different. Jeryies Sadi’s family rents a number of shops, including a restaurant on trendy Karkafe Street. “The local government in Bethlehem has no problem with people eating on the streets, and restaurants are open here,” Sadi told Al-Monitor. Bethlehem and Ramallah may be exceptions to the rule. With traditionally strong Christian populations and Christian mayors — Musa Hadid in Ramallah and Vera Baboon in Bethlehem — the two towns are known for having liberal and open zoning laws and policies, including on the issue of alcohol. Al-Bireh, however, Ramallah’s twin city, has strict zoning laws, and no stores sell alcohol in this Muslim-majority city. Regulations on things like alcohol might differ, but one would expect the Palestinian central government, police and other legal branches of government to apply the law equitably. Yet the local press has published numerous stories of individuals being arrested and imprisoned for eating, drinking and smoking in public in Nablus and Tulkarm. The existence of different laws and regulations in different cities led Sadi to sarcastically refer to the “United States of Palestine.”
Meetings canceled early as Hamas and Fatah reconciliation talks take a negative turn
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 June — Reconciliation talks took a negative turn Saturday when the Hamas movement accused Fatah for the failure of the day’s meeting in Doha, surrounding the issues of employment and legislative council. Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement on Saturday that Fatah officials had allegedly recanted on previous agreements made in past sessions, something Fatah officials denied. Abu Zuhri added that the Fatah delegation did not complete the day’s scheduled meetings and withdrew during the second session. In the statement, Hamas held the Fatah leadership entirely responsible for “failing” today’s meeting, stressing that there was no ”political will to achieve reconciliation” on the part of Fatah. Spokesperson for the Fatah movement, Usama al-Qawasmi, said that the delegation headed to Doha with a decision to end division based on partnership, democracy and forming a national unity government. Al-Qawasmi added that the Doha meetings showed that Hamas is “not ready yet for national unity and political partnership.” He stressed that Fatah would continue its efforts to end division between the two political factions, and will continue “calling upon Hamas to head towards real national unity.” The current round of talks between Fatah and Hamas — the third of its kind– began on Wednesday in the Qatari capital of Doha with a focus on continuing discussions on strategies for implementing a reconciliation agreement….
Will new Palestinian agency be enough to stop violence against women?
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 16 June by Ahmad Melhem — As more cases of violence against women come to light in the West Bank, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs will be launching a special agency to follow up on such instances and garner statistics to raise public awareness about this phenomenon — Violence against Palestinian women is being reported more frequently, and women there are fighting back — but in a nonviolent way. One obstacle in the battle has been a lack of accurate statistics with which to influence politicians and increase public awareness. Now the Ministry of Women’s Affairs plans to establish the National Observatory on Violence Against Women. The ministry will collaborate with the Ministries of Social Affairs and Health, the police and a number of civil society institutions. The observatory, which is expected to see the light in one year, will collect and document cases of violence against women to gauge the gravity and extent of the problem. The data will be analyzed to help develop public policies to confront the situation … The Jerusalem-based Italian Cooperation Development Unit for the Palestinian territories is providing 250,000 euros (almost $280,000) for the effort….
In the West Bank, Orlando gunman’s widow is remembered as sheltered, simple — ‘our flesh and blood’
LA Times 16 June by Joshua Mitnick — The first time Noor Salman got married, the wedding celebration was held in an apartment belonging to her father’s family just a few blocks from the Palestinian presidential compound in Ramallah. In a nod to her roots in this West Bank city, the bride from Rodeo, Calif., wore a dress of traditional Palestinian embroidery for a pre-wedding hinnah ceremony. This week, Salman’s aunt, Mona Salman, was hosting guests for a Ramadan breakfast meal in the same apartment when a neighbor called to tell her that Noor’s second husband, Omar Mateen, had shot up a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., killing 49 people before being shot dead by police. “I was shocked,” said the 72-year-old aunt, the older sister of Noor’s deceased father, Zahi. “I started wailing and screaming. She is our flesh and blood.” Now with Noor suspected by the FBI of knowing of Mateen’s plans and keeping them to herself, the aunt choked back sobs and said she could hardly believe her niece was aware of such a plot. “Noor is a simpleton. Things happen around her and she is not aware of it,’’ she said. People in the city of Al Birah “are very conservative and her mother always kept them at home. This is why I’m worried, because Noor doesn’t know much. She probably didn’t know anything that her husband was planning or thinking because she’s a very simple woman.” Her remarks dovetail, in some respects, with those of a neighbor of the Salman family in California, Jasbinder Chahal, who told the Associated Press that Noor Salman was sheltered as a girl and was “not the smartest.”….