Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces detain 4, including Oscar-nominated filmmaker and journalist, in Bil‘in protest
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 July — Israeli forces detained four people, including a journalist and Oscar-nominated filmmaker, as soldiers dispersed weekly protests in the village of Bil‘in in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank on Friday. Israeli forces detained Iranian television reporter Khalid Sabarnah, the head of the local council Basil Mansur, activist Ashraf Abu al Rahma, and filmmaker Emad Burnat, the Oscar-nominated director of the documentary film “5 Boken Cameras”, a film showing Burnat’s first-hand account of the protests in Bil‘in that began 11 years ago in response to the illegal expansion of nearby Israeli settlements, and the construction of Israel’s separation wall which separates Bil‘in residents from their privately owned lands.
Bil‘in has long been one of the most active villages in organized opposition against Israeli policies, as residents have protested every Friday for 11 consecutive years. Residents of the village were joined on Friday by international and Israeli activists who raised Palestinian flags and chanted songs for national unity and against occupation, according to local sources. Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator for the popular resistance committee in Bil‘in said the protests will continue despite Israeli detentions and often violent suppressions of the weekly protest.
12-year-old Palestinian boy laid to rest a day after being killed in al-Ram
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 July — A funeral procession was held on Wednesday for 12-year-old Palestinian Muhyee Sidqi al-Tibakhi, who was shot dead a day earlier in the village of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, as Palestinian officials accused Israeli forces of being behind the boy’s death. On Tuesday, locals reported that clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided the town of al-Ram, during which Muhyee was killed. Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Osama Najah told Ma‘an on Wednesday that Muhye’s family had declined to conduct an autopsy, but that the young boy had been shot in the chest and head. Wrapped in a Palestinian flag, Muhyee’s body was taken in an ambulance from the Palestine Medical Complex in the city of Ramallah to al-Ram on Wednesday, where a funeral procession was held. Hundreds of young men carried Muhyee’s body to his family home, where family members and friends were able to pay their respects for the last time. Muhyee was then carried to one of al-Ram’s mosques for funeral prayers. Mourners then marched to the neighborhood’s cemetery, where the young boy was laid to rest. Speeches delivered during the funeral denounced Muhyee’s killing as an act done “in cold blood.”….
2 Palestinian youths injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 22 July — Israeli forces Friday injured two Palestinian youths with crowd-control weapons during a weekly march in the village of Kafr Qaddum near Qalqilya, while dozens of other demonstrators suffered tear gas inhalation, according to local activists. Popular resistance coordinator in the village Murad Shtewei told Ma‘an that Israeli forces began shooting rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas bombs into the crowd of demonstrators shortly after the march took off. A youth was reportedly hit with a tear gas canister in his head and rushed to the Rafidiya Hospital where his injury was reported as medium. Another Palestinian youth was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his thigh and was immediately treated by a medical team at the scene. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces also sprayed skunk water during the march, a putrid smelling liquid commonly sprayed at Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces as a method of non-lethal crowd control. The foul liquid is known to linger in the targeted areas for weeks, with Palestinians commonly charging Israel with aiming at densely populated areas, such as spraying the liquid inside refugee camps even as demonstrations are being held outside of the populated area. Locals also reported seeing an Israeli drone during the march, which photographed the demonstrators … Hundreds of locals took part in the march that launched after Friday prayers, including member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council Hasan Shtewei in addition to several international and Israeli peace activists. Residents of Kafr Qaddum began staging weekly protests in 2011 against land confiscations, as well as the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces. The road, which has been closed 13 years, is the main route to the nearby city of Nablus, the nearest economic center.Shtewei said more than 330 protests have been held over that period, during which time 84 protesters have been injured by live fire, including 12 children … Over the course of five years, an elderly protester was killed after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation, one youth lost his eyesight, and another his ability to speak, he added. [ISM: on 15 July – Before leaving the Israeli Army made sure to destroy the main water pipe of the village, which will cost some 3000 NIS to repair.]
Army kidnaps five Palestinians in Jerusalem, injures one near Bethlehem
IMEMC 23 July — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Friday evening, five Palestinians, including an elderly man, in several areas of occupied East Jerusalem. The army also shot and injured a Palestinian in Teqoua’ town, east of Bethlehem. On Friday evening, the soldiers invaded the Sa’diyya neighborhood, in Jerusalem’s Old City, searched homes and kidnapped a young man and an elderly man, before moving them to an interrogation center. The army also kidnapped a young man, identified as Fuad al-Atrash, after stopping him near one of the gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition, the soldiers invaded Shu‘fat neighborhood, in the center of Jerusalem, and kidnapped a young man, identified as Anas al-Kiswani. The soldiers also kidnapped a journalist, identified as Faisal Refa’ey, from ‘Anata town, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.
In related news, the soldiers invaded the town of Teqoua‘ [Tuqu‘], east of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and moderately wounded a young man. Local sources said several youths hurled stones on a number of Israeli military jeeps, invading their town, while the army fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs. One Palestinian was shot with a live round in his abdomen, before he was moved to the Beit Jala governmental hospital. His condition has been described as moderate but stable. Many Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces raid Yatta after more than 40 days of blockade
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 21 July — Israeli forces raided several homes in the southern occupied West Bank town of Yatta early Thursday, as the army maintained its weeks-long blockade of municipalities in the Hebron district. A coordinator of a popular committee in the southern West Bank, Rateb al-Jbour, said that Israeli forces raided central Yatta and searched the houses of two Palestinian security officers, identified as Majdi Moussa al-Shreiqi and Ahmad Moussa al-Shreiqi, the latter reportedly a former prisoner detained by Israel. Al-Jbour said that clashes erupted following the raid, with youths throwing rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers, who injured two when they fired at the young Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets. Israeli forces also fired tear gas in the area, causing residents to suffer from tear gas inhalation. Yatta has been under Israeli blockade for 43 days, as entrances of the town have remained sealed by Israeli forces since early June in the wake of a deadly shooting in Tel Aviv committed by two Yatta residents. Israeli forces also raided the village of Khallet Salih near Yatta and searched a house belonging to the al-Juneidi family. Al-Jbour called on international and humanitarian organizations to immediately intervene and end the siege imposed on the Hebron district, as he said that more than 850,000 residents of the district were affected by the closures.
Israeli forces detain man and his son during police raid on Bedouin village of al-Araqib
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 21 July – The Israeli police Thursday detained a Palestinian and his son from the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev region of southern Israel during a police raid, according to a local activist. Salim al-Araqib told Ma‘an that Sheikh Sayyah al-Turi and his son Aziz were detained from the village during a police raid on the community, as bulldozers leveled lands and police forces reportedly assaulted residents. It was the fifth consecutive day police forces have carried out a raid on the village, according to al-Araqib. Numerous children were reported to have fainted after Israeli police assaulted the children and women in the community, al-Araqib said. A few have been taken to the hospital…..
Flare left by Israeli forces injures Palestinian in Jenin
JENIN (Ma‘an) 23 July — A Palestinian suffered various burns on Thursday after a flare left by Israeli forces exploded in Jenin, according to a Palestinian police spokesperson. Luay Irzeiqat told Ma‘an that Muhammad Jamal al-Nuayrat, 23, was injured as the flare was unexpectedly set off in the Mithalon area of Jenin. He was reported as lightly injured. Police arrived at the scene and opened an investigation on the incident.
Israeli forces detain 20 Palestinians in predawn raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 20 July — Israeli forces detained at least 20 Palestinians in predawn raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Palestinian and Israeli security sources said. In occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli forces reportedly detained three Palestinians in the neighborhood of ‘Issawiya, identified by locals as Abdullah Mustafa, Muhammad Amir Mustafa, and Muhammad Nasser Mahmoud. In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian security sources said that three Palestinians — identified as Abd al-Rahman Mustafa Hamid, Abd al-Rahim Bassam Hammad, and Ibrahim Abd al-Aziz Hamid — were detained in the Ramallah district village of Silwad. Elsewhere in the Ramallah district, Palestinian sources said that Israeli forces detained Omar Ahmad al-Makin in the village of Deir Abu Mashaal. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detention in Deir Abu Mashaal, adding that the army had records of 13 overnight detentions.In the northern West Bank, Palestinian sources said that Israeli troops detained Muayyad al-Jallad in the city of Tulkarem, Layth al-Ashqar in the village of al-Saaida in the Jenin district, and Ahmad Raed Amira in the city of Nablus….
Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians in West Bank during predawn raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 July — Israeli forces Thursday detained at least 18 Palestinians during predawn raids across several districts in the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. In the West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian identified by locals as 33-year-old Murad Muhammad Jaddal from the eastern Jabal al-Furdeis area as he attempted to cross a checkpoint near the town of Tuqu‘. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in Bethlehem for being alleged Hamas operatives. Palestinian sources did not provide details on the other Palestinian detainee. Israeli forces also carried out a mass detention raid in the village of Kafr Qalil in the northern West Bank district of Nablus detaining at least 13 Palestinians, according to locals. Locals told Ma‘an that hundreds of Israeli soldiers raided the village in the early morning hours, searching several houses. Among those detained were reportedly members of the Palestinian security services, according to locals. Palestinian medical sources told Ma‘an that clashes between Palestinians and soldiers erupted in the village, as several Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation and a youth was injured with light to medium wounds after being struck with a live bullet. Locals added that Israeli forces raided the house of Ihab Joseph Abed al-Latif Mansour, a member of the Palestinian police.Thirteen of the detainees were identified as:….
Palestinian boy who survived 2015 firebomb attack goes home
[with many photos] DUMA, West Bank (AP) 22 July — A Palestinian boy who was seriously wounded in a firebomb attack last year that killed the rest of his family has been released from an Israeli hospital and returned home to the West Bank. Ahmad Dawabsheh was discharged from the hospital on Friday and greeted with a festive welcome in his village of Duma. Suspected Jewish settlers hurled firebombs into the family’s home last July, killing his brother, 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh. His parents later died of their wounds. Four-year-old Ahmad survived but his burns needed a year of treatment to heal. The attack and the drawn-out investigation helped fuel months of Israeli-Palestinian violence. Hospital director Asher Barzilai says Ahmad arrived with little chance of surviving but that the staff were now pleased to see him go home healthy.
License to kill: Forgery, evidence tampering and two dead teens
+972 blog 22 July by John Brown & Noam Rotem — Usaid and Muhammed Qadus are shot to death in their own village by a major in the Israeli army who claims he only fired rubber bullets. But the bullets were real, and he admitted to lying and committing forgery to cover up his crime. Instead of being charged with a crime, he is promoted — In the “License to Kill“ series thus far, we have surveyed eight Military Police investigation files regarding the killing of Palestinians by IDF fire. Despite the fact that none of those killed posed a danger to anybody else and despite no lack of evidence pointing to the shooters’ guilt, none of the cases resulted in any indictments. One of the most outrageous cases was the shooting of 20 bullets into the Qawarik cousins and the subsequent whitewashing of the case. In this chapter, we will examine another double killing of young Palestinian men, which took place just one day earlier, by an officer in the same IDF brigade, Kfir, which is also happens to be the unit of the Hebron shooter, Elor Azaria. After reading the following investigation into the IDF’s own investigation, we believe that you too will find it hard to believe that prosecutors decided not file an indictment for a double murder, or at the very least obstruction of justice. We will show how the shooter, a major in the army, admitted to lying in his testimony, forging documents and trying to tamper with evidence. In spite of all that, the Military Advocate General decided against prosecution. In fact, he continues to serve in the IDF, and has even been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. The sequence of events described here is based on the Military Police investigation file, which we have obtained, as well as other testimonies collected by B’Tselem.
Closures / Checkpoints
Israeli forces close entrances to Bethlehem-area towns after shooting near Israeli settlement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 July — Israeli forces Friday closed several entrances to villages and towns in the eastern and southeastern parts of the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem with large cement blocks, according to a Ma‘an reporter, following a shooting on an Israeli settler’s car Thursday night. Israeli forces set up several checkpoints in the surrounding villages and towns in the district, including one at the entrance of the town of Beit Sahour and the entrances to villages in the eastern countryside of Bethlehem, causing heavy traffic, according to the local Ma‘an reporter. Israeli forces also closed the entrance to the town of Janata, two roads leading to the town of Zaatara, and the villages of al-Khas and Marah Rabah in southeastern Bethlehem … The Hebrew language 0404 news website reported that a group of armed Palestinians opened fire from their car at an Israeli settler’s vehicle that was passing near the illegal Har Homa settlement on Thursday night. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the reports and told Ma‘an that the vehicle sustained damage, but no injuries were reported … Israeli forces searched the area for suspects, and carried out a raid on the eastern entrance of Beit Sahour, as Israeli soldiers searched and confiscated security cameras following the incident, according to a Ma‘an reporter. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the military search campaign is still ongoing.
Israeli closures: ‘They’re pushing us into depression’
HEBRON, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 19 July by Emily Mulder — “Don’t drive through Younis – they shoot at people there,” Um Ahmad said through a bus window to the driver as he left Hebron’s central bus station. Younis is a checkpoint at the main entrance to the occupied West Bank village of Sa‘ir, which was sealed earlier this month by the Israeli military after gunmen opened fire on an Israeli vehicle and injured the driver before fleeing into the village. Um Ahmad and a dozen other Palestinians bound for the blockaded town told Al Jazeera that the junction in front of the checkpoint is notorious, as Palestinians have been shot dead there in the past during alleged attacks on Israeli forces. They debate which route to take home, before piling into another bus headed for the village’s southern entrance. “We think this will be safer,” Um Ahmad told Al Jazeera, motioning to her niece’s young family. “We are scared. This is probably the best way.” … The bus moved through the neighbouring village of Beit Einun and passed by armed Israeli soldiers at a makeshift checkpoint before stopping on the outskirts of Sa‘ir, where passengers disembarked and crossed over cement roadblocks on foot. Sa‘ir is one of several towns throughout the Hebron district that has been fully or partially closed by Israel since the start of the month, when deadly attacks carried out by locals left two Israeli settlers dead, marking the most widespread lockdown since 2014. The closures, accompanied by nightly detention raids that have left dozens injured, have severely disrupted the movement of an estimated 400,000 Palestinians, according to the United Nations … Back in Sa‘ir, local teacher Husan Jabarin told Al Jazeera that the recent measures were pushing the community away from the peace it has been seeking. “They’re pushing us into depression,” he said. “We just want to live peacefully and live our lives, nothing else. But the situation that we’re facing today … It’s affecting the new generation [and] causing them to be more violent. “We are really sad for that – it’s not what we want, but that’s what the occupation is creating.”
Palestinians in Hebron use crane to lift cars over Israeli blockades
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 July — Palestinians have started to use a crane mounted on a truck to lift cars over Israeli blockades, in an inventive new way to bypass numerous Israeli-imposed obstacles to restrict Palestinian movement in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Israeli media reported. Israel’s Channel 2 reported that a truck equipped with a crane has been transporting Palestinian cars from one side of large dirt mounds dumped in the middle of roads to the other side, charging 30 shekels for each car. Israeli forces routinely place large mounds of dirt on Palestinian roads during blockades to deter Palestinians from leaving or entering an area. The entire district of Hebron has remained under an Israeli military blockade for nearly three weeks following a series of attacks on Israelis by Hebron district residents, while Israeli authorities additionally revoked Israeli permits for thousands of Palestinians dependent on entering Israel for work.
Israeli authorities to erect stone checkpoint at Ibrahimi Mosque entrance
IMEMC/Agencies 22 July — Israeli forces are installing a stone checkpoint at the entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque to restrict Palestinians from entering it, to visit and to pray. As the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee’s General Manager, Imad Hamdan, illustrated, the new checkpoint will be made of stone in a permanent style, in front of the historic holy site, which will affect the fabric of the building and the community. This development came from the Israeli Shamghar committee which also recommended the division of the mosque into two parts following the massacre of Palestinians in the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994. Subsequent to the division of the mosque, the holy site fell under tight control by Israeli security and surveillance. These developments were catastrophic to Palestinians and to the old city, as it is a religiously, historically and culturally significant. It is the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility to defend, maintain and combat Israeli policies aimed at colonizing the Ibrahimi Mosque and Palestinian lands. Checkpoints are used by the Israeli military to deter Palestinian residents from coming to and living in the Old City of Hebron, to restrict their movements and devastate the rights of the local population. Military checkpoints around the Ibrahimi Mosque are placed strategically by Israeli forces to expel Muslim devotees from the area and increase Israeli presence, in and around the mosque. In the Old City of Hebron, 18 checkpoints currently exist, in addition to more than 130 other access restrictions, which the Israeli military claim are in place in order to provide “security” to the 600 illegal settlers living in the city center and the thousands living nearby….
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian family, pleading for son’s release, says Israel forced him to confess terror links
Haaretz 22 July by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Bara Farid Abu-Dheir, 26, suffered brain trauma as a toddler and never fully recovered. His father, a journalism professor, encouraged him to travel to Turkey and Jordan to look for work. What happened when he tried to return to Nablus is every parent’s nightmare — When Bara Farid Abu-Dheir was 2 years old, one of his toys fell off the small bridge near his home in the West Bank city of Nablus. Trying to see where the toy had gone, the toddler himself fell off the structure from a height of 6.5 meters (21 feet) and sustained serious injuries: a brain hemorrhage and a skull fracture. The event changed the course of his life and that of his family. His parents, Basmah and Farid, hurried back to Britain, where Farid was working as a university lecturer, with their son. For the next three years, Bara underwent treatment in St. James’s University Hospital, in Leeds. He developed hemiplegia – paralysis of one side of the body – lost the power of speech and for years suffered from memory loss and an inability to concentrate. In time, thanks to intensive treatment, his condition gradually improved. He regained his speech and the paralysis passed completely – but he did not recover completely from the brain injury. Today, at 26, Bara has difficulty forging social ties and is introverted and solitary, although he has been an excellent student. His parents dote on him, he has been the apple of their eye. The couple have four other, younger children, but Bara is their primary concern. He lives with them and has accompanied them back and forth between Britain and Nablus, in the wake of Farid’s academic career. Currently, the father is a lecturer in communications at An-Najah University in Nablus; among other things, the subjects he teaches include media ethics, international media, public opinion and introduction to media studies. A week ago, Farid issued a desperate appeal, in Hebrew, English and Arabic, to Israeli and world media and human rights organizations: “The Israeli Occupation Authorities have arrested my son, Bara Farid Abu-Dheir ….
48 prisoners continue solidarity hunger strike in protest of Israel’s detention of Palestinians
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 July — A mass hunger strike across Israeli prisons continued on Saturday in protest of Israel’s detention of Palestinians without charge or trial, with at least 48 Palestinian prisoners now participating in the open hunger strike in support of hunger-striking prisoners Bilal Kayid and brothers Muhammad and Mahmud al-Balboul, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs. The committee said in a statement that solidarity hunger strikes are continuing to put pressure on the Israeli prison administration and government to comply with the demands of the striking prisoners and to end Israel’s controversial policy of administrative detention — internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence almost exclusively used against Palestinian detainees….
Man charged with sheltering Tel Aviv terrorists in his storeroom
Haaretz 22 July by Almog Ben Zikri — Negev resident didn’t know duo were planning Sarona attack, but was aware that they were in Israel illegally, claims prosecution — A resident of the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom was charged Thursday with sheltering the perpetrators of the Sarona terror attack in Tel Aviv in which four Israelis were killed. The state prosecution claims that Abdelhadi Abu Afash, 49, of the Al-Azazmeh clan, allowed Mohammed and Khaled Mahamra to stay in his storeroom. While he did not know the pair were planning to commit a terror attack, he did know that they were in Israeli illegally. The indictment, filed in Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court, charges Abu Afash with unlawfully sheltering illegals under aggravated circumstances. It says that in 2015-2016, Abu Afash used the storeroom next to his house to shelter people who entered Israel illegally, and that he charged 200 shekels a month for letting someone stay there.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian farmer in central Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 July — Israeli forces on Wednesday morning shot and injured a Palestinian farmer working on his agricultural land near the Israeli border east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza strip, medical sources told Ma’an. The sources said the 33-year-old man was hit by a rubber-coated steel bullet.
Israeli army bulldozers, jeeps, drones enter southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 21 July — Several Israeli army bulldozers entered the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning, locals said.Witnesses told Ma‘an that four Israeli bulldozers coming from the al-Matbaq Gate entered 50 meters into eastern Rafah City, escorted by four military jeeps as drones flew overhead.
Israeli forces open fire at shepherds in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 22 July — Israeli forces reportedly opened fire at Palestinian shepherds near the border in the central Gaza Strip on Friday. Witnesses said Israeli forces stationed behind the security fence east of Al-Bureij refugee camp opened fire at a group of shepherds near the Abu Qatrun area in central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.
Israeli forces release two Gazan fishermen detained on Wednesday
GAZA (Ma‘an) 21 July — Israeli forces Thursday released two fishermen who were detained on Wednesday off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip, according to locals. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces released Muhammad Yousif Bakr and Muhannad Omar Bakir at the Beit Hannon crossing. While initial reports said four fishermen were detained on Wednesday, local sources told Ma‘an that five were detained in total, with three remaining in Israeli custody.
Qatar says gives $30 mln to pay Gaza public sector workers
DOHA (Reuters) 22 July — Qatar said on Thursday it would give $30 million to help pay the salaries of thousands of Gaza Strip public sector workers left without a full wage package since 2013. The donation was welcomed by Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates the enclave, who said it would help ease the wage shortages that have tested already strained relations with the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank. There was no immediate comment from Palestinian Authority or Israel, who have long been suspicious of Qatar’s regular donations to Hamas and other Islamist groups across the region. The emir of the wealthy Gulf state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said the payment of 113 million riyals was meant to “alleviate suffering and financial distress”, according to Qatar’s state news agency, QNA. Hamas fighters seized control of Gaza in 2007 [after winning the Palestinian elections] from forces loyal to Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, triggering years of mutual distrust. A reconciliation pact signed in 2014 by the two sides raised hopes among Hamas that its 50,000 public sector employees’ wages would be taken care of via the Palestinian Authority (PA) payroll. But the Palestinian Authority cannot afford to pay all those extra workers and international donors who support the PA budget, including the European Union, say they want an audit of workers and cutbacks to the bloated payroll, which costs more than $2 billion a year. The Hamas-hired public servants have grown restive and in 2014 protested over their lack of payment which is partly due to a continued blockade imposed on Gaza by both Israel and Egypt. “The July payment will be made in full immediately once the Qatari financial fund is received,” Hamas’ deputyfinance minister, Youssef al-Kayyali said.
1060 Gazan families receive new homes in Hamad City
KHAN YOUNIS (PIC) 22 July — Palestinian Ministry of Public Works and Housing Thursday handed out keys of 1060 apartments of Hamad City in Khan Younis to Gazan families affected by the Israeli aggression on Gaza in summer 2014. Mufid al-Hasayna, Minister of Public Works and Housing, said that the families who took the apartments, within the first phase of the project, are of limited income. He pointed out that a similar number of families will have their new homes ready by the beginning of next year. Hasayna said that there are over 25 housing towers being built in different locations in Gaza Strip, mostly within the Qatari and Turkish grants. Another 5 housing towers funded by Saudi donation will be finished within a maximum period of three months, he revealed. The besieged Gaza Strip suffers from a housing shortage estimated at 130,000 housing units after the latest Israeli aggression. The shortage was 75,000 units before the aggression. The families who received their new apartments thanked Qatar along with all of those who contributed to the construction of their homes.
250 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip pray at Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem after Israel cuts prayer permits
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 July — Hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip traveled to occupied East Jerusalem for Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to officials from the Palestinian liaison office, amid a reduction of Israeli-issued prayer permits for Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave. The 250 Palestinians, all of whom were above the age of 50, crossed into Israel via the Erez crossing early in the morning to pray at Al-Aqsa, before immediately returning to the Gaza Strip. Sources added that the number of Palestinians permitted to worship at Al-Aqsa was reduced by Israel this week, as Israeli authorities have typically permitted 300 elderly Palestinians from the small Palestinian territory to travel to Al-Aqsa every Friday. A spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities decided to reduce the quota of permits for Palestinians to travel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for prayers as a result of Hamas and other groups “choosing to use the crossing permits given to them illegally.”….
No justice for Gaza youth killed in viral video
EI 20 July by Refaat Alareer — Two years ago, during Israel’s 2014 onslaught against Gaza, a young, unarmed man was killed by Israeli snipers. The killing was recorded and uploaded to YouTube and the video went viral. The young man was Salem Shamaly. Salem, 23, was helping medics and volunteers search for injured people, including what he thought might be his own family members, trapped in the rubble of their houses after an early morning bombardment by the Israeli military of the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City. Even amid the death and destruction of the 2014 onslaught, Salem’s story stood out, garnering international headlines and raising questions about war crimes. But two years later, justice has not been done for Salem — or indeed any of the 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, Israel killed in Gaza, according to the UN’s independent commission of inquiry. To his family, Salem was a person with great potential who was plucked in his prime by a brutal occupier that refuses to let Palestinians be. The death of the family’s oldest son has also precipitated decline. Salem’s father, Khalil, 61, has seen his small business — selling baby sanitary products — falter, and his asthma and heart conditions worsen. The family home was partially damaged during the assault and Khalil lost all his inventory, at an estimated value of some $30,000, almost all his life savings….
Gaza: The last picture: a film by Alaa Aloul
Al Jazeera 20 July — A Palestinian cameraman records the 2014 Israeli assault on Shujayea, including the final moments of his own life — On July 8, 2014, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge, aimed at stopping alleged rocket fire from Gaza into the occupied territories. One of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the Gaza Strip, Shujayea was claimed by Israel to be the site of Hamas “terror tunnels”. The attack started late on July 19, initiating 24 hours of sustained air bombardment and artillery fire. An American military officer talking to Al Jazeera said 11 Israeli artillery battalions fired around 7,000 shells into Shujayea over that 24-hour period, in which at least 65 Palestinians were killed and 288 wounded. One paramedic reported more than 200 calls for help at the peak of demand, one from virtually every house on targeted streets. The emergency services responded to every callout with scant regard for their own safety. In this film, cameraman Khaled Hamad joins local paramedics in Shujayea as they attend to the dead and wounded at the height of the raid. Risking his life, he documents the atrocities committed against civilians in the neighbourhood during Operation Protective Edge. A number of journalists were killed. News photographer Rami Rayan died while shooting stills of a busy market where locals were shopping during a brief humanitarian truce. Knowing the risks, Hamad continues to film until his camera dramatically captures the raid in which he and paramedic Fouad Jaber come under direct attack. Paramedics, Hamad’s fellow journalists and family all maintain that Israel targeted journalists in order to try and minimise coverage of what the Palestinians described as a “massacre”. Most of the footage in the film is Hamad’s, his camera never stops shooting even after he is struck, and continues rolling long after he has taken his final breath.
B’Tselem: 63% of casualties in 2014 war were civilians
JPost 21 July by Eliyahu Kamisher — High figure ‘casts doubt’ on claim that all of IDF’s targets in Gaza were legitimate, says left-wing group — Two years after Operation Protective Edge, a B’Tselem report said 1,394, or 63 percent, of the 2,202 Palestinians killed by the IDF did not take part in the conflict. This is lower than the figure cited by the United Nations and other NGOs of 70% but is still higher than Israeli intelligence estimates of 50%. Sixty-six soldiers and seven civilians were killed on the Israeli side. The data gathered by B’Tselem, and released on Wednesday, was collected from field researchers in Gaza, cross-referenced with publicly available data. This report is the first time B’Tselem has collected data on the war. Prior to this all casualty numbers were based on outside figures. According to B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli the purpose of the report is to inform the Israeli public of the war’s high death toll. “Our main goal is to enable the Israeli public to be informed,” she said. In conjunction with the report, titled “50 Days: More than 500 Children,” B’Tselem released a list of Palestinian fatalities along with the cause of their death and an interactive format that maps all Palestinian deaths, enabling users to search fatalities by name, age, gender and location.
Only six shrines remain standing as Gaza’s ancient sites crumble
KHAN YUNIS, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 21 July by Mohammed Othman — Gaza’s shrines and mausoleums are being neglected by the authorities and ignored by the people as clerics discourage Gazans from visiting the sites — All that is left of the Sheikh Youssef shrine is a room surmounted by a dome made of ancient marble. Located on the main road in the village of Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Yunis, the shrine houses a tomb that Gazans believe contains the remains of a mysterious but righteous Muslim man. Although the shrine is in an area crowded with pedestrians and residents, it has become so deserted over the past few years that the municipality of Bani Suhaila has closed it. People have become less inclined to visit the shrines and mausoleums in Gaza that were once filled with people and hosted festivals each year. One shrine, al-Khodr, is currently being restored as a cultural site by the NAWA for Culture and Arts Association with funding by UNESCO. Parts of the shrine, located in a residential area in the city of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, will be used as a library. Assad Ashour, an archaeologist and the former head of excavation at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Gaza, told Al-Monitor that there are only six ancient shrines and tombs left in Gaza. A large number have disappeared as a result of government and community neglect. Ashour said, “The remaining ones include al-Khodr shrine in Deir al-Balah, al-Zaouia al-Ahmadiya shrine in al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza City and Sheikh Mohammed shrine on the outskirts of Khan Yunis. There is also the shrine of Sheikh Bashir in al-Tuffah neighborhood east of Gaza City, where I did some exploration five years ago. I found tombstones taken from other locations and some marble panels from different mosques.” He added, “The last and largest ancient shrine is the shrine of Sayyid Hashim, the grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad, located inside Sayyid Hashim Mosque in Gaza City. But people are starting to forget all about it as well.”….
Palestinian NGO condemns latest Gaza death sentences
AFP 20 July — A Palestinian human rights organisation condemned on Wednesday the latest death sentences handed down by tribunals in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. A military court in the coastal Palestinian enclave condemned a local man to death on Tuesday on charges of collaborating with Israel, while death sentences issued previously against two others were confirmed by a higher military tribunal. The Gaza Military Court announced a sentence of death by hanging for the man identified as M.S., aged 59, from the Tuffah area east of Gaza city on charges of “collaborating with the Israeli occupation.” The Higher Military Court said it had confirmed execution orders against two other men, one a 49-year-old man from Khan Yunis, by hanging and a Gaza City man aged 38 by firing squad. Both men were convicted of aiding Israeli security forces. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights condemned in a statement the “excessive” punishment and said that “civilians should not appear before military courts.” The authorities in Gaza executed three men behind closed doors in May, the first time the death penalty had been carried out since 2014. Thirteen death sentences have been pronounced this year, 12 of which were issued by military courts, according to PCHR….
Palestinian Doctor Dolittle cares for Gaza’s stray dogs
GAZA (Reuters) 20 July by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Among the many problems Gaza faces, from conflict to homelessness, power cuts and a lack of fresh water, Saeed el-Aer has dedicated himself to an unusual one: stray dogs. For several months, Aer has been trawling the streets of the territory looking for abandoned canines, winning their confidence, feeding them and restoring them to health. “We tour the streets and distribute food for days or a week until they get used to us and then we catch and bring them to the society,” said Aer, referring to the organisation he helped set up, the Sulala Society for Training and Caring for Animals. It’s costly and time-consuming work. Aer, a government employee, estimates he has spent as much as $20,000 on caring for 50 dogs so far, including vet bills and the rent on a fenced-in, 2,000 square-metre (0.5 acre) farm where they are housed … Dogs are considered unclean in Islam and are usually kept outside, but there is no ban on them. Caring for animals and pets is one of the tenets of the faith, and having a guard dog or one that helps with hunting is not uncommon. In fact, Aer has been surprised by the number of Gazans who want to visit the kennels and care for the dogs. The society’s Facebook page has proved popular. Volunteers help train and walk the animals through the streets of Zahra … With several thousand strays estimated to live in Gaza – a territory that’s barely 40 km (25 miles) long, 10 km wide and home to more than 1.9 million people – Aer knows he has his work cut out for some time to come. [Now if only someone would do the same for the many cats]
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel demolishes Palestinian structures in Jerusalem
MEMO 21 July — Israeli occupation bulldozers yesterday demolished a Palestinian commercial structure near the industrial park of the illegal Israeli settlement of Atarot, north of occupied Jerusalem, Quds Press reported. Owner of the structure, Kamal Abu-Sneineh, told the news site that the Israeli occupation demolished his property claiming it was built on land owned by the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem. “This land is mine and I have proof of that,” he said. “The Israeli police started the demolition when I was not there. When I arrived, they forced me to remain far away.” He said that his property consisted of two rooms, used as offices, four containers, used as stores, a vehicle, diesel tank and two trucks. “We did not have the opportunity to take our belongings out before the demolition,” he explained, adding that “Israeli municipal inspectors claimed I had no work license.” “The Israeli municipality chased me for one and a half years claiming I was illegally using the municipality’s land but at the end, they granted me a license,” he said, “but this did not prevent them from pushing me out of the area in order to include it in the settlement.” On Tuesday, Israeli bulldozers demolished Palestinian structures in neighbouring Beit Hanina and Silwan.
Army uproots olive trees in Salfit, ‘Settlers Only’ road to be opened
IMEMC/Agencies 20 July — Israeli soldiers, on Wednesday, uprooted olive trees in the village of Deir Istiya, Salfit governorate, under the pretext of opening a road designated for the sole use of people residing in illegal West Bank settlements. Head of Deir Istiya council, Sa’id Zaidan, informed WAFA correspondents that Israeli forces have begun uprooting olive trees to open a new settlers-only road in the town. He noted that town officials had contacted the Palestinian military liaison with Israel and informed them of this development.
Deir Qaddis resists ongoing theft of village land
DEIR QADDIS 20 July by ISM, al-QudsTeam — On the morning of July 14th, Israeli excavators arrived on Majid Mahmoud’s farmland in Deir Qaddis to begin work on an illegal expansion of a wastewater facility for the nearby illegal settlement of Nili. Construction vehicles and Occupation forces were met by about fifty Palestinians from Deir Qaddis and nearby Ni‘lin in protest of the theft and destruction of village land, who refused to leave until the construction was halted. Through nonviolent means the villagers managed to temporarily prevent the destruction of their grazing lands, though excavation and land clearing did resume in the days afterwards. Illegal settlements around Deir Qaddis have been expanding for decades, swallowing up thousands of dunams and dispossessing farmers and agricultural workers in the area.
Majid’s land, now on the other side of a settler road, has been rendered mostly inaccessible by both the expansion of illegal settlements and the threat of violence from Israeli forces and private settlement security. “We have no rights under this Occupation. I cannot ask the soldiers why they are on my land. It is as if I am being beaten, but cannot question it or raise my hands to stop it,” Majid said. “We have all the papers to prove ownership, but it does not matter.” Majid and members of the local council are planning to bring the case to court and have all the documentation necessary to do so. They are not optimistic, however, about their chances. Though the people of Deir Qaddis did succeed in halting the illegal construction on Thursday, it has since resumed. Fares Naser, mayor of the village, has little confidence that the settlement expansion and illegal construction will ever end. “It will not stop,” said Fares, “and the next generation will wonder why it is this way.” Deir Qaddis is surrounded on three sides by the Apartheid Wall and the illegal Israeli settlements of Nili, Modi’in Illit, and Na’aleh, cutting it off from much of the West Bank. According to Fares, only 4,000 of the village’s original 10,000 dunams have not yet been seized by Israeli forces and settlers.
Spanish city votes to boycott Israel, reportedly loses Tel Aviv flights
JTA 20 July — A Spanish city trying to increase tourism lost a direct flight connection with Israel over its symbolic support for boycotting the Jewish state, a Spanish newspaper reported. The Spain branch of El Al for months had negotiated with tourist officials from the autonomous region of Galicia, in northern Spain, over opening a direct line between its capital, Santiago de Compostella, and Tel Aviv, but the talks failed following the passage in November of a non-binding city council motion in favor of boycotting Israel, La Voz de Galicica reported Wednesday. Tourism is a major source of income in Galicia, where 18.2 percent of the workforce is unemployed, along with 43% of workers under 25. The local government has invested millions of euros into creating new jobs in the tourist sector and attracting international tourists to the region’s attractions – including the Catholic pilgrimage route known as the Way of St. James, which passes through Santiago. It attracts more than 250,000 pilgrims and tourists annually to Santiago….
Activists defeat anti-BDS legislation in Massachusetts
EI 20 July by Nora Barrows-Friedman — An anti-boycott amendment was withdrawn in the Massachusetts senate on 14 July following a campaign by Palestine solidarity groups. The amendment, which was tacked onto an unrelated economic bill, would have blacklisted individuals and businesses that engage with the Palestinian-led boycott of Israel. Amendment 133 was withdrawn within just a few hours of being proposed by Massachusetts State Senator Cynthia Creem. These bills are part of a growing wave of legislation promoted by state and federal lawmakers – and encouraged by Israel lobby groups and the Israeli government – to suppress activism related to the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign. Leading civil liberties groups and legal organizations have condemned such legislation as violating constitutionally protected rights of free speech and freedom of association. Organizers in Massachusetts say that in order to successfully counter the imminent anti-boycott legislation there, they knew they had to engage directly with lawmakers over a sustained period….
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (14-10 July 2016)
PCHR-Gaza 21 July — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed in the southern and central side of the West Bank. 16 civilians, including 4 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A civilian succumbed to his wounds and two others were wounded in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued to open fire at the border areas in the Gaza Strip and wounded a bird hunter. Israeli forces conducted 78 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in the southern Gaza Strip. 59 civilians were arrested, including 6 children and 2 women. 16 civilians of them, including 3 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued to impose collective punishment measures against Palestinian civilians. A house was demolished in Qabatia village and two others were noticed in Dura. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. A room, storehouses, commercial facility, under-construction house and 4 Islamic graves in the city and its suburbs. 4 containers, 2 tin-roofed rooms, 2 trucks, private vehicle and a Diesel tank were demolished in Qalendia Industrial Area. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Sea 4 fishermen were arrested and their boat was confiscated….
France committed to leading Israel-Palestine talks: Hollande
AFP 21 July — French President Francois Hollande told Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in Paris on Thursday that his country is committed to leading international efforts to help secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Hollande confirmed “France’s commitment to building on the momentum created” on June 3, when Paris hosted senior diplomats to work towards organising an international conference to reboot talks by the end of the year. The French leader “expressed his concern over the the fragile situation in the Middle East and escalating violence”, a statement from the presidency said. “While the latest report from the Quartet shows the two-state solution is under threat by continued settlement-building, there is an urgent need to recreate a political perspective,” Hollande added. “France will spare no effort to mobilise the international community into reviving the peace process,” he said.
Egypt’s Sisi wants to ‘break deadlock’ in peace process
AFP 21 July — Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Thursday his country is serious about pushing forward peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. “Egypt’s recent serious effort aims to break the deadlock that has hung over peace efforts,” he said in a speech broadcast live on state TV. “It is a sincere effort to make everyone face their responsibilities and warn of the consequences of delays in achieving peace,” he said. His remarks followed a trip by Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Israel earlier this month, the first such visit in nine years. Sisi said in May that Egypt was willing to take part in peace talks, saying there was a “real opportunity” for an Israeli-Palestinian deal that could lead to warmer ties between his country and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who met Shoukry during his visit, welcomed Sisi’s offer. Shoukry also met Palestinian leaders in the West Bank city of Ramallah. The last round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in April 2014.
Netanyahu calls Abbas to offer condolences on brother’s death
AFP 22 July — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Friday to offer condolences on the death of his brother, an Israeli official said. Abbas’s brother Omar died in Qatar on Thursday, with the funeral taking place on Friday. He had been suffering from cancer, according to Israeli media reports. The official, in the Israeli prime minister’s office, told AFP that Netanyahu’s telephone call to Abbas was “only to offer condolences”. No other topics were discussed, he said. Palestinian state media confirmed the call … The last substantial public meeting between Abbas and Netanyahu is thought to have happened in 2010, though there have been unconfirmed reports of secret meetings since then.
Honey provides sweet relief for Palestinian women
AFP 22 July — Their faces covered in mesh and bodies protected by white suits, three Palestinian women carefully inspect beehives which they say have helped to transform their lives. In the hills of the West Bank, occupied for nearly half a century by Israel, producing honey has become an economic lifeline for a growing number of women. The income it brings is a major boost in the Palestinian territories, where one in four people — and 40 percent of women — are unemployed. Muntaha Bairat, 37, started beekeeping four years ago in an olive grove near the village of Kafr Malik, near Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority. She was not expecting big results, she told AFP as she examined the beehives, which she runs with five women from the village. “But after we worked we discovered it was a great project for us,” she said. “It has totally changed our lives.” Each year they produce 600 kilos (1,320 pounds) of honey, which sells for about 100 shekels ($26, 23 euros) per kilo. Once maintenance costs are deducted, each woman takes home around 6,000 shekels a year — more than $1,500. From the profits, one woman was able to send her son to college, while another bought a television she had long dreamed of, Bairat said. “Before this project, some of the women never left Palestine,” Bairat said. “Today they travel to Jordan or Spain” to display their goods in agricultural and trade forums. As well as honey, they now aspire to make products with jelly and beeswax .. .In the West Bank, more than one in 10 families rely on the mother as the major breadwinner. This is true among the beekeepers, with some feeding families of seven or nine members, Bairat said….
With smuggled sperm, Palestinians sire children from behind Israeli prison bars
NABLUS (LA Times) 20 July by Joshua Mitnick — Fathiya Safadi was married less than three weeks when her husband, Ashraf, a wanted Palestinian militant, was arrested, jailed and sentenced to 21 years behind bars in Israel. Her friends suggested a divorce so she could start over and have a family. Instead, Safadi resigned herself to life without a husband at her side and childless: “I thought, this is my fate. This is my life.” But her life changed a decade later when, during a prison visit, Safadi’s husband slipped her a candy wrapper and told her to take it straight to a fertility clinic in the West Bank town of Nablus. The wrapper contained his semen and — with the aid of clinic doctors — she became pregnant and gave birth to the couple’s first child, Amir. The Safadis are among dozens of Palestinian couples who have defied jail terms and conservative social norms to become parents by undergoing in-vitro fertilization treatments with semen smuggled out of Israeli prisons. Although IVF is rare in the traditionalist society of the Palestinian territories, some have started to embrace the procedure as a way to support the cause of thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails, many of whom are considered prisoners of war. In the nearly four years since the first IVF birth to a prisoner’s wife, about 50 Palestinian children have been born using the treatment, said Dr. Salem Abu Khaizaran, director of the Razan Medical Center, which pioneered treatments in the West Bank. Abu Khaizaran said that wives of prisoners began inquiring about the fertility treatments as far back as 2003, but that he was initially skeptical that it would gain traction in Palestinian society. “We were reluctant to do it because we were worried that the community will not accept such treatment,” he said. “We are a small society, and if people suddenly saw a woman pregnant whose husband is in jail, they might start accusing her of cheating.” To offset social backlash, the Razan center instructed treatment candidates to bring two representatives from each side of the family to vouch for the woman. The prisoners’ wives won religious support for the procedure from a fatwa issued by the Palestinian Authority’s religious council, which deemed the treatment acceptable if it was for a husband and wife. Though IVF treatments — which cost about $3,000 — are not covered by the Palestinian public medical plans, unlike in Israel, the Razan center offers such procedures free of charge for the wives of prisoners … Though Israeli prisoners are allowed conjugal visits — most notably for Yigal Amir, who assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 — they are not permitted for Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza Strip. So Palestinian prisoners have become creative….
Lieberman compares Mahmoud Darwish poem to ‘Mein Kampf’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 July — Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has compared the broadcast of poetry by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish on Israeli radio to glorifying Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Ministry of Defense said on Thursday. On Tuesday, Israeli army radio broadcast works by the iconic Palestinian writer as part of its “University on Air” program, including Darwish’s famous poem “Identity Card,” which drew the ire of Lieberman and other Israeli officials. In a meeting with Army Radio chief Yaron Dekel, Lieberman said that broadcasting the poem contravened the station’s mission to “strengthen solidarity in society, not to deepen rifts, and certainly not to offend public sensibilities.” Lieberman added that Darwish’s poems could not “be part of the Israeli narrative program” aired on the station, adding: “By that same logic, we can also add to the Israeli narrative Mufti al-Husseini, or broadcast a glorification of the literary merits of ‘Mein Kampf,’” referring to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the 1920s and 1930s — whom Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu controversially blamed in October for the Holocaust. “Identity Card,” written in 1964, details the indignities of life subjected to the bureaucracy of the Israeli occupation, and includes the lines “I do not hate people/Nor do I encroach/But if I become hungry/The usurper’s flesh will be my food,” presumably the part targeted by Lieberman.According to the Ministry of Defense statement, Lieberman said that there was “a big difference between freedom of expression and freedom of incitement.” … Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit called Lieberman “to remind him he has no authority to intervene in Army Radio’s programming.” On Wednesday, Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev called the broadcast of Darwish’s poems “dangerous,” adding that Army Radio “cannot allow itself to glorify the anti-Israel historical tale, as Mahmoud Darwish is not an Israeli, his poems are not Israeli, and they go against the main values of Israeli society.”
War of the words: Palestinian poetry broadcast terrifies Israeli right
Al-Monitor 21 July by Shlomi Eldar — Israeli Ministers Miri Regev and Avigdor Liberman have attacked Army Radio over a broadcast featuring Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, even though his poetry is taught in Israeli schools — Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman summoned Army Radio commander Yiron Dekel for a reprimand July 20. The station had broadcast a program on the work of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, as part of a series on formative Israeli texts. “It is obvious that this represents a failure and cannot go unchallenged,” said the defense minister’s spokesperson. He commented that this is a serious matter, as to this very day Darwish’s works add fuel to the fire of terrorism against the State of Israel. The summoning of the commander of the military radio station for “clarification” by the defense minister led to some angry responses. Zionist Camp Knesset member Shelly Yachimovich, for example, slammed Liberman’s reaction on Facebook, calling it “a step that can only be defined as characterizing fascist regimes.” The Meretz chairman, Knesset member Ilan Gilon, argued, “In a place where poetry is silenced, people will be silenced as well.” The Darwish storm broke following a Facebook post by Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev. Regev wrote that she was shocked that Army Radio had featured the work of the Palestinian national poet….
The Mahmoud Darwish poem that enraged Leiberman and Regev
Haaretz 21 Jul by Vivian Eden — An [Israeli] Army Radio discussion of an early work by Mahmoud Darwish has caused an uproar. Here is the poem:– ID Card by Mahmoud Darwish. Write it down! I’m an Arab / My card number is 50000 / My children number eight / And after this summer, a ninth on his way. /Does this make you rage? / I am an Arab./ With my quarry comrades I labor hard / My children number eight / I tug their bread, their clothes / And their notebooks / From within the rock / I don’t beg at your door / I don’t cower on your threshold / So does this make you rage? / Write it down! / I am an Arab. / I am a name with no honorific. / Patient in a land / Where everything lives in bursting rage….
Federico Busonero: The Land that Remains
The Independent 15 July by Rachael Pells — Travelling along Route 60, a long main road crossing the entire West Bank, Federico Busonero came across a middle-aged man. Sitting among a number of red bags with a large, stopped clock, he seemed to be waiting for someone – but he did not speak English and Busonero did not speak Arabic. “I asked him if I could make a photograph, pointing the camera to him,” explains Busonero. “He did not refuse and looked straight at me.” During the 15 minutes Busonero spent sitting with the stranger, the time on the clock didn’t change. “The man also did not move,” says the photographer, “his hands crossed on his legs, pensive eyes looking at me. Everything was halted. “For me the photograph is a metaphor of the condition of all Palestinians: their time is frozen, they cannot move, they wait for a solution which only the external world can give them: the end of the occupation, the return to normality, the freedom to live and to cultivate their own land, the land that remains.” Commissioned by UNESCO, Busonero made three extensive photographic journeys throughout the West Bank of the occupied Palestinian territory in 2008 and 2009. During his assignment, he preferred to travel alone to avoid the inevitable limitations of the escort offered for safety. Using a pass issued by the United Nations, he was still able to photograph places not usually open for access due to the Israeli occupation, often ending up in isolated villages and unmarked desert areas. The image of the roadside stranger is one in a series published in his resultant book, The Land That Remains.
US court reverses judgment giving Iran building money to terror victims
NEW YORK (AP) 21 July — A record terrorism-related forfeiture order benefiting families of some victims of Iran-sponsored attacks in Israel and elsewhere and others was reversed on appeal Wednesday, leaving in doubt what will happen to a $1 billion Manhattan office building at the center of the legal case. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan rejected a judge’s reasoning in ordering the sale of the 36-story office building and other properties to benefit family members of victims of terrorism attacks, including several attacks in Jerusalem. The families and the US government had sued the Alavi Foundation and Assa Corp., the building’s partial owners. US Attorney Preet Bharara has said the sale of the buildings would constitute the largest ever terrorism-related forfeiture. In 2013, Judge Katherine Forrest said revenue from the buildings passed through a state-owned Iranian bank, violating a US-trade embargo, and thus were eligible for forfeiture. They were to be sold by the US Marshals Service, with proceeds distributed among 19 holders of over $5 billion in terrorism-related judgments against the government of Iran. The appeals court disagreed with Forrest, casting doubt on evidence that the properties were controlled by Iran … Creditors who stood to benefit from the sale of the buildings included families and estates of victims of the 1983 bombings of a US Marine barracks in Beirut, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem and other attacks in Israel and elsewhere. Buildings also were to be sold in New York’s Queens borough; Houston; Carmichael, California; Catharpin, Virginia; and Rockville, Maryland.
Atlanta mayor rejects demand to end Israel police training
EI 21 July by Rania Khalek — Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed rejected a demand from groups affiliated with the movement for Black lives to halt Israel’s training relationship with local police departments. Following a resurgence of street protests over the gruesome police slayings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two Black men killed on film in Louisiana and Minnesota, Reed held a meeting with a collective of protesters calling themselves #ATLisREADY to discuss their list of demands. The first demand calls for “a complete overhaul of Atlanta Police Department’s (APD) training institutions,” including “a termination to APD’s involvement in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, that trains our officers in Apartheid Israel.” —“The best counterterrorism techniques in the world”— “There was a demand that I stop allowing the Atlanta Police Department to train with the Israeli police department,” Mayor Reed acknowledged at a press conference (video above). “I’m not going to do that,” he told reporters. “I happen to believe that the Israeli police department has some of the best counterterrorism techniques in the world,” Reed insisted. “And it benefits our police department from that longstanding relationship.” It was an interesting choice of words considering that Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organizations, as well as the UN, have repeatedly condemned Israeli forces, including the police, for a range of human rights violations, particularly for their frequent extrajudicial executions of Palestinians. It was also recently revealed that Israeli police are authorized to use lethal force as a first resort against Palestinians they suspect might throw rocks, including minors … –Mimicking Israel-– The Atlanta Police Department has been sending personnel to Israel since 1992, as part of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange. GILEE, a project of Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, sends high-ranking public safety officials to Israel for “counterterrorism” training every year. It also brings Israeli police to Georgia to receive training from local police departments in drug war tactics that largely target and devastate poor Black and brown communities….