On anniversary, 900 Gazans remain in need of care for injuries sustained in 2014 war
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 July — Some 900 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to require medical attention as a result of permanent disabilities they sustained during Israel’s devastating 51-day assault on the small territory that began on July 8, 2014, according to UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees. On the second anniversary of the war, the Gaza Strip’s Shifa hospital had 3,839 registered patients waiting for scheduled operations, more than half of which were classified as major surgeries, according to a statement published Monday by UNRWA, adding that surgical appointments were being scheduled for as far away as 2018. “Some patients are still suffering two years after their injury and need ongoing care. Many others are still waiting for prosthetic limbs. The state of prosthetics in Gaza is still very precarious,” Dr. Mahmoud Matar, an orthopedic surgeon at Gaza’s Shifa hospital told UNRWA. UNRWA stressed in their statement that “the long waiting lists have left many frustrated, sometimes in unnecessary pain and facing health risks associated with delayed care.” Meanwhile, a significant part of Gaza’s healthcare infrastructure remains severely damaged, which according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) had already been near collapse prior to the start of the hostilities. Al-Wafa hospital in Gaza City and three primary healthcare clinics were completely destroyed in the war, in addition to 18 hospitals and 60 clinics that sustained damages. “To date, all of these facilities have been or are in the process of being repaired/reconstructed, with the exception of the al-Wafa hospital which requires major funding to proceed with reconstruction,” UNRWA said. A total of 11,200 Palestinians — including 3,800 children — were wounded in the war, according to UN documentation. Meanwhile, some 36,000 Palestinians — 20 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population — are estimated to require mental health support as a result of the war, according to the WHO [World Health Organization]. UNRWA said the backlog in treatment was mainly due to the lack of skilled personnel in the Gaza Strip’s crumbling healthcare system. “This situation is partially a result of the (Israeli enforced) blockade, which limits outside training opportunities, and of the internal Palestinian divide, which has left public employees recruited by the de facto authorities, including health staff, without regular salaries.” ….
PHR’s report addresses challenges facing Gaza amputees following summer war of 2014
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 8 July – A comprehensive report issued by Physicians for Human Rights addressed the condition of the wounded persons who reside in the Gaza Strip and were left with amputated limbs and who in many cases did not receive appropriate medical care following Operation Protective Edge [launched by Israel against the Strip in the summer on 2014]. The summer 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip produced approximately one hundred new amputees among its residents. The end of the war was the start of a new one for the amputees — a battle to cope with the reality of their new life. The report, titled ‘Amputees’, reviews the med care and rehabilitation possibilities, primarily in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank, and the obstacles facing the amputees who try to receive care outside the Gaza Strip. This report is being published alongside the blog #GazaAmputees, which showcases the people behind the numbers and tells the story of eight amputees from the Gaza Strip. Regarding challenges facing limb amputees in Gaza, the report noted that, they include the amputation itself and the rehabilitation process; the physical conditions in the Gaza Strip, with its poor infrastructures, ruined streets and non-powered elevators; the difficulty eking out a living in a place with a high unemployment rate to begin with, plus other financial burdens related to the costs of treatment and rehabilitation; the loss of their social role before the injury; the psychological trauma following the injury, and having to grapple with it in the absence of a well-organized support system….
Hamas fighter succumbs to wounds a year after being shot in the head
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 July — The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced on Thursday that one of its fighters in Gaza had succumbed to wounds he sustained more than a year earlier when he was shot by Israeli forces. The group said in statement that 19-year-old Nael Suleiman Salah had been injured by Israeli fire north of the Gaza town of Beit Lahiya on May 8, 2015. Ma‘an reported at the time that a Palestinian teenager was in a critical condition after having been shot in the head. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an at the time that Israeli forces had fired at a group of Palestinians near the border fence between Israel and the besieged Gaza Strip, and had hit the “main instigator” of the group. Asked what he had been instigating, she said the group had been “attempting to breach the security fence.”
The angels I lost in Gaza
EI 8 July by Doa‘a Abu Amer — It has taken me a long time to gather the strength to write about a period of my life that has reshaped me completely: the night I lost 14 members of my family. It was a night I had barely escaped myself. I had been transported to safety in far away Australia not two weeks before. The evening of 17 July 2014 was to be my last in Gaza. I was due to be evacuated to Jordan and then Australia, to which I had a visa. It would be the last I would spend with my beloved family. The night before, the eighth night of Israel’s “Protective Edge” military assault on Gaza, we — along with 1.8 million other Palestinians besieged on a strip of land of 365 square kilometers — weren’t able to sleep. Tanks shelled civilian houses seemingly at random, drones filled the skies and the cries of ambulance sirens penetrated every home. In each dwelling, people hunkered down, waiting as death threatened to take us, one by one. It was one of the last nights of the holy month of Ramadan. My brother Ahmad’s five children huddled up tightly next to each other, cramped into one small bed trying to find at least an illusion of some secure space. My sister-in-law Muna and I went to the kitchen to prepare suhour (the morning meal) with thoughts of a long summer’s day and a 16-hour fast ahead of us. The darkness was illuminated by a small candle as the family sat around the table … At 9am, I bade a quick and emotional farewell. I was heading to the United Nations Development Program’s headquarters in Gaza City from where I would be evacuated along with a few dozen foreign passport holders. It was heartbreaking to see my brother begging me to not leave. I can’t describe the guilt I felt in those short few hours, that I would be safe while my family remained in mortal danger. Ahmad’s last words to me will remain forever embedded in my mind: “Don’t leave us, sister. I beg you to stay.” I never imagined those words would be the last he would ever say to me…
Two years after war, Gaza reconstruction lacking: NGOs
AFP 7 July — Two years after Gaza’s last devastating conflict with Israel, rights groups vented frustration Thursday over the slow pace of reconstruction in the Palestinian territory and lack of war crimes prosecutions. A coalition of leading NGOs urged Israel to lift its blockade of the impoverished Gaza Strip, while Amnesty International said it was “indefensible” that no criminal cases had been brought for alleged war crimes. The July-August 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 people on the Israeli side, and destroyed or damaged thousands of homes in Gaza. Reconstruction has been painfully slow, with the United Nations taking over a year to rebuild its first destroyed home. Israel has maintained a blockade on the enclave, limiting the entry of many goods essential for construction that officials fear could fall into the hands of the Islamist Hamas rulers of Gaza and be used for another military build-up. AIDA — an umbrella body for major international NGOs working in Israel and the Palestinian territories — said in a report ahead of Friday’s anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict that Israel’s decade-long blockade was “severely impeding reconstruction and recovery” in Gaza. “Unless it is lifted, Palestinians living in Gaza will be unable to move on with their lives and live in freedom, dignity and safety,” said Chris Eijkemans, country director at British charity Oxfam, a member of AIDA. The AIDA statement called on “world leaders to live up to their commitments and press for an immediate end to the blockade.” In a separate report, Amnesty International said only three Israeli soldiers have been charged over the war, all for minor offences. “The fact that no one has been held to account for war crimes that were evidently committed by both sides in the conflict is absolutely indefensible,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa head. “Two years have passed and it’s high time the wheels of justice started turning.”….
50 Turkish aid trucks reach Gaza: Palestinian official
GAZA CITY, Palestine (Anadolu Agency) 7 July by Ola Atallah — Around 50 trucks bearing Turkish humanitarian aid arrived in the Gaza Strip on Thursday via Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to a Palestinian border official. Mounir Ghalban, who oversees the Palestinian side of the crossing, told Anadolu Agency that the trucks — carrying nearly 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid — had entered the strip early Thursday. According to Ghalban, the aid — which includes basic foodstuffs, fuel and clothing — will first be stored in warehouses run by Gaza’s Social Affairs Ministry before being distributed to the strip’s neediest residents. The Kerem Shalom border terminal, which links Egypt, Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, is the latter’s only functioning commercial crossing. On Monday, the first four trucks bearing Turkish humanitarian aid entered the coastal enclave via Kerem Shalom. This first aid consignment included toys for children, which were later distributed to Palestinian orphans. In previous comments to Anadolu Agency, Yusuf Ibrahim, undersecretary of Gaza’s Social Affairs Ministry, said a total of 400 aid-laden trucks were expected to reach the strip within coming days….
Palestinian merchant detained at Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israeli authorities detained a Palestinian merchant on Thursday at a border crossing in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian liaison reported. Sources at the Palestinian liaison said that Hani Habboub was detained when leaving the besieged Palestinian territory via the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli authorities were not available to comment on the detention on Friday. Erez is the only land crossing between Gaza and Israel, although travel is heavily restricted by Israeli authorities as part of a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave in place since 2007. Palestinians detained at Erez are often interrogated for several hours, sometimes for days, before they are either allowed into Israel or sent back to Gaza. In June, Israeli forces notably detained the head of humanitarian organization World Vision International’s office in the Gaza Strip, Muhammad al-Halabi, at the Erez crossing, as well as a Palestinian man who was heading back to the besieged Palestinian territory after escorting his infant son to an Israeli hospital.
Electricity-starved Gazans turn to sun for help
AFP 6 July — Nahed Abu Assi’s farm has been bombed in each of the three Gaza wars since 2008 and like in the rest of the Palestinian enclave, he receives only a paltry amount of electricity each day. With his chickens dying and the cost of using generators high, Assi now hopes to do as others have done in Gaza — if he can find a loan to pay for it: install solar panels. “The electricity is cut for hours every day,” the balding 52-year-old said. “You have to connect to generators that cost a lot to fuel and that need regular repairs to keep the lamps and the livestock fans running around the clock.” A growing number of Gazans fed up with their erratic electricity supply are turning to solar power in an area where the sun shines for the vast majority of the year. Grey and black solar panels are increasingly visible on rooftops. Stores and adverts promoting such technology have also expanded, and authorities in the enclave running by the Islamist movement Hamas are also turning to solar power. “Schools, hospitals and public institutions have been equipped with solar panels and other projects have been launched to at least try to partially resolve the electricity crisis,” said Raid Abu al-Hajj, head of the solar energy unit in the strip’s energy authority. Some 10,000 homes could soon be equipped with photovoltaic panels. The option is not cheap. Assi expects to fork out between 4,500 and 5,400 euros ($5,000 to $6,000) for panels, but he says the investment will pay off over time …But despite the recent spike in interest, solar power remains only a tiny part of the energy mix in the Gaza Strip — amounting to around three megawatts, said Hajj. “But within three years, we hope to reach 15 megawatts,” he said….
Sufism in Gaza: healing the soul
EI 6 July by Yousef M. Aljamal — Nabhan al-Babili assembles his followers every night in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza. The 62-year-old is the head of Gaza’s al-Rifaiya order of Sufi Islam, a position that was held by his father, Abdullah, and his grandfather, Abdulqader, before him. It is at such nightly gatherings, in a space richly decorated in green and Islamic calligraphy, and the larger weekly hadrat gatherings, that al-Babili leads his followers, or murids, in a spiritual journey of revelation. The evenings include singing and poetry recital. Abu Omar, 60, a regular at these gatherings, speaks with a trembling voice but does not hesitate to take the microphone to recite traditional Sufi verse to the great pleasure of the assembled murids: “Oh rider of white camels stop by us so that we could bid them farewell. Oh rider, death is when you travel.” Abu Omar, who asked only to be identified by his informal name, also happily breaks into a song by Yassin al-Tohami, a popular Egyptian Sufi singer: “Love is from you and to you. You granted me a trembling heart that loves. I am fond of everything you made, so how come I do not love you?” These are special nights to those assembled, especially during Ramadan. They invoke, said Abu Omar, the spirit of Sufism: “purifying and healing the soul.” – Good relations – Like the vast majority of the estimated 1.9 million Palestinians in Gaza, the Babilis are refugees. The family was displaced in 1948, along with hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians who fled or were expelled as Zionist militias overran their country. Abdullah passed down to Nabhan their Sufi traditions, which he has maintained in the less than conducive environs of the refugee camp that became their home. They carried the order’s bells and flags with them in 1948 and they wield them to this day. Theirs is a Palestinian Sufi order that goes back to the arrival in Palestine of the teachings of the 12th century Persian-born, Baghdad-educated Sheikh Adulqader al-Rifai al-Jilani, according to al-Babili. The sheikh spent 25 years wandering in the desert regions of Iraq before it is believed he may have come to Palestine. The Rifaiya are just one of several Sufi orders in Palestine … In contrast to the austere view of other Muslim trends taken by Salafists — the Islamic State group, an extreme strand of Salafi belief, has accused Sufis of apostasy and targeted Sufi shrines in Syria and Iraq — Sufis shy away from conflict with other Muslims. In Gaza, said al-Sawaf, “these differences are not seen because Sufism avoids conflict with other groups. They do not have any issues with others and welcome all.”….
Why is Hamas giving away government-owned land?
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip 6 July by Mohammed Othman — Controversy has not stopped the Land Authority in the Gaza Strip from proceeding with the second phase of a scheme to hand government-owned lands to Hamas government employees who have not been paid since 2013. Registration for the project’s first phase began Dec. 14, and the distribution process took place on June 1-9. In the meantime, registration for phase two began in mid-May, with distribution yet to get underway. This project was developed as Hamas continued to struggle with a crippling financial crisis, and the Palestinian consensus government, formed in 2014, refused to recognize Hamas government employees in Gaza as civil servants and therefore pay them. Hamas’ Change and Reform Bloc from the Palestinian Legislative Council introduced the scheme on March 9, 2015. On Nov. 3, the consensus government weighed in, declaring the distribution of government-owned lands to employees illegal. According to the government in Ramallah, any such act is null and void, does not convey any rights and represents a violation of state property and lands….
After two years, Operation Protective Edge report still not out
Ynet 7 July by Moran Azulay — Friday marks the two year anniversary of since the start of Operation Protective Edge. However, the inquiry document written by the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense detailing the operation’s failures still hasn’t been released. There have been almost 90 Knesset meetings on the subject of the operation which saw 68 soldiers and four civilians killed. Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) claims that “it’s been two years since the operation and the report still hasn’t been released. Political interests are keeping the report from being published.” … “Operation Protective Edge was, by all accounts, full of military and political failures,” Margalit wrote. “The discussions we had were with high ranking officials, experts, professionals, and also representatives of the families of those who fell in battle. Following the decision to hold elections (in 2015), we haven’t held another meeting on the issue.”….
Netanyahu asks Ethiopia to help free Israelis held in Gaza
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (Times of Israel) 7 July by Raphael Ahren — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday met with his Ethiopian counterpart in Addis Ababa and asked him for assistance in securing the release of Avraham Mengistu, an Ethiopian Israeli held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Mengistu, who entered the Gaza Strip in September 2014, is one of two Israelis held captive by Hamas, which also holds the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. Mengistu’s family and the families of the two soldiers have protested outside Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence demanding action to ensure Avraham’s release and the return of the soldier’s bodies. “We always raise the issue of our citizens at various opportunities, including here, of course,” Netanyahu told reporters after meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. The prime minister has come under fire in recent weeks for not securing Turkish assistance to pressure Hamas to release Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, the second Israeli held in Gaza; and the bodies of Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul. Israel signed a reconciliation deal with Turkey that dealt with aspects of its policy on Gaza but did not touch on the issue of the Israelis held there….
Gaza mechanic turns heads in handmade classic car
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 8 July by Mohammad Othman — The spirit of challenge and love of classic cars pushed Palestinian Munir Shindi, who lives in the neighborhood of al-Tuffah, east of Gaza City, to spend a year and a half in his small workshop manufacturing a replica of the 1927 Mercedes Gazelle. Shindi, who now works as an auto mechanic in his own workshop, only completed middle school. He arrived in the Gaza Strip from the United Arab Emirates a year and seven months ago after spending 13 years there working in a mechanic shop in Abu Dhabi, where he became a specialist in repairing classic cars. He told Al-Monitor, “I worked in the Texas workshop in Abu Dhabi between 2002 until early 2015. I was working in the field of classic auto repair, in a specialty workshop. I repaired numerous Mercedes-Gazelle cars while managing this shop. It is rare to find a mechanic specialized in repairing this car model, given the scarcity of its parts and accessories.” As soon as he left his job in the UAE, he headed back to Gaza to reunite with his five children. His passion and love for classic cars and his dream of owning one pushed him to produce a replica. He faced a number of challenges, including the difficulty of importing parts. He explained, “I decided to import some accessories from the United States so as to build an exact replica of the original model. Israel banned the entry of car parts into Gaza, and any parts I would import from the United States to Gaza would probably be confiscated. This is why I ordered the parts through a friend in the UAE and we had to resort to trickery to bring in these parts using Gazans arriving to the Gaza Strip to bring them in one by one. I waited more than six months to have all of the parts I needed to build my Gazelle.” He said that he was not afraid of Israeli pursuit because he used the banned parts for peaceful purposes.
Bilal Kayed: 22nd day of hunger strike
IMEMC/Agencies 7 July — Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed is continuing his open hunger strike for the 22nd day, as of 7 July; Addameer lawyer Mona Nadaf visited him in isolation in Ashkelon prison, where he remains in a very small cell without ventilation. Nadaf reported that he is continuing to refuse any kind of vitamin or salt supplements, in addition to medical examinations, and only consumes water. She also reported that he is in very high spirits with unshaken determination to proceed with the strike until its conclusion. Kayed’s cell is very small; inside his cell he has only underwear and the Qur’an. He has been denied access to additional clothing or any other books or written materials, and the Israeli prison administration continues to refuse to provide a fan despite the high summer temperatures. In addition, the prison administration refuses to provide mineral water and he can only drink lukewarm water from the tap in the cell’s broken sink. Kayed has lost a significant amount of weight and suffers from fatigue and dizziness; he is only able to sleep one hour a night. Kayed sent his thanks and greetings to all of the people standing in solidarity with him, confirming that his struggle will continue until the end, with high morale and solid will … Kayed’s comrades in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are planning to escalate their protests inside the prisons, up to a collective hunger strike, beginning on Friday, 8 July; prisoners from all Palestinian factions will also engage in protest actions for Kayed’s freedom. As the protests inside the prison are scheduled to ramp up, imprisoned PFLP leader Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh was transferred on Wednesday, 6 July from Hadarim prison to Ramon prison, days after fellow PFLP leader Wael Jaghoub was transferred from Ramon to Hadarim prison. These events were cited by their imprisoned comrades as an attempt to undermine and prevent the escalation of the struggle to free Kayed….
Protesters continue to demand release of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 July — Scores of Palestinians marched on Wednesday morning in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus in protest of the continuing administrative detention of hunger-striking prisoner Bilal Kayid. According to a statement released Thursday by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), with which Kayid is affiliated, PFLP members and locals marched to Kayid’s home in the village of Asira al-Shamaliya to greet his family, wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his image and carrying Palestinian flags. The march came a day after an Israeli military court confirmed Kayid’s six-month administrative detention order in a hearing which the hunger-striking prisoner refused to attend or recognize its legitimacy, the PFLP statement said. Tuesday, the day of the court session, a demonstration was also held in the Nablus-area village of Sebastia in support of Kayid….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces detain Palestinian, shoot another with live fire during clashes in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 July — Israeli forces Saturday detained a Palestinian man in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron and shot another in the foot with a live bullet as a predawn raid erupted into clashes with Israeli soldiers, locals told Ma‘an. Israeli forces detained Adam Abu Sharar, 30, in the town of Dura on Saturday during an overnight raid that was met with clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers. Locals told Ma’an another Palestinian was injured during the clashes after being shot with a live bullet in the foot. He was taken to the Dura Medical Center for treatment. Israeli forces also seized a Peugeot 307 car belonging to Palestinian prisoner Suhayb Jabara al-Faqih during the raid, according to locals. In the village of Beit Ummar in Hebron Israeli forces also summoned two released prisoners for interrogations with Israeli intelligence. Israeli forces reportedly raided the homes of Omar Ahmad Ayyad Awad, 29, and Murshid Muhammad Murshid Zaaqiq, 40, during an early morning raid, handing them notices to meet with Israeli intelligence on Sunday at the Etzion military base to the north of Hebron, according to local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad. Israeli forces have carried out search and detention raids on Palestinian communities across the West Bank and East Jerusalem on a near nightly basis, with 89 being carried out by Israeli forces last week, according to UN documentation.
Army injures a solidarity activist, detains 2 photojournalists and one medic, in Kufur Qaddoum
[with video] IMEMC 9 July — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies in Kufur Qaddoum town, near the northern West Bank city of Qalandia, shot and injured an international solidarity activist, while many protesters suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. The soldiers also detained two photojournalists and a medic. Morad Eshteiwy, the coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kufur Qaddoum, said the soldiers invaded the town during morning hours, and fired dozens of gas bombs and concussion grenades, in an attempt to prevent the residents from holding their weekly protest. The Palestinians and international solidarity activists managed to march from the center of the village, before a soldier, who was hiding in one of the homes, fired live rounds, wounding a solidarity activist with a bullet in his right thigh. The activist, who requested to remain anonymous, was moved to the Rafidia governmental hospital, in Nablus. The soldiers also detained two Palestinian photojournalists, identified as Mahmoud Fawzi and Kamel al-Qaddoumi, and a Red Crescent medic, identified as Sami Jom’a. The three were held for three hours before the soldiers released them. Clashes also took place in the town after the soldiers invaded it and fired on the protesters, causing many to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. Local youths hurled stones at the military vehicles, while the soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, live rounds, and rubber-coated steel bullets
When Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians, even a smoking gun doesn’t lead to indictments
Haaretz 7 July by Chaim Levinson — Mustafa Tamimi was killed when he was shot in the face with a gas canister in a 2012 protest. A year later, Rushdi Tamimi was shot in the belly with live fire. No one ever faced charges. A closer look at the two cases reveals that putting soldiers to trial is the exception, not the rule. — An in-depth study of two incidents in which Palestinian protesters were shot and killed during demonstrations in the West Bank shows that the level of evidence required to indict an Israel Defense Forces soldier is substantially higher than that demanded when Palestinians are investigated. Furthermore, the heavy media coverage given to the prosecution of Sgt. Elor Azaria – the Israeli soldier standing trial for manslaughter after shooting a subdued Palestinian assailant in March – is extremely rare, even though his actions are not. Of the 739 complaints filed by the Israeli nonprofit B’Tselem concerning death, injury or beatings of Palestinians since 2000, only 25 resulted in prosecutions (less than 4 percent). And these charges were usually for the smallest possible violations, such as negligent use of a weapon. Haaretz has obtained access to the IDF’s correspondence with the human rights group (which represented the families) concerning two high-profile cases – the deaths of Mustafa Tamimi and Rushdi Tamimi (no relation) – which were closed without any indictments being filed. The relevant documents and correspondence are classic examples of the manner in which the military advocate general conducts investigations into Palestinian fatalities.…
Opinion: I thought Israeli soldiers weren’t supposed to shoot Palestinian girls anymore / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 7 July — But the executions – there’s no other way to describe them – of girls and boys, women and men, keep coming. — To Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of the General Staff, This is to ask that you watch the video documenting how Israeli soldiers shot Jamila Jabbar on Tuesday at a bus stop near Ariel. Look how she’s approaching the two soldiers slowly, the knife held over her head. She’s a girl of 17, sir. The soldiers back away from her. They are armed with rifles and are well protected; she’s a slender girl with a kitchen knife, taking hesitant steps. And in the blink of an eye one of the soldiers shoots her in the stomach. She collapses onto the sidewalk. Is this how soldiers are supposed to act, sir? Are you proud of their behavior? Is the Israel Defense Forces proud of them? Are these soldiers really “professional and ethical” as you described Israeli soldiers in your speech to high-schoolers in Bat Yam in February? At the time you said, “I don’t want a soldier to empty a magazine on a girl,” even if she was doing something very serious. So I’d like to know: Do you really think in this case the teenager threatened the soldiers’ lives? Was shooting her in the stomach the only way to eliminate the threat? Is it possible that two Israeli soldiers can’t subdue such a girl without shooting her? Don’t they know any other way to handle the threat of a girl younger than they, when they are two and she only one? … Did you think the soldiers who shot and killed Arif Jaradat, a young man with Down syndrome, acted morally? What about those who shot H., a schizophrenic young man who was riding his bike in Awarta? What about the border policemen who last Friday shot Sara al-Hajuj at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a killing that B’Tselem described as an “execution”? And 15-year-old Mahmoud Rafat Badran, whom your soldiers killed “by mistake” after they sprayed a car with bullets for no reason? Are you satisfied with an army that acts this way? If so, your remarks about ethics and shooting girls carrying scissors were empty words, and the applause for your courage was misplaced. We’ve only met once, sir, a while ago, but I believe that you meant what you said. Still, the only proof lies in your actions.…
Palestinian woman detained at Hebron checkpoint for allegedly carrying knife
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 July — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian woman at a checkpoint in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Thursday morning for allegedly carrying a knife, Israeli police reported. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli border police stopped and searched a Palestinian woman in her twenties at a checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque, and found a knife in her possession. The woman, a Hebron resident, was taken in for questioning, the statement added. Israeli news outlet Ynet wrote that the woman allegedly attempted to sneak into the area near Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque with a group of tourists.
A young Palestinian woman, identified as 27-year-old Sarah Tarayra, was killed on Friday by Israeli forces after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli border police office at the Ibrahimi Mosque area checkpoint.That same day, Israeli forces detained a 15-year-old Palestinian girl at the same checkpoint for allegedly having a knife in her possession, according to Israeli border police.
Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians in overnight West Bank raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 July — Israeli forces detained at least six Palestinians in raids in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday night, as Palestinian Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained a wounded Palestinian after raiding his house in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank. The youth, identified as 21-year-old Salah Lutfi Hamad, was one of at least four Palestinians injured on Monday when Israeli forces raided Qalandiya in order to demolish the homes of two slain Palestinians who allegedly carried out stabbing attacks last year. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an that one Palestinian had been detained in Qalandiya. She added that two Palestinians were detained in the city of al-Bireh, two in the Bethlehem-area refugee camp of ‘Aida, and one in the Hebron district village of Khursa. According to Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of May. The NGO estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been held in Israeli custody at one point in their lives.
Israeli soldiers kidnap three children in Huwwara, near Nablus
IMEMC 8 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday evening, the town of Huwwara, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped three Palestinian children. Local sources said the kidnapped children have been identified as Mohammad Anis Odah, Qussai Mohammad Odah, and Shuaib Nafez Sa’id; all are only eleven years of age. The soldiers claimed the children participated in throwing stones on a car of an Israeli settler, driving near the main road of the town. In addition, the army closed Huwwara and Za‘tara roadblocks and prevented the Palestinians from crossing. The soldiers said the closure was a punitive measure after some Palestinian youngsters hurled stones at Israeli cars and army vehicles.
Israeli soldiers kidnap two Palestinians near Jenin
IMEMC 9 July — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, late on Friday evening, two young Palestinian men, after stopping them at a sudden military roadblock near the main entrance of ‘Arraba town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. The kidnapped young men have been identified as Ahmad Jihad Sawafta and Fadi Bashar Abdul-Razeq, from the center West bank city of Tubas.They were kidnapped after the soldiers forced four young men out of a car, and detained them for a few hours, before kidnapping two of them. In addition, the soldiers detained five Palestinian children from Zabbouba village, west of Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank. The children were playing in Palestinian lands, close to the Annexation Wall. The soldiers interrogated the children for several hours, after initially accusing them of hurling stones on military vehicles, but released them later.
Lawyer asks Israel to destroy homes of Palestinian’s killers
JERUSALEM (AP) 8 July — A lawyer for the family of a Palestinian teen whose 2014 murder was part of a chain of events that sparked the Gaza war says he wants Israel to punish the teenager’s killers in the same way it does Palestinian militants. Lawyer Mohannad Jubara is petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court to demolish the family homes of the Israeli three men who abducted 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir and burned him to death in 2014. The attackers say it was in revenge for the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens by Palestinians allied with the Islamic militant group Hamas. Israel says it carries out demolitions of militants’ homes to deter future attacks. Palestinians consider it collective punishment. Jubara said this week that he wants the same policy applied for Abu Khdeir’s killers.
Father of terror victim Hallel Yaffa: Rename Mugrabi Gate after my daughter
JPost 7 July by Tovah Lazaroff — The father of terrorism victim Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13, called for the Mugrabi [Mughrabi] Gate and bridge that leads from the Western Wall plaza to the Temple Mount to be renamed for his daughter. Amihai Ariel also asked the Israeli public to join him at the Temple Mount entrance on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., to march up to the area together in his daughter’s name. “I invite everyone to head up to the place of our Temple, in memory of Hallel and to call the Mugrabi Gate, the Hallel Gate,” Amihai said in a short video that was posted on YouTube … The family is among the founding members of the group Women for the Temple, which promotes visits by Jewish women to the compound, known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif … Amihai’s cousin is Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel who has called for Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount.
House demolition okayed for Palestinian who aided fatal attack on Border Police office
JPost 7 July by Mor Shimon/MAARIV, JPost staff — The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected a petition against Israel’s slated demolition of the West Bank home belonging to a Palestinian man accused of assisting in the terror shooting that killed Border Police officer Hadar Cohen, 19, in Jerusalem in February. Cohen was killed and another female officer critically wounded in the attack carried out by three Arab terrorists wielding machine guns, pipe bombs and knives. The court confirmed the demolition, after rejecting the appeal filed by the father of Bilal Ahmed Abu Zeid, the Palestinian who is accused of providing weapons and transportation to the three terrorists in the attack. Following the attack, the IDF and civil administration mapped out the home of Abu Zeid for demolition in Kabatiya in the Jenin area. In his appeal, Abu Zeid’s father claims that the demolition of homes is an illegal act according to international law. He also charged that until his son is proven guilty, the demolition should not be approved.
The father’s petition added that there was not enough evidence to incriminate Abu Zeid based on the allegations against him. He also stated that such a measure should not be taken as his son was not the direct perpetrator of the attack, and that the demolition of the house would leave his youngest children without a home. Another appeal against the move had been filed by the owner of a metalworking shop located on the ground floor of the builidng where Abu Zeid lives with his parents and and siblings….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel publishes subsidized-housing tenders for Kiryat Arba
Haaretzs 7 July by Nimrod Bousso — The state published its first-ever tender for subsidized housing under a new program in the West Bank this week. The tender is for the sale of land to build 42 reduced-price apartments in the Givat Harsina neighborhood of Kiryat Arba, near Hebron. This comes immediately after two terror attacks in the area, including the murder of a 13-year-old girl asleep in bed in that neighborhood. Bidders have until September 12 to respond to the tender, published by the Housing Ministry and the Finance Ministry. Under the Mehir Lemishtaken program, bidders on land must commit to offer homes for sale at a significant discount from current prices in the area. A contractor wins the tender by offering the lowest price per square meter for finished apartments. Homes have been marketed for sale under that program in cities around Israel, and have received an enormous amount of public interest. Buyers of Mehir Lemishtaken homes in areas outside central Israel receive a 40,000-shekel grant as well….
Dispelling the myths about building in Jerusalem
+972 blog 7 July by Aviv Tatarsky — In Jerusalem, construction of Jewish neighborhoods continues unabated, while Palestinians are still struggling for basic infrastructure —
There is no construction freeze. As opposed to declarations by right-wing politicians such as Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat or Education Minister Naftali Bennett, construction in Jerusalem was never frozen, while the cranes and bulldozers keep working tirelessly in the city’s Jewish neighborhoods located beyond the Green Line. Thousands of housing units in Gilo, Har Homa, Ramot, Pisgat Ze’ev, and Ramat Shlomo. These not only provide housing for Israelis — they establish facts on the ground in order to make partitioning the city, and as well as reaching a two-state solution, all the more difficult. This, of course, does not stop Israel’s ministers from complaining about a “construction freeze.”
There is a freeze on construction plans and tenders in Jerusalem. In 2012 the government approved a plan for over 6,000 housing units beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem. In 2013 and in the first three months of 2014 Israel published tenders for nearly 2,500 units in Ramat Shlomo, Gilo, etc. But since the breakdown in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, lead by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in April 2014, Israel has hardly published tenders or promoted construction plans. This fact should be taken to heart by all those — on both the Right and the Left — who have eulogized the two-state solution. The solution has yet to reach its expiration date, and if anything is keeping it alive it is sheer political will — not the reality on the ground.
There is a construction freeze for Palestinians. Despite the severe construction shortage the municipality and government repeatedly thwart development plans for Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods. If you ask city council members, the shortage of classrooms and family health centers is a result of a “lack of suitable land.” Ask the residents of the Old City. Ask the residents of Sur Baher. Ask the residents of Issawiya or their neighbors in A-Tur — neighborhoods where after years of hard work and investing hundreds of thousands of shekels from their own pockets, the municipality decided to go back on its promises: although the master plan was coordinated with the municipality, the city decided to spend the money on a national park in the exact same spot. Meanwhile all the hard work for the betterment of the Palestinians went down the drain. And what about the 600 housing units in Beit Safafa, announced by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman last week, and which according to Bennett would create “territorial contiguity between Bethlehem and Malha?” The truth is that most of this territory has already been built up. The permit Bennett spoke about only increases the building rate such that landowners can add a story or two. And even that didn’t gain approval until the residents lodged an appeal in court … In the past few years the state has not approved a single, detailed master plan for the city’s Palestinian neighborhoods, while it approves plans for 10,000 housing units in Israeli neighborhoods. Alongside the infringement on the right to housing, and with a complete lack of planning, there is a shortage of investment in schools, infrastructure, and social services. The cumulative effect brings about enormous economic and social damage.
There is no freeze on home demolitions. Since the beginning of the year, the pressure by the authorities and the state to demolish “illegal structures” has increased dramatically. In April the city demolished Palestinian homes in al-Walaja, a village the was cut off from the separation wall, for first time. In Ayn al-Luza, located in the neighborhood of Silwan, an apartment complex of 100 units is under immediate threat of demolition. And more and more.
There is no freeze on evictions. In the Old City, in Sheikh Jarrah, in Batan al-Hawa (in Silwan) — state-backed settler organizations are working to expel 150 families from their homes. More families will be thrown into the streets, more children will lose their homes.
Restriction of movement / Conditional citizenship
Mom is in Gaza, kids are in the West Bank: A Palestinian family torn apart by the occupation
Haaretz 8 July by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Two toddlers from the Dawabsheh family in the West Bank village of Duma are growing up without parents: Israeli authorities arrested the father and won’t allow their mother to reunite with them — Khaled Dawabsheh snuggles on his uncle’s lap. If the uncle leaves him, even for a minute, little Khaled runs to the front door, opens it wide and rushes into the street, as though trying to escape from the house, which is not his home. Khaled hardly speaks: Communication with him has been almost nonexistent since he became convinced that his mother has abandoned him. In fact, she calls every day, but Khaled refuses to speak to her. He hasn’t seen her for three months, since they were separated. It’s not clear when he will see her again. He hasn’t seen his father for three months, either, other than on one occasion, in a military court, when his father was in handcuffs. It’s not clear when the little boy will see his father again, either. Explaining to Khaled why his parents are not with him is no easy task. It’s also hard to make a promise that they will be reunited anytime soon. Dad is in prison, Mom is in the Gaza Strip. Total uncertainty exists in Khaled’s limbo; the only sure thing is that the mental scars will cut deep.
Khaled is not alone. His little brother shares his fate. Khaled is 3 and a half, Jud is not yet 2. At present, Jud is sleeping in his bassinet. He actually sometimes speaks to his mother on the phone, as much as an almost-2-year-old can speak; he was still being breast-fed when he was separated from her. Jud and Khaled are too young to understand what’s going on. But even an adult is hard-pressed to comprehend the occupation’s brutal sundering of families – a mother separated hardheartedly from her husband and their children. In the situation of an almost-total disconnect between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the number of these human tragedies is increasing. In 2013, according to Gisha: the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli nonprofit, 26 percent of the residents of besieged Gaza had relatives in the West Bank – and 7 percent of all Gazans had first-degree relatives there. These are people who are almost totally cut off from one another: parents separated from children, husbands from wives, for years. The only communication is by phone or Skype. For the past few years, Israel has forbidden them to meet, or even to visit each other. “There is no siege of Gaza”? “The occupation of Gaza has ended”? These families are split apart precisely because of the “nonexistent” siege and occupation….
Israel’s government wants Facebook to do its dirty work / Noam Rotem
+972 blog 3 July — Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan wants Facebook to help run his police state, the army punishes an entire village for the actions of one person, and the interior minister thinks revoking citizenship is the solution to violence. Three comments on collective punishment —
1. Facebook at the Shin Bet’s disposal …
2. This is what collective punishment looks like …
3. Conditional citizenship — Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who claimed to represent the “invisible” citizens, is trying, it seems, to broaden his electorate. Over the past few months he is working to turn Israeli citizens and residents into far more invisible — by revoking their citizenship. A month ago Deri announced that he would revoke Khalil Khalil’s citizenship. Khalil, a 26-year-old Palestinian resident of Jerusalem, was sentenced to two years in prison after he left the country for Syria in order to join Islamic State. He returned three weeks later. The same thing happened with Loqman Atun, 24, also from Jerusalem. MK Anat Berko claims that following her requests, Deri will also revoke the citizenship of former Balad leader Azmi Bishara, who now lives in Qatar. Furthermore Deri wants to revoke Alaa Ziad’s citizenship, after the Umm al-Fahm resident rammed his car into an Israeli soldier at a bus stop in Gan Shmuel. The interior minister also declared his intentions to revoke the residency of BDS movement leader Omar Barghouti, since he lives in Ramallah, and generally says things Deri doesn’t like hearing.
Palestinian refugees – Syria
Syria: Palestinian refugees stuck at Greek borders
IMEMC/Agencies 8 July — Hundreds of Palestinian refugees fleeing war-torn Syria have been stranded in Greece after local authorities sealed off all passageways to neighboring countries, a rights group reported Friday. According to the Action Group for Palestinians in Syria, hundreds of Palestinian refugees have been stuck near border-areas with Europe after they were forced to leave refugee camps, due to the dire circumstances and poor hygiene. The Action Group attributed the tragic situation to the oppressive policies pursued by the European Union as regards refugees on Greek borders. The group further sounded the alarm over the tragic situation endured by Palestinian refugees in war-torn Syria, where the Khan al-Sheih refugee camp in the Damascene suburbs has been the permanent target of strikes by the Syrian regime army. Dozens of civilians were killed and others were left wounded as a result, according to the PNN. The situation has gone worse after the regime army blocked all access-roads into Damascus. A blockade imposed by the Syrian army for 1,116 days took away the lives of at least 187 civilians. The camp has also seen a power cut since 1,177 days and a water blackout since 666 days. The Syrian army has been preventing refugees at the al-Subeina camp from returning to their homes since 969 days running. Meanwhile, 70% of civilian homes in the Deraa refugee camp have been reduced to rubble.
Other news, opinion
Bethlehem’s Lajee Center begins Palestinian cultural tour in Europe
[with photos] LONDON (Ma‘an) 8 July — The Bethlehem-based Lajee Center for Palestinian Cultural Arts performed their first cultural tour in the British capital of London on Thursday, before continuing to other cities in Britain, Ireland, and Scotland. The tour is part of an annual trip made by 21 Palestinian youths to showcase cultural, photographic, and art exhibits in Europe, in addition to documentaries aimed at displaying the Palestinian struggle to the rest of the world. Salah Ajarmeh, head of the Lajee Center in the ‘Aida refugee camp, told Ma‘an that the 20-day tour is centered on confirming the rights of Palestinians to live despite the “bitter reality” of the refugee camps, adding that the group met with the British parliament upon their arrival. The tour was organized in cooperation with international activists and institutions that support and believe in the Palestinian cause, Ajarmeh said. Head of the center’s Public Relations department, Muhammad al-Azraq, delivered a speech in front of the British parliament underscoring the Palestinian right of return and self determination and commenting on Britain’s historical responsibility for the current plight of Palestinians … Al-Azzeh also introduced a documentary, made by Lajee, titled “I have a dream to live,” which tells the story of an 11-year-old girl, Shahd Uweis, who lives at the Aida Refugee camp. Through the experience of Uweis, the documentary explores the experiences of children in Aida, and the violent mechanisms which inform their everyday lives….
Will upcoming local elections unite Palestinians, or divide them even further?
Al-Monitor 7 July by Adnan Abu Amer — The Palestinian Authority has announced a date for local elections to be held in Gaza and the West Bank, but Hamas is reluctant to sign onto an electoral process it suspects will marginalize it — The Palestinian government has set a date for local elections in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The elections, which will include 414 local bodies, will be held Oct. 8, according to a June 21 announcement. According to the Palestinian Central Elections Commission, a local body is a local government unit within a specific administrative geographic area, the borders of which are based upon official maps recognized by the Ministry of Local Government. Under the Palestinian Local Elections Law of 2005, there should be enough candidates on each electoral list to fill a majority of the seats allocated to the electoral district. The candidates list shall be considered closed, and the names of the candidates appear in order of priority. On June 23, the Central Election Commission released the official timeline for the local election process, starting with registration, announcement and vetting of candidacy and publicity before the voting itself and the announcement of the final results. Although local elections are supposed to be held every four years, according to the election law, they have only been held once in all Palestinian territories in the past 10 years. The last elections to cover all the Palestinian territories were held in 2004-2005 and included 262 local bodies. In 2012, only the West Bank held elections for about 340 local bodies, while Hamas boycotted them, claiming the movement’s members were being pursued by the Palestinian security services….
One man’s dream city rises in the occupied West Bank
[with photo gallery] Forbes 6 July by Monica Wang — A fine slab of carved stone stands out against the wild rocks and shrubs scattered about the mountainous Palestinian landscape. It is a sign that reads “Rawabi,” meaning hills in Arabic, and it points to a narrow path up the slope. As the paved road winds toward the top, the rugged Samarian countryside soon gives way to an entirely different scene: row after row of stately apartment buildings rise up from the ground like monoliths. Many of them are still unfinished, with large red cranes towering over the blocks of stone and concrete. Halfway up the hill there is an open-air Roman amphitheater, flanked on both sides by green grass (a rarity in the West Bank, where water is a scarce resource). A beautiful mosque stands next to the city center, where numerous empty shops wait for merchants to move in. Everything, from the neatly organized rows of apartment buildings to the amphitheater and the mosque, is polished with the same shade of golden beige, giving the city a startlingly crisp uniformity. This is Rawabi, the first modern Palestinian planned city. Located in the West Bank, it is about 5.6 miles north of Ramallah, the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority, and around 15.5 miles from Jerusalem. The largest Palestinian flag in existence flies on top of a flagpole outside Rawabi’s welcome center, where Palestinian-American businessman Bashar Masri likes to greet visitors to his city…
Book Review: A Palestinian writer’s damning dispatches from Israel
EI 7 July by Sarah Irving — Native: Dispatches from a Palestinian-Israeli Life by Sayed Kashua, Grove Press (2016) — When novelist and columnist Sayed Kashua announced in 2014 that he and his family would be leaving Jerusalem for the US, the announcement was a minor blip in a summer of death and turmoil in Palestine. Amid the carnage of more than 2,000 dead wrought by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and vicious attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, including Jerusalem, the despair of a writer — a Palestinian citizen of Israel who famously writes in Hebrew — might seem a drop in the ocean. But after almost a decade of columns written by Kashua for the liberal-left Israeli newspaper Haaretz, his departure symbolized the death of an experiment in optimism. As Kashua himself admits, he was berated by both anti-Zionist Palestinians and Zionist Jews for writing in Hebrew — the “language of the oppressor” to some, to others a pristine tongue reserved only for Jews. He has been seen as insufficiently political and as making light of the occupation. Kashua’s argument is that his columns and other writings — among them novels, films and a successful TV show, Arab Labor — were a place to “apologize, cry out, be afraid, implore, hate and love — but above all to look for hope.” His latest book is a selection from eight years of his Haaretz columns, from 2006 to 2014. In Kashua’s characteristic self-deprecating, sarcastic and closely observational style, the columns are a brilliantly written, dry and devastating record of life for one family who, in the end, would just like to be “normal.” As Palestinian citizens of Israel, “normal” means marginalized, discriminated against and harassed….
Meet Tair Kaminer, the 19-year-old conscientious objector who just made Israeli history
Forward 6 July by Noam Sheizaf — IDF military prison number 6 lies in one of the most picturesque spots in Israel, at the bottom of the Carmel Mountain, between green fields and banana plantations. The prisoners can see the mountains from the yard, but there is no view of the Mediterranean, less than a mile away. The prison includes a separate unit for officers and, since 2011, a female unit as well. Prison life is boring and discipline is harsh. Most prisoners’ favorite days are those when they are taken to work at nearby factories. Following a mutiny in 1997, living conditions were improved a bit; among other changes, the cigarettes given to the prisoners were replaced by a better brand. But 19-year-old Tair Kaminer doesn’t smoke. Last week, Kaminer made history: She was sentenced to 45 days for refusing to enlist in the IDF. This was her sixth trial, bringing her entire sentence to 170 days, more than any other female conscientious objector has received in Israeli history. Before sentencing her, Lieutenant Colonel Eran Shani complimented Kaminer for her bravery, but also told her that the consequences of her actions will be severe. Kaminer could have avoided her long prison term. Many Israelis fake medical or psychological problems in order to avoid the draft. Religious women don’t serve either, so all it takes is a declaration that one observes in order to be released immediately. If you can convince the military that you are a pacifist — a challenging task, but not entirely impossible — you might be released as well. But Kaminer is neither religious nor a pacifist, and she is not ready to lie. She doesn’t oppose the military as a rule. Rather, she chose to refuse because of the IDF’s role in the occupation and in the systematic depravation of Palestinian civil and human rights….
Bennett calls for ‘kidnapping’ Palestinians to press for release of slain Israeli soldiers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 July — Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett advocated on Thursday for Israel to kidnap Palestinians to be used as leverage to obtain the release of two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers held in the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported. In an interview with Radio Darom, Bennett — who leads the far-right Jewish Home party — discussed the issue of releasing Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal to obtain the return of Israeli citizens Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed, as well as the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, two soldiers killed during Israel’s 2014 offensive on Gaza. “My policies are consistent over the years: complete opposition to disproportionate deals to free terrorists, and certainly in exchange for bodies,” The Times of Israel quoted Bennett as saying. According to Israeli news outlet The Jerusalem Post, Bennett then advocated for the kidnapping of Palestinians to pressure for the release of the slain soldiers and missing Israelis.“ We should do what the State of Israel once did,” he said. “What we once did in such situations was we would go and kidnap from the other side, and create new leverage against the other side, rather than releasing more and more terrorists.” The Jerusalem Post quoted Bennett’s spokesperson as specifying that the far-right political leader was suggesting kidnapping “terrorists,” not Palestinian civilians. It remained unclear from Bennett’s statement whether he advocated the kidnapping of Palestinians to use as a bargaining chip to exchange with Israelis, in contradiction of his earlier statement, or as an intimidation tactic to coerce those holding the Israelis in Gaza into releasing them. It was also unclear whether Bennett was pushing for Israel should detain more Palestinians in addition to the 7,000 currently held in Israeli prisons, or hold them completely extrajudicially … Israel is still withholding the bodies of at least seven Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since October, as the slain Palestinians’ families remain uncertain as to when, and if, they will be released for burial.
Opinion: Minister Bennett is lying: The settlements aren’t keeping Israel safe / Uri Misgav
Haaretz 8 July – The heartbreaking truth is that Hallel Yaffa Ariel did not live as a hero and die as a hero. She was stabbed to death in her bed because her bed was spitting distance from occupied Hebron — As he left the Mark family home after his condolence visit, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that because Otniel and the rest of the settlements are under attack, the Tel Aviv area is not under attack. He is lying. Knowingly. For political purposes. It is a contemptuous and cowardly act. Certainly for the education minister and a person who represents himself as God-fearing. Otniel is not the security zone for the Greater Tel Aviv area. If anything is true, it is the opposite: In Tel Aviv they are under attack because of Otniel and the likes. The terrorists who shot in Sarona came from the village of Yatta. The terrorist who stabbed in Netanya came from a village near Tul Karm. The terrorist who carried out the attack in Jaffa came from Qalqilyah. All in the West Bank. The role of Israeli Arab citizens in the present wave of terror attacks is very small. Most of the attacks are carried out in the occupied West Bank by the Palestinians who live there. And they are aimed at the settlers and soldiers who are guarding them. We are in the midst of Operation “Peace for the Occupation.” It will not end without the end of the occupation. Former deputy head of the Mossad Ram Barak formulated this truth clearly: “This is the price we pay for our sitting amongst a hostile Arab population. This is a price we can want to pay and it is possible to decide we don’t want to pay it.” Why does Barak tell the simple truth while Bennett knowingly lies? Because Barak reflects professional values while Bennett reflects a messianic-religious ideology and politics of the streets….
New Islamic bank to set up shop in West Bank, Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al Monitor) 6 July by Entsar Abu Jahal — The market share of Islamic banks in Palestine is remarkably low, no more than 11% in 2015. There are only four Islamic banks in Gaza, and the services they provide are limited. Only two Islamic banks in Palestine are licensed by the Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA), which acts as a central bank, in addition to two unlicensed others in the Gaza Strip. In response, some Palestinian businessmen are opening the new Al-Safa Islamic Bank. The first branch is expected to start offering its services by September in Ramallah’s Masyoun neighborhood in the West Bank, while another branch is to be opened in the Gaza Strip later on….