Violence / Blockades / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Army destroys water wells, damages property, in Hebron
IMEMC 14 July — As the extensive Israeli military invasion into the southern West Bank district of Hebron continues to escalate, the soldiers destroyed, on Thursday morning, water wells, and the entrances of several Palestinian homes. Media sources in Hebron said the soldiers destroyed several Palestinian water wells, detonated the entrances of eight apartments, in Hebron city, violently searched many residences and kidnapped at least one Palestinian. Also in Hebron, the army invaded Farsh al-Hawa area, and the area around the al-Ahli Hospital, before storming a residential building, and violently searched several apartments. During the invasions, the soldiers detonated three Palestinian water wells. The soldiers invaded two workshops in Hebron city, allegedly used for manufacturing weapons, and also stormed and ransacked many homes in the towns of Sa‘ir and Bani Ne‘im, east of Hebron, and placed concrete blocks, closing Hebron’s northern road
Israeli forces kill 1 Palestinian youth, injure 1, and detain 1 other
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 July — A Palestinian youth was killed and another injured by Israeli forces while a third was detained, early on Wednesday, as soldiers opened fire at the youths’ vehicle in the town of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district. The youth who was killed was identified as Anwar al-Salaymeh, 22, and the two survivors were identified as Fares Khader al-Rishq, 20, who remains critically injured, and Muhammad Nassar, 20, who was detained by Israeli forces after the incident. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces opened fire at three Palestinians youths, all residents of al-Ram, in a vehicle inside the town around dawn, as the three were seemingly unaware that Israeli forces were deployed in the town and conducting raids.
An Israeli army spokesperson said that the presence of Israeli authorities in the town was due to the fact that Israeli forces, border guards and police reportedly found a blacksmith workshop in al-Ram that manufactured weapons … The Israeli spokesperson added that during the military raid, border guards allegedly “saw a speeding vehicle heading towards them” and opened fire, killing one of the passengers and injuring another while a third was detained and transferred for interrogation. According to locals, al-Rishq’s vehicle arrived near the area where the raid was taking place, and Israeli soldiers opened fire at the car from a close distance, injuring al-Rishq and al-Salaymeh, who later died. Witnesses said that Israeli forces prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from reaching the injured. [IMEMC: Salaima was still breathing, and bled to death after the soldiers refused to allow the medics to approach him.]
Israel to carry out autopsy on Palestinian slain during army raid
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 July — Israel has decided to carry out an autopsy for a Palestinian who was killed by Israeli forces on Wednesday during a night raid in the central occupied West Bank. Anwar Falah al-Salaymeh, 22, was in a car with two friends in the town of al-Ram in the West Bank’s Jerusalem district in the early hours on Wednesday, seemingly unaware that Israeli soldiers were deployed in the town, when they encountered troops who fired shots at their vehicle, killing him. Al-Salaymeh’s surviving friends, Fares Khader al-Rishq, 20, and Muhammad Nassar, 20, were both detained after the shooting, despite al-Rishq being critically wounded. Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud, who works with prisoners rights group Addameer, said in a statement on Thursday that al-Salaymeh’s family had agreed on an autopsy on the condition that a Palestinian doctor attend the procedure. Mahmoud added that preliminary scans showed al-Salaymeh had been hit by three bullets in the back. Meanwhile, the Israeli magistrate court extended al-Rishq and Nassar’s detention to Thursday, as they were presented in front of a judge on Wednesday for “taking part in a vehicular attack attempt against border guards while inside al-Ram town.” Al-Rishq and Nassar rejected the accusations, saying they were on their way to a bakery in the area. Mahmoud added that al-Rishq was in a stable condition in spite of his head injury, and was present in front of the judge.The lawyer said that the issue of returning al-Salaymeh’s body to his family had not been discussed.
Army injures three Palestinians near Ramallah
IMEMC 14 July — Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Thursday at dawn, Deir Abu Mashal village northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, stormed homes and injured three Palestinians during ensuing clashes. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said a large military force invaded the village from various directions before the soldiers stormed and violently searched many homes, leading to excessive property damage. WAFA added that owners of some of the invaded homes have been identified as Mohammad Taha, Ibrahim Mohammad Yousef, Yousef Taha and Ibrahim Saleh. The invasion led to clashes between the soldiers and local youths who hurled stones and empty bottles at the army vehicles, while the soldiers fired gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets. Medical sources said three Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and many others suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Israeli forces shoot Palestinian youth attempting to prevent another’s detention
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 July — A Palestinian youth was wounded by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Thursday morning after he reportedly tried to help another Palestinian being detained by Israeli border police. Fatah movement spokesman Thaer Fasfous told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers opened fire at a Palestinian youth and detained another at a checkpoint near the refugee camp of Shu‘fat north of occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli forces were detaining a youth suspected of involvement in “terrorist activities” as locals attempted to prevent the detention. Israeli forces then saw a “suspicious” youth reportedly approaching them with a knife and “neutralized” him using live fire. Al-Samri said that no Israelis were injured in the case. She added that the young Palestinian was lightly wounded and transferred for medical treatment, and that Israeli forces left the area with the other Palestinian who had initially been detained.
Israel forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians during clashes in blockaded Hebron village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 July — Israeli forces shot and injured at least two Palestinians with rubber-coated bullets on Monday afternoon during clashes with Palestinian youth, after soldiers stormed the neighborhood of al-Shuyukh in the blockaded town of Sa‘ir northeast of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank. Locals told Ma‘an that clashes broke out after Israeli forces raided the town, firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets. Young men hurled stones at the soldiers, who fired more tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, injuring at least two unidentified young men. Locals also said that Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances from entering the town to offer medical aid to those hit with the bullets, and to people who were suffering from extreme tear gas inhalation … Israeli forces stormed al-Shuyukh in the predawn hours Monday, and confiscated a private car and raided houses, detaining a young man identified by locals as Hamza Rajab al-Halayka. Monday marked the third day of Israeli forces’ continued enforcement of a blockade on the village of Sa‘ir, which sparked clashes Saturday night during which Israeli forces shot and injured four Palestinians. The town was sealed after an Israeli man was shot and wounded by while driving his car Saturday near the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Teqoa. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an on Monday morning that security measures were ongoing as the search for the gunman continued.
West Bank demolition raids, vandalism continue unabated
IMEMC/Agencies 12 July — Several Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers invaded, on Tuesday, morning, ‘Anata town, northeast of annexed East Jerusalem, and demolished sheds, a farm, a car repair facility and several walls, in addition to closing agricultural roads. The head of ‘Anata Local Council Taha No’man told WAFA that Israeli soldiers demolished seven sheds belonging to Bedouin families in the town. He further noted that the army also demolished a farm belonging to resident Ahmad al-Hilo, in addition to a car repair center belonging to Ashraf al-Julani. The army imposed a strict siege on the entire area, after declaring it a closed military zone, and prevented the residents from entering or leaving it. No’man added that the car repair facility was 230-250 meters in size, and that the soldiers demolished it without even allowing the owner to remove his machines. The soldiers also closed several agricultural roads, especially in al-Fheidat and al-Boheira areas, in ‘Anata, after installing sand hills to completely block any access to new construction sites in ‘Anata.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, the Israeli military continued its siege, and invasions of homes, for the twelfth consecutive day, and kidnapped at least six Palestinians, in addition to occupying rooftops and confiscating surveillance tapes. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded the northern West Bank districts of Qalqilia, Nablus and Jenin, searched homes and kidnapped ten Palestinians. In related news, a group of Israeli settlers, Monday evening, set fire to Palestinian farmers’ lands in Ras Karkar village, west of Ramallah city. The Palestine Information Center said, according to the PNN, that, after torching the land, the settlers obstructed the movement of fire trucks and tried to prevent crews from extinguishing the flames, according to local eyewitnesses. The fire caused extensive damage to the agricultural area.
Arab woman attacked by soccer hooligans called for questioning because she hit a car mid-flight
Haaretz 13 July by Nir Hasson — Police have summoned a woman attacked by thugs outside Teddy Stadium two months ago for questioning, because she hit a car while fleeing her assailants. On May 1 dozens of angry Beitar fans poured out of the soccer stadium after their team had lost the match to Bnei Sakhnin. They saw Nadwa Jabar sitting in her car, at a traffic light. Jabar’s two daughters, aged 3 and 6, and their 8-year-old friend were sitting in the back. The fans identified Jabar as an Arab by her head cover and attacked her with screams and curses. Some of them jumped onto her car, spat at the girls and tried to open the doors. They bashed the car and broke its headlights. Jerusalem police called a number of suspects for questioning. Jabar has also received a summons for investigation due to a traffic accident she caused while trying to flee the scene in her car. “Calling my client for investigation is scandalous,” Jabbar’s attorney, Eitay Mack, wrote to the police traffic investigator. “This is an illegitimate attempt to turn my client from a victim to a felon and reduce the gravity of a serious Jewish chauvinist crime in the heart of Jerusalem.”….
Activists prevent Israeli bulldozers from continuing work on settler road in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 July — Activists and residents of the villages of Deir Qaddis and Ni‘lin in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah prevented Israeli bulldozers from leveling agricultural land owned by Palestinians on Wednesday morning, according to locals. Ni‘lin resistance committee coordinator Muhammad Amirah said that the committee, along with the village’s local council and the popular committee to resist settlements and the wall, managed to stop Israeli bulldozers which had been leveling the land for the past four days in order to expand Israel’s Route 446, which connects Israel’s illegal settlements to the rest of Israel. Amirah said that Israeli forces, accompanied by bulldozers, left the area after activists and residents staged a protest against the destruction of the agricultural lands. Israeli forces also reportedly handed out parking tickets to Palestinian journalists in an attempt to keep them from entering the area. According to locals, an Israeli settler also ran over a Palestinian teenager in the area at the time of the protest. The teen was reportedly in moderate condition. However, the details of the incident remained unknown as of Wednesday.
Israeli army isolates al-‘Eesawiyya town in Jerusalem
IMEMC 14 July — The Israeli army completely surrounded and isolated the town of al-‘Eesawiyya, in occupied East Jerusalem, earlier on Thursday, after the soldiers parked their vehicles on all of its entrances, preventing the Palestinians from entering or leaving it. The soldiers stopped and searched dozens of Palestinian cars and interrogated many residents while inspecting their ID cards. Local sources said the closure and roadblocks caused traffic jams, especially since the soldiers kept the cars lined up for extended periods, forcing the residents to wait, before preventing them from entering or leaving the town. Israeli police officers also ticketed dozens of Palestinians, and imposed very high fines on them, as an act of collective punishment following the late-night clashes between the soldiers and local youths, after the army invaded their town and searched many homes.
Palestinian commuters in Yatta race against Israeli bulldozers to find way out of siege
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 July — Residents of the town of Yatta south of the city of Hebron have been forced to commute via rugged dirt roads for eleven consecutive days, as Israeli forces continued to block all exits and side roads connecting the town to the rest of occupied West Bank, amid heavy Israeli presence across the district of Hebron and blockades imposed on at least two other villages of the district. A Ma‘an reporter in Yatta on Monday morning said that searching for a path to leave the town took almost two hours of trial and error. Residents have been calling ahead to neighbors to see what route they used to connect to the main road earlier that day, only to find the path already blocked off by rocks and earth mounds by the time they reached it — and locals would start to spread the word about other open paths, which have been built on the fly by locals amid the Israeli siege. “The people of Yatta are in a race against Israeli bulldozers,” the Ma‘an reporter said. Israeli forces imposed a general closure on Hebron, the largest and most populous district in the occupied West Bank, amid a widespread manhunt for gunmen in two shooting incident in the district. In the wake of a fatal shooting attack near the illegal Israeli settlement of Otniel in Hebron on July 1, Yatta was sealed. The attack occurred within 48 hours of a deadly stabbing attack and an alleged attack carried out by residents of the village of Bani Naim who were immediately shot dead. Bani Naim has also been completely sealed. On Saturday night, an Israeli was shot and injured in his car near the Hebron-area settlement Teqoa, after which the village of Sa‘ir was also placed under blockade….
Israeli police harass Palestinias out of revenge or for fun
Asharq al-Awsat 13 July — An internal Israeli police report admitted that Israeli border guards deliberately provoke conflict with Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem. Sometimes their motives are political and seek retaliation and, in other cases, they seek entertainment. A lawyer from the Association for Civil Rights Anne Sachio commented by saying that there is a noticeable phenomenon of harassing people with the aim of repression and revenge, and its victims are mostly innocents. The internal police report mentioned an example of this “conflict” – an incident that took place in the town of ‘Issawiya that led to confrontations on the 6th of January between young Palestinians and a number of border guards that entered the town. During the confrontations, sponge tipped bullets were used against a boy of 12 named Ahmad Abu Hummus. His head was seriously wounded and he spent three weeks in hospital during which he received artificial respiration. As a result of this incident, Abu Hummus suffers from a serious brain injury and does not recognise members of his family. His family made a complaint to the Police Internal Investigations Department through a Jewish lawyer. Almost two months ago, the Police Internal Investigations Department (Machash) announced that it has decided to close the inquiry because no evidence confirming that a crime had been committed had been found.
Occupation forces issue notice for Palestinian, dead for 22 years, to report for interrogation
KUFR MALIK, Occupied Palestine 12 July by ISM, al-Quds Team — On July 9th at 4:00 in the morning, the Be’rat family awoke to find Israeli soldiers pounding on the door of their home in Kufr Malik, demanding that Jihad, the son of Mohammed Tawfik and Nadia Mustafa, report for interrogation. Jihad, however, passed away twenty-two years ago, before reaching the age of fifteen days. Israeli forces demanded that everyone in the house show some form of identification, including the children, and continued to ask for Jihad. After explaining the situation to the soldiers, Jihad’s mother was asked to present her son’s death certificate as proof. “They pulled open my heart and made me remember my son,” Nadia said of the experience. The soldiers did not return the death certificate. The children, though quite used to Israeli incursions into the village, were also traumatized by the event. This particular event serves as an example of the Israeli military’s arbitrary and indiscriminate methods in their selection and targeting of “suspects.” The case also highlights the absolute lack of legal rights those living under Occupation have, as Palestinians are always considered guilty until proven innocent, and accusations are filed regardless of whether or not one is already dead or imprisoned.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian photojournalist
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 14 July — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian photojournalist known for his coverage of weekly protests in the northern occupied West Bank on Wednesday. Witnesses said that Kamil Barham was detained at a flying Israeli checkpoint near the village of Sura in the Nablus district and was taken to an unknown location. An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into the reports. Barham, a 27-year-old freelance journalist, has been covering the weekly protests in the village of Kafr Qaddum for years. Kafr Qaddum has been the stage of weekly protests since July 2011, in order to denounce Israel’s continuing closures of the village’s main road since 2003. The village is one of a number of Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank that carry out weekly Friday demonstrations in opposition to the decades-long Israeli military occupation. In 2014, Barham was injured by steel bullets fired by Israeli soldiers during a Friday protest in Kafr Qaddum. Israeli authorities have carried out a concerted crackdown on Palestinian journalists and human rights activists since a wave of violence erupted in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory in October, with several dozen Palestinian journalists being detained by Israeli forces.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian activist at West Bank checkpoint
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian activist and former prisoner on Tuesday at the Beit Ur al-Fuqa checkpoint in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank, according to prisoners rights group Addameer. The man was identified as Hasan Karajeh, a former Arab Youth Ambassador and a resident of the village of Saffa near Ramallah. Karajeh is a well-known activist who works on youth issues and prisoners’ rights. He is also the youth coordinator for grassroots organization Stop the Wall. He was previously detained on Jan. 23, 2013 and released on Oct. 19, 2014 for his social activism. His brother Muntaser previously served a 10-month sentence in an Israeli prison, and his sister Sumoud was released from prison in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel. An Israeli army spokeswoman said at the time of his 2013 arrest that “Karajeh was arrested for suspicion of involvement in a terror organization,” without providing further details. Muhannad Karajeh, a lawyer for Addameer who represented Karajeh in the past, condemned Tuesday’s detention and slammed Israel’s policy of detaining human rights and civil community activists.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian teen allegedly carrying knife near Ramallah area settlement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian teen for allegedly possessing a knife Wednesday morning near the illegal Naale settlement near the town of Bil‘in in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that a “suspect” carrying a knife was detained near the Naale settlement Wednesday, but could not confirm the teenager’s identity. The teen was reportedly transferred for interrogation to the Israeli intelligence, according to Israeli media.
Israeli forces detain 34 Palestinians in overnight raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli forces detained at least 34 Palestinians in overnight raids on Tuesday across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including one detention in Jerusalem in raids which led to the death of a Palestinian youth. According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), eight Palestinians were detained in occupied East Jerusalem, six of them minors. PPS identified seven detained in the Jerusalem-area village of al-‘Issawiya as Adam Mahmoud, 16, Muhammad Jamal Mahmoud, 22, Munir Kayid Mahmoud, 18, Anwar Sami Ubeid, 18, Atat Dirbas, 18, Qusai Dari, 16, and Majd Ubeid, 17. Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained Muhammad Nassar, 20, in the Jerusalem district town of al-Ram, after Nassar and two friends unwittingly encountered soldiers carrying out a detention raid while the three Palestinian youths were in a car. Israeli forces fired at the vehicle, killing 22-year-old Anwar al-Salaymeh, and critically injuring Fares Khader al-Rishq, 20. PPS reported six detentions in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, as Israeli forces carried out raids in the towns of Dura, Beit Ummar, Yatta, Sair and Hebron … PPS said that another eight Palestinians were detained at the Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan … In the central West Bank district of Ramallah al-Bireh, PPS listed four detentions … Israeli forces have stepped up arrests in the past several days, with at least 27 Palestinians detained in raids on Monday night….
Hundreds of Israelis take to Al-Aqsa during slain 13-year-old girl’s memorial
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 July — Hundreds of Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, as part of a larger memorial service for 13-year-old Hallel Ariel, an Israeli girl who was stabbed to death in her bedroom in the illegal Israeli settlement Kiryat Arba by a teenage Palestinian earlier this month. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that dozens of “foreign and non-Muslim” tourists on Tuesday morning visited al-Haram al-Sharif, using the Muslim term for the compound, which is also known to Jews as the Temple Mount. Israeli media reported that the attendees numbered in the hundreds. Al-Samri added that after Hallel’s parents met with Jerusalem police commander Yoram Halevy near the Moroccan Gate entrance to Al-Aqsa, they toured the compound together. The visit was completed “without any mentionable exceptional events,” according to al-Samri. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Muslim worshipers had serious difficulties accessing the compound and that Israeli police officers held the ID cards of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who entered the compound, while Palestinian citizens of Israel were denied entry altogether. The Waqf (Islamic Endowment) that controls the holy site said in a statement that 285 Israelis entered the compound on Tuesday morning. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israeli visitors “guarded by dozens of police officers uttered blessings and were answered by calls of ‘amen,'” in violation of regulations regarding non-Muslim worship on the site … A number of right-wing members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, joined the Ariel family for the memorial service….
Israelis don’t understand Palestinian fears over Jerusalem
Haokets 11 July by Yonathan Mizrachi — For Israelis, Jerusalem is an archaeological treasure. For Palestinians, it is a city whose heritage and identity are constantly under threat — It turns out that issues of identity, religion and recognition are far more critical to East Jerusalem Palestinians than what the Israeli Right and center would have us believe. A new survey shows that East Jerusalemites are more concerned with Jewish pilgrimage to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif and archaeological excavations than issues such as lack of infrastructure and the denial of construction permits. The survey, commissioned by Israeli NGO Emek Shaveh, an organization of archaeologists and community activists focusing on the role of archaeology in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, asked East Jerusalem residents what issue concerns them the most in their home city. The survey was carried out by the Smith Institute, and included 500 individuals representing Israel’s adult population (Jews and Muslims, ages 18 and older). According to the findings, 67 percent chose Jewish pilgrimage to the Temple Mount, while 44 percent responded that archaeological excavations concern them most. Forty-one percent of respondents say the denial of construction permits is most important to them, while 30 percent believe the lack of infrastructure is of top priority … The survey further shows that Israeli Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem hold completely different attitudes toward the city’s archaeology. The participants were asked their opinion about the purpose of archaeological excavations in the Old City, to which they were able to choose from up to two responses. Eighty percent of Israeli Jews believe that the objectives of archaeological excavations in the Old City and the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan are purely scientific — that is, to find historical evidence of life in the city throughout history. Among East Jerusalem Palestinians, on the other hand, the most notable responses were to strengthen the Jewish hold on Jerusalem (53 percent), and to erase all remnants of Muslim history from the city (57 percent). Another 21 percent believe that the purpose of the excavations is to erase all of the city’s non-Jewish historical remnants. Only 14 percent are of the opinion that the objectives of the excavations are scientific.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel releases 14-year-old Palestinian girl after 3 months in prison
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 July — After holding her for three months in prison, Israeli authorities released on Tuesday 14-year-old Palestinian Nuran Mahmoud al-Balboul, following a successful appeal presented to an Israeli court for her early release. Nuran’s mother and family members welcomed her at a checkpoint near the village of Beit Sira west of Ramallah, along with Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs head Issa Qaraqe, before they headed to the committee’s headquarters in al-Bireh. The family then went back home in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Khader in the southern occupied West Bank. Nuran was detained on April 13 at the 300 Checkpoint at the northern entrance to Bethlehem for allegedly carrying a knife in her schoolbag. Lawyer Abeer Bakr said on Tuesday that the release came after the Israeli Central Court accepted an appeal presented by the committee for Nuran’s early release. The committee said in a statement that Nuran was assaulted by soldiers when they detained her, and adamantly refuted the claim that she had a knife in her possession, saying that she was in fact detained for having an argument with a female soldier while trying to enter Jerusalem with her aunt. Her aunt also denied that Nuran had a knife at the time. Relatives have described Nuran as bright with a strong personality and a tendency to be “sharp-tongued” with Israeli authorities. Just two months after Nuran’s detention, her brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud were also detained and remained held by Israel as of Tuesday, leaving their mother alone throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The three are the children of Ahmad al-Balboul, a prominent leader in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, who was shot dead along with three other Palestinians by undercover Israeli forces in March 2008….
Israel issues 34 administrative detention orders to Palestinian prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 12 July — Israeli authorities issued administrative detention orders against 34 Palestinian prisoners for periods between three to six renewable months on Tuesday. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society lawyer Mahmoud al-Halabi said in a statement that 24 of the orders were issued against prisoners who had already spent months and years in Israeli administrative detention. The prisoners were identified as:1. Ibrahim Shihdeh Abu Shaqra, al-Bireh, 3-month extension.2. Usama Hani Abu Arqoub, Hebron, 3-month extension…..
Multiple life sentences for Palestinian accused of killing 3 Israelis
IMEMC/Agencies 11 July — An Israeli court in Jerusalem sentenced a Palestinian man to multiple life sentences, with an additional 60 years, on Monday, after he was convicted for the murder of three Israelis. Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud, who works with the prisoners’ rights group Addameer, told Ma‘an News Agency that a Jerusalem district court found Bilal Abu Ghanem, from the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of annexed East Jerusalem, guilty of killing three Israelis in a shooting and stabbing attack on an Israeli bus in October. The attack took place in the East Talpiot settlement near Jabal al-Mukabbir, and resulted in the death of three Israelis and injury of several others. During Abu Ghanem’s sentencing on Monday, the judge ordered his family to pay 250,000 shekels ($64,458) to the slain Israelis’ families, in addition to 150,000 shekels ($38,675) to the injured Israelis’ families, and 100,000 shekels ($25,783) to the driver of the bus in which the attack took place. Ghanem carried out the stabbing and shooting attack with Bahaa Elayyan, also a Jabal al-Mukabbir resident, who was shot dead by Israeli forces during the attack. Elayyan’s body has been withheld by Israel since then, as his father has led an ongoing protest movement calling for the release of Palestinian bodies being held by Israeli authorities.
Why humiliation became a routine tactic in Israeli prisons / Amira Hass
Haaretz 13 July — Is there an order to Israelis stipulating the wasting of the Palestinians’ time? Is there some supreme order: Be cruel, be heartless, humiliate? — Visitors to Ofer Prison cross two waiting rooms before meeting with their loved ones, separated by glass. Nothing may be brought into the second room, where they wait for half an hour to an hour before entering the visiting room itself. Not even Kleenex, related a regular visitor who was asked to discard the tissue in her hand before she went in. “Just imagine, in winter there are people with colds, in spring allergies, they have to wipe their nose on a sleeve.” To continue functioning as the imposed, foreign ruler it is, Israel created circles of imprisonment: from harsh incarceration in an Israel Prison Service or Shin Bet security service facility, to looser imprisonment between the fences and the blocked roads around Ramallah. Cruelty is a necessary element of imprisonment. To explain it to ourselves, the security excuse is not enough. Gradually we tell ourselves that the imprisoned aren’t really human beings like us. They don’t need tissues. That’s how humiliation becomes a routine tactic. There aren’t enough chairs in the second waiting room. Some visitors stand, some sit. It’s crowded. There are more women than men; the Israeli authorities issue fewer visitor permits to men. There are also many old women; the authorities are stingy with permits for young women. Grandmothers come instead of mothers, for example … Ofer Prison is around seven kilometers from central Ramallah, a 10-minute drive, with the lights and heavy traffic. Ofer — a prison, army camp and military court — is in the West Bank, on the land of the Palestinian town of Bitunia, next to Route 443. But Israel has skillfully created the impression that Ofer is in its territory. The expanse alongside Route 443 and surrounding the settlement bloc of Givat Ze’ev was de facto annexed to Israel long ago … The seven kilometers turn into a journey of around three hours … It would be easy to arrange a route through the Bitunia checkpoint (some 500 meters from the prison), sparing visitors the exhausting long-short journey. But no. The disregard for the time of those you subjugate is also an integral part of the education and training of every Israeli prison guard….
Palestinian youth injured by Israeli forces in northern Gaza Strip
GAZA STRIP (Ma‘an) 12 July — A Palestinian in his twenties was injured with Israeli live fire in eastern Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Gaza Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma‘an that a 27-year-old was injured by Israeli forces in the arm in the northern Gaza Strip. Al-Qidra said that the man was taken to the Beit Hanoun Hospital for treatment, where his condition was reported as moderate. An Israeli army spokesperson said she was “not aware of anything unusual” in the besieged coastal enclave, and could not comment on the reason for Israeli live fire in Beit Hanoun. Beit Hanoun is located near the northeastern border of the Gaza Strip, and has frequently been the site of violent clashes between Gazans and Israeli forces in recent months. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have crowded near the borders with Israel nearly every Friday to show solidarity with what Palestinians in Gaza have termed the “Jerusalem Intifada” taking place in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israeli army carries out explosions in central Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 July — Israeli warplanes carried out air raids in the central Gaza Strip late on Wednesday night, with conflicting reports on the nature of the strikes. Palestinian sources said that Israeli warplanes carried out two airstrikes targeting lands east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the besieged Palestinian territory. They added that at least two missiles hit an unknown target south of the Camera military site. No injuries were reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that explosions heard in Gaza were “controlled detonations” carried out by Israeli forces. She added that the army “could not elaborate on the reason” behind carrying out such action.
Same incident as above, apparently
Israeli air force fires missiles into farmland in central Gaza
IMEMC 14 July — The Israeli Air Force carried out, on Wednesday evening, two air strikes targeting Palestinian agricultural lands, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp in Central, and Johr ed-Deek area, southeast of Gaza City. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that an F16 Israeli fighter jet fired one missile into farmland east of al-Boreij, causing damage. It added that the Air Force also fired two missiles into farmlands owned by Abu Sa’id family in Johr ed-Deek area, causing damage to a number of nearby homes.
Israel stops Italian delegation entering Gaza
MEMO 11 July — Israel yesterday banned an Italian delegation led by the Deputy Parliament Speaker Luigi de Mayo from entering the Gaza Strip. In a statement, Italy’s Five Star Movement said the Italian Embassy in Israel informed De Mayo and parliamentarians Manlio Di Stefano and Ornella Bertorauta that the Israeli government will not allow the delegation to cross into the Gaza Strip to visit the Italian projects in Gaza. The group will visit projects in the occupied West Bank. RAI TV quoted De Mayo as saying that Israel’s decision is an indicator of the negative policies adopted by Tel Aviv and their effects on the peace process. The Israeli Embassy in Rome said permits to enter the Gaza Strip are subject to special security considerations.
Israel opens Gaza crossing after nine years
AFP 13 July — Israel opened a major crossing point between Israel and Gaza on Wednesday to allow the transfer of vehicles carrying goods for the first time in nine years, officials said. An AFP photographer saw deliveries arriving through the Erez crossing at the entry to the Palestinian territory that has been under an Israeli blockade for a decade. Erez has been restricted to individuals since 2007, with goods going through Kerem Shalom in southern Gaza. Residents of the Israeli towns in the area had for months complained about the hundreds of trucks passing through the area daily, which caused heavy traffic and endangered motorists. In May, then defence minister Moshe Yaalon said Erez would be opened in order to enable a better flow of goods into Gaza and ease congestion at Kerem Shalom. A spokesman for COGAT, the defence ministry body responsible for implementing government policies in the Palestinian territories, confirmed vehicles had entered Gaza through the Erez crossing … An association of Palestinian vehicle owners in Gaza said 110 vehicles arrived on their side through Erez. Located in the northern Gaza Strip, Erez is nearer to major Israeli cities than Kerem Shalom and could make bringing goods from Israeli port cities such as Ashdod easier.
Settlers prevent families of Gaza detainees from visiting them
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 July– Israeli settlers on Monday prevented families of Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip from visiting their imprisoned sons in Nafha and Rimon prisons in Israel, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS). PPS said a group of settlers intercepted a convoy carrying the families of several Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails from Gaza, which provoked anger among the families who were unable to access their sons.
High school exam celebrations marked by tragedy in the Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 July — As Palestinians across the occupied territory took to the streets to celebrate the announcement of the highly anticipated results of high school exams — known in Arabic as the “Tawjihi” — a Palestinian girl in the Gaza Strip took her own life, as several were injured during celebrations. The 18-year-old girl from the town of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip ended her life shortly after the Palestinian Ministry of Education publicized the Tawjihi results for high school students in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Gaza police spokesperson Ayman Batneiji confirmed her passing to Ma‘an.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said that five people, including three children, were hurt as a result of fire bombs and shooting into the air as hundreds took to the street to celebrate the exam results, including a Palestinian man who was shot and injured by a stray bullet. The Tawjihi certificate is equivalent to a high school completion certificate, and is required for students who wish to pursue higher education. Not only is the certificate required for university admissions, the score on the test determines which field of study a university student will be allowed to pursue. This testing system is implemented in Palestine as well as other Arab countries, and due to the definitive and determining nature of the exams, they are known to generate high levels of stress among the student population. Undersecretary of Ministry of Education in the Gaza Strip Ziad Thabit said at a press conference in May when the exams kicked off that the “difficult conditions” in which the students live in the besieged coastal enclave and the occupied West Bank were something that the Ministry of Education takes into account … This year’s exam season was marked by a particularly heavy Israeli military presence in the occupied West Bank, as entire villages there were blockaded, cutting off students from their schools, as Tawjihi documents were also prevented from being delivered to besieged villages.
Israel says Arab citizen illegally crosses into Gaza Strip
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 12 July by Dan Williams and Nidal al-Mughrabi — An Israeli from the country’s Bedouin Arab minority illegally crossed into Gaza on Tuesday, Israel’s military said, an incident that may affect a proposed prisoner swap with the Palestinian enclave’s Hamas authorities. Hamas says it is holding two Israeli soldiers whom the army declared dead after they were lost in action in the 2014 Gaza war. The Islamist militant group also says it has two Israeli civilians who previously walked into the fenced-off enclave. The man who entered Gaza on Tuesday was not authorised to do so and was believed to be inside Palestinian territory, a military spokeswoman said. She declined to say how she knew he is a Bedouin Arab citizen, or to elaborate on the incident. “This matter is under investigation,” the spokeswoman said. Palestinian authorities did not immediately comment, but witnesses in the Gaza Strip reported Israeli spotter aircraft overhead. Israeli officials previously said they sought to recover the two soldiers’ remains and the two civilians held by Hamas, signaling willingness to repeat past amnesties of jailed Palestinians in a trade. Hamas has conditioned any discussion of the four on a preliminary release of detainees by Israel. Relatives of the two Israeli civilians who previously entered Gaza, one of whom is Jewish and the other a Bedouin, have described them as suffering from psychological problems.
Exclusive – Source: Hamas foiled large-scale Islamic State attack on Gaza government
TEL AVIV (Breitbart Jerusalem) 10 July by Aaron Klein & Ali Waked — Hamas has foiled a large-scale attack on Gaza government institutions, facilities, and officials that was planned by Islamic State loyalists, a senior official in the movement told Breitbart Jerusalem — Ten jihadi activists from the southern Gaza Strip were arrested by Hamas last Tuesday, the last day of Ramadan, and admitted that they had pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the official disclosed. Hamas police seized large sums of money and weapons that were presumably to be used against Hamas targets, the official said, predominantly the internal security department, which is in charge of imposing a ban on rocket fire. Several Hamas officers have been accused of torturing the suspects. The suspects allegedly admitted to having planned the attack independently of IS headquarters in Syria and Iraq, but were inspired by the organization and adhered to its ideology, the official said. Dozens of other jihadists who have gone underground are expected to be arrested over the coming days, as information on their whereabouts emerges from the investigation….
Turkish delegation comes to Gaza to discuss electricity crisis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 July — A Turkish governmental delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning in order to discuss the electricity crisis in the blockaded Palestinian coastal enclave, official Palestinian sources said. The Turkish news agency Anadolu quoted Gaza Foreign Affairs Ministry Undersecretary Ghazi Hamad as saying that a Turkish delegation headed by the country’s ambassador to the PA had arrived in Gaza via the Erez border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Sources in the Palestinian civil liaison office told Ma‘an that the delegation included Turkey’s minister of energy along with eight other officials. Earlier this month, Turkey normalized its diplomatic relations with Israel, ending a six-year standoff sparked by the 2010 Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship attempting to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip which resulted in the death of ten Turkish activists. While Turkey notably conceded on its demand that Israel lift its near decade-long blockade on the Gaza Strip, Israel did agree to allow Turkey to deliver aid, with the stipulation that deliveries pass through the Ashdod port, to then continue to Gaza through land crossings. The first such aid ship arrived earlier this month. The besieged Palestinian enclave has experienced severe electricity shortages in past months, exacerbating already dire living conditions in the small Palestinian territory.
Gaza farmers demand IDF compensation for herbicide spraying
+972mag 11 July by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — The Israeli army sprayed herbicides in the Gaza Strip late last year, causing damage to hundreds of acres of Palestinian farmland. Now the farmers want an investigation — and compensation — A number of Palestinian farmers are demanding compensation from the State of Israel for damage their crops and land sustained as a result of the IDF aerially spraying herbicides inside the Gaza Strip last year, a practice first confirmed by +972 Magazine. In late December, the IDF confirmed to +972 that it used crop-dusters to kill off vegetation — and perhaps inadvertently, agricultural crops — inside the Gaza Strip. No other Israeli media outlet had reported on the practice at the time. “The aerial spraying of herbicides and germination inhibitors was conducted in the area along the border fence in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations,” a military spokesperson said in December. According to Palestinian officials, over 420 acres of land were damaged by that round of spraying. In a letter to Israeli military officials on behalf of Ibrahim Abu Ta‘aymeh, a spinach farmer from Khan Younis, three Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups detailed NIS 11,400 (nearly $3,000) in damages.
Video: Operation Gaza
Al Jazeera 11 July 14:11 minutes — In war and disaster zones, a lack of specialist surgeons on the ground often means patients don’t get the life-saving treatment they desperately need. But advances in technology are allowing surgeons to communicate across international borders. This means they can share their skills with surgeons in areas which need them most. Gaza has been the scene of conflict between Palestine and Israel for decades. The latest war in 2014 killed more than 2,200 people, the majority of them Palestinians. After the war, 18-year-old Fadel was seriously injured, when an unexploded ordnance went off in his hand. Join Dr Javid Abdelmoneim in Gaza to follow an extraordinary surgery using augmented reality technology. The technology enables a surgeon in Lebanon to lend his expertise and provide guidance to a life-changing operation in Gaza. [warning: graphic]
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli demolitions displace dozens of Palestinians
Al Jazeera 13 July by Patrick Strickland — Israeli forces have displaced at least 43 United Nations-registered refugees in a “large-scale demolition” of Bedouin homes and structures in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Among the buildings destroyed in the West Bank’s Anata village were seven homes, four animal shelters and four outdoor washrooms, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said in a statement on Wednesday. Three of the buildings demolished on Tuesday were funded by an international NGO, he said. Seven Palestinian families comprised of 43 people, including 25 children, were displaced by the demolitions, Gunness said. They also included a 48-year-old father with Parkinson’s disease, a 48-year-old man who is unable to walk, an 84-year-old woman and another woman who is seven months pregnant. “It is heartbreaking to see such shocking disregard for international law and the impact it is having on an entire UN protected community,” Gunness said. “While condemning this disregard for international law, we would respectfully remind Israel, the occupying power, that under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it has an obligation to respect family rights, including the dwellings of the protected population – not destroy them.” A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories did not reply to Al Jazeera’s request for a comment.
Israeli forces demolish three homes in East Jerusalem neighborhood
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — Israeli bulldozers demolished three houses under construction and a steel structure in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, after Israeli forces claimed the owners lacked proper licenses. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli municipality officials escorted by Israeli forces and a bulldozer raided Jabal al-Mukabbir and demolished three under-construction homes belonging to the Eweisat, Abu Sakran and Aqil families, in addition to a steel structure used for housing livestock. Amer Eweisat told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided and demolished his house, which was empty at the time of the incident, without any prior notice or warning. Eweisat began building the new 100-square meter space house around a month ago, with the hopes of moving in with his family of five. Israeli bulldozers demolished a 50-square meter house that was also still under construction and a steel structure used for housing sheep that belonged to Ali Issa Abu Sakran. Abu Sakran said that the family was building the house for Ali’s brother, who is currently held in Israeli prison and is expected to be released in the coming days. Israeli bulldozers demolished a third house under construction belonging to Hasan Aqil, whose family began building on the 70-square meter space three months ago.
Report: Israel creates settlers’ state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 12 July – Statistics revealed that the number of demolitions and confiscations by Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2016 have increased by 450% in comparison to 2015, signaling a covert attempt to establish a state for Israeli settlers in the Palestinian state. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the number of Israeli settlers and settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has multiplied by 600%. The Israeli population illegally occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem is gradually turning Palestinians’ dreams in statehood onto a mirage. As of December 31, 2015, the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem surpassed 765,000, a huge increase since 1993 when the number barely reached 105,000. Data revealed that the growth rate of the settler population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is higher than that among Israelis in Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The increase in the number of settlers is estimated at 5.8% in comparison to 1.8% in Israel and 2.9% among Palestinians … As for confiscated land, Israel has taken over 7,773 dunums of land between January and June 2016 mostly in Jericho, Bethlehem and Salfit, an increase by 439% in comparison to 2015….
’14 West Bank settler outposts to be legalized, 20 already approved’
JPost 11 July by Tovah Lazaroff — In the last four years Israel has advanced plans to legalize 14 West Bank outposts and has approved 20 such fledgling hilltop communities, Peace Now said in a new report it issued on Monday. “The retroactive legalization of illegal outposts is a slap in the face of the Quartet,” asserted Peace Now, referencing a report issued by the Quartet earlier this month on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To the disappointment of the Palestinians, that report did not blame settlement building for the frozen peace process. For Netanyahu to continue settlement activity in the wake of such a report, Peace Now said, is a signal to “Israel’s most important allies that he is not interested in peace and two states but rather in the continuation of the occupation.” … Before Netanyahu took office in 2009, the international community and many left-wing Israelis expected Israel to remove some 100 unapproved fledgling communities known as outposts. However, Netanyahu’s government sought to authorize such communities when possible, viewing such outposts not as illegal, but rather places that had not yet received authorization. Similarly Netanyahu has also sought to retroactively legalize unauthorized settler homes in existing settlements. According to Peace Now, plans were advanced to retroactively legalize 314 settler homes in the first half of 2016….
Report: Israeli forces torch olive trees on private Palestinian land
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 July — Israeli forces have reportedly torched 10 dunams (2.5 acres) of land planted with olive trees south of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority. The Hebron office of the authority released a report on Monday that said its inspectors saw the scorched land in the Um Suwwana neighborhood near the village of al-Ramadin, and managed to take photos from a distance but couldn’t access the land because it lay just beyond Israel’s separation wall. The trees belonged to the al-Sawaada family from al-Ramadin. The authority estimated that the land was torched a few weeks ago, and determined it had been carried out by the Israeli army, based on testimonies gathered by locals. An Israeli army spokesperson could not immediately confirm the reports as the authority’s statement excluded a specific date of the incident. The Environmental Authority carries out regular field visits across the occupied West Bank to document “Israeli violations against environment in Palestine.”
Other news, opinion
Israeli defense chief blocks peace mission to West Bank
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AP) 12 July — The office of Israel’s defense minister says it has blocked an Israeli delegation from traveling to the West Bank to meet with the Palestinian president. Avigdor Lieberman’s office said Tuesday it refused to allow the group to travel to Ramallah the previous day because the Palestinian team it was to meet included Mohammed al-Madani, an aide to President Mahmoud Abbas overseeing outreach to Israeli society. Lieberman has accused al-Madani of “subversive activities.” The Israeli delegation was from the Geneva Initiative, a group that promotes a negotiated peace agreement with the Palestinians. It included Yossi Beilin, a former Cabinet minister and peace negotiator, and members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Gadi Baltiansky, the group’s director, accused Lieberman of using security as a “pretext” for pushing a political agenda.
World Bank approves additional $30M in budget support to PA
WASHINGTON, July 12, 2016 – The World Bank has transferred an amount of about $30 million to the Palestinian Authority from the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan Trust Fund (PRDP-MDTF), a multi-donor budget support mechanism administered by the Bank. The funds, contributed by the governments of Japan and Australia, will help support the urgent budget needs of the Palestinian Authority (PA), providing inter alia support for ongoing macroeconomic and public financial management reforms. The World Bank PRDP TrustFund was established on April 10, 2008, through an agreement signed between the World Bank and the Palestinian Authority. It is a central component of a World Bank’s effort to support the ongoing Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. Currently, the PRDP-MDTF donors are the governments of Australia, France, Kuwait, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Japan. With the new tranche release, the PRDP-MDTF will have disbursed about US$1.4 billion.
Palestinian peace activist refused entry permit for her own movie premiere
IMEMC 14 July by Ghassan Bannoura — ‘Combatants for Peace’ activist participating in new documentary film ‘Disturbing the Peace’ will not be able to participate in movie’s world premiere screening today at the Jerusalem Film Festival — Combatants for Peace (CfP) activist Shifa al-Qudsi was refused entry into Israel today in order to attend the world premiere of the new documentary Disturbing the Peace, in which she appears. The special screening will take place today at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2.15pm, and is set to be followed by Q&A with director Stephen Apkon and the “Combatants for Peace” activists who appear in the film, including al-Qudsi — however, Israeli security forces have prevented her participation. As a 24- year-old beauty technician from the West Bank town of Tulkarem, Shifa al-Qudsi was recruited for a suicide bombing in a supermarket in the nearby Israeli town of Netanya. Before she could complete her mission, Shifa was arrested and later convicted. She served a six year sentence in prison. There, Shifa realized that many Israelis wanted peace as well, and joined CfP after her release. Shifa still lives in Tulkarem, Palestine … The film follows its protagonists, Israelis and Palestinians, as they go from participating in violent action in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to becoming activists in the Combatants for Peace movement, which seeks to end the violence between both sides. Throughout their journey, and against the backdrop of another Gaza war brewing, they encounter the opposition of their respective societies that which see them as traitors….
Israeli reporter infiltrates Tel Aviv airport with fake ID and hoax bombs
MEE/Agencies 11 July — An undercover reporter was able to breach Israel’s famed security at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport with a friend’s photo identification card and managed to plant hoax “bombs” on passenger planes while working as a cleaner. David Suleiman passed security checks for a contractor’s job in a day despite turning up bald and presenting a photo ID of a friend with a full head of hair. He was given full access to sensitive areas of the airport, placed “tin can bombs” inside aircraft and was able to access the pilot’s cabin and film himself tampering with cockpit doors without raising any suspicions. Suleiman’s report was broadcast on Sunday by the Israeli Channel 2 network. The reporter said he arrived at an interview with the airport’s cleaning company and presented what was clearly the photo ID of another man, his friend Tamir. The ID went unchallenged. Working aboard aircraft, he filmed himself intentionally attempting to arouse suspicion inside the pilot’s cabin and tampering with the door. He used this apathy to plant drinks cans inside the aircraft in the emulation of an explosive device the Islamic State group said it used to bring down a Russian airliner last October over Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. “Over two days, I worked on 12 airplanes and I could have done whatever I wanted in all of them,” he told Channel 2. Suleiman then walked to an off-limits area where suitcases are loaded onto aircraft. Not only did his presence go unchallenged, he was even asked to help with the bags. The chief executive of Israel’s Security Association, Pini Shiff, said Suleiman’s fake ID “should have been discovered immediately”, Suleiman’s expose was “very grave” and accused the contractor company of negligence. Shiff added that security procedures at Ben Gurion had been immediately changed. The Israel Airports Authority filed a police complaint against Suleiman for impersonating a public employee.
Israel outlaws ‘Iran-funded’ Palestinian group
AFP 11 July — Israel announced Monday it had outlawed a Palestinian group it says acted as a front for Iran-directed militant activities targeting Israelis and the regime of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed the order outlawing Al-Hirak Al-Shababi (“the youth movement”) at the recommendation of the Shin Bet internal security agency, a ministry statement read. The decision followed “significant information indicating that the group is directed by Hezbollah and Iran to carry out attacks against Israelis, and ignite a wave of violence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem at Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” it read. While the group claimed to be a collective of youths seeking to change the situation in the West Bank through civil activity, it was in fact “a terror group headed by two opponents of the Palestinian Authority”, the statement read. The defence ministry named them as Munir Asli, living in Lebanon, and Hilmi Balbisi, living in Jordan. It said they are “directed and funded by Hezbollah and Iran,” which have both transferred “hundreds of thousands of shekels” over the past two years to fund the group’s activities. Members of Al-Hirak Al-Shababi were engaged in firebombing and bombing attacks on Israeli targets in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as stirring unrest on the volatile Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the city. The group’s goals included “toppling the regime of (Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas) and collapsing the Palestinian Authority.” Israel’s army sees the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah as its main enemy, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers Iran to be the region’s main destabilising element.
Israeli army clamps down on West Bank weapons makers
AFP 12 July — The Israeli army has closed 16 Palestinian workshops in the West Bank used to make weapons, in a clampdown since the start of the year, an officer said on Tuesday. “As part of our war against the production of homemade weapons, we have seized 200 weapons, ammunition and grenades and closed 16 illegal workshops since early 2016,” Colonel Roman Gofman said. In a conference call with reporters, he said the campaign also targeted Palestinian shops selling firecrackers, which can be used to make grenades and improvised explosive devices. “Our operations have led to a surge in the price of weapons in general,” Gofman said. It has caused the price of assault rifles such as Kalashnikovs to rise to 40,000 to 50,000 shekels ($10,300-$13,000), which he said “limits the ability of local terrorist groups to easily equip themselves”. As a result, he said, those in charge of workshops now “think twice before selling their weapons to terrorist groups in the knowledge that the Israeli army is after them”. The colonel declined to give details on the extent of cooperation between the army and the Palestinian Authority’s security forces in the fight against the production and trafficking of weapons in the West Bank.
Israel’s controversial ‘NGO bill’ passes into law amid international criticism
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 July– Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, passed the controversial “NGO bill” into law late Monday with 57 votes in favor and 48 against, following a contentious six-hour plenary debate, as human rights groups and opposition Knesset members condemned the legislation for seeking to “silence criticism” of Israel and delegitimize left-wing groups. The legislation — also referred to as the “transparency bill” — compels organizations to reveal their sources of funding if more than 50 percent came from public foreign entities. Organizations in Israel that rely on public foreign funding also tend to oppose the government’s right-wing policies and human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, the law would not affect right-wing organizations who rely largely on private funding from overseas. “The very existence of this law aims to harm and prevent a specific type of organization from acting proudly for the sake of Israeli society,” the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said in a statement on Tuesday. “The law is but one of a series of bills and initiatives that oppose legitimate social and political action. Instead of facilitating debate, there are individuals who wish to silence criticism.” The Israeli human rights watchdog Peace Now also condemned the bill’s passage, saying that the law was “a blatant violation of freedom of expression.” ….
Khalida Jarrar: A lifelong quest to heal Palestine
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 11 July by Sheren Khalel — The morning after Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar, 53, was released after 15 months in Israeli prison, she had an important meeting to attend. The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) was meeting to discuss a number of laws, and Jarrar refused to miss it, even though her months in detention had taken a toll. The left-wing parliamentarian, feminist and advocate of prisoners’ rights never thought she would lead such a public life, but even as a child, she could always see the broken bits of society – from living under the Israeli occupation to gender inequality – and desperately wanted to play a role in fixing them. “It all happened gradually … Things in my political career and my activism just kind of flowed to this point,” Jarrar told Al Jazeera, just days after her release last month. Exhausted, she lit a cigarette as she sat barefoot in her family’s living room in central Ramallah. “I have meetings all day today,” she said. “This morning has been the only time I’ve had to myself since I was released.”….
Israel puts Palestinians on the defensive with ‘martyrs’ fund’
[with MANY photos] BANI NAIM, West Bank (AP) 11 July — The family of a Palestinian high school dropout who killed a 13-year-old Jewish settler girl in her sleep [a very atypical attack] last month before being shot dead is now eligible for $350 a month from a Palestinian fund for “martyrs.” Israel argues that such stipends for families of Palestinians killed or wounded in the conflict promote violence by rewarding attacks, and has stepped up a campaign against the fund after a series of killings of West Bank settlers. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the payments “an incentive for murder,” and a government spokesman said that starting next month, Israel would deduct those sums from monthly transfers of taxes and customs it collects on behalf of the Palestinians. Palestinians scoff at the idea that money, along with alleged anti-Israel incitement, is a key motive for a nearly year-long rash of stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks on Israelis. They say attackers are driven by despair over the chokehold of half a century of Israeli occupation or a desire to avenge others killed by Israeli troops or armed civilians. “I don’t think anyone is willing to sacrifice his life for money. And for us as a family, all the money in the world won’t replace my son,” said Nasser Tarayreh, a well-to-do merchant from the West Bank town of Bani Naim whose 17-year-old son Mohammed killed a sleeping Israeli girl in the Kiryat Arba settlement on June 30. The elder Tarayreh said that rather than profiting from the attack, as Israel claims, the family will pay dearly. It has received a notice ordering the demolition of its two-story villa. Such demolitions of family homes are standard Israeli retribution for attacks … The fund makes monthly payments to about 35,000 families of Palestinians killed and wounded in the long-running conflict with Israel, with a budget of $170 million this year, according to Palestinian figures….
Israel secretly seeking restitution for Jewish property from Arab states, Iran
Haaretz 13 July by Jonathan Lis & Ofer Aderet — Israel is working secretly to obtain the return of Jewish property in Arab countries, Social Equality Ministry Director-General Avi Cohen said Wednesday, adding that millions of shekels have been allocated to the process. Speaking to a Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee hearing on restitution, Cohen said, “There is classified activity in conjunction with the Foreign Ministry in which we will invest millions to restore property belonging to Arab and Iranian Jewry, which will come to fruition within a month to a month-and-half. I cannot elaborate further.” Alon Simhayoff of the National Security Council confirmed the statement, adding that the covert move has the backing of the Prime Minister’s Office and the NSC. The news that Israel is secretly working to secure the return of property stolen from the Jews of the Islamic world some 70 years ago is surprising. Though the restitution issue resurfaces in the public debate every few years, until now, virtually nothing has been done about it … Though numbers aren’t exact, it is believed that nearly a million Jews resided in Arab countries and in Iran on the eve of the War of Independence in 1948. After Israel was established, around 600,000 of them immigrated to Israel over the next three decades in waves that continued in 1956 and 1967 and after the Iranian revolution in 1979. A State Comptroller report published 2014 blasted the state for neglecting the issue, and put the combined value of the lost assets at “a few billion dollars.” ….
Facebook closes Hamas leader’s account
JPost 13 July by Adam Rasgon — Facebook again closed Hamas politburo member and Khaled Mashaal confidante Ezzat al-Rishq’s Facebook account on Tuesday. Rishq condemned the action, tweeting, “I condemn Facebook’s administration for closing my personal account for the seventh time in a row, and I consider the [decision as displaying] bias in favor the occupation and its dictates and against the struggle of our people for the sake of freedom.” On Monday, the Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center NGO filed a lawsuit against Facebook in US district court in Manhattan. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of Shurat Hadin, said in a press release that Facebook bears responsibility for allowing Hamas leaders to use its platform.
Israeli lawyer files $1 billion suit against Facebook for being a ‘Hamas tool’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 July — An Israeli lawyer has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook Inc., claiming that the social media platform allowed members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to plan and carry out attacks against Americans and Israelis, Reuters reported on Monday. The lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, is representing five American families whose children were among four killed and one injured in separate attacks in 2014 by Hamas members in Israel and the occupied West Bank. Leitner submitted the suit to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 10, naming the plaintiffs as relatives of four Israeli-US dual nationals and one visiting US citizen. Among the identified plaintiffs were the families of Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old American who was abducted and killed in June 2014 after hitching a ride in the occupied West Bank, 3-year-old Chaya Braun, whose stroller was struck by a Palestinian driver in October 2014 at a train station in Jerusalem, and Taylor Force, an American student who was killed in an attack in March. “Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social network platform and communication services,” Bloomberg cited the lawsuit as saying. According to Leitner, this would make the social media giant liable for the violence against the five Americans….
Opinion: God save America – from becoming this Israel / Bradley Burston
Haaretz 12 July — Do what you have to, America. Don’t let hatred win and bigotry take power. Don’t take that road, America. We know how it ends — The country of my birth is slashed and broken. In the shock and anxious doubt in the wake of eight killings in three days in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas, I can barely recognize the United States I thought I knew. But this much I can recognize: Never has America seemed more like this Israel. “I never really understood how fascism could have come to Europe, but I think I understand better now,” commentator David Brooks wrote on Tuesday in The New York Times. People, he wrote, “begin to base their sense of self-worth on their tribe, not their behavior. They become mired in their resentments, spiraling deeper into the addiction of their own victimology. They fall for politicians who lie about the source of their problems and about how they can surmount them.” Brook’s colleague Charles M. Blow described a nation in which too many “seem to be living with an ambient terror that someone is somehow targeting them.” Back here in Israel, we know only too well the potential triggers and dark consequences of a nation in prolonged anguish, apprehension, and despair. America, we’re way ahead of you.…
How AIPAC is using black leaders to erase Palestinian suffering from the Democratic Party platform
Alternet 10 July by David Harris-Gershon, tikkun.org The American Israel Public Affairs Committee strategically recruits and educates black leaders to defend Israel from critique — This is the story of how a powerful lobbying organization enlists black Americans – victims of oppression and state violence for centuries – to mask the suffering of another oppressed people. It is the story of how the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) strategically recruits and educates black leaders to defend Israel from critique. And it is the story of how Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation suffer in ways that reverberate upon America’s streets – where black bodies are bruised, bloodied and destroyed under the weight of police violence, mass incarceration, and disenfranchisement.