Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers kill 12-year-old Palestinian with rubber bullet during clashes in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 July — A 12-year-old Palestinian was killed Tuesday evening during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the town of al-Ram north of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank after he was struck in the heart by a rubber-coated steel bullet, according to medical sources. The Palestinian teen, who was pronounced dead on arrival at the Palestine Medical Center, was identified by the Palestinian Ministry of Health as 12-year-old Muhye Muhammad Sidqi al-Tabbakhi. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an she would look into reports on the incident. Clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided the town of al-Ram, as Palestinian youths threw rocks and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who then responded by shooting live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas bombs into the community. Israeli forces have come under repeated criticism for excessive use of force, as well as lethal methods of crowd control that often result in death or injury of protesters.
Palestinian shot by Israeli forces after carrying out attack succumbs to wounds
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — A Palestinian man died Monday evening in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, succumbing to wounds he sustained after being shot and critically injured by Israeli forces earlier on Monday at the entrance of al-‘Arrub refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. A spokesperson for Shaare Zedek Medical Center confirmed his death to Ma‘an, saying that he died 10 minutes past 5 p.m. on Monday after being hospitalized in intensive care. The man, identified as Mustafa Baradiya, had allegedly carried out an attack with a screwdriver at the military checkpoint on Route 60, lightly injuring two Israeli soldiers, who responding by shooting and severely injuring Baradiya in the abdomen. A spokesperson from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society told Ma‘an Monday afternoon their medics were the first to respond to the incident and treated both Baradiya and the two soldiers before Israeli ambulances reached the site. “The Palestinian civilian was injured in the lower abdomen and was bleeding severely and we managed to stop the bleeding. Meanwhile, one of the soldiers was stabbed in the hand and was bleeding severely as well, and we managed to stop his bleeding. The other soldier suffered minor wounds in the neck,” the Red Crescent spokesperson said. An Israeli ambulance later arrived and evacuated Baradiya to Shaare Zedek.Baradiya was from the village of Surif in northern Hebron, though he had been living in Beit Fajjar in the district of Bethlehem working as a math teacher. He was 51 years old according to Palestinian media. His brother, 50-year-old Ibrahim Baradiya, was shot and killed by Israeli forces at the entrance of al-‘Arrub refugee camp on April 14 after allegedly attempting to attack a soldier with an ax. Prior to Ibrahim Baradiya’s killing, there had been no Palestinian or Israeli fatalities recorded in the context of attacks or clashes for two consecutive weeks — the longest period without deaths since the escalation of violence in October 2015, according to UN documentation. Since April however, violence has surged yet again, with a series of deadly incidents occurring in the Hebron district in particular, with many of its villages being placed under blockade in the wake of two shooting attacks that occurred in Hebron, one on Route 60, as Israeli forces searched for the gunmen….
5 Palestinians injured with live fire during Israeli demolition of prisoner’s home
JENIN (Ma’an) 18 July — Five Palestinian civilians were injured by Israeli live fire during the predawn hours of Monday, as Israeli forces carried out a punitive demolition on the home of Palestinian prisoner Bilal Ahmed Abu Zeid. Under the protection of armed Israeli soldiers, bulldozers entered the town of Qabatiya in the Jenin district early Monday morning, where they demolished the home of Abu Zeid, who has been accused of transferring weapons to the attackers suspected in the killing of a 19-year-old Israeli border police officer and wounding of one other outside the Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem in February. Kamal Abu al-Rub, deputy governor of the city of Jenin, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces began the demolition process at 3 a.m. near the main road of Qabatiya, where the house was located. Abu al-Rub added that five young men were wounded by live ammunition during clashes with Israeli troops, with one in serious condition. The young Palestinians were taken to Jenin Hospital, and were identified as Abd al-Rahman Suleiman, 20, who was shot in the chest and remained in critical condition, Rami Zakarneh, 28, who was shot the shoulder, Anwar Kamil, 17, who was shot in the leg, Jawad Kamil, 16, who was shot in the waist, and a fifth young man, who remained unidentified. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed Monday’s demolition, saying that Israeli forces identified “three hits,” referring to the young men injured with live fire, adding that clashes broke out which reportedly involved residents of Qabatiya firing towards Israeli soldiers.
Israeli forces fire at Palestinian driver, detain him after apparent traffic accident
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli forces on Monday morning opened fire at a Palestinian truck after it collided with an Israeli vehicle on Route 60, a main highway near Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Witnesses told Ma‘an that in an apparent traffic accident between a Palestinian-plated vehicle and an Israeli-plated vehicle, Israeli soldiers opened fire at the truck with a Palestinian registration plate. Israeli soldiers then detained the Palestinian driver after he pulled over his vehicle. Local sources identified him as Hisham Mahmoud Abu Ayyash from the village of Beit Ummar north of Hebron.
Israel to release slain Palestinian body, shot by Israeli forces during West Bank raid
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Israeli authorities announced on Tuesday that Israel would return the slain body of 22-year-old Anwar al-Salaymeh to his family after holding his body for six days, according to Addameer lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud. Mahmoud told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities decided to return al-Salaymeh’s body at the Beituniya checkpoint in the central occupied West Bank on Tuesday night without any preconditions. However, they did not specify a specific hour. Spokesperson of the Fatah movement Thaer Fasfous said that al-Salaymeh’s body would be buried at the ‘Anata cemetery. Al-Salaymeh was killed in the town of al-Ram in the West Bank’s Jerusalem district during predawn hours after allegedly attempting to run over Israeli soldiers while in his vehicle with two friends, Faris al-Rishq, who was critically injured during the incident, and Muhammad Nassar. Nassar vehemently denied the charges after being detained and interrogated by Israeli forces following the incident. Instead, the friends claim they were on their way to a bakery and did not know there was a raid being carried out in the town. After seeing their car, Israeli forces surrounded them and opened live fire … There are some seven slain Palestinians still being held by Israeli authorities, some of which have been held for more than eight months, as the families have continued to appeal to the Supreme Court for their release.
Palestinian boy hurt in hit-and-run accident with suspected settler in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 July — A 12-year-old Palestinian boy was moderately injured on Monday morning in a hit-and-run accident with a car allegedly driven by an Israeli settler in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Locals told Ma‘an that a car with Israeli plates hit the boy and sped away, adding that the driver was an Israeli settler. The claim could not immediately be confirmed. Medics for the Palestinian Red Crescent identified the injured boy as Hamza Mahmoud Rabaee, adding that he was evacuated to Hebron’s public hospital with a foot fracture and bruises on his body … Israeli settlers have been involved in a number of hit-and-run accidents with Palestinian pedestrians. However, Israeli settlers — who live in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in contravention of international law — are rarely arrested or prosecuted by Israeli authorities for crimes committed against Palestinians, or received lighter sentences than Palestinians committing similar crimes against Israelis.
18-year-old Palestinian girl briefly detained in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — An 18-year-old Palestinian girl was released after being detained by Israeli forces on Tuesday under suspicions of planning an attack near Rachel’s Tomb in northern Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, according to the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT). A statement released by COGAT, an Israeli government agency responsible for administering Israeli policies in the occupied territory, said that an 18-year-old girl was detained after Israeli soldiers suspected her of planning an attack. Israeli security forces interrogated the young girl before deciding she was not planning an attack and subsequently released her. An Israeli army spokesperson was not aware of the incident and could not provide details on reasons Israeli authorities suspected her of the attack or how long the interrogation lasted. However, she told Ma‘an she would look into reports.
Earlier in the day, Israeli forces raided an area around Rachel’s Tomb as thousands of Jewish Israelis visited the site, which is considered holy by Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Clashes often erupt between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers during Jewish pilgrimages to Rachel’s Tomb, as such visits typically occur alongside a heightened Israeli military presence near the entrance of Bethlehem and severe restrictions on Palestinian movement.
Israel detains Palestinian for allegedly planning attack 2 days after release from prison
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Israeli police detained a Palestinian resident of the occupied West Bank in East Jerusalem’s Old City on Monday, two days after he was released from prison, with Israeli police alleging the man was planning to commit a “terrorist” attack. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that after Israeli police and border guards officers approached and questioned a “suspicious” young man in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, they arrested him for not having an Israeli-issued permit to be in the city. After interrogating the Palestinian, identified as a 28-year-old resident of the Ramallah area in the occupied West Bank, Israeli police discovered he had been released from Israeli jail two days prior for unspecified “security” crimes. According to al-Samri, the suspect said during interrogations that he returned to Ramallah after his release and came to Jerusalem the next day with the intention of carrying out an attack against Israeli police officers. However, al-Samri did not indicate that the man had any weapons in his possession. The Arabic-language statement from al-Samri added that the man was also detained in 2004 for allegedly attempting to stab a police officer near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City, and served six months in jail, although Israeli news site Arutz Sheva reported that he had served a six-year sentence for the charges. His remand was expected to be extended later on Tuesday at the Jerusalem magistrate’s court. The incident, which was reported in Israeli media as a “foiled terrorist attack”, came after Israeli police on Sunday apprehended a Palestinian in Jerusalem with pipe bombs and knives on his person, who reportedly confessed he intended to carry out an attack along the light rail.
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers kidnap seventeen Palestinians in the West Bank’
IMEMC 18 July — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, earlier Monday, at least seventeen Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including one who came under fire of an armed Israeli paramilitary settler, before the soldiers abducted him. The Jerusalem Office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers broke into several homes in the occupied city, and kidnapped six Palestinians. It said the soldiers kidnapped Anas Abu Assab, 17, Daoud Yousef Ateyya, 17, Mohammad Omar Ateyya (minor), and Bassem Ma’touq, from their homes in the al-‘Eesawiyya town. The soldiers also kidnapped Netham Abu Ramouz, from his home in the al-‘Ezariyya town, southeast of Jerusalem, and Mohammad Abu Esbeitan from Beit Iksa village, northwest of the city, after storming and violently searching their homes.
Also in Jerusalem, soldiers and fanatic colonists stormed the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, attacked many Palestinians and kidnapped two, identified as Adel Abu Zneid and ‘Aahed Rezeq,before taking them to a nearby interrogation facility. The attack into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa was carried out through the al-Magharba Gate, when several small groups of soldiers and settlers started flooding the holy site after removing the Muslim worshipers.
Also on Monday at dawn, the army invaded several Palestinian areas in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, searched many homes and kidnapped four Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Aref al-Hjouj, from Bani Na‘im town, Nabil Kamel al-Ja‘bari, 38, Ali Mahmoud Abu Hasan, 21, and Shaddad Hammouda Sharha….
Israeli forces detain 20 Palestinians, including 6 university students
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Israeli forces detained at least 17 Palestinians in predawn military raids across the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, as well as three others on Monday afternoon, security and local sources told Ma‘an. Among the detainees were six undergraduate students from Nablus area villages studying at al-Najah National University in Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank … Israeli soldiers raided the Qalandiya refugee camp in the Ramallah district, where they detained Muath Elayyan, brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Imteir, Haitham Udwan and Muhannad Kanaan. In the Bethlehem district in the southern occupied West Bank, Israeli forces detained Hussein Muhammad Issa from the town of al-Khader, Ghassan Zawahra from the Duheisha refugee camp, and Muhammad Abu Mufarrih and Mousa al-Umour from the Tuqu‘ village east of Bethlehem.
Israeli forces also detained Muhammad Samir Mahmoud from the Old City in Occupied East Jerusalem. On Monday afternoon Israeli forces detained two other al-Najah University students at the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus. Local sources identified them as Abd al-Hafizh Muhammad Shehada from the village of Urif and Asaad al-Tawil from the village of Farata. Furthermore, Israeli forces reportedly detained a Palestinian woman, identified as Samahir Abd al-Qadir Masalma from the town of Beit ‘Awwa west of Hebron, while she was visiting her husband Nabil Masalma in Israel’s Ktziot prison in the Negev….
Illegal weapons seized in northern Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Israeli police and army forces raided and searched a house in the town of al-Ram in northern Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, according to a statement by an Israeli police spokesperson. Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a handgun, hunting gun, ammunition, and weapon-making tools were confiscated from the house. Two Palestinian residents of the town were arrested and transferred to interrogation with Israeli security forces, al-Samri added. Israeli forces also raided the town of al-Ram last week after Israeli forces, border guards and police reportedly found a blacksmith workshop that manufactured weapons. The raid resulted in the killing of 22-year-old Anwar al-Salaymeh after Israeli forces opened live fire on al-Salaymeh and his two friends in their car. Israeli authorities claimed they were attempting to carry out a car ramming attack. However, the friends have vehemently denied the claims, and said that instead they were driving to a bakery and were unaware a raid was being carried out.
Israeli police investigating suspected arson attack in Palestinian village of Dumat
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 July — Investigations by Israeli police were underway Wednesday morning after a house fire in the village of Duma in the northern occupied West Bank, as locals feared that Israeli settlers had set fire to the Palestinian home. The fire broke out around 3 a.m. Wednesday in a bedroom on the second floor of a house owned by Muhammad Fayiq Dawabsha. No injuries were reported. The Palestinian civil defense service said in a statement on Wednesday morning that investigations confirmed that a “very highly flammable material” had started the fire, and Dawabsha told them he heard a blast. The statement said civil defense investigators ruled out “all other possible causes of house fire.” After checking the electricity network, no evidence was discovered that the fire was caused by electricity short circuit, the statement added. When firefighters from the Nablus civil defense station responded to the house fire, local residents were already attempting to put out the fire. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement-related activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an after the fire broke out that “settlers were the main suspects in the apparent arson attack,” suggesting that Molotov cocktails could have been used. According to Daghlas, Dawabsha told him he “felt unusual movement around his house,” before the fire broke out.
Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that investigations into the incident were ongoing and that police were considering “long-term local Palestinian disputes” as a reason for the apparent arson attack. Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is common in the Nablus area, as the district is surrounded by 12 Israeli settlements and 37 outposts — the latter of which are illegal under Israel’s own laws, in addition to being in contravention of international law. In July 2015, suspected Israeli settlers set ablaze a family home in Duma, burning an infant alive. Both the baby’s parents later died from their wounds. The couple’s four-year-old son is the only remaining survivor of the attack….
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli court sentences Palestinian journalist to 6 months in prison over ‘incitement
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 July — An Israeli court on Monday sentenced a Palestinian journalist to six months in prison over charges of “incitement,” her family told Ma‘an. The family of Samah Dweik, a 25-year-old journalist working for Shabakat al-Quds (The Jerusalem Network), said that she was detained in April in her home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud over alleged “incitement” on Facebook. The Israeli magistrate court in Jerusalem found her guilty of posting “inciting” posts on social media. Amjad Abu Asab, the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, told Ma‘an in May that Dweik had been detained after writing a status and sharing an image in support of Palestinians recently killed by Israeli forces. In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by “incitement.” Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel’s nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon. In May, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) estimated that at least 28 Palestinian women had been detained by Israel since October over alleged “incitement” on social media, with six of them still in prison, including Dweik….
56 Palestinian detainees on hunger strike in solidarity with Bilal Kayed
IMEMC/Agencies 19 July via the Alternative Information Center, Beit Sahour.— Eleven Palestinian political prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) announced that they too will hunger strike for Bilal Kayed’s freedom. Now, a total of 56 Palestinian political prisoners are on open-ended hunger strikes in protest of Kayed’s ongoing incarceration. Kayed himself started hunger striking on June 15th, after Israeli authorities sentenced him to six months of administrative detention upon the expiration of his 14.5-year sentence in Israeli prison. Palestinian political prisoners worry that Kayed’s re-arrest following a lengthily prison term via an administrative detention order – i.e. without charges or trial – sets a dangerous precedent for all prisoners. Israeli authorities have been harassing Palestinian political prisoners organizing for Kayed’s freedom by transferring them between prisons, raiding their cells, and assaulting them. The PFLP characterizes these measures as evidence of Israeli authorities’ escalating efforts to quash the struggle for Kayed’s freedom and that of all political prisoners….
Imprisoned Palestinian brothers continue hunger strike into 3rd week
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Palestinian brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul have continued their hunger strike into the third week in protest of being placed under detention in Israeli prison without charge or trial, according to a statement released by a lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). The lawyer reported that the brothers, held in Israel’s Ofer prison, have experienced health issues as a result of their strikes. Muhammad, 26, has suffered from muscular spasms and his brother Mahmoud, 22, has lost 12 kilograms and has also suffered from spasms. Both have been on hunger strike for 16 days. The Israeli Prison Services (IPS) reportedly separated the brothers in two different cells that lack sunlight or fresh air. The cells have also been searched by IPS officials on a daily basis, according to the lawyer, while the brothers have been banned from going on breaks with the other prisoners. The brothers told PPS that they would continue their strike until they are released or Israel sets an exact date of their release. Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were detained on June 9 from Bethlehem, just two months after their 14-year-old sister, Nuran, was detained after attempting to cross Israel’s 300 checkpoint between northern Bethlehem and Jerusalem for allegedly possessing a knife, an accusation that locals denied….
Three Israeli minors charged for revenge arson attack, graffiti
Haaretz 20 July by Noa Shpigel — Three minors, all yeshiva students, were indicted in the Haifa District Juvenile Court on Tuesday in connection with setting fire to cars and spraying hate graffiti in Nazareth and the Arab village of Yafia in early June. Two of the accused were charged with the deliberate destruction of a vehicle for racist reasons, arson and interfering with the legal process, while the third was charged with failing to prevent a crime. The three were arrested on July 10. Two of them were denied a meeting with an attorney for three days. According to the indictment, the crimes committed by the minors were in revenge for the terror attack on Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market on June 8, in which four people were killed. On the afternoon of June 9, one of them placed a knapsack containing a bottle of benzene, spray paint, a hoodie and gloves in a wooded area near the yeshiva in which they studied. That night, two of them set out for Yafia, while the third kept watch outside the yeshiva. He was told by the other two to report their absence to the yeshiva if they didn’t return in about two hours. Arriving at a parking lot in the village, the two sprayed “price tag,” “revenge” and “revenge for those murdered in Tel Aviv” on three trucks that were parked there. One of the two also poured benzene on a car and it alight. The car was totally destroyed and a second car was partially damaged. The minors are being represented by attorney Lior Bar Zohar of Honenu, a nonprofit organization providing legal aid to Jews suspected of violent attacks against Palestinians. He told Haaretz that the initial charge of membership in a terror organization, a more serious crime, had been withdrawn….
Islamic Jihad fighter killed, 2 injured in tunnel collapse east of Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 July — A Palestinian fighter affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement was killed and two others were injured inside a tunnel which collapsed on Monday night underneath Israel’s southern border with the besieged Gaza Strip. The Islamic Jihad movement said in a statement that one of its fighters “died [as a] martyr during a Jihad mission” during the tunnel collapse, without giving more details. The statement identified the “fighter” as Salih Muhammad al-Astal from al-Qarara, north of the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Local medical sources in Gaza confirmed that two other fighters were injured in the same tunnel collapse. The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported earlier that the injured and deceased were evacuated to Nasser Hospital in the city. Al-Astal’s death marks the second death of an Islamic Jihad fighter as a result of a tunnel collapse this month….
Israeli navy shoots and injures Gaza fisherman, bulldozers level land near border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 July — Israeli naval ships opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat sailing off the coast of the northwestern Gaza Strip Tuesday morning, injuring a fisherman who was on board. A Gaza-based human rights organization which monitors Israeli attacks on fishermen told Ma‘an that a fisherman was hit in the hand and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Separately, Israeli bulldozers under military escort entered the central Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning and leveled land in eastern al-Bureji refugee camp, witnesses said. Locals added that they saw six armored Israeli bulldozers enter the Palestinian side of the border from a gate in the Wadi Abu Qatron area east of al-Bureij refugee camp. The bulldozers reportedly leveled lands and subsequently left. No gunfire was reported.
VIDEO: ‘Gaza in Context’ says root of conflict is quest for Palestinian land, without Palestinians
Mondoweiss 19 July by Philip Weiss — This is inspired. Two years after the onslaught on Gaza that killed over 2200 people, a group of activists, academics and artists has produced a new teaching video that aims at shifting the western narrative of the conflict. Its new 20-minute video is called “Gaza in Context.” Narrated by Noura Erakat, the film points out the roots of the conflict: for 70 years Israel has sought as much Palestinian land with as few Palestinians on it as possible, and the peace process has only served as a cover for this project. Erakat uses simple descriptions to convey the reality, that Israel now seeks to accustom Palestinians to “domination as a way of life – an unfathomable possibility to all humans, whose first instinct is to be free.” The film avoids the term Zionism entirely, and identifies the root of the conflict as settler colonialism. “This is a human-made disaster,” Erakat explains, and its resolution is a political one that depends on all of us to take action.
Ambulance interrogations delay seriously ill patients crossing into Israel from Gaza
Haaretz 20 July by Amira Hass — The questioning postpones their arrival to hospitals by several hours, and reduces the number of ambulances and paramedics available to answer other calls — Israeli security forces have started to interrogate seriously ill Palestinians while they are in ambulances en route to Israeli hospitals from the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, de facto delaying their arrival by several hours. The most recent incident that Haaretz is aware of happened last week. A 48-year-old man suffering from myocardial dysfunction was questioned in the ambulance for nearly an hour in the beginning of May. According to the information that reached Physicians for Human Rights, the investigator asked the patient’s wife if the couple or their sons belonged to any terror organization; he took the sons’ phone numbers and questioned the patient as well. The ambulance team was permitted to remain in the vehicle during the questioning. In mid-May, a 38-year-old man suffering from an intestinal tumor underwent two hours of questioning before the ambulance was allowed to proceed. In early April, a 32-year-old man with a cancerous growth in his knee who also suffers from incontinence was questioned for five hours. In this case, the patient’s chaperone and the ambulance team were told to leave the ambulance while the investigator was inside. When the questioning ended, the officer said the patient was a member of the Islamic Jihad and refused him entry into Israel … PHR has found that in many cases, the questioning is conducted to obtain information about Gaza and what’s going on there, and not to make a security assessment about the patient himself….
Gaza’s rich history is potential tourism draw
GAZA STRIP (EI) 18 July by Rami Almeghari — On a sandy Rafah hilltop in mid-April, a few workers were digging carefully into the dry land. The excavators, their tools basic, were from Gaza’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. The site they were digging — at 40 acres, Tel Rafah is among the largest of Gaza’s 30-odd archaeological sites — is believed to contain evidence of human settlement going back more than 4,000 years. It is sites like these that make Gaza unique, a treasure trove for archaeologists, historians and, potentially, the local economy. Military occupation, economic warfare, violence and a blockade going back nearly a decade mean that potential lies untapped even as it points to a possible way forward for one of the world’s most impoverished areas. A crossroads for civilizations trading with each other for thousands of years, Gaza’s history is storied. Palestinians in Gaza will proudly tell you that no one has managed to rule them long. They will cite the Ottomans, the British, the Egyptians and now the Israelis. But they could go back even further. Settlement can be traced as far back as 3,500 BCE to an ancient Egyptian maritime settlement that itself was preceded by a local Canaanite population. Gaza (Hazzatu) was mentioned in the Amarna letters, ancient correspondence from the 14th century BCE. It is depicted, too, on the 6th century Madaba Mosaic Map in Jordan. An important center for trade, many fought over Gaza. The Philistines, the Pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzar all invaded, Gerald Butt notes in his book Life at the Crossroads. Alexander the Great laid siege for two months and destroyed Gaza City in 332 BCE. The Romans took the city and gave it to Herod. Arabs, Turks and Mamluks all had their time there. Egypt’s Muhammad Ali controlled it in 1771 and Napoleon in 1799. It is not surprising that scholars of the ancient Middle East and archaeologists want to go there and get their hands dirty. This history could be of immense benefit to Palestinians in Gaza with the potential tourism industry it might create….
Gaza court issues death sentences to Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 July — Gaza’s military court issued death sentences on Tuesday against three Palestinians charged with collaborating with Israel, according to a statement released by the court. The statement said that two unidentified Palestinians were sentenced to execution by hanging for collaborating with Israel. One is a 59-year-old resident of Gaza City and the other is a 49-year-old resident of Khan Yunis. Another was sentenced to execution by shooting, identified by the statement as a 38-year-old resident of Gaza City. The statement added that a 35-year-old Palestinian from Rafah City was sentenced to 17 years in prison, while another Palestinian, a 49-year-old also from Rafah City, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for collaborating with Israel. In May, Gaza-based legislators decided that death sentences would be “obligatory after all possible appeals against them are completed.” This ratification of the death penalty law paves the way for the execution of at least a dozen Palestinians who have been sentenced to death in the besieged Gaza Strip. On May 17, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced that 13 Palestinians had been sentenced to death by Gaza courts and would be executed as soon as possible … Despite international condemnation, three Palestinians were executed by the Hamas government in Gaza earlier this year. Two of those convicted were executed as civilians by hanging and the third was executed as a “militant” by firing squad, according to law in the besieged Gaza Strip. The political affiliation of the supposed militant was not immediately clear.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces demolish structures in Silwan, Beit Hanina neighborhoods of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Israeli bulldozers escorted by Jerusalem municipality inspectors and Israeli police stormed two Jerusalem-area Palestinian neighborhoods of Silwan and Beit Hanina on Tuesday morning and demolished at least seven structures for lacking the required Israeli-issued permits. In Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, bulldozers demolished several structures belonging to the Abu al-Hamam and Abu Tayih families. One of the owners, Arafat Abu al-Hamam, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces demolished a single-room house measuring 36 square meters and three stories measuring 75 square meters each. The structures, he said, were built eight years ago. Israeli bulldozers also demolished a garage and small car wash facility belonging to the Abu Tayih family. The structures measured 30 square meters. According to Palestinian news site Quds Press, Abu al-Hamam, a father of eight, became unemployed along with two other workers as a result of the demolitions. Footage recorded by Quds Press after the demolition showed a child searching through the rubble for his toys. A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality told Ma‘an that the demolition orders for the structures in Silwan were issued in 2011. While Quds Press initially reported that Israeli police carried out the demolitions in Silwan without giving prior notice or issuing a demolition order, the municipality said: “After a five-year-long appeals process, in which the business owners were active participants, the court ruled to uphold the demolition order. No permit applications were filed, nor were any such applications filed retroactively during the five years of court proceedings.”
Meanwhile, in the Beit Hanina neighborhood northeast of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces closed the road to the Tal al-Foul area before bulldozers under military escort demolished a house under construction there. The owner, Sharhabil Alqam, told Ma’an he started building the house two months ago and was planning to move into the new house with his wife and seven children. The house measured 120 square meters. The Jerusalem Municipality spokesperson told Ma’an that the Beit Hanina structure was erected without Israeli-issued permits, and that “no such permits were ever filed or requested. Shortly after construction began about forty-five days ago, builders were given due notice and the option to appeal, which they did not exercise.”
Quds Press also reported that Israeli authorities on Tuesday forced a Palestinian to demolish his house in the Ein al-Louz area of Silwan. Many Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem are forced to demolish their own homes in order to avoid paying the high municipality fees to carry out the demolitions. While Palestinians frequently take their cases to Israeli courts after Israeli land confiscation and home demolition notices are ordered, they seldom win their cases in courts. The legal process can also be timely and too expensive for Palestinian residents to afford without the aid of rights organizations. Thirty-three percent of all Palestinian homes in the occupied city lack Israeli-issued building permits, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement, the United Nations reported in 2012….
Israel’s High Court gives state 90 days to explain foot-dragging over unrecognized Arab town
Haaretz 20 July by Jack Khoury — Administrative ping-pong keeps residents of Dahmash, an unrecognized village in central Israel, in legal limbo — The High Court of Justice has given the state 90 days to explain why the legal status of an unrecognized Arab village in central Israel has not been settled, either by official recognition or by annexation to a nearby community. Dahmash, located between Lod and Ramle, has a population of around 800 and is part of the Emek Lod Regional Council. Most of the village’s land was given by the authorities to its residents, who were moved there from other villages after the state was founded. The remainder was extended to them with a 50-year lease. In recent years residents have faced fines and demolition orders for building without a permit, since construction permits cannot be issued for communities lacking a master plan. Residents began to draw up draft plans, but the various zoning boards rejected them on the grounds that approval would constitute the establishment of a new town, which only the national government is authorized to approve … In its most recent update, it emerged that the interior minister, who was asked to decide on the matter, passed the decision to the Prime Minister’s Office, which tossed it back to the minister, indicating that at least some of the delay is the result of a dispute over who has the authority to make the decision. Another factor stems from the refusal of other local governments to accept responsibility; both Lod and Ramle refuse to agree to annexation and the Emek Lod Regional Council objects to declaring the village an independent entity….
Israel demolishes Palestinian graves in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 July — Employees of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority reportedly demolished Palestinian graves at the Bab al-Rahma [Gate of Mercy] cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, according to the committee for the preservation of Islamic cemeteries in Jerusalem. A member of the committee Hamzeh Hijazi told Ma‘an that employees of the Nature Authority, escorted by Israeli forces, raided the Bab al-Rahma cemetery — located alongside the eastern wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound — and proceeded to demolish four Palestinian graves using hand tools taken from the Palestinian families of Dibeh and al-Razem. Hijazi reported that the graves were empty. The Islamic Endowment Department condemned the demolition of Islamic graves, underscoring the need for these sites to be protected. Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority has reportedly confiscated parts of the cemetery’s land in the past, prohibiting Palestinians from digging grave plots in the confiscated zones. Rights groups have claimed the Nature Authority’s attention on the Palestinian cemetery reflects their larger goal of turning the area into a tourism park surrounding the Old City. The Bab al-Rahma cemetery is said to be more than 1,400 years old. [Two of Prophet Muhammad’s Companions are buried there.]
Ambassadors protest at Israel’s confiscation of Bedouin shelters
JERUSALEM (The Guardian) 18 July by Peter Beaumont — Eight ambassadors to Israel have written to the Israeli military accusing it of breaking international humanitarian law by confiscating shelters for Bedouins in the occupied West Bank that were paid for by European governments. The letter, sent privately to Maj Gen Yoav Mordechai earlier this month – and leaked to the Guardian – refers to two incidents in May and June of this year in which shelters funded by EU governments for Bedouins in the occupied territories were confiscated. The first incident took place on 16 May when the Israeli civil administration dismantled and confiscated “materials for 10 residential caravans in the community of Jabal al Baba, displacing 49 people” from what the letter describes as a “vulnerable” Bedouin community. The second incident referred to the “dismantling and confiscation” of seven caravans in Sateh el Bahir, six of which were being used as homes and the seventh as a kindergarten. Six families, numbering 26 individuals, were displaced. The letter is the latest evidence of growing tension between donor governments and Israel over EU aid to threatened Bedouin communities in the part of the occupied Palestinian territories designated as Area C, where Israel has full security and administrative control. According to a UN report from 2014, about 7,000 Palestinian Bedouins were living in Area C, 60% of them children. Most of the families have demolition orders pending against their homes and more than 85% lack connection to the electricity and water networks. Bedouins who make their living from herding are also disproportionately among the 6,000 Palestinians who have been displaced since 2008. Signed by the ambassadors to Israel of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Germany, Ireland and Norway, the letter describes the confiscated items as being “provided as part of a broader humanitarian intervention for vulnerable Palestinian households” coordinated by the UN and representing a loss of $64,500 (£49,000) to the donor governments….
Police arrest three children in Bedouin village as expulsion efforts continue
[with video] +972 mag 19 July by Mairav Zonszein — Two children, 12 and 13, were arrested in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib in Israel’s south on Monday, as the Jewish National Fund (JNF) entered the village accompanied by police forces to resume cultivating land for a forestation project. Another youth was also arrested Tuesday morning, the circumstances of which are still unclear. After a long and successful struggle to stop the JNF from cultivating the remaining plots of land that have not been destroyed, authorities returned this week, even establishing a camp southeast of the village’s cemetery. Two minors were arrested for allegedly disrupting police conduct and assaulting an officer; they were released the following day and ordered to keep away from the plots for 30 days. The land in question is currently in the process of ownership registration and has yet to be legally resolved. In 2012 an Israeli court ruled that no irreversible changes should be made on these plots of land, which the Bedouin families claim as their own. Despite promises made by JNF chairman Efi Stenzler to halt any work until the issue is cleared legally, tractors began plowing this week. Al-Araqib has been demolished 100 times since July 2010. It is one of 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev desert in southern Israel, which means Israel refuses to provide residents with connections to the national water and electricity grids, provide them with health and educational services, or any basic infrastructure….
Jewish settlers build West Bank hotels to attract Christian tourist dollars — and support
SHILOH, West Bank (The Forward) 17 July by Naomi Zeveloff — On a Thursday in June, a group of Christian tourists from San Jose, California, stood in a shady grove in Shiloh, a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Their tour guide, Yisrael ben Arie, who was wearing an “Ancient Shiloh” T-shirt and work boots, explained that they were standing on a stage where real-life Bible stories played out. An ancient Israelite society once existed here, he said, evidenced by a dusty stone rectangle that might have housed the Tabernacle. Visiting Shiloh is a way to “see the Bible coming alive,” said Mary Lou Perez, who was there with her husband, Osbaldo Perez, pastor of San Jose’s Jubilee Christian Center, an evangelical church. It’s an experience, she said, that would be much more vivid if her group of 130 could stay overnight in the West Bank. As of today, there are no large hotels in the Israeli settlements. Staying in a Palestinian city like Ramallah, Jericho or Bethlehem was out of the question for Perez’s tour, which she said was avoiding those areas out of safety concerns. Instead, her group was staying in a Jerusalem hotel. It was a shame, said Perez, who was on her third Christian trip to Israel and the West Bank. “Why won’t Israel or whoever is in charge of this build a nice big one?” she said. The next time Perez comes back, she might get her wish. Last June, the tourism ministry announced that it would cover 20% of hotel construction costs in the West Bank. The program is essentially seed money to set up a hotel infrastructure in an area where many tourists visit — estimates are about 1 million a year — but few stay overnight … For many settlers involved in tourism, blurring the line between Israel and the West Bank is exactly the point. They want the territories Israel captured during the Six Day War to be a typical stop on every tourist’s itinerary, just like the Tel Aviv beaches or the Dead Sea. The rationale is twofold: to bring more money to the settlements and to dispel preconceived notions about settlers by showing foreigners a good time in “Judea and Samaria,” the biblical terms many Israelis use for the West Bank….
Other news, opinion
Islamic Jihad not yet decided on participation in local elections in October
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 July — The Islamic Jihad movement announced on Tuesday that the group is still deliberating on whether to participate in the upcoming Palestinian local elections set to be held in October, according to the spokesperson of the movement. Daoud Shihab told Ma‘an that the Islamic Jihad group have not made a decision yet on the elections. “That does not mean that we are against or reject the elections,” Shihab said. “We welcome the elections because they can provide better services to Palestinians.” Six Palestinian parties so far have decided to take part in the local elections, including the ruling Fatah party, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA), and the Palestinian National Initiative. The Hamas movement also announced their participation in local elections on Saturday, paving the way for elections to be held in the besieged Gaza Strip for the first time in a decade.
New regulations would impede Palestinians seeking to sue Israeli employers
Haaretz 20 July by Tali Heruti-Sover — Jordan Valley farmers, who are frequently sued by their laborers for denial of basic rights, have welcomed new regulations — Palestinian laborers who work in Israel will face a new obstacle when they try to fight for their rights in Israeli courts, under new regulations being advanced by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked both of Habayit Hayehudi. Under the regulations, a person who is not an Israeli citizen or who has no assets in Israel who seeks to sue his employer for labor law violations would have to submit a financial guarantee to the court, which will be forfeited if the court determines the complaint was frivolous. The initiative has been dubbed the “Jordan Valley regulations” since it mainly affects laborers in that area, and is being welcomed by Jordan Valley farmers. It does not require Knesset approval, and will go into effect shortly, said Shaked’s office. No labor court currently requires the posting of any financial guarantees, whether the complainant is a citizen or not. Two years ago TheMarker published an investigative report on the exploitation of Palestinian workers in the Jordan Valley, which showed that local farmers do not grant these workers basic rights like a salary slip, minimum wage, and vacation and sick days. There are no written contracts between the farmers and their workers, so a farmer can fire an employee at will, even if he’s employed him for years.…
After stormy debate, Knesset approves law allowing ouster of lawmakers
Haaretz 20 July by Jonathan Lis — The Knesset passed into law a bill that lets it oust a sitting lawmaker – legislation that critics say targets Arab lawmakers deemed to be inciting against Israel’s interests. According to the law, which was passed with a majority of 62 votes against 45, the Knesset can oust a lawmaker for incitement to racism and support of armed struggle against the state. The expulsion requires a majority of 90 lawmakers, while to launch expulsion proceedings, the votes of 70 of the Knesset’s 120 members are required, including 10 from the opposition. The original version of the bill only required 61 MKs to launch the proceedings, and not necessarily anyone from the opposition. Members of the Joint List of Arab parties said they intend to appeal to the Supreme Court against the law. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the new legislation, saying in a Facebook post that it “puts an end to the absurdity: Those who support terrorism against the State of Israel and its citizens – won’t serve in Israel’s Knesset.” … MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) rejected claims that the law is targeting the Arab lawmakers. “You know that in actual fact, the only time this calling card has been activated was against Jews,” he said, referring at the rightwing extremist Meir Kahana, who was disqualified from running for Knesset in the 1980s….
Knesset advances bill to withhold names of soldiers under investigation
Haaretz 20 July by Jonathan Lis — The proposed law was inspired by the case of Sgt. Elor Azaria, the soldier on trial for manslaughter who shot and killed a subdued Palestinian assailant in Hebron — Publication of the names of soldiers and police officers under investigation for duty-related actions would be prohibited under a bill that was approved for legislation yesterday by the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Proposed by MK Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Union,) the bill is an amendment to the laws governing the military justice system, courts of law and the police. It can now proceed to its second and third readings in the plenum. Under the bill, the names and other identifying details of soldiers and police personnel under investigation will not be released as long as legal proceedings are underway and the person has not been convicted. The ban on publication would remain in force if charges are not pressed, charges are dropped or the person is found not guilty….
Israeli lawmakers significantly boost penalty for desecrating flag
Haaretz 19 July by Jonathan Lis — The Knesset gave final approval Monday to a law that significantly stiffens the penalty for showing disrespectful behavior toward the Israeli flag. Under the new legislation, the maximum sentence for offensive behavior will be three years in prison and a fine of 58,400 shekels ($15,100). Previously, the maximum sentence was a year in jail and a fine of 300 liras – a currency Israel hasn’t used in decades and whose value today would be near zero….
Israel approves fence along Jordan border to prevent infiltration of jihadists
Haaretz 19 July by Gili Cohen — Israel is planning to build a separation fence along the northern part of the border with Jordan in order to prevent the infiltration of global jihadists from Islamic State and other movements. Fear of scenarios in which booby-trapped cars speed towards the border or shootings occur prompted the plan, which was drawn up by the Defense Ministry and approved by senior ministry officials. This stretch of the fence will be located in the southern Golan Heights, close to where the borders of Israel, Jordan and Syria meet. On Tuesday, Israeli security forces arrested two Palestinians attempting to smuggle firearms across the border from Jordan. The troops seized 20 handguns and five M16 assault rifles. The suspects were taken for interrogation. In 2013 the Defense Ministry completed the construction of a massive 90-kilometer-long separation fence in the Golan Heights that stretches from Mount Hermon in the north until Hamat Gader. The new fence — which includes a surveillance system to detect border infiltrations — will be erected south of Hamat Gader. It will be a few kilometers long and cost 27 million shekels ($7 million), according to a source in the defense establishment. Last year the cabinet approved the start of another separation fence along Israel’s southern border with Jordan, in the Arava desert, near the site of the international airport being constructed in Timna.
Teacher’s in: Palestinian kids giving Jews impromptu Arabic lessons in Jerusalem streets
Haaretz 18 July by Eetta Prince-Gibson — Palestinian children often come to West Jerusalem to do odd jobs. Now, one group of kids has decided to ‘make peace with the Jews’ by teaching them Arabic on the street — With a quick skip, Haneen, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl, comes up close to an elderly woman carrying flowers and walking a small dog along Jerusalem’s fashionable Emek Refaim Street. It’s Friday morning and there are plenty of passersby. Confidently, Haneen, with deeply dark eyes and a pretty smile, asks, “Do you want to learn Arabic?” She points to her grey T-shirt, with blue and red lettering identifying her as an “Arabic Teacher.” “I’m not sure,” the woman hesitates. “It’s only 10 shekels, ($2.50)” Haneen insists, and, in broken Hebrew, motions her over to a Charlie Brown-like table and bench. A hand written sign advertises, in English: “The Teacher is In. 10-minute Arabic lessons… Kids from Hebron. Peace.” The woman sits down with Haneen on the bench, the dog at their feet. Haneen hands her a printed page. “10-minute Arabic Lesson…Lesson #1,” is written on the top. This is the second consecutive Friday that Haneen, together with her siblings and cousins – Innas, 10, Abdullah, 12, Mohammed, 14, and Mohanid, who says he’s 18 but looks more like a diminutive 14 – have set up shop at this corner … Robby Berman, a longtime resident of the German Colony neighborhood, says it was his idea to turn the children into improvised teachers … Benjamin Nathanzon, a student from Haifa studying in Jerusalem, says “these lessons are great. No politics, just learning. See, I learned to say, ‘Kulna fi hawa sawa,’ (an expression meaning ‘We’re all in the same boat’).” Everyone laughs as he mispronounces the newly-learned phrase. “OK, I need to practice,” he admits. –Fear and loathing– Not everyone is happy about the children’s presence. “I worry,” says a woman who gives her name as Shoshana. “They are just cute kids, but they could also be a security risk. A terrorist could take advantage of them and give them a knife.” “I’m not going to pay any Arab anything,” mutters a teenager as he runs by. A child, appearing to be the same age as the teachers, rides his bike up close to Mohanid, swerving at the last second to avoid hitting him, and mutters “filthy Arab, get out of here.” The children also fear disapproval or retribution in the village near Hebron from which they hail, and don’t want their last names given or their pictures taken….
Israeli opposition leader warns of ‘uprising of hatred’ in Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 July — Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog warned of what he called “growing hatred and racism” in Israel encouraged by right-wing politicians, adding that it could pave the way for further deadly violence, Hebrew-language news site NRG reported on Monday. “We are on the verge of an uprising of hatred, racism, darkness and upcoming killings and assassination based on the overwhelming internal hatred here,” NRG quoted Herzog as saying during a speech at a Zionist Camp parliamentary bloc session on Monday. “We hear hatred at every turn, whether it is directed towards women by military rabbis, by Ashkenazi Jews against Sephardi Jews and Mizrahi Jews against Ashkenazis, from military school rabbis towards homosexuals, or between Arabs and Jews,” the Labor Party leader added, notably in reference to the recent appointment of Eyal Karim, who has implicitly justified the rape of women in times of war, as the new chief rabbi of the Israeli army. Herzog went on to blame the current Israeli government, which he said has encouraged the growing right-wing discourse in Israeli society … “Whoever heads this government remains silent about the uprising of hatred, without working against it, ending it, taking steps against its leaders, or preventing those behind it from receiving funding.” “They have forgotten that protecting the weak is a major condition of being Jewish, in addition to tolerance and protecting democracy, values and morals. It seems that Netanyahu has forgotten the meaning of being Jewish,” Herzog said….
Through an author’s eyes: 50 years of Israeli occupation
[with photos] HEBRON, West Bank (AP) — Notebook in hand, acclaimed Irish author Colm Tóibín walks into Hebron to observe Israeli military rule in its rawest form. In the heart of the West Bank’s largest Palestinian city, several hundred combat troops guard an equal number of ultra-nationalist Jewish settlers, enforcing a separation system that lets settlers move freely at the expense of Palestinians and has turned a once vibrant market into a ghost district. Moments after Tóibín reaches a small plaza in downtown Hebron, the quiet of largely deserted streets gives way to violence. Two Israelis sitting at a cafe table spot Tóibín’s escort, Israeli peace activist Yehuda Shaul, and begin cursing him. Shaul turns and stares at the pair, but says nothing. The two jump up and walk toward him. Suddenly, one of them attacks a videographer in Tóibín’s group who was filming the scene, breaking the camera with a kick. Israeli troops who witness the assault refuse to detain the attackers, who eventually slip away. Tóibín, 61, stands back and takes notes on what Shaul later describes as routine settler lawlessness in Hebron. The troubled city is the last stop on Tóibín’s weeklong visit to Israel and the West Bank. He’s collecting material for an essay, his contribution to an anthology on Israeli occupation that will be published at the 50-year mark in June 2017. The book will include essays from 20 international writers, including Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, and six local authors. Each tackles a different subject, from Israel’s military court system to grieving Jewish and Arab families who lost loved ones to violence. The work is based on observations during tours similar to Tóibín’s. Tóibín, who last visited in 1992, said he was struck most by the elaborate system of Israeli control over Palestinians, including roadblocks and fences, and the energy spent on maintaining it. “All of us have been surprised by the amount of architecture and engineering required to make sure one side is locked in and the other side is free to move,” said Tóibín … In writing about his experience, Tóibín said he will avoid words like “occupation” and “”settlements” that he believes convey little meaning. “What I want to use are the smaller words to let people actually see what it is like on the (given) day for people who are humans under the same sky,” he said.