Violence / Detentions — Jerusalem / West Bank
Israeli forces violently suppress clashes in sealed Hebron village in wake of shooting
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 July — Israeli forces shot and injured at least five Palestinians and detained three others in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron overnight Saturday, as Israeli forces continued to impose a strict siege on the village of Sair after an Israeli man was shot and injured while driving his car around midnight near the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Teqoa.
A large number of Israeli forces raided Sair in the predawn hours, closing off the entire village. Israeli forces closed the al-Adisa al-Duwara entrance of the village, as dozens of troops were deployed in the Wad al-Sharq area in central Sair, where clashes erupted and continued until dawn, with Israeli forces firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades at locals who were throwing rocks. Local sources told Ma‘an that four Palestinians were shot and wounded with rubber-coated steel bullets and dozens more suffered from severe tear gas inhalation. Palestinian Red Crescent medics and volunteers administered first aid on the scene. Sources in Hebron said Israeli forces carried out searches and seized recordings of security cameras from Palestinian homes and shops in Sair.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that Israeli forces sealed off Sair and imposed security checks in response to a shooting Saturday night, when an unidentified gunman or gunmen fired at a passing vehicle near Teqoa northeast of Hebron, wounding the driver, an Israeli civilian. He was evacuated for treatment to the Israeli hospital Shaare Zedek Medical, where he was reportedly in moderate condition. She added his vehicle also sustained several bullet holes. Meanwhile, Israeli forces closed the northern entrances to the district of Hebron in the villages of Halhul, Beit Ummar, and al-‘Arrub refugee camp, erecting checkpoints and thoroughly searching cars attempting to enter Route 60, the main highway connecting Hebron to the rest of the occupied West Bank. The Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that security measures in al-‘Arrub could have also been related to the shooting. Israeli forces also raided the Hebron-area towns of Dura, Yatta, al-Samu‘, Tarqumiya, and the city of Hebron, raiding and searching several houses. Shadi Ahmad Elayyan was detained from his home in al-Samu‘, Shadi al-Masri in Tarqumiya, and Mahmoun Muhammad Mutawi in Hebron. Israeli forces also summoned several people in the area to meet with Israeli intelligence for interrogation. The Israeli army confirmed one detention was made in Hebron, and another southwest of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank. Local sources added that Bassam Mahmoud Tabish was shot with live fire near the al-Ramadin area in the southwestern outskirts of Hebron under unclear circumstances, and was taken to a hospital in Hebron for treatment….
Israeli forces set up roadblocks in Hebron-area town, fire tear gas at pedestrians
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 July — Israeli forces on Saturday blockaded the town of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron and fired tear gas at pedestrians trying to leave, amid ongoing restrictions on movement across Hebron, the West Bank’s largest and most populous district. According to the coordinator of a local committee against Israel’s settlements and the separation wall, Ratib al-Jubour, al-Fawwar refugee camp in the northwestern outskirts of Yatta was completely sealed and Israeli military checkpoints were erected on side roads connecting Yatta to Route 60, the main highway that links to the rest of the occupied West Bank, used by both Palestinians and Israelis residing in illegal settlements. He added that Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at Palestinian pedestrians attempting to cross a dirt mound placed by Israeli forces blocking a road connecting the village of al-Karmil on the south western edge of Yatta to the village of al-Tuwani. Several people were treated on site for severe tear gas inhalation. The measures came as Israeli forces continued to seal the town of Bani Naim east of Hebron City for the ninth day, which was imposed after a series of attacks and alleged attacks were carried out by residents of the village targeting Israelis residing in the nearby illegal settlement Kiryat Arba, as well as on Israeli military targets. Locals reported that Israeli soldiers were prohibiting Palestinians from leaving Bani Naim on foot. Al-Jubour highlighted that Israeli forces ransacked the home of Muhammad Thahir al-Khudour in Bani Naim overnight Friday. Israeli soldiers, he said, rounded up all of the family members in one room as they inspected the house. Israeli forces detained another Palestinian in Dura west of the city of Hebron in predawn raids Friday and injured another with live fire during clashes there. Israeli security measures in Hebron come amid an ongoing general closure of the entirety of Hebron and its surrounding villages, with Israeli forces restricting passage through several entrances to the district to humanitarian and military cases only. Partial lifting of certain roadblocks and checkpoints and the resealing of others have been reported in recent days, which the Israeli army said was carried out in accordance with “ongoing military assessments.”
Palestinian government calls for lifting the Israeli siege on Hebron
IMEMC 10 July — The Palestinian government called on the international community and various human rights groups to intervene, and pressure Israel into lifting its siege on the southern West Bank district of Hebron, the ongoing home invasions and abductions. Spokesperson of the Palestinian government Yousef al-Mahmoud said that what Israel is doing, its siege, ongoing home invasions ,and kidnappings, are illegal acts of collective punishment targeting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.Al-Mahmoud added that the Israeli attacks were part of ongoing policies practiced by the occupation authorities in direct violation of International Law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention….
IN PHOTOS: A life of constant dread for one Palestinian village
+972blog 9 July Text & photos by Tamar Fleischman — The West Bank village of Hizma, surrounded entirely by the separation wall, is the victim of daily harassment by the army and the police. That hasn’t stopped the residents from opening their homes and businesses to Israeli Jews — even the settlers who live next door — For the 7,000 residents of the West Bank village of Hizma, life has become an endless routine of harassment by the Israeli authorities. Land expropriation, home demolition orders, the total disconnect from East Jerusalem, the checkpoint that serves mainly settlers and forbids the owners of the land from crossing, and the constant harassment at the hands of the army and the police toward the village residents — these are only some of the daily experiences that have led to frustration and rage in the village. Hizma’s residents have the distinct privilege of living next to both the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev, and the adjacent checkpoint that bears the village’s name. Hizma checkpoint, like Pisgat Ze’ev and the separation wall that encircles the village, was built on land belonging to the residents. Despite the separation between Hizma and the surrounding Israeli neighborhoods, a large portion of the village residents’ income is based on the settlers of Pisgat Ze’ev and nearby Adam. “They buy good from us because it is cheap here,” an acquaintance from the village tells me. Many of Hizma’s residents speak perfect Hebrew and welcome Israeli Jews to their homes, even those who are unmistakably religious settlers. Israelis often visit to shop or have their cars fixed in the local garages, stopping to have casual conversations, close deals, and shake hands with the locals. Suffice it to say the Palestinians’ anger is not against Jews, but rather the Israeli army and police….
Israeli police detain 4 Palestinians in ‘Issawiya in connection to rock-throwing incident
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 July — Three teenage Palestinian residents of the town of Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem were detained by Israeli police on Sunday over suspicions of being involved in a rock throwing incident adjacent to a nearby illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, and a fourth was detained for a separate incident targeting a nearby hospital and under investigation for being connected to the other three teens. According to Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, the three Palestinians, aged between 16 and 17 years old, were detained during police operations in East Jerusalem in connection to rocks and Molotov cocktails being thrown at settler vehicles heading to Maale Adumim east of Jerusalem. No injuries were reported. Later on Sunday, Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court decided to extend the remand of three teens for an unspecified period of time, and that in addition to being suspected of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at settler vehicles, the young Palestinians were also suspected of hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at a gas station at the entrance to Issawiya. She added that a fourth 16-year-old Palestinian from ‘Issawiya was detained “recently” on suspicion that he hurled Molotov cocktails at Hadassah Medical Center in occupied East Jerusalem near the neighborhood, and that investigations were ongoing to determine if there were any connections between him and the three detained Sunday … Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, “93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months.” In July 2015, legislation was passed in the Israeli Knesset allowing sentencing for up to 20 years for someone convicted of throwing stones at vehicles if intent can be proven. However, the law allowed the Israeli state to imprison someone for up to 10 years without proof of intent….
Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians in overnight raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 July — Israeli forces raided Palestinian towns and refugee camps overnight Saturday and at predawn hours Sunday in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, detaining at least 16 Palestinians, Israeli and Palestinian sources said. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that Israeli forces detained three Palestinian teenagers and a young man in East Jerusalem. The organization identified them as Anas Dirbas, 16, Ahmad Othman Rizq, 13, Muhammad Abu al-Hawa, and Shadi Uweisat, 20. PPS added that Muhammad Zahran and his brother Ibrahim were detained in the village of Biddu in the West Bank district of Jerusalem….
Army kidnaps four Palestinians in Nablus, confiscates two cars and electric machines in Nablus
IMEMC 11 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Monday, the village of Orif, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, kidnapped four Palestinians, and confiscated two cars, a lathing machine, and a power generator. The Nablus office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers stormed and violently searched many homes, and kidnapped four Palestinians. The PPS said the kidnaped Palestinians have been identified as Sa’adi Najeh Safadi, Najeh Sa’ad Najeh Safadi, Ali Najeh Sharif Safadi and Essam Najeh Sharif Safadi. The soldiers also confiscated two cars, belonging to Ali and Essam, in addition to confiscating a lathing machine and a power generator. On Monday at dawn, the army invaded ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, searched several homes and kidnapped two teenagers. The soldiers also assaulted and injured a Palestinian from Jenin.
Israel widens scope to deny entry to relatives of terror suspects
Haaretz 11 July by Amira Hass — Israel’s Civil Administration has created a new category for denying entry permits from the West Bank to Palestinians who are related to a terror suspect. The discovery was made by an activist in the group Machsom Watch who helps with appeals by Palestinians whose exit has been denied. Soldiers in the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories explicitly mentioned the new category – “refused entry by the Operations Directorate, sanction” – to activists in the organization. There’s nothing new about refusing entry permits to Palestinians whose relatives have been involved in terror attacks or shot dead by the Israeli army without having been involved in an attack. For years these decisions have been the province of the Shin Bet security service, and these individuals fell into the category of “refused entry for security reasons.” The Shin Bet told Haaretz its question should be put to the Civil Administration, something that helps suggest that the Shin Bet is not involved in assigning the new category. It also seems, judging from cases that Machsom Watch has heard about, that “family connection” is interpreted very broadly and can include people with the same clan name but no personal acquaintance with the suspect or assailant … A COGAT spokeswoman declined to say when the new category of refusal was created, how many people have thus far been assigned to it and whether the punishment (“sanction”) has proved effective….
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli court rejects Euro 16 plea by missing soldier’s parents
AFP 10 July — Israel’s top court on Sunday rejected a petition by the parents of a soldier missing in the Gaza Strip that Hamas prisoners not be allowed to watch the Euro 2016 final. Oron Shaul, a soldier in the 2014 war in Gaza, was believed by the Israeli army to have been killed along with Hadar Goldin, and Hamas is thought to hold their bodies. The Islamist movement which rules the Palestinian coastal enclave has yet to confirm or deny this. Shaul’s parents petitioned the High Court of Justice that it order the Prison Service to prevent Palestinian security prisoners, predominantly Hamas members, from watching Sunday’s Euro 2016 final. Allowing them to watch the game would constitute “a benefit” to Hamas, while preventing them from doing so could “pressure the organisation to give (Israel) the necessary information regarding the fate of the soldiers”, the justices quoted the parents as saying.But the court ruled that because security prisoners have the right to television, they could not be prevented from watching the match. “There is no legal obstacle to enable security prisoners to watch the Euro final”, the justices wrote in a decision distributed by the court administration. “We are not under the impression that there is a link between prohibiting watching the final, and the understandable desire of the petitioners to pressure Hamas to release our captive and missing soldiers.” The security cabinet said last month it would form a ministerial team tasked with pressuring Hamas into negotiating the return of the bodies and the release of two civilians assumed held in Gaza.
Bilal Kayed to be transferred to hospital as health condition deteriorates, struggle grow inside and outside prison
Samidoun 10 July — On his 26th day of hunger strike, hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayed will be transferred to hospital within the next several hours following a sharp deterioration in his health condition, reported Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Kayed rejects all medical examinations, salt supplements or vitamins and is only consuming water. Prior to his transfer to hospital he has been held in Ashkelon prison in solitary confinement in a small 1.5 x 2 meter cell with no windows and denied access to a fan in the mid-July summer heat. He has only been permitted access to lukewarm tap water from the sink in his cell. He launched his hunger strike on 15 June after being ordered to six months’ administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, immediately upon the expiration of his 14.5 year sentence in Israeli prisons on 13 June. He is one of nearly 750 Palestinians held without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence, under indefinitely renewable administrative detention orders. He – and fellow Palestinian prisoners – fear that this attempts to set a new precedent of indefinitely imprisoning Palestinians after the expiration of lengthy prison sentences. Hundreds of fellow Palestinian prisoners are supporting Kayed’s strike, demanding his freedom. Palestinian prisoners affiliated with the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Kayed’s party, are engaged in a series of protest and hunger strike actions throughout Israeli prisons, demanding his freedom – they announced their steps of protest for July in a statement released on Friday, 8 July. Support for Kayed from imprisoned Palestinians crosses political lines – former prisoner Allam Kaabi stated to Asra Voice radio that the prisoners affiliated with Islamic Jihad and Hamas have expressed their support for joining the program of protest actions for freedom for Kayed … Kayed’s comrades issued a statement on Sunday, 10 July, warning against incorrect or misleading media reports in the Palestinian and Arabic-language media regarding legal visits and ongoing negotiations in Kayed’s case, urging that the only lawyers authorized to speak officially on behalf of Kayed in Palestine are those from Addameer …Kayed’s move to hospital also comes amid the beginning of an international week of action in solidarity with his strike, demanding his freedom, from 8-15 July. Over 170 international organizations joined the call for Kayed’s release, and many cities around the world held events on 24 and 25 June in support of Kayed and his fellow Palestinian prisoners….
Israel indicts Hamas agent who smuggled terror funds in shoes
JPost 10 July by Yonah Jeremy Bob — Suspect works as a truck driver in Gaza, clearing sand from Hamas and Islamic Jihad tunnel digging sites — One of two Hamas agents who were named last week by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) for smuggling approximately 10,000 euros in his shoes was indicted in the Beersheba District Court on Sunday. A spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry said that the second Gazan’s case was being handled in the IDF West Bank courts, though she could not confirm whether he had been indicted yet and the IDF had not responded on the issue by press time. The security agency arrested the two Gazans in June while they were traveling to the West Bank with terrorism- financing cash hidden in their footwear. They shared information that gave Israel valuable intelligence on the underground network of tunnels that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are digging in Gaza.
Jabalya resident Itallah Sarahan, 37, was arrested at the Erez Crossing and when he was questioned, security forces learned that he received a permit to enter Israel for trade purposes two weeks prior to his arrest. He was indicted in the civilian courts in Beersheba, where many tunnel-related indictments are being handed. The Southern District Attorney’s Office charged him with contact with a foreign agent, performing services for an illegal organization, illegal actions with terrorism-related assets and a range of other crimes.
Israeli court sentences Palestinian man to 8 years in prison for ‘dangerous practices’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 July — An Israeli military court sentenced a Palestinian man to eight years in prison on Sunday, after he was convicted of involvement in unspecified “dangerous practices.” Marwan Maadi, a resident of the Ramallah area village of Jifna in the central occupied West Bank, was initially detained in 2012 after being accused of taking part in the mob killing of two Israeli reservists in 2000 after they had accidentally wandered into Ramallah, a crime of which he was later found innocent. Maadi was acquitted on the murder charges in August 2015, but was found guilty of assault. Lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society Iyad Mahamid said on Sunday that Maadi was found guilty of involvement in “dangerous practices”, without expanding on the nature of the sentence, or details of what “practices” Maadi was allegedly involved in. Most of the Palestinians who were detained after the murder in 2000 were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment.
IDF rejects conscientious objector’s request to be released from military service
Haaretz 10 July by Gili Cohen — The committee that examines the claims of conscientious objectors rejected on Sunday 19-year-old Tair Kaminer’s request to release her from military service for reasons of conscience. Kaminer was recently sentenced to a sixth consecutive stint in military prison, the longest term ever imposed on a female conscientious objector. The committee explained its decision by saying that Kaminer refused to serve in the army because she opposes government policy and not because of any problems of conscience that would keep her from serving in the military in principle. Israel Defense Forces says this has always been its policy concerning those who refuse to serve in general, and conscientious objectors in particular, and that this policy is supported by Supreme Court rulings. In a few days Kaminer will appear before a different committee of the IDF, which will examine whether she is at all suitable for military service. This committee is authorized to, and may possibly, grant her a full exemption from military service, if she is found unsuitable. Kaminer has repeatedly offered to do national civilian service in lieu of military service. In her appeal to the committee on conscientious objection, Kaminer wrote that she was asking for an exemption from military service for reasons of conscience, and that she has been jailed repeatedly since January for this refusal to serve, even though she wants to do civilian national service. Kaminer had previously done a year of national service with the Scouts movement in Sderot….
Palestinian fighter killed in tunnel collapse in northern Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 10 July — A member of Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, was killed on Sunday in a tunnel collapse in the northern Gaza Strip. Local security sources said Ibrahim al-Masri, 28, was killed after a tunnel collapsed on a group of Palestinian fighters. The sources said that the remainder of the group survived and were evacuated. A number of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave, which are largely used for smuggling in the coastal enclave’s south and military purposes in the north … The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, al-Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400.
Hundreds of Gazans hospitalized for food poisoning during Eid
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 10 July — At least 1,000 Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip suffered from food poisoning from eating salted herring on the first on Wednesday and Thursday — the second day of Muslim holiday Eid al-Fitr. After hundreds of residents of Khan Younis and Rafah were hospitalized for food poisoning, Gaza’s Ministry of the National Economy dumped four tons of herring from markets in the two districts, the ministry’s Under Secretary Imad al-Baz told Ma‘an. He added that merchants who were caught selling spoiled herring would be arrested. Lab tests determined that the salted herring were inedible due to inadequate storage or problems during the salting process. Herring, al-Baz said, need to be stored under 4 degrees Celsius. After the fasting throughout the holy month of Ramadan, herring is a popular Eid dish among Palestinians as they believe it helps avoid indigestion problems usually caused by eating a lot traditional Eid sweets and nuts while the stomach is still used to fasting. Al-Baz added that his ministry also found expired meat in some restaurants. “Some restaurants have been selling stale shawarma which was leftover from a day before.” Legal procedures, he asserted, will be taken against the owners. Director General of Hospitals the Ministry of Health Abd al-Latif al-Hajj said that in Khan Younis, 420 people were treated at the European Hospital and 311 at Nasser Hospital, and 60 were treated at Abu Yousif al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah. Some 250 were taken to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
Israeli soldiers invade farmlands in southern Gaza
IMEMC 11 July — Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Monday at dawn, Palestinian agricultural lands east of Khan Younis city, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said four Israeli tanks and three bulldozers, advanced more than 150 meters into the Palestinian lands, bulldozed some of them, and installed sand hills, close to the border fence. They added that the Israeli vehicles came from the Kissufim military base, across the border fence, and fired many smoke bombs during the invasion. The invasion is part of repeated Israeli violations targeting the Palestinians and their lands in border areas, in the northern and eastern parts of the coastal region.
Gaza fishermen feel bite of tightening Israeli blockade
GAZA CITY, Gaza (NBC News) 9 July by Lawahez Jabari & F. Brinley Bruton — Gaza’s teeming seas once supported generations of fishermen. Now the blockaded enclave’s fishermen cannot venture into open waters without risking being detained, shot at and having their equipment confiscated. Israel, which patrols waters off of Gaza, says it is only trying to stop the smuggling weapons and explosives that will turned against its citizens. “When we approach the 9-mile limit the Israeli cruiser attacks and fire toward us. So we go back — there is nothing we can do,” fisherman Wael al-Habeel told NBC News. “There are people who reach the limit in order to make a living,” the 43-year old said. “What can they do then? They can’t provide for their children so they become unemployed or do any kind of work — or they go to prison. It is a humiliation.” While the enclave has been under blockade since Hamas militants seized power there in 2007, pressure on its fisherman has gotten worse in the past six months, human rights activists and the fishermen’s syndicate said. The Israeli navy has arrested 65 fishermen and confiscated 26 boats since the beginning of the year, up from 34 arrests and 12 confiscations for all of 2015, according to al Mezan Center for Human Rights. Fishermen must stay within 9 nautical miles of the coast — a limit set by Israeli authorities, who sometimes reduce it to 6 miles and sometimes even ban fishing altogether, according to rights workers and fishermen. They also say that fishermen are regularly fired on by the Israeli navy if they approach the limit. “It’s very difficult — mission impossible — to secure a livelihood for fishermen” who are “subjected daily to the Israelis’ harassment,” said al Mezan’s director, Isaam Younis. “Even if they were allowed to fish in the 6 nautical miles they are subjected to harassment — shootings, confiscation of boats, which means it’s banned even when it’s being claimed that it’s allowed to fish in that area.” Younes said actions against the fishermen amount to collective punishment, a form of retaliation imposed on a community or population as punishment for the actions of a few — a charge that is often leveled at Israel….
VIDEO: Gaza fishermen despair as Israel doubles down on blockade
NBC News 8 July (1:45 min.) Pressure on Gaza fishermen has grown this year as mounting Israeli concerns of weapons smuggling lead to arrests and confiscations — Khaled Abu Ryaleh, fisherman: “Wherever you go, the sea is forbidden”
Telling the stories of Gaza’s ‘obliterated families’
+972 mag 8 July by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — A new project uses heartbreaking photos, text and video to tell the stories of the Palestinian families who lost more than three members in the 2014 Gaza war, the stories of their lives, their deaths and the survival of those left behind — There is no shortage of numbers and statistics that are cited in telling, reporting on and remembering periods of war and violence. Often times certain wars come to be represented by numbers. The number of killed, wounded displaced. The number of homes damaged or destroyed. The number of days that the bombs fell, the number of days since they stopped. It goes without saying that people are not numbers. One innovative and touching writing project in the Gaza Strip, We Are Not Numbers, aims to take those numbers, the way that so much of the world views far-off conflict, and recapture the human narratives they represent. But photojournalists Anne Paq and Ala Qandil were haunted by one specific number about the 2014 Gaza war. One hundred and forty-two. The 142 families that lost three or more members. Obliterated families. Paq, who as a member of the Activestills photography collective helped cover the 2014 war for +972 Magazine, met some of the families and their survivors before and during the war. In return visits over the past two years, she has met with 50 such families. Together with Qandil and other Palestinian journalists, the pair launched a multimedia web project on Friday, using photos, in-depth text, animations, infographics, short videos, and design elements to tell their stories. (View the project at obliteratedfamilies.com) …Five families’ stories are being published Friday along with the website itself. The remaining chapters are scheduled to be published over the coming 51 days, corresponding with date of the respective family’s obliteration….
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Palestinians in purgatory: the internally displaced citizens of Israel
MEE 8 July by Mona Bieling — There are approximately 300,000 Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship yet remain living as ‘internal refugees’ within Israel’s borders — I returned to Haifa two weeks ago and it immediately drew me back towards the abandoned Palestinian district of Wadi Salib, located between Haifa’s lively Hadar area and the port. Within Wadi Salib, however, there is not much life left. The area’s inhabitants were driven out by the 1948 Palestine War – the Nakba (“Catastrophe”) according to the Palestinian narrative – and were never allowed to return. The resettlement of the area with Mizrahi Jews in the 1950s failed miserably and, ever since, Wadi Salib had been left to itself. Current plans to revive the area, however, have started to take form. The establishment of an Office for the Demobilised Soldier at one of Wadi Salib’s entrances, right next to the old cemetery, is just one of the great ironies of Israel and its dealings with its history. The Palestinian refugee issue was created in the aftermath of the 1948 Nakba by the expulsion of 750,000 Arab citizens of Mandate Palestine by Jewish forces. However, during the same war, a second group of displaced people was created, one that has been widely absent from the public’s eye. This group consisted of approximately 25,000 Palestinians who were internally displaced during the 1948 war. They were forced to leave their homes but managed to stay within the borders of the newly created state of Israel; after the war, they were prevented from returning to their homes. This group of people is often referred to as “internal refugees” or “internally displaced Palestinians (IDPs)” and makes up approximately one quarter of the Palestinian community within Israel today.These IDPs, estimated to be around 300,000 people, are in a different category to the non-displaced Palestinians with Israeli citizenship because they have a distinct past that is connected to a unique set of demands. At the same time, they should not be treated the same as the Palestinian refugees either as they are the only group of displaced Palestinians who have received Israeli citizenship. Seemingly, the IDPs constitute “a minority within a minority”. A healthy balance should be sought between, on the one hand, emphasising their uniqueness and addressing the injustices done to them and, on the other hand, placing their struggle within the struggle of the whole Palestinian community….
Israel blocking plan to double water supply to West Bank
Haaretz 9 July by Amira Hass — Some government agencies are keen to increase supply to both settlers and Palestinians, but politicians are putting up obstacles. Either way, the Palestinians are ending up with much less — The Israeli Water Authority has crafted a master plan to double the amount of water supplied to settlements and Palestinian towns in the West Bank, not including the Jordan Valley, by 2030. But implementation is being held up in the absence of political approval to link Palestinian cities to the expanded new infrastructure. All this has become clear in last week’s meeting of the Judea and Samaria affairs subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee … The chairman of the subcommittee, MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), has repeatedly said the delay affects Israelis and Palestinians alike, and that solutions must include both populations. Others have expressed similar sentiments, including officials of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories as well as the Civil Administration. But Yogev’s party colleague, MK Bezalel Smotrich, said that if everyone is suffering from water shortages, Israelis’ needs should be met first, someone who attended the meeting told Haaretz….
Illegal Israeli outposts in the West Bank face new pressure even as they expand
ESH KODESH, West Bank (WashPost) 10 July by Anne-Marie O’Connor — Los Angeles native Aaron Katsof thinks it is “absurd” that even the Israeli government considers his Jewish village here an “illegal outpost.” “Our first trailers came from the Ministry of Housing,” he said of the community of 230. “You can’t just bring water and electricity here without the army being involved.” Esh Kodesh, or “Holy Fire,” may not be authorized by the state of Israel, but it is served by Israeli infrastructure and protected by Israeli troops — and it has lots of company. Since Israel came under increased international pressure in the 1990s to stop establishing new settlements, about 100 officially unauthorized outposts have been founded in the Israeli-occupied West Bank … Now, as France leads a push for a new round of talks to produce a Palestinian state, the outposts are being subjected to growing scrutiny. A report this month by the Middle East Quartet, a mediation group that includes the United States, said Israel has authorized 19 outposts in the past decade, with 13 more in the process of being approved, “expanding the footprint of existing settlements, if not effectively creating new ones.” … Critics of settlement building see the outposts as a game of hide-and-seek, with Israel publicly disavowing the areas while using them to expand settlement on land claimed by Palestinians for a future state … Since 2000, the outposts east of Shiloh have grown from a few trailers to 250 families, with more than 1,000 residents, according to Katsof. In that time, Shiloh outposts have become ringed with “circles of violence,” said Yesh Din spokesman Gilad Grossman. Fires have been set in two local mosques. Settlers have clashed with Palestinians in their fields. Graffiti mentioning Esh Kodesh has been left at several vandalism sites. One resident of Esh Kodesh was convicted of kidnapping and beating a teenage Palestinian shepherd and kicking to death his newborn lamb, according to Yesh Din. An Israeli court recently ordered him to move his vineyard off land owned by a Palestinian farmer. Yesh Din said 91.6 percent of crimes against Palestinian people and property in the West Bank go unsolved … “Settler ideology is that Jewish dominance of the land has to be total. You have to show who’s boss,” said Shlomo Fischer, a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem. “So the outposts come looking for a fight, marching into Palestinian villages, destroying olive trees.” ….
Palestinian refugees – Syria
Palestinians in Khan Eshieh face a second Nakba
Electronic Intifada 7 July by Budour Youssef Hassan — Damascus-area refugee camp is site of fierce fighting in spite of efforts to stay neutral — For the past three years, shellings and airstrikes have been a reality for the residents of Khan Eshieh refugee camp near Damascus. But the intensity of shelling on the camp in the past two months is unprecedented even by that standard. The Palestinian camp has come under greater fire amid an escalation of fighting between Syrian government forces, backed by Russian airstrikes, and various Islamist rebel groups in the Damascus countryside. Several civilians in the camp were killed in June. “Russian warplanes targeted the camp with cluster bombs and missiles on Thursday, killing six people and causing massive destruction,” Emad al-Muslimani from Khan Eshieh told The Electronic Intifada via Skype. “Civilians are the target. There are about 2,000 families trapped in the camp with nowhere to go.” The two days of relative quiet that followed the 30 June shelling proved to be only a temporary reprieve. Airstrikes on Sunday night killed three residents and resulted in the destruction of a community center for children run by the Jafra Foundation, a volunteer group that works in Syria’s Palestinian refugee camps. -A host of problems- Al-Muslimani, a 31-year-old citizen journalist and member of the Khan Eshieh local council, says those who remain in the camp are civilians. “Most of those in the camp are either children and the elderly or those waiting for family unification as they have relatives in Europe,” he said. Save the Children stated in May that an estimated 3,000 children currently live under near-total siege there … The last remaining open road out of the camp, known locally as the “road of death,” is constantly targeted by snipers. The road is a flashpoint for clashes between government and rebel forces and if it is seized by the government, it would put the camp under complete siege. It’s via this road that residents go to their jobs in the Syrian capital or get fuel, flour and medicine from the nearby village of Zakia. But even going to receive medical treatment or run a simple errand can become a life-threatening proposition….
— Note that the PCHR report for the week beginning 30 June is not yet available —
Israel okays millions to West Bank settlements after attacks
AFP 10 July — Israel’s government on Sunday approved nearly $13 million in financing for the West Bank settlements of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, officials said, following a wave of Palestinian attacks in the area. The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing cabinet will see some 50 million shekels ($12.8 million, 11.6 million euros) allocated to “strengthen” the communities. “Government offices, I must note, have all been recruited to assist the residents who stand heroically in the face of vicious terrorism,” Netanyahu said ahead of the approval. The money will be allocated over three years and be designated to a variety of issues, including social, education and security services, and come from the budgets of the relevant ministries. Kiryat Arba is a large settlement near Hebron, the largest Palestinian West Bank city, which is also host to several hundred Jewish settlers in a tightly guarded enclave. The Hebron area settlers have been affected by the recent wave of violence that has rocked Israel and the Palestinian territories since last October. At least 214 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese have been killed. The army has said that around 80 of the attacks on Israelis have been carried out by Palestinians from the Hebron area … Netanyahu’s government is considered to be the most right-wing in Israel’s history, and key members of his cabinet are strong supporters of settlement building and opponents of a Palestinian state. A similar decision, allocating 70 million shekels ($18 million, 16 million euros) to a variety of settlements, was announced last month. Two officials said Sunday’s decision was about new monies.
Israeli media: UNESCO committee to vote on Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 July — The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will reportedly vote on a draft concerning Israeli military violations in occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, according to Israeli media. Ynet news reported that the joint Jordanian-Palestinian draft would be voted on during the 40th annual session meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, which began in Istanbul on Sunday, and will last ten days. The document reportedly accuses Israel of “misconduct” on the compound, citing “deliberate vandalism” and damage to Muslim holy sites, which Israel’s foreign ministry reportedly called “malicious and dishonest.” However, the website of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Istanbul did not mention that a vote related to the Al-Aqsa compound was on the agenda. A UNESCO spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the issue. A similar resolution was passed in April, when the World Heritage Committee unilaterally condemned “Israeli aggressions and illegal measures against the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their Holy Site Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al Sharif.”The resolution deplored the “continuous storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif by the Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces,” and urged Israel, which it called “the Occupying Power,” to take necessary measures to “prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity” of the holy site….
Rawabi introduces itself to the Palestinian public
RAWABI (JPost) 10 July by Adam Rasgon — 10,000 attend end-of-Ramadan concert to see city — It’s a dry Friday night and the third day of the post-Ramadan festival, Id al-Fitr, in Rawabi, 17 km. north of Ramallah. Israeli and Palestinian license-plated cars wait patiently in a traffic jam to get to the Muhammad Assaf concert in the first planned Palestinian city’s newly finished amphitheater. In the residential section of Rawabi, many buildings are complete while others remain under construction. Families are hosting relatives and friends for festive holiday meals. Young men sit on porches smoking water pipes and playing cards. Just down the street, people file in and out of the supermarket that recently opened. Thus far, the first residents, approximately 350 families that moved into their homes in the first half of 2016, are largely satisfied with their experience in the new city. Raed Abu Zaina says Rawabi is an idyllic place for him and his family. “It is very comfortable to live here. There are no disturbances and the other residents take care of the neighborhood,” he says. Many other locals express similar sentiments. Wajda Atamna and her family recently moved to Rawabi from the Israeli town of Baka al-Gharbiya, east of Hadera and just inside the Green Line. Rawabi offers a special opportunity for her to raise her kids in the West Bank with a high standard of living, she says….
Palestine holidays: The West Bank opens up its great outdoors
Guardian 9 July by Edward Lewis — Clinging to the contours of the Kidron valley, the monastery of Mar Saba blends into the backdrop of the West Bank’s ancient hills. A throng of Orthodox pilgrims chant outside the modest stone entrance. A priest, in black, accepts donations and bestows blessings on the crowd. Unlike the majority of historic sites in and around Jerusalem, there is no noisy bus park, no boisterous tour groups, no vendors pushing rosary beads or postcards. Instead, Mar Saba and its surroundings seem little changed from how it must have looked on completion in the fifth century AD. For most westerners, a holiday in the West Bank isn’t high on the wishlist, although Foreign Office warnings relate only to very specific areas on the main road connecting Jerusalem with Hebron and Nablus. But those who do venture into the Judean desert can take advantage of the new opportunities in outdoor and community-oriented tourism that are opening up across the region. The recent creation of marked walking trails running the length of the West Bank, from Rummana in Jenin to the village of al-Burj in the Hebron Valley, along with the promotion of homestays and camping by various non-profit organisations, has enabled Palestine to introduce a generation to outdoor activities and build a tourism infrastructure around one of the most striking and culturally rich landscapes in the Middle East … One of the most ambitious initiatives involves the West Bank’s most vulnerable community, the Bedouin. Sahari Desert Eco Tourism, established in 2014, organises activities including multi-day treks, full-moon hikes and day trips from a camp near East Jerusalem…..
60 Palestinians from the Diaspora visit the homeland (Video)
IMEMC/Agencies 10 July — As the majority of the 12 million Palestinians in the world are now living in exile outside of Palestine, 60 representative of exiled Palestinians have just arrived in Palestine to get to know their homeland and heritage. The delegates were welcomed by Palestinian officials and traditional scouts parades and mass celebrations. The delegates, coming through the Know Thy Heritage program held yearly by HCEF, will get the opportunity to enhance their understanding of Palestine while having the fruitful and challenging experience of fostering a deep relationship with their ancestral homeland. The delegates are from all ages and generations, and come from 15 countries in the world including the United States, Chile, Honduras, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Columbia and Australia. Despite coming from different countries and walks of life, each of these young delegates can trace their ancestry to cities and villages throughout Palestine. The delegates will be introduced to different economic, developmental, and cultural institutions, and will build relationships with these institutions and Palestinian youth from the various cities they visit. They will also take part in home stays with local families, which will help them build relationships and connect with their fellow Palestinians. The 5th Palestinian Diaspora Conference will also be held in conjunction with the arrival of the delegation to Palestine.
Israeli authorities confiscate antiquities from Palestinian-owned shop in Jerusalem’s Old City
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 July — Israeli forces on Sunday morning raided a Palestinian-owned antiquity shop in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and confiscated a large number of antiquities, the owner told Ma‘an. Nabil al-Huroub told Ma‘an that Israeli police and border guard officers along with inspectors from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) stormed his shop on al-Wad Street in the Old City “without prior notice” and started seizing antiquities. Al-Huroub said that an IAA employee moving the items told him that al-Huroub is accused of trading antiquities without a license. However, al-Huroub insisted to Ma’an that his shop, which he has been operating with his family since the 1970s, has all the necessary documents and licenses from the IAA and the tax authority … Al-Huroub noted that following an Israeli High Court decision requiring that all antiquity dealers in Israel document their entire inventory online, he has “sent the photos they requested and paid taxes regularly every year.” Al-Huroub highlighted that some of the antiquities in his shop are about 4,000 years old including pottery, stones, glass works, coins, and other from the Canaanite, Byzantine, and Islamic eras, with the most valuable piece reaching a total value in the millions of dollars. The shop, he said, is the main source of living for 100 members of his extended family.
Post, Share, Arrest – Israel targeting Palestinian protesters on Facebook
Intercept 7 July by Alex Kane — On the morning of August 28, 2014, two days after the end of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, Sohaib Zahda hopped into a shared taxi in Hebron that was going to Ramallah, where he had a job interview. Thirty-three-year-old Zahda, who owns a paintball company, is an unlikely terrorist. An avid cyclist who speaks Arabic, Italian, French, and English, he is a member of Youth Against Settlements, a nonviolent organization that protests against Israeli settlers who live in and around Hebron. He is opposed to Hamas firing rockets into Israel. He likes to tell visitors his grandfather had Jewish friends in Hebron in the 1920s. Hebron and Ramallah are about 25 miles apart. To get between them, Palestinians must pass through the “container checkpoint,” manned by Israeli soldiers on a road that connects the southern West Bank to its central and northern cities. At the checkpoint — named for a shipping container once located at the barrier — Palestinian pedestrians queue up to get their IDs checked, while cars wait for inspection and for soldiers to wave them through. When Zahda’s taxi drove up, masked Israeli soldiers stopped the vehicle, asked him to get out, and then handcuffed him. They took his mobile phone and his bag and brought him to a room near the checkpoint. After two hours, he was told he was being investigated for threatening an Israeli army leader. The alleged threat was made on a Facebook page calling for an uprising in Hebron. Zahda was then blindfolded and placed in an Israeli military jeep … Zahda’s case, still ongoing, is part of a new battleground in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Palestinians using social media to spread news about arrests and deaths, and Israeli intelligence and law enforcement officers scouring the web for clues about the next stabbing or protest. Facebook has not changed the fundamental contours of the conflict, but it has accelerated it. A demonstration against the Israeli occupation can be organized in a matter of hours, while the monitoring of Palestinians is made easier by the large digital footprint they leave on their laptops and mobile phones. Israeli officials have blamed social media for inciting a wave of violent attacks by Palestinians that began in October 2015. Since then, Israeli security forces have arrested about 400 Palestinians for social media activity, according to Palestinian rights groups Addameer and Adalah. Most of the arrests have been for postings on Facebook, a popular network among Palestinians….
Egypt’s foreign minister talks up Mideast peace in a rare visit to Israel
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 10 July by Jeffrey Heller — Egypt’s foreign minister paid a rare visit to Israel on Sunday, offering Cairo’s help to revive peace talks with the Palestinians, in a sign of strengthened ties between two countries sharing deep concern over regional unrest. Sameh Shoukry’s visit was the first made by an Egyptian foreign minister in nine years and he traveled to Jerusalem for two meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As Netanyahu looked on, Shoukry said the vision of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “is not far-fetched” and he called for confidence-building measures that could lead to renewed peace negotiations that collapsed in 2014. “It is no longer acceptable to claim that the status quo is the most that we can achieve of the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples,” Shoukry said. The current state of affairs, said the Egyptian diplomat, who held talks in the occupied West Bank on June 29 with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, “is neither stable nor sustainable”. In May Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged both sides to seize the opportunity to make a historic peace, offering Israel the prospect of warmer ties if this were achieved. Sisi offered the 2002 Arab peace initiative as a potential way ahead. The initiative offered full recognition of Israel but only if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Middle East war and agreed to a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees. Shoukry said Egypt was offering “all possible forms of support” to achieve peace and security in the Middle East … Netanyahu has said he would be willing to discuss the Arab peace plan but that changes would have to be made. Greeting Shoukry on Sunday, Netanyahu repeated his call for Palestinians to resume direct negotiations with Israel, and welcomed Egypt’s efforts to resolve that conflict and achieve “a broader peace in our region”….
PLO condemns international complicity on 12th anniversary of ICJ ruling on Israel’s separation wall
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 July — The 12th anniversary of a decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that deemed Israel’s separation wall illegal under international law was marked on Saturday, as the PLO released a statement criticizing the international community for their complicity in Israel’s continued annexation and occupation of the Palestinian territory. The ICJ issued an advisory opinion in 2004 stating that the wall was illegal under international law and its construction must stop immediately, adding that reparations should be paid to Palestinians whose properties were damaged as a result of the construction. Twelve years later, the construction of the wall has continued unabated as more than 62 percent of the construction has been completed, encroaching deep into the Palestinian territory, leaving Palestinian neighborhoods stranded on both sides of the barrier, and isolating communities from their agricultural lands. In 2002, the Israeli government decided to build the wall in the Palestinian territory for purported security reasons, a decision which has served to separate Palestinians from “their lands, jobs, social and health services, and holy sites, including the total isolation of occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of occupied Palestine,” the PLO statement highlighted. The majority of the wall’s construction, 85 percent, has been built inside the occupied Palestinian territory over the Green Line, consuming vast tracts of Palestinian land along its way and consuming land in Area C — the two-thirds of the the West Bank that are under full Israeli military and civil control — where illegal settlements have been built or are planned to be constructed in the future. According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, eight Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, including Shu‘fat refugee camp, were separated from the city by the barrier, leaving the communities in a no man’s land without access to municipal services, while their economies have severely suffered after the wall’s construction. The PLO slammed the international community’s complicity in the statement, saying that countries have failed to acknowledge the ICJ’s ruling in their trade and diplomatic partnerships with the Israeli state, while routinely legitimizing Israel’s illegal annexation of Palestinian land by sending official representatives to meet with Israeli leaders in East Jerusalem — separated from the rest of the West Bank as a result of the separation barrier. The statement also pointed out the involvement of international companies in the illegal construction of the wall and the annexation of Palestinian territory by providing machinery to the Israeli state to construct the wall, while facilitating Israel’s continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements….
UK thwarts war crimes probe of former Israeli minister
EI 8 July by Charlotte Silver — For the fourth time in seven years, the British government has intervened to protect Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, from a possible war crimes investigation into her role in Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip in December 2008. Last week, ahead of her planned trip to London for a conference organized by the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz, Scotland Yard’s War Crimes Unit telephoned Livni to invite her to come in for a voluntary police interview. After receiving the summons, Israel initiated “diplomatic contact” with Britain, according to Haaretz, and the UK’s Foreign Secretary arranged for Livni to receive, once again, the status of a “special diplomatic assignment.” The police summons was prompted by the police and Crown Prosecution Service’s review of a war crimes complaint that was originally filed in 2009, Daniel Machover, an attorney representing litigants in the case, told The Electronic Intifada. But the UK government has repeatedly intervened to prevent the case from advancing….
PA security forces hitting lawbreakers with ‘iron fist’ in West Bank
JPost 11 July by Adam Rasgon — Abbas issues order to “undertake intensified security efforts to end all violence within Palestinian society.” The Palestinian Authority Security Forces have launched an effort to restore security to West Bank villages and cities, focusing on arresting wanted individuals and confiscating unregistered weapons in light of recent deadly violence between Palestinian families in the Jenin area, and gunmen and PASF officers in Nablus. Palestinian Authority Police spokesman Louay Zreikat told The Jerusalem Post the effort is based on directives issued by Palestinian leadership and will continue until security is restored to all regions of the West Bank … Eleven days ago, in the latter half of the month-long Ramadan celebration, a tribal dispute broke out in Ya‘bad, a village near Jenin, and later that day, a shooting incident took place in Nablus. In Ya‘bad, the Amarneh and Qubha families clashed in an inter-family fight, leaving three members of the Qubha family dead and 14 others from both families wounded. The same night, a group of gunmen approached a Preventive Security officer’s home in Nablus and opened fire, wounding the officer’s wife. When PASF officers Adi al-Saifi, 24, and Anan al-Tubuq, 26, arrived at the scene, the gunmen opened fire on them, as well, killing them. The incidents in Yabad and Nablus led to widespread condemnation from Palestinian political and security figures, shedding light on the growing instability in Nablus and Jenin….
46,000 Palestinians cross the Allenby Bridge, 35 detained by Palestinian police
JERICHO (Ma‘an) — Palestinian police detained 35 Palestinians at the Allenby Bridge between the occupied West Bank and Jordan throughout the week, as some 46,000 Palestinians passed through the crossing, according to statement released by Palestinian police on Saturday. A total of 23,275 Palestinians left the West Bank, while 23,483 crossed into the occupied territory from Jordan during the week, according to the police. The statement added that 46 Palestinians were detained by the police at the border for “unresolved legal proceedings.” Ambulances carrying 21 patients also reportedly crossed the Allenby Bridge after Palestinian security officials coordinated with Israeli liaison offices. Israeli authorities also denied 78 Palestinians entry to Jordan for alleged security reasons, the statement said. Meanwhile, Israeli forces on Saturday detained a Palestinian man from the Duheisha refugee camp on Saturday as he attempted to cross the Allenby Bridge….
Dems vote against Palestinians, Cornel West says they reenact their indifference to ‘these Negroes’ during Jim Crow
Mondoweiss 10 July by Philip Weiss — In the continuing saga of the presence of Palestine in the Democratic Party platform, Clintonites on the platform committee yesterday voted down any reference to settlements and occupation and the misery of Gaza in the draft document. Progressives booed and shouted about the influence of AIPAC, the Israel lobby group, and a dozen stormed out of the hall in Orlando, FL, CNN reports. Cornel West and Maya Berry of the Arab American Institute made inspiring speeches, to naught. West said that Palestine has become the “Vietnam War” issue for young Americans, to raucous applause. Here is video of yesterday’s meeting. Consideration of Israel/Palestine planks begins at 7:38:30….
Pro-Palestinian activists accuse Israel of culpability in police slayings of black Americans
JPost 10 July by Jeremy Sharon — Several pro-Palestinian organizations and activists have accused Israel of culpability in the deaths of Africa-Americans at the hands of US police, following the recent killings of two black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. The most egregious example was that of the New York University Students for Justice in Palestine group, which stated in a recent Facebook post that the “genocide” of African- Americans in the US was being perpetrated by those responsible for the “genocide” of Palestinians. A common theme in such accusations has been to blame Israel for violent police practices in the US due to the Israeli counter-terrorism training received by some US police and law-enforcement officials. Many of these claims have focused specifically on one counter-terrorism program run by the Anti-Defamation League, which has taken “200 law enforcement executives” to Israel, according to the ADL’s website … On Friday, Jewish pro-Palestinian activist Alice Rothchild wrote an opinion piece on the anti-Zionist Mondoweiss website also drawing attention to training received by some US law enforcement officials in Israel, and alleged that IDF policies are based on racism toward “brown people.” “While the carnage in our cities is certainly related to our own history of slavery and modern day racism and lack of gun control and a host of societal forces, having a police force influenced and trained by an occupying military force that sees another group of brown people (Arabs) as the enemy has certainly heightened the issue,” wrote Rothchild. “The parallels between white racism and Jewish supremacy flourish here and abroad.”….
Pre-military academy in the works for Muslim IDF volunteers
JPost 10 July by Jeremy Sharon — Efforts are currently underway, with the cooperation of the Defense Ministry, to create the first pre-military academy for Muslim volunteers to the IDF. Last month Deputy-Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan held a meeting in the IDF headquarters at the Kiryia in Tel Aviv with Anat Hasahiye, an activist for Muslim IDF enlistment who has advanced the new pre-military academy project, to discuss the issue. The Security and Society Department of the Defense Ministry and its director Amikam Siberski has agreed in principal to the proposal, and the academy will be able to start its first year with 15 students. Sources involved in the meeting emphasized however that the most difficult obstacle facing the new academy was enlisting recruits for it, and should the 15 spots not be filled the opening of the institution would be postponed. Several youths have already applied, but they since Muslims are not included in compulsory conscription they are required to pass specific Defense Ministry procedures before being drafted. If the requisite number of volunteers are found and approved, the academy could begin operations as early as this autumn … Ben-Dahan said during the meeting that he welcomes and supports the new initiative, and said that there was no doubt that the state has not done enough to help Muslim youth in the country….