Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Israel
Israeli soldiers kill a pregnant Palestinian woman in Hebron
IMEMC 1 July — Updated: Israel soldiers killed, on Friday, a pregnant Palestinian woman near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, while a number of eyewitnesses refuted the military claims of an attempted stabbing attack. The Palestinian woman, identified as Sara Daoud Ata Tarayra, 27, from Bani Neim town near Hebron, was a pregnant married woman, living in Hebron, and was killed at the entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Area H2, in the city. Eyewitnesses said a female soldier ordered the woman to accompany her to a room in order to search her, and that the soldier sprayed the woman with pepper spray, an issue that pushed her to run away from the soldier before other soldiers shot and killed her. They added that the army had no cause or justification to shoot the young pregnant woman, and could have easily subdued her, without resorting to lethal fire. The soldiers also prevented Palestinian medics from approaching the injured woman, and she died from her wounds shortly afterwards…. [Ynet: Overnight, IDF combat engineers mapped the home of Mohammed Taraireh in his village on Friday morning and also arrested Mohammad Kabaha on Friday, the 30-year-old man from Jaffa who stands accused of assisting the Netanya terrorist and giving him a ride to the scene]
Another report on the same incident:
Israeli police kill Palestinian woman in Hebron’s Old City after alleged stab attempt
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 July — Israeli forces Friday shot dead a Palestinian woman who allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City of the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to Israeli sources — the third attack to result in a Palestinian being killed in less than two days. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that the Palestinian woman was shot by border police after revealing a knife at a security checkpoint and attempting to stab the officers. Her condition was initially reported as “critical.” It was later reported by Rosenfeld that the Palestinian woman had been killed at the scene. No Israelis were injured during the incident … The slain Palestinian woman was identified as 27-year-old Sarah Tarayra from the village of Bani Naim in Hebron, the hometown of 17-year-old Muhammad Nasser Tarayra who carried out a deadly stab attack in the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement just a day before, resulting in the death of a 13-year-old Israeli girl. It remained unconfirmed if and how the two were related, as they shared the same surname. Yousef Mustafa Tarayra,18, from Bani Naim, reportedly a cousin of Muhammad Nasser Taraya, was shot dead alongside two other Palestinian youths in March after they allegedly carried out two consecutive attacks near Kiryat Arba, injuring four Israeli soldiers. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported following Thursday’s incident that Muhammad Nasser Taraya had also posted on Facebook praising other Palestinians who had carried out or attempted to carry out attacks on Israelis, including a woman who was shot dead last week after she allegedly attempted to carry out a car ramming attack near Kiryat Arba … The town Bani Naim has been sealed by Israeli forces since Thursday, with only urgent humanitarian cases allowed passage through Israeli checkpoints, in a punitive response the attack in Kiryat Arba. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they did not have further information on the expected duration of the closure….
Palestinian killed after alleged stab attack in Israeli city of Netanya
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 June, updated 1 July — A Palestinian was shot dead Thursday night by an Israeli civilian after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack at a market in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya which left two Israelis wounded, according to Israeli sources, making it the second incident to result in a Palestinian being killed following an attack in less than 12 hours. Israeli media reported that the unidentified Palestinian was shot and killed immediately following the attack after an armed Israeli civilian near the scene opened fire on the man before Israeli security forces arrived. Spokesperson for the Israeli police Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that two Israelis were stabbed during the incident and confirmed initial reports that the Palestinian was from the occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem. The Palestinian who allegedly carried out the stabbing was later identified as 46-year-old Wail Abu Saleh, according to Israeli media. According to a statement by Israeli police, the two Israelis, an Orthodox man in his 40s and a 62-year-old woman, were stabbed in the upper body and are receiving treatment at Israel’s Leinado Hospital, with one suffering from moderate wounds and the other in serious condition. The statement added that initial investigations indicated that the assailant was a young Palestinian, who was “neutralized” following the attack and pronounced dead shortly after.
Palestinian dies of tear gas inhalation, 40 others wounded
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 July — A Palestinian man was pronounced dead on Friday after suffering from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces heavily fired tear gas at crowds, reportedly wounding some 40 others, as Palestinians attempted to cross the Qalandiya checkpoint from Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank into Jerusalem to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The man, identified by medical sources as Muhammad Mustafa Habash, 63, from the ‘Asira al-Shamaliya village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, was one of at least 40 Palestinians who suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during clashes that broke out at the Qalandiya checkpoint. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Palestinian Red Crescent paramedics were prevented by Israeli forces from treating the man at the start of the incident. However, they eventually were able to reach him. A paramedic gave the man CPR before he was transported to the Ramallah Governmental Hospital for treatment and put in intensive care. The Ministry of Health later pronounced the man dead. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they were looking into reports. A Palestinian Red Crescent spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the incident. Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and young Palestinian men who were prevented from crossing the checkpoint to attend prayers on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Israeli forces showered the crowded area with tear gas bombs, causing dozens to suffer from tear gas inhalation. Witnesses also told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers beat Palestinians at the checkpoint with the butts of their guns and batons. Video footage [below] of the clashes released by Israeli media showed Israeli forces on horseback charging at the crowds encased by tear gas, with the sound of explosions in the background.
Israeli killed, 3 injured in shooting on Route 60 south of Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 July — An Israeli was killed and three others injured, at least one critically, in a shooting directed at an Israeli family’s vehicle on Route 60 between the illegal Israeli settlements of Beit Hagai and Otniel south of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed shots were fired at a family’s vehicle driving on Route 60, killing one person and wounding three others, causing the car to crash. Israeli news site Ynet reported that the father died on the scene after medics attempted to resuscitate him, while the mother sustained critical injuries, and their two children were also injured. Israeli army spokesperson Peter Lerner said that the wounded were evacuated to hospitals in Jerusalem for medical treatment, and that the Israeli army was still searching the Hebron area for suspects, having closed the road to traffic. The family was reportedly driving south on Route 60 when they were overtaken by another vehicle and came under fire, with some 20 shots being fired. Witnesses told Israeli newspaper Haaretz they saw an overturned car on the side of a road near the settlement of Otneil and an Israeli army outpost. Israeli media identified the man killed in the attack as Michael Marc, a father of 10 from Otniel, and his wife, who was critically wounded, as Havi. Two of their children, Pdaya, 15, and Tehila, 14, sustained moderate and light wounds, respectively.
Israel’s blockade on Hebron continues into Saturday, thousands of permits revoked
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 July — The Israeli-imposed blockade on the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron has remained in effect on Saturday, as Israeli forces have sealed the entire district, while imposing a complete lock-down on the village of Bani Naim and revoking permits of some 2,700 of its residents, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources. The closure was implemented on Friday amid a massive manhunt for the suspect responsible for a shooting attack that left an Israeli man dead, his wife critically injured, and his two children lightly-to-moderately injured while driving in their car near the Otniel settlement south of Hebron where the family was from. Israeli forces closed the entrances of the villages of Beit Anun, Sair, al-Thahiriyah, al-Fawwar, the Al-Fawwar refugee camp, al-Samu‘, Dura, and Farsh al-Hawa, while blocking the entrance of the village of Nabi Yunis with large cement blocks, according to locals. Israeli checkpoints were also erected at the entrances of Sair, al-Hawawir, and the al-‘Arrub refugee camp as Israeli forces searched any cars crossing the checkpoints. Locals said the main entrance to Beit Ummar was closed with an iron gate. Locals and Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an Israeli soldiers and military vehicles were deployed from al-Samu‘ south of Hebron to the al-‘Arrub refugee camp in the north of Hebron. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that all crossings to and from Hebron have been closed, with the exception of urgent humanitarian cases, to “prevent terrorists from carrying out attacks.” The spokesperson could not provide details on the expected duration of the blockade….
Israel to cut Palestinian tax transfers over ‘terrorist payouts’
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 1 July – Israel will reduce monthly transfers of tax collected on behalf of the Palestinians in what aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as a response to the killing of two Israelis in Palestinian attacks in the occupied West Bank this week. The amount deducted from about $130 million sent to the Palestinian Authority (PA) each month will be equal to stipends it pays militants in Israeli prisons and the families of jailed or slain militants, Netanyahu’s office said on Friday. The move, which follows the killings of an Israeli man and girl in the West Bank this week, will be a blow to the already weak finances of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA). “Incitement and payouts to terrorists and their relatives constitute an incentive to murder,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement announcing the funding cuts, effective immediately. Under interim peace deals from the 1990s, Israel collects tax revenues on behalf of the PA, which exercises limited self-rule. The monthly duties currently amount to between $130 million and $155 million, Israeli and Palestinian officials say. The cash is crucial to running the PA and paying public-sector salaries. Israel withheld tax money in 2012 and 2015 in response to Palestinian moves for statehood recognition abroad. Palestinians condemn such measures as collective punishment.”The decision to freeze a part of the tax revenues is a theft and piracy of money that belongs to the Palestinian people,” Wasel Abu Youssef, a senior official with the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation, told Reuters. Friday’s statement by Israel did not specify how much money it would now cut. That may depend on whom it deems militants. According to retired Israeli intelligence official Yosef Kuperwasser, in 2015 the PA paid out out around $13.4 million a month to the next-of-kin of “martyrs” — a term it applies to all Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, whether they were carrying out militant attacks or were non-combatants.
Israeli teen killed by Palestinian in Kiryat Arba was a US citizen
Allison Kaplan Sommer/Reuters 1 July — Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the 13-year-old Israeli girl who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in her West Bank home on Thursday morning was a U.S. citizen, the State Department confirmed. Ariel was sleeping when the Palestinian assailant, identified as Mohammed Tra’ayra [Tarayra], 19, broke into her house and stabbed her, after jumping over the perimeter fence of the Kiryat Arba settlement. Security guards rushed to the scene, and shot the assailant dead. An Israeli guard, 31, was also wounded in the attack, apparently by Tra’ayra who stabbed him before being shot. “We have now confirmed that she is a U.S. citizen,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a news briefing. Hallel’s U.S. citizenship derives from her mother Rena Ariel, originally Rena Aranoff. Her extended family still has members living in both Israel and the United States, according to Rena’s first cousin, Rachel Aranoff, a resident of Scarsdale, N.Y….
Teen’s murder is a reminder that we are all settlers
+972 mag 1 July by Dahlia Scheindlin — Just as we must mourn Hallel Yaffa Ariel as a human being and a slain child, we must also mourn her as a settler — because all Israelis are responsible for her presence in the West Bank — Superlatives are inadequate to tell the sorrow of recent weeks. Thirteen-year old Hallel Yaffa Ariel was stabbed to death in her bed in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba Thursday morning. Forty-four people were blown up in Istanbul’s airport, nearly 50 shot to death in Orlando. Mahmoud Badran, a 15-year old Palestinian boy, was killed by Israeli forces, “by mistake,” coming back from the pool with his friends. I can’t keep up enough to write about each one, but nation, identity and politics mean little to me when faced with innocent deaths. Some think the Israeli and the Palestinian killings are different, somehow less innocent than the others. Mahmoud was mistaken for a stone-thrower, as if this justifies his death. Hallel was a settler. Yet she was a civilian and a child — no more guilty than Mahmoud. I’ve written in the past that Israelis on the left must sympathize with such victims as human beings. Now I want to emphasize that we must also mourn Hallel as a settler, for her presence in the West Bank is the responsibility of all Israelis … For some Israelis, settlers are becoming the main — or maybe the only — thing about occupation they actually oppose. I think there are some left-wingers for whom empathizing with settlers threatens their very identity. But reducing the occupation to settlements and settlers enables forgetting about the rest of it, which is a convenient tool because it’s very inconvenient to fathom how to fight the rest of it. How does one even begin dismantling the impenetrable system of military law, stop or reverse the revocation of residency permits, keep track of the land in Area C being seized under the guise of declared military training zones, thereby blocking Palestinian development? Occupation is families in Gaza being cut off from the West Bank, and the Israeli army denying them permits to attend family funerals in time. Occupation is statelessness, it is refugees still living in Lebanon’s refugee camps. It is spying on Palestinian lives and conversations, by Israel’s crack intelligence units with the world’s most sophisticated technology, to blackmail them. Occupation is collective punishment. When you start looking closely, or perhaps when you take a step back, occupation is so much more than settlements….
After shooting a Palestinian with Down syndrome, Israeli soldiers fled without looking back
Haaretz 2 July by Gideon Levy — Eyewitnesses say Arif Jaradat, 23, did not endanger anyone when he was shot by Israeli troops. Jaradat, loved by all the children in his village, died of his injuries last week — Whenever Arif Jaradat saw soldiers, he would start to shout: “No, my brother Mohammed!” On several occasions Arif witnessed the arrest of Mohammed, his older brother, at home or in the street, at night or during the day. The sight of soldiers prompted his frightened cry, which his siblings took to mean, “No, don’t take Mohammed,” or, “No, don’t arrest Mohammed.” Mohammed has in fact been arrested five times, serving a total of 52 months in prison, some of them in administrative detention – he was arrested without charges or trial – and Arif lived in constant fear that the Israel Defense Forces would come to arrest him again. Mohammed’s detention in 2006 was especially burnt into Arif’s consciousness: Soldiers swooped down on the house in the middle of a freezing cold night and forced the family – including Mohammed’s infant son of 18 months – into the street of the town of Sa‘ir, near Hebron. Snow covered the ground that night. Mohammed was most recently arrested in 2013. It happened on the street, and Arif saw it from the balcony of his house. Horrified, he started to cry out again, “No, my brother Mohammed!” He shouted the same thing in the late afternoon of May 4, two months ago, when he saw a force of six or seven soldiers moving on foot near his house. Hearing the shout, his siblings were filled with apprehension. Then they heard a single shot. They rushed to the scene and saw their brother sitting on the ground, bleeding. The soldiers ran off, not bothering to check his condition or summon medical aid. Arif died a month later, from complications of his stomach wound. Arif was a young man of 23 with Down syndrome. We can assume that the soldier who shot him noticed this; it should have been obvious from looking at him. His brothers shouted to the soldier in Hebrew: “He’s disabled, don’t shoot.” But the soldier fired at Arif from a range of about 10 meters. His brothers found Arif sitting on the ground, on the rocky slope that descends to the road from which the shot was fired, blood streaming from his stomach, screaming in agony. His six brothers and one sister loved Arif very much, and he was very close to them. His family nickname was “Hubb,” meaning love. They took Hubb almost everywhere.…
Israeli police detain 15-year-old girl in Hebron for allegedly possessing knife
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 July — Israeli forces Friday detained a 15-year-old Palestinian girl from a military checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron for allegedly having a knife in her possession, according to the Israeli border police. An official of the Israeli border police told Ma‘an the knife was found after authorities conducted a search on the teenager’s belongings. He added that it was unclear if the young girl had been planning to use the knife in a “terrorist attack.” The official confirmed that the young girl is still being interrogated by Israeli intelligence. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an the teenager was detained an hour and a half after a 27-year-old Palestinian woman was killed by Israeli police officers near the Ibrahimi Mosque after an alleged stabbing attempt. Rosenfeld was unable to confirm if the teenage girl was accompanied by a parental guardian during the ongoing Israeli interrogations. According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, international and Israeli law stipulates that a parental guardian must be present during an interrogation of a child.
Israeli soldiers kidnap fourteen Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 30 June — Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, late at night and earlier on Thursday, at least fourteen Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, especially in the districts of Hebron and Jerusalem. The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers invaded many homes in the district, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped five Palestinians. The kidnapped, largely from Yatta town, have been identified as Odai Masalma, Mohammad Manasra, Yazan Mohammad Zein, Mahmoud Jaber Zein, and Zein Makhamra. In Jerusalem, the soldiers also invaded and searched homes, and kidnapped four Palestinians, identified as Obeida ‘Ameera, Rami Fakhouri, Ahmad ar-Razem, and a child identified as Yousef Shaweesh. Israeli Soldiers Kidnap Three Palestinians In Bethlehem, One In Qalqilia In Bethlehem, the soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Mahmoud Da‘amsa and Mohammad Omar Salah. In the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, the soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Ammar Bassam Majdouba, 30, and ‘Eqab Jamal Zabadi, 24. In addition, a Palestinian, identified as Mahmoud Rasem Ekhzaymiyya, 25, from Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, was kidnapped in Jerusalem.
Under occupation, Palestinian teens are always killed by mistake
+972 blog 30 June by Hagai El-Ad — More occupation means demolishing more homes. It means more families who will wake up in the middle of the night. It means killing more Palestinian teenagers. Because we have the power, the weapons, and the law at our disposal — … How would you like your occupation? The public discussion in Israel revolves around the question of how exactly we can continue the occupation. Should we do it by attempting to “improve the Palestinians’ economic situation” or should we step up their dispossession in the West Bank? Should we try and “improve trust between the two sides” or instead expel the majority of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem? Should we make “gestures” such as putting a temporary moratorium on home demolitions during the month of Ramadan, or should we continue with demolitions, as was the case in Wadi Ajheesh in the south Hebron Hills last week? Either way, Ramadan will end in a week, and we can go back to demolishing as usual. The inner-Israeli discussion is defined, first and foremost, by the arrogance of the overlords and goes entirely above their subjects’ heads. Palestinians are sometimes eligible for residency (and sometimes are not), they sometimes receive water from us (and sometimes do not), and sometimes they get to live (and sometimes they do not). They never, however, get to manage their own affairs. We are all responsible for this reality. We who won’t bother to look at the photo of four Palestinian teens smiling in the pool. We who will never be interested in their story, who will never even see them as human beings who simply wanted to enjoy themselves on a hot summer night. Above is a photo of Mahmoud Badran and his friends in the pool, taken a few hours before his death. Look them in the eyes. At least today.
Israel’s illegal retention of corpses of martyrs sparks protest in West Bank
Palestine Monitor 27 June by Lili Martinez — Twenty-two year old Bahaa Alayan’s body has been locked in an Israeli freezer since October 13 of last year, when he and another young man from East Jerusalem allegedly shot and stabbed several people on a public bus. Despite pleas from his family, lawsuits and repeated appeals by human rights organizations, Bahaa’s body, and those of seven other young men, have yet to be returned to their families. Families and supporters of Bahaa and others took to the streets Wednesday in central Ramallah to protest the Israeli army’s refusal to release the bodies into the custody of their families, so they can be buried according to Islamic tradition. This requires a burial as soon after death as possible. According to Ramallah-based human rights organization al-Haq, Israel’s policy of retaining the bodies of Palestinians killed directly violates its obligations under international law. Per Article Four of the Geneva Convention, parties to armed conflict must respect the dead and are required to return remains of the deceased to their families expediently after they are killed. Under the provisions of the convention, the deceased must be “honourably buried, if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged.” ….
At least 400,000 pray at Al-Aqsa overnight to mark the holy night of Laylat al-Qadr
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 July — Some 400,000 worshipers prayed overnight at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, the director of Islamic Endowments and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs told Ma‘an on Saturday, marking Laylat al-Qadr, observed on one of the last days of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib told Ma‘an that the worshipers prayed overnight at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as hundreds of thousands arrived at the compound from the occupied Palestinian territory and various other countries, such as Malaysia, Turkey, South Africa, the UK, and Indonesia. Praying during the holy night of Laylat al-Qadr, also known as the “Night of Power” and usually observed on the 27th day of Ramadan, is said to be better than 1,000 months of prayers due to what observers claim is the abundance of mercy and blessings shown by Allah during a time when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Al-Khatib said that guards were stationed throughout the Al-Aqsa compound to keep order and to facilitate the entrance and exit of worshippers in the area, including prohibiting individuals from begging or selling goods at the compound. He told Ma‘an that hundreds of volunteers worked to clean the area following prayers in cooperation with a cleaning service. Hundreds of thousands of meals were distributed at Iftar, the evening meal served at sunset following a day of fasting, and 200,000 more meals distributed for suhoor, a meal taken by Muslims early in the morning hours to prepare for the sunrise and resumption of fasting, according to al-Khatib. Al-Khatib called on Muslims to continue traveling to Al-Aqsa, highlighting that the mosque is “not a place for politics, but a place of worship,” adding that the Israeli government was responsible for the continued political unrest at the compound by continuously challenging the status quo, based on longstanding international agreements preventing non-Muslim worship at the site.
Hundreds from the Gaza Strip travel to Al-Aqsa on last Friday of Ramadan
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 July– Hundreds of Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip traveled to occupied East Jerusalem on Friday to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, according to Palestinian sources. The 380 Palestinian worshipers, all of whom were above the age of 50, arrived at the Al-Aqsa Mosque after passing through the Erez crossing between the small Palestinian territory and Israel, according to Palestinian liaison officials. The officials added that 80 of the Palestinians that traveled to Al-Aqsa from Gaza would stay into Saturday to pray during Laylat al-Qadr, a particularly holy day during the Muslim holiday when it is believed that the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Israeli authorities had announced plans last month to allow hundreds of additional Gazans to attend prayers in Jerusalem for Laylat al-Qadr, but then cancelled permit coordination with the besieged enclave during Ramadan after a deadly attack in Tel Aviv that left four Israelis killed and more than a dozen injured. Visitations by elderly Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Al-Aqsa were implemented as part of a ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s 2014 offensive on the besieged enclave.
Prisoners / Court actions
Military Court watch: 4 years on, less than 3 percent of recommendations have been implemented
MEMO 30 June by Gerard Horton — This month marks four years since a delegation of prominent British lawyers published a report on the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military law. The Foreign Office funded report – Children in Military Custody – found undisputed evidence that the military detention system violated at least six articles under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and two articles under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The delegation, led by Sir Stephen Sedley, a former Court of Appeal judge and Baroness Scotland QC, a former Attorney General, made 40 recommendations including the following: Children should not be arrested at night except in extreme and unusual circumstances; Parents should be promptly notified of the reasons for arrest and place of detention; Children should never be blindfolded or hooded; Single plastic hand ties should never be used; Children should not be transported on the floor of vehicles; Children should be informed of their right to silence at the time of arrest;Children should consult with a lawyer prior to interrogation; … Following a review of developments in the system as well as the testimonies of 388 children detained between 2013 and 2016, the evidence indicates that just one of the UK report’s 40 recommendations – the separation of children from adults while in custody – has been substantially implemented. This represents an implementation rate of 2.5 per cent….
Jerusalem: 65 children placed under house arrest in 2016
IMEMC/Agencies 30 June — The Israeli regime has placed 65 children in al-Quds (Jerusalem) under house arrest, in the first half of 2016, the Palestinian committee for prisoners and former prisoners’ affairs says. The committee added, according to Press TV/Al Ray, that 12 other children in al-Quds have also been detained without trial or charge under the so-called Israeli policy of administrative detention since the beginning of 2016. Administrative detention is an archaic policy dating back to the times of British Mandate, in which “criminal suspects” are detained, for repetitive 6-month periods, without charge or trial, and, most often, under unacceptably harsh conditions. The report added that 18 children were taken out of their residential areas in al-Quds during the same period. The head of the committee, Issa Qaraqe, said that the Israeli regime places the children under house arrest in return for their release from jail. Israeli forces conduct sudden raids on these children’s houses to make sure they have not violated the terms of the arrest. Palestinian sources say that some 23 percent of the children who have been placed under house arrest suffer psychological problems and 44 percent of them have left their studies unfinished.
Court extends arrest of Netanya terror accomplice
Ynet 1 July by Itay Blumenthal — The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court extended by five days the arrest of a man who is suspected of providing assistance to a terrorist who stabbed a 40-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman in Netanya … Mohammad Kabaha (30) from Jaffa stands accused of, amongst other things; destroying evidence, the obstruction of justice, and transporting an illegal alien in his car from Qalandiya to Netanya. Members of his family who were present at the legal procession claimed that he was unaware that he was driving a person who intended to carry out an attack. Kabaha, who was arrested on Thursday night in his home in Jaffa after security cameras recorded the terrorist exiting his vehicle, has been arrested in the past for transporting illegals into Israel. As he made his way home and heard that an attack was taking place, Kabaha immediately realized that it was being carried out by the terrorist he had transported to Netanya. In an effort to cover up any evidence that had any part in the attack, he immediately erased messages from his cell phone showing that the two had coordinated with one another and that he would provide a lift from Qalandiya to the Netanya market….
FIFA delegation visits Gaza and meets Israeli authorities
FIFA.com 1 July — A FIFA delegation led by Tokyo Sexwale has visited Israel and Palestine as part of the ongoing efforts of the FIFA Monitoring Committee Israel-Palestine to identify solutions to issues hindering the development of football in the region. Today the delegation visited Gaza where they could see first hand the facilities of the Palestinian FA that were destroyed in 2014. The FIFA delegation also met with representatives of the Israeli authorities, but the meeting with the Israeli Minister of Culture and Sport originally planned for Thursday had to be rescheduled due to the many flight delays following the terror attack on Istanbul airport. The delegation met representatives from the Israel and Palestinian football associations and Mr Sexwale has scheduled a meeting with the President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas … The discussions focused on the measures currently being developed to better deal with permit applications and avoid security-related delays with regard to the free movement of Palestinian people and equipment connected with football, an area where marked progress has been achieved. The pending issue of territory and the question of the five clubs that are affiliated to the Israel Football Association were also addressed and will continue to be discussed with all parties in order to find a lasting solution. On his visit, Mr Sexwale also announced the forthcoming trip to the region by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, with whom Mr Sexwale has been in contact during the visit.
Rafah crossing reopened for 3rd day following one-day closure on Friday
GAZA (Ma‘an) 2 July — Egyptian authorities Saturday reopened the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip, following a one-day closure on Friday, for the third day of openings expected to last until Monday, according to Egyptian sources. Two buses have reportedly traveled through the crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt on the third day of its opening, according to the crossing’s media office. Egyptian authorities closed the crossing on Friday after opening it for two consecutive days which allowed the passage of several hundred people to enter and leave the besieged Palestinian territory. The Egyptian authorities are expected to open the crossing until Monday. The short reprieve from heavy border restrictions comes as Israel’s military blockade of the Gaza Strip approaches nearly a decade.
Turkish aid ship departs for Gaza
MERSIN, Turkey (AA) 1 July by Anil Bagrik & Mustafa Gungor — A Turkish aid ship carrying 11,000 tons of supplies for the Gaza Strip left the southern port of Mersin Friday afternoon. The Lady Leyla sailed south for the Israeli port of Ashdod carrying 2,000 tons of rice, 5,000 tons of flour, 3,000 tons of sugar, 500 tons of cooking oil, and 10,000 food packages in addition to 100,000 pieces of clothing, 20,000 shoes, and 10,000 toys from the Turkish Grain Board and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay). The Panamanian-flagged vessel is expected to dock within 30 hours. The humanitarian mission departed Turkey following this week’s reconciliation deal between Ankara and Tel Aviv to end a six-year freeze in relations. “The supplies aboard this ship are a sort of present from the Turkish people to their brothers and sisters in Gaza ahead of the upcoming Eid al-Fitr,” Development Minister Lutfi Elvan said at a ceremony in Mersin to mark the ship’s departure. “They are a present from our children to Gazan children.”
Palestinian family sues French technology company for complicity in war crimes
MEMO 30 June — A Palestinian family has filed a lawsuit against French company Exxelia Technologies over charges of complicity in war crimes. The Shuheiber family, represented by the Paris-based law firm Ancile Avocats, lost eight-year-old Afnan, nine-year old Wassim and ten-year-old Jihad on 17 July 2014 when a rocket landed on their roof in Gaza where they were feeding birds. In the debris, the family found a component which read Eurofarad France. Experts have since determined that the component is a Hall effect sensor made by Exxelia Technologies. Since the house does not appear to have been a legitimate military target, the attack which killed the three children may constitute a war crime. The family’s lawyer Joseph Breham said that they decided to file the complaint in France as it would be useless to file it in Israel. According to the lawsuit, the company sold the component to Israel with knowledge that it would be part of a missile and with knowledge that it was susceptible to be used to commit a war crime.
Israeli navy ships open fire on Palestinian fishing boats
IMEMC 1 July — Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Friday morning, on a number of Palestinian fishing boats near the shore of Gaza city and the Central District, causing damage and forcing the fishers back to shore. The fishers said the soldiers fired many live rounds at their boats as they were trying to fish, in Gaza territorial waters, causing damage but no injuries. Several navy ships also chased some of the boats back to the shore in Central Gaza, while firing at them.
Rocket explodes on Sderot kindergarten
Ynet 1 July by Matan Tzuri & Yoav Zitun — A rocket was fired on Friday night from the Gaza Strip, striking a kindergarten in Sderot. The building was damaged, but no persons were physically wounded. One person suffered a panic attack, requiring treatment. At 10:59pm, a Code Red rocket alert was sounded in Sderot and in several communities located within the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. Residents ran for cover in protected shelters.
Israeli forces launch airstrikes on several sites in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 2 July — Israeli forces in the early morning on Saturday launched airstrikes at several sites allegedly used by Palestinian political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip in response to a rocket fired from the small territory into an Israeli city Friday evening, Israeli and local sources said. Local sources said Israeli warplanes launched rockets at two sites reportedly used by al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in the southern part of Gaza City, and targeted missiles at five other locations allegedly used by al-Qassam Brigades and al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. Missiles struck a site in Beit Lahiya, a blacksmith workshop in the neighborhood of Zaytun, a site near the al-Irsal tower east of Jabaliya, empty land near an al-Quds Brigades’ site northwest of Beit Lahiya, and a shed near an agricultural college east of Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip, according to locals. However, an Israeli army statement reported that the Israeli army targeted four locations in the northern and central Gaza Strip that were “components of Hamas’ operational infrastructure.” No injuries were reported, despite heavy property damage. The statement said that the airstrikes on the besieged enclave were in response to a rocket launched from Gaza on Friday evening at southern Israel, striking the Israeli city of Sderot and causing damage to a building. Israel holds the Hamas movement responsible for all rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, although other Palestinian militant groups are active in the small Palestinian enclave.
A new Israeli law turns its Arab citizens into enemy aliens
Haaretz 30 June by Nadeem Shehadeh — The terrorism law that the Knesset passed two weeks ago takes another step towards narrowing the rights of Arabs in Israel. The law employs draconian legal methods found in emergency legislation dating from the British Mandate and in temporary orders, most of which have been applied in the occupied territories for some five decades. The law is adopting them so the state can make use of them against political activity by Arab citizens within Israel proper, and against Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. A glance at the articles of the law shows that the legislator may have purported to create a law to fight terrorism, even at a global level, but is ultimately relying on a number of the emergency measures and orders that the law is supposed to replace. Furthermore, the law includes temporary orders regarding the interrogation of people suspected of offenses categorized under security – which are supposed to be temporary because of their multiple impairments of the rights of these suspects. Now these temporary orders, some of which had actually been voided by the High Court of Justice in the past, have now become an integral part of the law in the State of Israel. The law systematically overlooks constitutional principles, and fundamental principles in criminal law, regarding the process of arrest….
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
In Jerusalem, a cracked soccer pitch reflects wider fissures
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 30 June – It is dry, grey and uneven, but to the boys of Silwan, a Palestinian neighbourhood clinging to a hill behind Jerusalem’s Old City, their pint-sized football pitch, with its cracked surface and simple goalposts, was a precious refuge. Then the cracks began to widen. Two months ago, the football coach and residents decided to close the pitch, the last in Silwan’s Wadi Hilweh area, worried the ground was about to collapse. The 50-strong youth soccer league was suspended. Next to the 20-metre by 30-metre pitch stands a fenced-off archeological site managed by Elad, a wealthy, conservative Israeli settler organisation digging for evidence that the ancient city of King David once stood where Silwan now stands. “What’s happening with the excavations is terrifying,” said the football coach, Noor Krameh, 23. “We were afraid (the ground) was going to collapse, so we decided to move the kids.” Elad said its work was not responsible. Across the road, in a clubhouse that is more of a shed – a punch bag on the floor and a picture of a Palestinian youth said to have been killed by Israeli forces on the wall – local teens now while away the early summer days in boredom. When the football pitch was closed, they initially moved their games to the streets. But Jewish settlers kicked up a fuss, the boys said, so now they hang around the clubhouse watching music videos, their irritation rising. “They took the houses and they’re taking the streets,” Mohammed Qaq, 17, said of the settlers, who began to move into Silwan in the 1990s, occupying houses that in many cases were bought from Palestinians by Elad for vast sums of money. BATTLE FOR SPACE Tensions have always been high in Silwan, where around 200-300 settlers, most of them protected by armed Israeli security, live among an estimated 30,000 Palestinians. But it’s not just religious friction that haunts the neighbourhood, it’s a lack of space. Silwan is the closest Palestinian district to the Old City, spread across three or four narrow, winding streets set on a steep hill. Permits to build are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain. At the same time, Elad has several excavation sites in the area and has built a vast tourist centre, called the City of David, at the top of the hill. Residents said the excavations near the pitch had been going on for years but had stepped up over the past year. Sami Qrahein, 42, who lives nearby, said workers were at the site for up to 15 hours a day, hauling out dirt….
Palestinian natural springs — treasures threatened by loss and confiscation
This Week in Palestine – July by Ayman Rabi — Natural springs in Palestine have been historically the main source that provides life to people, land, and habitat. Many villages and towns were built and flourished around springs, and some of these springs are even today the main source of life for major cities such as Jericho. There used to be two times the number of springs in the West Bank than there are today (there are no springs in Gaza). The only study that documented most of the springs in the West Bank was that of the Palestinian Hydrology Group back in 1987–1989, which documented around 400 natural springs in the West Bank with an average daily discharge ranging from as little as 0.1m3/hour to as much as 650 m3/hour. The largest 30 springs have been monitored and documented by the various ruling authorities, whereas the small and medium ones have not … The main threats that face natural springs in the West Bank can be summarized as follows: 1. Negligence: The connection of many villages to water-supply systems has affected the reliance on springs as a source of drinking water, especially the small and medium springs, which in turn has lead to the abandonment of these springs … 2. Pollution: Many springs, especially those located within the vicinity of villages and towns, have shown some bacteriological contamination … 3. Reduced discharge: Drilling of groundwater wells, especially Israeli wells that serve settlements in the West Bank, next to or within the springs’ effective zones has substantially lowered the discharge of many springs … 4. Confiscation: One of the most dangerous threats is the new trend of Israeli settlers, backed by occupation policy, to confiscate springs and forbid Palestinian access to them. The settlers aim to foster Palestinian disconnect from their natural and cultural heritage in an attempt to try to falsify history by claiming that these springs are part of Israeli heritage. Settlers have taken advantage of the lack of Palestinian presence around some major and even smaller springs and confiscated such springs as Al Qous Spring near the village of Nabi Saleh, which was confiscated and designated for the use of settlers only…. (This month’s issue is Water in Palestine – read other articles such as Water Wars)
Family to go homeless as Israel orders evacuation
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 1 July — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) ordered a Palestinian family to evacuate their home in Silwan town, in Occupied Jerusalem, pending its demolition. Activist Fakhri Abu Diab said Israeli occupation policemen and municipal crews stormed al-Basateen neighborhood, in Silwan, and handed the family an evacuation order under the pretext of unlicensed construction. The IOA gave the family a ten-day limit to leave the house. The building belongs to the Basheer family. It was rebuilt a few years ago after the IOA had knocked it down in 2005. The activist further warned of an Israeli intent to raze 100 homes, where 1,650 Palestinians have been taken shelter, in al-Basateen neighborhood for the purpose of establishing a park.
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (23-29 June)
PCHR-Gaza 30 June — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt A Palestinian woman was killed in the West Bank under the pretext of carrying out a run-over attack. 3 civilians were wounded during incursions. 40 civilians, including a woman, sustained bullet and shrapnel wounds while 19 others sustained bruises in al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli forces conducted 40 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 5 in Jerusalem. Al-Aqsa Mosque was raided to protect dozens of settlers who entered to perform Talmudic prayers. 55 civilians, including 18 children, were arrested. 28 of them, including 15 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. Israeli forces continued to open fire at Palestinian fishing boats, causing damages to one of them. Israeli forces continued settlement activities in the West Bank. More demolition notices were issued in the southern side of Hebron…..
Ambassador: 3-year-old Palestinian child, mistakenly announced dead, alive in coma
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 July — The Palestinian ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa announced an apology Friday for declaring that a three-year-old Palestinian was killed in Tuesday’s deadly attack on Turkey’s Atat ürk airport, claiming that the child was instead alive and in intensive care suffering from a coma since the bomb blasts left shrapnel lodged in his head three days ago. Mustafa said he mistook three-year-old Rayan Shreim for another child of a different nationality, and publicly apologized for the mistake. Mustafa added that he hoped for the child’s recovery and for the recovery of another 17-year-old Palestinian girl who was also placed in intensive care in a hospital in Turkey after her stomach was hit with shrapnel. Sundus Abed al-Halim Hashem from Qalqiliya City in the northern occupied West Bank was also killed in the attack, according to Mustafa, in addition to a Palestinian woman identified as Nisrin Hashim Shafee Hammad from the town of ‘Arraba in the West Bank district of Jenin. Mustafa reported on Wednesday that a Palestinian woman was killed and six other Palestinians were injured in the attacks, which took place late Tuesday night in Turkey’s busiest airport. The injured Palestinians, Mustafa said at the time, included a baby girl and a teenage girl from Gaza who both remained in critical condition. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a number of Palestinians had been reported missing in the wake of the attack.
Bodies of two Palestinian women leave Atatürk airport for Jordan
ISTANBUL (PIC) 1 July — A number of Palestinian citizens and activists on Thursday performed the funeral prayer at Atatürk airport in Istanbul for two West Bank women who were killed in Tuesday’s bombing attack at the same airport, ahead of their flight to Jordan in coffins. Media sources said that the wounded husband of Nasrin Hammad, one of the slain women, led the funeral prayer at the airport. For its part, the Palestinian embassy in Ankara said that the bodies of Sundos Basha, from Qalqilya, and Nasrin Hammad, from ‘Arraba town in Jenin, would be flown to Jordan aboard a Turkish airliner at dawn Friday and would arrive on the same day in the West Bank. The embassy added that its Palestinian counterpart in Amman and the Palestinian civil affairs committee would coordinate with the competent authorities in Jordan to secure the transport of the bodies to Palestine. The embassy also said that five other Palestinian citizens are still in Turkish hospitals receiving treatment for injuries they sustained in the attack, pointing out that two of them are in critical conditions.
US and Israeli flags are burned in protests across the Muslim world condemning occupation of Palestinian territories
1 July by Chris Summers For Mailonline — Iranians staged rallies across the country today, with protesters condemning the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and chanting ‘death to Israel’. Tens of thousands of people marched in the capital, Tehran, as part of the Qods Day rallies held each year on the last Friday of Ramadan. Qods – or al-Quds in Arabic – is the Farsi name for Jerusalem, which is one of Islam’s holiest cities, as well as being key to the Christian and Jewish faiths. — Scroll down for video — Iran does not recognise the state of Israel and has long resented its control of Jerusalem. In 1979 the late Ayatollah Khomeini announced the last Friday of Ramadan would be a day of rallies in support of the Palestinians, whose lands in the West Bank and Gaza were conquered and occupied by Israel in 1967. The United States, because of its long-term support for Israel, is also subject to regular vitriol in Iran. Protesters trampled the Israeli flag and chanted ‘down with the USA’. Similar rallies took place among Shi‘ite Muslims in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and some other countries with Shi‘ite Muslim minorities. Just before Friday prayers the deputy commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, General Hossein Salami, hit out at Israel.
Netanyahu rejects Quartet ‘myth’ that settlements prevent peace
AFT 1 July — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday rejected a Middle East diplomatic Quartet appeal for Israel to halt settlement construction, that said it diminished chances for a process leading to Palestinian statehood. The report by the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations “perpetuates the myth that Israeli construction in the West Bank is an obstacle to peace. When Israel froze settlements, it did not get peace,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office read. The much-awaited Friday report said that “Israel should cease the policy of settlement construction and expansion, designating land for exclusive Israeli use, and denying Palestinian development”. Such actions were “steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution”, said the report, which was to serve as the basis for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been comatose since a US initiative collapsed in April 2014. The report also addressed the Palestinian wave of violence, resulting since October in the deaths of at least 214 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese. “The Palestinian Authority should act decisively and take all steps within its capacity to cease incitement to violence and strengthen ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including by clearly condemning all acts of terrorism,” the Quartet said….
Farming on the frontlines
MEMO 30 June by Jessica Purkiss — A mushroom farm in Jericho, an heirloom seed library, a project to introduce kale to the Palestinian market and a local farmers’ cooperative – these small agricultural projects are the latest weapon in the fight against the Israeli occupation. They aim to tackle the policies that make Palestine dependent on the Israeli market and offer alternatives for Palestinians who find themselves forced to buy Israeli products. After returning to Palestine for the first time in five years, Vivien Sansour noticed changes in her homeland. “All the things I had missed, like the delicious tomatoes and cheese, the things old ladies would come and sell at the front of our house, they were gone,” says Sansour. “I thought I was coming home and I found myself coming back to a place that was foreign to me where I was buying Israeli broccoli in the supermarket and that was what was available.” In June, she officially launched Palestine’s first heirloom seed library as a way to preserve the knowledge of generations of farmers who have cultivated varieties of organic vegetables, fruits and herbs adapted for the region’s climate and soil. Due to Israeli policies and neo-liberal farming techniques, these varieties, and traditional Palestinian farming as a whole, are facing extinction. These tiny seeds, she says, have the power to stop this from happening. Anyone can borrow a packet of the library’s seeds and grow the local varieties of produce, returning seeds from the next harvest. “The heirloom seed gives us power to resist our dominance, though our heirlooms seeds we can truly eat what we grow and stop having to be slaves to our master,” she says … .According to the Israeli occupation authorities, the value of goods produced in settlements and exported to Europe amounts to approximately $300 million a year. Israel is flooding the Palestinian market with cheap Israeli products whilst simultaneously controlling the Palestinian exports and imports. Restrictions on the importation of fertilizers has cut agricultural output in the OPT by an estimated 20-33 per cent. This pressure is forcing Palestinian farmers to leave their land, with many having to work on the settlement farms that displaced them on as little as half the Israeli minimum wage, in unsafe working conditions, and without holiday or sick pay….
Nablus’ ancient mosques tell story of religions throughout history
NABLUS, West Bank (Al-Monitor) 29 June by Aziza Nofal — The mosques in the old town of Nablus, in the north of the West Bank, reflect the history of the city across different eras, including the Islamic conquests, the Crusades and the Mamluk and Byzantine eras. While Islamic communities settled in Nablus following the Islamic conquests, a number of the city’s mosques are linked to Judaism and Christianity due to the presence of Christian and Samaritan communities in the city after the Byzantine era. In this context, Jumaa al-Afghani, an official at the Palestinian Ministry of Awqaf in charge of Nablus’ mosques, told Al-Monitor, “The city is home to 90 mosques, 11 of which are located in the old city and that are seen as some of the oldest in Palestine — dating back 600-1,000 years.” He said, “Mosques are mainly located in the old city of Nablus because that area used to serve as a cultural center for a large number of Palestinian cities in the past. Before, the border of Nablus stretched out to the city of Acre. This is why most of the city’s mosques are considered national heritage.” Al-Khadra Mosque reflects the different religious progressions in the city. According to archaeologist Naseer Arafat, the mosque was originally built as a Crusader church and was converted into a mosque during the Mamluk period. The city’s Samaritans possess documents showing that al-Khadra Mosque had been a Samaritan synagogue, where Jacob sat down and wept for his son Joseph. Following the Crusaders’ occupation of the city in 1099, it was turned into a church before being converted to a mosque during the Islamic conquest in 1187….
New Israel Fund awards Breaking the Silence $20,000 consolation prize
JPost 30 June by Lidar Gravé-Lazi — The New Israel Fund will award $20,000 to NGO Breaking the Silence in lieu of a canceled award the NGO was supposed to receive from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Last month the university’s Middle East Studies Department announced it would award the NIS 20,000 (some $5,000) Berelson Prize for Jewish-Arab Understanding, in memory of Yitzhak Rabin, to the organization, which provides anonymous testimonies of soldiers that describe alleged IDF transgressions. However, shortly after the announcement, BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi intervened and overturned the decision. She reasoned that the organization was not a part of the “national consensus” and that awarding the group could be “interpreted as a political bias.” In response to the decision, Breaking the Silence issued a statement on its Facebook page saying that, “At the cost of harming freedom of expression and academic liberty, the president of the university chose to veto the professional committee’s decision, in surrendering to the surrounding havoc.” … Following the controversy, the New Israel Fund decided to raise the award money for the group, though in the end it raised nearly four times the original prize money….
AIPAC lauds Senate for additional foreign aid, anti-BDS action for Israel
WASHINGTON (JPost) 1 July by Michael Wilner — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee lauded the approval of additional foreign aid to Israel on Thursday — an increase it lobbied for — by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The committee included provisions in next year’s Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill which provide “$3.4 billion in security assistance to Israel, a $300 million increase over last year’s funding,” the lobby said in a statement. “Importantly, at the urging of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), the Committee also voted to include in the measure the Combating BDS Act of 2016, which he co-authored along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), to provide critical protection for states that take action to oppose boycotts against Israel,” the statement added. The Combat BDS Act smoothed the wheels for state and local governments to legislate against the boycott, divestment and sanctioning of the Jewish state. The bill now proceeds to the Senate floor for full approval.