Prisoners / Court actions
Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner rushed to hospital amid mounting solidarity movement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 July – The Israeli Prison Service (IPS) on Sunday afternoon rushed hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid to Israel’s Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon after his health suddenly deteriorated, as he entered his 33rd day without food, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs. Meanwhile, some 37 Palestinians prisoners have begun open hunger strikes in solidarity with Kayid, while hundreds more have undertaken short-term hunger strikes, and prisoners of all Palestinian factions announced intentions to participate in escalating steps of protest in the coming week. Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun reported Sunday that Farah Bayadsi, a lawyer with prisoners’ rights group Addameer, confirmed the transfer, saying that Kayid had been experiencing nausea, inability to walk, dizziness, fatigue, and insomnia, while having lost a significant amount of weight. According to Bayadsi, Kayid is to remain in the hospital for at least one day and that Addameer was arranging a hospital visit to confirm his condition. After being sentenced to six months of administrative detention the day he was set to be released upon serving 14.5 years in prison, Kayid started his hunger strike, refusing food, supplements, and medical examinations, consuming only water. According to Samidoun, Kayid began refusing to speak to Israeli prison authorities on July 14.Since he began his strike, hundreds of Palestinians prisoners have undertaken short-term hunger strikes in protest of his administrative detention….
Israeli court sentences 14-year-old Palestinian boy to 6 1/2 years in prison
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 July — An Israeli military court on Sunday sentenced 14-year-old Muawiya Alqam to six-and-a-half years in prison, after being accused of carrying out a stab attack with his 12-year-old cousin in Jerusalem in November. Muawiya’s sentence also included three years of probation with an automatic ten-month prison sentence upon violation of the probation, and his family was ordered to pay a fine of 26,000 shekels (approximately $6,718). The sentence confirms the plea bargain reached by Muawiya’s lawyer with the Israeli military prosecutor earlier this month. In November, Muawiya was indicted on charges of attempted murder and possession of a knife. Israeli forces shot and wounded Muawiya’s 12-year-old cousin Ali Alqam after the two allegedly stabbed and injured an Israeli security guard on the light rail near the illegal Israeli settlement of Pisgat Zeev in northern Jerusalem. Ali, who was shot at least three times on the scene and had to undergo surgery to remove a bullet from his stomach, is currently being held at a juvenile rehabilitation center since Israeli authorities decided to uphold his one-year detention in April. Meanwhile, Muawiya has been moved between Israel’s Russian Compound, HaSharon, and Megiddo prisons.
Israeli forces raid PFLP section in Ramon prison, impose total closure
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 July — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said on Sunday morning that Israel Prison Service (IPS) forces raided section 5 of Israel’s Ramon prison, where they searched room number 72 and imposed a total closure on the section, which holds exclusively prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The group added in a statement that the acts of the prison administration and its forces are part of its collective punishment on PFLP prisoners across all Israeli prisons, in response to their support of Bilal Kayid, who has been on a hunger strike since June 14 in protest of his administrative detention order. Kayid, a member of the PFLP, has been on hunger strike in protest of being placed in administrative detention — the controversial Israeli policy internment without trial or charges under undisclosed evidence — by Israel on the day he was scheduled to be released from serving more than 14 years in prison….
Palestinian prisoner injured in February moved to hospital after health deteriorates
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 July — Palestinian prisoner Mamdouh Amar, 27, was moved to Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Hospital in Tel Aviv on Sunday after his health deteriorated into a critical condition. Ratib Harbiyat, Amar’s lawyer from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that the young prisoner from Hebron was suffering from several injuries to his body including his feet, lungs, chest, and back, adding that Amar was previously treated at Jerusalem’s Shaare Tzedek Hospital, where part of his lungs were removed before being moved to Israel’s Ramla prison. According to his lawyer, Amar was suffering from shortness of breath, an inability to talk, and needed a wheelchair to move around. Harbiyat added that 15 Prisoners who are either wounded or sick are currently at the Ramla prison infirmary, in addition to five others who are there to help them.
Amar was initially detained in February after being shot and severely injured by Israeli forces for allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier. The soldier was then shot and killed by Israeli friendly fire. One day after the alleged attack, Israeli forces raided Hebron’s al-Majd village, and raided the home of Amar where they took measurements of the building with the intentions of a future punitive home demolition…
There are some 1,000 sick Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies. Rights groups have widely condemned Israel for its medical negligence of Palestinians in its prisons, which Addameer has called a deliberate policy of neglect.
Palestinian father accuses Israeli jailers of abusing his son Abu Daheer
NABLUS (PIC) 16 July — Palestinian professor Farid Abu Daheer, a lecturer at al-Najah University, has accused the Israeli security authorities of abusing and maltreating his son, Baraa, in Israeli jails. This came in a lengthy letter Abu Daheer wrote to human rights groups and media outlets, in which he highlighted the suffering of his son in detention and the injustice being inflicted on him. He explained that the Israeli security authorities arrested Baraa, who was born in 1990 in Britain, on Allenby Bridge after he came back from Jordan on May 30, 2016 following his stay in Turkey for about one month where he was looking for a job. According to his letter, Baraa is a holder of a bachelor’s degree in computer science and has made recently efforts to join a master’s degree program in the field of three-dimensional animation. His son suffers from a delicate medical condition that resulted from a fall incident when he was two years old in 1992. Since then he has been suffering from concentration problems and dealing with matters happening to him very simply. Since his arrest, the father says, Baraa has been exposed to intensive psychological pressure and long hours of interrogation by Israeli officers, who made him confess to doing things he had not committed. He was recently rushed to hospital after he tried to physically harm himself because of the size of torment he encountered during his detention at the hands of Israeli interrogators. The father affirmed that he is son is innocent of all the accusations leveled against him, appealing in his letter to human rights groups, the media and all concerned parties and competent authorities to intervene to end the suffering of his son and have him released.
Israeli court issues administrative detention order against Palestinian journalist
RAMALLAH (PIC) 17 July — Israeli court of Ofer on Sunday issued an administrative detention order for three months against the Palestinian journalist Adib al-Atrash. Local sources revealed that journalist Atrash got his Master’s degree from Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus months ago and had returned back home to get married as his wedding was expected in September. Israeli forces arrested journalist Atrash on Monday, June 20, from his family’s home in al-Khalil city. He was held in al-Maskobiya investigation center in Occupied Jerusalem.
Violence / Detentions / Closures — West Bank / Jerusalem
IOF assaults Palestinian man from Jenin
JENIN (PIC) 16 July — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Saturday assaulted a Palestinian man at Zaatara checkpoint near Nablus leaving him with bruises all over his body. Local sources said that the IOF soldiers stopped Ghassan Abu al-Wafa, 40, from Jenin while he was passing through the barrier and beat him up. He was transferred to hospital for treatment of bruises suffered during the assault. The attack was carried out for no reason amid a traffic jam in the area of the barrier which separates the northern area of the West Bank from its southern area. Palestinians are routinely exposed to a lot of similar attacks at that checkpoint, the sources highlighted.
Israeli forces detain 5 in Hebron, nearby village remains partially blockaded
HEBRON (Ma’an) 16 July– Israeli forces detained five Palestinians from the Hebron district in overnight and predawn raids Saturday. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers raided the towns of Sa‘ir north of Hebron and Dura to the west of the city late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Israeli forces reportedly detained Hayran Jaradat — brother of Arif Jaradat, the young Palestinian with Down syndrome who was shot and killed by Israeli forces last month — from his house in Sa‘ir Saturday morning. The detainees from the town of Dura were identified as Ezz al-Din Said Talahma, Salim Musa Shadid, Musa Abd al-Majdi Shadid, and Ali Shihda Hroub. Local sources added that three entrances to Sa‘ir remained closed Saturday, entering the sixth day of a blockade to the town. Israeli forces have continued to impose general closures throughout Hebron, the largest and most populous district in the occupied West Bank, amid a widespread manhunt for gunmen in two shooting incidents in the district. In the wake of a fatal shooting attack near the illegal Israeli settlement of Otniel in Hebron on July 1, the town of Yatta in the south was sealed, leaving commuters with journeys of over two hours just to find a way out of the village. The attack occurred within 48 hours of a deadly stabbing attack as well as an alleged attempted attack carried out by residents of the village of Bani Na‘im in Hebron — both were immediately shot dead in each incident. Bani Na‘im was also completely sealed. An Israeli was shot and injured in his car on June 10 near the Hebron-area settlement Teqoa, after which the village of Sa‘ir was also placed under blockade….
Israeli forces detain Palestinian woman near Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 July — Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian woman on Saturday evening after stopping the vehicle she was traveling in at a flying checkpoint west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank. Witnesses said Israeli forces stopped a Palestinian taxi at the entrance of Beit Liqya west of Ramallah, and detained Banan Mahmud Ahmad Mafarja, 21, and took her to an unknown destination. Witnesses added that Israeli forces informed her brother that they detained her upon an order from the Israeli intelligence service. Mafarja is a medical student at Al-Quds University in the Abu Dis neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli siege continues in Hebron, 6 Palestinians detained in overnight raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 17 July 2:52 pm — Israeli forces detained six Palestinians from the Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank in predawn raids Sunday, as Israeli forces continued to impose strict security measures at the entrances to Hebron and its surrounding villages. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the towns of Beit ‘Awwa and al-Samu‘ near Hebron city where they searched the homes of residents, and maintained closures to entrances of several other surrounding villages using gates and dirt berms, in addition to erecting several flying checkpoints used to check ID cards of passing Palestinian residents.
Israeli forces raided the Beit ‘Awwa village west of Hebron where they detained Amal Khadir Masalmah, Muhammad Sabri Maluh Masalmah, and Mutasim Faruq Masalmah. The al-Samu‘ municipality confirmed that Israeli forces raided the town and detained Muhammad Hamid Rawashdah, Muhammad Issa al-Daghamin, and Iyad Musa Salamah al-Daghamin from their homes.
The municipality added that the southern Hebron town remained under siege by Israeli forces, who closed the main entrance and alternative entrances to the village with dirt berms. Palestinian security sources and locals said Israeli forces also maintained a closure on the entrance to the al-Fawwar refugee camp on the outskirts of the southern village of Dura, and that the northern and southern entrances of Hebron City and the village of Yatta remain closed.
Palestinian carrying explosives arrested at Jerusalem rail station
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 17 July — A Palestinian man carrying pipe bombs and knives in his bag was arrested at a light railway station in Jerusalem during the morning rush hour on Sunday, Israeli police said. “The plan was apparently to attack the light railway,” Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevi said in a statement. An armed station security officer became suspicious of the man, a resident of the occupied West Bank aged in his 20s. He stopped the Palestinian at gunpoint and searched his bag on a busy central Jerusalem street at the start of the Israeli work week. Police explosives experts found three pipe bombs, detonator wires, a cellphone and several knives in his bag, a police spokeswoman said. Two main streets were closed off while police defused the devices.
IOF reopens Awarta’s road, arrests two Palestinians in ‘Aida
NABLUS (PIC) 17 July — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Sunday reopened the road that connects ‘Awarta and Huwwarah towns in southern Nablus city after a one-month closure. The road was closed by rocks, sand berms, and cement blocks on the pretext of securing settlers’ vehicles from stone throwing. The road is one of the key roads used by Palestinian inhabitants of the towns in the northern West Bank: ‘Awarta, Udala, and Beita. It is also used as an alternative road to connect Nablus city to its southern outskirts in case of closing Huwwarah’s barrier.
Meanwhile, local sources reported that the IOF soldiers arrested two Palestinian young men: Ahed Amira, 20, and Firas Nasrallah, 26, while working at a park in ‘Aida refugee camp to the north of Bethlehem.
Gaza rallies to celebrate defeat of Turkey coup attempt
MEMO 16 July Exclusive images by Mohammed Asad — Hundreds of people took to the streets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday to celebrate the failure of a coup attempt by a renegade faction of Turkey’s military. “With the support of its people, Turkey has emerged victorious,” Gaza resident Mohamed Ashour, 50, told Anadolu Agency. The father of seven went on to recount how he had surfed through television channels all night to follow the dramatic events in Turkey. “News of the coup attempt came as a big shock,” he said. “But now the shock has turned to joy.” Waving Turkish and Palestinian flags, hundreds of Palestinians gathered in the Gaza Strip’s southern city of Khan Younis on Saturday to voice support for Turkey’s elected government. Some carried banners reading, “Gaza won’t forget those who stood by it” – a reference to the Turkish government’s longstanding support for the people of Gaza, who have suffered under a decade-long embargo imposed by Israel and Egypt. “This is a message to our brothers in Turkey that the Palestinian people stand by you,” Yunus al-Astal, a leading member of Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which has governed the strip since 2007, said. On Friday night, renegade elements within Turkey’s military attempted to stage a coup against the government. Although the coup was soon put down by the country’s legitimate authorities and security apparatus, roughly 160 people were martyred in the violence, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Hamas: Local elections would end division
GAZA (PIC) 17 July — Deputy head of Hamas Movement Ismail Haneyya met Sunday a delegation representing the Central Elections Commission to discuss preparations for the local elections to be held next October. A delegation representing the Commission headed by Hanna Naser arrived Sunday morning in Gaza Strip via Erez crossing before visiting Haneyya in his office. Following the meeting, political bureau member of Hamas Movement Khalil al-Hayya held a press conference during which he renewed his group’s keenness to facilitate the election process in Gaza and West Bank. “We call on Palestinian factions to make all possible efforts to reinforce the national partnership”, he said. “We hope that the next presidential and legislative elections would end the internal division and reinforce a real national partnership”, al-Hayya continued. For his part, head of the Commission Naser Hanna welcomed Hamas’s readiness for the elections, expressing hope that it will end the division. “We received guarantees from all parties to respect the election results”, he said. Last week, Hamas Movement declared it will participate in local elections set for October, after boycotting the last round four years ago.
Qassam starts training camps in Gaza for 30,000 youngsters
GAZA CITY (Alresalah.ps) — Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades launches on Saturday its annual summer training camps in Gaza for over 30,000 middle and high school students. The Brigades said that its summer training camps, Talae Al Tahrir (Vanguards of Liberation) provide the Palestinian youngsters with athletic games, scouts activities, as well as providing religion classes. We prepare the Palestinian generations so they will be fully prepared for defending Palestinian soil and the Palestinian people. The brigades added.
How Indiegogo is connecting Israelis and Gazans
Al-Monitor 15 July by Shlomi Eldar — Many Israelis have responded to requests on the crowdfunding Indiegogo site to help desperate Gazans struggling to survive — “When people face distress and have to wage desperate daily battles for survival that no one in the world can understand, they look for creative ways to raise their heads above the ground and breathe.” These words were uttered quietly and with great pain by M., a young Palestinian in Gaza who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by Hamas. I found him after receiving, like many Israelis, a personal Facebook appeal to help him raise money for a project he had launched on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website. M. had been unemployed for six years and therefore decided to study electrical engineering at the Islamic University of Gaza, hoping that as an engineer he would be able to find work. He completed his studies and got his degree, but after three years he hasn’t found a job. Meanwhile, his debts have ballooned and he has no way of paying them. So far, he has raised only a quarter of his target amount. Almost half of his donors are Israelis. M. is not alone. The idea of appealing personally to Israelis identified as peace lovers came from friends at the Islamic University who had made such appeals in the past. Thes desperate young people, most of them university graduates, realized that their best chance for easing, albeit marginally, the distress of their daily lives in the besieged Gaza Strip was internet crowdfunding. To their surprise, they found that the most eager donors are the very people considered the enemy and those responsible for their plight — Israelis … Hand Made, one of the many fundraising projects, is the brainchild of a group of women students at the Islamic University. They sell unique, spectacular handmade bags, tops and embroidered artifacts that they make themselves. Like other young Gazans who have discovered the crowdfunding website, they searched Facebook for Israelis who appeared to be peace supporters, according to their postings on the social network … .The response to the Hand Made appeal, so it seems, has often been positive. The project managed to raise $8,400, 34% more than the target amount. Among the 132 donors, 90 are Israelis unconcerned about their names appearing on the Indiegogo project’s list of donors. The students send their products from Gaza by mail through the Israeli Erez checkpoint, after which it is goes via the postal service for delivery….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Right-wing lawmakers seek to legalize largest West Bank outpost
Haaretz 17 July by Jonathan Lis — Habayit Hayehudi sought on Sunday to advance a bill regulating the expropriation of private Palestinian land in West Bank settlements, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to such a bill. The proposed law is intended to legitimize the Amona outpost, which was built illegally on private Palestinian land, and must be evacuated by December by order of the High Court of Justice. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the chairwoman of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, had said she wanted the panel to vote on the bill on Sunday, but the coalition faction heads ultimately decided to postpone the vote by a week. The attorney general, who took part in their meeting, asserted that the proposed legislation is unconstitutional. Netanyahu has scuttled several previous attempts to pass such a bill, which enjoys strong support among Likud ministers. Netanyahu recently appealed to Likud members, asking them to propose other ways of legitimizing the Amona, which is the largest outpost in the West Bank. A senior Likud official believes that if no solution is found and the outpost is moved, the coalition may fall apart … The bill stipulates that Palestinian landowners will receive generous compensation, in the form of cash or alternate land, with buildings already in place on their legally approved land. The law will not allow them to object to the actual expropriation. The right-wing NGO Regavim has reported that 2,026 structures have been built on private Palestinian land. Israel has never addressed the legal status of these structures. The bill is intended to bypass High Court of Justice rulings and to prevent discussions regarding future evacuation of settlements. The chances of the bill moving forward are thought to be slim, because of the severe international censure it would likely trigger.
Israel orders halt on construction of homes in Jordan Valley
Jordan Valley (WAFA) 17 July – Israeli authorities on Sunday notified Palestinians to stop the ongoing construction of several houses and animal barns in the Frush Beit Dajan area in Central Jordan Valley, according to local sources. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities, told WAFA that Israeli forces raided the Frush Beit Dajan area and notified to stop the construction of more than seven houses and animal barns. [Israel has already confiscated most of the village’s land. See this 3 1/2 minute video: The decline of citrus cultivation in the village of Froush Beit Dajan] The village is part of Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli control. Meanwhile, the Israeli army reportedly threatened to evict many families from Hamsa al-Fawqa area and prevented Palestinian shepherds from grazing their sheep in the area.
Israel orders halt on construction of water well in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 17 July – Israeli forces notified on Sunday a Palestinian in Um Nir village, south of Hebron in the West Bank, about their intention to demolish a water well in the area, according to local sources. Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Committee in Hebron, told WAFA that an Israeli army force broke into the village and notified Mohammad Hussein Jabour, a local Palestinian, to stop the construction of a water well of his own in the village, under the pretext of construction without a permit … The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) found that between 2010 and 2014, only 1.5 percent of 2,020 Palestinian building permit requests submitted were approved.
Using stolen water to irrigate stolen land
+972 blog 16 July by Dror Etkes — Settlers are trying to spin water shortages as a problem that affects both Palestinians and Jews in the same manner. That couldn’t be further from the truth — The recent reports on water crisis in Palestinian areas of the West Bank were accompanied by a story of another water shortage: this time in Israeli settlements. Let’s get one thing straight — there has never been a “water shortage” in the settlements. When settlers open up the tap at home or in their garden, the amount and quality of the water is identical to that which comes out in most homes to the west of the Green Line. Yes, there were several recent instances in which the water supply was cut off temporarily in a number of settlements (generally for a few hours), during which the authorities provided settlers water from water tanks. One can safely say that not a single settler was left thirsty. Anyone who has had the opportunity to see how the settlers work the media will not be surprised that the issue made headlines. By exaggerating the water shortage, the settlers hope to achieve two complementary goals: neutralizing criticism of outright discrimination by the the state in everything having to do with the quantity of water sold to Palestinians (which makes up only a small percentage of water in the West Bank, the rest goes to West Bank settlements and Israel), while using the cynical and empty claim that the water shortage affects “both Arabs and Jews.” The second goal is put pressure on right-wing politicians to approve budgets for establishing new water infrastructure, in order to meet the demand, which will likely skyrocket in the coming years — assuming the number of settlers continues to grow at the current rate (five percent per year, twice as much as the population growth in Israel). –Turning water into wine– The following is the story of water in the West Bank from a less well-known perspective: that of Israeli agriculture. Here are just a few statistics on Israeli agriculture in the West Bank:…
WATCH: What Israelis think about cutting off water to Palestinians
Israeli Social TV 15 July — Since the beginning of June, Israeli authorities have reduced the water supply to various Palestinian communities in the West Bank. The shortage has led to hardships in private homes, in industry, agriculture and livestock cultivation. So what would regular Israelis do if they had only a limited supply of water?
Other news, opinion
PM: Palestinian government to ‘arrest all fugitives’, amend penal code
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 July — The Palestinian Authority is planning to amend the penal code in the near future and will soon choose a committee to be tasked with the amendment process, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Sunday. In a speech at the inauguration of the seventh judicial congress on Sunday in Ramallah, Hamdallah reiterated that Palestinian security services would continue to weed out criminal cells and “arrest all fugitives and put them to justice.” “Only one weapon and one legitimacy will be left,” said Hamdallah, referring to his goal that only security officers would possess weapons. On Tuesday, the Palestinian government discussed the issue of fugitives in criminal cases in the occupied West Bank during their weekly cabinet meeting. The meeting came just two weeks after several young men were killed in disputes in Jenin, Nablus, and occupied East Jerusalem. In Jenin, at the end of June, three Palestinians were killed and more than a dozen injured following a family dispute that erupted into violence. On Wednesday, at the start of the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Fitr, a young Palestinian man was killed in a dispute in the Sur Bahir neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Just two days later, on Friday, another young man was killed in a park in the al-Badhan area of Nablus. Nablus was also the site of a deadly shooting at the end of June that resulted in two Palestinian security officers being killed and at least 13 civilians reportedly wounded after a gunman opened fire on a police officer’s home.
What’s Shabbat like in a Palestinian village?
JPost 17 July by Max Schindler — As the sun set over the Judean hills, Israeli and international Jewish activists broke out in song for the evening prayer. Swaying back-and-forth, they chanted Lecha Dodi, the Kabbalist hymn ushering in the Sabbath queen. Clad in long skirts and white shirts, they could have been praying in a religious settlement. Rather, the nearly 50 Jewish activists broke bread and celebrated the Sabbath in Sussiya, an unrecognized and illegally built Palestinian village. Hailing from the Center for Jewish Non-Violence – a left-wing group that shrouds its support for Palestinian activism in a distinctly Jewish garb – the center hosted its second annual Shabbat in the village. For much of Saturday, the Jewish activists strolled about Sussiya. Some kept the Sabbath and prayed indoors while others rolled cigarettes and unfolded the weekend Hebrew newspapers. Rabbi Brant Rosen, who once led a 500-family-strong synagogue before resigning publicly over an Israeli political dispute, was visibly moved by the rare opportunity to conduct a Jewish service from a Palestinian village. “Our hosts have heard some of these melodies in a very different context,” Rosen said, specifying that Sussiya – which faces an IDF demolition order for August 1 – “has experienced Judaism at its worst.” Wearing a kippa and sitting amid a Palestinian-tended olive grove, Rosen acknowledged the irony of praying as Jews among Palestinians at the heart of the conflict. “It’s powerful and redemptive to say these prayers in the heart of territory occupied in our name and say: ‘No, that’s not the Judaism we stand for,’” Rosen added … Israeli and international Jews visit the embattled village all the time, said Ahmed Nawarjja, the grandfatherly patriarch of Palestinian Sussiya. His son, Nasser Nawarjja, works for the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem and often invites colleagues home. “Our problem is not with Judaism, but with the occupation,” Nasser said, referencing the Sabbath trip. It was the first time Nasser heard a Jewish prayer service as he and his children watched the Friday candle lighting from afar….
Opinion: Israel-Palestine: A way to end the occupation / Mark LeVine
Al Jazeera 17 July — “A settlement, negotiated between the parties, will result in the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours. The settlement will … end the occupation that began in 1967.” This statement was not made by Cornel West as part of his laudable but ill-fated attempt to get the Democratic Party Platform Committee merely to say the word “occupation”. Rather, it was one of the first communiques of the Quartet, in April 2003, echoing US President George W Bush’s October 2001 declaration that creating a viable Palestinian state had long been part of the United States’ “vision for the Middle East.” Thirteen years later, the occupation continues, and seemingly nothing Palestinians can do – from official protests to well-coordinated civil resistance, to random stabbings – will change that fact … Israel might be the region’s only country with nuclear weapons, but observers have long believed that Palestinians retain several diplomatic “nuclear options” they could deploy if all hope for a solution fades. Joining the ICC was one, but it has so far produced no hint of an investigation of Israel. Dissolving the Palestinian Authority is another, but it’s highly unlikely given the almost 150,000 people, including the entire political elite, who would see their salaries disappear with the PA … There is another “nuclear option”, one which would blow the entire political edifice of the occupation to smithereens, that could be pursued by Palestinians: to demand citizenship and full rights in an Israeli state that would encompass the entirety of present-day Israel/Palestine. This particular political jujitsu would go one step beyond dissolving the PA, demanding not just that Israel assume responsibility for administering the occupied territories but also accepting that a one-state solution has already been in place for years, and any hope for an sovereign independent Palestinian state will have to be relinquished in favour of fighting for full civil and political rights within “Greater Israel” … But as no less than the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned, the day that Palestinians would ask for passports, Israel as an exclusivist Jewish state would be “done for.” But a very different Israeli and Palestinian polity would be born. However painful and traumatic its birth, it would at least open the possibility for a different future. The question remains, what will it take before Palestinians avail themselves of their final “nuclear” strategy, and how much violence will the Israeli government deploy before it is forced to re-imagine itself as a very different society than it has become during the last half century?
Israel unsuccessfully tries to intercept drone that breached its airspace
Haaretz 17 July by Gili Cohen — The Israeli military unsuccessfully tried to intercept an unmanned aerial vehicle that breached its airspace on Sunday afternoon. The drone entered 4 kilometers deep into Israeli territory before returning to Syria. The Israel Defense Forces tried to shoot down the drone three times – first with two Patriot missiles, and then with a fighter jet, which fired an air-to- air missile at it. But as far as the army can tell, the drone escaped unscathed. The IDF said it is still trying to determine what type of drone it was and who was operating it. One possibility is that it was a Russian drone. The incident took place in the center of the Golan Heights in northern Israel. A siren sounded in the region. Shrapnel from the Patriot missiles landed in Ayelet Hashahar, a kibbutz in the north, lightly wounding a girl and causing brush fires, residents said. During the Gaza war in the summer of 2014, Patriot missiles intercepted two drones, one near Ashdod and the other near Ashkelon. In September 2014, the IDF downed a Syrian fighter jet that crossed into Israel….
Plea deal for lynchers of Syrian in IDF ambulance
Ynet 17 July by Hassan Shaalan — Amal Abu Saleh, 22, and Bashira Mahmoud, 48, Druze residents of Majdal Shams [north of the Golan Heights] who were documented lynching a wounded Syrian being carried in an IDF ambulance in June of last year, have admitted to manslaughter under the terms of a plea agreement accepted on Sunday by the Nazareth District Court. According to the plea bargain, Abu Saleh will be imprisoned for seven years and Mahmoud will serve two. In June 2015, dozens of residents of Majdal Shams ambushed an Israel Defense Forces ambulance carrying two lightly wounded Syrian nationals. While driving through the town, the ambulance was stopped by a number of ATVs and soon surrounded by an angry mob. The medical staff locked themselves inside the ambulance, and the accompanying military police told the rioters that the patients were soldiers. Rejecting the claim, the mob rushed the ambulance and smashed one of its windows. The driver escaped the mob and drove to the nearby village of Neve Ativ, where it was seized again and the two Syrian patients were attacked. One of them was killed, and two IDF soldiers were wounded. Abu Saleh and Mahmoud were indicted for murder. According to the indictment, the victims, who were allegedly affiliated with the Islamist rebel organization Nusra Front, were attacked in revenge for attacks perpetrated by the organization against Druze communities in Syria. The lynching was partially filmed by one of the perpetrators. They are seen to be shouting, stomping the wounded men and beating them with a stick. In total, 30 suspects were arrested, though all but the two mentioned above were released
Opinion: The Democratic Party refuses to support Palestine / Max Ajl
telesur 12 July — The traditional Democratic Party stance on Palestine: Ask Israel. Last weekend, supporters of non-candidate-elect and Hillary Clinton endorser Bernie Sanders begged the Democratic Platform Committee to do something — anything — positive for Palestine. Not a chance. Despite a scathing plea from the one principled high-profile figure of this election season, Cornel West, support for colonialism made it through the Committee basically unscathed. The final text directly rejects the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, BDS, Movement, and rips into Hamas as a “terrorist group.”… Israel’s stance on Palestine is to reject even minimal Palestinian national rights. And Israel is a valuable ally of the United States, with what the draft text refers to as “common values,” and common “strategic interests” between the two — subjugating the global South and making money for the elite in both countries. For that reason, the entire U.S. political elite eagerly embraces Israeli rejectionism on Palestine. The text also codifies all the ways Israel does and does not respect Palestinian lives. It enshrines Israel’s right to render hundreds of children “collateral damage,” a right that in U.S. political language is called Israel’s “right to defend itself.” It also supports Israel’s right to continue to play a crucial role in promoting regional weapons sales. That right is known as Israel’s “qualitative military edge.” … Similarly, the Committee rejected an amendment to support rebuilding the razed Gaza Strip, where cancer rates are the highest in the world. One Clinton nominee noted that it would “undermine the ability of next president to lead the effort to negotiate an end to the conflict.” Again, once has to translate the term out of the dialect of the United States and Israel, where “negotiate an end to the conflict” has a meaning similar to what the rest of humanity means by “colonially subjugate.”….