Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli army says Palestinian shot dead was not a terrorist
Haaretz 26 Aug by Gili Cohen & Jack Khoury — The Israel Defense Forces say the Palestinian man shot dead Friday morning in the West Bank after allegedly charging an army outpost was not a terrorist. Official Palestinian medical sources identified the man as Iyad Zakariya Hamed, a resident of Silwad who locals said was married and a father of three children with special needs. An initial investigation by the IDF stated that a group of soldiers was patrolling the Silwad area when they saw Hamed rush towards another group of soldier standing near the fortified military pillbox. The onlooking forces, from the ultra-Orthodox unit of the Kfir Brigade, fired warning shots, as is protocol. He was shot dead when continued to run toward the guard post. Walid Hamed, a family member of the deceased, told Haaretz that Hamad was alone when the incident happened en route to a local mosque. “He was a very simple man. Either he got lost and tried to get to the mosque through a dirt road. We don’t know, but it is clear that there was no need to shoot him. He didn’t pose a threat to anyone.” He said Hamed was receiving psychiatric medical care … The details supplied by the army do not indicate the soldiers felt threatened by Hamed. According to army protocol, in incidents where no immediate threat is posed, suspects should not be fired upon. The army has yet to announce a legal investigation into the shooting, per the military’s new policy to investigate lethal shootings of Palestinians by soldiers.
Five Palestinians injured by army fire during funeral of slain Palestinian in Silwad
IMEMC 26 Aug — Israeli soldiers shot, on Friday, five Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, at the western entrance of Silwad town, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, during the funeral procession of a Palestinian who was killed by the soldiers a few hours earlier. Local sources in Silwad said hundreds of Palestinians participated in the funeral of Eyad [or Iyad] Hamed, who was killed by the soldiers at noon, at the western entrance of the town, after the army initially claimed “he attempted to attack the soldiers,” and later retracted the false allegations. The sources added that the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, sponge-tipped bullets and gas bombs at dozens of Palestinians, and cars, participating in the funeral procession, five Palestinians were injured and many cars were damaged.
Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian father
EI 26 Aug by Maureen Clare Murphy — Israeli forces killed a reportedly unarmed Palestinian man at a military post outside the village of Silwad, near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, midday Friday. An army spokesperson told the Ma‘an News Agency that soldiers shot a “suspect” who was running toward them. No soldiers were reported injured. Palestinian medics were reportedly prevented from accessing the site, according to Ma‘an. Israeli media initially reported that the man was in a car and had fired at soldiers before he was shot dead. The man was identified by Palestinian sources as Iyad Zakariya Hamad, 38. The Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported that “An initial investigation by the IDF [Israeli military] stated that a group of soldiers was patrolling the Silwad area when they saw Hamad rush towards another group of soldier[s] standing near the fortified military pillbox. The onlooking forces, from the ultra-Orthodox unit of the Kfir Brigade, fired warning shots, as is protocol. He was shot dead when [he] continued to run toward the guard post.” Haaretz added that an initial army probe found that Hamad most likely did not pose a threat to soldiers. According to the paper, army protocol permits soldiers to open fire “if and only if a weapon is identified and the suspect poses a direct and immediate threat.” The Israeli publication Ynet also reported the soldiers involved in Hamad’s killing were from the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda Battalion within the Kfir Brigade. In June 2015, soldiers from the same unit were caught on video brutally beating Palestinian father Shadi al-Ghabeesh in Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah. Al-Ghabeesh was then shot by Israeli soldiers in December that year and died of his wounds several weeks later. Last year, soldiers also believed to be from the Netzah Yehuda Battalion filmed themselves shooting an unarmed person in Silwad as he walked down a street in the village….
2 Palestinians shot in Duheisha, as Israeli commander threatens to ‘disable all youth in the camp’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Two Palestinian youths were injured with live fire during clashes with Israeli soldiers in al-Duheisha refugee camp in southern Bethlehem early Friday morning, as reports emerged of an Israeli army commander making repeated threats in recent weeks to make “all youth in the camp disabled.” Local sources said that two youths were shot and injured in the legs during clashes that erupted after Israeli forces raided the camp in Friday’s predawn hours. Sources added that Israeli soldiers raided and searched the house of the incarcerated Palestinian Muhammad al-Seifi, detaining his mother and sister by locking them inside their home to pressure Muhammad’s younger brother Naba to turn himself into Israeli authorities. Israeli forces also blew off the door of the Ibdaa Cultural Center near the entrance to the camp and occupied the rooftop of the building, from where Israeli snipers fired live ammunition and tear-gas canisters at local youth. Violent clashes in al-Duheisha are common and break out nearly every time Israeli army forces enter the camp, which is located in Area A and should be under full Palestinian Authority control according to the Oslo agreements.
In a response to a request for comment, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the Israeli army was not involved, and claimed Israeli border police were behind it, despite the area being located outside of police jurisdiction in Area A of the occupied West Bank. When contacted by Ma‘an, Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said he was not aware of the raid, saying it “made no sense” that police would be involved, and confirmed that al-Duheisha fell under the Israeli army’s jurisdiction in terms of raids. When contacted a second time, an Israeli army spokesperson insisted again that the army was not behind the raid and could not say who had been.
Israeli forces targeting Palestinian youth in the West Bank
Badil 23 Aug — The systematic targeting of Palestinians, particularly youth, by Israeli military forces throughout the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) has intensified since the beginning of 2016. This targeting has taken the form of injuries and arbitrary killings by the use of live ammunition by the Israeli army in the context of arrest campaigns, military raids and randomwide searches which usually trigger clashes. The preliminary investigation conducted by BADIL Resource Center for Residency and Refugee Rights (BADIL) shows that these actions represent an Israeli policy that constitutes a grave breach of international law and could amount to an international crime … BADIL initiated an ongoing investigation into the events and actions carried out by Israeli forces in the West Bank, particularly in the Palestinian refugee camps that have been significantly targeted throughout July and August 2016 … Dheisheh refugee camp was raided three times by Israeli forces between the end of July and mid-August. During these three incursions 18 youth aged between 14 and 27 were shot in their legs, 8 of which were shot directly in the knee and several more in both legs. Four other youth from areas around Dheisheh were also shot in their legs during these incursions. On 22 August, Israeli forces raided the city of Doha, adjacent to Dheisheh, and shot at least one young person next to the camp. Since the beginning of 2016, 30 people have been shot with live ammunition in Dheisheh camp, the majority in their legs and knees. Medical sources have reported that these injuries cause both permanent and temporary disabilities. In addition, at least 83 people have been shot with live ammunition in the Bethlehem area during this period.
In the case of Dheisheh camp, the unjustified injuries were accompanied by threats from the Israeli commander responsible for that area, known as ’Captain Nidal.’ Captain Nidal made threats to youth from Dheisheh before, during and after the raids, and during interrogations and arrests. He made statements about his intention to injure the youth of the camp, including: “I will make all the youth of the camp disabled,” “I will have all of you walking with crutches and in wheelchairs,” “I will make half of you disabled, and let the other half push the wheelchairs, ”and “I will make all of you stand in line at the ATM waiting for your disability subsidies and assistance.”1 One of the injured youth told BADIL that Captain Nidal told him to tell his friends that “Nidal will make all of you disabled.” These threats indicate that these actions are not accidental or isolated incidents, but rather result from a systematic Israeli military policy aimed at suppressing resistance, terrorizing Palestinian youth, and permanently injuring them and/or causing significant damage to their physical and mental well-being….
Is the IDF conducting a kneecapping campaign in the West Bank?
Haaretz 27 Aug by Amira Hass — The number of Palestinians being wounded by live fire is on the increase, with stone throwers saying they are being told that confronting soldiers is liable to leave them crippled for life — The event held in honor of the wounded Deheisheh refugee camp residents started almost on time, at 8:20 P.M. last Sunday. Rows of chairs were placed in the main road, which had been partially closed to traffic. Drivers using the remaining lane were patient and crawled in both directions, creating two intertwined traffic jams that miraculously yielded to a wailing ambulance. Someone directed traffic to the right and the left, and within seconds a route had been cleared. After the ambulance passed, the traffic jams reformed, under the red flags of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and on the other side of a gigantic concrete memorial, shaped like the map of Palestine. Three recent Israel Defense Forces raids in less than two weeks on the camp south of Bethlehem ended with a handful of arrests, but 15 people were seriously injured after suffering gunshot wounds. This large number of Palestinians being shot around the knee by soldiers, probably leaving them disabled for life, reminded everyone of many others who had been injured in a similar way in earlier raids. “On the news, you hear there were no fatalities, only wounded people, so everyone relaxes without realizing the suffering we’re going through,” says N., 23, in conversation with Haaretz. He says he was hit in the leg by live fire two years ago while rescuing another injured person and carrying him to safety. There was talk of amputating his leg, but he was determined to save it and found appropriate treatment in Germany. He still limps around on a crutch, but doesn’t mention the pain. Fifteen- and 16-year-olds, along with men in their twenties, limp on crutches along the camp’s steep alleyways. They were wounded during the past year, or before that. Each has undergone lengthy surgical procedures, with more still to come. And each requires constant monitoring and repeated cleaning of their wounds in order to remove shrapnel fragments, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs and replacements for platinum implants….[long article with horrendous details of woundings — not behind the Haaretz paywall]
Israeli forces fire tear gas at crowds attending football match, dozens suffer tear gas inhalation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Dozens of Palestinian football players and fans suffered from tear gas inhalation on Friday after Israeli forces fired tear gas at crowds attending a football match at Faisal al-Husseini Stadium in the village of al-Ram in the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces fired the tear gas at the stadium as it was filled with some 1,200 players and fans attending a match between al-Thahiriyah and Shabab Balata in the Abu Ammar Cup. Medics at the stadium treated the injured at the scene, locals said.
Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians during predawn West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Israeli forces Thursday detained at least 13 Palestinians during predawn raids on Thursday across the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. Israeli forces carried out raids in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, detaining at least eight Palestinians. Six were detained in the village of Silwad after Israeli forces raided several houses, identified by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) as Handala Hammad, Abd al-Aziz Lutfi Hammad, Ibrahim Hammad, Muhammad Khalid Hammad, Saif Salah Salim, and Labib Abdullah al-Natour, while Muhammad Ameen Abu Rdah was detained from al-Am‘ari refugee camp. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed six detentions in Silwad and another in al-Am‘ari, and added that another Palestinian was detained from the village of Yabrud in Ramallah. In the Bethlehem district, Israeli forces detained Alaa Jalal al-Nashash and Mahmoud Issam Jaber, according to PPS. However, no details were given on the exact location where the detentions were carried out … Meanwhile, in the village of Qabatiya in the northernmost district of Jenin, Israeli forces detained Qusai Hanaysha, while Israeli forces also raided the village of Yatta in the southern district of Hebron, detaining Hamza Abd al-Qader Esmerat, according to PPS … According to Israeli media, Israeli forces also raided the village of al-Ramadin in Hebron, claiming to have found weapons. However, no detentions were reported. An Israeli army spokesperson reported an additional detention in the village of Abu Dis in the West Bank’s Jerusalem district. Israeli forces carry out raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis. Although UN documentation estimates that the army has carried out a weekly average of 75 detention raids in the occupied West Bank so far in 2016, the average rose to 93 weekly raids from June onwards.
Army injures two Palestinians in Bethlehem, kidnaps a mother and her daughter
IMEMC 26 Aug — Several Israeli military jeeps invaded, on Friday at dawn, the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, shot and injured two Palestinians, and kidnapped a mother and her daughter. The soldiers clashed with dozens of local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles on the military vehicles, while the army fired many live rounds, gas bombs and concussion grenades. Medical sources said two young men were shot with live rounds in their legs, before they were moved to a hospital for treatment. Many Palestinians, including children, suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. In addition, the army conducted extensive and violent searches of homes in the refugee camp, and kidnapped Nawal Mohammad Daoud, the mother of a detainee identified as Moath Sa’ifi, and her daughter Asma’.
Israeli soldiers kidnap two Palestinians in Nablus and Jenin
IMEMC 27 Aug — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Friday evening, two Palestinians in the northern West Bank districts of Nablus and Jenin. Adel Amer, secretary of the Local Council in ‘Orif village, south of Nablus, said dozens of fanatic Israeli colonists invaded the village, before the local intercepted them, leading to clashes. Amer added that Israeli soldiers also invaded the village, and attacked dozens of locals after breaking into their homes and searching them, and kidnapped a young man, identified as Jihad Shehada. The soldiers did not attack any of the fanatic Israeli colonists who invaded the village, and did not remove them.
In addition, soldiers stationed at a military roadblock, southwest of Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, kidnapped a young Palestinian man and confiscated his car. The Palestinian, who remained unidentified until the time of this report, was stopped at the Kafrit [Kufeirat?] village junction, southwest of Jenin, before the soldiers kidnapped him, and took him, along with his car, to an unknown destination.
Following orders: How the IDF eliminates ‘quiet’ in the West Bank
+972 blog 25 Aug by Talal Jabari — When the occupation seems to becomes a bit too ‘quiet,’ the Israeli military is always there to fully contain and eliminate the threat — … But a more significant threat to the establishment has reared its ugly head, and no amount of military training, nor advance intelligence warnings can stop it. What makes this threat worse than the stabbing attacks is that it is posed by the majority of the Palestinian populace, and they’re relentless about it: the desire to live a normal life. It is difficult to keep track of the amount of times Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other right-wing ministers have gone before the cameras to complain about Palestinian violence. And although that violence was only committed by a minutia of Palestinian society, that never prevented the Israeli authorities from imposing widespread collective punishment. However, one would assume that the fact that the level of violence has dwindled almost entirely should have the PM elated, perhaps even celebratory. But “quiet” isn’t what the establishment actually wants. Quiet doesn’t help explain why tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers are needed to protect the Israeli settlements. ‘Quiet’ doesn’t explain why Israel actually needs to keep those settlements. Quiet definitely doesn’t encourage Congress to send more money to Israel in the form of military aid. And most importantly, quiet doesn’t explain why the status quo of collective punishment over the Palestinian people is maintained through various mechanisms, some more oppressive than others. It only makes sense, then, that the Israeli military be deployed to fully contain and eliminate the threat of quiet. Case in point: according to an article by Haaretz’s Nir Hasson last month, the Israeli Border Police were mandated in an internal memo to cause “friction” with the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem. In other words, if it gets too “quiet,” it’s their job to make a little noise. This process of initiating said “friction” landed a 12-year-old boy in hospital; he has reportedly suffered permanent brain damage….
Closures / Restriction of movement
Gaza artists not allowed to leave Strip: ‘We just want to sing for love’
[with video] BEIT HANOUN, Gaza (MEE) 23 Aug by Mousa Tawfiq — In the past few months, the Gaza Strip has witnessed a burgeoning arts scene. The number of bands has skyrocketed, large concerts have taken place on a regular basis, and musicians have been invited to perform outside the densely populated, besieged area. However, much to the dismay of the musicians, which of late included a children’s choir, Israel has routinely refused to give permits, most often without explanation. -Inexplicable Israeli rejection- The Palestine Sings children’s chorus, which is a part of the UNICEF-funded Al-Sununu Institution for Culture and Arts, was recently invited to perform in the Palestine Choral Festival in the West Bank from 15-20 August. They planned to have workshops in Jenin and Jerusalem, in addition to holding two concerts in Bethlehem and Ramallah. But after months of training and preparation, they were not permitted to leave Gaza by Israeli authorities only two days before their first concert was due to take place. “We received the rejection letter on 15 August, two days before our first concert. All the names [of the participants] were rejected, including twenty-five children and five teachers,” said Haytham al-Mughanni, the choir’s coordinator. “We didn’t receive any explanation from the Israeli side, and we don’t know the reasons behind this rejection.” Mughanni said they were granted permission to perform by the Palestinian General Authority for Civil Affairs in the West Bank, but that Israel overrode that decision … The choir decided to protest their rejection at the Beit Hanoun border crossing, which connects the Gaza Strip with Israel. On 21 August, the chorus group arrived at the border in their uniforms and the Keffiyeh, the Palestinian traditional scarf, and demonstrated staged a demonstration by singing a number of songs….
Israel reopens Bethlehem-area roads after several weeks of closures
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — Israeli authorities Thursday reopened roads in Bethlehem-area towns in the occupied West Bank which had been closed for several weeks for alleged security purposes. The public relations department of the Palestinian military liaison told Ma‘an that the entrances of the villages of al-Khas and al-Numan, the northern entrance of the village of Zaatara, the southern entrances of the villages of Beit Taamir and Janata, and a road connecting the villages of Harmala and Tuqu‘ were reopened by Israeli authorities.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel rejects immunity for indicted UN engineer in Gaza
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 25 Aug — The Israeli government on Thursday rejected a U.N. request for diplomatic immunity for a Palestinian engineer who worked for the U.N. in the Gaza Strip but is now in prison after being accused of assisting the territory’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers. Israel arrested 38-year-old Waheed Borsh, who worked for the U.N. development agency known as UNDP for 13 years, on July 16 on suspicion of aiding Hamas. The government announced on Aug. 9 that he had been indicted on charges of assisting the militant group. Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon said “Israel rejects the claim that a person assisting a terror organization recognized by the international community such as Hamas could enjoy immunity.” Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency said at the time that Borsh used UNDP resources last year to build a jetty for Hamas’ naval forces. It said that at Hamas’ request he persuaded his managers to prioritize the reconstruction of houses damaged in conflicts with Israel in areas where Hamas members lived. UNDP said in a statement on Aug. 9 that it was “greatly concerned” by the allegations, that it was investigating them, and that it has “zero tolerance for wrongdoing” in its programs and projects.
Crowds in Bethlehem celebrate Palestinian woman’s release from Israeli prison
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — 19-year-old Dunya Ali Musleh was released from prison Wednesday evening after serving nine months in Israeli custody, and was met by Palestinian crowds welcoming her home in Bethlehem’s al-Duheisha refugee camp. The celebration, organized by the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), started at the Palestinian security checkpoint in the town of Beit Sahour where the head of the Former Prisoners Organization, Muhammad al-Zaghloul, along with several former Palestinian prisoners, received Musleh. The crowds marched through the streets of Bethlehem, arriving at al-Duheisha. Women celebrated Musleh’s return and carried the recently released prisoner on their shoulders, joining a solidarity sit-in organized for hunger-striking prisoners to celebrate prisoner Bilal Kayid ending his hunger strike Wednesday after securing a release date. Musleh told the crowd she was happy to be released, and expressed her support for Kayid’s “victory” in Israeli prisons. The 19-year-old also highlighted her sadness for other Palestinian women still being held in Israeli prisons, who she said were assaulted and searched by Israeli forces on a daily basis. Musleh also brought a message to the crowds from Palestinian prisoners she was incarcerated with. “Freedom first, national unity second, and the support of Palestinian prisoners third,” she said….
Israeli court jails wounded girl for four months
RAMALLAH (PIC) 26 Aug — The Israeli court in Ofer jail on Wednesday gave an 18-year-old female university student four months in jail in addition to another six months suspended for three years, and fined her 2,000 shekels. The court verdict was issued against Raghad Shaw’aani, who still suffers from a bullet injury. About one month ago, Israeli soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem opened fire at Shaw’aani and wounded her badly in her left leg on allegations of her attempt to carry out a stabbing attack. The family of the prisoner held the Israeli prison authority fully responsible for the health and safety of its daughter, affirming that she needs special medical care unavailable in Israeli jails.
In a separate incident, the Israeli prosecution on Thursday filed an indictment against 19-year-old Ahmed Ashayer, who is accused of stabbing and wounding a Jewish settler near Azzeitun (Olives) Mount in east Jerusalem about two weeks ago. Ashayer is also accused in the indictment of throwing Molotov cocktails and stones at policemen during skirmishes last April with them in the holy city.
Israeli navy opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats
IMEMC 26 Aug — A number of Israeli navy ships attacked, on Friday at dawn, a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Deir al-Balah sea, in central Gaza, and the Sudaniyya area, in the northern part of the coastal region. Eyewitnesses said the navy ships attacked the Palestinian fishing boats, and fired many live rounds at them, causing damage. The fishers had to sail back to shore in fear of additional navy fire and escalation; no injuries were reported in the two attacks. On Thursday at dawn, the navy opened fire on a number of fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters, in the northern part of the coastal region, and kidnapped one fisherman.
Israeli forces detain fisherman, open fire at farmers in the Gaza Strip
GAZA (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Israeli naval forces Saturday morning detained a Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, while Israeli forces opened live fire at Palestinian farmers working near the separation barrier east of the neighborhoods of al-Zaytun and Ash Shujayyiah. Head of the fishermen union Nizar Ayyash told Ma‘an that Israeli military vessels chased several fishing boats off the coast of Gaza, detaining Al-Abid Zaki Tarush, while the other boats fled. Israeli forces also opened live fire at farmers east of Gaza city. Witnesses said Israeli forces stationed at the separation barrier between the besieged enclave and Israel opened live fire at farmers working on the their lands. No injuries were reported.
UN responds to Israel closing case into airstrike near UNRWA school during 2014 Gaza war
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — The United Nations Friday responded in a statement to Israel’s announcement Wednesday that the military had exonerated itself from any wrongdoing in a missile attack near an UNRWA-run school in Rafah during the 2014 Gaza war, which killed 15 people, highlighting that the case raises “serious questions” about Israeli military conduct in relation to international law. According to the statement released by UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness, on August 3, 2014 during a devastating 51-day military offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli forces launched a missile at a road outside of an UNRWA school, which was at the time designated as an emergency shelter for displaced Palestinians on July 18 and was sheltering at least 2,900 Palestinians. The strike resulted in the killings of 15 civilians, while at least another 30 were injured. According to the statement, UN officials warned the Israeli military on 33 separate instances that the school was being used to shelter Palestinians who had been displaced by Israeli airstrikes, adding that UN officials had warned Israeli authorities again just one hour before the devastating attack. “This raises serious questions about the conduct of military operations in relation to obligations under international humanitarian law and respect for the inviolability and sanctity of United Nations premises under international law,” Gunness said in the statement. Gunness highlighted that the UN has continuously called for accountability of crimes committed by the Israeli military during the 2014 Israeli offensive, adding that “any indication that responsibility was being evaded would be a matter of grave concern.” “We note that no criminal responsibility seems to be accepted for any concluded cases concerning UNRWA premises,” Gunness continued in the statement. “The families affected have had no effective redress and, from their perspective, this would certainly be seen as a further denial of their rights.” According to the statement, UNRWA has yet to receive any updates from the Israeli military concerning ongoing criminal investigations into airstrikes on UNRWA emergency shelters in Beit Hanoun and Jabalia that resulted in some 29 civilian deaths.
Palestinians ask ICC to speed up Gaza war crimes probe after Israel closes cases
Haaretz 25 Aug by Jack Khoury — The Palestinian Authority said yesterday it asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague to speed up its inquiry of alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip. The move came in reaction to the Israel Defense Forces’ statement Wednesday that it was closing seven cases of killings of civilians in the summer 2014 war, without opening Military Police investigations into them. “We had no expectations that Israel would do anything but justify its war crimes in the biggest military campaign against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and renounce all responsibility, after an investigation that its colonial regime carried out,” said PLO Secretary General Dr. Saeb Erekat. Erekat said the cases that were closed involved Israel’s bombardment of civilian areas, including UN buildings and shelters, hospitals and other structures protected by the Geneva Convention. During the war, which lasted 50 days, 487 children were killed. Despite this, Israel has not taken responsibility for its violence against civilians, Erekat said. He said the Palestinians have submitted to the International Court information about Israel’s war crimes.
Gaza is sick of sewage and time is running out to contain it
MEE 25 Aug by Kieran Cooke — Sewage clogs Gaza’s beaches, pollutes its water and sickens its people. With no infrastructure, there is a desperate need to take action — Israel’s desalination plant at Ashkelon, on the Mediterranean coast, is considered to be one of the most advanced and efficient in the world, supplying about 20 percent of the country’s drinking water. But at least four times in recent months, it has had to shut down. The reason: each day an estimated 90m litres of untreated or partially treated sewage flows into the sea in Gaza – only a few kilometres south of Ashkelon. Tides and winds then disperse the sludge, taking a substantial portion northwards into Israeli waters. The sewage gives rise to blooms of algae which have threatened to block filters at Ashkelon. For years Gaza’s 1.8 million people have endured an environmental disaster, caused by failing infrastructure, Israeli blockades and war. It is an environmental disaster that now threatens to spill over into Israel. Gidon Bromberg, the Israel director of EcoPeace Middle East, says the problem has the potential to spread serious diseases such as typhoid or cholera. “This is a classic example where nature knows no borders,” Bromberg says. “If pollution exists on one side, it very quickly moves to the other side, because that’s the way nature takes it.” The immediate problem is a lack of power at a new $80m World Bank funded water treatment plant in northern Gaza. The wider issue is the whole relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians and how they share – or do not share – the region’s environment and its resources….
2 years after the 2014 Gaza war, UN agencies call for increased humanitarian funding
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — As Friday marked two years since the 2014 Gaza war, when at least 1,400 Palestinian civilians were killed — 60 percent of whom were women and children — and some 100,000 more made homeless during the devastating Israeli offensive, 16 heads of UN agencies in Palestine released a statement urging an increase of humanitarian aid in order to assist the economy for Gaza’s 1.9 million residents. The UN agencies called for “the uninterrupted and predictable flow of material and increased funding to address humanitarian needs and boost economic prospects for Gaza’s 1.9 million residents.” The UN agencies described the achievements made in the besieged enclave since the devastating assault, stating that a third of the destroyed homes have been rebuilt and the 79 hospitals, clinics and the 252 schools that were damaged by Israeli airstrikes have also been completely repaired. The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities Rober Piper emphasized the importance of developing the Gaza Strip beyond repairing damages from Israel’s assault, saying that “we must reverse Gaza’s de-development trajectory and address the needs of a population that has gone through three rounds of conflict, nine years of an Israeli blockade and the consequences of the Palestinian internal divide which, combined, have affected every aspect of their daily lives.” ….
Forget the Riviera — Women find summer fun at Gaza beach homes
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 23 Aug by Huda Baroud — This summer, Maisara Abu Shamala, a painter, organized two trips with her friends to a vacation property she had rented. “The trips were fun,” she told Al-Monitor. “We swam the entire day without an abaya or veil. Women feel comfortable in these private rentals, which usually consist of several bedrooms, closets, a bathroom, a kitchen and a small garden with a big swimming pool for adults and another small one for children.” Given the high demand for rental properties in summer, Abu Shamala said that it was not easy to find one in the Nuseirat camp, in central Gaza, but she eventually succeeded. “A rental property costs 400-600 shekels [$106-160] per day, and what made me think of booking one is that my husband does not allow me to go to the beach given the presence of a lot of men there,” she said. “Also, I do not like it when the wet abaya sticks to my body and becomes somewhat revealing.” Even though the rental properties are costly, Abu Shamala’s husband wanted her to go to a private swimming pool. By contrast, an outing to a public beach is limited to transportation fees, about 20 shekels ($5) maximum. At the private pools at these properties, Abu Shamala said, women can wear lightweight clothes and therefore swim more easily. They listen to music and generally have fun, laughing like kids, which is something they cannot do at the beach. Conservative Palestinian society rejects the idea of women swimming in broad daylight in front of men and being loud in public places. Mohammed Ahmed is among the men who does not allow his wife and sisters to swim at the beach when there are men around … “I know that my wife and sisters are entitled to enjoy swimming, as I did with the kids, but the conditions were not favorable, and I would not allow them to swim in front of men, because I do not want them to be offended by anyone. I want to avoid problems, because I would not hesitate to hit whoever says an inappropriate word to them or gives them an inappropriate look.”….
Gaza runner sets sights on Tokyo 2020 Olympics
MAGHAZI REFUGEE CAMP (EI) 25 Aug by Isra Saleh el-Namey — After Rio, Tokyo. Around the world, ambitious young athletes have already trained their sights on the next Olympic Games, dedicating time and effort to fulfilling their hopes and dreams. And for few is this truer than Inas Nofal, a 15-year-old runner from Gaza, whose dedication to her sport is not only driving her own progress, but inspiring others. “Running is an integral part of my life. I cannot spend a day without running for at least one hour,” Inas said. The teenage runner has big dreams. She is committed to an exhausting daily training schedule in order to become good enough to compete at the international level. “My dream is to represent Palestine at international tournaments,” said the young athlete who has not yet settled on her favorite distance … But her strongest supporter is her father, who firmly believes in his daughter’s talent. “I was convinced when she took first prize at a local competition last year,” Muhammad Nofal, 48, said while showing off his daughter’s medal for winning that 800-meter race. Nofal, a civil engineer, does not think much of conventions of a conservative society that would discourage girls from being publicly involved in sports and physical exercise generally. “I think that this is an erroneous stereotype that needs to be changed….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization
Nablus: Dozens of olive trees destroyed by Israeli forces
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Aug — Israeli forces, on Thursday morning, cut down dozens of olive trees in the village of Huwwara, to the south of Nablus. Local sources reported, according to Al Ray, that the soldiers destroyed olive trees planted on both sides of the main street, under the pretext of “use as a cover” for Palestinians who throw stones at settlers’ vehicles passing on the street. Olive trees, regularly uprooted or cut down by Israeli soldiers and illegal settlers, are greatly valued by Palestinians and considered as a source of livelihood for many of them.
Jerusalem mayor: Cable car stop in Palestinian neighborhood will clarify ‘who really owns this city’
Haaretz 25 Aug by Nir Hasson — ‘Our ties to Jerusalem can never be unraveled,’ Nir Barkat says in video about his plan to provide easy access to tourists sites by cable car, noting that the cable car will serve not just economic and tourism needs, but also ideological goals — Jerusalem’s planned cable car will include a stop in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, so that riders will “understand who really owns this city,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told Likud party activists recently. According to the municipality’s published plans, the cable car will have four main stops: the First Station complex in southern Jerusalem; the Kedem Center, which belongs to the right-wing organization Elad, near Silwan; the 7 Arches Hotel on the Mount of Olives; and the churches of Gethsemane, near the Old City’s Lions Gate. But Barkat mentioned a fifth stop – the Siloam Pool, deep in the heart of Silwan and some 500 meters from the Kedem Center – in a video clip published on his Facebook page last week. In the video, the mayor addresses a group of Likud activists he is conducting on a tour of Jerusalem. Both stops, the Siloam Pool and the Kedem Center, would be inside the City of David national park, which is run by Elad … But the project is liable to be politically controversial, since the cable car would operate almost entirely in East Jerusalem, near the Temple Mount and various Christian holy sites. About 18 months ago, the French company Safege withdrew from the project, apparently following a request by the Palestinian Authority to the French government. The project is also likely to spark opposition from environmentalists and preservationists….
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
US Irvine clears students of pro-Israel groups’ accusations
EI 25 Aug by Charlotte Silver — Three months after a group of students at the University of California, Irvine protested an event sponsored by Anteaters for Israel and Students Supporting Israel, the university has concluded its investigation into allegations of misconduct. The results of the investigation deal a blow to efforts by national pro-Israel organizations to stifle free speech on campus. The 18 May protest had sparked accusations that students – from a coalition of groups including Students for Justice in Palestine – had harassed, threatened and intimidated the participants and attendees of the event, which featured a film and a panel of Israeli soldiers. Students Supporting Israel, which has chapters on a number of campuses, appears to be an astroturf organization backed by well-funded Israel lobby groups closely tied to the Israeli government. The day after the incident, UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman sent an email to the entire student body, condemning the protest for “crossing the line of civility” and suggesting it contained “threats, harassment, incitement and defamatory speech.” –Not true- But a 58-page report produced by CrystalRae Lugo-Shearer, the director of the school’s Office of Student Conduct, finds that the most troubling claims are not true….
Rights groups say Israel behind death threats campaign
Al Jazeera 21 Aug by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours — The threats have come via emails, phone calls, and once with flowers delivered directly to the front door. Amid months of sustained intimidation, harassment and threats, Palestinian human rights defenders are coming forward to denounce a campaign that they say aims to “plant fear” into their efforts to hold Israel accountable for human rights violations. “This is a very organised and advanced campaign,” said Shawan Jabarin, director of Al Haq, a prominent Ramallah-based Palestinian human rights organisation. “The goal is to stop us [from] dealing actively with the [International Criminal Court], cooperating actively with the ICC,” Jabarin told Al Jazeera. “They want to plant fear on our side … when it comes to accountability [and] when it comes to our advocacy work.” Earlier this month, Al Haq’s researcher at the ICC, Nada Kiswanson, told the Dutch press that she had received death threats and other intimidations for several months, including letters, emails and phone calls to her home and family members. A man phoned Kiswanson’s family members in Sweden and, in heavily accented Arabic, told them she would “disappear” if her work at the ICC continued, Jabarin said. Kiswanson also received a call from a woman purporting to be from the Dutch Health Ministry, who asked for her home address to send her a survey and information about the Zika virus. Shortly thereafter, Kiswanson received flowers at her door, a threatening note attached to them. Jabarin said the delivery originated in Amsterdam. Previous death threats levied against Al Haq staff members have been “directly connected” to their work at the ICC, according to Amnesty International. At the same time, leaflets misrepresenting Al Haq’s work – which featured the organisation’s name and logo and asked for donations in support of refugees – were also distributed to homes in The Hague, Jabarin said. In addition, Al Haq’s international donors have received calls alleging that the organisation was being investigated for corruption, while faked internal emails told staff members that the organisation was having funding problems and that they should find new jobs, he said. Dutch authorities have been investigating the Kiswanson case, but Al Haq did not have any information about potential suspects for that or any of the other incidents. “Israel is behind it,” Jabarin alleged. “Criminals, all the time, they are afraid….
Response to BDS: New website to buy goods from Judea and Samaria
BTN 26 Aug — The Yesha (“Judea, Samaria and Gaza”) Council intends to soon launch a shopping website to allow consumers to purchase products made in Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, including dates, soaps, textiles and prepared foods. This is in part in response to the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. According to the plan, the new website will use the same software that other leading shopping websites, such as Amazon and eBay, use. The Yesha Council is promoting the new initiative as a “boycott detour,” referring to the BDS movement’s calls to boycott the very products that they will offer to sell. Oded Revivi, the mayor of Efrat and the head of the Yesha Council’s foreign desk, is behind the initiative. He commented, “We quickly understood that we have to think outside the box…so we developed this model, which allows us to reach the customer’s house abroad without going through the whole route of delegitimization that products from Judea and Samaria go through in the world.” In addition to selling products, it will also sell travel packages to Judea and Samaria….
Brussels Airlines caves in to BDS, set to stop serving Israeli halva
BTN 24 Aug — Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines has stopped handing out Ahva brand halva snacks on flights following a request by a Muslim passenger. The halva snack was discovered by a ‘Palestine Solidarity Movement’ activist who was travelling from Ben Gurion International Airport to Brussels and saw the product as a dessert option, realized it was produced in Israel, and told fellow activists to take action. The activists complained to the airline which quickly acquiesced to the request. Brussels airlines responded, saying “our company provides travelers with a vegetarian option, including dessert. On the Tel Aviv-Brussels line, the local catering company accidentally included a dessert called ‘vanilla halva’ which didn’t comply with the food order we gave them.” The company added that “the customer who came to us with the complaint brought to our attention that the aforementioned dessert is a controversial product. As a company which serves an international audience full of people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, it is our responsibility to present products which will be amicable to all, and therefore, we decided to change desserts.” Yaakov Malach, owner of the Ahva factory which produces the halva, said that “(our factory) is an ingathering of the exiles. Palestinians, Israeli-Arabs, Jews, Samaritans, and settlers all work here. Peace begins here, not from airlines…”
Portugal exits controversial project with Israeli police following BDS pressure
STW 23 Aug — The Portuguese Ministry of Justice announced that it has withdrawn from a joint EU-funded project with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, the Israeli National Police and Israel’s Bar Ilan university. The LAW TRAIN project, aimed at unifying police interrogation methodologies, has generated controversy in Portugal because of vocal opposition to Israel’s participation in the EU’s Horizon 2020 research framework and the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Israeli entities taking part. The Portuguese government came under heavy pressure from civil society groups campaigning for an end to the cooperation with Israel. Political parties supporting the government* denounced in parliament the routine torture by the Israeli police and the role of the Ministry of Public Security in the illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails….
Arik Ascherman leaves Rabbis for Human Rights to launch new NGO
Haaretz 25 Aug by Judy Maltz — Rabbi Arik Ascherman, a well-known Israeli activist long identified with Rabbis for Human Rights, is splitting with the organization and setting up a new non-profit with a rather similar focus on challenging land confiscation in the occupied territories and advocating for Bedouin rights in Israel. His decision to leave after more than two decades of involvement in RHR, a prominent Israeli civil society organization, was attributed to “organizational differences” by members of the board. Ascherman’s new organization, which has yet to be officially launched, is called Haqal – United in the Defense of Human Rights (“Haqal” means “field” in Arabic and Aramaic and is the root of the word “agriculture” in Hebrew). Slated to become an interfaith organization, Haqal describes its mission as follows in its founding declaration: “We will work practically to prevent human rights violations, and to increase awareness and commitment to our human obligation to observe and defend human rights. With one foot in grass-roots organizing and the other among decision makers, we will use legal, educational and activist tools to implement our vision for Palestinians and Israelis, women and men, Jews, Christians and Muslims, and the disempowered classes.” ….
Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (18-24 Aug 2016)
PVHR-Gaza 25 Aug — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt A Palestinian civilian was killed on “Yitzhar” settlement bypass road, south of Nablus. 12 civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and 4 others, including a child, in the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes conducted 60 airstrikes on many areas in the Gaza Strip A water reservoir tank and 5 military training sites were targeted, and 3 Members of al-Qassam Brigades sustained minor wounds. Israeli forces targeted the border areas in the northern Gaza Strip, wounding a shepherd. Israeli forces conducted 69 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the southern Gaza Strip. 40 civilians, including 6 children and a woman, were arrested 14 of them, including 4 children and a woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. 7 forges were raided and closed in Bethlehem after confiscating its contents. Settlement activities continued in the West Bank. Two dwellings and a youth center were demolished in Kherbet Um al-Kheir, south of Hebron. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Sea 2 fishermen were arrested and a fishing boat was confiscated [details of these and other events follow]
Popular Resistance Committees decides not to participate in municipal elections
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 25 Aug — The Popular Resistance Committees movement declared on Thursday that it would not be participating in Palestinian municipal elections set to take place place in October. The movement, mainly based in the Gaza Strip, nonetheless called on Palestinians to take part in the democratic process to support those committed to lessening their everyday suffering and strengthening them against Israeli violations. The Palestinian Authority-controlled cabinet in the West Bank announced in June its decision to hold elections on Oct. 8. Earlier this month, the Hizb al-Tahrir movement also announced that it would boycott the elections, calling the process “worthless” so long as the Israeli occupation was ongoing. On Wednesday, political institutions in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus decided to postpone municipal elections in the wake of violent confrontations between armed groups and Palestinian security forces which culminated in the brutal killing of one suspect while in police custody. Meanwhile, Hamas stated in July that it would participate in the local electoral process, after the movement boycotted the last local elections in 2012 in response to alleged corruption and intimidation among Fatah officials….
Palestinian politicians anxious to hit campaign trail after 11 years
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 26 Aug by Ahmad Abu Amer — In some countries where electioneering can be a yearslong marathon, it might seem odd that not only are local Palestinian political candidates limited to two weeks of campaigning, they are being called out for jumping the gun. Campaigning for the Oct. 8 Palestinian local elections officially starts Sept. 24. However, some campaigning has started early, especially in the Gaza Strip, where the last local elections were held in 2005 and suspended ever since due to the Palestinian internal conflict. Promotions began appearing in early August, mainly on social media outlets. Supporters of the political parties — especially the two largest, Hamas and Fatah — have been exchanging accusations and slander in what is considered a flagrant violation of the Palestinian Local Elections Law of 2005. According to the law, electoral campaigns may only start two weeks prior to the designated polling day. The law also bans speeches, pamphlets and advertisements containing attempts to defame other candidates….
New Palestinian initiative outlines Fatah-Hamas reconciliation
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 25 Aug by Ahmad Melhem — The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel has proposed a new initiative to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, which includes the formation of a unity government and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections — . Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas approved the initiative of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel to achieve reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas during his meeting with the committee members Aug. 13 at the presidential residence in Ramallah. The committee is the highest Palestinian political committee within the Green Line, and it includes Arab municipal leaders, Arab party members of the Knesset, representatives of political parties and Arab nonparliamentary political parties. Abbas gave the committee the green light to begin its calls with the parties concerned in the reconciliation case. Head of the committee Mohammed Baraka said in a press statement Aug. 19, “This initiative was developed and its details were discussed with Palestinian groups concerned with the reconciliation issue, such as Patriots to End the Split and Restore National Unity and the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies – Masarat, and with Palestinian figures such as Munib al-Masri and his group, Edgo, to agree on a joint course of action.” The plan was approved by Abbas during the Aug. 13 meeting. The aforementioned parties held conferences and discussions about ways to end the division….
Palestinian police arrest 1, concluding deadly manhunt for Nablus shooters
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — Palestinian security services said they arrested a man overnight Thursday wanted for involvement in a Aug. 18 shooting that left two Palestinian policemen killed, concluding a widespread manhunt for multiple gunmen in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus. The shooting launched a massive security crackdown in Nablus’ Old City, during which three suspects were killed by security forces — one of whom was beaten to death in prison after his arrest — in what the UN and Palestinian factions branded “extrajudicial executions.” In a statement on his Facebook page, spokesperson for the Palestinian security services Adnan Dmeiri identified the suspect arrested overnight as Salah al-Kurdi, saying that all those wanted over the shooting had now been apprehended … The deadly manhunt came amid an already large-scale campaign by Palestinian security forces to arrest Palestinians engaged in criminal activity and seize weaponry in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian authorities have characterized the campaign as a crackdown on “criminals,” fugitives,” and “gangsters,” saying that the wanted Palestinians “never pointed a gun at the (Israeli occupation).”….
Leaked photos and terrorism gaffes: the Egypt vs Palestine controversy
[with tweets] MEE 25 Aug — Two Palestinian prisoners surface in an Egyptian jail after more than a year, as foreign minister’s comments cause fury — This week witnessed tensions rise between Egypt and Gaza, with two controversies breaking out and sparking a social media storm with users lashing out at the Egyptian government for its ties with Israel. On Sunday, Egypt’s foreign minister appeared to tell a group of high school students that the killing of Palestinian children was not terrorism. Sameh Shoukry responded to a question on whether the Israeli killing of Palestinian children was a form of terrorism by saying that different countries use the word terrorism differently – which Egyptian’s interpreted as Shoukry’s refusal to label the killings as “terrorism”. Just after his comments were made public, Israel launched an attack on the Gaza Strip, carrying out over 50 air strikes in less than 24 hours. The incident, which came in response to rocket fire from Gaza, was the biggest escalation since the 50-day war in 2014.
Then, two days later, fresh controversy struck when Al Jazeera Arabic appeared to publish images showing several half-naked detainees in an Egyptian National Security building. Palestinian families identified two of the men as Abdel-Dayem Abu-Labdah and Yasser Zaytoon who went missing on 19 August 2015 when entering Egypt via the Rafah border alongside another two Palestinians. Families tried in desperation to get more information but the authorities refused to cooperate and merely said the men had been kidnapped. Once the families found out Labdah and Zaytoon had actually been in an Egyptain prison for more than a year, they were outraged. An official from Hamas, Salah al-Bardawil, who spoke live from the home of one of the missing men in Gaza said: “From the moment they were kidnapped, all evidence pointed to the fact there is no way the Egyptian military had nothing to do with their abduction.” Bardawil also said to Al Jazeera that if they are accused of committing any crime they should stand trial.
Israel’s Knesset scraps hearings on Arab issues during Muslim holiday
Haaretz 25 Aug by Jonathan Lis — After a raft of complaints, a committee will postpone its talks on worker safety in the construction industry and national civilian service — The Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee will defer committee hearings that had been scheduled for a Muslim holiday next month, ensuring that Muslim MKs and other officials will be able to take part. Their attendance is considered vital because the panel will be considering matters that have a particular impact on the Arab community. ‘Id al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, falls between September 11 and 14 this year, about three weeks before Rosh Hashanah. The committee hearings were scheduled to go ahead despite requests from Knesset members and nonprofit groups to reconsider. The issues of national civilian service and worker safety in the construction industry had both been slated for September 11 to 14. “I attach supreme importance to the holiday periods of the Arab community,” said MK Eli Alalouf (Kulanu), the committee’s chairman. “There is no reason to hold hearings, particularly ones that affect the Arab community, at the expense of ‘Id al-Adha.”
Is Israel at fault for surging Arab crime?
Al-Monitor 25 Aug by Shlomi Eldar — Israeli security forces invest time and effort to track weapon factories in the West Bank but neglect to deal in depth with illegal weapons of Israeli Arabs — Israel’s Arab sector has undergone another week of carnage. On Aug. 23, Amna Yasin from Tamra, who was nine months pregnant, was stabbed to death. Reportedly, her husband is the prime suspect. The next day, a 24-year-old woman was shot by an unknown person in Shefar’am, and severely wounded as a result. Additional shooting incidents were recorded later on in the week in Jaffa, Jaljulia and Kafr Makar, where a security camera documented an attempted murder by automatic weapons. Data published by the Aman Center – the Arab Center for Safe Society in Israel in May shows that 20 members of the Arab sector were slain in the first four months of the year in incidents involving firearms; three of the victims were women. There have more deaths since. According to data collected by the Aman Center, 1,182 people have been killed since 2000 and more than 3,300 have been wounded in shooting episodes within Arab localities. Roni Alsheich, the inspector general of the Israeli police, said that 59% of murders in Israel in 2015 took place in the Arab sector, even though the sector’s residents only constitute 21% of the population. Haaretz newspaper reported that according to the members of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Arab localities endure a Wild West reality, saying that the Arab-Israeli society in its entirety is on a “slippery slope to internal collapse.” They blame law enforcement authorities, headed by the police, for powerlessness vis-a-vis a shocking phenomenon: that a reported one in three households in the sector have illegal firearms. “Arabs are killing Arabs, and this isn’t a story that sets off alarm bells or worries law-enforcement authorities like a murder in the Jewish sector,” Arab Knesset member Issawi Frej (Meretz Party), a resident of Kafr Qasim, told Al-Monitor. According to Frej, when an Arab is suspected of murdering a Jew, the murderer is apprehended within a short time period. But when Arabs murder other Arabs, far fewer cases are solved. “Arab society is a closed society and usually the residents know who the murderer is — and even talk about it among themselves. Everyone knows who the murderer is, except for the police,” he said.
In crime-ridden Israeli Arab city, police seek new approach
[with photos] Reuters 25 Aug — Umm al-Fahm is one of the most dangerous cities in Israel, where armed drug gangs control the streets, and residents live in constant fear; a new initiative by the Israel Police is being put in place to draft more Arabs to the police force to make these streets safe for the residents — On the rundown streets of Umm al-Fahm, an Israeli-Arab city of 50,000, locals in smoky cafes are reluctant to speak. Violent crime at the hands of drug gangs is rife here. Reprisals are common. Israeli Jews rarely set foot in the city. “The gangs are in control,” said a man who refused to give his name, standing beneath two security cameras that he said were pointless since the police rarely came. Cities like Umm al-Fahm illustrate a stark division within Israeli society: the growing lawlessness in parts of the Arab community, which makes up 20 percent of Israel’s population, and frequently complains of discrimination. With murder rates and other criminal activity far higher among Arabs – 59 percent of all murders are committed by Arabs, police records show – the government is hoping that a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar plan to bolster policing will tackle the problem and put Arab municipalities on a better footing. As well as extra policing – at a cost of $500 million – there is a proposal for a general boost in spending in Arab areas, where nearly half the population lives below the poverty line. In a signal of its commitment, the Israel Police in April promoted an Arab Muslim officer to its second highest post for the first time in its history, and has announced plans to build more police stations and recruit more Arab officers. But the residents of Umm al-Fahm say they have seen no change so far, and there is little optimism. Weeks after Deputy Commissioner Jamal Hakrush’s promotion, two Umm al-Fahm men were murdered hours apart. Much of the crime is Arab-on-Arab. Still, new recruits to the police service say they are keen to get to grips with the problem….
Arab students in Jerusalem get less than half the funding of Jewish counterparts
Haaretz 23 Aug by Nir Hasson — A pupil in a municipal high school in East Jerusalem gets less than half the funding of his counterpart in the western part of the capital, according to the Jerusalem municipality’s budget. In fact, there are East Jerusalem schools that don’t even get the funds that the Education Ministry gives the city for them, as is shown by an analysis of the budget. The municipality claims that the analysis is incorrect and ignores the differences between the educational systems. There are 782 pupils in the Beit Hinuch High School in western Jerusalem and 783 in the Ras al-Amud boys’ high school in the east of the capital. Both are municipal high schools, meaning that their budgets come from the municipality and the Education Ministry. The total budget allocated by the city for Beit Hinuch in 2016 is 16.3 million shekels ($4.3 million,) while the Arab school, with the same number of pupils, will be getting only 2.9 million shekels ($766,993). The number of teaching positions approved for Beit Hinuch is 70.8, while for Ras al-Amud it is only 21.7. A comparison of every clause in the budget indicates that the funding for the western Jerusalem school is immeasurably higher than that of its East Jerusalem counterpart. The municipality responded that the schools could not be compared and that doing so was manipulative….
No, there is nothing ‘Israeli’ about Jordan’s gold medal Olympian
+972 mag 24 Aug by Samah Salaime — A number of Israeli websites preferred to forget the fact that Palestinian-Jordanian Olympian Ahmad Abu Ghosh’s family comes from a village conquered by Zionist forces in 1948 — How much nonsense can go into a single news item? The answer is, unfortunately, a lot. Nothing has angered me recently quite like an article published by the news site Virtual Jerusalem with the following headline: “Palestinian with Israeli Roots Wins Jordan’s First-Ever Olympic Medal.” That Palestinian Olympian is Ahmad Abu Ghosh, 20, who was born in the Al-Nasser refugee camp to a Palestinian family from the village of Abu Ghosh (which according to the article is “known for its hummus restaurants and convenient location on the main road connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv”). According to the article, Abu Ghosh has Israeli roots because his family comes from a village conquered by Israel in the 1948 War … If Israel wants a gold medal so badly, take it and give back Ahmad his Jordanian identity. Better to continue being a Palestinian refugee with Jordanian citizenship than an Israeli who is unaware of his roots and denies his Israeli identity, no? Now with the end of the Olympics, and in the wake of Israel’s tepid successes there, the Jewish state should start considering a new route if it wants to get the gold. Here are two options: The first is to force Olympic champions to make aliyah from the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Britain, and Germany. The second way is to start investing in athletes here, instead of spending millions upon millions on ‘hasbara’ initiatives and complaining about racism, anti-Semitism, and persecution. Look around and see how two immigrants from Kenya brought Bahrain a gold and silver medal, respectively.
The media’s Palestinian disappearing act
MEE 21 Aug by Ben White — Over the past 10 months, English-language news agencies have whitewashed details and context around Palestinian deaths — Early on Tuesday morning, Israeli forces – three battalions worth, according to press reports – invaded the al-Fawwar refugee camp, located south of Hebron. An Israeli military spokesperson said the raid was an “operational activity to uncover weaponry”. Palestinian residents described it as an unprecedented attack on a beleaguered refugee camp. Photographs from the camp showed soldiers posted on rooftops, sniper-style, and a reconnaissance drone flying overhead. Before Israeli forces withdrew that night, after a whole day in the camp, they had shot and killed 17-year-old civilian Muhammad Abu Hashhash, and injured a further 45. The Associated Press report on the deadly raid included this copy and paste-style context paragraph: “Palestinian attacks have killed 34 Israelis and two visiting Americans since September. Over 206 Palestinians have been killed in the same period, most of them identified as attackers by Israel.” And thus, in the very same article, the death of Hashhash – and those like him – is disappeared by the throwaway line, “most of them identified as attackers by Israel”. Unfortunately, this has been standard fare from international news agencies over the past 10 months….
Israel lobby smears Black lawmaker for meeting Palestinians
EI 24 Aug by Rania Khalek — Dwight Bullard, a progressive African American state senator representing Florida’s 39th district, is under attack from Israel lobby groups for visiting the Israeli-occupied West Bank in May on a delegation hosted by the Dream Defenders, a group that supports the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. Unbowed, Bullard has told The Electronic Intifada that he witnessed “segregation and injustice” in Palestine. Leading the attack against Bullard is the pro-Israel group Miami United Against BDS. In a press release last week, it accused Bullard of meeting with “terrorists.” “Bullard took a trip in May to territories under Palestinian control where he met with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), an organization listed by the State Department since 1997 as a foreign terrorist organization,” the group stated. The US and Israel consider virtually all Palestinian political factions and resistance organizations to be “terrorist” groups. -A desperate smear- Pro-Israel groups are pointing to photos posted to social media during the trip as proof that Bullard met with the PFLP. In the photo at the top of this article, originally posted to the Dream Defenders’ Instagram account, the delegation is seen posing for the camera in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem with Mahmoud Jiddah, identified in the caption as their tour guide. Jiddah is an African Palestinian who was a member of the PFLP in the 1960s. He was arrested with his brother and cousin in 1968 and spent 17 years in Israeli prison, accused of planting bombs, before being released in a prisoner exchange. Today Jiddah is a leader in the African Palestinian community and works as a tour guide in the Old City of Jerusalem. He can be seen in this 2011 video produced by the Alternative Information Center, talking about his own life and the history of his community in Jerusalem. “Meeting with the Afro-Palestinian community in East Jerusalem is a must for anyone seeking to understand the continued Palestinian struggle for liberation,” Ahmad Abuznaid from Dream Defenders told The Electronic Intifada. “The Dream Defenders did not meet with the PFLP, but this attack on the senator shows the true desperation of the efforts to hold back our movement,” he added….
Palestinian asylum seeker is fired for wearing a headscarf on her first day as an intern at a German Mayor’s office
BERLIN (MAILONLINE) 25 Aug by Allan Hall — A Palestinian asylum seeker has been fired on her first day at work as in intern working in a German town hall because she refused to remove her headscarf. The woman, 48, employed at the town hall in Luckenwalde near Berlin was informed that she had ‘injured the neutrality’ of the workplace with the traditional Muslim garb. Media reports said she was sacked after just one day when she refused an order to remove the scarf. Only recently Germany voted against banning the burka. But headscarves have previously not been an issue in a country with over three million Turkish immigrants. Luckenwalde Mayoress Elisabeth Herzog-von der Heide said of her decision: ‘The Islamic headscarf is a means of expression of religious belief in a place where we have neutrality. We don’t allow crucifixes on the wall here either.’ The Palestinian woman had signed on for a six week course entitled ‘Perspectives for Refugees’ when she was given her marching orders on day one. The mayoress, a member of the centre left SPD party, said it was a mistake to hire her in the first place if she was not willing to remove the scarf. Local CDU conservative MP Sven Petke said: ‘There is no basis in law for this decision.’ He pointed out that Germany’s Supreme Court had not made a ruling banning such clothing. But a member of the hard-right anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party (AfD), Thomas Jung, said: ‘You can’t have special privileges for Muslims if you can’t have a crucifix on the wall. ‘The mayor deserves respect and not scolding for her difficult decision.’