Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Shot in the head by the IDF? Your entry permit is now revoked
+972 blog 6 Aug by “John Brown” — On Tuesday, June 21 at 1:30 a.m., an officer from the IDF’s Kfir Brigade who was driving on Route 443 in the West Bank stood over a bridge adjacent to the road and fired a number of bursts at a taxi that passed below. This took place after Palestinians had reportedly thrown stones in the area. The gunfire killed 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran, while four of his friends were wounded and the driver was shot in the head. They were on their way back from a night out at “Lin Land,” a water park in the village of Beit Sira. The following morning Israeli news outlets reported that a “15-year-old terrorist” was killed, although very quickly it became clear that the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit had lied to the media, and that the officer had fired at innocent passengers. The army even went as far as to take Badran’s fingerprints in order to make sure this was true, according to Attorney Nailah Atia. The officer has yet to be arrested despite opening fire against regulations a number of times. But the story doesn’t end here. The driver, Ehad Othman, miraculously survived the gunshot to the head, was evacuated to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and treated there. Atia told +972’s Hebrew sister-site, Local Call, last week that upon his return home, Othman had discovered that not only had his taxi been confiscated, but his work permit and entry permit into Israel had been revoked. But if that weren’t enough, Israel also revoked Ehad’s brothers’ permits….
Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinian teens, injuring 1, north of Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israeli forces detained two Palestinian minors, shooting and injuring one of them, near the village of Silwad in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday. According to local security sources, Israeli forces opened fire at Abd al-Fattah Buayrat, 17, and Muwafaq Hamayil, 17, injuring Buayrat as the two were walking along Route 60 near Silwad and the illegal Israeli settlement of Ofra. The two teenagers were then detained and taken to an unknown location.
Post office employee badly injured in assault by soldiers in J’lem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 5 Aug — 27-year-old Mohamed al-Shahed was badly injured when a group of Israeli border soldiers physically assaulted him outside the post office building in east Jerusalem. Shahed, who works at the post office, explained that he went out of the building on Thursday morning to take a break when several border soldiers suddenly gathered around him and embarked on harassing and beating him, with no reason. “At first, their number was eight and then they became 20 soldiers. They severely beat me all over my body and two of them, who were cops, embarked on hitting me with their rifle butts,” he said. He added that when the manager of the post office showed up along with Israeli policemen from Salahuddin police station, the soldiers escaped. As a result of the attack, Shahed suffered from bruises all over his body, painful swellings in his eyes, slight injuries in his face and neck, and severe pains in his right leg.
Several Palestinian injured in clashes, Israeli forces storm southern Nablus villages
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 7 Aug –Several Palestinians were injured Saturday night during clashes with Israeli soldiers when they raided the villages of Beita and Burin in the southern Nablus district of the northern occupied West Bank. Palestinian medical sources told Ma‘an that at least three Palestinians were injured in the village of Beita south of Nablus city, when Israeli forces fired tear gas bombs and rubber bullets at them. The three were reported as moderately injured and taken to the hospital, where their conditions were later reported as being stable. A resident of Beita was also reportedly detained by Israeli forces during the clashes, but was later handed over to Palestinian security forces in Nablus.
Local sources from Burin told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village and fired tear gas at residents during clashes that lasted for two hours. Palestinian Red Crescent crews arrived at the village and provided first aid after several residents were injured during the clashes, some of whom were identified as Shahd Assous, Hala Assous, Alaa Assous, Bilal Dakheel Eid, and Muhammad Raja Eid.
8 Palestinians detained, including youth accused of throwing Molotov cocktail at settler car
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israeli forces detained at least eight Palestinians, including one youth, in raids overnight Saturday in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an a total of five detentions were made overnight, including a youth from the village of Beit ‘Awwa in the southern district of Hebron, detained for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli settler’s car. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that two were detained in Beit ‘Awwa, and identified them as Diya Masalma and Muntaser Naser Masalma. In the southern district of Bethlehem, the Israeli army spokesperson said a Palestinian was detained in the village of al-Khader, identified by PPS as Yousif Sayil, 26. According to the army another Palestinian was detained in the village of al-‘Ubeidiya, identified by PPS as 33-year-old Muneer Mohammad Shanayta. Israeli forces also detained a Palestinian in al-Eizariya in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, the Israeli army spokesperson said. Another Palestinian was detained in the Hebron-area village of Beit Ummar, according to the army. PPS identified three total detained from the Hebron area in addition to the two in Beit Awwa: Rajaee Nafiz Jaber, 25, Nihad Mousa Omr, 66, and Mohammad Fared Alrajee, 23. PPS also said that Luay Abu Alsaad, a Palestinian security guard at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, was also detained.
Israeli police detain 13-year-old Palestinian in E. Jerusalem for gun possession
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israeli forces detained a 13-year-old Palestinian boy from occupied East Jerusalem on Sunday after allegedly finding a weapon in his possession, amid an ongoing crackdown on Palestinian children in the city, and following the passage of Israeli legislation permitting the imprisonment of Palestinians as young as 12 years old. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that police ransacked and inspected the room of a 13-and-a-half-year-old boy in an educational institution where he had been staying, and allegedly found a handgun, two magazines, and a holster. “The suspected minor was detained and his remand has been extended as investigation is ongoing,” she added.The search was conducted after police received reports of weapons on the property, according to Israeli media sites. The incident came amid a sharp escalation of arrests in occupied East Jerusalem over alleged criminal offenses and “disturbances” — particularly stone throwings targeting Israeli settlers and security forces in the area….
Israeli forces defuse IED near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israeli forces reportedly found a small improvised explosive device on Sunday near the Bilal bin Rabah mosque at the northern entrance of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. According to Israeli news site Ynet, Israeli forces found the explosive device on the parking lot near the mosque. A bomb disposal unit was summoned to the scene and defused the IED, without any reported injuries. Israeli border police could not be reached for comment. The Bilal bin Rabah mosque is also known as Rachel’s Tomb — a holy site for Muslims, Christians, and Jews which is cut off from the Palestinian city by the Israeli separation wall.
Israeli forces have cracked down on 21 Al-Aqsa employees in past 10 days, Waqf says
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — Israeli forces have detained, summoned and banned 21 Palestinian employees of the Islamic Endowment (Waqf), which manages the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in the past 10 days, a Waqf spokesperson said on Monday. Firas al-Dibs, the head of Waqf public relations, said that Israel had banned 10 Waqf employees from the Al-Aqsa compound for periods of time ranging from five days to six months. Al-Dibs himself was briefly detained before being banned from accessing the religious site for six months. At least 11 other Waqf employees have been detained or summoned by Israeli forces. Al-Dibs said that the recent crackdown on Waqf employees was part of a broader Israeli policy to “terrorize” Palestinians, adding that the Waqf “remained steadfast” in its role to defend the mosque. The spokesman added that Israeli forces had “crossed a red line” by detaining Bassam al-Hallaq, the head of the Waqf rehabilitation committee, on Thursday. Al-Hallaq was detained by Israeli forces at least twice in the span of several days before being banned from going to Al-Aqsa for five days … Israeli forces have justified the repeated detentions saying that the Waqf employees were suspected of carrying out repairs at the Al-Aqsa compound without official Israeli permission, or accusing security guards of harassing Jewish visitors to the compound — claims which eyewitnesses vehemently denied.
For family of disabled Palestinian youth shot by Israeli troops, the blows keep coming
Haaretz 6 Aug by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — A month after Arif Jaradat, who had Down syndrome, succumbed to his injuries after being shot by Israeli soldiers, his brother Hiran, who had posted some items on Facebook about the killing, was arrested on suspicion of “incitement.” Then their father died and Hiran was not allowed out for the funeral. Once again we are in this house of mourning in the town of Sa‘ir near Hebron, where the recent total closure has been lifted. Obituary notices about Arif still hang in the street. Since our last visit, about a month ago, however, the Jaradat family has endured two more, severe blows. Arif, 23, was shot in the abdomen by soldiers on May 4 and died of his wounds on June 19; we recounted the story of his death on these pages on July 2. He had been yelling something at Israel Defense Forces soldiers and they shot him, for no apparent reason, and then left without offering him any medical assistance. He was the darling of his parents, six brothers and one sister. On July 19, exactly a month after his death, soldiers raided their home during the night and roused Hiran from his bed. He has been detained ever since on suspicion of incitement, for his Facebook posts. Then, 10 days after the arrest, as the 40-day mourning period for Arif was ending, Sharif, the 64-year-old father of the family passed away. He had been sick with cancer and his condition worsened after his son’s death. Sharif never stopped talking about Arif after his death, say siblings Hassan, Sari and Mohammed, the latter of whom works for the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel….
8yo Palestinian girl bullied by IDF soldier tells RT Israelis ‘don’t want us to play on our land’
RT 5 Aug — An eight-year-old Palestinian girl from the West Bank has told RT about her encounter with Israeli officers, in which they forcibly took her bike. The girl’s mother says it’s not the first time her children have been attacked by Israelis in the area. “They hurt my foot and hit the bicycle! I was there with the bicycle. I don’t want to go there again because they will take my bicycle,” Anwaar Burkan from Hebron told RT, standing by the controversial fence that divides the city into areas under separate control of Palestinians and Israelis. “This is our land and they don’t want us to play here. The metal wall is here because they don’t want to let us play,” the child said. Anwaar’s mother, Rania Burkan, told RT that her daughter had been traumatized by the incident to the point she had to be taken to a doctor. “At night, she was trembling, screaming and acting unconsciously… She suffered from fever and fear, so I took her to the doctor… After I told him what happened, we concluded she is frightened from the incident,” the girl’s mother said. Saying that while Anwaar faced such an offense for the first time, the Palestinian mother claimed her other children had been attacked from the Israeli side before, blaming the settlers. “They hit one of her brothers furiously and his hands were bleeding. They hit his nose with a big stone and I went to hit the settler back, but I couldn’t. One of the soldiers said ‘Why do you want to hit him?’ and I told him to look at the bleeding nose of my son,” Burkan said. She added that she had also seen other settlers “throwing stones at Palestinian boys who did nothing to them.”….
Israeli police to be equipped with body cameras
Ynet 5 Aug by Roee Yanovski — The Israel Police started a new pilot project Wednesday whereby patrol officers and traffic officers will wear body cameras. The pilot will last between three and four months, with 150 officers throughout the country [including East Jerusalem?] receiving the cameras. The feedback provided by the cameras is expected to help refine police policy and make the police more efficient. The end goal is to have every patrol officer outfitted with a body camera. The project was proposed by Deputy Police Commissioner Yossi Becher based on similar projects undertaken by police forces the world over. The goal is to make every encounter with the police fair for every citizen, and to mitigate violence….
Closures / Checkpoints
Civilians stranded as Israel seals off Nablus-Salfit access road
SALFIT (PIC) 7 Aug — Several Palestinians have been stranded as the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday closed the Nablus-Salfit Road, to the west of the Zaatara military checkpoint, without prior notification. A PIC journalist quoted eyewitnesses as saying that they were shocked as they caught sight of the mounds of sand barriers and roadblocks thrown by the occupation troops on the access road linking Nablus and Salfit provinces. Several Palestinians could not reach their workplaces while others could not get into their homes due to the abrupt closure. Observers said the move makes part of the daily crackdowns perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army against Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
Israel deliberately forces inhuman conditions on Palestinians working in the country by permit
B’Tselem 31 July — According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, in the first quarter of 2016, approximately 63,000 Palestinians worked in Israel with permits to enter the country. These workers enter Israel via 11 checkpoints located throughout the West Bank: three in the south, five in the center, and three in the north. It is estimated that another 38,000 or so Palestinians work in Israel without permits. Last month, during the Ramadan fast, B’Tselem field researchers Musa Abu Hashhash and Iyad Hadad documented the dire conditions imposed by Israel in two of these crossing points: Checkpoint 300, located north of Bethlehem and serving laborers traveling from Bethlehem and the villages north of Hebron into Jerusalem, and Qalandiya Checkpoint, the main gateway from the Ramallah area into East Jerusalem and Israel. Every day, thousands of workers who secured a permit to enter Israel after passing an exhausting security screening process cross through these checkpoints. B’Tselem’s monitoring indicates that despite repeated reports and promises given through the years, the conditions in these checkpoints are still very harsh. Overcrowding and extremely long lines force laborers to arrive in the dead of night if they are to make it to work on time. Even during Ramadan, when many of the workers fast all day, the Israeli authorities do nothing to alleviate the suffering at the checkpoints…. [includes testimonies]
VIDEO: Inhuman conditions for Palestinian workers entering Israel: Checkpoint 300, June 2016
B’Tselem July 2016 Filmed by Musa Abu Hashash — Of some 100,000 Palestinians who work in Israel daily, 63,000 have permits and can enter Israel via one of 11 checkpoints. This past June, during the fast of Ramadan, B’Tselem again documented the rough conditions at two of the checkpoints: 300 and Qalandia. Even during Ramadan, when workers fast all day, conditions at the checkpoints mean they are forced to leave for work in the dead of night, wait in long lines, and often sleep where they work, seeing their families only on weekends. This is not a necessary evil but a deliberate choice by the Israeli authorities. Whatever the reasoning for the choice, it is an unconscionable and unacceptable one.
Palestinian fighter killed in tunnel collapse in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — A member of Hamas’ military wing the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades died Saturday evening in a tunnel collapse in the Gaza Strip, the group said in a statement. The statement identified the fighter as 23-year-old Khaled Methqal al-Hour from the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, who was reportedly carrying out a military training exercise when the tunnel collapsed. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip Ashraf al-Qidra said that al-Hour’s body was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in the central Gaza Strip. The incident marked the third tunnel to collapse in the Gaza Strip over the past month. Most recently, a Palestinian affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement was killed alongside two others who were injured on July 19, and on July 10, a member of al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad was killed.
Israeli forces open fire at Gaza farmers east of Khan Younis
GAZA (WAFA) 7 Aug – Israeli armed forces on Sunday opened gunfire at Palestinian farmers east of Khan Younes, in southern Gaza Strip, according to WAFA correspondent. Israeli soldiers stationed in military watchtowers along the border with Israel opened gunfire at Palestinian famers while cultivating their lands. Although no injuries were reported, the farmers had to quickly evacuate their land.
Meanwhile, Israeli gunboats targeted with gunfire several Palestinian fishermen while they were sailing offshore Gaza, causing damage to at least one of their boats. There were no reports of injuries among the fishermen, who reportedly fled the scene for fear of being injured or arrested.
Palestinian photojournalist appeals for support to exit Gaza to accept award
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Palestinian photojournalist Ashraf Abu Amra from the city of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip has appealed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate for assistance to travel to Moscow from the blockaded coastal enclave to accept an award. Abu Amra won second place in the Top News category for the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest, it was announced on Thursday. More than 7,000 young photojournalists from 71 countries competed for the awards in different five categories. Abu Amra was also a winner in the 2015 competition, but was unable to travel outside of the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing Israeli blockade of the territory. The awards ceremony is scheduled to be held on Aug. 30 … Abu Amra was awarded for a photo he captured in 2015 of bereaved Palestinian father Yahya Hassan, holding the body of his two-year-old daughter Rahaf during her funeral. Rahaf was killed by an Israeli airstrike in October….
The Gaza blockade is causing an end to Gaza’s fresh water resources
7 Aug by ISM Gaza Team — As every year during the summer, the water shortage in the Gaza Strip is accentuated. At the same time, the energy shortage caused by the blockade prevents engines and water pumps from pushing it from wells and tanks to houses and farming fields. The Beach Camp is one of the more densely populated areas of Gaza and therefore one of the most affected by water scarcity. In addition, because of its location, directly on the seafront, its aquifers are some of the most affected by the infiltration of seawater and wastewater. We collected several testimonies of people affected by this problem in order to discuss them with the engineer Monther Shoblak, General Director of the Palestinian National Authority Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU). The first testimony is that of Azzam Miflah El Sheikh Khalil, who says “the water comes only once every three days, and just for a few hours, which is not enough [to fill the tanks]. People can’t imagine how we are suffering because of the lack of water. In addition, there is no difference between the water from our wells and the sea water… The main problem is that when there is electricity there’s no running water and when there is running water there’s no electricity . The only solution we have is to buy a generator to produce electricity when there’s water, but who can buy it if there is no work?”….
‘Solidarity ships’ to sail to the besieged Gaza Strip
GAZA (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Two “solidarity ships” are set to sail towards the besieged Gaza Strip from Barcelona, Spain, in mid-September. Named ‘Amal’ and ‘Zaytouna’ — meaning ‘Hope’ and ‘Olives’ in Arabic, respectively — the ships will be led by an all-female crew of 24, including Nobel Prize winner Mairead Maguire. According to Issam Yusif, head of the world popular committee for the support of the Gaza Strip, most of the crew members are affiliated with civil society organizations, and will be making the nearly 2,000-mile journey to show solidarity with the Palestinian people against the decade-long “illegal Israeli blockade” on Gaza. In a statement on Sunday, Yusif urged the Palestinian and international communities to support the new all-female “solidarity ships” initiative politically, financially and morally. Yusif emphasized the importance of the initiative, saying it would help to highlight the Palestinian struggle for freedom and an independent state, as well as the everyday Israeli violations of international law and the Palestinian right to freedom of movement.He also expressed hope that the initiative would help to end the increasingly “tragic situation” of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, as the needs of the Gazan people continue to multiply despite the little aid they receive.
Young Palestinian artist in Gaza uses spices and fruit as paint
[with photos] BarakaBits 19 July by Eman Hussein — From under the ruins of Gaza, young talent sprouts to surprise the world with its beauty. Another young Palestinian artist, yet again, inspires the world with the Palestinian determination to spread his/her message. A recent example of such determination is 22-year old Palestinian artist Walaa Abu Al- Eish from Rafah, Gaza who started using spices and fruit instead of the unavailable conventional paint to carry out her passion for art. Ever since Hammas won the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, Israel has been besieging Gaza. Since then, extensive restrictions have been forced on the movement of people and products imported to and exported from Gaza, leading to the scarcity of many products including art supplies. This has compelled many artists within Gaza to turn to unconventional alternatives of paint. Abu Al- Eish found that the best and most cost-effective alternative for paint is available at the heart of her home, the kitchen. So to be able to carry out her art and be able to express herself, she decided to use spices and fruits- cinnamon, cumin and Pomegranate to name a few. Whenever she needs a color that can’t be found in her cupboard or fridge, she simply mixes together the spices and fruits she has in reach, until she comes up with the color she desires. Among Abu Al- Eish’s artistic works are drawings of Palestinian figures, including Yasser Arafat, Ahmad Yaseen and Mahmoud Darwish.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
There is no Green Line when it comes to home demolitions
+972 blog 7 Aug by Penina Eilberg-Schwartz — With demolitions pending in four Palestinian villages, solidarity activists must recognize the overarching agenda that unifies the seemingly different struggles — Four Palestinian villages reached out to Israeli and international activists last week, requesting urgent support. All four villages — Umm el-Kheir and Susya in Area C in the West Bank, and al-‘Araqib and Umm el-Hiran in the Negev — notified us that demolitions are more probable than usual in the near future. While each village has its own history and circumstances it’s important to look at both the particularities and the broader narrative arc that emerges between them. Each village is the target of a consistent and strategic agenda of displacement. To some, the differences between the villages in the Negev and the villages in the South Hebron Hills are abundantly clear. The Bedouin in the Negev are Israeli citizens; the Bedouin in the South Hebron Hills are not. In the Negev, the Jewish National Fund (JNF)’s “beautification” project to forest and create Jewish-only communities controls the future of the stories for al-Araqib and Umm el-Hiran. In the West Bank, Israel’s Civil Administration, in allegiance with the priorities of nearby Jewish settlers, determines the fate of Umm el-Kheir and Susya. These differences are important, but when we look at a map, we see that the different “regions” we’re talking about are part of the same story….
Susiya village on brink of destruction by Israel
EI 6 Aug by Charlotte Silver — Israel’s high court placed the fate of the Palestinian village Susiya and its 340 residents in the hands of defense minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday, leaving it to him to decide whether the army will demolish nearly half its structures, mostly ramshackle dwellings. On Monday, the court punted a petition the village had submitted with Rabbis for Human Rights requesting that it compel Israel’s occupation administration to recognize the legality of structures that Palestinians had built without permits from the army. The president of the court, Miriam Naor, said she would reject the petition, but left the decision to Lieberman. The Civil Administration, the name Israel gives to the military bureaucracy that rules the lives of millions of Palestinians, has refused to grant any building permits to the village. Susiya is in the South Hebron Hills, and is part of “Area C” – about 60 percent of the West Bank that remains under full Israeli military control with no presence of the Palestinian Authority, according to the terms of the Oslo accords signed by the PLO and Israel in the early 1990s. The South Hebron Hills, an area that Israel has targeted for intense colonization by Jewish settlers, has in recent months seen some of the biggest mass demolitions of Palestinian homes in years. This is the second time the high court has ruled unfavorably to Susiya in just over a year … It was reported last summer that military officials had suggested to the villagers they were under increasing pressure from settlers to relocate the village….
PLO: Leasing private Palestinian land an Israeli move to ‘swallow’ West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — The Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) National Bureau to Defend Land released a statement Saturday warning of the “dangerous” consequences of Israel’s policy of legalizing illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, in response to recent recommendations by an Israeli government committee seeking to relocated evacuees of the Amona outpost to privately owned Palestinian land. The bureau described the actions taking place in Amona as an “unprecedented” move with the goal to “swallow” more Palestinian lands. The special committee from the Israeli Ministry of Justice, established specially for the purpose of relocating Amona’s residents, recently submitted a suggestion to the Israeli Attorney General recommending moving the settlers to a nearby privately owned Palestinian land whose owners have been living abroad since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. The bureau highlighted that the committee suggested that after being relocated to the privately owned Palestinian land, Amona’s residents would pay rent to the Israeli government, which the state would hold in a bank account for the owners. Israeli human rights watchdog Peace Now slammed on Tuesday the Israeli committee’s plan, which would allow the privately held Palestinian properties near the outpost to be leased to Israeli settlers for three years, with the ability to renew the lease after each lease period. According to Peace Now, the proposal to lease property from absentee Palestinians in the West Bank would “create an opening for the takeover of tens of thousands of dunams in the West Bank. The scope of absentees’ property (property owned by Palestinians not currently residing inside the West Bank) is estimated at around 100,000 dunams (double the size of Tel Aviv and similar to the land taken up by all of the settlements today).” Peace Now warned that the move could pave the way for the construction of even more settlements across the West Bank….
Shoshahla Mosque threatened by Jewish settlements, Judaization
PIC 6 Aug — On Friday, 5 August, only 20 Muslim worshipers performed Friday prayer in the mosque of Shoshahla village, 5 kilometers away to the south of Bethlehem and on the road leading to Occupied Jerusalem. The activist against the wall and the settlements, Hassan Breijiya, delivered the Friday sermon and called upon the Palestinians to make the Mosque their destination to resist the Israeli attempts to Judaize it. The Mosque, which demonstrates the Canaanite civilization, was established more than 130 years ago. Muhannad Sa’ad Salah, a Palestinian citizen, said the Mosque has one room with an old metal roof and one bathroom. He added that the Mosque was built in 1878 during the rule of the Ottoman Empire on his family’s land. Therefore, Salah became the guardian of the Mosque. –Depopulated Village-– He repaired the walls and the bathroom at his own expense, and he confirmed that Israeli soldiers and settlers have always tried to assault him and his family, the last Palestinian family in the depopulated Palestinian village, to push them to leave. Salah asserted that he and his family will never leave the village despite the inhospitable life conditions they have been made to endure, without electricity, water, or telephone networks. He appealed to the Palestinian people to head to the Mosque and pray in there, saying, “A mosque between four [Israeli] settlements. Isn’t it worth a visit?” The settlements are: Efrat from the east; Daniel from the west; Sde Boaz from the north; and Elazar from the south. –Broken Promises– He said that months ago the Palestinian Authority, through the popular committee against the wall and settlements, promised to provide him with electricity through solar energy as a kind of support for his resilience. Yet still the promise has not been fulfilled. Salah stated that Israeli settlers from Daniel settlement, which is just next to his land, have burned the walls of his house and Mosque, and the Israeli soldiers have arrested him in repeated attempts to harass him and force him to leave the village….
Prisoners / Court actions
Israeli court confirms administrative detention of hunger-striking Balboul brothers
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — An Israeli military court at the Ofer detention center near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday decided to confirm the administrative detention sentence of Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, two brothers from Bethlehem who have been on hunger strike since the beginning of July. According to a statement from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the court rejected an appeal by the committee’s lawyers to reduce the sentence. Muhammad, a dentist, was sentenced to six months of administrative detention, while Mahmoud, a Master’s student at al-Quds University, was sentenced to five months. Mahmoud Balboul has been on hunger-strike since July 5, and Muhammad since July 7. Mahmoud Balboul has been suffering from severe pains in his chest and has had difficulty breathing, the statement said. “From time to time, he falls to the ground with signs of fatigue, and has lost a noticeable portion of his weight.” … Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were detained on June 9 from Bethlehem, just two months after their 14-year-old sister, Nuran, was detained after attempting to cross Israel’s 300 Checkpoint between northern Bethlehem and Jerusalem for allegedly possessing a knife, an accusation that locals denied.Nuran was released from prison on July 12 after spending three months in prison. The three are children of Ahmad al-Balboul, a prominent leader in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades who was shot dead along with three other Palestinians by undercover Israeli forces in March 2008. The two brothers have joined several other Palestinian prisoners currently on hunger strike in an attempt to hold Israel accountable for its arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinians. According to Palestinians, Israel uses its policy of administrative detention — internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence — to detain family members of Palestinian political leaders, in an extension of several policies that rights groups have deemed “collective punishment” aimed at disrupting family life for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinian leaders call mass hunger strike in Israel’s prisons an ‘intifada against injustice’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Palestinian leaders gathered at a solidarity sit-in for hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners on Saturday in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, as the Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs addressed the participants, saying that Israeli prisons have turned into a “battlefield” and an “intifada against injustice, humiliation, and racist arbitrary laws.” Issa Qaraqe cited the mass hunger strike under way throughout Israel’s prisons, first launched in solidarity with hunger striker Bilal Kayid, which evolved into a mass protest against administrative detention — Israel’s policy of detention without charge or trial — as well solitary confinement, humiliating raids, and other severe measures imposed on Palestinian prisoners … Families of prisoners and former prisoners, representatives of national and Islamic factions in Bethlehem, religious leaders, children from the Bethlehem-based Lajee Center, and students from the Palestine Ahliya University all took part in the sit-in. The spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Church Father Issa Musleh called upon the international and humanitarian community to take immediate action to save the lives of the hunger striking prisoners….
Hamas prisoners reach agreement with Israel Prison Service to end mass hunger strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Aug — Hamas-affiliated prisoners reached an agreement Saturday with the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to end their days-long mass hunger strike, according to the Prisoner’s Media Office, a Gaza-based organization covering Palestinian prisoner-related news. The group published the terms of the agreement that was reached, which included ending all types of “humiliating searches” — specifically strip-searching — improving the living conditions of Hamas-affiliated prisoners in Israel’s Nafha prison, by installing proper ventilation and reducing prisoner congestion. The terms of the agreement also included returning the head of the Higher Commission of Hamas Prisoners, Muhammad Irman, from Israel’s Hadarim prison back to Nafha prison within a period of six months, as well as returning all prisoners who were previously moved to other prisons, back to their original locations.
The agreement stated that the IPS would agree to several other demands for prisoners concerning daily life, which included allowing books to be brought in during family visitation, and allowing prisoners access to watch an additional news channel.
Hundreds of Hamas-affiliated prisoners in Nafha, Rimon, and Eshel prisons launched a hunger strike Wednesday in protest of the “humiliation and oppression” they faced at the hand of Israeli authorities….
Hamas prisoners end hunger strike, but Israeli Prison Service denies compromise
Haaretz 7 Aug by Jack Khoury — Two hundred and sixty Hamas members imprisoned in Israel announced Saturday that they were ending a two-day hunger strike. The Palestinian Prisoners Club said the prisoners agreed to stop rejecting food after reaching an understanding with the Israel Prison Service according to which they would be returned to Nafha and Eshel prisons and the practice of “humiliating” searches ended. The Israel Prison Service denied that any understandings had been reached to end the strike. The Hamas-affiliated website Arsala quoted a spokesman for the prisoners, Abdel Rahman Shadid, as saying that the understandings also included improvements to the conditions at Nafha Prison. These included reducing the number of prisoners in each cell and allowing inmates to spend more time in the exercise yard….
More than 80 Palestinian prisoners participate in ongoing hunger strike
GAZA (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — The health of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Ahed Abu Ghulma has sharply deteriorated, it was revealed on Sunday, amid a mass hunger strike involving more than 80 Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli custody. After starting his hunger strike a week ago, Ahed Abu Ghulma — held in solitary confinement in Israel’s Ramon prison — began suffering from headaches, exhaustion, severe joint pains, and vomiting spells, according to the Handala Center for Prisoners and Former Prisoners. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) refused to transfer him to a hospital or provide him with medical care, in an attempt to pressure him to end his hunger strike, according to the center. IPS also attempted to pressure Ahmad Saadat, the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), by threatening to transfer him from solitary confinement in Ramon prison to an unknown location if he did not end his hunger strike. The statement added that IPS has escalated its punitive measures to pressure all involved prisoners to cease their hunger strikes and prevent other prisoners from joining the action. Israeli forces have continuously raided prison sections holding Palestinians across Israeli detention centers, searching and confiscating their belongings. However, PFLP-affiliated prisoners said they were determined to continue their hunger strike until their demands were met and the release of Palestinian hunger striker and PFLP member Bilal Kayid was secured.
Israeli authorities deny families of Palestinian prisoners entry into Israel
Middle East Rising 7 Aug — Several Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s Ashkelon prison filed complaints against Israeli forces and authorities after their family members were denied entry through Israeli-controlled checkpoints despite holding Israeli permits for family visitations, according to a statement released Saturday by a lawyer from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs. Karim Ajwa said in the statement that the complaints were filed against the prison administration and Israeli security forces after families were denied passage through checkpoints. The family members included the wife of prisoner Nasr Abu Hmeid, the mother of Haitham Salhiya, the brother of Muhammad Abu Shahin, the mother and daughter of Issam al-Froukh, the brothers of Yusif Nazal, and the brother of Majdi Sabanah. The committee stated that such actions were part of a broader system of arbitrary punishments imposed on Palestinian prisoners and their families, adding that several other families have complained of their permits being ripped up at checkpoints by Israeli soldiers and being denied entry for scheduled visitations….
Israeli-Arab arrested for supporting ISIS on Facebook
Ynet 8 Aug by Hassan Shaalan — An indictment was filed against Wassim Hutaba, 29, for allegedly expressing support for ISIS on social media. He is from the Arab village of Reina. According to the indictment from the Northern District Prosecutor’s Office, Hutaba announced that he doesn’t believe that he is beholden to the laws of the State of Israel – a state he calls a “kufar state” – and justified ISIS attacks around the world, calling them “legitimate responses to Western attacks on Islam.” As opposed to other indictments filed against Israeli citizens who have expressed their support for ISIS in the past, Hutaba didn’t go to Syria, didn’t leave Israel, and didn’t pledge allegiance to ISIS. According to his testimony, he considered pledging allegiance to the terror group, but decided not to because of his wife’s resistance to the idea. She was worried that he would be arrested, and said that him joining would negatively affect the family. Hutaba added that those are the same reasons he decided against carrying out an attack in Israel. According to the indictment, Hutaba was investigated by the Shin Bet in December, and was warned not to engage in anything which might harm the security of the State of Israel, including supporting ISIS. Nevertheless, he continued to go onto ISIS web pages, read ISIS publications, and watch videos of ISIS carrying out attacks. Meanwhile, he was in constant contact with ISIS recruiters and supporters both in Israel and abroad, and posted messages of praise and support of the organization, leadership, and teachings. He also posted a picture of the ISIS flag flying over the Temple Mount and one overlaid over a map of the world. The pictures received a lot of likes and shares….
Israel launching task force to target, deport BDS activists
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — The Israeli government announced on Sunday that it was launching a task force to identify and deport members from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, marking the latest attack on left-wing and pro-Palestinian activism by Israel. In a statement released by Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri, Israeli Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri and Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan decided on Sunday during a meeting to form a joint task force to “expel and ban the entry of BDS activists” into Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. “We must not allow BDS activists to enter to state of Israel. This is a necessary step, given the malicious intentions of these activists to delegitimize and spread lies and distortions about the reality in our region,” Erdan was quoted as saying in the statement, adding that the boycott movement against Israel “must have a price.” “Fighting against Israeli boycott starts by fighting those who undermine the State of Israel,” Deri said. “We have a responsibility to do everything possible to crush any boycott and to state clearly that we will not allow the State of Israel to be harmed. Forming the task force is an important step in that direction.” Without citing any names, the statement estimated that “hundreds” of pro-Palestinian activists and dozens of organizations were currently in Israel “to gather information and use it to boycott Israel, and harm its citizens,” and that the task force would also try to prevent the entrance of activists in the future. The statement also alleged that BDS activists traveled to the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem to “incite” Palestinians. It remained unclear on Sunday evening whether the task force would only focus on foreign activists, or whether its activities would also extend to tracking and monitoring Palestinian and Israeli advocates of BDS.
Israel’s diplomats to put a spotlight on rediverting aid to Hamas
Ynet 5 Aug by Itamar Eichner — Israel’s Foreign Ministry has launched a campaign meant to put a spotlight on the suspected funneling of millions of dollars in aid to Hamas’s military wing. Mohammad El Halabi, the manager of operations in Gaza for the NGO World Vision, was arrested by the Shin Bet on June 15 while crossing the border into the enclave. A senior Israeli security official on Thursday said Halabi, who has run the group’s Gaza operations since 2010, had been under extended surveillance and had confessed to siphoning off some $7.2 million a year to Hamas. World Vision said it was shocked by the claims and a Hamas spokesman said the group had no connection with Halabi. After news of the allegations came to light, the Foreign Ministry instructed all of its missions worldwide to work to bring the story to the attention of world media, opinion makers and senior officials in the different branches of government. The Israeli diplomats were asked to emphasize Israel’s humanitarian aid to the Strip and its facilitation of the reconstruction of Gaza, as well as the obligation of governments and international organizations to monitor the humanitarian aid they send to the Palestinian enclave. Specifically, the diplomats were instructed to spread the news of the Halabi’s alleged actions among liberal and religious groups who support World Vision….
Christian charity loses two top donors after Israel charges director with funding Hamas
dpa 6 Aug by Frank Walker — Humanitarian aid group World Vision lost two major donors on Friday, one day after Israel charged the charity’s head in Gaza with funneling money to Hamas fighters and buying weapons. Australia suspended funding to World Vision projects in the Palestinian territories, while Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) said it had indefinitely frozen payments totaling $1.66 million dollars (1.5 million euros) to the Christian charity. The moves came after World Vision official Mohammad El Halabi appeared in court in Be’er Sheva on Thursday, facing charges of using charity funds to support the Palestinian extremist group Hamas … World Vision said on its website that it denied any involvement in political, military or terrorist activities and that it hoped that Baradi would receive a “fair legal process.” World Vision is a worldwide Christian humanitarian aid charity set up in the U.S. in 1950 and is active in nearly 100 countries. In 2015 it had an annual revenue of just over a billion dollars.
Paying E. Jerusalem schools to switch to Israeli curriculum is war, said Education Ministry
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Aug – The ministry of higher education Sunday expressed strong dismay at what it described as an Israeli war against the East Jerusalem schools through the educational process. It said in a press release that the Israeli education ministry is trying to lure schools in East Jerusalem that stick to the Palestinian curriculum into switching to the Israeli curriculum in exchange of extra funding. The ministry said this move is a “war against the Palestinian and Arab identity of East Jerusalem’s schools and a blatant attempt to mask the Palestinian identity of these educational institutions.” “By trying to enforce these laws, Israel is confiscating Palestinians’ basic rights which protect their identity, culture and curriculum,” said the ministry. The campaign, which is in full swing, now must be confronted by Palestinian and Arab businessmen who can support East Jerusalem’s schools and protect these institutions from any Israeli attempts to take advantage of their financial needs, it added.
Palestinian Authority security forces attack senior Fatah leader with pepper spray
RAMALLAH (MEE) 6 Aug by Alaa Daraghme — Palestinian Authority (PA) security officers sprayed pepper gas in the face of Ibraheem Khraishe, secretary general of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a member of Revolutionary Council of the Fatah movement, in Tulkarem city in the northern West Bank on Friday, in the latest controversy to rock the party in recent weeks. “They attempted to arrest one of my neighbours, so I went to his house to find out what was happening… I was surprised that security sprayed pepper gas in my face and on my relatives,” Khraishe told Middle East Eye. “They arrested [him] and I was sent to the hospital by a private car.” Tensions in Tulkarem have soared since Palestinian security forces arrested groups of young Fatah members over their Facebook posts regarding electricity cuts last month. It is believed Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah, also a Fatah member, ordered the arrests that prompted dozens of local Fatah leaders to resign in protest. Since then, armed clashes between PA security services and armed Palestinians have broken out and 11 Fatah members have been arrested. The trouble comes two months before local elections are scheduled in the West Bank for the first time in four years….
Palestinian denies funneling charity money to Hamas – lawyer
GAZA (Reuters) 7 Aug — A Palestinian representative of U.S.-based Christian charity World Vision denies Israeli allegations that he funneled millions of dollars in aid money to the Islamist militant group Hamas, his lawyer said on Sunday. Mohammad El Halabi, World Vision’s manager of operations in the Gaza Strip, was arrested by Israel on June 15 while crossing into the enclave, which is under the de facto rule of Hamas, a group on the Israeli and U.S. terrorism blacklists. Briefing reporters on Thursday, a senior Israeli security official said Halabi, who has run the group’s Gaza operations since 2010, had been under surveillance. The Israeli official said Halabi confessed to siphoning off some $7.2 million a year, about 60 percent of World Vision’s Gaza funding, to pay Hamas fighters, buy arms, pay for other activities and build fortifications. “Mohammad (El Halabi) denies all these accusations. He denied it all,” Jerusalem-based lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud, who was assigned to represent El Halabi by the charity group, told Reuters by phone on Sunday … World Vision had already said it was “shocked” by Israel’s allegations, and while it had no reason to believe them to be true, it would review the evidence. Hamas has denied any connection to Halabi. After the case was made public, Australia suspended aid to World Vision. The U.S. State Department, according to one official, is concerned by the allegations and following the investigation closely. On Sunday, dozens of Palestinians who used to benefit from World Vision aid in Gaza rallied in solidarity with Halabi, demanding his release
Remembering Faysal Hijazeen, priest and defender of justice for Palestinians
Ma‘an 6 Aug by Xavier Abu Eid — Father Faysal Hijazeen, Director-General of the Latin Patriarchate Schools in Palestine and the parish priest of Ramallah, was known for his unwavering defense of justice for the Palestinian people. He passed away Thursday Aug. 4 in Beit Jala, Palestine. His funeral was held Saturday in Amman, Jordan. Father Faysal Hijazeen has left us. “Abouna Faysal” (our father Faysal), as he was affectionately known, was born in Amman in 1961 and spent most of his life in Palestine. In 1973, he joined the Latin Patriarchate Seminary in Beit Jala, becoming a priest in 1985. The same year, he was sent as an assistant priest to the Holy Family Church in Ramallah. Soon after arriving, and for no reason, he was severely beaten by Israeli forces. The people of Ramallah, both Christians and Muslims, responded by taking to the streets in order to defend the new young priest. His career would be marked by his strong defense of justice and freedom for the Palestinian people….
An Israeli-Palestinian battle with roots in lingerie
KCLU 6 Aug by Emily Harris — In recent years the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been playing out on a battleground that’s barely a couple square inches in size. It’s the labels of consumer goods produced in areas under Israeli occupation. Last year the European Union, for example, instructed member countries to not allow imports of products from Jewish settlements in the West Bank to be labeled as, “Made in Israel.” The European Union, like the U.S. considers the settlements illegal. Instead, certain products have to be specifically marked as coming from settlements in the West Bank. This infuriated Israel. Members of the U.S. Congress denounced the move and considered legislation to counter it. In its fine print, labeling touches some of the most sensitive issues of the conflict. It’s about who has sovereignty over land.
And to understand where the labeling issue started we turn back 30 years, to an experimental Palestinian lingerie factory launched in the 1980s. Then, as now, Israeli farmers and factories operating from settlements in the West Bank export much more than Palestinian businesses in the territory. … “The reality in the 1980s and 1990s was that (Palestinian) products were bought up by Israeli middlemen and shipped out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as Israeli products with an Israeli label on them,” he said. Shamas wanted to change that. To make his case to Western policy makers, he argued a logical extension of the laws in their own countries. He said that since the U.S. and Europe do not recognize the West Bank as being part of Israel, his lingerie from there should be distinguished from Israeli products. “Do what your understanding of your own law requires you to do,” Shamas says he told Western trade officials. He says U.S. officials found a regulation allowing the goods to be marked, “Made in the Israeli Occupied West Bank.” It might not seem like a victory these days. It didn’t call the lingerie even, “Palestinian” let alone something as bold as, “Made in Palestine.”….
Ethiopian IDF soldier assaulted by police last year now an officer
Ynet 6 Aug by Reut Rimerman — The IDF soldier Damas Pakada, the soldier of Ethiopian descent who was assaulted by Israel police officers, finished military’s Officers’ Training School this week. The attack, which was filmed by a security camera, led to mass protests against discrimination and racism aimed at the Ethiopian community. Pakada’s lawyer, Eyal Abulafia, who is still representing the new officer in his lawsuit against the Israel Police and the soldier who assaulted him, posted to Facebook a photograph of the graduate crying and hugging his brother. Wrote the attorney, “He isn’t just crying because he finished the officers’ course; he’s crying because if there hadn’t had been a camera that filmed the incident in which he was attacked by a policeman and detained on false charges for having attacked a policeman and cursing at him, he would not today be an outstanding soldier in the IDF and certainly not a proud officer, but rather a convicted criminal with no future.” The incident of police abuse was filmed in April 2015 and showed Pakada, a soldier in uniform, approached by two policemen who speak with him for a few moments before violently assaulting him. The police officer who led the assault was not criminally charged, and the case against him was closed. This led to the young soldier, via Abulafia, filing his civil suit. Pakada is also attempting to have the case reopened and criminal charges brought against his assailant, who is no longer with the police….
The shocking story of Israel’s disappeared babies
TEL AVIV (Al Jazeera) 5 Aug by Jonathan Cook — New information has come to light about thousands of mostly Yemeni children believed to have been abducted in the 1950s — …Last weekend, Tzachi Hanegbi, a government minister tasked with studying the disappearances, conceded that at least “hundreds” of children had been taken without their parents’ consent. It is the first time a government official has ever made such a public admission.
Rio 2016 Olympics: Lebanese athletes refuse to travel with Israel team
BBC 6 Aug — Lebanese athletes refused to share a bus with the Israel team to get to Friday’s Rio Olympic Games opening ceremony, members of both teams said. Lebanon and Israel are officially at war and have no diplomatic relations. The incident happened as the Lebanon team sat on the bus waiting to head to the Maracana stadium, before demanding the Israeli athletes must not board. Israel’s athletes insisted on doing so, but the two teams were eventually taken to the ceremony in different buses. http://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/36998989