Committee: More than 1,000 Palestinian minors detained by Israel in 2016 so far
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — More than 1,000 Palestinian minors have been detained by Israeli forces since the beginning of the year, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said on Saturday, in a reported increase from 2015. The Committee said that at least 1,000 Palestinian minors between the ages of 11 and 18 had been detained by Israel since January, including around 70 children from occupied East Jerusalem who were placed under house arrest. A lawyer for the Committee, Hiba Masalha, cited a number of cases in which Palestinian minors were abused and tortured while in detention. One of the youths, 17-year-old Nidal from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya, was detained in June and held for 20 days in the infamous Russian compound before being moved to the Megiddo prison. According to Masalha, Nidal reported that he was regularly and brutally beaten while at the Russian compound, as well as verbally abused. He notably mentioned one instance when approximately 10 prison guards dragged him out of his cell into a room without security cameras and brutally beat him for an hour while he was handcuffed. One of the guards, Nidal said, took a trash can and placed it over Nidal’s head, as the group laughed and mocked him….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers injure one Palestinian, kidnap six others, in Jenin
IMEMC 26 Sept — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, different parts of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched many homes and property, and kidnapped six Palestinians, in addition to shooting and wounding one. Medical sources said the soldiers shot a young man with a live round in one of his legs, while many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, during clashes that took place after the army invaded the city. The clashes erupted in different neighborhoods throughout the city, after the soldiers invaded them, and started searching homes. The soldiers also kidnapped former political prisoner Baha’ Salama, in addition to Omar al-Bayan, Engineer Mohammad Abdullah al-Hroub, Mahmoud Amin al-Omari, Ahmad Hussein Awartani and Mahmoud Maher al-Atrash. The soldiers also searched many homes and interrogated the families; owners of some of the invaded homes have been identified as former political prisoner Mohammad Abu Naseef, Mahmoud Awartani, his brothers Mohammad, Mo’taz Hani and Bara’, in addition to Jihad al-Hanthawi, Mohammad Abu Sirryya and Bassam ‘Arqawi. The soldiers wanted to kidnap the former political prisoner Abu Naseef, but he was not at home during the invasion. In addition, the army invaded two shops; car repair and car paint, owned by members of Abu Smeed family, and searched them. The army claimed uncovering and confiscating equipment in two workshops reportedly “used for manufacturing guns.”
Palestinian girl: I wanted to see where my aunt was killed
Ynet 23 Sept — A 12-year-old Palestinian girl, who was shot and lightly injured by Israeli security personnel after she failed to heed their calls to stop while approaching a checkpoint, denies she ever intended to end her life or take revenge; ‘What is revenge?’ — Two days after being shot at a checkpoint in the West Bank after arousing the suspicion of the security guards, the 12-year-old Palestinian girl says that she simply wanted to see how her auntie was killed — and didn’t plan to die. “I never said things like this,” said Bara’a Owaisi to Channel 2 News journalist Ohad Hamo Thursday, after it was alleged that she had said “I came to die.” Owaisi, from Qalqilya, recounted how she had made her way to the Eliyahu checkpoint near Alfei Menashe in the West Bank on Wednesday morning, where she was shot in the leg after soldiers suspected that she intended to carry out a terror attack. “From the day that my auntie was killed I wanted to go and see how they killed her. As I continued the Jew spoke to me in Hebrew and I didn’t understand him,” she said. “They thought I had a knife but where would I bring a knife from? I am, after all, a small girl.” According to Owaisi, she never intended to avenge her auntie’s death, who was killed half a year ago at the same checkpoint. “To take revenge? What does it mean to take revenge? What connection do I have to these things? What are you talking about, revenge?’ the girl asked. Her father expressed his anger at the fact that the soldiers had opened fire on what turned out to be an unarmed girl. “I am angry. How can you fire on a young girl like this aged 12 and injure her like this? I went crazy, I couldn’t believe how a girl could go all the way to the checkpoint,” he said….
Netanyahu at the UN: Frozen bodies, blatant lies, and imaginary children
+972 mag 24 Sept by Samah Salaime — “Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews… No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family. Still, as I stood by his bedside I told his uncle, ‘This is not our people. This is not our way’.” Prime Minister Netanyahu, during his speech Thursday at the United Nations General Assembly, decided to talk about the murderous attack on the Dawabshe family. But as luck would have it, I, too, was there during Netanyahu’s highly-publicized visit to the hospital — Ahmed’s uncle wasn’t even present. He happened to be at a different hospital when Netanyahu arrived, next to Ahmed’s father who succumbed to his wounds a few days later. The person who was with Ahmed — the only member of the Dawabshe family who survived — was the doctor from Duma who got on a helicopter so he could be at the child’s side. The doctor refused to stand alongside Netanyahu during his visit to urgent care, and asked that Netanyahu not be photographed with Ahmed, who suffered burns over his entire body. The conversation between us and Netanyahu took place in the adjacent room, and since I was there I can say that the words “This is not our people. This is not our way” were never uttered. So what did Netanyahu say? We will catch the perpetrators, we will punish them, we will compensate you. And he promised: we will rebuild the house and take care of the family. I remember that the doctor wanted to ensure that Netanyahu knew how important it was to catch those who burned the family, and more importantly: that those who did it aren’t labeled “insane” in court….
Dawasbsheh grandfather rejects PM’s claims of justice to Jewish terrorists
Ynet 23 Sept by Rotem Elizera — Among other points made in his UN speech, Netanyahu also claimed that Israel invested every available resource in bringing the culprits of the arson attack, that killed the Palestinian Dawabsheh family, to justice; Hussein Dawabsheh, who lost his daughter, son-in-law and grandson in the fire, refutes this claim and says that it was ‘certainly not the Israeli government’ that took care of his surviving grandson, Ahmed — Hussein Dawabsheh, the grandfather of Ahmed Dawabsheh — who sustained serious burns after Jewish extremists killed his parents along with their 18-month-old child in an arson attack last June — refuted Prime Minister Netanyahu’s portrayal of the support Israel supposedly offered Ahmed and his extended family in the aftermath of the attack. During his speech before the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Netanyahu spoke about “the profound difference” he sees between Israeli and Palestinian societies, citing Israel’s response to the attack which included the arrest and arraignment of the suspects. “Take the tragic case of Ahmed Dawabsheh.” Said Netanyahu. “I’ll never forget visiting Ahmed in the hospital just hours after he was attacked. A little boy, really a baby, he was badly burned. Ahmed was the victim of a horrible terrorist act perpetrated by Jews. He lay bandaged and unconscious as Israeli doctors worked around the clock to save him.” “No words can bring comfort to this boy or to his family,” continued Netanyahu. “Still, as I stood by his bedside I told his uncle, ‘This is not our people. This is not our way.’ I then ordered extraordinary measures to bring Ahmed’s assailants to justice and today the Jewish citizens of Israel accused of attacking the Dawabsheh family are in jail awaiting trial.” “Now, for some, this story shows that both sides have their extremists and both sides are equally responsible for this seemingly endless conflict. But what Ahmed’s story actually proves is the very opposite. It illustrates the profound difference between our two societies, because while Israeli leaders condemn terrorists, all terrorists, Arabs and Jews alike, Palestinian leaders celebrate terrorists….
Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians in overnight raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least 18 Palestinians during overnight and predawn raids between Saturday and Sunday in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported that six Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron were detained. They were identified as Anas Amjad Jawabra, 21, Laith Muhammad Banat, 16, Saif Rushdi Jawabra, 17 — all three of whom locals said were detained in the al-‘Arrub refugee camp — Muhammad Nidal Abu Ghazi, Murad Yousif Abu Ghazi, and Mutaz Adel Atiya Abu Zneid, 23. Locals told Ma‘an that Abu Zneid was detained at the Kharasah junction in southern Hebron. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that five Palestinians had been detained in al-‘Arrub, adding that she did not have information regarding any other detentions. Meanwhile, local sources said two residents of the Hebron-area village of al-Shuyukh, identified as Rizq Ahmad Ibrahim Halayqah and Nasser Ahmad Ismail Halayqah, were detained near the Israeli separation wall in the Bethlehem district. In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces detained Bassil Najih Assi, 20, and Anas Abd al-Mineim Assi, 19, according to PPS. PPS reported that Abada Najib and three other unidentified Palestinians were detained from Jerusalem, without specifying if they were in the city of East Jerusalem or in the West Bank district of Jerusalem. The organization also reported that Hisham Awad Salah, 32, was detained in the district of Jenin, while Muhammad Salah Abu al-Rub was detained in the district of Tulkarem. PPS added that 37 Palestinians were detained on Friday and Saturday.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian from Bani Naim grocery store
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man from a grocery store in the southern occupied West Bank village of Bani Naim east of Hebron Sunday afternoon, locals sources said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the grocery store and after checking Mahmoud Muhammad al-Khaddour’s identity card, they handcuffed him, detained him, and took him to an unknown location. Israeli forces meanwhile detained six Palestinians in the Hebron district in military raids before dawn on Sunday. Earlier this month, Israeli forces shot and killed Bani Naim resident Fares Moussa Muhammad Khaddour and critically wounded his fiancée Raghad Abdullah Khaddour, after the two attempted to carry out a car ramming attack near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba just outside of Hebron’s Old City. While it could not be confirmed if Mahmoud Muhammad al-Khadour was directly related to the two, Israeli forces have carried out a policy of collective punishment against extended family members of alleged attackers since a wave of unrest spread across the occupied Palestinian territory nearly a year ago, while also targeting and imposing punitive measures against residents of entire villages or districts that alleged assailants have originated from — in the form of detentions, withholding the bodies of slain Palestinians, road closures, and revoking travel permits … On the same day Fares Khaddour was killed, Muhammad al-Rajabi, 15, was shot dead after he allegedly stabbed and lightly injured an Israeli soldier in Hebron’s Old City. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the extended Rajabi family in its entirety — about 17,000 people — was banned from entering Israel in the wake of the incident.
Opinion: Israelis can’t recognize terrorism staring back at them from the mirror / Amira Hass
Haaretz 26 Sept — While experts are again explaining why the ‘calm’ has ended, what really needs explanation is the Palestinian restraint in light of Israel’s violence — The rampage of stabbing attacks is back? The terror wave is in full swing again? You’re wrong, ladies and gentlemen. The wave is an ocean, terror has never ceased and its impudence is only increasing. It’s not called by its right name – it’s labeled “security,” and its perpetrators are walking around freely, obeying the command to intimidate four million human beings. Do you need this translated? Our imposed military rule, now in place for decades, is terror as far as the Palestinians are concerned. I, too, believe it is terror because people are intimidated to the point where their lives are taken and their health, wellbeing and property are damaged, for the benefit of our masters’ rights, for the sake of achieving political, economic and territorial gains such as Sussia or Kfar Adumim, the irrigation of lucrative seasoning herbs in the Jordan Valley or exporting arms. Terrorizing is the meaning of the tens of thousands of armed men scattered across Judea and Samaria, as well as in united Jerusalem. They are frightening because they were sent there in order to preserve an evil order of dispossession. A person armed with a rifle looks into a mirror and is frightened by an image of someone pointing a gun at him. This is not an optical illusion but a cognitive one. It appears that we cannot see ourselves as the cause, as the aggressors and, yes, as terrorists in the eyes of those who since birth have lived under military decrees, with our guns, tanks, planes, helicopters and drones hurling deadly fire at them.
We cannot see it ourselves? Correction. We refuse to see ourselves as the cause … The headline “concerns over outbreak of [security] incidents” is displayed at the head of the Haaretz website’s home page. It isn’t there in order to collect reports about the incapacitating of dozens of young Palestinians by shooting IDF Ruger bullets at their knees. There is no similar headline for the rampage of travel denials from the Gaza Strip, or for yet another wave of soldiers killing Palestinians who posed no danger to their lives: in al-Fawar (Mohammed Hashash), Silwad (Iyad Hamed), Shoafat (Mustafa Nimer). You will not find there a summarizing headline for the daily bacchanalia of military raids (at least 116 between September 9 and 21).…
Restrictions on movement
Report: Recent rise in deportations result of Israeli strategy to stifle solidarity with Palestinians
Mondoweiss 22 Sept by Pam Bailey — An analysis of UN data show that a recent surge in reports of deportations of individuals attempting to transit through Israel to work with Palestinians is apparently the result of an official strategy implemented by the Israeli government beginning in January of this year, announced the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor today. Reports submitted to the Access Coordination Unit (ACU) of the United Nations Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator show that in 2015, only 1 percent of the 384 “incidents” encountered by UN and international NGO employees and consultants resulted in deportations. Rather, the vast majority of the problems (76 percent) were delays. The same pattern was observed in the previous three years. However, to date in 2016, 9-10 percent of all 232 incidents ended in deportation. I am Euro-Med’s international secretary, and I have joined those numbers. I traveled to Israel in August with a permit to enter Gaza obtained by a Swedish NGO for which she had planned to implement a women’s project. Yet I was refused entry to the country, was fingerprinted and photographed, held in a detention center for 12 hours and deported home. Just five days before me, another American — a trainer in ‘respectful confrontation’ working for the NGO — also was deported despite having a permit to enter Gaza. While the circumstances of our deportations differed in specific details, we all have several characteristics in common. We were professionals entering Israel to work on internationally supported projects in Palestinian territory, who were seemingly arbitrarily ordered home and treated as criminals in the process. Despite notification and a request for help, the U.S. embassy refused assistance. One must assume, given the statistical trends, that a deliberate policy is at work, with American complicity. The numbers collected by the UN ACU do not include activists and independent workers who try to enter the Palestinian territories through Israeli-controlled crossings, for whom anecdotal reports of deportations have trickled in steadily over the past several years but have soared recently….
Prisoners / Court actions
Samidoun demands accountability for Israeli medical neglect in the death of Palestinian prisoner Yasser Hamdouna
25 Sept — Palestinian prisoner Yasser Diab Hamdouna, 41, died on Sunday morning, 25 September, in Israeli Ramon prison, apparently as a result of a stroke; he had reported medical problems for years and had gone on hunger strike against isolation in Nafha prison, reported fellow prisoners. In 2003, he has been beaten by prison guards and suffered significant injuries to his head and left ear; he was in the Ramle prison clinic on multiple occasions. Asra Voice reported that several months ago, he finally received a heart catheterization procedure and has remained in a delicate health situation. Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemns the ongoing medical neglect and mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners by the Israeli occupation prisons and demands the immediate release of the sick prisoners in Israeli jails. Hamdouna, imprisoned since 19 June 2003 on charges of involvement in the armed resistance to Israeli occupation and involvement in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fateh, was from Ya‘bad in Jenin area. He was serving a life sentence in Israeli jails and was transferred to Soroka hospital after his death. Palestinian prisoners from all political factions announced a three day hunger strike in mourning for Hamdouna; the prisoners will also boycott recreation, visits and legal meetings during those three days. 208 Palestinian prisoners have died in Israeli jails since 1967 and eight more shortly after their release; 55 of these deaths are directly attributable to Israeli medical neglect or mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners….
Hamas reacts with outrage to death of Palestinian in Israeli custody
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — The Hamas movement reacted with outrage after 41-year-old Palestinian detainee Yasser Thiyab Hamduna died in Israeli custody Sunday morning, calling on Palestinians to “retaliate” and on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its medical neglect of incarcerated Palestinians. Hamas spokesman Abd al-Rahman Shadid in a statement called on the Palestinian resistance to “retaliate,” saying Hamduna’s death “showcased the Israeli occupation’s cruel brutality” and also affirmed that no Palestinian prisoner being held in Israeli prisons or jails was safe. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri meanwhile urged the international community to “quit dealing in double standards and hold the (Israeli) occupation responsible for the violations and neglect of Palestinian prisoners who suffer in Israeli jails.” Hamas’ condemnation came as the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs reported that the Israeli central court in the Negev ordered that an autopsy would be carried out at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, in the presence of Palestinian doctors. After committee lawyer Yousif Nasasra requested that Hamduna’s body be returned, the court ordered that it would be returned once the autopsy was carried out.
Cancer-stricken detainee held in solitary confinement for fourth consecutive year
IMEMC 24 Sept — Shireen Iraqi, a lawyer with the Palestinian Detainees Committee, has reported that detainee Mousa Sofan, who is serving a 33-year imprisonment sentence by Israel, has been in solitary confinement for the fourth consecutive year despite his bad health condition. Iraqi stated that Mousa Sofan, 41, from the Northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, has already served 15 years of his 33-year sentence, and has been held in solidarity for four consecutive years. She added that the detainee is currently held in solitary in Majeddo Israeli prison, and that on June 28, 2016, an Israeli court in Nazareth ruled to keep him in solitary confinement for four additional years for what the court said “posing a threat to the security of Israel.” The court claimed that the file against the detainee is confidential; therefore, even his lawyer cannot see it. Iraqi added that Sofan has cancer, and underwent surgery on December 24 2015, when the doctors removed a tumor, but he was not given any medications or underwent follow-up. “Sofan has been held in solitary confinement since June 12, 2012; this led to various physical and psychological complications,” she said, “He went on hunger strikes several times, demanding to be removed from solitary confinement, but to no avail.”….
Balboul could regain eyesight after treatment and nutrition
IMEMC 26 Sept by Saed Bannoura — On Sunday, Arab members of Israeli Knesset (MK) Dr. Ahmad Tibi and Osama Sa’adi, along with optometrist Dr. Salam Erekat, visited detainee Mohammad Balboul at the Wolfson Israel medical center, and said that Balboul’s blindness could be temporary, but he needs good nutrition and professional medical treatment. Mohammad Balboul lost his eyesight two weeks ago, after an extended hunger strike, along with his brother Mahmoud and Malek al-Qadi who was released Saturday and was instantly moved to the Istishari Hospital, in Ramallah. After examining Mahmoud Balboul, Dr. Erekat, of Saint John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, said Mohammad’s optic nerves, and retinas, seem to be in good condition. She added that the deficiency in vitamins and nutrition during the strike are the main causes for his temporary blindness. “We hope he will regain his eyesight soon, after he receives his much needed nutrition and medical treatment,” Dr. Erekat stated.
On Palestinian Journalists Day, 24 reporters imprisoned by Israel hold hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 26 Sept — Palestinian journalists imprisoned by Israel went on a one-day hunger strike on Monday to mark the Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Journalists, as 24 of them remained behind bars. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that 24 Palestinian journalists were currently held in Israeli prisons. The longest serving Palestinian journalist, according to PPS, is Mahmoud Issa Moussa who has been serving a life sentence since 1993. Meanwhile, Ahmad Hasan al-Saifi is serving a 17-year-sentence of which he has completed seven years, PPS said, adding that six other journalists — identified as Salah al-Din Awwad, Muhammad Nimr Asida, Walid Ali, Qutayba Qassem, Sami al-Saie, and Hazim Nasser — were serving sentences between eight months and seven years. Seven Palestinian journalists are held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges, PPS added, identifying them as Nidal Abu Akar, Osama Shahin, Hasan al-Safadi, Muhammad Hasan Qaddumi, Omar Nazzal, Ali al-Uweiwi, and Adib al-Atrash. Nine Palestinian journalists were still being tried in Israeli courts, identified as Bassam al-Sayih, Samir Abu Eisha, Musab Zayoud, Ahmad al-Darawish, Muhammad al-Sus, Nidal Amr, Hamid Nammura, al-Muntasir Billah Nassar, and Humam al-Atiely. The Israeli crackdown on media organizations and journalists in particular has been denounced by Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer as a systematic policy that often designates outlets affiliated with Palestinian political parties as terrorist organizations.“The practical implication of these broadly-defined offenses is the criminalization of many aspects of Palestinian civic life,” Addameer stated.
Israeli court sentences Palestinian to 9 years in prison for stabbing, injuring 2 Israelis
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — An Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian youth to nine years in prison on Thursday after convicting him of carrying a stabbing attack against two Israeli teenagers in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem in 2015. John William Qaqish, a 21-year-old Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem’s Old City, was convicted of stabbing and injuring two 17-year-old Israelis in May 2015 as they were heading to the Western Wall in the Old City late at night. A lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Mufid al-Hajj, told Ma‘an that an Israeli judge sentenced Qaqish to nine years in prison, with an additional three-year suspended sentence, as well as payment of thousands of shekels in compensation to the victims. Al-Hajj said that the Israeli prosecution had requested that Qaqish be sentenced to 20 years in prison by claiming that his attack was religiously and ideologically motivated, adding that Qaqish had reportedly told Israeli security forces during his interrogation that he had been “very affected” by the assault on a Palestinian woman by Israeli police near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and that he was an active member of the Fatah movement….
12 years urged for Palestinian minor over stabbing
AFP 25 Sept — An Israeli prosecutor called Sunday for a 12-year jail term to be handed down to a Palestinian minor for stabbing an Israeli child in October 2015, his lawyer said. Ahmed Manasra, a 14-year-old Palestinian, was convicted in May this year of the attempted murder of two Israelis in a knife attack last October. He was 13 when he carried out the attack with his 15-year-old cousin Hassan Manasra. The two stabbed and seriously wounded a 20-year-old and a 12-year-old boy in the Jewish settlement neighbourhood of Pisgat Zeev in annexed east Jerusalem. Hassan Manasra was shot dead by security forces, while Ahmed Manasra was hit by a car as they fled. Manasra’s lawyer Lea Tzemel told journalists after a hearing behind closed doors that her client had apologised “to the child he stabbed, who was present in court.” After his conviction in May, she said Manasra “said he just wanted to scare Jews so they’d stop killing Palestinians.” “The prosecution is demanding a 12-year prison sentence,” she said on Sunday. “We have requested a procedure of reintegration, given that he is a minor and minors have more rights when it comes to reintegration into society,” Tzemel added. Manasra, an east Jerusalem resident, was the youngest Palestinian to be convicted by an Israeli civilian court in the current round of violence. Early last month, Israeli lawmakers approved jailing children as young as 12 convicted of “terrorist offences” following repeated attacks by young Palestinians … The court is to sentence Manasra on November 7.
Trial of former IDF soldiers for killing of Palestinian teen goes on as AG rejects deal
JPost 25 Sept by Yonah Jeremy Bob — The Attorney-General’s Office has rejected a deal to freeze the trial against two former IDF soldiers accused of killing unarmed 16-year-old Palestinian Samir Awad in January 2013 to save the state from public hearings over embarrassing information and over its classified rules of engagement … Showing the international dimensions of the case with outsiders like the International Criminal Court keeping tabs, the rejection letter came from Deputy Attorney-General for International Affairs Roy Schondorf. Although the defense lawyers for the two soldiers are discussing a plea deal, all signs are that the trial will go forward in November. Thursday’s hearing, following an April hearing and a December 2015 indictment marked a rare occurrence of IDF soldiers being indicted for killing a Palestinian in what their defense lawyers deemed operational circumstances. The case has monumental import as the Awad family’s camp say the indictment should have been at least for the more serious charge of manslaughter and claim the IDF and the state wants to sweep the case under the rug, while the defense lawyers argued the two soldiers are being arbitrarily singled out when no other IDF soldiers have been indicted for firing and killing Palestinians in similar operational circumstances in 40 years….
Watching your son’s killers walk free
+972 mag 24 Sept by Haggai Matar — This is the story of a Palestinian father whose son was shot in the back by two Israeli soldiers. In the bizarre reality of occupation, he is the one who must ask permission from the wardens while his son’s killers walk free — What took place at the Ramle Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning was beyond bizarre. Every encounter between a grieving family and those who killed their child is, without a doubt, terrible — but they usually look different than what I witnessed. Most of these meetings take place in district courts. Usually the ones who killed the child are brought to court house from prison, led by guards, while the family walks free. Not today. Not in this story. In this story Ahmed Awad, whose 16-year-old son Samir was shot in the back and killed by two soldiers after he was already wounded, was the one who had to wake up early in the village of Budrus, obtain a special entry permit ahead of time to leave the West Bank and show up in a court where the prosecutor is not the same prosecutor from the previous hearing (perhaps the case is not important enough). The prosecutor did not utter a word to Awad. No condolences, no update — nothing. At the end of the five-minute hearing Awad was resigned to request — with the help of an Israeli friend, since the court does not provide a translator for the victim of the crime — that the court allow him to be present at the next hearing. Then he had to go to the court clerk in have the judge’s decision written out as a court order, which he will need in order to obtain an entry permit at an Israeli army base in the settlement of Beit El. That hearing certainly won’t have a translator either, the prosecutor won’t say a word to him, because what difference does it make that Ahmed’s son, Samir, died after being shot in the back by the soldiers he is prosecuting? Then there were the two now-discharged soldiers who aren’t sitting in prison, nor do they need special jump through bureaucratic hurdles and obtain special permits just to make it to the courthouse. They are not even accused of manslaughter, only reckless and negligent use of a firearm….
WATCH: ‘They want to get rid of the idea of nonviolent resistance’
+972 blog 25 Sept Video by A. Daniel Roth, Aaron Rotenberg — The Israeli army really wants to see Palestinian nonviolent activist Issa Amro in prison. We ask Issa why he’s facing 18 charges now, and what ‘winning’ would mean for him — Nonviolent Palestinian organizer Issa Amro has been practicing and teaching nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience in the occupied city of Hebron since 2003, in part through the local activist group he helped establish and operates, Youth Against Settlements. Recently, the Israeli army announced that it plans to prosecute him for 18 separate charges going all the way back to 2010. Almost all of the charges are related to his political activity and nonviolent action. Under Israeli military law, there is no legal avenue for Palestinians to protest or demonstrate politically. Amro’s activism, much of which is the basis for his current charges, has been reported by +972 here, here, here and here. +972 sat down to speak with Amro earlier this month. In the three-part video interview below, Amro talks about the charges against him and why he thinks Israel wants to suppress his and others’ nonviolent resistance to the occupation, particularly in Hebron. “Winning,”he explains, would be if the entire Palestinian people adopted nonviolence and civil disobedience as their method of ending the occupation. Amro also discusses the Cinema Hebron project he is working on with Jewish partners from activist groups All That’s Left and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence….
Israeli military indicts Palestinians for online incitement
JERUSALEM (AP) 25 Sept — The Israeli military says it has indicted more than 145 Palestinians so far this year for incitement over social media. Sunday’s announcement comes amid an Israeli campaign to stamp out the online incitement it says has fueled a yearlong campaign of Palestinian attacks. The Palestinians say the violence is a result of nearly 50 years of Israeli military occupation. Earlier this month, a pair of Israeli ministers met with Facebook executives to discuss ways of limiting calls to violence on the platform. Israel says Facebook should do more to monitor and control content, raising a host of issues over whether the company is responsible for material posted by its users. Israeli lawmakers have proposed legislation that seeks to force social networks to remove content Israel considers to be incitement.
Gaza: Army opens fire on fishermen, farmers
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept — Israeli military forces, on Saturday, opened fire at Palestinian farmers and shepherds along the borderline area to the east of Gaza, as well as at Palestinian fishing boats as they were sailing in Gaza waters, said WAFA sources. Israeli forces stationed at military watchtowers along the borders with Israel opened heavy machine gunfire at farmers and shepherds while they were tending to their borderline agricultural land to the east of Gaza city, forcing them to leave the area. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, Israeli naval boats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats despite their sailing within the designated fishing zone, off the shore of Rafah city and al-Sudaniyeh area, causing damages to at least one boat. No one was reported injured.
Israeli and Egyptian navies open fire at Gaza fishermen
GAZA (PIC) 24 Sept — Israeli and Egyptian gunboats on Saturday opened machinegun fire at Palestinian fishermen off the northern and southern shores of the Gaza Strip. According to Quds Press, the Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City. Simultaneously, a similar gunfire attack was carried out by Egyptian naval troops off the coast of Rafah, north of Gaza. The Egyptian navy had opened fire several times before at Palestinian fishermen, with no reason. Luckily, none of the fishermen was hurt in the shooting attacks.
Army opens fire on Palestinians’ lands and homes in Gaza; navy fires on fishing boats
IMEMC 26 Sept — Israeli soldiers stationed across the border fence with Gaza opened fire into Palestinian lands and a number of homes in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Navy ships also fired on fishing boats near the Gaza shore. Media sources said the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, east of the Gaza Strip, fired several live rounds into the lands, and homes, in Khan Younis. The sources added that the targeted lands and homes are in the Sinati area, near Abasan al-Kabeera town, east of Khan Younis, and the al-Qarara area, northeast of Khan Younis. In addition, Israeli navy ships opened fire on a number of Palestinian fishing boats, close to the Gaza Shore, forcing the fishers back to shore.
Egypt holds 7 Gaza pilgrims for terrorism: source
CAIRO (Anadolu) 24 Sept by Hussein Mahmoud — Egyptian authorities have detained seven Palestinian pilgrims upon their return from Saudi Arabia, according to a local security source. The seven pilgrims were detained at Cairo airport and questioned on alleged links to terrorism in North Sinai, the source told Anadolu Agency, requesting anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media. A source with the Palestinian embassy in Cairo confirmed that the seven pilgrims from the Gaza Strip were held by Egyptian authorities upon return from the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. The source, however, denied that the seven were charged with terrorism. “The issue is now with the Egyptian authorities,” he said. Egyptian authorities have not yet released any official statement on the reported arrests….
Israeli official: Gaza underground wall to be done in months
BEERSHEBA, Israel (AP) 23 Sept — A senior Israeli military official on Sunday said a massive underground barrier being built along the Gaza border to defend against Hamas tunnels should be finished in a matter of months, dealing what he said would be a serious blow to the Islamic militant group. The Southern Command official said the structure was at the forefront of a new effort meant to rob Hamas of one of its most potent weapons. During a 2014 war, Hamas militants on several occasions made their way into Israel through a tunnel network, though they did not manage to reach civilian areas. Israel destroyed 32 tunnels during that conflict, and since then has made neutralizing the tunnel threat a top priority … In recent weeks, Israel is believed to have begun work on a 60-kilometer (40 mile) underground barrier expected to stretch dozens of meters (yards) deep. Work crews have been spotted digging trenches and installing infrastructure in the ground. In a briefing with reporters Sunday, the Israeli official showed video footage of heavy machinery raking the sandy border area, a series of holes drilled deep into the ground, a stretch of land the army has flooded, and some controlled explosions. The army also showed a photo of simulated tunnels where soldiers train for subterranean combat. He declined to discuss specific features of the barrier being built, calling it a key strategic project. But he said the new wall will defend Israel’s border with Gaza both above and below the ground. The army’s goal, he said, is to turn the underground battlefield into a “death trap” for Hamas. “It will take time to build it. It’s a big project. But it is a main goal,” he said….
Hamas leader: I won’t run in next elections
Ynet 25 Sept by Elior Levi — Chief of Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Mashal announced Saturday night that he does not intend to run again for the organization’s leadership. The announcement confirms the rumors which were circulating in the past by Hamas spokespersons. “Just like Ishmail Haniyeh (Deputy Hamas leader) is a former prime minister, next year Khaled Mashal will be the former Chief of Hamas Political Bureau,” said Mashal during a speech in Qatar on Saturday night. Local elections are expected to be held next year. A few months ago, Mashal’s close officials told Arab media of his intentions despite the leader himself remaining quiet until Saturday night. The leading candidate expected to succeed Mashal is Haniyeh who will likely have to contend for the leadership with senior official Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, who briefly headed the political bureau in the 90s.
Hamas leader concedes ‘mistakes were made’ after 2006 rise to power in Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — In a speech delivered Saturday night in Qatar, Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal admitted that Hamas “made mistakes” after winning elections in 2006 that led to the party’s rule over the Gaza Strip, and also hinted that he would not run for reelection in Hamas’ internal elections expected to be held next year. “The experience has proved that winning a majority in the ballots is important, but not important enough to abandon maintaining partnerships in national unity or undertake the decision-making process alone,” Mashaal said, in a rare open acknowledgement of how Hamas handled tensions that arose with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) since Hamas’ rise to power in the Gaza Strip a decade ago. Mashaal delivered his speech at a symposium organized by the Al Jazeera Center for Studies, a think tank affiliated to the Al Jazeera Media Network. “It has also been proven that if you receive a negative response from a partner after you offer partnership, you shouldn’t just give up on them,” he added, referring to the years of failed reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah since 2006. “When we won elections, we offered partnership to other Palestinian forces, but it later became clear they aimed to place us on the margins to justify targeting us at international and regional levels.” “I say it very honestly, as chief of the movement, that we found it easy to rule alone. However, I put ‘rule’ between quotation marks because there isn’t real governance in Palestine, but rather a political experiment.”….
Why I’ll be on the Gaza flotilla this Jewish New Year
+972mag 25 Sept by Orly Noy — In the days before Rosh Hashana, days of introspection and forgiveness, I am reminded that by virtue of my identity as an Israeli citizen I am responsible for the disaster and tragedy befalling the people of Gaza. Introspection begins with opening one’s eyes and recognizing one’s sins, and only then trying to repair them. There is no more Jewish act than that — If everything goes according to plan, on Monday, September 26 an all-woman flotilla will set sail for Gaza. If everything goes according to plan, I will be on that flotilla. Naturally, the decision to join the flotilla was preceded by various considerations. But above all towers the image of one girl, Muna, whom I saw three years ago in a film by Gaza-based director Fida Qishta, which tells the story of Gaza after Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. Qishta’s film documents the destruction of her city during the war. She is no CNN reporter and has no interest in hiding the horrors of that war: the bombings, the white phosphorous, children’s bodies, more bombings, the cruel and arbitrary attacks on fisherman, gunfire at farmers who cannot work their land because it is too close to the no-go zone, a father who harrowingly calls out for his son among the wreckage, and a 10-year-old girl, Muna, who accompanies Qishta throughout almost the entire movie, pointing out the location where the people she knew were killed … Muna lost 21 members of her family, including both her parents and several brothers. She remembers every torn limb that she saw that night, along with her dying parents and her brother uselessly begging the soldiers to let them leave….
A bicycle adventure across Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 25 Sept by Entsar Abu Jahal — At dawn on Aug. 31, five young men from the town of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis — which Israel destroyed during the 2014 Gaza war — started an adventure that is the first of its kind. They hope to attract the world’s attention to their demand of breaking the blockade so they can travel abroad to complete their studies outside the Gaza Strip. The young men roamed Gaza’s neighborhoods from north to south on their bicycles. The trip lasted a week, during which time they slept on the roads and the seashore. They call themselves “The Five Adventurers.” The Five Adventurers — Islam al-Najjar, Alaa and Adham Kodeih, Abel Raouf Abu Ruk and Abdullah Abu Mutlaq — graduated with honors from the same class in high school, from the scientific branch, in 2016. They agreed to complete their university studies together abroad, as they like adventure and wish to visit new places, and because the study fields they are interested in are not available in Gaza universities. Najjar, 18, the team’s spokesman, told Al-Monitor, “After graduating from high school, we applied for scholarships to complete our studies abroad. But unfortunately we could not leave because of the blockade and the crossings’ closure.” He said that they resorted to an initiative that would draw the attention of the concerned authorities, such as the Ministry of Education and the government, to their demands by going on a bicycle adventure that defied all odds, especially since they are from Khuza‘a, which was destroyed by Israeli heavy shelling during the recent war on the Gaza Strip. Najjar added that his home was partially demolished and that the home of another team member was completely destroyed and he now lives in a wooden caravan. Najjar said that they set off at dawn on Aug. 31, hoping that their wish to leave Gaza would become a reality. Their first stop was the Gaza seaport … Najjar pointed out that during their trip, they visited archaeological and holy sites, such as the Great Omari Mosque in Gaza City’s old town and Qasr al-Basha in Gaza City to draw attention to the tourist attractions in Gaza. Although their trip ended Sept. 6 at the entrance of their town, they are still continuing with the initiative until they achieve their goals. Najjar said, “We started the ‘Why Not‘ hashtag as the motto of our against-all-odds adventure, and we used the hashtag to spread pictures of our adventure to deliver our message to the world.” … The five adventurers stressed that they were not backed by anyone and that they do not follow a political party. They represent all Gaza students who wish to complete their education abroad … Kodeih said, “We spoke with the Minister of Education and Higher Education Sabri Saidam. He promised to do his best to help us achieve our goals.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli soldiers invade Bedouin community near Jerusalem
IMEMC 26 Sept — Israeli soldiers and officials of the “Civil Administration Office” invaded, Sunday, the Abu Nowwar Bedouin community in the al-Ezariyya town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and took pictures of a room that was added to the local elementary school. Daoud Jahalin, the spokesperson of Abu Nowwar community, said the soldiers surrounded the local school, and photographed a recently added room, an issue that raises fears the army intends to demolish it, especially since most demolition orders are issued by the Civil Administration of the Israeli army, in the occupied West Bank. Jahalin added that dozens of soldiers also invaded Abu Nowwar community on Saturday, and conducted various provocative acts. It is worth mentioning that on February 21, 2016, the army invaded the Abu Nowwar community and confiscated seven mobile homes that were donated by the European Union to be used for schooling the children, and were placed on six dunams (1.48 Acres) of land to provide schooling to sixty male and female students. Abu Nowwar is one of many communities inhabited by Palestinians who are initially from the Negev, and were displaced by Israel in the 1950’s, and are currently facing further displacement and demolitions for the construction and expansions of Israel’s illegal colonies in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied Jerusalem.
Also Sunday, many military vehicles invaded the al-Ja‘abees area, in Jabal al-Mokabber south of Jerusalem. The army also surrounded Al-Quds University in Abu Dis town, southeast of Jerusalem, and clashed with many Palestinians, after the soldiers harassed and assaulted several students.
Israeli forces uproot trees in South Hebron Hills nature reserve
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Israeli forces reportedly uprooted a number of trees on Sunday morning in a nature reserve in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Palestinian sources told Ma‘an. Ratij Jabour, a coordinator for the National Resistance Committee against the Wall and Settlements, told Ma‘an that Israeli Nature and Parks Authority staff accompanied by Israeli armed forces entered the al-Daqiqa nature reserve in the Masafer Yatta area, removed barbed wire surrounding the park, and proceeded to uproot dozens of trees. A resident of the nearby village of Tuba told Ma‘an that some 30 to 35 saplings had been uprooted by Israeli forces in the reserve. A spokesperson for the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority told Ma‘an that while staff from the department might accompany Israeli forces during operations like these, their presence would in fact be on behalf of the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory. A COGAT spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case. The nature reserve was established by locals with the help of foreign organizations in 2008, and includes 5,000 trees and eight wells built for collecting rainwater. Jabour added that Israeli forces have threatened to evict the families in the area and demolish their homes, claiming that the area was in a military training zone for Israeli forces. The Masafer Yatta area, also known as the South Hebron Hills, lies almost entirely in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and security control since the 1993 Oslo Accords. Hundreds of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta live in an area declared a military zone by Israel in the 1970s, known as the “918 Firing Zone.”
Palestinian refugees – Syria
Syrian and Palestinian units liberate Handarat refugee camp from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Sept — nsnbc : Units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) supported by the Palestinian Liwa Al-Quds liberated the Palestinian Handarat refugee camp in Aleppo province from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusrah. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham conceded that the Syrian Arab Army and fighters from the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds had succeeded to seize the camp. The insurgents reported that the Syrian–Palestinian ground troops were supported by Syrian as well as Russian air cover. Bomb squads and engineers are currently in the process of clearing Handarat for booby traps, mines, improvised explosive devices and other hazards left behind by the insurgents or caused by the fighting; among others, unexploded ordnance. The liberation of the Handarat camp from Jabhat Fatah al-Sham and associated insurgents consolidates the Syrian government’s control over the Castello road and thus also consolidates the siege on insurgents trapped inside the city of Aleppo. The Castello road has previously been used as one of the main supply routes to areas under the control of insurgents in Aleppo province….
City of Munich cancels BDS event due to antisemitism
JPost 24 Sept by Benjamin Weinthal — Munich’s cultural affairs department pulled the plug on an anti- Israel lecture slated for Friday in a city-subsidized building, because the talk would have crossed the line into antisemitism. Stefan Hauf, a spokesman for the mayor, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the city’s cultural commissioner intervened to stop the lecture on “Antisemitism Today” organized by the Salam Shalom Working Circle Palestine-Israel association. Munich’s cultural commissioner, Hans- Georg Küppers, said in a letter to Eine-Welt- Haus – where the lecture was to be held – that it was probable that “during the event the line between criticism of Israel and antisemitism will be crossed,” the Merkur news outlet reported. Salam Shalom – a hardcore anti-Israel group – promotes the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign on its website targeting the Jewish state. ”Salam Shalom has no right to be in city rooms. Salam Shalom would be better located in the NPD headquarters,” Green Party city councilman Dominik Krause told the Merkur. The NPD is the main neo-Nazi party in Germany….
Over 70 American intellectuals call for ‘targeted boycott’ of Israeli settlements
Haaretz 25 Sept — Over 70 American intellectuals and academics have published an open letter calling for a “targeted boycott” of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank, as well as of goods and services from the settlements. The signatories of the letter, which was published in the New York Review of Books, included academics Bernard Avishai, Michael Walzer, Peter Brooks and Deborah Dash Moore, author and journalist Adam Hochschild and Haaretz columnist Peter Beinart. The writers of the letter wrote that, while they are opposed to an economic, political or cultural boycott of Israel proper, within the June 4, 1967 borders, they believe that the settlements and all their produce should be boycotted. The called on the United States government to “exclude settlements from trade benefits accorded to Israeli enterprises, and to strip all such Israeli entities in the West Bank from the tax exemptions that the Internal Revenue Service currently grants to American nonprofit tax-exempt organizations.” “It is our hope that targeted boycotts and changes in American policy, limited to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, will encourage all parties to negotiate a two-state solution to this long-standing conflict,” the letter stated.
FIFA condoning football on ‘stolen’ West Bank land: HRW
AFP 25 Sept — FIFA has been condoning football matches played on “stolen” land in the occupied West Bank, Human Rights Watch said Monday, calling for Israeli clubs based in settlements to be forced to relocate. Six clubs in the Israeli football league play in West Bank Jewish settlements, which are considered illegal under international law, the report said. By allowing games to be contested there, world football’s governing body FIFA is engaging in business activity that supports Israeli settlements, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report. It said this ran contrary to human rights commitments undertaken by FIFA. “By holding games on stolen land, FIFA is tarnishing the beautiful game of football,” Sari Bashi, Israel and Palestine country director at the New York-based HRW, said in the statement. “Some of these games are played on land owned by individual Palestinians not allowed to access the area, while others are held on land belonging to Palestinian villages that the Israeli military seized and designated for exclusive Israeli civilian use,” she told AFP. To comply with international law, she said, the clubs “need to move their games inside Israel”. Israel seized the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians have long opposed the participation in the Israeli championships of the settlement clubs, which play in Israel’s third, fourth and fifth divisions. FIFA is expected to discuss the issue at an October 13-14 meeting of its executive committee….
Two Palestinian teachers still in W. Bank jails, with no guilt
AL-KHALIL (PIC) 24 Sept — The Palestinian security authorities in the West Bank still refuse to release two detained teachers from Dura town in al-Khalil. According to the Palestinian Information Center (PIC), the security authorities in al-Khalil extended the detention of Ahmed al-Haroub, the principal of the Deir Samet High School, for another five days and teacher Yousef Abu Ras for four days. The Palestinian Authority security forces kidnapped the teachers recently. The families of Haroub and Abu Ras appealed to human rights groups to intervene to end the detention of their relatives, who had been taken prisoners for more than once, without any stated reasons.
Christian village in West Bank celebrates Oktoberfest
[with very short video] Jerusalem Online 25 Sept by Becca Noy — Oktoberfest is well-known as a festival celebrated mainly in Germany. However, it turns out that the festival is also celebrated in the West Bank. For the past 12 years, the Palestinian village of Taybeh near Ramallah has been celebrating Oktoberfest. Those who visit the various Oktoberfest celebrations are usually offered the chance to taste various types of beer. The Christian village of Taybeh, which is well-known for its brewery, started celebrating the festival over a decade ago. During the festival, the village promotes the beer it produces locally and other beers that are produced in the West Bank and Israel. The organizers of the festival, which began yesterday, are offering organized transportation to those who are interested in participating in the festival. Aside from the beer tastings, visitors can enjoy traditional dance lessons, live music performances and food. “It’s pretty hard to believe that there can be an Oktoberfest here,” said an Austrian tourist. “This is certainly one of the most interesting events I’ve ever attended.”
Arabic film on Bedouin women takes Israel’s top prize, en route to Oscars
JTA & Haaretx 24 Sept — For the first time, Israel has selected a film entirely in Arabic to represent the country at the Academy Awards. “Sand Storm” won six Ophir Awards — Israel’s equivalent of the Oscars given out by the Israeli Academy of Film and Television — on Thursday, including for best film. The winner of the best film award is entered as Israel’s submission for the foreign film award at the next year’s Oscars. A family drama set in the Bedouin community — a largely poor and often marginalized subset of the Israeli population — “Sand Storm” is the feature debut for Elite Zexer, a Jewish Israeli. At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, it won the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic section … “Sand Storm” will be released in the United States on Wednesday, starting at New York City’s Film Forum. Israeli films have been nominated for the best foreign film Oscar 10 times but have never won the award.
Israel’s culture wars take center stage at film awards after minister walks out to protest Palestinian poem
Haaretz 24 Sept by Nirit Anderman — Political and cultural tensions took center stage in Israel’s main film awards Thursday, after participants exchanged verbal blows with Israel’s Culture Minister Miri Regev in the latest chapter of the checkered relationship between the minister and Israeli cultural figures. Regev announced Friday that she would be convening a professional panel to examine the non-profit foundations and funds in the country that support Israel’s film industry. The announcement followed an uproar the night before in Ashdod at the Ophir Awards ceremony, the Israeli equivalent of the Oscars, where Regev walked out after a poem by Palestinian national poet Mahmoud Darwish was read. In the course of Thursday’s ceremony, Jewish performer Yossi Tzaberi and Tamer Nafar, the Arab star of the Israeli film “Junction 48,” appeared on stage in a presentation that included a short excerpt from Darwish’s poem “Write it down, I am an Arab,” also known as “ID card.” In response, Regev left the auditorium, returning several minutes later to take the stage to present the best film award … When Regev ultimately presented the award for best film to “Sand Storm,” about Arab Bedouin women in the south, two Arab actresses form the film, Ruba Blal-Asfour and Lamis Ammar, refused to take the stage. From the audience, Blal-Asfour yelled that she would not stand alongside Regev. In Darwish’s poem, written in 1964, when he was living in Israel, the exhortation “Write it down, I am an Arab” is addressed to an imagined Israeli bureaucrat dealing with Israel’s Arab population. It is also an exhortation from the poet to himself to write the experience of his community. The poem ends: “I do not hate people; And I do not steal from anyone; But if I starve, I will eat my oppressor’s flesh; Beware, beware of my starving; And my rage.”
Facebook apologizes for disabling Palestinian journalists’ accounts
EI 24 Sept by Ali Abunimah — Facebook says it made a mistake in disabling the accounts of journalists who administer the pages of two of the most widely read Palestinian publications on the Internet. “The pages were removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate,” a Facebook spokesperson has told The Electronic Intifada. “Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong. We’re very sorry about this mistake.” The Electronic Intifada understands that the accounts were suspended after they had been reported for violations of Facebook’s “community standards.” But once investigations were undertaken and no violations were found, they were restored. On Friday, administrators for the Facebook pages of Quds, which has more than five million “likes,” and Shehab News Agency, which has more than six million, found they could not access their accounts. Quds and Shehab News Agency have confirmed to The Electronic Intifada that the disabled accounts have now been restored. Both organizations had said publicly that they believed the suspension of the accounts was directly related to an agreement between Facebook and the Israeli government to collaborate in monitoring what Israel claims is “incitement” by Palestinians. The reported agreement has added to concerns over the potential power of censorship by Facebook, which has 1.6 billion users worldwide. “The joint Facebook-Israel censorship efforts, needless to say, will be directed at Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians who oppose Israeli occupation,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote earlier this month. Facebook has tried to downplay the significance of its meetings with high-level Israeli government officials….
Palestinian activists boycott Facebook for two hours
JPost 25 Sept by Adam Rasgon — Palestinian activists called on Facebook users to boycott Facebook and instead post tweets on Twitter under the hashtag #FBCensorsPalestine between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday to protest the closure of a number of Palestinian Facebook accounts. Facebook, in cooperation with the Israeli government, has disabled over the past several months a number of Palestinian accounts that it has said “promote violence,” including those of top Hamas officials, such as Ezzat al-Rishq and Salah Bardawail. Palestinian activists say Facebook intensified its campaign to close Palestinian accounts on Friday, disabling accounts of multiple editors of the al-Quds al-Ikbariyyah News Network and Shehab News Network pages in addition to those of many activists and journalists. Facebook executives, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan met September 11 in Israel and agreed to work together to combat incitement. Bassam Shweiki, a Palestinian activist from Hebron, who received notice on Sunday that his account has been disabled for three days, told The Jerusalem Post that Facebook is disabling “anything that smells Palestinian.” “Facebook says they are fighting against incitement, but most of the pages that have been blocked do not say anything against Israel in a harsh way,” stated Shweiki, who also leads the Hebron Defense Committee, a non-violent anti-Israeli military rule organization. “I use Facebook to peacefully, let me say that again, peacefully, demonstrate against the occupation and settlements. “I call on Facebook to respect our struggle.” Mahzoz Shlalda, an activist from Sair, told the Post that while some Palestinians make posts promoting violence, many Israelis do as well … But Facebook has only taken action against the Palestinian pages, while ignoring the Israeli pages,” remarked Shlalda….
New attack on free speech: Pro-Israel groups wage war on campus freedom
Salon 24 Sept by David Palumbo-Liu — Attacks on pro-Palestinian activists have grown increasingly vicious, but free-speech supporters are fighting back — College campuses traditionally have been the sites of social and political protest — the combination of youth, intellectual energy, free speech, and academic freedom is a powerful catalyst for vibrant and often heated debate. Given the strain this can sometimes place on the equilibrium of universities, it is not surprising to see limits placed on speech and action. What is unusual is for pressure to come from groups outside the university. That’s precisely what is happening today when it comes to the topic of Israel and Palestine, and the overreach of some pro-Israel organizations into campus free speech is such that even those who oppose an academic boycott of Israel have condemned their actions. A number of recent cases have come onto the scene just as the academic year has begun. Not only have these cases continued previous trends regarding the stifling of speech and the retaliation against those who are critical of Israeli state policies toward the Palestinians, they have raised such efforts to a new level. The Amcha Initiative, Canary Mission and other groups claim that they are fighting anti-Semitism on campus. But because they equate criticism of Israel with hatred of Jews as a people, any act or speech critical of Israel may be construed as anti-Semitic. These groups then exert political pressure on administrators to punish what they call anti-Semitism, and administrators will often bend to their will to avoid bad publicity, abrogating their responsibilities to protect free speech and academic freedom….