Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Witnesses: Israeli forces ransack home of slain Palestinian, threaten to detain 10-month-old girl
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Israeli troops stormed the town of Sa‘ir in the Hebron district of the southern occupied West Bank early Sunday morning, where they ransacked the home of a slain Palestinian and reportedly threatened to detain the deceased man’s 10-month-old daughter. According to witnesses, Israeli troops raided the home of the family of Fadi Faroukh, who was shot and killed on Nov. 1, 2015 in the eastern Hebron village of Beit Einun after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier. Fadi’s brother Saed told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers “destroyed the interior of the house” before they “threatened to detain Fadi’s 10-month-old daughter.” After ransacking the home and threatening the family, Saed said the soldiers hung a written warning on the front door, addressing the family as well as all residents of Sa‘ir. “In the wake of destructive attacks coming from your area against civilians, the Israeli defense forces and the Israeli security forces will operate with increased effort against terrorists and against anyone involved in such activity,” the warning read. An Israeli army spokesperson said she was looking into reports of the raid and threats made against the family, and against Fadi’s infant daughter in particular. The spokesperson told Ma‘an that raids were also conducted overnight in Ramallah area in the central occupied West Bank, where three Palestinians were detained — including one in the village of Khirbet Abu Falah and one “suspected Hamas operative” in the village of Biddu. The Israeli army’s reported threat to crack down on Sa‘ir seemed to come as the result of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s recently unveiled “carrot-stick” policy toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, whereby harsher punishment would be imposed upon families and villages from which “terrorists” originate, while economic benefits would be granted to areas that “have not produced terrorists.”….
Israeli forces kill young Palestinian man, injure another in Shu‘fat refugee camp
[developing story] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian man in Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem in the early hours of Monday morning following a raid in the camp, according to locals and Israeli police. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces “showered” a Palestinian car with gunfire, killing Mustafa Nimir and injuring another young man whose identity [Ali Nimir, according to IMEMC] and health condition remained unknown to witnesses. Israeli authorities claimed the driver, who they did not identify as either Nimir or the other person who was injured, attempted to run over Israeli police and border guard officers before they fired at the car.
Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said police and border guard officers had completed an “activity” in the camp after midnight, and as they were leaving the camp a car “approached them swiftly and seemingly attempted to run over officers.” According to al-Samri, before they fired, Israeli officers “started procedures to arrest the two suspects” who were in the car, but the Palestinian youth “ignored the orders and continued to drive swiftly towards the officers apparently with the intention to harm them.” She added that Israeli officers fired at the car, initially injuring Nimir critically before he was announced dead on the scene. The other young man reportedly sustained moderate wounds and was evacuated to hospital for treatment. Al-Samri reported no injuries among the Israeli officers.
Soldiers teargas Arab-American University in Jenin
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Sept — A number of university students and members of the faculty in the Arab-American University in Jenin, in the northern occupied West Bank, suffered from gas inhalation on Saturday, after Israeli forces fired tear gas inside the campus, said witnesses. Witnesses told WAFA correspondence that Israeli soldiers surrounded the campus before raiding it and firing tear gas canisters at the students and staff, causing several cases of suffocation. The Israeli army regularly carries out attacks with deliberate and reckless use of force against schools and other educational facilities across the West Bank in a serious violation of international law and students’ right to pursue education in a safe environment.
Injured with wounds and bruises . . . releasing the child Jamal Za‘tari
Silwanic 4 Sept — The occupation police unconditionally released on Saturday night 16-year old Jamal Za‘tari. Israeli forces had arrested Za‘tari on Friday night from the village of Al-Tur after assaulting him with pepper gas and severely beating him; they also verbally insulted him. Za‘tari said: “While I was in the village of Al-Tur, Special Forces personnel approached me and checked my ID and searched me. They verbally insulted me and when I objected, they surrounded me and started assaulting and hitting me on my head, face and back before spraying me with pepper gas.” He added: “I was transferred to Bet Aort settlement in Al-Sowaneh where I was hit on my face and legs where I previously had surgery. When I told the officer that I have medical issues, they stepped away from me and they took me to the street across from the settlement where I was strip-searched.” He continued: “The forces then took me to Salah Eddin Street police station and I was interrogated on charges of obstructing police work and assaulting a policeman. I declined all charges as the signs of assault were clear on my face.” He explained that he was then transferred to Al-Maskobyeh police center and was released on Saturday night unconditionally. Za’tari pointed out that he suffered cuts and wounds in his back and face in addition to multiple bruises.
Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinian teens for carrying knives near Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Israeli forces detained two Palestinian teenagers for allegedly carrying knives near the Ibrahimi mosque in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank on Sunday. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stationed near the Ibrahimi mosque detained the two teens after they stopped and searched them. The two were 14 and 16 years old, and reportedly from the village of Dura near Hebron, locals added. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they were aware of the arrests, but could not make any further comments as to the nature of the events, as it fell under Israeli border police jurisdiction. An Israeli border police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
The occupation forces arrest five Jerusalemites
Silwanic 4 Sept — The occupation forces arrested five Jerusalemites from the neighborhood of Shu‘fat, the Old City of Jerusalem and the village of Al-Tur. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that the forces arrested the minors Majd Saeed Abu Khdeir and Ala’ Abu Khdeir after raiding their homes in Shu‘fat north of Jerusalem. The Abu Khdeir family explained that the forces raided their homes on Sunday morning and arrested the two children; they have been under house arrest for several months. On the other hand, the head of Jerusalemites detainees and prisoners families committee, Amjad Abu Asab, explained that the Israeli forces arrested Amjad Abu Sneineh and Mahmoud Shawish from the neighborhood of Bab Hutta in the Old City of Jerusalem. Abu Asab added that the forces arrested Mohammad Rabay’a on Saturday night from the village of Al-Tur.
A mentally disabled Palestinian shot dead by Israeli troops for behaving strangely
Haaretz 2 Sept by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — ‘Let’s say Iyad was behaving strangely. Why kill him?’ his brother ponders. ‘When they grow up, Iyad’s children are liable to hate Israel, and with good reason. You killed their father.’ — The man who was shot to death last Friday by a soldier from the Kfir Brigade’s ultra-Orthodox Netzach Yehuda Battalion was 38 and the father of two small children, a son and a daughter, who were this week scurrying around the living room of their house, in a state of bewilderment, she in a purple skirt, he in shorts. Their father, Iyad Hamed, had a congenital mental disability: Introverted and taciturn, he was prone to stare at the ground as he walked. He enjoyed communing with nature and picking figs and almonds. Still, there was structure in his life: He had a wife and children, and worked in construction in a simple job. “He wasn’t the sharpest of people,” his brothers say. Footage from the security camera of the grocery store in Silwad, a village near Ramallah, shows his last minutes. Hamed, in a light-colored shirt, is seen buying snacks for his children and paying. A few moments later, he sets out for a mosque for the Friday prayers, never to return. Nothing in the footage hints at what is about to happen: A father buys treats for his children in the final hour of his life …
Last December, Border Police shot and killed another Silwad resident, Mahdia Hammad, a 40-year-old mother of four, claiming that she was trying to run them over. Now the army has killed Iyad Hamed without any apparent reason: He wasn’t armed and didn’t pose a threat to anyone. The Israel Defense Forces itself admits that. The killing took place at the edge of the village, not far from Highway 60, a former venue for demonstrations and stone throwing …We are standing next to a mound of stones where Hamed collapsed, bleeding, last Friday. He’d come this far, after dropping off the snacks for the kids at home, on his way to a mosque in the neighboring village of Yabrud, where he prayed on Fridays. He preferred it to the mosques in Silwad. On the way, he stopped at the Silwad gas station to say hello to his friend Rashad, who works there. The gas station’s security camera caught him again. He then went on his way to Yabrud, which is located on the other side of Highway 60. He could have used the passage beneath the road but opted for the shorter route, which passes next to a towering, armored IDF pillbox.It was about 11:40 A.M. On the other side of the road, Abdel Hamid Yusuf, a solidly built young man of 26, was driving his sewage tanker to the site where he empties it … Hamed was behaving oddly, recalls Yusuf, who knew him well and was aware of his condition. Hamed seemed to have lost his way and also his senses; he ran back and forth below the army tower. Yusuf says he saw no soldiers while Hamed was running about between it and the surrounding barbed-wire fences. Hamed looked frightened. He had wanted to cut across the highway to the mosque, but couldn’t find his way out. He was like a caged animal; the barbed-wire fences were impassable. “It’s dangerous there, get out!” Yusuf shouted to him from across the road. Hamed didn’t respond – maybe he didn’t hear Yusuf. It’s crucial to note that Hamed was not holding anything in his hands … Suddenly a few shots rang out. Hamed started to run frantically back toward the village. It’s not clear where the shots came from, but immediately afterward Yusuf saw a few soldiers emerge from the vegetation at the foot of the tower. Hamed kept running. More shots were fired at him, apparently by the soldiers, who had been in ambush. He was hit and fell to the ground. One bullet entered his back and exited through his chest, paramedic Yahya Mubarak, who took possession of the body, would report afterward.…
Over-policing? It’s Israel’s over-armying that should be halted
Haaretz 4 Sept by Amira Hass — During the last seven days of August, a typical week, the Israeli army conducted 107 raids, set up 129 flying checkpoints and killed two Palestinians in the West Bank — During that period, Israeli security forces arrested 114 Palestinians, mostly in raids but sometimes at fixed and flying checkpoints. Israeli soldiers and police used live fire 47 times during that period and/or fired rubber-coated bullets, stun grenades or tear gas. For example, on August 24 and 25 alone, raids were conducted in Tayasir, Hizmeh, Al-Amari, Silwad, Qabatiyah, Jayyus and Budrus (where troops also set up a post on the roof of a house they took over). But the list goes on: Beit Amin, Hableh, Zeita, Iraq Burin, Jama’in, Al-Zawiyeh, Bethlehem and the Al-Arroub refugee camp. (Full details appear on the website of the PLO’s negotiating department based on information from the Palestinian security services [see daily report for 4 Sept]) In Qabatiyah there was a nighttime raid on the home of Sari Abu Ghurab, a young man whom an IDF soldier had killed about 12 hours earlier. The Israeli version is that stones were thrown from a Palestinian car at Israeli troops from below the settlement of Yitzhar. The IDF forces (presumably in an armored jeep) chased the offending vehicle and collided with it in a scene out of an American movie. Rambo got out of the Palestinian car; the IDF Spokesman’s Office said he lightly stabbed a soldier, who immediately shot and killed him. A photo on Palestinian websites shows Abu Ghurab sprawled on the driver’s seat bleeding and without a shirt. If shot outside, how did he end up in the driver’s seat? He was released from prison a few months ago and was due to be married; he had even rented an apartment in Nablus, where his fiancée lives. But it was a “light” week with “only” two Palestinians killed …
Sick of reading all this? Then imagine dozens of soldiers who are either masked or their faces daubed with paint bursting into a home or neighborhood in the middle of the night, accompanied by dogs. They wake the residents up with stun grenades. In some places, family members are ordered to gather in a single room and soldiers point their rifles at them. Then they leave the house in disarray, clothing strewn around, mattresses left in piles, closet doors broken, rice spilled. It’s a routine thing with more than 100 raids a week, and every soldier is his mommy’s darling. Sick of imaging all this? So we’ll forgo the rest of the week and the long list of flying checkpoints set up without warning around the West Bank and the inconvenience that it caused drivers. We’ll forgo the humiliation, the fear caused by having a rifle aimed at you, the car searches, the delays in getting home, sometimes until almost midnight, or the late arrivals to work meetings in the middle of the day … Are you still with me or have you been overcome by boredom? “It’s natural,” you’ll say. If there are raids and arrests, it’s a sign the IDF and police are doing their job. It’s natural, the same way police chief Roni Alsheich said over-policing against Ethiopian Israelis is natural, but he immediately added that this was “problematic,” even before the big protests triggered by his remarks. But in our case, amid all this over-armying (to put it mildly), our crowd in the Colosseum cheers and shouts encouragement.
IDF training troops in non-lethal measures against attackers
Times of Israel 3 Sept — New program aims to help combat soldiers deployed in West Bank address the ‘changing nature of threats’ facing security forces — The Israel Defense Forces this week rolled out a new training program aimed at equipping soldiers deployed in the West Bank with non-lethal measures to combat Palestinian attackers and terrorists. “Not every attack carried out by a young girl with scissors needs to end in a fatal shooting,” combat instructor Lt. Col. Itamar Kolehli told Channel 2, recalling the off-duty police officer who fatally shot one of two Palestinian teenage girls attempting to carry out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem last year. Kolehli said the new training program was introduced in response to the months-long wave of Palestinian violence in which many young assailants have been killed by security forces while carrying out attacks. “What we are striving to do is connect the training with what is happening on the ground, to fit the changing nature of the threats facing the troops,” Kolehli said.A video showed the soldiers being trained in various Krav Maga techniques to neutralize attackers without using their weapons.…
Israel claims no wrongdoing in West Bank killing of US teen
PressTV 4 Sept — The Israeli regime has informed US authorities that they have found no criminal wrongdoing by soldiers in the shooting death of an American teenager of Palestinian descent, adding they will no longer pursue the case. The decision concerning the brutal killing of 16-year-old Florida boy Mahmoud Shaalan in February has upset human rights activists who challenge Israeli description of what happened and who have long accused the regime of failing to hold its military accountable for the use of excessive force, US-based Politico news outlet reported Saturday. Tel Aviv authorities had alleged that Shaalan was repeatedly shot and killed by soldiers at a checkpoint near Ramallah in occupied West Bank on February 26 after he tried to stab an Israeli officer. Contrary to past claims by the Israeli regime that Shaalan kept trying to stab soldiers even after being shot by Israeli forces who then repeatedly shot and killed him, Israeli media reports cited eyewitnesses as saying that the teenager was shot in the back after getting into an apparent verbal argument with Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint. According to the report, some US-based activists have quietly been pushing the Obama administration and Congress to do more to shed light on what happened. Raed Jarrar, an official with the American Friends Service Committee, pointed to the reports of eyewitness accounts in the case and was quoted in the report as saying, “According to US law, the Obama administration should immediately suspend military aid to the Israeli security unit responsible for this gross violation of human rights.” According to Politico, Jarrar is also working with an array of other rights groups to urge American lawmakers to bring pressure on the Obama administration to look more closely into the case.
Closures / Restriction of movement
Israeli forces close main entrance, side streets in Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Israeli forces on Sunday morning closed the main entrance to the village of Beita in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus and several other side streets in the area, while the Palestinian military liaison said they arranged to reopen other roads closed by the Israeli army elsewhere in the West Bank. Locals told Ma‘an that bulldozers under Israeli military protection closed the main entrance to Beita with huge concrete blocks and earth mounds, highlighting that the road leads to a farmers’ market that serves the village. They added that bulldozers also closed a number of side streets connecting Beita to the village of Huwwara just a few kilometers to the west. Later on Sunday, Israeli forces also closed with cement blocks the road that connects Huwwara to the neighboring village of Einabus to its immediate south. Witnesses said the Israeli soldiers told them the roads would remain closed “until further notice.” Locals said that Israeli soldiers told them the closures were made as a result of alleged stone throwing incidents targeting Israeli settler vehicles traveling on the main road near Beita crossroads. Meanwhile, the Palestinian military liaison on Sunday said they reopened a road in Sa‘ir in the northeastern side of the Hebron district, that was previously closed by Israeli forces by an iron gate some three months ago.
Soldiers invade Shoufa village near Tulkarem, completely isolate it
IMEMC 5 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, Shoufa [or Shufa] village, southeast of Tulkarem, in the northern part of the West Bank, and completely isolated it, after alleging that some Palestinians hurled stones at a car driven by a colonist Israeli settler, heading to a nearby colony. The soldiers initiated an extensive search campaign against the village, and prevented the Palestinians from entering or leaving it, targeted many homes, broke into and searched many homes, leading to excessive property damage, especially in the Ras al-Aqra’ area, in the western part of the village. The Israeli army said the settlers’ car sustained damage to the front shield, but reported no injuries. The car was driving to Avnei Hefetz illegal colony, built on Palestinian lands belonging to residents of Shoufa and Kafr al-Lobbad nearby town…. The Maan News Agency said the soldiers claimed that the attack took place near the western entrance of the village, and that the army threatened further severe measures and restrictions. The army also refused to allow the villagers who were out of the village to return back to their homes, after declaring Shoufa a “closed military zone.” Shoufa village is subject to frequent Israeli military invasions, and violations, especially since the army installed a roadblock at the main entrance of the village, nine months ago, and has been preventing any Palestinian who is not from the village from entering it.
Re-closing Wadi Hilweh Street . . . and releasing Siam and Al-Zeer
Silwanic 3 Sept –The occupation police released on Saturday early morning Jawad Siam, director of Wadi Hilweh Information Center, and Khaled Al-Zeer with a 1000-Nis bail for each after interrogating them for several hours regarding the removal of cement blocks in Wadi Hilweh and opening a street that was closed by the municipality to conduct infrastructure repairs. Siam and Al-Zeer explained that the occupation police requested them on Friday night for interrogation at Salah Eddin Street police station and confiscated their vehicles. The police accused them of opening Wadi Hilweh Street and moving the cement blocks placed in the street. They confirmed that the municipality promised to open the street on Fridays and Saturdays but it was kept closed which forced the locals to open it using their private vehicles. During interrogation with Siam and Al-Zeer, the occupation authorities re-closed the street and fired sound grenades towards the locals who gathered requesting the opening of Wadi Hilweh Street. Jawad Siam explained that the closed street is a vital and main street used by the locals of Silwan as well as the residents of neighboring villages from the south while they are heading into Jerusalem. Closing the street is more like isolating the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh from the village of Silwan not to mention its effect on the movement of people inside their neighborhood … Wadi Hilweh Committee warned from closing one of the neighborhood’s main streets and completely isolating the neighborhood from the village under the umbrella of “infrastructure repairs” especially that the work is being done near a land that was seized by Elad Settlement organization; digging recently started in the land….
Prisoners / Court actions
Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner rushed to intensive care unit
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Palestinian prisoner Mahmoud Balboul, who has been on hunger strike in Israeli custody since July 4, was rushed to the intensive care unit at Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Hospital on Sunday following serious health complications. A statement from the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs said Balboul was in a very “severe condition,” as he has lost more than 30 kilograms of his weight and has had difficulty speaking. The committee had said in a previous statement last month that Israeli doctors warned Balboul could be paralyzed if he continues to refuse to take vitamins. Sunday’s statement highlighted that Balboul has been consuming only water. Brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad Balboul began their hunger strikes on July 4 and 7 respectively. The brothers were detained on June 9 and sentenced to administrative detention — an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial, shortly before their younger sister Nuran, 16, was released after spending four months in Israeli jail. Muhammad was also rushed to intensive care on Thursday following a severe deterioration in his health.
Israeli court extends detention of veteran Palestinian prisoner held without charge
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — An Israeli military court at the Ofer detention center west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday decided to extend the administrative detention of 63-year-old Palestinian prisoner Omar Barghouthi, most recently held without trial or charge since November after more than two decades of periodic detentions by Israel. A statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) quoted one of its lawyers Ahmad Safiyya as saying that Sunday’s court order was the fourth time Barghouthi’s remand has been extended since he was detained on Nov. 19, 2015 … Barghouthi’s lawyers have tried all possible legal procedures to secure his release, according to PPS, including an appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court, but Israeli courts approved his administrative detention for four consecutive times. Israeli military prosecution claimed during all hearings that they have “classified information” which proves Barghouthi “is a threat to the security of the state of Israel.” Barghouthi is from the village of Kubar [or Kaubar] north of Ramallah. He has six children and ten grandchildren, and has spent about 26 years of his life in Israeli custody between prison sentences and administrative detentions. He is reportedly a senior leader in the Hamas movement….
Family needs help to know fate of father kidnapped in Nablus
NABLUS (PIC) 3 Sept — The family of a Jordanian prisoner hailing from Palestine appealed to human rights groups to intervene to know his fate after his recent detention at a makeshift checkpoint near Nablus city. Rayda Jalghoum, the wife of prisoner Ibrahim al-Omlah, said that her husband was arrested, with no reason, by Israeli soldiers at a makeshift checkpoint following a visit to his sister’s home in the West Bank on August 4, 2016. According to her, Omlah was with his kids when soldiers intercepted the taxi they were in, questioned him for about an hour on the road, and then rounded him up and took away his cellphones. At the time, he was detained in Huwara interrogation center and his children were taken back to their aunt’s house in Qabalan town after their travel permits were confiscated. Six days later, his children were able to travel back to Jordan. “We do not know anything about my husband, save that he may be in Holakdar prison. Neither the Red Cross nor the Prisoner Society were allowed to see him,” the wife said. Ibrahim Omlah is originally from the town of Qabalan in Nablus, but he is a citizen of Jordan and lives there.
Extremist Israeli settler indicted for minor charges after opening fire on Palestinian vehicle
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — A right-wing extremist Israeli settler who chased and opened fire on a Palestinian taxi last month has been arrested over minor charges with no accusations being made in the indictment of “nationalistic motives” for his actions. According to a statement from Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri, 18-year-old Moshe Yanon Orin from the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Givat Aroussi was detained on Aug. 28. An Israeli-issued gag order placed on the case was lifted on Sunday.
Israeli police and Israel’s general security service the Shin Bet arrested “the extremist right wing activist,” for being suspected of attempting to “harm the life of a human,” al-Samri said. Orin stands accused of firing shots from an air handgun [BB gun] at a Palestinian taxi on Aug. 24, smashing its rear windshield. No injuries were reported. The statement added that police officers who inspected the suspect’s home found air pistol that was allegedly used in the incident, air gun ammo, several propane tanks, an empty 5.56 ammunition clip, a slingshot, and a metal box with tire-piercing spikes.The suspect reportedly admitted during interrogation that he went to Route 60 near the illegal Yitzhar settlement crossroads south of Nablus and fired shots from an air handgun at a Palestinian taxi and fled the scene. The suspect was indicted on Sunday on suspicion that he “endangered the life of a human” and his remand was extended until another decision is made. Israeli news site Ynet said the indictment explained that Oren was driving an ATV as a Palestinian taxi cab was driving the opposite way. At a certain point, the cab diverged from its path, allegedly forcing Oren to turn away, onto the side of the road. The indictment claims that Oren then made a U-turn, chased the cab — in which five Palestinian were riding — pulled out his air gun, fired, and broke the rear window. “Prosecutors came to the conclusion that the motive for the incident could not be discerned to have been necessarily related to nationalistic sentiment, and so Oren was indicted merely for the crime of firing at a vehicle,” Ynet reported …
The minor charge came as many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians. Meanwhile, recent drive-by shootings carried out by Palestinians on Israeli targets have seen the suspects extrajudicially executed, their homes demolished, and their entire hometown blockaded by Israeli forces, where uninvolved residents had their work permits revoked….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli soldiers kidnap two siblings in Hebron, renew order keeping family home closed
IMEMC 3 Sept — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, the southern West Bank city of Hebron, kidnapped two siblings and renewed a military order closing their family home, in the southern area of the city. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that the soldiers kidnapped Emad Aref Jaber, and his brother Anas, and renewed a military order to keep the home closed. The Jaber family home was declared shut under direct military orders when the Israeli army invaded it, and ordered the family to stop construction work in the property, after Israeli colonists complained against them. The soldiers assaulted the two siblings, and fired many concussion grenades at many Palestinians who gathered in the area. The Israeli army informed the family that their property is located in a “closed military zone,” therefore they cannot build, or expand. The family is building a second floor, but the settlers, illegally living in the area, filed a complaint to the military. Last Friday, the army ordered the family to stop the construction work.
Distributing demolition notices in Silwan
Silwanic 3 Sept — The occupation municipality’s crews distributed on Saturday demolition notices to the locals of Silwan under the pretext of building their homes without permits; other received notices to follow up with the municipality. Wadi Hilweh Information Center was informed that municipality crews along with occupation forces raided on Saturday morning the neighborhoods of Silwan and took pictures of the streets before distributing demolition notices to several residential establishments in addition to notices to follow up with the municipality. The center was informed that the municipality crews handed Mousa Al-A’war a demolition notice for his house in Ein Al-Lozeh in Silwan; Al-A’war has been living in the house with his family for the past 19 years. The house is 150 square meters where 7 individuals live. Municipality crews also handed Issam Ata Abbasi a notice to follow up with the municipality regarding his son’s 65-square-meter house that is still under construction in the Middle Neighborhood in Silwan. The municipality crews also handed notices to several other families in Silwan.
Why is Jordan refusing entry to Gaza Palestinians?
Al-Monitor 4 Sept by Daoud Kuttab — Sharif Muhaisen is worried about losing his job. Muhaisen works for Sanad, a construction industries company in Ramallah owned by the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF). Muhaisen is responsible for importing cement from Jordan. “We import about 500,000 tons of cement from Jordan every year,” he told Al-Monitor by phone from his home in Ramallah. As part of his job, Muhaisen must travel to Jordan to meet with various cement companies, attend workshops and for other work-related reasons. Since summer 2015, however, Jordan has denied Muhaisen entry. “Although I was born in Gaza, I have lived all my life in the West Bank, but I still need a special entry permit from the Jordanian authorities,” he said. “Since last summer, [the Jordanian authorities] have consistently denied me an entry permit.” Muhaisen provided Al-Monitor with a screen shot of text messages informing him that his requests had been denied…
Wafa Abdel Rahman, another Gazan who lives in Ramallah, told Al-Monitor that in the second half of August alone, 850 Palestinians of Gazan origin had applied to enter Jordan or to travel via Jordan. The information was leaked to her by sources in the company that delivers the applications. “Only 20 out of the 850 were allowed entry,” she said. Abdel Rahman said that while the problem applies to all Gazans — whether they reside in Gaza or the West Bank — the one group that is suffering the most are the 50,000 or so Gazans who live in the West Bank and have, over the years, had their residency changed with the approval of the Palestinian and Israeli authorities. “Because those Gazans living in the West Bank are not allowed to travel to besieged Gaza, they can’t travel anywhere else, while those in Gaza have the opportunity to leave, albeit rarely these days, as Egypt is constantly closing the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt,” Abdel Rahman said.
The problem has become so acute that Human Rights Watch issued a statement May 16 calling on the Jordanians to ease the movement of Gazan Palestinians. The organization was unable to obtain a statement from Jordanian officials regarding the ban. Al-Monitor has also been unable to get information on the travel ban. Many Jordanian policies have been the subject of intense discussion, but it has been taboo to talk about the King Hussein Bridge policy due to its sensitivity because of the fear of mass deportation of Palestinians….
Rafah crossing opened for humanitarian cases for 2nd day
GAZA (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Four buses transporting Palestinians designated as “humanitarian cases” in addition to several ambulances carrying injured and sick people traveled from the blockaded Gaza Strip on Sunday into Egypt, as Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing for the second consecutive day. One of the buses had initially attempted to cross on Saturday but was turned back by Egyptian authorities, and successfully made the journey on Sunday, according to a statement from the border committee of Gaza’s Ministry of Interior. A total of 593 Palestinians crossed to the Egyptian side on Saturday, while 494 Palestinians reached the Gaza Strip from Egypt, and 49 Palestinians were denied passage by the Egyptian authorities for unknown reasons. The committee stressed that procedures at the border crossing were being processed very slowly by Egyptian authorities, as some 25,000 Palestinians registered by the ministry as humanitarian cases have been waiting to enter Egypt, while others remained stranded on the Egyptian side waiting to return to the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, it had been announced that the crossing would also open on Monday to allow 500 Palestinians to cross from the besieged coastal enclave in order to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. The Palestinians were selected to make the journey at the expense of the king of Saudi Arabia for having their family members killed or injured by Israeli forces. It remained unclear if humanitarian cases would be permitted to make the crossing on Monday….
Israeli forces open fire at Gaza fishermen several times between Saturday and Sunday
GAZA (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Israeli naval boats opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip several times between Saturday and Sunday, according to the head of the Gaza fishermen committee Zakariya Bakr. Bakr told Ma‘an Sunday afternoon that Israeli naval forces opened fire on fishermen sailing in areas from off the coast of the al-Soudaniya area near the Gaza Valley in the central Gaza Strip to the southern Gaza Strip several times since Saturday night. No live fire injuries among fishermen were reported, though Bakri said that minor injuries were sustained as a result of skunk water fired by Israeli forces at the fishermen.
Army fires several shells into farmlands in northern Gaza
IMEMC 4 Sept — Several Israeli tanks fired, on Sunday at dawn, a number of artillery shells into Palestinian farmlands in Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Media sources in Gaza said the shells caused damage, while many children in several nearby homes suffered anxiety attacks. They added that Israeli drones were also heavily flying over different parts of the Gaza Strip, especially close to border areas. The Israeli army said it “struck a Hamas site,” reportedly after military vehicles came under fire while patrolling the border area, in northern Gaza.
Ship carrying aid to Gaza leaves Turkish port
Al Jazeera 4 Sept by Umut Uras — A ship carrying aid to Gaza has departed from the Turkish city of Mersin and is on its way to the Israeli port of Ashdod, according to a senior Turkish official. “This is the second major shipment of humanitarian aid to Gaza since an agreement was reached with the government of Israel to normalise relations,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Al Jazeera on Saturday … “The vessel carries 100 wheelchairs, 1,000 bicycles, 100,000 backpacks and stationary kits, 300,000 pieces of clothing, 1,288 tonnes of flour, 170 tonnes of rice, 64 tonnes of sugar, 95 tonnes of vegetable oil and 350,000 diapers,” the official said. “We expect the items to be distributed to the people of Gaza before the upcoming Islamic [Eid al-Adha] holiday. In addition to regular aid materials, we added presents for Palestinian children such as bicycles.” The Eid holiday is expected to start on September 12. After the June deal between Israel and Turkey, a previous Turkish ship arrived in the port of Ashdod in early July. That aid was carried to Gaza by trucks, and the aid en route is expected to be delivered the same way.
Two weeks until the Women’s Boat to Gaza sets sail
MEMO 30 Aug — The Women’s Boat to Gaza (WBG) is due to set sail on September 14, 2016 to reach the shores of Gaza by early October. It will be sailed entirely by an all-women crew and will carry aboard noteworthy participants from around the world such as Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead MacGuire (Northern Ireland), Marama Davidson, Green Party MP (New Zealand), Naomi Wallace, screenwriter and playwright (USA), Gerd von der Lippe, professional athlete and academic (Norway), and Çiğdem Topçuoğlu, professional athlete and coach (Turkey), who sailed on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and whose husband was among the 10 activist who were killed on that voyage by Israeli forces. The women’s boat to Gaza is an initiative of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) established in 2010 as an international solidarity movement working to end the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza. It is the FFC’s fourth mission and was launched on March 8, 2016 on International Women’s Day to highlight the role women play in the resistance movement and the survival of the Palestinian people as a whole. The WBG participants intend to raise awareness about the ongoing struggle that women in Gaza, in the West Bank, inside the Green Line and in the diaspora, have waged and continue to wage against the Occupation….
Indictment filed against Gaza resident for supplying Hamas with diving equipment
[with short video] Jerusalem Online 4 Sept — Today (Sunday), the prosecution filed an indictment against a Gaza resident for smuggling diving equipment into the Gaza Strip and selling it to Hamas’ military wing. The indictment states that the salesman transferred a great deal of sporting goods to the terrorist organization’s military wing. About three months ago, JOL reported that the security inspectors at the Kerem Shalom Border Crossing foiled an attempt to smuggle dozens of professional diving suits into the Gaza Strip. According to assessments, the diving suits were intended for terrorist organization, including Hamas’ naval commando unit. According to the Defense Ministry, the diving suits were concealed in a shipment of sporting equipment and clothing that was sent from abroad to the West Bank. The shipment was seized and an investigation was launched in order to identify and locate those involved.
Stray dogs find shelter in battered Gaza
AFP 4 Sept — In an impoverished and war-battered territory suffering food shortages and a scarcity of jobs, Saeed al-Ar knew it was a tall order opening a dog shelter in Gaza. The Palestinian coastal enclave crammed with 1.9 million people has been devastated by three wars against Israel since 2008, and it remains under blockade by the Jewish state and Egypt. The fate of hundreds of stray dogs outside towns or near the Israeli security fence have been anything but a priority. “How can we create a shelter for strays when we need shelter ourselves?” is the typical view, as expressed by a 27-year-old unemployed Gazan, Jasser al-Sheikh. “We must first feed our children and find jobs for thousands of unemployed graduates.” But Ar, a 45-year-old father of seven, has taken it upon himself to intervene, spending his own money to rescue the strays. Last month, he opened the territory’s first dog sanctuary in a relatively well-off suburb south of Gaza City. His Al-Soulala Association for Protection, Rehabilitation and Training covers 2,700 square metres (29,000 square feet), complete with kennels which currently house around 75 former strays….
How both Israel and Turkey exploit Gaza’s suffering
Al-Monitor 1 Sept by Akiva Eldar — For the first time since the signing of the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey June 27, and a day after its ratification by the parliament in Ankara Aug. 20, Israel once again struck in the Gaza Strip. In response to a rocket fired Aug. 21 from Gaza into the Israeli southern town of Sderot, the Israeli air force hit some 50 targets in the Palestinian territory over a two-hour period. Ankara announced that the Israeli attack was “not acceptable,” constitutes a breach of international law, disrupts the peace process with the Palestinians (it’s not clear to what process it was referring) and violates the relative calm in the region. In response, Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman suggested that Ankara “think twice before it criticizes the military actions of others,” promising that ”Israel will continue to defend its innocent civilians from all rocket fire on our territory.” Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman thought it apt to stress that “normalizing ties with Israel does not mean that we will keep silent in the face of attacks against the Palestinian people.” The Israeli Foreign Ministry, for its part, also referred to the reconciliation deal, noting that “the normalization of our relations with Turkey does not mean that we will remain silent in the face of its baseless condemnations.” Thus, in August, a magic formula was found that enables Israel to continue eating the occupation cake and maintain intact its relations with an important Muslim state: The Palestinians will attack Sderot, the Israeli air force will attack Gaza, Turkey will condemn Israel and Israel will condemn Turkey. And what will become of Gaza’s besieged children? Who really cares? Does anyone even remember that the crisis in the relationship was brought about by the blockade?….
Other news, opinion
The Month in Pictures – August 2016
Electronic Intifada 4 September (including text)
PA, Israel agree to allow PA to manage international postal services
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — The Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at improving postal services between Israel and the PA, which determined that international postal services between the occupied Palestinian territory and the rest of the world would from now on be handled exclusively by the PA through the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. A spokesperson for the Israeli government’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement on Sunday that the memorandum was signed by the head of COGAT Yoav Mordechai and head of the PA’s civil affairs committee Hussein al-Sheikh. It remained unclear however, how having international mail directed through the Allenby border crossing, which Israel controls, will ensure one hundred percent PA authority over postal services. Until now, all mail to and from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has been sent through Israel and processed by Israeli authorities. The PA and Israeli government had signed an agreement in 2008 which would have enabled the PA to have direct postal relations, but the agreement had yet to be put into effect. In April 2011, the PA threatened to stop sending and receiving international mail through Israel, in protest of Israeli failure to implement the 2008 agreement. The Jerusalem Post quoted the then Palestinian Minister of Communications Mashhour Abu-Daqqa as saying that Israel was “deliberately disrupting Palestinian mail services,” causing Palestinian postal services losses of over $200,000 a month. The Israeli newspaper also quoted Mahmoud Diwan, who was the director general of the Palestinian Communications Ministry at the time, as saying that Israeli security checks on Palestinian outgoing and incoming mail made sending and receiving mail from abroad virtually impossible….
6 Palestinians held by PA without charge stage hunger strike amid torture allegations
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Sept by Lily Leach — Nearly a week into the hunger strike of six Palestinians who have been held in custody by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for five months without charge or explanation, demonstrators gathered in Ramallah on Saturday demanding the prisoners’ immediate release. The protests came as reports continued to emerge of the torture and mistreatment of the six detainees. Criticism has also mounted that the case marked yet another escalation of the PA’s “security coordination” with Israel through what critics have called a “revolving door policy” of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons — criticism that most recently surged after Palestinian police detained and beat to death a senior leader of the Fatah movement’s military wing. Dozens of Palestinians protested outside of the Palestinian security and presidential compound (the Muqata‘a) Saturday afternoon, shouting the names of the six detainees who have been on hunger strike since Sunday, and waved posters demanding the release of the six “abductees.” Palestinian security officers prevented the protesters from entering the Muqata‘a premises, and videos shared on social media showed Palestinian police vehicles parked in front of the demonstrators attempting to drown out anti-PA chants by blaring their sirens.
Basil al-Araj, 33, Mohammed Harb, 23, Haitham Siyaj, 29, Mohammed al-Salamen, 19, Ali Dar al-Sheikh, 21, and Seif al-Idrissi, 26, have all been held by the PA’s intelligence agencies since late March and early April 2016. Al-Araj, Harb, and al-Siyaj were detained on April 10 while walking near Ramallah, after the three had been reported missing by their families for ten days. While initial reports said the three would simply be questioned by PA security before being returned to their families, PA police later revealed they had been found with weapons, hand grenades, and camping equipment, allegedly to be used in a future attack on Israel. The Hamas movement quickly responded to the incident, accusing the PA of “cooperation with the Israeli occupation” in the detention of three “resistance fighters.”….
Assailants hurl Molotov cocktail at home of Fatah candidate in upcoming elections
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Unidentified assailants threw a Molotov cocktail at a house in the village of Huwwara south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, reportedly to threaten a woman who is running for office under the Fatah movement in the upcoming municipal elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an in Nablus that “masked assailants hurled a Molotov cocktail” at the house of Rabia Muhammad Sufan on al-Harayiq Street in the center of Huwwara. They added that the assailants left a warning demanding that Sufan withdraw from the election competition. Sufan is a candidate on a list supported by the Fatah movement. Since the Fatah-dominated, Palestinian Authority (PA)-controlled cabinet in the West Bank announced in June its decision to hold municipal elections on Oct. 8, the ensuing campaign season has been marked by strife. The most recent incident occurred last Monday when unidentified armed men reportedly assaulted a Fatah elections coordinator in Bani Suheila, a Palestinian town in the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Yunis….
Palestinians urge Turkish people to reject Israel ties
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Sept — While strongly supporting the aspirations of the people of Turkey to restore and enhance democracy and respect for human rights and international law, the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) denounces the rapprochement agreement signed in June by the Turkish government with Israel and ratified by Turkey last month. This agreement undermines internationally sanctioned Palestinian rights and aspirations. The Turkish government recently submitted the agreement to parliament, which, in turn, approved to normalize relations between Turkey and Israel. At a time when Turkey is facing substantial challenges, Palestinians are calling on the people of Turkey to reject the strengthening of ties with Israel, a regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, with its brutal model of militarization, war-mongering and deeply seated racism. The BNC, the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, calls upon the Turkish government to refrain from collaborating with the Israeli regime of oppression in its violations of Palestinian human rights. The BNC also calls upon Turkish oil and gas companies not to be complicit in the Israeli energy sector’s pillage of Palestinian and Syrian natural resources and its illegal denial of the right of Palestinians and Syrians to access these resources….
West Bank village in Area C opens first ever health clinic
ANERA 2 Sept — Just outside of Bethlehem lies the village of Al-Walajeh in the West Bank. It’s within Area C, where any construction needs to be permitted by the Israeli government. That’s why the project ANERA just completed — the construction of the Walajeh Clinic — is so important. Before the clinic was built this year, there was no health facility of its kind in the area. The village’s 2,500 residents had to use a small mobile clinic with limited operating hours and services. Since so many common ailments couldn’t be treated there, villagers often needed to travel to Bethlehem for basic health care. With funding from USAID, ANERA was able to construct a state-of-the-art clinic on land donated by the Walajeh Village Council. The clinic is fully equipped with a laboratory, pharmacy, reception area, and rooms for vaccinations, doctor’s examinations, and mother and child health care. It’s fully furnished with equipment and examination beds. The reception area is fitted with chairs and water coolers so patients can wait in comfort….
Strike continues in Palestinian schools
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Sept — An open-ended strike continues in a number of schools in the villages and towns of the pre-1948 occupied territories, in protest of poor infrastructure and logistics. The village of Shaqib Al-Salam, in the Negev, witnessed a strike at all schools, in solidarity with Al-Zahraa school, which initially staged the strike in protest of bad conditions. In addition, the central committee of parents in Tira announced an indefinite strike at all the city’s schools because of a dispute with the Ministry of Education on the identity of the educational network that will manage the secondary schools. According to Israeli public radio, a meeting will be held on Sunday between the general director of the ministry, Michal Cohen, and between the representatives of Tira and the Committee of parents, to discuss this issue. Al Ray further notes that the schools in the occupied territories of 1948 suffer from the crisis in several aspects, highlighted by the overcrowding and poor infrastructure, due to the negligence of the governments that prevent the adoption of a budget for years.
Israeli-Arab family that planned to join IS awaits return to Israel
Times of Israel 3 Sept — Members of an Israeli-Arab family from Sakhnin in the north of the country have been waiting in a Turkish border town to return to Israel after having left their homes to join the Islamic State terrorist group in Syria. The family left for Romania in 2015 to attend the graduation ceremony of a relative who finished academic studies there. After reaching Romania, the parents decided they and their three children would go to Turkey instead of returning home, hoping to cross the border into Syria and to join the ranks of the radical Sunni group there. According to Channel 10, the grandfather of the family left for Turkey and spent large sums of money in order to secure the transfer of the family from Syria back to Turkey. Another report in the Hebrew-language website Ynet said four relatives went to Turkey to try and convince the family to return to Israel. Following those efforts, the family arrived in a town in Turkey which has become the home of many refugees from the civil war in Syria. According to an acquaintance of the family who spoke anonymously to Ynet, “the mother and daughters did not want to go to Syria but the husband insisted. At the moment it is not clear what needs to happen so they return to the country, but this is what’s most important now. I hope we’ll see them with their family soon.” A Channel 10 report said the family was known by the residents of Sakhnin, a small town of less than 30,000 residents, but that the husband and wife had isolated themselves from the community over the years.
Should I give up on changing Israel from within and take a stand by leaving? / Mairav Zonszein
The Forward 3 Sept — A debate has been raging in the Israeli left over the past few weeks — primarily in the opinion pages of Haaretz and on my Facebook feed — about Israelis who are choosing to move away from Israel as a political statement. Although these leftists make up only a tiny percentage of Israelis, their departure has hit a nerve. The veteran Israeli left-wing activist and founder of Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery, has called on them to return, arguing that leaving is a cop-out, that they are needed here. This has sparked a back and forth, with several younger Israelis writing that they are no longer willing to sacrifice their children’s lives for what they see as a dead-end country — and so, yes, they’re opting out. Everywhere I turn these days, many of my peers have left, are leaving, are planning to leave or are talking about leaving. My family and I included. The reasons for leaving are always personal, and it’s hard to point to a specific political trend. But the discourse around leaving is indicative of a real crisis in the Israeli left regarding the inability to effect change, and the increasing sense that our ideals are unwanted and that we are outnumbered. Not just at the polls, but at the family dinner table, too. For me, this is not just about the normalization of racism and violence in the public sphere that goes along with the occupation, but about the fact that so many Israelis who identify as liberals are either ignorant of the state’s actions or complicit in them….