Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldier shoots 13-year-old Palestinian girl for failing to stop at roadblock
IMEMC 21 Sept — A Palestinian child was shot and wounded by the Israeli military Wednesday morning when she allegedly failed to heed a soldier’s order to ‘stop’ as she approached a military roadblock. Israeli troops then locked down the roadblock and transported the wounded child to the Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava. The child was shot at a roadblock near the illegal Israeli settlement of Alfei Menashe, near Qalqilia in the northern part of the West Bank. She is the niece of a 24-year old Palestinian woman who was killed in November at a military roadblock in the same area. In that incident, 24-year old Rasha Ahmad Hamed ‘Oweissi approached the roadblock from afar, holding a knife in her hand and a suicide letter in her bag. She was shot by a soldier while she was still at least 30 feet away from the roadblock. Following Wednesday’s shooting of the young girl, the Israeli military claimed that the girl “told them during interrogation” that she had “come there to die” – but Israeli military initial reports on incidents are usually discredited soon after they are made. The child had no weapon anywhere on her body or in any of her belongings. [According to Ma‘an News: Israeli media identified the girl as Baraa Ramadan ‘Oweisi ? [Arabic عويصي Don’t know how the family chooses to transliterate this]. The incident came amid a surge in violence in the occupied Palestinian territory that has seen seven Palestinians — including two minors — and one Jordanian shot dead in less than a week, and three Palestinians seriously injured by Israeli forces. All but one were shot while allegedly committing or attempting to commit attacks on uniformed Israeli soldiers or police, while the other was fatally shot during a military raid as Israeli soldiers attempted to detain the man.]
Palestinian girl shot and detained for not stopping at checkpoint to be released
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — The Israeli military court in Salem has decided to release a 13-year-old Palestinian girl who was shot and injured by an Israeli border guard after she continued walking when ordered to stop at a crossing in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. The court decided not to extend the detention of Baraa Ramadan Eweisa [or ‘Oweisi? ], the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement on Thursday, after the court determined the teenage girl was not attempting to carry out a stabbing attack when she was shot, nor had she been in possession of a knife. PPS lawyer Saleh Ayyoub said that Baraa was still being treated at Israel’s Meir Hospital, and added that a PPS lawyer would be visiting her on Thursday to check on her health condition. Baraa was shot in the leg by an Israeli guard near the Eliyahu checkpoint in eastern Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank on Wednesday morning, after she was ordered to stop by border guards and continued walking. The incident was reported by Israeli media as an “attempted stabbing attack” and a “thwarted terror attack,” though an Israeli Defense Ministry statement released shortly after said that Israeli forces found no traces of explosives or weapons after searching the teenager’s bag….
Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen near Bani Naim after alleged attempted attack
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager on Tuesday morning after he allegedly attempted to stab soldiers in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an that a Palestinian holding a knife attempted to attack Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near the village of Bani Naim. The soldiers then shot at the youth, “resulting in his death,” she said, adding that no Israelis were injured in the case. Bani Naim mayor Mahmoud Manasra identified the slain Palestinian as local teenager Issa Salim Mahmoud Tarayra, 16. Local sources said they heard gunshots coming from the Wadi al-Joz junction near Bani Naim, then saw large numbers of Israeli military vehicles rushing to the area and setting up a number of roadblocks. An eyewitness told Ma‘an that a bus traveling from Bani Naim to Hebron stopped at the Wadi al-Joz junction, at which point a youth stepped out of the bus, “then Israeli troops fired at him.” The Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that roads to and from Bani Naim were closed to Palestinians between the ages of 15 and 30, whereas younger and older Palestinians were subjected to “security checks.”
Tarayra is the 230th Palestinians to be killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest nearly a year ago across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. Some 32 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.He is the seventh Palestinian in the Hebron district, as well as the second resident of Bani Naim, to be killed by Israeli forces since Thursday, amid an uptick in violence after a period of relative calm … Throughout the unrest, rights groups have repeatedly denounced what they have termed Israeli forces’ “shoot-to-kill” policy against Palestinians who did not constitute a threat at the time of their death or who could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.
2 Palestinians killed after alleged stabbing attack in Hebron
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces after allegedly carrying out a stabbing attack in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Monday afternoon, Israeli police said. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that two Palestinians were “apprehended and neutralized” at the Ibrahimi mosque checkpoint in Hebron after carrying out a stabbing attack on a border police officer. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement in Arabic that border police officers saw two “suspicious” Palestinians approaching the checkpoint and asked them to stop. When the two Palestinian youths continued walking towards them, brandishing knives, the officers opened fire, killing one of them on the scene and critically injuring the other. A spokesperson for the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem told Ma‘an that the second Palestinian arrived at the hospital “almost dead,” and succumbed to his wounds at the hospital despite attempts to resuscitate him. She added that he had sustained several shots in the upper body. The Palestinian Ministry of Health later identified the two as 21-year-old Muhannad Jameel al-Rajabi and 17-year-old Ameer Jamal al-Rajabi from Hebron. After contradictory reports earlier in the day, al-Samri said that a border police officer sustained a light wound on his hand during the altercation. A spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma‘an that one of their ambulances was “denied access” to the scene.
Palestinian critically injured after carrying out stab attack on Israeli police in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Two Israeli police officers and a Palestinian were wounded on Monday morning in occupied East Jerusalem after the Palestinian carried out a stabbing attack against the Israeli security forces. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a Palestinian resident from East Jerusalem pulled out a knife and stabbed an Israeli policeman and policewoman near a police station on Salah al-Din street just north of the Old City, injuring them in the upper extremities. The policeman fired several rounds at the attacker, injuring him critically, al-Samri said. Israeli media identified the alleged attacker as Ayman al-Kurd, 20, from the Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood of East Jerusalem. A spokesperson for the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem told Ma‘an that the Palestinian man was in a serious and unstable condition after being shot. The 47-year-old male police officer, who was being treated at the same hospital, was conscious after sustaining moderate stabbing injuries in the upper back, the spokesperson added. A VIDEO recorded by a bystander following the attack showed a large number of forces deployed in the area as emergency health services treated the Israeli police officers. The wounded Palestinian is seen largely unattended to in the video despite having been shot, with at least two people stepping over him without checking his health condition. A spokesperson for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center told Ma‘an that the female officer, who they said was 38 years old, was in the operating room and “severely injured.”
Following the attack, Israeli forces deployed heavily in the area and closed the road between the Old City’s Herod and Damascus Gates to traffic, although pedestrians were allowed to pass, according to a Ma’an reporter on the scene. Israeli security forces also threatened Palestinian store owners on Salah al-Din and Sultan Suleiman streets at gunpoint to force them to close their shops. The shop owners told Ma‘an that they were told they would be fined 1,000 shekels ($265) if they reopened their businesses, even though “we were not told how long our shops will be closed.”
Palestinian shot by Israeli forces after Efrat settlement attack in stable condition
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — A Palestinian who was shot and injured after stabbing and moderately wounding an Israeli army officer Sunday in the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat in the southern occupied West Bank was reported to be in stable condition on Monday. Lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Mamun al-Hashim visited 20-year-old Bahaa al-Din Muhammad Khalil Odeh in Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center Ein Kerem in Jerusalem, when Odeh said that he had been violently assaulted during his arrest. Odeh told al-Hashim that his arm was broken and he sustained a deep cut on his head, causing him to lose consciousness, before eventually being taken to the hospital for treatment. Al-Hashim added that Odeh was interrogated by the Israeli Intelligence officers at his hospital bed. Israeli forces shot and seriously injured Odeh after he stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli army officer at a guard post in the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat southwest of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank.Both were evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center for medical care. According to Israeli media, the 30-year old Israeli army commander sustained stab wounds to his upper body, and other Israeli army soldiers stationed at the guard post shot and wounded Odeh. According to locals, Odeh is originally from the village of Artas southwest of Bethlehem city, and has been living in a village of Wadi Rahhal located just northeast of the illegal Efrat settlement.
The incident was the seventh alleged attack or attempted attack to occur in the occupied Palestinian territory since Friday, which has left four Palestinians and one Jordanian citizen shot dead by Israeli forces, and three other Palestinians — including Odeh — seriously injured by Israeli fire.
A Palestinian assailant’s final morning leading up to attack
JPost 19 Sept by Adam Rasgon — Musa and Hala Khdour and their six sons and daughters woke up and ate breakfast Friday just as they do any other weekend morning in their home in Bani Naim, a village near Hebron. Yet, Firas, 17, and the second oldest of the Khdour children, appeared to be fasting as he refused to eat. After breakfast, the family prayed at a local mosque, returned to their home, and drank coffee together in their living room. Soon thereafter, Firas stood up and walked out. Thirty minutes later, Musa received a phone call from a friend, asking if he knew where his son, Firas, was and Musa responded that Firas was at home. “I told my friend that Firas was in our home and then went to look for his car and found that it was gone,” Musa told The Jerusalem Post in his living room on Sunday with tens of family members sitting alongside. Musa’s friend then told him he had seen Firas’s car on social media in what appeared to be a ramming attack. Musa was in a state of total shock. “God knows what exactly happened, but I know Firas and he is upright, good-hearted, and a great student. He wanted to go to Germany to study there. I do not believe that he carried out an attack,” Musa, clearly overcome with grief, remarked. “He was responsible for supporting our home. Whenever we needed help with something, we turned to him.” … A farewell letter [photo in article] written by Firas and given to the Post by an anonymous source in Bani Naim appears to indicate Firas had no intention of returning on Friday. “Those who were killed in the path of God are not dead, but rather alive with their God,” the letter began. “I call on God to accept me and my sister, Raghd, as martyrs. “Separating from my family and loved ones is hard, but meeting God is better than staying in the world with people,” the letter stated, adding,“I recommend the people to watch over my parents and the young people to follow the path of Jihad.” Firas also called on Bani Naim locals to refrain from believing in rumors that he and Raghd had an illicit relationship. “Raghd is [like] a sister to me. I swear to God that there was nothing between the two of us except for our close familial relationship.” The IDF is holding Firas’s body, and Raghd is being treated at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem….
Israeli soldiers photographed beating Palestinian in Hebron
Haaretz 22 Sept by Gili Cohen — Israeli soldiers were photographed beating a Palestinian man on Tuesday in Hebron. The military said that the man was resisting arrest. Photographs taken at the scene showed that at least five Israeli infantry soldiers, from the Nahal Brigade, were surrounding the Palestinian during his arrest. One of the soldiers is seen kicking him, while another holding him by the throat. Another photo shows a soldier pinning the Palestinian to the ground with his knee. The Palestinian is seen barefoot in a street in Hebron. Photos of the arrest were soon published on social media networks. The Israeli military said the incident will be investigated.
Israeli soldiers injure one Palestinian, kidnap another, in Nablus
IMEMC 22 Sept — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, on Thursday at dawn, a young Palestinian man, and kidnapped at least one, after the army and settlers invaded the eastern area of Nablus, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. Media sources in Nablus said fourteen Israeli buses and many army vehicles invaded the city, and headed towards Joseph’s Tomb, east of Nablus. Clashes took place between the soldiers and many local youngsters who hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading vehicles, while the soldiers fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. One Palestinian was shot with an exploding bullet in his leg, and was moved to a hospital in Nablus, suffering a moderate injury, while many others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. The soldiers also kidnapped another Palestinian, and took him to an unknown destination.
Also, a large number of wood boards were burnt after a number of Israeli gas bombs, and concussion grenades, were fired into a carpentry workshop. The clashes were mainly focused in the al-Hisba Street area, Amman Street, and the northern entrance of Balata refugee camp, where many youngster burnt tires and hurled empty bottles and Molotov cocktails at the military vehicles. Firefighters rushed to the area and extinguished the fire before its spread into a larger area.
Clashes erupt in Hebron in wake of killings by Israeli forces, injuring Palestinian woman
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Clashes broke out on Monday in different areas in the city of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, during which a Palestinian woman was injured by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces at her chest, following the killing of two Palestinians earlier in the day, shot dead by Israeli forces over an alleged stabbing attack near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron’s Old City. Israeli forces raided the city Monday afternoon and installed a military checkpoint in the Wadi al-Harya neighborhood and seized several cars belonging to Palestinians civilians, which Israeli soldiers then used to block off roads in the area, local sources said. Israeli forces also raided a house in Wadi al-Harya and Israeli soldiers occupied the roof of the house to use as a military station. In response, “angry” Palestinian youth attacked several Israeli military checkpoints in the center of Hebron, according to locals. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian youths during clashes in different areas of Hebron, with one hitting a Palestinian woman in the chest. Local sources said that clashes broke out in Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood, al-Sheikh neighborhood, and the Tariq ibn Ziyad crossroad. Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at protesting Palestinian youth on al-Shuhada street, which is the main road leading to al-Ibrahimi mosque.
Lieberman’s punishment strategy brings an end to West Bank calm / Shlomi Eldar
Al-Monitor 21 Sept — The plan by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to punish West Bank villages from which Palestinian assailants originate provokes anger and frustration amid the local population — Is Israel on the brink of a new wave of terror? According to senior Palestinian security officials, the writing was on the wall from the minute Avigdor Liberman assumed office in late May as Israel’s defense minister and dictated a carrot-and-stick policy of rewards and punishments for Palestinian villages, depending on the origins of Palestinian assailants. Following five months of relative calm, 10 terror attacks and attempted terror attacks occurred in the past week … Several weeks ago, Israeli security officials warned that in the runup to the Jewish High Holidays, starting Oct. 2, the likelihood of renewed terror attacks increases. A Palestinian security source who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity said that months of efforts to restore calm had gone to waste and that virtually not a day goes by that special units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) raid Palestinian villages in the area of the West Bank under Palestinian security and civil control, designated Area A, clashing with local residents. “Instead of understanding that these raids are the main cause of renewed tensions, they’re talking about Jewish holidays? What’s that got to do with it and why are they the cause?” he asked, chuckling … According to the Palestinian security source who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, the decision to replace the IDF’s policy of restraint with Liberman’s carrot-and-stick policy has fueled tremendous rage in the refugee camps. One need only see the many bandaged young Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli troops to understand where this is going, he said … Now that the wave of terror has re-emerged, no one will remember what came first: IDF activity that fueled the motivation to carry out terror attacks or terror attacks that resulted in IDF retaliation, including friction with civilians. Either way, the result is clear: Liberman’s carrot-and-stick policy has ignited a blaze. One can only hope that the new defense minister has another contingency plan for dousing the flames.
A ‘wave of violence’ that never actually ends
+972mag 20 Sept by Haggai Matar — When the Israeli media talks about the latest ‘wave of violence,’ it leaves out the five unarmed Palestinians who were shot to death by soldiers and police officers in the past few months — The newspaper headlines over the past few days leave no room for doubt regarding what has been happening here lately. “Terror returns,” read Yedioth Ahronoth‘s headline on Sunday, while Haaretz and Ma’ariv ran similar headlines on Tuesday morning. Indeed the last few days have been full of stabbing and vehicle-ramming attacks by Palestinians in Jerusalem and Hebron, the vast majority of them directed at soldiers and police officers, rather than citizens. The recent wave of violence has not claimed any Israeli lives, but it has left six of the attackers dead. Five police officers and soldiers were wounded, one of them severely.
If we put aside the recent attacks on Israelis, it is clear that this “wave” never actually ended. Only two weeks ago did Israeli police officers shoot and kill Mustafa Nimr, a Palestinian who was traveling by car in Jerusalem’s Shu‘fat refugee camp. At first the police claimed Nimr and his cousin, who was driving, had attempted to run them over. Very quickly, however, it became clear that this was patently false, and that the officers continued to shoot at the car even after it had come to a complete stop. A little over a week later soldier shot Iyad Hamed near the West Bank village of Silwad. Here, too, soldiers alleged Hamed had shot at them, although it later became clear that he was unarmed and posed no threat, and was possibly shot in the back … These are only five examples, five people killed, from the past three months. In every case the media initially treated the dead as terrorists who attacked soldiers and police. In every case, however, it turned out that those claims were baseless, or that at the very least excessive, disproportionate (not to mention criminal) force was used. In some of the cases the army or the police have video footage that they refuse to release, as opposed to videos clearly showing attacks by Palestinians. But the initial story is the one that stays with us, and even when there are no follow-up stories, the vast majority of us do not think about the fact that Palestinians experience these killings as terrorism. We will often adopt the story of the soldiers who felt “their lives were in danger” and acted innocently — and even if all these things are correct, we will forget about the lethal results….
Dozens of Israeli soldiers invade Bil‘in, storm homes and confiscate laptops
IMEMC 21 Sept — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, approximately at 2:30 after midnight, the village of Bil‘in in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, broke into and searched several homes and confiscated hard discs from a number of laptops. Most of the invaded homes belong to nonviolent activists, senior members of the Popular Committee against the Wall in Bil‘in, including Dr. Rateb Abu Rahma, his brother Abdullah Abu Rahma, in addition to Ahmad Abu Rahma Mohammad al-Khatib, Ashraf Abu Rahma and photojournalist Haitham Khatib. Photojournalist Khatib said four military jeeps and two army trucks, carrying around six soldiers, invaded the village and started searching homes before confiscating hard disks from a number of laptops. “The soldiers just said they will be the property back, but no one believes this,” he said, “They took my car before and never returned it; they are just lying.” Coordinator of the Popular Committee in Bil’in, Dr. Rateb Abu Rahma, denounced the latest military invasion, and the searches of homes, in addition to the illegal confiscation of private property. Abu Rahma added that the escalating Israeli violations will not be able to stop the nonviolent, popular resistance, in the village. The protests in Bil‘in started approximately twelve years ago, and kept going despite the ongoing excessive use of force and escalating violations, including night raids, home invasions and curfews, and despite the death of several nonviolent activists at the hands of the Israeli military. The village managed to regain 1200 dunams of orchards, out of 2300 dunams illegally confiscated and isolated by Israel for the construction of the Wall and the illegal colonies.
Radical right-wing group’s marches of hate in Jerusalem
Ynet 21 Sept by Yael Friedson — Every Thursday night, dozens of members of the anti-assimilation group Lehava march in the Jerusalem city center, shouting racist slogans against Arabs. Some have gone as far as to assault dozens of Arabs in the area. Unfortunately, almost all of the cases were closed due to lack of evidence — It’s Thursday night in Jerusalem, nearly midnight. Two teenage boys are sitting with beers in one of the alleys near Zion Square. A group of other teenagers passes by them and decides to stop and question the two about what they were doing there. Even before the two can finish their sentence, their accent reveals that the two are Arabs, and the group jumps them and starts hurling abuse. One of the Arab teens manages to flee the scene, but the other isn’t so lucky. He falls down and suffers a barrage of fists and kicks. “Garbage Arab, get out of our city!” they shout at him him. “Their” city. After a few minutes of this onslaught, the second teenager manages to escape, and the group of assailants, cheerful and content, continue on their way. They seek their next victim, another notch on their belt. The two attacked teens will likely not return to the city center, the “territory” of the right-wing radical organization Lehava. And the Lehava group—a rabble of Kahane supporters, ultra-Orthodox fringe youth and members of Beitar Jerusalem’s infamous La Familia fan group—can claim another victory … – Guilty of speaking Arabic – Tommy Hasson finished his shift at the Jerusalem Gold Hotel at 11pm. He was walking towards the Central Bus Station, speaking to a friend from east Jerusalem in Arabic, when a group of some 10 Jewish youth passed by. The Jewish youth heard Hasson speaking Arabic and started throwing cans at him. He ignored them. Seeing that their provocation had met with no response, they assaulted Hasson, beating him and hitting him with glass bottles. The fact he’s a Druze who did his IDF service at the President’s Residence didn’t seem to bother them. They heard him speaking Arabic, and that was enough….
Israeli settlers escorted by MKs reportedly assault Palestinians in Susiya
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — A group of Israeli settlers who were escorted by nine members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, and under armed protection by Israeli forces raided the village of Susiya in the southern Hebron Hills on Monday, reportedly assaulting a number of Palestinian residents there. Susiya local council head Jihad al-Nawajaa told Ma‘an that the group of settlers “physically and verbally assaulted Palestinians in the village as other Palestinian locals confronted the group and forced them to leave the area.” Al-Nawajaa said it was the first time Knesset members had set foot in Susiya, and he considered the development to be a “bad omen” for Palestinians living in Susiya, as almost half of their village is under threat of demolition by the Israeli government. A spokesperson for the Knesset could not immediately be reached for comment on the incident or to identify the Knesset members. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they were looking into reports. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported earlier on Monday that right-wing Knesset members were planning to tour several areas of the south Hebron Hills, including Susiya.
Susiya’s residents have been embroiled in a decades-long legal battle to legalize the village and have endured multiple demolitions enforced by Israeli authorities over the years, who say Palestinians lack the proper building permits to live on the land that lies between an Israeli settlement and Israel-controlled archaeological site. The privately owned Palestinian land is located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control — where building permits for Palestinians are nearly impossible to obtain. Many of the villagers have ties to the land that predate the creation of the state of Israel, and Ottoman-era land documents to prove it. In mid-July, authorities from Israel’s Civil Administration abruptly halted months of dialog with Susiya’s residents over the possibility of legalizing the village, telling them that a future agreement on the village would now be the responsibility of far-right Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman….
2 Israelis repeatedly stab Palestinian in ‘dispute’ over car repair, Israeli police say
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Two Israelis stabbed a Palestinian in several parts of his body in the village of Idhna near Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank Monday evening, in what was reportedly a dispute over a business transaction and was being treated by Israeli police as a “purely criminal” case. Local sources said that two Israelis had chased 25-year-old Murad Jamal Tomeizi at the entrance to the village before stabbing him repeatedly. Medical sources from al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron said Tomeizi arrived at the hospital with several stab wounds in his chest, back, and extremities, and he received the necessary treatment and was in a stable condition. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the two Israelis, who were from the city Ashkelon in southern Israel, were suspected of stabbing Tomeizi after what she described as a dispute over Tomeizi fixing their car. She added that the case was being treated as “purely criminal,” and that investigations were ongoing. Rights groups and analysts have long accused Israeli authorities of entrenching a “culture of impunity” reserved for Israeli forces and civilians when committing attacks against Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territory.
Israeli forces detain 41 Palestinians, injure 2 in massive raids across occupied territory
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least 41 Palestinians during detention raids from Monday evening to Tuesday before dawn across the occupied Palestinian territory, Israeli and Palestinian sources said, while two Palestinians were also shot and injured by Israeli fire during a detention raid into a Bethlehem refugee camp that also reportedly left two Israeli soldiers wounded. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported 28 overnight detentions in both occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, whereas an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they had records of a total of 27 detentions overnight in the West Bank, although they could not provide locations for three of them. East Jerusalem and the Jerusalem district: According to PPS, at least 14 Palestinians, including three minors, were detained in occupied East Jerusalem during evening and predawn raids. Nine of the detainees were detained in the neighborhood of ‘Issawiya, identified by PPS and prisoners rights group Addameer as Rida Muhammad Ubeid, 15, Dawood Yousif Atiyeh, 17, Mumin Mamoun Muheisin, 15, Mansour Mahmoud, Shadi Muheisin, Moussa Asila, Hamdi Hreiz, Yasin Subih, and Ahmad Jamal Atiyeh. According to PPS, Israeli forces also detained three brothers of Ayman al-Kurd, a Palestinian who stabbed and moderately injured two Israeli police officers on Monday. The group identified the brothers as Ammar, 23, Alaa, 25, and Luay. PPS added that Hussein Atiyeh and Hani Dirbas were also detained in Jerusalem, only to be released shortly afterwards. Hebron district: In the southern West Bank district of Hebron, PPS reported the detention of Hamad Samir Hassan and Muhammad Arafat Abu Sbeih, 20, without specifying their precise locations. Locals, meanwhile, reported that Israeli troops detained Hamzah al-Atrash in the city of Hebron on Monday evening, seizing large amounts of money from his home during the raid. The Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that they had records of two detentions in the Hebron area village of Dhahiriya, and one detention in the village of al-Burj. Seven Palestinians from the Hebron district have been killed by Israeli forces since Thursday, amid an uptick in violence after a period of relative calm. The Israeli army has since deployed an additional battalion to the district….
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers kidnap 21 Palestinians in the West Bank’
IMEMC 21 Sept — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday at dawn, twenty-one Palestinians, during extensive invasions and searches of homes in different parts of the occupied West Bank. The Nablus office of the PSS, in the northern part of the West Bank, said the soldiers searched many homes in the district, and kidnapped Abdullah Harb Omran, from Burin village, southwest of Nablus. In Salfit district, in central West Bank, the soldiers searched homes and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Ammar Nayef, from Kafr ed-Deek village. The soldiers also invaded Shu‘fat refugee camp, in Jerusalem, searched many homes, and kidnapped Abdul-Aziz Khaled Damdoun, 16, Mansour al-‘Akkari, Mahmoud Mo’awiya Alqam, Mahmoud Omran Alqam, Nizar Mohammad Ali and Majdi Kayyala, in addition to Mohammad Abu Ghazala from the Old City of Jerusalem….
23 Palestinians detained, dozens of houses ordered demolished in Jerusalem raids
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — Israeli forces carried out a massive detention raids into Palestinian communities in Jerusalem before dawn on Thursday for the second day in a row, detaining at least 23 Palestinians and assaulting locals — including a minor, while demolition orders were delivered to dozens of Palestinian homes during raids on Wednesday. Israeli forces raided the Shu‘fat refugee camp in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank as well as the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya, located just south of Shu‘fat beyond Israel’s separation wall. Israeli forces reportedly raided Shu‘fat from several entrances and were deployed throughout the refugee camp’s narrow streets as a helicopter flew overhead. The raids sparked clashes between youths of the camp and Israeli forces. Spokesperson of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem, Thaer Fasfous, said that Israeli forces held some 15 youths near the entrance of the refugee camp during the clashes. Israeli forces raided several homes belonging to the Alqam, al-Zalbani, Khashan, Abu Zneid, Diab, al-Walaji and Abu Odeh families, searching buildings and assaulting residents. Fasfous added that clashes erupted in several areas in the refugee camp and continued for hours.Israeli forces assaulted 16-year-old Uday al-Dabet, severely bruising him…
Meanwhile, Jerusalem municipality officers and Israeli police raided ‘Issawiya on Wednesday to deliver demolition orders to dozens of Palestinian homes in the neighborhood under the pretext that they lacked the required Israeli-issued building licenses. Member of a local committee in ‘Issawiya, Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, said that Israeli raided the Habayel al-Arab area in southwestern ‘Issawiya and delivered demolition orders to more than 30 apartment homes across 10 different buildings. Abu al-Hummus pointed out that some 200 residents were living in the affected apartments, belonging to the Mahmoud, Elayyan, Abu al-Hummus, and Abu Irmeileh families. Abu al-Hummus said that these buildings were built 10 to 30 years ago and that some had licenses from the municipality while others had filed for licenses years ago that were never approved by the municipality. He added that the orders included names of owners, court session dates, and aerial pictures of the buildings. Abu al-Hummus also expressed concern over the nature of the demolition orders, saying they differed from previous ones as they included names and identification numbers of the homeowners, unlike usual demolition notices or orders that did not include names.
Prisoners / Court actions
Balboul brothers and al-Qadi end hunger strike in agreement securing their freedom
Samidoun 21 Sept — The three Palestinian hunger strikers, Mahmoud al-Balboul, Mohammed al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi, have ended their hunger strike today, 21 September in an agreement securing their release and the non-renewal of their administrative detention, announced Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Commission chair Issa Qaraqe. Mahmoud al-Balboul and Mohammed al-Balboul, brothers, have been on hunger strike since 4 July and 7 July, respectively. Both were ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial after a pre-dawn armed raid on their home on 9 July. In the agreement, the two will be released on 8 December 2016, at the expiration of their detention period; their detention will not be renewed.
Malik al-Qadi, a journalism student at Al-Quds University, launched his hunger strike on 16 July. He was arrested by Israeli occupation forces on 23 May and ordered to four months in administrative detention without charge or trial. This arrest came only weeks after his release from a previous four months of imprisonment without charge or trial, from December 2015 to April 2016. In the agreement, he will be released on 22 September 2016, at the expiration of his administrative detention, which will not be renewed.
Mahmoud al-Balboul, a student who works with the Palestinian police and Mohammed al-Balboul, a dentist, are the brothers of Nuran al-Balboul, a 15-year-old girl imprisoned for three months by the Israeli occupation earlier this year and the sons of Ahmad al-Balboul, a Fateh leader assassinated by Israeli occupation forces in 2008. Al-Qadi, a journalism student, has had his education repeatedly delayed as a result of harassment by occupation forces. He is one of dozens of Palestinian journalists imprisoned by Israel. He emerged from a coma on Sunday and was subjected to forced treatment during his unconsciousness. All three have suffered serious impacts to their health well into their third month of hunger strike, including threats to their hearts and other major organs, vision damage and other lasting health impacts.
All three are among nearly 750 Palestinians imprisoned without charge or trial under administrative detention, and 7000 total Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. Over 100 fellow Palestinian prisoners joined the three in protests and hunger strikes to support their strike for freedom….
VIDEO: Hunger strikers end their strike
Quds News Network 21 Sept — Mohammed and Mahmoud al-Balboul and Malik al-Qadi celebrate the agreement not to renew their detention
Detainee Malek al-Qadi to remain hospitalized for two weeks
IMEMC 22 Sept — The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported that detainee Malek Al-Qadi, who ended his 70-day hunger strike on Wednesday, after reaching an agreement for ending his Administrative Detention and setting a date for his release, will be sent home in two weeks after completing recovery in an Israeli hospital. The committee stated that Malek Al-Qadi is a free man, but will remain in intensive care at the Wolfson Israeli Medical, due to the near-death condition he reached during his strike. It added that the physicians at the medical center advised against transferring him to another hospital, as this could seriously pose further health complications, and that he and his family agreed with the decision. “Malek al-Qadi will remain in hospital as a patient, not a detainee,” the committee said, “He will be sent home as part of the reached agreement. Al-Qadi was supposed to be discharged and sent home today, Thursday, but this could also cause complications and put his life at risk.
Israel places 36 Palestinians in administrative detention
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 20 Sept – Israel issued administrative detention orders against 36 Palestinian detainees, placing them in jail without a charge or trial, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Tuesday. PPS lawyer Mahmoud Halabi said 19 orders were issued against detainees who have spent months and years in detention without charge or trial, whereas the remainder received new administrative orders. The period of the detention varied between three to six months. Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence for up to six-month periods that could be renewed constantly by Israeli military courts. Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy, which violates international law.
Israel releases journalist jailed for social media posts
EI 20 Sept by Charlotte Silver — Israeli authorities released Palestinian journalist Samah Dweik on Monday, shortly before she completed her six-month prison sentence handed down to her after she was found guilty of alleged incitement on Facebook. Dweik, 25, was arrested on 10 April from her home in occupied East Jerusalem and charged with “incitement.” She was detained after she wrote a status and shared an image in support of Palestinians who had recently been slain by Israeli forces, according to Amjad Abu Asab, the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners. At the time of her arrest, Dweik had been covering the arrest of a young girl, who was accused of attempting to stab a soldier. In July, an Israeli court in Jerusalem found Dweik guilty for her activity on social media. According to Addameer, a prisoners’ rights organization, Israel has arrested more than 200 Palestinians, including children, for alleged incitement since October 2015. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies estimates that Dweik is one of at least 28 Palestinian women who have been arrested since October under this charge….
Restrictions on movement / Closures
Israel bars Palestine sports team from competing abroad
MEMO 22 Sept — The Israeli authorities on Wednesday barred members of Palestine’s national beach soccer team from travelling abroad to take part in the Fifth Asian Beach Games in Danang, Vietnam, according to a Palestinian athletics official. “The Israeli authorities stopped all 14 members of the team from crossing the Erez border crossing,” team captain Imad Hashim told reporters. “The Israeli ban will keep us from taking part in the competition, due to kick off next Saturday in Danang,” Hashim lamented. According to Hashim, the Israeli authorities failed to provide a reason for the move.
Israeli forces close main road near Nablus-area villages
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Israeli forces closed the main entrance to the village of Beita in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Monday night, locals said. Local sources told Ma‘an that bulldozers under Israeli military protection placed huge concrete blocks and earth mounds in the middle of the entrance late on Monday, blocking the road only a few meters away from the village farmers’ market. Other side roads near Beita and the nearby village of Huwwara were also closed, they said. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that following “repeated” stone-throwing on Israeli settlers’ vehicles on the road adjacent to Beita and Huwwara, several roads between the two villages were being closed “in order to curtail threats.” The spokesperson could not immediately specify whether any Israelis had been injured in stone-throwing incidents in the area recently. Palestinian sources told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities had notified the Palestinian liaison office that all the roads which had been reopened two weeks ago for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha would be closed again.
7 West Bank villages put under Israeli blockades
MEMO 21 Sept — Israeli occupation forces have been imposing a tight blockade on seven northern West Bank neighbourhoods since Monday over claims that Palestinians have been throwing stones at settlers’ vehicles, Quds Press reported. The Israeli occupation forces placed sand barriers and cement blocks at the entrances of Odala, Burin, ‘Aynabus, Huwwarah, ‘Awarta, Za‘tara [?] and Beita Al-Tahta, located in Nablus [area]. Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, the head of Bita Al-Tahta municipality Mu’ala Wasif said: “The Israeli occupation is punishing around 50,000 people living in these neighbourhoods under alleged pretexts that youths throw stones at settlers’ vehicles.” He said that these areas are under Israeli security control, noting that if it is “unable to identify the identity of the stone throwers, it is unreasonable to punish all the residents and spoil their lives.” In Beita Al-Tahta, Wasif said, there is a central vegetable market and all traders and farmers from all over the West Bank travel to it. “By blocking the neighbourhood,” he said, “the Israeli occupation paralyses the movement from and to this market and causes massive losses for traders and farmers.” This is not the first time the Israeli occupation closed these areas. According to Wasif, at the beginning of this month, the Israeli occupation sealed off Beita al-Tahta and other neighbourhoods for nine consecutive days under the same pretexts.
Israeli authorities close off Hebron neighborhood, ban entry to local maintenance workers
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Israeli authorities on Monday closed off the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank, prohibiting the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee from entering the area to carry maintenance and repair works on buildings there. A statement from the committee said that “Israeli forces banned the committee’s workers from entering Tel Rumeida to continue ongoing maintenance and repair projects, following events in the area in recent days in which Israeli forces executed three Palestinians, two of them from Tel Rumeida.” The statement added that Tel Rumeida was one of the most difficult locations in which the committee worked, due to the heavy presence of Israeli forces and the numerous Israeli military checkpoints in the area. Israeli forces also banned the committee’s workers from entering the neighborhood last Saturday, according to the statement. Head of the committee Imad Hamdan was quoted as saying that Israel targets the Tel Rumeida neighborhood due to its strategic location in central Hebron, adding that the Israeli army’s closure is part of a broader policy that has been taking shape to force Israeli control and hinder Palestinian determination and resistance in the neighborhood. Hamdan insisted that the situation was “unbearable” and should not be ignored….
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian fisherman in northern Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 19 Sept — Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the village of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday evening, shooting and injuring 30-year-old Ahmad Zayid, local sources said. Sources told Ma‘an that Zayid was shot in the abdomen with live fire and taken to the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, where he was reported to be in moderate condition.
Gaza: Israel army carries out mock air raids, limited incursion
GAZA (PIC) 20 Sept — The Israeli occupation army on Tuesday morning carried out mock aerial attacks on different areas of the Gaza Strip as well as a small-scale incursion into an eastern border area. According to the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) reporter in Gaza, several F-16 jet fighters overflew Gaza at low altitudes and carried out mock airstrikes by causing sonic booms and firing missiles into the sea. Explosions were heard throughout Gaza as a result of these air raids, which are believed to be part of military maneuvers. In a related incident, five Israeli armored bulldozers infiltrated in the morning into a border area east of Khuza‘a town, south of Gaza, and embarked on leveling a tract of land. Tanks and other military vehicles were also seen deployed along the borderline of the town in order to provide protection for the bulldozers.
Army opens fire at Palestinian homes east of Khan Younis
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Sept — Israeli forces opened fire, on Wednesday at dawn, towards civilian homes in the east of Khan Younis, local resources reported, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency. Israeli soldiers stationed at a military checkpoint opened fire, heavily and repeatedly, at houses in the area. No Injuries were reported. There were farmers working on their farms in the area when the shooting occurred.
Meanwhile, according to WAFA, Israeli naval boats attacked Palestinian fishermen with gunfire late Tuesday evening, despite their sailing within the designated fishing zone off the Gaza shore. No injuries were reported.
Gaza’s Kerem Shalom crossing closed until further notice after being burglarized
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — The Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing was closed on Wednesday after it was burglarized before dawn, according to the Public Administration of the Crossing Points and Borders. Director-General of the administration Nazmi Muhanna said in a statement that burglars raided the crossing from the northwestern side and cut the through the fence surrounding its perimeter. The burglars caused damage and stole stored goods, which Muhanna said will cost the Palestinian Authority tens of thousands of shekels. Muhanna added that the crossing will remain closed until all security procedures and investigations were completed to assess the amount of damage … Kerem Shalom is one of two operating Israeli crossings out of the blockaded coastal enclave, dedicated primarily to the movement of goods and the only crossing available for the import of fuel.
Pedestrians moving in and out of the Gaza Strip travel through the Erez crossing, which is closed to the majority of the Gaza’s Palestinian residents.
Israel to unblock Karem Abu Salem crossing
GAZA (PIC) 22 Sept — The Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) on Wednesday evening announced their decision to unblock the Karam Abu Salem [Kerem Shalom] crossing, in southern Gaza Strip, on Thursday, following an abrupt closure. Director of the crossing Mounir al-Ghalban said the IOA informed him of their intent to reopen the crossing on Thursday [thus averting a shutdown of Gaza’s sole power plant for lack of fuel] after they had unexpectedly closed it on Wednesday. He added that Israel has frequently closed the crossing without explaining the reasons for such arbitrary moves. The Karam Abu Salem crossing is Gaza’s sole commercial passageway. Israel keeps the crossing closed Fridays and Saturdays and also during Jewish holidays.
Israeli army claims ‘intercepting’ Hamas drone over Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 20 Sept — Israeli army announced Tuesday that one of its warplanes had “intercepted” an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the coast of the Gaza Strip. According to an Israeli army statement, the unarmed UAV — which, it claimed, belonged to Hamas’s armed wing Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades — had been under surveillance by the army from the moment it took off from the Gaza Strip. While the army statement merely said the UAV had been “intercepted” by Israeli military aircraft, army spokesperson Ovijaa Odraei said that the drone had been shot down. Odraei, however, declined to describe the alleged UAV in any detail. The Brigades has yet to comment on the Israeli army’s claims.
Zaytouna-Olive leaves Ajaccio, Corsica for Messina, Italy before sailing to Gaza
Ajaccio, Corsica, France (PNN) 21 Sept — The Women’s Boat to Gaza (Zaytouna-Oliva) left the port of Ajaccio at 09:30 this morning. It is due to arrive later this week in Messina, Sicily, Italy, where it will dock for the last time, prior to sailing to challenge the illegal blockade of Gaza. One of the participants aboard, Lisa Gay Hamilton, said: “It is an honour to be here and join this extraordinary group of women. This issue is bigger than me, than any of us. As a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, I cannot help thinking of Palestinian women in Gaza, who live in an open-air prison because of the occupation. It is so painful to think of them, we have to take action to end the blockade of Gaza.” A full list of the participants on this leg is available at: https://wbg.freedomflotilla.org/participants Lucia Intruglio, spokesperson and one of the local organisers in Messina said: “We are very pleased to host the women on Zaytouna-Oliva before they embark on this historic voyage.” During their stay in Messina, all of the women will participate in non-violence training, whilst finalizing supplies and equipment for the boat.
Follow the mission on the map
Women’s Boat to Gaza 22 Sept — as of this writing, Zaytouna-Olive now in the Tyrrhenian Sea east of Sardinia
Gaza parents object to mixed-gender schools
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 20 Sept by Entsar Abu Jahal — The new school year opened with sit-ins at both government and UNRWA-affiliated schools in Gaza in protest of the schools’ efforts to combine boys and girls in the same classes — The parents of many students of Al-Razi Primary School for Girls in Rafah province were surprised on the first day of school on Aug. 28 to see that their daughters’ names were missing from the school’s enrollment lists. The director of the school, which is affiliated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, suggested they go to the UNRWA-affiliated Rafah Elementary “C” Boys School to see if they had been transferred there. They found the students registered at the boys’ school, where each class had grown to include around 30 boys and between five and 10 girls. Later that day, the parents staged a sit-in at the school to protest the decision to move the girls without their knowledge and to the mixing of the genders. Adding insult to injury, the school’s administration could not give clear reasons why some female students were transferred to an all-boys school, saying only that it’s trying to end the double-shift system currently operating in 94% of UNRWA schools for refugees. The same building in Rafah accommodates two schools — al-Razi primary school and Rafah elementary school — operating on double shifts: one full school day in the morning and another for different students in the evening … Although the girls who were transferred were in the first and second grades, parents reject mixing students at any grade level….
Why proposed blasphemy law horrifies many in Gaza
Al-Monitor 21 Sept by Adnan Abu Amer — One scholar’s call for an anti-blasphemy law has riled Gazans across the Strip, with some saying the idea is better suited to the Islamic State and will damage Hamas’ image as a moderate Islamic movement — …Khalidi, the head of the Palestinian Encyclopedia of Historiography Documentation, told Al-Monitor that his move is a response to the spread of destructive ideas among Muslims in Palestine, such as not believing in the Prophet Muhammad’s hadith, which open the door to intellectual deviation and ideological mistakes. He bemoaned the failure of Gaza’s authorities to fend off these ideas, especially the Ministry of Religious Affairs and associations concerned with the welfare of future generations … The anti-blasphemy law would be the first of its kind in Palestine. On Sept. 9, Khalidi asked the Palestinian Legislative Council to set forth deterrent measures against individuals he believes are blasphemers. He also called on Palestinians to cut ties with these people, refrain from marrying them, employing them or even talking to them … The call for an anti-blasphemy law stirred a wild wave of reactions. Palestinian intellectuals across the Gaza Strip and the West Bank argued over Khalidi’s suggestion … Opponents of such a law recall what happened in some stages of Islamic history, when some enlightened figures such as al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Al-Ma’arri, Abu Bakr al-Razi and Ibn Rushd were accused of blasphemy and killed….
In Pictures: IDF Beduin patrol unit on the Gaza border
JPost 19 Sept by Seth J. Frantzman — The Desert Reconnaissance Battalion is tasked with patrolling along the Gaza Strip helping to Israeli communities. Composed of mostly Beduin soldiers, they use unique tracking skills to prevent infiltration from Gaza and deal with other threats that arise. Today, setting off from Kissufim, we will be seeing how they carry out their daily mission and speaking with the volunteer soldiers and commanders as well as understanding the threats and innovations used to counter them.
Israel left me with half a body
EI 20 Sept by Sarah Algherbawi — Founded in 1976, Gaza’s Artificial Limbs and Polio Center has seen a dramatic increase in its workload, fitting prosthetic limbs for many people injured during three major Israeli offensives since 2008 — Manar al-Shenbari has vague recollections of what happened on 24 July 2014. She was taking shelter at the UNRWA Beit Hanoun Elementary School in the Gaza Strip when the Israeli military shelled it. Manar’s mother, sister and two brothers were among the 11 people killed at the UN-funded school. “There were bodies on the ground, people screaming,” she said. “And lots of blood on my body. Those are the only things I can remember from that day. It was like a nightmare. I lost consciousness and woke up in hospital.” Manar – now aged 17 – lost both of her legs in the attack and required emergency treatment. She was transferred to Jordan for surgery. When she returned to Gaza, she found everyday life extremely difficult. “Getting out of bed in the morning, taking a shower, going to school, all these things involved endless suffering,” she said. Manar spent three months at Gaza’s Artificial Limbs and Polio Center after her return from Jordan. She had prosthetic legs fitted and learned to walk again, using crutches. With a great deal of effort, she was able to perform simple tasks once more, without being entirely dependent on the surviving members of her family. “For sure, it’s not easy,” she said. “But at least I don’t need my sister’s help in everything I do.” Manar hopes to study journalism after she leaves high school. “Every night before I go to sleep, I take off my artificial limbs, look at my half body and then close my eyes,” she said. “I imagine being the first journalist in Gaza with only half a body. I want to fight Israel by reporting what is happening. That is how I imagine taking revenge for what the Israelis did to my body and to my family.”….
Decision makers who led to unprecedented killing in Gaza were not even questioned
20 Sept — New B’Tselem Report Summarizes Two Years of Whitewashed Investigations into Operation Protective Edge: The Israeli bodies responsible for investigating the events of Operation Protective Edge are engaged primarily in creating the false impression of a functioning system that ostensibly seeks to discover the truth. In the meantime, those actually responsible for violations are not even questioned, and the investigations have been confined to superficial inspections of a number of isolated incidents, divorced from any context. This is the conclusion reached by the human rights organization B’Tselem in a new report published this morning (Tuesday, 20 September 2016). Entitled The Whitewash Protocol: The So-Called Investigation of Operation Protective Edge, the report summarizes a period of over two years since the end of the fighting in the Gaza Strip. The scale of Palestinian civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge was enormous. Almost two-thirds of the total Palestinian casualties – 1,391 people, including 526 minors – were not involved in the fighting. Hundreds of these victims were killed when their homes were bombed from the air….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli kibbutz gives up West Bank plot, but it remains out of reach for Palestinian owners
Haaretz 21 Sept by Yotam Berger — Even though Kibbutz Merav has evacuated the plots, given to it illegally in 1980s, the security barrier still prevents Palestinian farmers from accessing it — Kibbutz Merav in the north of Israel has evacuated 1,000 dunams (250 acres) of private Palestinian farmland it had been cultivating since the 1980s, the State Prosecutor’s Office reported to the High Court of Justice on Tuesday. Responding to a petition by residents of the Palestinian village of Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley, the prosecution told the court that “after long discussion with the kibbutz, the Israel Lands Authority and the kibbutz signed an agreement in which the kibbutz evacuated all the lands that were the subject of the petition.” Kibbutz Merav is located within the Green Line on the slopes of Mount Gilboa, overlooking the eastern part of the Jezreel Valley. Haaretz reported in 2013 that the then-Israel Lands Administration had admitted to illegally giving private Palestinian land to the kibbutz, which continued to cultivate it over the years. The land in question is located beyond the pre-1967 border, but across from the security barrier, meaning that even though it has now been evacuated, the land’s Palestinian owners still do not have access to it. The prosecution informed the court that it would act to have the land declared a “seam line area,” which “would make access for the owners of the land possible for the purposes of cultivation, subject to security considerations.” The petitioners, for their part, are not making do with the statement to the court and are considering petitioning for the security fence to be moved….
Israel knocks down Palestinian ‘Araqib village for the 103rd time
NEGEV (PIC) 20 Sept — Israeli bulldozers demolished on Monday the Bedouin village of al-‘Araqib for the 103rd time, in a new war of attrition against the Palestinian Bedouin community. The Israeli government demanded that the al-‘Araqib natives pay a fine of one million shekels to cover the demolition expenses. Activist Aziz al-Touri, from al-‘Araqib, said the Israeli authorities have been waging a slow and methodical war of attrition against Bedouin residents of unrecognized villages in an effort to expel them. He added that Israeli army patrols have frequently stormed the village and took pictures of civilian homes and tents so as to pave the way for the demolition process. The Israeli forces further knocked down the village’s Islamic cemetery. As a result, most of al-‘Araqib’s residents have indeed left over the years to neighboring towns … The first demolition in the village took place almost six years ago, on July 27, 2010.
Israeli forces reportedly demolish structures in East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — Israeli forces reportedly demolished structures in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sur Bahir and Beit Hanina early Tuesday morning, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory, without providing further details. Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the structures demolished in Sur Bahir included an agricultural structure and a warehouse …The summer has seen a large-scale demolition campaign targeting Palestinian communities across Jerusalem on an unprecedented scale. In less than 24 hours in late July, 30Palestinian families were left homeless after Israel destroyed homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Issawiya and Ras al-Amoud, and in the village of Qalandiya in the West Bank district of Jerusalem.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
UC Berkeley reinstates course on Palestine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 19, 2016 Contact: Dylan Fahoome, Palestine Legal [email protected] | 312-212-0448 — University of California Berkeley (Cal) reinstated a student-led course on Palestine this morning following an outcry over its arbitrary suspension last week. The suspension, taken in apparent response to pressure from Israel advocacy groups, was widely condemned — by students, professors, and observers — as a violation of academic freedom, shocking, and unjustifiable. Palestine Legal sent a letter to Cal Chancellor Dirks Friday, on behalf of Paul Hadweh, the student facilitator, warning that the suspension infringed on First Amendment rights and principles of academic freedom. The letter demanded immediate reinstatement and an apology to the students. Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science, Carla Hesse, announced in a statement that the course is reinstated. “I hope we can now focus on the challenging intellectual and political questions that this course seeks to address,” said Paul Hadweh, the course facilitator and Cal senior whose family is originally from Bethlehem. “I await an apology from Chancellor Dirks, and Dean Hesse,” explained Hadweh. “The university threw me under the bus, and publicly blamed me, without ever even contacting me. It seems that because I’m Palestinian studying Palestine, I’m guilty until proven innocent. To defend the course, we had to mobilize an international outcry of scholars and students to stand up for academic freedom. This never should have happened.”….
Israeli justice minister: BDS is the ‘new face’ of terrorism
MEMO 19 Sept — Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked branded the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement a form of “terrorism”, in remarks made yesterday. Speaking at a Jewish National Fund (JNF) conference in New York, the hardline right-wing minister compared the BDS campaign to tunnels under the Gaza border fence. “Sometimes the BDS movement’s funding sources are identical to those funding the terrorist organisations,” Shaked claimed, adding: “This is the new face of terrorism.” The minister claimed that while “criticism of Israel is legitimate”, criticism “that attempts to undermine Israel’s right to exist is illegitimate.” Therefore, Shaked said: “The BDS is illegitimate. I define it thus: BDS is another branch of terrorism in the modern age.” Speaking to a primarily Jewish American audience, Shaked regretted that “there are also some young Jewish liberals who get confused and are led astray by this movement.” “They swallow the lies that the Palestinian propaganda disseminates….
Astonishing as it may seem, chanting ‘Viva Palestina’ could soon be a hate crime
MEMO 21 Sept by Yvonne Ridley — “Viva Palestina” is an enduring chant along with “Long Live Palestine” and “Long Live Gaza”, all of which are often used by human rights activists and others who want to show their support and goodwill for the long life and well-being of the state and its people. However, using such slogans and messages of solidarity could soon become a hate crime in Scotland, a nation which has often been praised for its refusal to give unconditional support to Israel and its brutal military occupation of Palestine. To the astonishment of legal observers and human rights activists, a landmark trial is set to go ahead in Aberdeen after Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) member Alister Coutts, 56, was charged with “acting in a racially aggravated manner with intent to cause distress and alarm”. His “crime” was to utter “Viva Palestina” next to the Jericho Cosmetics stall in the city’s Union Square shopping mall. His arrest, charge and impending court appearance has now fuelled speculation that pro-Israel Zionist groups in Scotland are exerting undue pressure on the authorities to “get tough” with SPSC and other Palestinian-supporting groups. Following an initial crime investigation the police will send a report to the local Procurator Fiscal, who will consider the content and decide whether to take any further action….
Jewish professors across America launching anti-BDS ‘university’
Haaretz 20 Sept by Judy Maltz — In the latest initiative aimed at countering the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, a group of Jewish-American university professors has created an online database of materials and resources designed to help academics obtain a more “nuanced” understanding of the Middle East conflict. The website’s most notable feature is being billed as “the world’s largest public library of course syllabi in Jewish studies and Israel studies.” “Our aim to go beyond the usual debate about whether Israel is the greatest country in the world or the most wretched country in the world,” said Cary Nelson, former president of the Association of American University Professors (AAUP) and the driving force behind the initiative. “By gaining access to all this material, we hope people will start to think about Jewish culture, Jewish history and Jewish politics — not to mention Israeli culture, Israeli history and Israeli politics — in a much more nuanced way than they are presented by the BDS movement.” The new online database, which will be free of charge, is set to launch at the end of the month. According to Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Illinois, more than 450 syllabi have already been uploaded to the site, called “Israel and the Academy”.
Hebron mayor: Palestinians detained for collaborating with Israel to ‘escalate violence’
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Sept — Palestinian security forces have recently detained an unspecified number of Palestinians suspected of being hired by Israel to “escalate violence,” according to the mayor of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, amid a spike in unrest that has seen seven Palestinians and one Jordanian killed by Israeli forces since Thursday. “Our reports indicate that Israeli forces provoke Palestinian children and incite them to carry knifes. Israeli soldiers keep asking Palestinian children at checkpoints, ‘Where are your knifes? Why aren’t you carrying knifes?’,” Kamel Hameid said in a press conference on Tuesday. Hameid told reporters that Israeli security forces, with the support of the Israeli government, have been carrying out an “ethnic cleansing” campaign against unarmed Palestinian citizens, adding that “Israel’s escalation of violence and executions is exacerbating the situation in Hebron to the brink of disaster.” … Hameid said that Israel has escalated tension and a policy of collective punishment on innocent civilians to serve its “occupational purposes,” by adding more forces in Hebron’s Old City, while also banning Palestinian worshipers from entering the Ibrahimi mosque — located at the epicenter of tensions between local Palestinians and Israeli forces and settlers — among other punitive measures. The Hebron mayor added that Israel has also began to impose an “economic siege” on Hebron, whereby a number of factory owners “have been prohibited from importing basic materials to their factories and were also banned from exporting their products to Jerusalem.” Hameid also said that Israel targets Hebron’s educational system through its numerous military checkpoints in the area which obstruct students from reaching their schools, while Israeli forces have also regularly fired tear gas canisters at classrooms…
The allegations of collaboration with Israel come after reports emerged in September last year that 20 Palestinians filed a lawsuit against the PA in an Israeli court, seeking up to $100 million in damages after they were detained for alleged collaboration with Israeli intelligence….
Palestinian local polls postponed, no new date
AFP 21 Sept — Palestinian municipal polls scheduled for October 8 were postponed on Wednesday after a court delayed a ruling on whether to hold the first vote since 2006 to include both Fatah and Hamas. The Palestinian high court in the Fatah-led West Bank put off its ruling until October 3, only five days before the scheduled date for the elections. Two weeks of campaigning are usually allotted for Palestinian elections and had been set to begin on Friday. In response, the electoral commission confirmed that the October 8 date “is no longer applicable.” It set no new date. On September 8, the court suspended the elections following disputes between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements over candidate lists. It had left open the possibility that they could be re-scheduled for the same date if the dispute was resolved, but Wednesday’s announcement by the electoral commission was widely anticipated….
Palestinians on both sides seethe over postponed elections
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 19 Sept by Moath al-Amoudi — Palestinians are disappointed by the postponement of the local elections, and with the political divide as deep as ever, the wide disillusionment and frustration plaguing both the West Bank and Gaza is giving way to apathy — Frustration and discontent prevailed among Palestinians on Sept. 8, after the High Court of Justice in Ramallah postponed the local elections indefinitely. The court’s decision followed a number of appeals presented by several lawyers, challenging the legitimacy of elections that would not include East Jerusalem and the lack of appropriate conditions for holding them. The appeals also challenged the legitimacy of the Gaza courts and judiciary tasked with evaluating them. Mohammed al-Najjar, who sells vegetables in the popular Khan Yunis market west of Gaza City, told Al-Monitor he was angry at the postponement. “We were hoping the local elections would lead to legislative and presidential elections … that would improve our bad economic situation. My family and I registered to vote, but the elections were unfortunately postponed.” … Mansour added, “The local elections would have been a great opportunity for Palestinian municipalities to regain their legitimacy, as the terms of the local councils that are currently operating have ended. However, the decision to postpone the elections proved that no Palestinian political institution is legitimate. They are all expired, starting with the presidential administration, the Palestinian Legislative Council and the local municipalities.” Ever since the last legislative elections in 2006, no other legislative or presidential election has been held as a result of the Palestinian division.
In Gaza and West Bank, Palestinian journalists fear squeeze on free press
GAZA/RAMALLAH (Reuters) 19 Sept by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ali Sawafta — On Sept. 1, half a dozen Hamas security officials called at the home of Mohammed Othman, a young journalist in Gaza who had written several probing articles. They seized two laptops, two mobile phones and took Othman away for questioning. Twenty-four hours later, after what he described as an intense interrogation, the 29-year-old was released, but not before he had been asked to sign a document promising not to criticize Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza, or its security services. Othman says he refused. “They were telling me things trying to scare me and influence me,” he told Reuters the day after his release, describing being slapped around during the detention. “I discovered the reality is worse than I thought.” The Hamas-run Government Media Office in Gaza said Othman was detained by internal security on a warrant issued by the prosecutor’s office, and denied he was mistreated. “We have great respect for the rights of journalists to work freely and write everything,” the head of the office, Salama Maarouf, told Reuters. Despite that, media monitoring and human rights groups say press freedom is under threat in the West Bank and Gaza, with both Hamas and Fatah, the Western-backed party that runs the West Bank, increasingly wary of journalists and bloggers who write critically or seek to expose wrongdoing….
US embassy sends settlement wine to anti-settlement groups
+972 mag 19 Sept by Edo Konrad — The diplomatic faux pas is indicative of just how impossible it is to distinguish between Israel and its illegal settlements these days — Human rights organizations in Israel were in for a surprise on Monday when they opened Rosh Hashanah gift baskets sent by the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. Among the various goodies delivered in honor of the upcoming Jewish New Year — such as chocolates and honey — was a bottle of wine produced in the occupied West Bank. A broad range of organizations including Peace Now, B’Tselem, and Yesh Din which focus on Palestinian rights and settlement expansion in the occupied territories, were among those to receive the gift basket. The wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon named “Dolev,” is produced by the Zion Winery located in the West Bank settlement Mishor Adumim. The winery’s website provides a terse historical description, omitting any mention of the fact that it operates out of occupied territory:….
In Brookings poll, most Dems say $38 billion aid package to Israel is ‘way too much’ while GOP is split
Mondoweiss 20 Sept by Allison Deger — Most Democrats think the $38 billion dollar aid package the U.S. signed with Israel last week — the highest in U.S. history — is “too much or way too much” money, while Republicans are split on the amount, according to a survey conducted by the Brookings Institute. Polling more than 1,500 in May, Brookings asked Americans along party lines what they thought of the U.S.-Israel relationship, in terms of dollars and cents … Fifty-seven percent of Democrats answered Israel’s aid at $40 billion rolled out over ten years was too high, compared to 40 percent of Republicans. Another 40 percent of Republicans thought the package was too low. The division between the GOP and Democrats on Israel remained consistent throughout the poll. Fifty-three percent of Democrats “think that the Israeli government has too much influence” in the U.S., while only 27 percent of Republicans said Israel exercises undue influence. The issue where the two camps are most split is on settlements. Republicans overwhelmingly back Israel’s settlements in the West Bank with 73 percent pledging the U.S. should “do nothing” to “limit opposition to” Israeli construction in the occupied Palestinian territory. Yet Democrats are divided. Fifty-three percent said they want the U.S. to impose economic sanctions on Israel if it does not freeze settlement building….
Secret documents reveal how Israel tried to evade international scrutiny of occupation
Haaretz 20 Sept by Yotam Berger — Two classified Foreign Ministry documents, from 1967 and from 1968, disclose how the government tried to avoid application of the Geneva Conventions to the territories immediately after they were captured and how it tried to prevent international criticism of violations of the conventions. They also show how Israel tried to avoid granting the International Committee of the Red Cross access to the territories as mandated by the conventions. In the documents, senior civil servants admit to various violations of the conventions, including the use of violence against the Palestinian population. They also reveal how Israel sought to avoid defining itself as an occupier in the territories, while admitting explicitly that this claim was put forth for strategic reasons, to avoid criticism, even though there was no substantive justification for it. One document is a cable sent in March 1968 to Israel’s then-ambassador in Washington, Yitzhak Rabin, by Michael Comay and Theodor Meron. Comay, a senior diplomat whose previous posts included ambassador to the United Nations, was political advisor to then-Foreign Minister Abba Eban when the cable was written. Meron was the Foreign Ministry’s legal advisor. The cable, which was classified top-secret, contains instructions from Comay and Meron on what Rabin should do to prevent the United States from forcing Israel to apply the Geneva Conventions to the territories….
Opinion: There won’t be peace until Israel accepts responsibility for the Nakba / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 22 Sept — The government of Israel confirms once again: War crimes were committed in 1947-1948; there were acts of slaughter, there was expulsion, there was ethnic cleansing – there was a Nakba, a Catastrophe as the Palestinians call their experience in those years. How do we know? The government is about to extend the confidentiality of one of the major files in the Israel Defense Forces Archive that deals with the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem. Sixty-eight years have gone by and Israel is concealing the archival truth from itself – could there be any clearer proof that it has something to hide? A senior official explained to Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid (“Panel led by Shaked likely to keep ‘Nakba file’ in IDF archive sealed,” September 20): “When peace comes, it will be possible to open those materials to public viewing.” Peace is not going to come before the Israelis know about and understand how it all began. Peace is not going to come before Israel accepts responsibility, apologizes and compensates. There is no peace without this. Perhaps there could be truth and reconciliation commissions like in South Africa, or a bended knee and reparations like in Germany. This could be the expression of an apology to the Palestinian people, partial return and partial compensation for the property stolen in 1948 and ever since. Just not denial and shirking of responsibility. Peace is not going to be prevented because the Palestinians are insisting on the right of return. It will be prevented mainly because Israel is not prepared to internalize the historical starting point: A people without a country came to a country with a people, and that people experienced a terrible tragedy that continues to this day. That people does not forget. And Israel will not be able to make them forget. Israel despises Holocaust deniers – and rightly so. In many countries it is a crime. And has Israel confronted its past? Never. The Jewish world demands compensation for the property it left behind in Eastern Europe and the Arab countries. Jews are allowed to return to Jewish property in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Confronting our past is just not something we do. Different laws apply to us, laws of the chosen people and the double standard. From the hump on our back – the one that is hidden in archives and rises high from every refugee camp and ruined village – we look away….