Violence / Detentions – West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli intelligence informs father of slain Palestinian his son was ‘killed by mistake’
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli intelligence on Tuesday informed the family of Mustafa Nimir, who was shot dead by Israeli forces on Monday during a military raid on the Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, that the 27-year-old was “killed by mistake.” Mustafa’s father, Talal, told Ma‘an that Israeli intelligence summoned him and his wife on Tuesday to the Nabl Yaqoub police station in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina and informed the family that the police had launched an investigation into the incident, adding that Mustafa and his brother-in-law, 25-year-old Ali Tayser Nimir who was injured at the time, were not attempting to carry out an attack. Israeli forces shot Mustafa dead and injured Ali when the two came under live fire while driving near clashes that erupted between local youth and Israeli soldiers during a military raid in Shu‘fat refugee camp. The two were returning home after picking up food for their family. Ali’s condition was initially reported as moderate and he was evacuated by Israeli ambulances to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Israeli authorities claimed at the time that the driver of the vehicle attempted to run over Israeli police and border guard officers before they fired at the car — a claim which family members and eye witnesses rejected. “Their sorry will not bring back Mustafa,” Talal told Ma‘an after speaking with the Israeli police. “Israeli soldiers do not value human souls and they kill for many reasons and have different excuses, as if they are hunting birds.” “There are no justifications for killing our children,” the bereaved father continued. “Even if soldiers really did order them to stop the vehicle, why would they immediately start shooting at them?” Talal added that he would now work to punish the soldiers who killed his son, and focus on protecting other Palestinian youths from such incidents. He also urged international local human rights groups to follow up with the case. The Israeli intelligence also informed Talal that Mustafa’s slain body was currently being held in the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute in Tel Aviv, and would be returned for burial. However, no more information was given to the family. Meanwhile, Abdallah Nimr, the brother of Ali, told Ma‘an that the Israeli magistrate court extended the detention of injured Ali Nimr until next Thursday while he was still at the hospital being treated for his injuries. He is being charged with driving without a license….
Detailed account of the killing of Mustafa Nimir, with photos:
Palestinian shot dead by police while bringing home food, baby clothes, grieving mother recounts
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — Eyewitnesses to the killing of 27-year-old Mustafa Nimir — shot dead early Monday morning when Israeli forces showered the vehicle he was travelling in with live fire — have denied the Israeli police’s narrative that claimed Mustafa and the driver of the vehicle were attempting a car ramming attack … Mustafa Nimir’s grieving mother told Ma’an hours after her son was killed that on Sunday evening, Mustafa and Ali left the house in Shu‘fat refugee camp, located just north of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, to visit Mustafa’s big brother. “Mustafa called me at midnight to tell me that he and Ali were still at his brother’s house.” Hours later, at 4 a.m. on Monday, Mustafa was killed. His mother was shocked by the news. “(When I spoke to Mustafa on the phone), he said they were bringing us food and new clothes for Ali’s daughter,” she told Ma‘an, rejecting the claim that the two were planning a car ramming attack on Israeli soldiers. She called the Israeli police narrative “an excuse to justify killing Palestinians.” … Pictures taken from inside the car after the incident show the back seat sprayed with blood — shopping bags and loaves of bread still sitting on the seat. Mustafa’s father said that he rushed to the hospital as soon as he heard about his son’s killing, but Israeli police refused to let him inside or provide any information regarding Mustafa or Ali … Another eyewitness to the shooting, Nazik Ghaith, resides on Anata Street. Ghaith said she heard the sound of gun shots while she was sleeping and went out to the balcony to see tens of Israeli soldiers surrounding a car open heavy fire on the vehicle. After the car crashed into the parked car, Ghaith said she saw one Israeli soldier open the driver side door and demand that Ali, who had just been shot, step outside while threatening to shoot him again. She saw Ali step out, putting his hands up, saying repeatedly, “I didn’t do anything.”
“Israeli soldiers pushed him on the ground, ordered him to take his pants off, and searched him, despite his injuries,” Ghaith recalled. She said that Mustafa’s dead body was left sitting in the front passenger’s seat while Ali was left injured on the ground for 30 minutes without being provided medical care, before two Israeli military vehicles arrived at the scene. One military vehicle took Mustafa’s body, while the other evacuated Ali….
Police retract terror accusation against Palestinian killed by cops
Haaretz 7 Sept by Nir Hasson — Police in Jerusalem Tuesday retracted their claim that the police shooting resulting in the death of Mustafa Nimr at the Sho‘afat refugee camp on Monday was the result of an attempted terror attack. Ali Nimr, the driver of the vehicle in which his cousin Mustafa sat, was arrested only because of driving without a license, driving while intoxicated and reckless endangerment with a vehicle. A video clip that Channel 10 broadcast last night raises additional questions regarding the incident. Two shots are heard in the video after the vehicle stopped and the driver was removed. Mustafa Nimr, 27, grew up in the camp but was living in Ramat Gan with his Jewish girlfriend. He and Ali had returned from a night out in ‘Anata to the family home in Sho‘afat on Monday before dawn. His brother and Mustafa’s girlfriend rode in the car behind. When they reached the camp, police officers who had been in the camp for a raid opened fire on them. Police initially claimed that Ali had tried to run over the police officers. Mustafa was shot several times and died soon afterward. Ali was hit and moderately wounded. Eyewitnesses denied that the car had endangered police. They said the two cars carrying the men and woman were in a race and the drivers didn’t even notice the police, who were dressed in black and stood in a dark spot. The Channel 10 video shows them threatening Ali and pulling him forcefully from the car. After he is seen lying on the ground, with Mustafa wounded or dead, two more shots are heard, whose source is unclear….
Israel returns body of Palestinian teenager 200 days after his death
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — After holding his body in a morgue for 200 days, Israeli authorities returned 19-year-old Muhammad Abu Khalaf to his family in occupied East Jerusalem, who laid him to rest just after midnight Tuesday morning. Abu Khalaf, a resident of the village of Kafr ‘Aqab in central Jerusalem, was shot dead on Feb.19 after he stabbed and wounded two Israeli border police officers outside the Old City’s Damascus Gate. “We have awaited the body of my son for 200 days, and they were very difficult days,” Abu Khalaf’s bereaved mother Rula told Ma‘an. “Today, the pain from the unhealed wound was renewed when we received his body and buried it.” She expressed her “thankfulness to God” that her son was finally buried “in the soil of the holy Jerusalem.” Israeli authorities delivered Abu Khalaf’s body to his family after midnight at the al-Mujahidin cemetery, located just outside the walls of the Old City. Abu Khalaf’s body was returned and buried in accordance with conditions imposed by Israeli authorities, which has allowed the release of bodies of slain Palestinians from East Jerusalem only on the conditions that their families bury them in cemeteries chosen by the police in the presence of a maximum of 25 family members. Like other families of slain Jerusalemites accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis, the Abu Khalaf family was required to pay a 20,000 shekel ($5,292) “insurance fee” to make sure they abide by the rules. Contrary to other cases of bodies being returned to their families completely frozen, Abu Khalaf’s mother expressed some relief, saying her son’s body looked and felt more natural … The release of Abu Khalaf’s body left the number of slain Palestinians accused of committing attacks against Israelis who are still being held in Israeli morgues at 11, including three women and one resident of occupied East Jerusalem, among them Abd al-Muhsen Hassuneh, 21….
PPS: ‘Israel soldiers kidnap ten Palestinians in the West Bank’
IMEMC 5 Sept — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, overnight and earlier Monday, ten Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank. In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Halabi, and Waleed Suleiman Rabea’, 47. It is worth mentioning that Mohammad is the brother of Mohannad Halabi, 19, who was shot to death by Israeli police, on October 3rd 2015, after allegedly stabbing to death an armed Israeli, grabbing the gun of a settler who intervened, then killing an additional person, and wounding two others in the Old City of Jerusalem. In Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, the soldiers invaded and searched homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Moath Yousef Shahateet, 20, and Thaer Nael Abu Sharkh, 32. In Tulkarem, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Ali Taqi, 25. Another Palestinian, identified as Hussein Zoheir Samara, 24, was kidnapped from the central West Bank district of Salfit. In addition, the soldiers invaded ‘Aida refugee camp, in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Ibrahim Yassin Abu Srour, 30….
Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — At least 16 Palestinians were detained during overnight raids across the occupied West Bank Tuesday, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and the Israeli army. PPS reported in a statement that a total of seven Palestinians who were detained from the central West Bank district of Ramallah and al-Bireh. The detainees were identified as Nour Adel al-Barghouthi and Wisam Rimawi from the Ramallah area village of Beit Rima; Adnan Lafi and Yousif Thaer Farhan were detained from the Qalandiya refugee camp, while Omar Nakhla was detained from Jalazone refugee camp in the north of Ramallah; two Palestinians were detained from the village of al-Mughayyir in the north of Ramallah, and were identified as Abbas Abu Aliya and Ehab Osama Abu Aliya.
PPS reported a total of four detentions from the Hebron district, with Mahmoud Ramadan al-Rojbe and Ahmad Abu Sbeih detained from Hebron city, Ibrahim Mohammad al-Hour from Surif village in the northwest of the district, and Thaer Abu Sharkh from the al-Dhahiriya village in the southwest of Hebron. Three members of the Odeh family were detained from the town of Huwwara near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, and were identified as Abdallah Ehab Odeh, and brothers Mohammad Rafaat Odeh and Abdelraman Rafaat Odeh. From the Jericho district, PPS identified one Palestinian detainee as Tariq Peter Issa. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an 10 of the detentions, identifying one from the village of Kifl Haris in the Salfit district….
Israeli forces detain 13 Palestinians from West Bank, interrogate Hebron locals about elections
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — At least 13 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces in overnight raids across the occupied West Bank, according to local Palestinian and Israeli army sources. Israeli forces reportedly detained Wassim al-Jamal, Wajdi al-Karaki, Nimr Asafra and Shihab Abu Ihleil from the southern West Bank’s Hebron city. In the town of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district, Palestinian activist Muhammad Awwad said that Israeli forces raided his and several other homes in the town. Israeli forces reportedly delivered summons to Muhammad Hasan Jaafar Aadi and Anan Abed al-Hamid Ikhleil of Beit Ummar to meet with Israeli intelligence. Awwad told Ma‘an that Israeli forces were deployed at the northern entrance of the town, stopping and interrogating locals that were passing through. Awad pointed out that soldiers stopped pedestrians and vehicles, and “forced them into the Israeli military tower in the area, and interrogated them regarding the coming local elections, candidates and the role of families in elections.” According to locals in the northern district of Nablus, Israeli forces detained Haitham Bashar Qadus, former prisoner Omar al-Hanbali, whose brother Muhammad was killed by Israeli forces in 2003, and another former prisoner Abed al-Hakim al-Qadah from the area….
The occupation in Hebron: Border police undertake lineup of Palestinian children for benefit of settlers
B’Tselem 5 Sept — At about 3:00 P.M. on 10 August 2016, a fight broke out between Palestinian and settler children in the Old City of Hebron. Border Police forces broke up the fight and detained two of the Palestinian children, boys aged eight and 12. Karam Maswadeh, the father of one of the boys, spoke with B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash on 15 August 2016: On 10 August 2016, at about 3:00 P.M., I was at home when a local neighborhood boy came and told me that Border Police officers had detained my eight-year-old son at the Al-Mahkama (Courthouse) Checkpoint. I quickly went over and saw a few officers with my son and another boy, aged 12. A few minutes after I arrived, a police car pulled up and one of the officers, who knows me, spoke to the Border Police and told them to let the boys go. He told me that he would deal with the matter by speaking with me later. We went home and some neighborhood kids came with us. A few minutes later, four Border Police officers came and asked where my son was, but he had already run off. The Border Police took two or three of the kids who were in my home. My son didn’t come home that night, because he was afraid of being arrested. He slept over at his aunt’s home outside the Old City and came home the next day. Then, at 2:00 A.M., when he was already asleep, four Border Police officers came to our house in order to detain him. I woke him up and they drove us to the police station in Kiryat Arba. When we got there, the interrogator wanted to question him alone, but I wouldn’t agree. We stayed in the military vehicle for about two hours, and then they took us home at about 5:00 A.M. …
Fights between Palestinian and settler children are commonplace in downtown Hebron, where Israel imposes a regime of segregation, causing systematic and extensive harm to the Palestinian population. Actions by Israeli security forces include routinely detaining Palestinian children below the age of criminal responsibility. The video footage — showing Israeli security forces working in the service of the Hebron settlers and launching a night-time raid to locate an eight-year-old boy — highlights the disregard shown by Israeli authorities for the legal rights afforded to minors. Children below the age of criminal responsibility must not be detained for questioning, and certainly not in the middle of the night. This is prohibited under Israeli law, which security forces profess to abide by. In this instance, it was even reported that police attempted to interrogate an eight-year-old boy without either of his parents being present. The immense efforts mounted to locate Palestinians suspected of harming settlers contrast sharply with the near absence of action to protect Palestinians from violence by settlers, be they minors or adults, or to uphold the rights of Palestinian children below the age of criminal responsibility.
Palestinian forces stop vehicle of undercover Israeli forces, get arrested at gunpoint
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Undercover Israeli special forces reportedly arrested four Palestinian customs forces before dawn on Tuesday morning near the Nur Shams refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem. The Palestinian customs forces were reportedly conducting a surveillance operation surrounding “smuggled goods” in the Tulkarem area, when they spotted a Mercedes commercial vehicle driving in the nearby village of ‘Anabta. When the Palestinian officers attempted to stop the vehicle, it reportedly evaded them and fled in the direction of the Nur Shams refugee camp, at which time the Palestinian forces began to chase down the vehicle. Palestinian sources told Ma‘an that the customs officers managed to stop the vehicle, but when they attempted to search it, they discovered that the vehicle was being driven by undercover Israeli special forces. The Israeli forces then reportedly pulled their guns on the four Palestinian officers, and detained them for “obstructing a secret mission” they were conducting in the nearby village of Bizzariya. The detained Palestinian officers were released by 8 a.m. Tuesday, after the Palestinian Authority reportedly intervened on their behalf.
Closures / Restrictions on movement
PHOTOS: Israeli army blocks main roads to Palestinian villages
Activestills 6 Sept Photos and reporting by Ahmad Al-Bazz — The Israeli army has blocked off with with concrete cubes, boulders and dirt seven main access roads to Palestinian villages in the Nablus area of the West Bank in recent days. The roadblocks [are] unmanned, and entirely block Palestinian residents from using their vehicles on the main roads leading in and out of their villages. The army-placed roadblocks are currently blocking the main entrances to the the villages of Beita, Burin and Einabus. Similar roadblocks have been placed on the road that connect the village of Beita to ‘Awarta, and the road that connects Odala and Tapuah Junction. The army placed another roadblock on the road connecting Highway 60 and the village of Madama. According to the villagers in Beita, the soldiers who blocked their road told them they were doing so in response to rocks that were thrown at vehicles on the major West Bank thoroughfare Highway 60. Palestinian residents managed to clear the roadblocks in some locations, but soldiers returned to rebuild them shortly thereafter. An Israeli army spokesperson said in response that it placed the roadblocks after it registered increased stone throwing in recent months, in order to try and preventing stone throwers from escaping and to try and stop the incidents.
Jordanian journalist denied entry into Israel
Ynet 6 Sept by Roi Kais * Omer Efraim — Mudar Al Momani, widely regarded as a promoter of bilateral relations between Israel and Jordan, has been denied entry into Israel on grounds of ‘security concerns,’ despite being described by the Israeli embassy in Jordan as someone ‘works tirelessly for closer relations between Jordan and Israel.’ … For years, Al Momani has traveled between Amman and Jerusalem, where he lives part time with his wife. He is regarded by many as a proponent for advancing bilateral relations between the two countries as he organizes diplomatic missions to Israel and tries to demonstrate that it is different to how it is portrayed in Arab media. Al Momani has met with several Israeli government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and has attended ceremonies at the Israeli embassy in Amman. He usually received a visa each year automatically. However, this past year, Al Momani married an Israeli Arab from Beit Safafa, near Jerusalem, and has since claimed that the process of getting a visa has become extremely complicated. In the last two months, his efforts at securing a visa have proven to be unsuccessful and have led to a situation in which he is in Jordan, while his wife is in Jerusalem. “I can honestly say that I am one of the people who have worked the hardest to promote peace with Israel,” Al Momani told Ynet from Amman. According to him, he has already brought at least ten official delegations from Jordan. “I have met with Netanyahu and Shimon Peres four times and with all the diplomats and ambassadors that have been in Jordan since 2000. They are my friends,” he added. Al Momani said that he has been living in West Jerusalem for two years and as such, was very surprised when he learned that he was denied entry into Israel on security grounds. He also said that friends of his in Israel are shocked by the turn of events. “Even my personal belongings are still there,” he lamented. Commenting on the matter, the Shin Bet said, “The entrance of Mr. Al Momani was refused temporarily for security reasons. The refusal will be up for consideration by the party who filed the request, the East Jerusalem Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior.”
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel sentences 3 Jerusalemites to prison for throwing Molotov cocktails at settler vehicles
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept – The Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem Tuesday sentenced three Jerusalemite Palestinians — Palestinians with Jerusalem residency permits — to prison after charging them with throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli settler cars in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. The Head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners Amjad Abu Assab said in a statement that the central court judge sentenced 20-year-old Wisam Mohammad Salah Kastero to ten years in prison, including a 15,000 shekel ($3,994) fine, while his brother 18 year-old Nour al-Din Kastero was also sentenced to five years in prison. The other prisoner, 18-year-old Ahmad Azmi Hamouda was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined with 10,000 shekels ($2,663).The Kastero brothers and Hamouda were detained a year ago after throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli settler vehicles reportedly in response to the arson attack on the Dawabsha family last year, which killed the entire immediate family with the exception of five year old Ahmed Dawabsha who was left with severe burns all over his body … In 2015, legislation was passed in the Israeli Knesset allowing sentencing for up to 20 years for a someone convicted of throwing stones at vehicles if intent could be proven. However, the law allows the Israeli state to imprison someone for up to 10 years without proof of intent. Meanwhile, Israelis who throw stones are rarely detained or prosecuted. In November, Israel established legislation sentencing Palestinians to a minimum of three years in prison for the act of throwing a stone at an Israeli….
Israel extends remand of a Palestinian woman for alleged stab attempt
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Israeli police requested to the Jerusalem magistrate’s court on Tuesday to extend the remand of a 24-year-old Palestinian woman who was detained Monday night for having a knife in her bag. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli police suspected the the woman while she was walking in Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank, searched her, and found a knife in her bag. She was then transferred to interrogation, when she allegedly confessed to planning an attack against Israeli police officers, according to al-Samri. Al-Samri added in her statement that the woman, who she did not identify, was previously detained and convicted three times by Israeli security forces for knife possession at Israeli military checkpoints in Hebron.
Palestinian hunger striker to be force-fed
Middle East Rising 6 Sept by Ariyana Love — Israeli doctors decided to force-feed the Palestinian prisoner Malek al-Qadhi, 20, who has been on hunger strike for 50 days, Palestine Center for Prisoners’ Studies revealed Tuesday. Spokesman for the center Riyad al-Ashqar told the PIC reporter that the ethics committee at Wolfson Medical Center decided three days ago to force-feed al-Qadhi after he reached a very difficult stage of his hunger strike. The doctors tried to force-feed him, however he resisted so violently and refused to be force-fed, al-Ashqar continued. The doctors stepped back for fear of more health complications, according to al-Ashqar. Al-Ashqar affirmed al-Qathi’s determination to continue his hunger strike despite his deteriorating health condition until his demands are met. He warned that doctors might force al-Qadhi into coma in order to facilitate his force-feeding like what happened to the prisoner Mohamed Allan. Such a measure would pose a threat to al-Qadhi’s life, he stressed, holding the Israeli occupation authorities responsible for his safety.
Israeli court to hear appeal on the release of hunger-striking Balboul brothers
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — The Israeli Supreme Court is set to hear an appeal on Wednesday regarding the release of the hunger-striking Balboul brothers, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Affairs Committee said in a statement on Tuesday. Kamel al-Natour, a lawyer from the committee, said the appeal was presented by the committee demanding the immediate release of the Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, emphasizing their critical health conditions which have continued to deteriorate at a rapid pace. Al-Natour added that the court session is expected to be held at 11:30 am on Wednesday. The committee continued to call upon the media, lawyers, human rights workers, and Palestinians, urging them to voice their support in order to pressure the court into releasing the hunger strikers. 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 prison.Last month, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a similar appeal submitted by the committee to release the brothers from administrative detention….
Relatives of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners held by Israel march in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — The families of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners participated in a march on Monday in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem in solidarity with their relatives incarcerated by Israel. The march was jointly organized by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Association in Bethlehem, and the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The demonstrations set of from the Ministry of Education’s headquarters, escorted by the “freedom train” — which was first built to symbolize the Palestinian right of return to commemorate Nakba day — and headed to the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque. Pictures of hunger-striking prisoners were hung on the train and names of Israeli prisons were written on it. Head of the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Association in Bethlehem Mohammad Hameda said during the protest that the health conditions of hunger-striking brother Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul and Malik al-Qadi were deteriorating. He said that Israeli doctors informed that Mohammad Balboul, who has been on hunger strike for 65 days, could suffer from complete paralysis at any moment due to his refusal to consume vitamins. Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said that the large numbers participating in the march was a message to hunger-striking prisoners that “they were not alone in their fight against administrative detention.”….
Palestinian detainee faces serious complications
IMEMC 5 Sept — The Palestinian Detainees Committee stated, Monday, that a detainee, identified as Mohammad Khamis Abrash, from the al-Am’ari refugee camp, in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, is facing serious health complications, but is not receiving the proper, specialized, medical treatment. It said that Abrash’s left leg was amputated due to an injury that did not receive the urgently needed treatment, in addition to having difficulties seeing and hearing, repeatedly feeling dizzy, and is suffering from arrhythmia. The amputated leg frequently bleeds, especially after the wound got infected, and the prison authority is denying him access to specialized medical attention, including a prosthetic leg. The detainee also requires an urgent cornea transplant is his left eye, in addition to undergoing various procedures in both of his ears, and is unable to walk without or use the showers on his own. The Committee stated that Israel’s Prison Authority deliberately denies the detainees the much-needed medical attention, and is preventing hundreds from the receiving any specialized treatment….
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Army seizes agricultural road for settler use in Qaryut village
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Sept –The Israeli army’s civil administration, on Monday, decided to annex a dirt road used by Palestinian villagers for agricultural purposes in Qaryut village, south of Nablus, for use by Jewish settlers. A local activist said, in a statement, that the army would seize the dirt road and the land around it on the southern side of the village to build a road connecting the settlements of Eli and Shilo. He said, according to the PNN, that the project poses a serious threat to the contiguity of the village and would force its residents to leave the area. According to the plan, the entire southern road will be closed and turned into a road for the movement of cyclists, tourists and military vehicles. The appropriated road is considered the only one leading to thousands of dunams of land belonging to Qaryut villagers.
Israeli soldiers uproot 40 dunams of Palestinian agricultural lands and two wells in Hebron
IMEMC 7 Sept — Israeli soldiers uprooted, Wednesday, more than 40 dunams (9.88 aAcres) of Palestinian agricultural lands, and two water wells, in Beit Ola town, west of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Issa al-‘Emla, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies in Beit Ola, said the Israeli military bulldozers uprooted more than 40 dunams of lands, belonging to Bassam Hamdan al-‘Adam, Suleiman Mohammad al-‘Adam and Ali al-‘Adam. The lands were planted with more than 800 olive and almond trees, while the soldiers also destroyed two wells used for collecting rainwater close to the Annexation Wall, and that the army claimed the lands were “owned by the state.” Al-‘Emla stated that the attack was carried out although there are a number of cases that are still under deliberation by Israeli courts, and no final ruling has been issued yet.
Palestinian in Jerusalem demolishes his home to avoid high Israeli fines
IMEMC 7 Sept — On Tuesday evening, a Palestinian man from the al-Wad Street, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, started demolishing his own home to avoid the extremely high fines and fees, after an Israeli court decided to destroy his property. Resident Nabeeh al-Basity, 53, said he demolished his own home after Israeli courts issued several demolition orders, and he managed to delay their implementation through the courts, but the legal costs became excessively high, in addition to the accumulating fines and fees. He added that a session was held in late July 2016, and the judge ruled for the demolition of his property, in addition to threatening to impose more fines, and imprison him, should he fail to demolish his home. The 60 square/meter home was built in 1997, and was inhabited by Nabeeh, his wife, and three children; it consisted of three rooms and bathrooms. The Palestinian paid fines of more than 56.000 Israeli shekels, besides the thousands in legal fees.
Also on Tuesday evening, the soldiers invaded al-‘Eesawiyya town, in Jerusalem, and demolished an under-construction home belonging to Hamada Hammouda, and several walls separating his land from a land, owned by Palestinian, identified as Mahmoud Mahmoud. In addition, the soldiers invaded Tarqoumia town, west of Hebron in the southern part of the West Bank, and delivered demolition orders against three homes. The army said the homes, located in Wad al-Qalamoun area, are an “Area C” of the occupied West Bank, and required the approval of the military. The properties are owned by Salem Qabaja, Mazen Qabaja and Mohammad Qabaja. On Tuesday evening, the soldiers invaded the same area, and handed a demolition order targeting the home of resident Ala Ghazi Qa’war.
Palestinian restores 50 dunums of his land in Salfit from Israel after 12-year legal battle
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — A total of 50 dunams (12.3 acres) of land were returned to a Palestinian resident of the village of al-Zawiya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Salfit, after a 12-year legal battle following the declaration of his property and surrounding areas as “state land” by Israel. Abd Shaqir told Ma‘an on Sunday that he had filed lawsuits in local and international courts over the years and was finally able to restore his land by an order of the Israeli Supreme Court. The head of the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, Walid Assaf, said the committee would provide Shaqir with barbed wire to protect the 50 dunams of land, and also expressed his willingness to communicate with all governmental officials and afford all expenses of registering the land … In March 2004, a total of 317 dunums (78.3 acres) were confiscated in al-Zawiya in order to construct segments of the separation wall, which included Shaqir’s land. His victory came as an exception, as Palestinians rarely succeed in legal battles to fight land confiscations or demolition orders issued on their properties by Israeli authorities. Israel has also continued to confiscate large swaths of land inhabited by Palestinians over the last decade, and 115 dunams (28 acres) were seized in al-Zawiya as “state land” in April — in addition to 1,264 dunams (312 acres) already declared “state land” in the area….
Court case challenges role Jewish National Fund plays in Israeli land theft
MEE 5 Sept by Ben White — Senior jurists asked if body dedicated to serving Jews only should so dominate Israel’s land policy — On 18 August, a group of Israeli NGOs petitioned the country’s Supreme Court over the role of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in government decision-making regarding land usage. The JNF was established in 1901 to obtain land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. Subsequently, the JNF was incorporated into the Israeli state’s land administration bureaucracy, while still remaining a private organisation. It holds some 13 percent of the land inside Israel’s pre-1967 lines. The Supreme Court petitioners are seeking to annul JNF representation on the Israel Land Council (ILC), the state body responsible for managing public land resources. Currently, six of the ILC’s 14 members must also be JNF representatives. According to a press release by Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, although the JNF “openly discriminates against non-Jews and sees itself as serving only one population”, it is, by law, a “decisive partner” in the government body “charged with managing public land resources” … Concerns over equality aside, the JNF has also played a critical role in both the historic and current mass dispossession of Palestinians, for example, in being given expropriated land after the Nakba (the 1948 forced exodus of Palestinians), as well as in the ongoing colonisation of Palestine and displacement of its indigenous population. The JNF is also deeply involved in the ethnic cleansing of Bedouin Palestinians from the unrecognised village of al-Araqib. In response to the negative publicity this has brought the organisation, the JNF has boasted of projects which it says help the Negev’s Bedouin communities….
Video: Water shortage plagues West Bank
CNN 5 Sept Keeping a daily supply of water have become the norm for some families in the West Bank. CNN’s Ian Lee reports.
Palestinians paying thousands in bribes to leave Gaza
GAZA STRIP (Al Jazeera) 6 Sept by Sanaa Kamal & Hunter Stuart — Egyptian officers are asking for bribes of up to $10,000 from Palestinians in Gaza desperate to leave the besieged coastal enclave, according to Gaza brokers who coordinate the bribe payments, former Palestinian border officials and travelers. Typically, an adult in Gaza must pay a bribe of $3,000 to get permission from Egypt to cross the border, two Palestinian brokers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera. The brokers said that they took a 20 percent cut of the bribe, sending 80 percent to the Egyptian soldier or officer who coordinated it. Sometimes, Egyptian officers put the names of Palestinians on a blacklist, declaring them to be a “security threat”, both brokers said. The list forbids entrance to Egypt for those whose names are on it, but a $10,000 payment can have it removed. Occasionally, the Egyptians want bribes paid in goods, not cash, the brokers said. “Sometimes, they want iPhones or even gold,” said one of the brokers, known in Gaza as the “King of the Border” for his ability to get almost anyone across. During a two-hour interview at his Gaza City office, this broker received six phone calls from people asking him for help getting into Egypt. “My phone never rests,” he said. The willingness to pay such high fees to leave Gaza may reflect residents’ desperation to escape the coastal enclave, which has endured three major Israeli military operations since 2008, leaving the most densely populated place on earth in ruins. Gaza’s infrastructure is so damaged that a United Nations report last year predicted that, if current trends persist, the enclave would become “uninhabitable” by 2020. The Egyptian government of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has imposed extreme restrictions on Gaza’s Rafah border crossing since the military coup in 2013….
Israeli forces shell military training sites in northern Gaza, damage civilian home
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Several military training sites belonging to different political movements in the Gaza Strip were hit with Israeli artillery shells or machine gun fire in the predawn hours of Tuesday, according to local Palestinian and Israeli army sources, with the army saying they were responding to gunfire directed at Israeli soldiers stationed near the northern border of the besieged coastal enclave. Palestinian sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces fired at least four artillery shells at sites belonging to the military wings of both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements, while two other sites were targeted by machine gun fire.
The sources said one of the artillery shells hit a civilian home belonging to the al-Shanti family in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel. The shell reportedly caused damages to the house, though no injuries were reported.
Israeli artillery fire also reportedly hit the ‘Palestine’ military site east of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip belonging to the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. The ‘Khaybar’ training site belonging to the al-Qassam Brigades was also hit. A watchtower belonging to the Islamic Jihad movement’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, was also hit. No casualties or injuries were reported, though the shelling reportedly caused material damages to all the sites that were hit.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the shelling came in response to shots being fired overnight towards Israeli soldiers stationed across the northern border of Gaza. The spokesperson claimed Israeli forces had responded with two artillery shells, rather than the four reported by local sources.
Separately, Israeli troops stationed at watchtowers around the Erez border crossing near Beit Hanoun reportedly shot live fire at a military site used by the security services of the Hamas-run Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip. The shooting caused material damages to the building. No injuries were reported. Israeli troops also reportedly opened fire at Palestinian agricultural lands and residential areas east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. The Israeli army claimed in a statement that its troops were responding to to machine gun fire from the Gaza Strip that was being directed towards Israel’s Reim Kibbutz, located just east of the central Gaza Strip.
Egypt to extend operation of Rafah for humanitarian cases to Wednesday
GAZA (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Egyptian authorities announced Tuesday that the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip would open in both directions on Wednesday for humanitarian cases, permitting passage for Palestinians for an additional day. According to a statement obtained by Ma‘an, Egyptian authorities informed the border authority committee in the Gaza Strip that the border crossing would open again on Wednesday. Buses transporting Palestinians suffering from humanitarian issues began crossing early Tuesday morning, as Egyptian authorities had extended the crossing’s opening for an additional day. The crossing was only expected to be open for Saturday and Sunday, during which time Egyptian authorities allowed 1,200 Palestinian to cross into Egypt, of the some 23,000 Palestinian humanitarian cases that have been waiting to cross….
Dutch to help build Gaza pipeline: Israeli PM
AFP 6 Sept — The Netherlands will help Israel boost energy and water supplies to Gaza including by building a gas pipeline, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “We want to help the population of Gaza and the first step is to improve the supply of energy and water… including laying a gas pipeline,” Netanyahu said during a two-day visit to The Netherlands. After talks with his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte, Netanyahu said his cabinet had already made a decision to lay the pipeline “and I appreciate your help in realising this project.” Rutte said his country had already invested in a feasibility study for a gas pipeline from Israel to the impoverished Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip. The Netherlands would also facilitate expert meetings between Dutch, Israeli and Palestinian officials focusing on energy and water, he told a joint press conference. “The aim of these meetings is to improve the Palestinian economy, but equally it provides for a more fertile ground for political negotiations between the two parties,” added Rutte. “I realise it’s not going to be easy, but we need to keep on moving,” he stressed….
Turkish ship docks in Israel bearing aid bound for Gaza
ASHDOD, Israel (AA) 5 Sept by Turgut Alp Boyraz — A second Turkish ship laden with humanitarian aid bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip docked in the Israeli port city of Ashdod on Monday. The ship was received at Ashdod port by Cem Utkan, Turkey’s charge d’affaires in Tel Aviv, along with officials from several Turkish charity associations. The ship set out for Israel on Friday from Turkey’s southern port of Mersin bearing some 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid. It is the second of its kind to arrive in Ashdod. In July, the Turkish government sent a first ship — the Lady Leyla — laden with aid that was eventually distributed to the people of the Gaza Strip….
Gaza’s Ismail Haniyeh to vie for Hamas leadership
GAZA CITY, Palestine (Anadolu) 6 Sept — Leading Hamas figure likely to succeed Khaled Meshaal as leader of Gaza-based resistance group, analysts tell Anadolu Agency — Ismail Haniyeh, a leading figure in the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, left the Gaza Strip on Monday in a sign that he plans to vie for the presidency of the movement’s political bureau in upcoming internal polls, according to Palestinian political analysts. Since 2004, leadership of the political bureau has represented the highest position in the Gaza-based resistance group. Analysts told Anadolu Agency that Haniyeh stands a good chance of winning the vote, which is expected to be held in April of next year. Haniyeh set out from the Gaza Strip on Monday evening — via Egypt’s Rafah border crossing — en route to Saudi Arabia, where he will perform the Hajj pilgrimage, according to a Hamas source who spoke anonymously due to the issue’s sensitivity. Other sources close to Hamas told Anadolu Agency that candidates seeking to vie for the post had to reside outside the Palestinian territories so as to move freely and avoid the threat of being targeted by Israel. In light of the difficulties associated with entering and exiting the Gaza Strip — due to Egyptian restrictions on cross-border traffic and strained relations between Cairo and Hamas — Haniyeh will likely remain abroad until the elections are held, the same sources said. If elected head of the political bureau, he may remain overseas — most likely in Qatar — on a semi-permanent basis, the sources added. Since 2013, Haniyeh has served as deputy head of the political bureau. Hamas’ internal elections, in which the president and members of the bureau are chosen, are held every four years behind closed doors. Since 1996, the political bureau has been headed by Khaled Meshaal, who in 2004 was appointed overall head of the group after the assassination by Israel of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who helped establish Hamas in 1987….
Lieberman to permit entry from Gaza into Israel if quiet maintained
Ynet 6 Sept by Matan Tzuri & Itamar Eichner — Defense Minister says that he is not ruling out issuing Israeli work permits to Gaza residents after nearly a decade since they were all cancelled following Hamas’ rise to power; ‘Israel wants to reduce humanitarian pressure but not risk security.’ …Lieberman’s comments came during a conversation with local council leaders around the Gaza region who support the opening of the Erez Crossing for commerce in order to reduce truck traffic on Route 232 to Kerem Shalom. They also support the issuing of entry permits to workers from Gaza who would be able to assist in industrial areas in their field.Since Hamas rose to power in 2007, all work permits in Israel were immediately cancelled for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. “Israel is interested in reducing, as much as possible, the humanitarian pressure cooker in the Strip, but not at the price of security risks,” Lieberman added.
Israel using ‘black ops’ against BDS, says veteran analyst
EI 5 Sept by Ali Abunimah — A veteran Israeli intelligence analyst is linking recent attacks and harassment campaigns against Palestinian activists and human rights organizations to so-called “black ops” by Israel’s intelligence agencies. Writing in the Maariv newspaper on Sunday, Yossi Melman, who has covered Israel’s spy agencies for decades, reveals telling details about Israel’s ramped up fight against the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. The fight is being led by Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister of strategic affairs. According to Melman, Erdan’s ministry is gearing up to face BDS as if it were a military challenge. “We want most of the ministry’s work to be classified,” its director general Sima Vaknin-Gil recently told the transparency committee of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. “There are many sensitivities, and I can’t even explain in an open forum why there are such sensitivities,” Vaknin-Gil said. “A major part of what we do stays under the radar.” Vaknin-Gil added that the ministry aims to “build a community of warriors.” According to Melman, the ministry has recently hired 25 workers whose names are classified. It has an intelligence section run by a former security services operative and receives assistance from “a special unit” within Israeli military intelligence and from the Shin Bet secret police….
PLO fires back at Brussels Airlines’ decision to continue serving settlement products
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has reacted with outrage to a recent decision by Brussels Airlines to continue stocking products made in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, following an intense lobbying campaign by Israel’s Foreign Ministry to reverse the airline’s initial decision to stop serving the product. In a letter obtained by Ma‘an, Secretary General of the PLO Saeb Erekat wrote to Brussels Airlines CEO Bernard Gustin last Wednesday, urging the airline “to take a principled stand, consistent with international law, by reinstating its original decision to discontinuing service of Achva, and to avoid serving any settlement products on future flights.” Erekat noted that Achva’s products, including the halva snack served on the flight, are produced in the Barkan Industrial Zone adjacent to a settlement of the same name, northwest of the Palestinian city of Salfit in the occupied West Bank. According to international law each of the some 196 government-authorized settlements scattered across Palestinian territory are illegal, a position recognized by the European Union. The uproar began when a Brussels Airlines passenger complained about being served the halva snack for being manufactured in occupied territory. The company first responded by removing the snack from the in-flight meal, saying it had been served by mistake….
Jerusalem neighborhood to participate in Palestinian elections
Ynet 5 Sept by Elior Levy — Residents of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, which lies beyond the separation fence, will be allowed to vote in the coming Palestinian elections, in a month and a half’s time. The neighborhood holds some 20,000 residents. Kafr Aqab’s special standing results from several intersecting circumstances: first, Israel has forbidden municipal elections to take place in east Jerusalem, barring the neighborhood from voting in those of Jerusalem’s. Second, despite officially being part of the city, the neighborhood itself barely receives any services from the municipality. Instead, it receives services from the Palestinian Council, made up of members of the Fatah movement. Third, though most of the neighborhood lies within east Jerusalem’s jurisdiction, a small part of it, housing several hundred residents, is on the Palestinian side, a fact that acts as a gateway for the entire neighborhood to participate in the elections.
The elections committee has already submitted a list of parties participating in the Palestinian elections. In Kafr Aqab, only the Fatah movement submitted the necessary forms, which effectively predecided the elections’ local results. Kfar Aqab resident Samih Abu Ramila, who occupies the number two position on the neighborhood Fatah list, told Ynet the neighborhood’s participation in the Palestinian elections makes sense from an Israeli perspective, as well. “The Jerusalem Municipality doesn’t provide us with services, so the Palestinian Council has to provide them. The State of Israel should thank us for this, since if it weren’t for us, the Israeli courts would be flooded with lawsuits.”
Central Elections Commission announced Fatah has already won 132 locales
JPost 6 Se[t bu Ada, Rasgon — The Palestinian Central Elections Commission officially announced on Tuesday that Fatah has won 136 municipal elections where factions and independents submitted consensus lists, giving President Mahmoud Abbas’s party a commanding lead ahead of the rest of the municipal elections set to take place on October 8 in the West Bank and Gaza. Last week, the CEC revealed that 182 of the 416 locales, largely from rural parts of the West Bank, submitted consensus lists, meaning an automatic victory for those lists. “182 lists [automatically] won including 136 Fatah lists, 23 independent lists, 22 multi-party lists, and one PFLP list,” a CEC statement read. Elections will still take place in 196 other locales including many major cities such as Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Gaza City, where Palestinian factions and independents turned in multiple lists. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority will either host “completion” elections, appoint municipal councils, or allow current councils to continue their work for 38 locales that failed to submit a single list. Despite the apparently early victory for Fatah, Jihad Harb, a researcher and analyst of Palestinian politics, told The Jerusalem Post that Fatah cannot declare itself the dominant force in the Palestinian arena. “The majority of the consensus lists Fatah won are in small villages and encampments,” he said. “The real competition is in the cities, where many people live and multiple lists will compete against each other. We need to wait until after those elections take place to evaluate the influence of the different factions in Palestinian society,” he remarked….
PCHR: Cancellation of electoral list for eliminating one candidate violates law and undermines voters’ will
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 5 Sept — The Central Elections Commission (CEC) cancelled 5 electoral lists in the local councils of Beit Hanoun, Um al-Nasser, al-Zahra’ and al-Nusairat in the Gaza Strip and Yatta in the West Bank following the CEC’s approval of objections presented against some candidates on these lists. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) stresses that CEC’s decision violates the spirit of the Local Council Elections Law no. 10/2005 and its Amendments. It further contradicts with the aim of the electoral process that is based on identifying the voters’ real will and choosing their representatives, which would not be accomplished due to the cancellation of electoral lists that may include a big number of voters. CEC declared that nomination was closed on 25 August 2016 and published the initial lists on 29 August 2016, giving everyone the right to submit objections within the legal period, i.e. three days. CEC received last week, during which the initial lists were published, 163 objections on electoral lists in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. According to a statement issued by the CEC yesterday, the objections were submitted for the following reasons: 24 objections to financial acquittal, 42 objections to residency of candidates, 25 objections to resignations, 20 objections to alleged cases against candidates and 52 objections for other reasons not mentioned in the statement….
Birzeir student union’s strike against tuition hike stalls beginning of new school year
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — The new school year at Birzeit University in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah has yet to kick off, following a strike launched by the student union protesting a hike in tuition fees. The first day of school was scheduled for Aug. 25, according to the university’s English-language website. Dozens of students have been picketing on campus day and night since the strike was announced. Meanwhile, a council representing the students’ union closed the main gates to campus denying students, faculty members, and other employees entry to campus. Members of the students’ union told Ma‘an on Tuesday that the university administration has repeatedly raised tuition fees in the past few years “for no reason.” They urged the administration to exert pressure on the Palestinian government “instead of making tyrannical financial decisions based on the belief that students’ and citizens’ pockets are the easiest way to cover their financial deficits.” At the beginning of the new school year, the administration announced an increase of 4 Jordanian dinars (about $6) per credit hour for undergraduate students. The rise for sophomores, juniors, and seniors was announced to be 2 Jordanian dinars (about $3) per credit hour….
Abdullah al-Khateeb: Fighting to tell Yarmouk’s story
Al Jazeera 7 Sept by Tom Rollins — Despite a recent assassination attempt, Palestinian activist continues to document life under siege in Syria — “Under siege you can survive death and killing and kidnapping dozens of times; but staying alive doesn’t mean you’re a hero, just that the killer was a coward, and that the Lord has protected you.” Abdullah al-Khateeb, a Palestinian human rights activist from Syria’s Yarmouk camp, wrote those lines while under siege in southern Damascus. His work – documenting deteriorating conditions inside Yarmouk when international aid groups could no longer access the camp, and coordinating farming and mental health programmes to help residents survive the government-imposed siege – has repeatedly made him a target. In March 2015, armed men attempted to kidnap Khateeb outside his house. The next month, fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group reportedly stormed his home and threatened him. And just a few weeks ago, Khateeb survived an assassination attempt when two men on a motorcycle fired off several machine-gun rounds, hitting him once in the chest. ISIL’s local emir claimed responsibility for the attack, Khateeb said. “I’m fine, for one reason: I still believe in what I do,” Khateeb told Al Jazeera. “I work with what the revolution taught me.” Yarmouk still exists in name and place, but little of its old life remains. Just several thousand civilians of an original population of 200,000 remain inside, while some two-thirds of the camp has been destroyed….
Life and death of a Palestinian construction worker
Haaretz 7 Sept by Amira Hass — A’ahed Ma’arouf al Hajj al-Rimmawi, 33, killed in the Tel Aviv parking garage collapse, would leave home with his brothers at 5 A.M. and return by 9 P.M.– The family and friends of A’ahed Ma’arouf al Hajj al-Rimmawi, 33, only hope he was killed instantly when the roof of the parking structure in Ramat Hahayal fell on him. That was one of the few sentences uttered Tuesday afternoon in the house of mourning. That house, its second floor still under construction, belongs to an uncle of the laborer who was killed. About 20 men were sitting there, including the father, Ma’arouf al Hajj, who smoked silently. He is also a construction worker, in a Palestinian company in Ramallah. The women were sitting on the first floor of an old house nearby, silent and weeping. Around 4 P.M., Bassam and Mohammed, A’ahed’s two brothers, came to the house of mourning. They worked with A’ahed at the parking structure. Their father wipes away tears for the first time, after embracing his son Bassam, who was released from the hospital that morning. When the ceiling fell on them, the three brothers were on the lowest floor of the structure, working on final repairs like filling holes. “It fell completely silently, without any warning,” Mohammed told Haaretz ….Tuesday morning came the news that A’ahed’s body had been pulled out. Mohammed was called to identify his brother. It was hard to recognize the face.(“His eyes looked surprised,” he said.) He identified A’ahed by his shirt, but for final confirmation, fingerprints were taken that were compared to those on the biometric card every Palestinian worker must carry. Ma’arouf al Hajj and his family left the village of Beit Rima in 2002 and went to live in one of the lower-priced neighborhoods of Ramallah due to the policy of road closures at that time. A’ahed began to work in construction at age 16. He has a 2-year-old son and his wife, Rihan, is pregnant. She is from the village of Qibiyeh, west of Ramallah. A’ahed’s two brothers are also married to women from Qibiyeh, which is near the Hashmona’im checkpoint en route to work in Israel. And so the three brothers rent in Qibiyeh. They would leave home at about 5 A.M. and start work around 7, sometimes coming home at 7 P.M., sometimes at 9. The three of them were saving to build a house in Beit Rima.…
Death toll rises to 3 in Tel Aviv car park disaster; 3 workers still trapped
JPost 6 Sept by Eliyahy Kamisher & Yaakov Lappin — Cousin of Palestinian Dawabsheh family that was victim to 2015 Duma arson is among those still stuck in the rubble — The death toll from Monday’s construction collapse in Tel Aviv’s Ramat Hachayal neighborhood rose to three on Tuesday as search and rescue workers found another body under the rubble. The identity of the third fatality, who was evacuated from the site around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, has not been officially released. The other two have been identified as a Ukrainian foreign worker and Ahad Rimawi, 34, from Beit Rima in the West Bank. Among those trapped in the debris are two residents of Acre and Muhammad Dawabsheh, 29, of Duma, a relative of the family killed last year in an arson attack by suspected Jewish extremists … Joint List MK Ayman Odeh said during a televised visit to victims at Ichilov Hospital on Monday that the incident demands a wider, state-wide investigation into the conditions of construction workers, many of whom are Palestinian or Arab-Israeli….
Born-again peaceniks: How ex-DF generals clean their conscience
+972 mag 4 Sept by Orly Noy — For years they have served in high-ranking positions in the Israeli army, taking part in the most violent aspects of the occupation. Only once they leave do they suddenly discover that, perhaps, military rule isn’t such a great idea — By now it has become a tired ritual: every once in a while a former high-ranking member of Israel’s defense establishment “wakes up” and discovers — to his and his supporters’ utter surprise — that over the past 50 years Israel has been maintaining a violent occupation over millions of people who lack basic rights. This week came Gen. Gadi Shamni’s turn to express remorse for his part in upholding the occupation, while getting his 15 minutes of fame. “We are the world champions of occupation,” he said at a glitzy conference at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, promoting himself to the rank of “occupation champion,” no less….
Israeli group seeks referendum on Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AP) 5 Sept — A group of former Israeli politicians, security officials, artists and social activists on Monday urged the government to hold a national referendum on the future of the Palestinian territories. The group launched the campaign ahead of the 50th anniversary next year of the 1967 Mideast war, in which Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. The Palestinians seek to establish an independent state in the territories. Two decades of on-again, off-again peace efforts have repeatedly failed. The Israeli group, calling itself “Decision at 50,” is led by prominent figures in Israel’s so-called peace camp, which believes an Israeli withdrawal from occupied lands is essential for the country’s survival. They believe that establishment of a Palestinian state will ensure Israel’s future as a democracy with a solid Jewish majority. The alternative, they say, is a “binational” state in which Israel either risks losing its Jewish majority or ruling over millions of disenfranchised Palestinians in an apartheid-style situation. The group’s founders include Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, Amram Mitzna, a retired general, and Gilead Sher, who was a peace negotiator under former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The group said it sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking to hold the referendum. Netanyahu himself has endorsed the idea of a Palestinian state. But peace efforts have remained frozen throughout most of his seven-year tenure amid wide gaps with the Palestinians over all major issues. “Every day in which our control over the Palestinian territories persists brings us closer to the end of Israel as the democratic state of the Jewish people,” Ayalon said. “Netanyahu sees the disaster ahead, but he is not courageous enough to act.” Netanyahu’s office declined comment.
Abbas and Netanyahu say willing to meet, but no date set
AFP 6 Sept — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu both said Tuesday they were willing to meet to relaunch peace efforts, but no date was set and they traded blame for stalled talks. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been seeking to arrange a meeting between the two in Moscow in a bid to restart peace efforts that have been at a standstill for more than two years. But disagreements over the conditions for such talks have derailed previous efforts, and Netanyahu again called for a meeting without preconditions. Abbas did not speak of what his conditions would be for such a meeting if any, but Palestinian leaders have previously spoken of three issues. They include a halt to Israeli settlement building, the release of prisoners and a deadline for the end of the occupation of the West Bank. The Palestinian president, speaking during a visit to Warsaw, said a meeting had been proposed for Friday but an aide to Netanyahu suggested delaying this, leading to it being called off….
Belgium allocates €10 million for humanitarian aid in Palestine
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Sept — Belgium has decided to allocate more than €10 million in extra humanitarian aid to address the needs of the Palestinian people, a statement by the Belgium Ministry for Development Cooperation said on Monday. “To respond to the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo has decided to allocate an extra €10.28 million in humanitarian aid to different United Nations organizations and Belgian and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs),” said the statement. In 2016, Belgium provided in total more than €20 million in humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in need, according to WAFA correspondents.
Palestinian economy could double without Israeli occupation: UN
AFP 6 Sept — The Palestinian economy could easily double, while sky-high unemployment and poverty would plummet if the Israeli occupation were lifted, the United Nations development agency said Tuesday. In a new report, UNCTAD pointed to a long list of ways the Israeli occupation stifled the economies of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including the confiscation of Palestinian land, water and other natural resources. The widespread restrictions on the movement of people and goods, destruction of homes, trees and other assets, and the expansion of Israeli settlements were also damaging, it said. “Without occupation, the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory could produce twice the GDP (gross domestic product) it currently generates,” the report said … UNCTAD also pointed to the dire impact Israel’s control of the so-called “Area C”, which covers 61 percent of the West Bank and 66 percent of its grazing land. “It is estimated that the occupation of Area C costs the Palestinian economy the equivalent of 35 percent of GDP” ($4.4 billion in 2015), UNCTAD said in a statement. – Gaza’s rising infant mortality – In Gaza meanwhile, producers are unable to access half of the cultivable area due to an Israeli-imposed buffer zone blocking access to land alongside the border fence, and 85 percent of fishery resources due to a maritime blockade, it said. Israel also widely blocks Palestinians from digging water wells, while confiscating 82 percent of Palestinian groundwater, the agency said. “The Palestinians are left with no choice but to import their own water from Israel to cover 50 percent of their consumption,” it said. All of this combined has “generated permanent crises of unemployment, poverty and food insecurity,” UNCTAD said….
South Africa: ‘The world is a better place because of you’ – letter to Tutu
News24 5 Sept — A Palestinian film director has sent a touching letter to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, praying for his recovery, and thanking him for supporting the Free Palestine movement. Tutu has been recovering in a Cape Town hospital from an unspecified infection since August 26. The 84-year-old admitted himself to hospital, daughter Thandeka had said. Emad Burnat, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker from Palestine, is in South Africa attending a UN media seminar in Pretoria, and took the chance to write to the Arch. “I am just an ordinary Palestinian who once had the humble privilege of meeting you,” he wrote. “I clearly recall the day you visited our small village of Bil‘in in Palestine. “I am finally in your beautiful country!” The 5 Broken Cameras director praised Tutu for embracing “frailty” more graciously than most, and said he and his village were praying for his recovery. “You have done so much for our cause and struggle, given hope to so many of our mothers, fathers and children and you have inspired generations of our younger activists. “Palestine and we Palestinians will be free and your contribution toward our freedom will go down in history books.” Burnat said he was touched by South Africa’s vibrant diversity and democracy which, with all its problems, was Palestine’s beacon of hope. “I am deeply inspired and motivated by the various activists, solidarity organisations and the work of the BDS [boycott, divestment, and sanctions] movement in this country. “While you were with us you explained how you recognised Israel’s system of oppression as being similar to the Apartheid regime. “The world is a better place because of you.”
Black Lives Matter and Palestine: A historic alliance
Al Jazeera 5 Sept by Hamid Dabashi — A new generation of civil rights uprising has now picked up where the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s left off — Two significant public events came together in late August to turn this season of morbid political despair in the United States presidential election to highlight a far more significant social movement otherwise hidden to the outside world. One was when the American football team San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games because he said the US oppresses African-Americans and other minorities. The other was when the widely popular pop singer Beyoncé brought a few mothers of police violence victims to MTV Video Music Award ceremonies. These two public events are predicated on a much deeper and more enduring development in the US known as Black Lives Matter (BLM), a grassroots civil rights movement that originated in the African-American community campaigning against systematic violence and racism towards black people. -Palestine as a fact and a phenomenon- Now in a magnificent manifesto published on August 1, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), a coalition of more than 60 organisations, has pushed the BLM movement forward and issued a comprehensive programme of action, which consists of “six demands aimed at ending all forms of violence and injustice endured by black people; redirecting resources from prisons and the military to education, health, and safety; creating a just, democratically controlled economy; and securing black political power within a genuinely inclusive democracy. Backing the demands are 40 separate proposals and 34 policy briefs, replete with data, context, and legislative recommendations.” Among the declarations of M4BL is the most unambiguous position of the movement on the question of Palestinian national liberation, denouncing the US government for its unconditional support for the Israeli settler colony….
West Bank’s Hebron named World Craft City 2016
RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA) 6 Sept by Anees Bargouthi — The West Bank city of Hebron has been officially named World Crafts City, Tourism and Antiques Minister Rola Maayah said Tuesday. Maayah said it was the first time a Palestinian city had been granted the title by the World Crafts Council. “Hebron is an ancient Palestinian city that has more than 6,000 years of history and heritage that should be shown to the whole world,” she said. “This title is very important for Hebron’s old city, which suffers from Israeli daily violations and settlement construction.” Hebron is the West Bank’s economic capital, famous for its porcelain, pottery, glass, olive wood and leather tanning industries. It is also the largest with approximately 200,000 residents.
World War One shells found in drought-hit Sea of Galilee
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 6 Sept — Receding waters in the drought-hit Sea of Galilee have uncovered five World War One artillery shells likely dumped by retreating Turkish troops a century ago, Israeli police said on Tuesday. A swimmer at a resort on the southern edge of the biblical freshwater lake discovered the ordnance, and police demolition experts safely detonated the shells on Monday. “It emerged that these were artillery shells from the World War One period which were apparently abandoned by the Turks when they lightened their load as they fled from the British army,” police spokesman Luba Samri said. Turkish forces, which controlled Palestine as part of the Ottoman Empire, were defeated in battles in the Galilee in 1918. After World War One, Britain ruled Palestine under a mandate that expired in 1948, the year Israel declared independence. Israel’s Water Authority says there has been a sharp reduction in annual rainfall in the Galilee region over the past two years.