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Israeli soldiers raid occupied village at dawn on first day of Eid, terrifying women and children

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Violence / Detention — West Bank / Jerusalem

IOF soldiers raid Ramallah village on first day of Eid
RAMALLAH (PIC) 12 Sept — Israeli occupation forces raided Beit Reema village in northern Ramallah city in the West Bank at dawn Monday the first day of Islamic Eid al-Adha [the most important Islamic holiday]. Local sources said that large numbers of soldiers stormed the village and arrested a young man, Wahbi Ihsan, from his family home. They added that the soldiers wreaked havoc on the house while searching it and deliberately terrified women and children in the process.

Witness: 2 Palestinian teens critically injured after ‘deliberate’ hit and run by Israeli army
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Two Palestinian teenagers were critically injured after an Israeli military bus reportedly ran them over in the al-Fahs area south of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank Monday evening. Eyewitness to the incident and the uncle of the two teens Ziad Abu Dauod told Ma‘an that the Israeli military bus “deliberately” ran over the two Palestinians, identified as Naim Ahmad Ziad Abu Daoud, 17, who sustained life-threatening injuries, and Iyad Naim Abu Daoud, 19, who was critically injured, but less so than Naim. According to Abu Daoud, his two nephews were visiting relatives nearby when they were run over, and the military vehicle rushed away from the scene. Abu Dauod added that due to the heavy presence of Israeli forces in the area, an Israeli military jeep responded quickly after the incident and called Israeli medics who treated the two at the scene. A Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance then arrived to evacuate them to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron. An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment on the incident. “We hold the army fully responsible for their lives,” Abu Daoud said. “The driver rammed my two nephews and drove away leaving them in critical condition.”

Palestinian family buries slain son in Jerusalem
IMEMC 14 Sept — Hundreds of Palestinians marched, on Tuesday evening, in the funeral procession of a Palestinian who was killed by Israeli soldiers in Shu‘fat refugee camp, in occupied Jerusalem, on September fifth. A Red Crescent Palestinian ambulance moved the body of Mustafa Nimir, 27, from Hadassah Israeli medical center in Jerusalem, to his family home in ‘Anata town, northeast of Jerusalem. Hundreds of Palestinians marched from the Nimir family home in Ras Khamis neighborhood, and headed to the local mosque for funeral prayers before burying him in the town’s graveyard. The Israeli army killed Nimir on September 5th; soldiers and undercover units invaded Shu‘fat and killed the Palestinian allegedly for trying to carry out a ramming attack against them. The Israeli army held the body of the slain Palestinian since his death, and only allowed its release Tuesday. The army later said the Palestinian was accidentally shot and killed by the soldiers, and that he posed no threat to the lives of the soldiers who were operating in the refugee camp. It admitted that Mustafa Nimir was not the driver of the vehicle at all, but then tried to blame his brother-in-law for driving ‘erratically’, which they claim led them to shoot both men, killing one and injuring the other.

Israeli forces injure 4 Palestinians, 1 critically, in clashes south of Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Four Palestinians were injured Monday evening during clashes with Israeli forces in the village of Qusra south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, local sources said. Ghassan Doughlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern occupied West Bank, told Ma‘an that after Israeli forces stormed the town, sparking clashes with locals, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and live ammunition at demonstrators. Douglas said a 35-year-old Palestinian sustained critical injuries after being shot with two live bullets, while another was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet, and both were evacuated to Rafidiya Government Hospital for treatment. He did not specify the circumstances or conditions of the two others who were injured.

Palestinian hospitalized after Israeli soldiers assaulted him near Jenin
IMEMC 14 Sept — A number of Israeli soldiers attacked, on Tuesday at night, a Palestinian man after stopping him at a military roadblock north of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, causing various cuts and bruises that required hospitalization. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers confiscated the ID card of Suleiman Mahmoud Sa‘adi, from Jenin city, and continuously struck, beat and kicked him, before he was moved to a hospital for treatment. They added that the soldiers installed a sudden roadblock, before stopping and searching dozens of Palestinians, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting the ID cards. The soldiers also fired several concussion grenades at the Palestinians in order to force them to leave the area.

PHOTOS: Palestinians celebrate ‘Eid al-Adha’
MEMO 12 Sept — Muslims across the world celebrated “Eid al-Adha”, the “Festival of the Sacrifice”, on 11 September. This, the holier of the two main Islamic festivals, carried extra significance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which remain under a belligerent Israeli occupation.

Israeli forces shoot Palestinian journalist in head with tear gas canister
+972 mag 12 Sept by Haggai Matar — Nidal Eshtayeh, who has been attacked by Israeli troops and officers multiple times, is still recovering from the impact of the projectile that broke through his helmet — Israeli Border Police officers shot Palestinian photojournalist Nidal Eshtayeh in the head with an extended-range tear gas canister last week, which shattered his helmet and left him with a concussion from which he has yet to recover. The shooting took place during the course of a weekly protest against Israeli settlements in the Palestinian village of Kafr Qaddum. Like almost every week, the protest devolved into clashes between Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers, who shot tear gas and sprayed local homes with putrid “skunk” water, and young Palestinian protesters who threw stones at the armed and armored soldiers. Eshtayeh, a freelance photographer who works with Chinese news agency Xinhua and who is accredited by the Israeli Government Press Office, was clearly identified as a journalist, wearing protective gear marked “PRESS” and carrying large professional cameras. According to his attorney, Itay Mack, who filed a complaint about the incident to the Israeli army and police Internal Affairs, Eshtayeh was standing in a group of photographers, making it impossible to misidentify him as anything but a news photographer at the time he was shot. “I was standing behind the protest, not next to the protesters. I fell and wasn’t able to move, so they carried me to an ambulance and took me to Rafidia Hospital [in Nablus],” Eshtayeh told +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. “More than a week later, my head is still spinning; I am in pain and I can’t work.” “I have no doubt that if my client had not been wearing a helmet that he would have lost his life,” Mack added. “There was no justification for shooting directly at journalists.” [Video of the clashes, from the Kafr Qaddum YouTube page. Eshtayeh and his damaged helmet are shown in an ambulance at minute marker 1:29]:  This was not the first time Nidal Eshtayeh has been injured by Israeli security forces. Just over a year ago, an Israeli soldier shot a rubber bullet at his face, shattering the protective glass on his gas mask and pushing a glass shard into his eye. His eyesight in that eye is still damaged….

2 Israeli soldiers mistakenly enter Tulkarem using ‘Waze’ app, pelted with stones by local youth
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Two Israeli soldiers mistakenly entered the Palestinian city of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank on Monday after using the GPS navigation application Waze, and the two were surrounded by local youth who threw stones at the soldiers. The spokesperson added that the two soldiers, who were both female, were lightly injured in the incident, and later transferred back into Israeli army custody after intervention by Israeli police and Israel’s Civil Administration in coordination with Palestinian security services. According to Israeli news Ynet, the two soldiers lost their way while using the GPS navigation application Waze. It was the same app used by Israeli soldiers who mistakenly entered Qalandiya refugee camp in March, sparking fierce clashes between local Palestinians and the Israeli forces sent into the camp to rescue the two soldiers … An investigation launched after the incident resulted in the Israeli army forbidding its soldiers from using Waze.

Case closed on Druze man attacked by Jewish extremists for speaking Arabic
BETHLEHEM (Maan) 12 Sept — Israeli authorities on Monday closed the case of a 22-year-old Druze man who was attacked by an extremist Jewish mob last year for speaking Arabic, due to “lack of evidence,” according to Israeli media. Tommy Hasson, a former soldier in the Israeli army, was reportedly attacked in January 2015 by approximately 10 Jewish Israelis because he was speaking Arabic. According to the Israeli news site Ynet, Israel’s Jerusalem district attorney’s office closed the case on Monday due to lack of evidence. The website reported that Hasson, who belongs to the minority Druze ethnoreligious group, was allegedly attacked on nationalistic grounds after his suspected attackers overheard him speaking in Arabic, the native language of the Druze people.  The young man was reportedly attacked by 10 Jewish men, all wearing the Jewish orthodox ‘kippa’ headcover, outside the central bus station in Jerusalem. In response to the decision to close the case, Ynet quoted Hasson as saying that he was “really disappointed.” “They know exactly who attacked me. I’m sure that if the incident happened the other way around — that a Jew was attacked by Arabs –everything would have ended differently,” he said. The Jerusalem prosecutor’s office reportedly responded by reiterating that Monday’s decision was made “due to lack of evidence and the inability to fully identify the attackers.” Days after the attack, Israeli police had arrested six suspects — two minors and four adults. “A source in the Jerusalem police said investigators aren’t convinced the attack was a hate crime, but they did describe it as a hate crime in court,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported at the time. Haaretz reported in January that because the incident wasn’t recognized as a terror attack — as has been true for other cases where Jewish extremists assault Arabs, Israel’s National Insurance Institute did not cover the costs of Hasson’s hospitalization bills. Tag Meir organization, which fights Jewish hate crimes, had also noted that had the situation been reversed, a hate crime targeting a Jew would not have been taken so lightly. Haaretz quoted the group as saying: “Would we dare send an ambulance bill to a Jew attacked by Arabs for nationalist reasons?”….

Palestinians with disabilities are not immune from Israeli violence
Mondoweiss 12 Sept by Richard Hardigan — On Friday, August 26, Iyad Hamed was shot by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Silwad. The initial military report, echoed by Israeli journalists, seemed like standard fare. “A terrorist fired a weapon at a pillbox post in Ofra. Nobody was hurt. The force fired back and the terrorist was killed.” As Gideon Levy of the Israeli daily Haaretz noted, no one batted an eye at the presence of both of the phrases “the terrorist was killed” and “nobody was hurt”. These sentences describe the army’s attitude towards the Palestinians perfectly. Nobody was killed because the Palestinian was not a person. Palestinians are not people. At first it seemed there was nothing unusual about the story. Israeli soldiers shooting Palestinians is certainly not remarkable. Since October of 2015, 222 Palestinians have been killed in a wave of violence that some have called a Third Intifada. Even when Red Crescent Society medics revealed that soldiers had prevented them from reaching the victim as he lay on the ground, it did not cause a stir. The army later admitted that the victim had not, in fact, been a terrorist. He had not been carrying a weapon. Witnesses reported that he had lost his way, panicked when he saw the soldiers, and tried to run to safety, whereupon he was shot in the back. This was corroborated by medics who examined his wounds on the scene. Again, Israeli soldiers shooting an unarmed Palestinian from behind is not enough to make an impact. What makes the case of Iyad Hamed noteworthy is that he had a mental disability. He had been on his way home from the store to deliver candy to his children, who themselves had special needs, before, as a witness stated, he was murdered and “the candies [he] bought for his children were mixed with his blood.” On June 10 Hassan al-Qadi was riding his bicycle near the ‘Awarta checkpoint outside Nablus. Like Iyad Hamed, the twenty-two-year-old al-Qadi had been described as having an intellectual disability, and he panicked when the soldiers manning the checkpoint demanded he stop. But he kept pedaling, until he was shot by the soldiers several times….

Nearly half of Israeli Jews support extrajudicial killings, poll finds
+972 mag 14 Sept by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Nearly half of Jewish Israelis support the extrajudicial killing of Palestinian attackers who no longer pose a threat, according to a poll released by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) on Wednesday. Forty-seven (47) percent of Jewish respondents said they agree that “any Palestinian who carries out an attack should be killed on the spot, even if he does not pose a threat.” In a poll from October 2015, 53 percent of Jewish respondents gave the same answer to a nearly identical question. Pollsters also asked Jewish Israelis about the specific case of an Israeli soldier who was filmed shooting a Palestinian attacker in the head long after he had been disarmed, wounded and no longer posed a threat. Sixty-five (65) percent of respondents said they feel the soldier, Sgt. Elor Azaria, was justified in executing the Palestinian man, Abed al-Fatah al-Sharif … Broken down into various demographic segments, those most likely to justify Azaria’s actions are ultra-Orthodox Jews (95 percent), those between the ages of 18-24 (84 percent), and self-described right-wingers (83 percent). One in five self-describe left-wing Jewish Israelis said they justify Azaria’s action, while half of “centrists” do as well.

Israeli forces detain 9 Palestinians in overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least nine Palestinians in predawn raids Monday morning in different villages across the occupied West Bank, according Palestinian and Israeli sources. Local sources said 26-year-old Wahbe Ihsan Rimawi was detained by Israeli forces after raiding his home in the village of Beit Rima in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed his detention to Ma‘an. The spokesperson added that three Palestinians were detained in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, two in the village of Sa‘ir, and one in Yatta. Israeli forces also reportedly arrested Yusuf Hassan, 21, at the southern entrance to al-Fawwar refugee camp southwest of Hebron City.  Palestinian news site al-Quds reported that two Palestinians were also detained at the Abu al-Rish checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City, and taken to a nearby Israeli border police station .In the northern district of Jenin, Israeli forces reportedly detained two young Palestinian men and seized dozens of vehicles when they erected a military checkpoint at the entrance to the village of ‘Arraba, questioning passengers after stopping their vehicles. Israeli forces carry out raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis. Although UN documentation estimates that the army has carried out a weekly average of 75 detention raids in the occupied West Bank so far in 2016, the average rose to 93 weekly raids from June onwards.

Troops find 200 lbs of bomb-making material in West Bank home
Times of Israel 12 Sept by Judah Ari Gross — Israeli security forces uncovered over 200 pounds (about 100 kilograms) of bomb-making supplies in a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank early Monday morning, the army said. The discovery was made in a home in al-Far‘a, northeast of Nablus, by troops during a joint operation between police, the Israel Defense Forces and the Border Police gendarmerie. The army did not detail what the explosive precursor was, calling it “materials used to manufacture explosives.” Troops also uncovered 1.6 quarts (1.5 liters) of prepared explosive material, the IDF said in a statement. The materiel was found in the home of a man who had already been arrested by IDF troops, an army official told The Times of Israel. In a separate raid, the army uncovered two pipe bombs and two Molotov cocktails in a home in Bayt ‘Awwa, a Palestinian village in the southern West Bank [west of Hebron].

Palestinian youths detained for throwing rocks, paint cans at Israeli settlers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — Israeli forces detained three Palestinian youths overnight for allegedly throwing rocks and paint cans at an Israeli settlers’ bus that was passing by the al-‘Arrub refugee camp in northern Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, while two other rock-throwing incidents were reported in Bethlehem-area villages. According to Israeli media, Israeli forces detained three youths who had thrown rocks and paint cans at the front window of the bus near al-‘Arrub, breaking the glass and splashing paint all over the window.  In a separate incident, Israeli forces raided the village of Husan in western Bethlehem overnight Monday and fired tear gas canisters at houses after an Israeli settler was injured by a rock thrown at her vehicle as she passed by the village on Route 60 on her way to the illegal Israeli settlement Beitar Illit.  She reportedly later arrived at Beitar Illit, where she was treated for injuries sustained by broken glass from her car window.  In a third incident, an Israeli army soldier was lightly injured by a rock thrown at her head on Monday when clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers southeast of Bethlehem at a junction near the illegal Israeli settlement of Teqoa in the southern occupied West Bank. Witnesses told Ma‘an that dozens of Palestinians suffered from severe tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces heavily fired tear gas canisters at demonstrators who were throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers. The injured Israeli soldier was evacuated to Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.

Palestinian detained at Bethlehem-area checkpoint for alleged knife possession
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian at Checkpoint 300 in northern Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, after claiming they found a knife on him. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that soldiers deployed at the checkpoint searched a “suspicious Palestinian” who was passing through the checkpoint on his way to Jerusalem, when they allegedly found a knife under his shirt. The name and exact age of the reported “youth” remained unknown. He was detained by forces on site and transferred for interrogation to an unknown location

Soldiers kidnap nine Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 15 Sept — Israeli soldiers kidnapped, Wednesday, nine Palestinians, including a young woman and four members of her family, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers kidnapped Nayef Kamal Ekhlayyel, 19, and Adel Issa Zakrawi, 20, from Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. The two were first summoned for interrogation after the soldiers invaded and searched their homes at dawn, and summoned them for interrogation, and were taken prisoner at noon after they went to Etzion military base and security center. Two Palestinians were kidnapped during the invasion … In addition, the soldiers kidnapped a young man, identified as Bassam Shaweesh, from the al-Far‘a refugee camp, south of Tubas in central West Bank, after the army installed a roadblock at the main entrance of the camp. Furthermore, the soldiers kidnapped a young woman, identified as Lana Bilal Summoudi, 19, and four of her relatives, after stopping them at the al-Jalama military roadblock, north of Jenin in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

Prisoners / Court actions

Fifty detainees join hunger strike as Qadi enters coma after acute pneumonia
IMEMC 15 Sept — The head of the Palestinian Detainees Committee ‘Issa Qaraqe‘ voiced an urgent appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council, holding its 33rd session Wednesday, to immediately intervene and save the lives of all hunger-striking Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, especially Malek al-Qadi who entered a coma after developing acute Pneumonia, and is in a very serious health condition. Qaraqe‘ said that al-Qadi, along with the two detained brothers Mohammad and Mahmoud Balboul, started their hunger strikes nearly seventy days ago, protesting their ongoing illegal and immoral Administrative Detention, without charges or trial … The statements of Qaraqe‘ came during a gathering in a protest held at the Manger Square in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, in solidarity with all striking detainees. Hundreds of Palestinians, including the family of Bilal Kayed, from Ramallah, and the family of Balboul from Hebron, in addition to the family of detained legislator, the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Saadat, and the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society Qaddoura Fares, participated in the procession that started from the solidarity protest tent at Manger Square, in front of the Church of the Nativity. In addition, more than fifty Palestinian detainees, held in the Negev, Nafha, Ofer and Ramon Israeli prisons and detention camps, started a hunger strike in solidarity with the Balboul brothers and Kayed….

Israeli Supreme Court rejects appeal to release comatose Palestinian hunger striker
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — The Israeli Supreme Court Tuesday rejected an appeal to release hunger-striking prisoner Malik al-Qadi from administrative detention — internment without charge or trial — as the 25-year-old entered the 59th day of his strike. While an Israeli court issued a suspension of al-Qadi’s administrative detention on Friday, just a day before the hunger striker reportedly slipped into a coma, the Israeli Supreme Court refused an appeal by al-Qadi’s lawyer to completely release him from administrative detention. Lawyer Ahlam Haddad told Ma‘an that the rejection by the Supreme Court was the second such one to be rejected by the Supreme Court, after another appeal to release al-Qadi was previously submitted by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.

Palestinian sentenced to life for murder of soldier Almog Shiloni
JPost 14 Sept by Yonah Jeremy Bob — New law invoked to block future Schalit-style prisoner exchange — Nur-al-Din Abu Hashaya of Nablus was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday by the Tel Aviv District Court for the stabbing murder of air force Sgt. Almog Shiloni, 20, on November 10, 2014, near a Tel Aviv train station … Abu Hashaya was indicted in late November 2014 and his sentence will keep him in prison until around 2056. He was also ordered to pay NIS 258,000 in compensation to his victim’s family.
Also, due to the aggravated circumstances, including the ideological motivation for the murder, Abu Hashaya will become the first convict covered under a law passed in June that bars certain court-designated murderers from release in a future prisoner exchange or from early parole. According to the law, a court can declare certain murderers ineligible for a parole hearing until they have served at least 15 years in prison, and ineligible for actual release before serving a minimum of 40 years.

Israeli prosecution concludes case against poet
EI 13 Sept by Charlotte Silver — Israel’s state prosecutors last week wrapped up their case against the Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, who is facing a possible eight years in prison for alleged incitement and support for a terrorist organization based on a few social media posts. An Israeli citizen, 34-year-old Tatour has already spent 11 months in confinement, in both prison and under house arrest. On 6 September, the prosecuting attorneys called their final witness, a policeman who was present during four out of her five interrogations, to testify. During the defense’s cross-examination of officer Samer Khalil it emerged that interrogating officers had violated protocol by failing to accurately transcribe their interrogations, according to writer and activist Yoav Haifawi, who was in court last week. They also denied Tatour her right to read a transcript of her testimony before signing it, and, perhaps most significantly, attempted to pressure her to confess to breaking Israeli law….

Closures / Restrictions on movement

Israeli forces re-close road in Beit Einun near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Sept — Israeli forces re-sealed the entrance to the Beit Einun junction in the southeast of Hebron on Monday, just one day after opening the road that had been sealed for a year, according to the Israeli army. Israeli forces re-opened the road on Sunday night after the road was sealed a year ago. The road was then re-sealed on Monday morning using cement blocks and a steel gate, local sources said. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the junction was opened yesterday after being closed for a year “after a number of terror attacks that took place in the area.” “Following the opening of the junction, rock hurling attacks against motorists too place, some causing damage to Israeli vehicles and jeopardizing the wellbeing of the commuters. Due to the renewed attacks the junction has been closed until further situation assessment.”….

Jerusalem mayor believes collective punishment is key to coexistence
+972 mag 12 Sept by Natasha Roth — How does one go about fostering neighborly relations in Jerusalem? It’s very simple, according to the city’s mayor: curfews, closures, concrete blocks and lots of police — Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat regularly holds forth about how his city’s various demographics can rub along in peace and quiet. In August, Barkat told a group of Likud activists that a stop for Jerusalem’s planned cable car will be placed in the Palestinian town of Silwan so as to show “who really owns this city.” As a reminder, Silwan is already at boiling point due to the encroachment of settlers and settler organizations both over– and underground.  And last week, again speaking with Likud activists, Barkat waxed rhapsodical about his “philosophy of coexistence” for Jerusalem, a term he used after explaining how he has collaborated with the security forces to impose collective punishment on the city’s Palestinians. “We’ve developed some very, very interesting models. The first is cooperation between the Shin Bet, police, law enforcement and the municipality… I’ve requested closures and curfews in Jerusalem… We’ve put nearly 30 closures (in place). If you walk around the entrance and exit of the (Palestinian) villages today, you’ll see concrete blocks… This philosophy creates a very high level of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the city.”….

Palestinians take a holiday dip — in Israeli waters
AFP 13 Sept — Thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank swam at beaches in and around the Israeli commercial capital Tel Aviv Tuesday, after being granted permits to visit during the Eid al-Adha holiday. A few thousand Palestinians celebrated the Muslim festival at the beach near Jaffa south of Tel Aviv with barbeques, swimming and lounging on the beach. Palestinian women in burkinis swam or played with children near bikini-clad Israelis and foreigners. Mohammed Khatib, a 44-year-old from the outskirts of Ramallah, said it was the first time he had swum in the sea in Israel despite living only an hour’s drive away. “This is my first time here and I feel great,” he said, sitting with his wife and two young children on a grassy knoll near the beach. He said however that his 14-year-old son was not given a permit. In total, 100,000 visiting permits for Palestinians from the West Bank were issued by Israel for the Eid holiday which started on Monday, the Israeli department responsible said. Many Palestinians went to Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, Islam’s third holiest site, while others chose to go to the beach. A bus driver taking Palestinians to and from the West Bank said they had three times as many buses as last year. Under the terms of the permits, they could cross over from 8:00 am and needed to return by 8:00 pm, he said. Alaa Tahboon, a shy 13-year-old from Hebron in the southern West Bank, said it was her first time swimming in the sea. “I am really happy,” she said with a smile. Maher Hussein, a 32-year-old from Ramallah, said it was a “beautiful day. The weather is lovely, the water too.” He said he wanted to stay longer than one day, but understood he had to obey the terms of his permit to be able to get another one. However Gil Ochyon, an Israeli lifeguard who used a megaphone to urge swimmers to be careful in rudimentary Arabic, said he was unhappy at what he perceived as a double standard, arguing that Israelis were unwelcome in Palestinian cities. [Actually it is illegal, under Israeli law, for them to go there]–Israeli-waters.html


Army bombards several areas in Gaza
IMEMC 15 Sept — The Israeli Air Force fired, on Thursday at dawn, a number of missiles into several areas believed to be run by the Al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas in different parts of the Gaza Strip. Some of the missiles detonated in open lands in a Qassam site in the Shaima’ area, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The Al-Qassam Brigades said the missiles caused property damage and fires, but did not lead to any casualties. A second strike also targeted a Qassam center in the Shaima’ area, northwest of Beit Lahia, causing excessive damage. A third strike targeted another Qassam center in the Sheja‘eyya neighborhood, east of Gaza City, causing damage. The Israeli army said it targeted the Qassam centers in Gaza after a mortar shell landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council, on Wednesday evening, and that the shell caused no casualties or property damage

Israeli bulldozers level lands in southern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — Several Israeli military vehicles Wednesday morning entered northeastern Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip and proceeded to level lands near the border. Witnesses said that four Israeli military bulldozers entered some 50 meters into Palestinian lands from the Sufah military site between the districts of Rafah and Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. The bulldozers reportedly leveled lands near the border. No shootings were reported.

Gaza all-terrain vehicle smuggling operation uncovered
Ynet 14 Sept by Yoav Zitun — A smuggling network of SUVs from Israel to the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing was uncovered in a joint operation between Shin Bet, Israel Police and Overland Crossings Authority of the Ministry of Defense. The network is suspected of smuggling more than 100 vehicles in 2016 for use by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The main figures in the smuggling network are Said Muzlah, Faris Muzlah and Nuh Muzlah — all Israeli citizens and residents of Shaqib al-Salam in the Negev. Suspects purportedly disassembled vehicles and hid them in cargo destined for the Gaza Strip.  During the course of the investigation, it emerged that the suspects knew they were working on behalf of Hamas officials. This method of smuggling does not surprise the security establishment and further demonstrates the creativity with which Hamas and its collaborators operate in an effort to acquire more equipment and grow stronger.,7340,L-4854769,00.html

Gaza-bound flotilla sails off from Spain’s Barcelona
Al Jazeera 15 Sept —  A new flotilla of international activists has left for the Gaza Strip from the Spanish city of Barcelona, hoping to break a nearly decade-long Israeli blockade. Two sailing boats, Amal and Zaytouna, with 11 women on board each, sailed off on Wednesday evening under the banner “The Women’s Boat to Gaza”. The passengers, including Swedish European Parliament Member Malin Bjork and Dr Fouzia Hassan of Malaysia, aim to reach Gaza by early October. “We are carrying food and medicine on the boat that will be distributed to Gazans upon arrival,” Zohar Chamberlain Regev, a spokeswoman of the initiative, told Al Jazeera. “But mainly we are carrying a message of hope and solidarity, because we think Gazans want that most of all.” She said she had high hopes that the flotilla would not be stopped by the Israeli navy and reach the destination. “We know that we are not a threat to Israel. We are not heading to an Israeli port so they have no reason to stop us,” she said. The blockade has been in place since 2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza. Last time the Women’s Boat to Gaza attempted to deliver aid to the territory in 2015, the Israeli navy boarded and took over its vessel, Marianne. The boat was taken to the Israeli city of Ashdod. In 2010, a similar bid to break the blockade by a Turkish flotilla resulted in the killing of 10 activists by Israeli commandos, and caused a diplomatic spat between Ankara and Israel….

Barcelona hosts women’s boat to Gaza (WBG) for their inaugural journey
BARCELONA (PNN) 14 Sept — From September 12-14, the sailing vessels Amal-Hope and Zaytouna-Oliva will moor at Bosch i Alsina dock in the port of Barcelona where various events (concerts, talks, nonviolent workshops, a street parade and visits to the boats) will take place as farewell for the women leaving to break the blockade on Gaza. According to Laura Arau, with Rumba a Gaza, Spain’s WBG partner, the launch point from Barcelona has special meaning for the community there. “We have been a sister city with Gaza since 1998, yet we have been unable to visit with one another,” she says. “We want our sisters in Gaza to know they are not forgotten and that with these boats and women, we are sending to them our message of hope, love and solidarity.” The boats will depart on September 14th to Ajaccio [Corsica], France and then travel through another Western Mediterranean port before reaching the shores of Gaza in early October. For the Barcelona-Ajaccio leg, the passenger lists include Malin Björk, a Member of European Parliament from Sweden; Zohar Chamberlain Regev, an Israeli who currently lives in Spain and Ann Wright, a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the invasion of Iraq. The women participants, who differ for each leg of the journey, represent over 15 countries across six continents.

2 Gaza Strip businesswomen have more in common than they realize
NPR 14 Sept — (transcript of radio program) — STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: The World Bank estimates that the world’s highest unemployment rate is in the Palestinian territory of Gaza. The unemployment rate there is certainly among the highest in the world because three wars in eight years between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement have left the economy in ruins. Many men are out of work, although many women are filling the gap. That’s what reporter Nick Schifrin discovered on a recent trip to Gaza City. NICK SCHIFRIN, BYLINE: In downtown Gaza, the fries are frying and coleslaw is being chopped. Employees in red shirts and white hats serve greasy food to families. In the corner, there are toys for kids, and the walls are decorated with SpongeBob SquarePants. This is Big Bite, and it’s a rare sight, one of Gaza’s first and most successful fast food joints. The owner is just as rare, one of Gaza’s first and most successful business women. SCHIFRIN: Mona Ghalayini is 46 years old. She grew up in a nearby refugee camp and describes her family as lower middle-class. Where does your ambition come from? Ghalayini spoke to me through an interpreter. GHALAYINI: (Through interpreter) All right. Well, it all started with my father. SCHIFRIN: She describes her father as her inspiration and biggest cheerleader. He sent her to college in Jordan alone. GHALAYINI: (Through interpreter) But it was quite rare. Nobody would have sent his daughter to study somewhere else, but my father did. I was brought up learning these values of being brave and not being afraid of anything and to be honest. SCHIFRIN: She got her start as a hotel receptionist, one of the few jobs that Gazan women can get without offending cultural sensitivities. Only a fifth of Gazan women participate in the formal workforce, and unemployment among Gazan women is nearly double that of Gazan men, according to official stats. Ghalayini beat those odds and moved up rapidly. Five years after landing her first job, she bought her first hotel. Today, she owns or manages two of Gaza’s best known hotels, as well as Bit Bite, a restaurant and a mall. She employs 300 people….

Sheffield businesswomen help young entrepreneurs in Gaza
The Star 14 Sept by Alex Moore — Two Sheffield entrepreneurs used their expertise to help young people in Gaza start their own businesses. Elizabeth Shassere and Laura Bennett travelled to the Palestinian territory as part of the Gaza Sky Geeks programme. They spent a week mentoring young people and helping them progress their businesses ideas through a competition, before choosing the winner. Writing on her blog, Laura said she was impressed by the standard of ideas, especially in the final. “Given that English was not the first language for any of the presenters, and that pitching in public is nerve-wracking at the best of times, I thought everyone did a truly excellent job,” she said. Many of the ideas were Arabic versions of Western applications, such as Mommy Helper, inspired by Mumsnet. Others focused on needs specific to the region, such as Easiest Hajj, an app to help pilgrims find their way to Mecca and connect with each other on the journey … One of the things that Laura was particularly impressed with was the number of ideas put forward by women. She said: “They really have been the absolute superstars of this whole experience. “Without exception, the women taking part in the bootcamp are incredibly intelligent, very driven and ambitious, articulate (and in English too), lively, funny, and generally holding their teams and the whole show together. “In the majority of the mixed gender teams that I’ve met with, it’s been the female(s) who have either been the technical co-founder, or the CEO, or both. “It really puts us to shame in the UK – running Founders’ Network, I’m lucky if I have two female startup founders at any of my events.”….

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Peace Now: Israeli settlement construction increases by 40% in first half of 2016
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Sept  — Israeli authorities increased settlement building by 40 percent in the first half of 2016, according to data released Wednesday by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS), as Israeli human rights watchdog Peace Now responded to the stats by warning of an inevitable “one-state reality.” In a statement released by Peace Now, the group outlined recent data released by ICBS that details statistics on Israeli housing construction since the start of the year, showing that Israeli authorities had commenced construction on 1,195 units in Israeli settlements across the West Bank, marking a 40 percent increase from the previous six months. Construction inside of Israel, however, experienced a 3 percent decrease from previous months, according to the data. “Netanyahu is the prime minister of one sector only — the settler sector, which comprises of less than 5 percent of the Israeli population,” Peace Now said in the statement, adding that “[Netanyahu]’s investments in the settlements do not only come on the expense of the Negev, the Galilee and the rest of Israel but also lead towards a one-state reality.” … According to Peace Now, Israel has promoted plans for 2,623 new units in West Bank settlements since the beginning of the year, 756 of which were retroactively legalized construction.

Israel/Palestinian Territories — Destruction of humanitarian facilities (Paris, September 14, 2016)
France condemns the destruction on September 7 by Israel of humanitarian facilities funded by European and international donors, including France, in the Palestinian village of Al Aqaba (in Area C of the West Bank). This is the fourth time that Israeli authorities have destroyed humanitarian structures funded by French humanitarian assistance since the start of 2016. France expresses its deep concern at the continuation – at an unprecedented rate – of the demolition and confiscation of structures intended for the Palestinian population. It calls on the Israeli authorities to put an end to these operations which are contrary to international law and jeopardize the two-State solution to which France is attached.

Israeli officials reveal ‘most threatened’ West Bank settlements
MEMO 14 Sept — An Israeli parliamentary committee has named four West Bank settlements considered “the most threatened” and “in immediate need of defense measures.” According to a report by Ynetnews, a Monday meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Subcommittee named Elon Moreh, Otniel, Karmei Tzur, and Neguhot as the settlements most in need of additional funding for protection. All four settlements lie deep in the West Bank; Otniel, Karmei Tzur, and Neguhot near Hebron, while Elon Moreh is north of Nablus. The Israeli newspaper described the four colonies as “at the centre of the past year’s wave of terrorism attacks.” Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, and have been described by human rights groups as at the heart of an inherently discriminatory system. The Knesset meeting was attended by a number of senior Israeli military and security officials. Home Front Command Settlement Security Branch Head Lieutenant Colonel Or Ohayon told the committee: “over the past year, the Security Ministry allotted us NIS 9 million to invest in technological measures, which is enough to cover (the needs of) three settlements.” She added: “In 2016, we managed to increase this budget by 25 per cent, which is good, but still not enough.”

Activism / Solidarity / BDS

Israel’s anti-BDS task force enjoys unchecked power to ‘struggle against terror’
AIC 12 Sept by Sergio Yahni — Yossi Melman details in his recent article [link: Hebrew] in Maariv newspaper what little is known about the Israeli government’s efforts to undermine the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) through the Ministry of Strategic Affairs (MoSA). Even the Israeli ministry of justice – a crucial arm of Israeli occupation – fears that the almost complete secrecy afforded to the MoSA could result in unchecked “adventurous operations” against BDS activists. According to Melman, the MoSA was established in 2006 to honor (and employ) Avigdor Lieberman. Initially it was unclear what the strategic affairs ministry would actually do: it had only seven staffers and a small budget. But, today, under Gilad Erdan’s leadership, the MoSA enjoys 128 million shekels to combat the BDS movement and “delegitimization,” as well as “Palestinian incitement.” Another 44 million shekels account for operating expenses and the salary of 25 anonymous employees.  Operating ‘under the radar’  Erdan recently enlisted the former head of military censorship, Brigadier General Sima Vaknin-Gil, as the director of the MoSA; she has emerged as an impassioned advocate for the ministry’s ongoing secrecy. In a discussion held in early August, Vaknin-Gil told MK Stav Shaffir, the head of the Israeli Knesset’s transparency committee: “We want most of the ministry’s work to be classified. There are numerous sensitivities, and I can’t even explain in an open forum why there are [these] sensitivities… A large part of what we do is under the radar.”….

UC Berkeley suspends controversial course on Palestine
SFGate 14 Sept by Nanette Asimov — UC Berkeley took the rare action Tuesday of suspending a course after civil rights groups and others complained that its purpose was to indoctrinate students into a single political viewpoint. Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis, a one-credit class taught on Tuesday evenings by an undergraduate student, examines the history of Palestine “from the 1880s to the present, through the lens of settler colonialism,” according to its syllabus. “Settler colonialism” is generally described as the takeover of a region by outsiders. “The course has been suspended pending completion of the mandated review and approval process,” according to a campus statement that expressed concern about a course that “espoused a single political viewpoint and appeared to offer a forum for political organizing.” On Tuesday, 43 Jewish and civil rights groups complained in a letter to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks that the course is designed to encourage students to think “about ways to ‘decolonize’ — that is, eliminate — Israel,” and that “all the course readings … have a blatantly anti-Israel bias.” The letter says the course, its books and its speakers are so one-sided as to constitute “political indoctrination” in violation of the UC Board of Regents’ policy on course content … Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, lead author of the letter to Dirks and director of the Amcha Initiative, which tries to identify anti-Semitism on college campuses, exulted in the suspension of the course. “This is a great day for students at Berkeley,” she said in a statement.

Israeli intellectuals to world Jewry: ‘End the occupation’
JERUSALEM (AP) 14 Sept — Hundreds of Israeli artists and intellectuals are urging world Jewry to challenge Israeli policy toward Palestinians. In an open letter released Wednesday they say, “we call upon Jews around the world to join with Israeli partners for coordinated action to end the occupation.” The 470 signatories include authors David Grossman and Amos Oz, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman and 20 former Israeli ambassadors. The organization “Save Israel, Stop Occupation” seeks to end Israel’s control of territories it won in the 1967 Mideast war and to establish a Palestinian state. Director Jessica Montell says Israel’s military rule “harms Israeli society and it harms Jews around the world.” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon declined to comment on the letter. He says “we call upon the Palestinians to return to the negotiations table.”

Other news, opinion

Hamas official discusses internal elections, prisoner swap deal in interview with Ma‘an
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Sept — The Hamas-movement is planning on holding internal elections during the first half of 2017, Hamas official Ahmad Youssef said in an interview with Ma‘an on Tuesday, during which he also discussed canceled Palestinian municipal elections and the case of a potential Hamas-Israel prisoner release deal. Youssef, a former senior adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, told Ma‘an that elections for the movement’s politburo would be held in March or April, adding that after elections for each area were done, Hamas would gather to elect a new head for the politburo. However, he said that it was “too soon to expect who would be head of the politburo following Khalid Mashaal.” Hamas holds internal elections every four years.
Regarding Palestinian municipal elections, which were canceled by the Palestinian Supreme Court on Thursday after having originally been set for Oct. 8, Youssef said that there were “Arab pressures” to postpone the elections. The decision was made after a court in the Gaza Strip dropped five Fatah-affiliated candidates from participating in the local elections in the besieged enclave, a source from the Supreme Court told Ma‘an. The Fatah-controlled Supreme Court said the decision was in response to several appeals submitted by lawyers challenging the legitimacy of elections that would not include East Jerusalem, while calling elections in the Gaza Strip “illegal.” Youssef said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was the one to announce elections and then postpone them, despite the fact, he said, that the Palestinian public wanted elections and that most factions approved. “Decisions are taken individually; we hope to see a change and that the elections will be a start for ending division,” he added.
Regarding the issue of Israelis held in the besieged Gaza Strip, Youssef told Ma‘an that the issue was in the hands of of the Hamas movement’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. He added that the al-Qassam Brigades insisted that Israel release all prisoners who were freed as part of the Shalit deal but have since been redetained, before starting talks in a new prisoner swap deal.
Meanwhile, Youssef told Ma‘an that Algeria had accepted a request by the movement’s politburo member, Moussa Abu Marzouq, to officially open a bureau for the movement in the North African country, allowing the movement to have an official presence there.

PA to reportedly become sole electricity distributor in West Bank after debt deal with Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — The Palestinian Authority (PA) signed an agreement with Israel on Tuesday reportedly resolving longstanding debt issues between the PA and the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), while the PA was positioned as the sole authority over electricity distribution across the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials. The agreement was signed after discussions between Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, Israeli Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon, and head of the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Yoav Mordechai. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Monday amid discussions between the parties that the PA agreed to repay some 500 million shekels ($132,034,125) upfront to the IEC, which provides around 88 percent of total electricity consumption in the occupied Palestinian territory. The initial payment was expected immediately, while another billion shekels ($264,068,250) was expected to be paid by the PA in installments spanning an extended period of time, and another 500 million shekels would be permanently erased from the PA’s debt, according to Haaretz … “We have reached a remarkable decision that will allow the Israel Electricity Company to receive unpaid bills accumulated over more than a decade,” the spokesperson said in the statement. The agreement also shifts full responsibility for the collection of electricity bills onto the PA, who in the past had rejected responsibility for the debt, claiming it fell under the jurisdiction of local electricity distribution companies … The PA’s debt to IEC, now amounting to some two billion shekels ($530 million), has been a source of tension between the two parties for years, as the IEC has repeatedly cut off electricity to the West Bank, most recently in April, when it targeted the Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho districts in a move which was denounced as constituting collective punishment.

Palestinian aid crucial for stability: World Bank
AFP 14 Sept — The World Bank on Thursday said that international donor support is a must to maintain Palestinian budget-cutting achievements and stave off crisis. It said in a report that over the past 10 years the Palestinian Authority had slashed its deficit by an amount equal to 15 percent of its Gross Domestic Product, “an achievement rarely seen in other places around the world”. But “the PA’s finances remain fragile with declining budget support leading to a projected financing gap of about $600 million (530 million euros) in 2016,” it added. “In the short term, donor support and in particular budget support is essential to avoid a fiscal crisis leading to wider economic problems,” the report said. The findings are to be presented in New York next week to a meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which coordinates international donor support for the Palestinians. “The PA’s actions will not be enough to fully close the gap, particularly since local borrowing opportunities are now largely exhausted,” the report said. It said that the Palestinian economy would remain hobbled as long as the conflict with Israel continued, “but meaningful steps can avoid further deterioration”. It made particular mention of the Gaza Strip, battered in a July-August 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants, which killed more than 2,200 Palestinians and 73 people on the Israeli side. It said that of $3.5 billion pledged by donors for the strip’s reconstruction, less than half had so far been disbursed.

Abbas to meet Mauritanian president in Nouakchott
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 13 Sept — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be arriving in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott on Wednesday to boost relationships between the two countries, Palestinian sources said. Abbas will be in Mauritania for a three-day visit from September 14 to 16 to meet with Mauritania President Muhammad Ould Abd al-Aziz, to reportedly carry out bilateral talks to boost cooperation between the two countries in several fields. Several Palestinian officials will escort Abbas in the visit.

Israeli court rejects curbs on Bedouin voter rights
Haaretz 13 Sept by Almog Ben Zikri — The Be’er Sheva District Court has repealed an Interior Ministry decision denying Bedouin residents of the Al-Kasom Regional Council the right to vote because their identity cards give their tribal affiliation rather than their place of residency. Local elections for the council are scheduled for November 29. In August, Interior Ministry elections director Motti Berkowitz rejected the voter registration applications of some 5,000 residents. The Al-Kasom Regional Council was established four years ago, when the Interior Ministry split the Abu Basma Regional Council into two separate jurisdictions, the Al-Kasom and Neveh Midbar regional councils, as a result of population growth. Al-Kasom includes several unrecognized villages but also seven recognized towns. On August 21, the Al-Kasom elections committee, made up of town representatives, regional council employees and Interior Ministry officials, met to address the 5,000 voting registration requests by residents who had not updated their identity cards to reflect their new residential status. For example, residents of Molada, who don’t like the state-assigned name of their town, are still registered as living with the Atrash tribe. Another reason people didn’t change their addresses is the fear that they might lose rights to land with pending ownership claims. Although the committee approved the requests, Berkowitz overruled it and rejected them. The court was ruling on a petition filed by six residents from the towns of Molada and Al-Sayed, in their own names and on behalf of the other thousands of residents seeking to be listed in the voters’ registry. “The petition is  accepted in a way that the petitioners and appellants living within the council’s delineated area, i.e., the blue line, and their place of residence is listed as the Al-Atrash, Al-Sayed, and Abu Kef tribes, will be registered in the voting roster for the elections to take place in November,” ruled Judge Ruth Avida. However, the Abu Rabia tribe, which lives in Makhoul and whose registration regulations are different, is not included in the decision….

Who would want to build a tech startup in occupied territory? Meet the optimists of Palestine
Quartz 14 Sept by Lindsey Kennedy — “I think starting a business here is in itself a political act,” says Christina Ganim. In 2015, Ganim co-founded the Ramallah-based lingerie company, Kenz Woman, with Nicola Isabel. “We could both be in the States or anywhere else doing this, but we chose to do it here, because we want to contribute,” says Ganim. “We want to have a long term effect here.” Born in the West Bank but raised in the US, Ganim returned to Ramallah with her family to finish high school during the second intifada, the Palestinian uprising against Israel that lasted from 2000-2005. It was, she says, a strange time to come back, but her parents were anxious to ensure she had a connection to her homeland. By chance at a barbeque she met Isabel, an American who settled in Ramallah following a study abroad program. The friendship evolved into plans to launch Palestine’s flagship lingerie company.  Ganim is typical of her generation of young, Ramallah-based entrepreneurs: political but pragmatic, international in outlook, college-educated in the US or the UK. While many are cautious of overstating the boom in the Palestinian startup economy, its influence is evident in the city’s co-working spaces and cafes, in its events and meetups, in the cosmopolitan buzz of the streets — and in the raucous nightlife, centered around spots like Snowbar, a hugely popular outdoor bar that’s built on a hillside and holds pool parties in the summer. Funding and support are rolling in slowly from all over the world, with founders returning from the international diaspora….

Social media heeding most Israeli calls to delete ‘incitement’ – minister
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 12 Sept by Steven Scheer — Facebook, Google and YouTube are complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content that the government says incites Palestinian violence, Israel’s Justice Minister said on Monday. Perhaps spurred by the minister’s threat to legislate to make companies open to prosecution if they host images or messages that encourage terrorism, their rate of voluntary compliance has soared from 50 percent in a year, she said. “Our main aim is for those companies to do their own monitoring of material containing incitement,” Ayelet Shaked said after a meeting with Facebook officials. “Just as ISIS (Islamic State) video clips are being monitored and removed from the network, we want them to take the same action against Palestinian material that incites terrorism,” she told the International Conference on Counter-terrorism near Tel Aviv. “The world now understands that (social) networks serve as a greenhouse for terrorists,” Shaked said in her speech. Facebook declined to confirm Shaked’s assertion that it complied with 95 percent of Israel’s requests, but a spokeswoman said it constantly takes down offensive material and responds to requests from many countries, organisations and individuals …
Both Shaked and Facebook said they would prefer companies voluntarily remove inciting content than be prosecuted. A spokesman for Google, parent company of YouTube, which Shaked said complied with 80 percent of requests, declined to comment.  Shaked said that in the past year, Israel had issued 120 indictments against Palestinians and 50 against Israeli citizens — both Jews and Arabs — for Facebook postings that contain incitement.–minister.html

Israel’s Peres shows ”some improvement’ after stroke
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 14 Sept by Luke Baker — Former Israeli President Shimon Peres remains in a critical condition 24 hours after suffering a massive stroke, but is showing signs of improvement, his doctors said on Wednesday … Peres, former president and prime minister, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994. He has had minor health problems over the past year while maintaining a busy public schedule … Peres has been a part of almost every major development in Israel since the country’s founding in 1948. In a career spanning nearly 70 years, he has served in a dozen cabinets and was twice a Labour prime minister. He ran for office five times between 1977 and 1996, but never won a national election outright. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Israel’s former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for reaching, in 1993, an interim peace deal which never hardened into a lasting treaty….

Opinion // What Ari Shavit doesn’t understand about Palestinian children and Jews / Ziona Snir
Haaretz 14 Sept — The only Israelis that many Palestinian youngsters have seen are soldiers or settlers — Dear Ari Shavit, Despite my bemusement at your demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state 68 years after it was recognized as such by the whole world, I don’t mean to get into that issue. I want to focus on one sentence in your article: “Only when every Palestinian child in Dheisheh and Balata knows that there’s a Jewish people that also has rights in this land will peace begin.” That is because today’s children are tomorrow’s adults. So, I wanted to tell you something that every Palestinian child knows about the Jewish people. The only Jew that a child in Deheisheh or Balata knows is a soldier, who at best stands across from him with weapon drawn or, less fortuitously, is already firing a gas grenade, or rubber or lead bullet, or waking him in the dead of night and humiliating his parents, all this taking place in an environment ruled by wretched poverty and absent of hope. A Palestinian child in Qusra, Jalud, Faroun, Burin, Madama or Yanoun will also recognize another sort of Jew – the settler. He’s the one who sets fire to the cars in his village, who uproots trees, tears down fences and casts smoke grenades into houses. Other Palestinian children see the bulldozers of the State of Israel uprooting the olive or almond grove their forefathers cultivated for years, on the ruins of which the land is prepared for expanding the settlement already squatting on their family’s land. If the Palestinian child is a Bedouin born in the Jordan Valley, he sees how the bulldozer sent by the Jewish State tears down the tent in which he dwells, leaving him exposed to blazing sunlight and 48-degree heat, with no shade. Sometimes, as happened to 6-year-old Ibrahim from Fas’il some weeks ago, he may need medical care after suffering from sunstroke. And when another of the valley’s children grows up and prepares to wed, along comes the Jewish bulldozer and tears down the awning his father built to shelter the guests from the sweltering sun. That very thing happened just a few days ago. Sometimes the Bedouin child in the valley also knows that he cannot just turn on the faucet and quench his thirst, because there’s no water in the pipeline.


US arms pact for Israel shows enduring ties trump recent tension
AFP 14 Sept — The United States and Israel put aside the antagonism between their leaders and reaffirmed their strategic bond on Wednesday, when Washington promised its ally an unprecedented $38 billion military aid package. As Israel’s national security advisor and a senior US diplomat signed the 10-year deal there was no sign of the distrust that has soured relations between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu … Netanyahu and Obama have often rubbed each other up the wrong way and, while the Israeli leader has been accused at home of putting the alliance at risk, the president’s domestic foes accuse him of snubbing his ally.  But the US-Israeli alliance predates both men and the new 10-year deal will cover the terms of the next president too. The White House insists that the relationship is unbreakable and at the core of US regional strategy. “For as long as the state of Israel has existed, the United States has been Israel’s greatest friend and partner, a fact underscored again today,” Obama declared, in a statement released to mark the signing. But he continued pointedly. “It is because of this same commitment to Israel and its long-term security that we will also continue to press for a two-state solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the deeply troubling trends on the ground that undermine this goal,” he said … The deal covers the period from 2019 to 2028 and will see Israel receive $3.3 billion per year in foreign military financing — up from $3.1 billion per year currently — and $500,000 per year in funding for missile defense.

Israeli ammunition sales to US gun owners increase tenfold
Haaretz 14 Sept by Gili Cohen — Israel Military Industries reports significant rise in orders ahead of expected gun-law reform in U.S.– Israel Military Industries manufactures bullets for different types of weapons at its Yitzhak plant. In addition to military clients such as the Israel Defense Forces and some NATO armies, IMI has in recent years also begun selling ammunition to be used by civilian American gun owners. The company says that a third of its ammunition sales are to be directed at the civilian market. IMI’s ammunition sales are performed via six American distributors. Last year, ammunition orders totaled 250 million shekels. Two years ago, the total was much lower, at just 20-30 million shekels. The company says they have been expanding their activity in the market designed for civilian gun owners in the United States. The new deals include sales of 5.56mm bullets which are suitable for weapons like the M-16; 7.62mm bullets used with certain machine guns, sniper files and various types of handguns; and 9mm bullets, primarily for handguns. The IMI-made ammunition can be found on the open market in America, including at some of the big chain stores.

J Street calls on Treasury Dept to review tax-deductibility status of pro-settlement groups
JTA 13 Sept — J Street called on the U.S. Treasury Department to review the tax-deductibility status of groups that support settlement activity in the West Bank. The liberal Jewish Middle East policy group in a statement posted on its website and sent to journalists pointed out that the United States has “consistently opposed the construction and expansion of settlements under each and every president — Democratic and Republican — since Israel started building on territories captured in the 1967 war,” and a legal determination that the settlements are illegal under international law remains in place. “A sophisticated private network has sprung up in the United States, funded by tax-deductible donations, that has channeled millions of dollars to strengthen the settlements and weaken the Palestinians’ presence in the West Bank,” J Street charged in the statement. The statement singled out the Regavim organization, which monitors and pursues legal action against construction lacking Israeli permits undertaken by Palestinians or Bedouins in Israel and in the West Bank; Elad, which helps Jewish families move into Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem; and The Hebron Fund, which helps Jews move to the largely Palestinian-populated West Bank city of Hebron.
Internal Revenue Service requirements are clear about the criteria organizations must meet to benefit from tax-deductible, charitable donations, J Street pointed out, citing the tax code as saying the groups’ activities must not be “illegal [or] contrary to a clearly defined and established public policy.” ….

Peace activist Stanley Sheinbaum dies at 96 in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (AP) 12 Sept — Stanley K. Sheinbaum, a former economics professor whose drive for Mideast peace had him mingling with presidents, royalty and movie stars, has died. He was 96. Sheinbaum died of heart disease on Monday at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, said his assistant, Marti Maniates. Sheinbaum gave up teaching to devote himself to what he called his quest to “create a little peace and justice in this unjust world.” …  In the 1980s, Sheinbaum became obsessed with the cause of peace in the Middle East. He managed to arrange a meeting with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat and the picture of him with his arm around Arafat that appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times set off a firestorm of protest within the Jewish community. He was booed when he spoke at synagogues. But he continued his mission, meeting with Arafat several more times and trying to negotiate peace with Israel. When Arafat died, he said hope of a peace agreement died with him. His dream of peace had failed. “My failure is the greatest disappointment I have ever experienced,” Sheinbaum said, “and I can only take solace from the knowledge that I really, really tried. I really did.”

The Native American, the Palestinian: A spirited fight for justice / Ramzy Baroud
Amin 12 Sept — Thousands of Native Americans resurrected the fighting spirit of their forefathers as they stood in unprecedented unity to contest an oil company’s desecration of their sacred land in North Dakota. Considering its burdened historical context, this has been one of the most moving events in recent memory. The standoff, involving 5,000-strong Native American protesters, including representatives of 200 tribes and environmental groups, has been largely reduced in news reports as being a matter of technical detail – concerning issues of permits and legal proceedings.  At best, both the tribes and the oil company are treated as if they are equal parties in a purportedly proportionate tussle … But the problem is far deeper and constantly worsening … Discussion about the potential risks of the construction of the pipeline has been rife for years. The issue, however, received national and international coverage when Native American tribes mobilized to protect their land and water resources. The mobilization of the tribes has been met with state violence. Instead of appreciating the serious grievances of the tribes, particularly those in the Standing Rock Reservation – which is located only one mile away, south of the pipeline – the state governor summoned all law enforcement agencies and activated the National Guard. Mace was used on protesters; they were beaten, arrested and chased out by armed men in uniform. But missing from this story is an essential component: the mobilization and unity among Native American tribes has been the most awe-inspiring in many decades. As chiefs and representatives of tribes from all across the United States kept arriving at the encampment grounds, the collective spirit of Native American nations was being vigorously revived … For 500 years, Native Americans witnessed every attempt at erasing them from the face of the planet. Their numbers dwindled from ten million prior to the arrival of Europeans to North America to less than three hundred thousand at the turn of the 20th century. They were exterminated by colonial wars and ravaged by foreign diseases …
Palestinians have always felt that the legacy of the Native Americans is similar to their own.  “Our names: branching leaves of divine speech; birds that soar higher than a gun. You who come from beyond the sea, bent on war; don’t cut down the tree of our names; don’t gallop your flaming horses across the open plains.”  These were a few of the verses in Palestinian poet’s Mahmoud Darwish’s seminal poem “Speech of the Red Indian.” … Palestinians are losing their lives, land and olive trees as they stand up to Israeli tanks and bulldozers. Their reality is a replay of similar experiences faced – and still being confronted – by Native Americans. Well into the 21st century, the Native American-Palestinian struggle remains one and the same. (listserv) (archive)


American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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