Israeli forces kill 18-year-old Palestinian in Gaza after shooting him in head during protests
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Sept– An 18-year-old Palestinian in Gaza was killed by Israeli forces on Friday after a soldier shot the youth in the head during protests east of al-Bureij refugee camp near the border between the besieged enclave and Israel. Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra identified the youth as Abd al-Rahman Ahmad al-Dabbagh and confirmed the 18-year-old had been shot in the head. He was rushed to the Al-Aqsa hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Meanwhile, another Palestinian was injured with live fire during clashes near Nahal Oz east of al-Shuja‘iyya in the Gaza Strip. Witnesses told Ma‘an that dozens of youths had gathered in several areas near the border with Israel, as clashes erupted with Israeli forces who opened live fire at the protesters.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a “violent riot erupted” near the border with Gaza, as “dozens of rioters breached the buffer zone” — a unilaterally declared area in Gaza’s territory near the separation barrier. According to the spokesperson “in an attempt to prevent an escalation of violence,” Israeli forces used tear gas in order to disperse the “riot.” However, the spokesperson denied that Israeli forces had used live fire on the protesters, saying that although the Israeli army had heard reports of an 18-year-old being shot in the head, it was “not caused by the (Israeli army).”
At least 28 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israeli forces since a wave of violence first erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel last October, according to Ma‘an documentation … The majority of the slain Palestinians were shot dead during protests along the security barrier near Israel. Palestinian youths still routinely engage in protests near the border with Israel to demand an end to the near decade-long siege on the small coastal enclave, with Israeli forces regularly opening live fire on the demonstrators, resulting in scores of Palestinians being wounded.
WHO: Third of Gaza referral patients denied Israeli exit permit
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 Sept – Three in 10 patients from Gaza who applied for a permit to leave the Gaza Strip to get medical treatment in East Jerusalem, West Bank or Israeli hospitals have been denied or delayed a permit, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday in its monthly report on referral of Gaza patients. It said that of 2,040 patient permit applications to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint with Israel for hospital appointments in July, 67.5% were approved, 9.5 percent (190 persons) were denied, including eight children and 14 elderly persons over 60 years, and 23 percent (473 patients) received no response, including 138 children and 57 elderly people over 60. The report said that more than four in 10 patients’ companions were denied or delayed permit. The approval rate for patient companions’ permit applications was 57.5%, but 10.5% were denied and the remaining 32% were pending. It further said that 20 patients, among them four females, were requested for Israeli General Security Service interviews at Erez during July. Three were approved and three were denied permits. The Ministry of Health referred 1,881 patients in July to outside care.
Israel releases 6 Palestinian fishermen detained on Thursday off Gaza coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Israeli authorities Friday released six Palestinian fishermen who were detained on Thursday off the coast of the central Gaza Strip. Zakariya Bakir, head of the fishermen’s union, told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities released the detainees at the Erez crossing between Israel and the northern Gaza Strip. The fishermen were identified by Bakir as Muhammad Abed al-Muti al-Habil, Ahmad Muhammad al-Arayshi, Abed al-Muti Ibrahim al-Habil, Fayiz Abu Ful, Ali Ayman al-Habil, and Abed al-Muti Rami al-Habil. Bakir added that the fishermen’s boats were confiscated also … On Thursday, Israeli forces detained several fishermen off the coast of Gaza, initially reported as five detained, when Israeli forces opened live fire on them.
Soldiers open fire on Gaza farmers; navy fires on fishers
IMEMC 9 Sept — Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Friday morning, on Palestinian farmers in two areas in several parts of the Gaza Strip, while Israeli navy ships opened fire on fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters, in northern Gaza. Media sources in Gaza said the soldiers, stationed across the border fence, fired many rounds of live ammunition into Palestinian agricultural lands in Khuza‘a and al-Qarara, near the border fence, in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, soldiers stationed on military towers and in army vehicles across the border fence opened fire on Palestinian farmers in the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza, and east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza City. The attacks did not lead to casualties, but forced the farmers out of their lands, in fear of additional escalation.
In addition, Israeli navy ships opened fire on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in the Sudaniyya area, in the northern part of the coastal region, no injuries were reported.
Israeli bulldozers raze lands in northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Several Israeli bulldozers reportedly entered the Gaza Strip and leveled lands early Wednesday morning. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that four military D9 bulldozers and an excavator entered into the eastern al-Qarrara town in northern Khan Younis, approximately 10 meters into the border line. The bulldozers and excavator razed and leveled lands. No shootings were reported.
Israel to build underground barrier against Hamas
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli defense officials on Thursday said the government has begun work on a massive underground barrier along the border with Gaza meant to block Hamas militants from tunneling into Israel. The project is the hallmark of a huge Israeli effort to halt the Hamas tunnels, which military officials have identified as a strategic threat. Hamas militants have used underground tunnels to attack Israelis. During a 2014 war, Hamas militants managed on several occasions to make their way into Israel through their tunnel network, though they did not reach nearby civilian areas. Israel destroyed some 32 tunnels during that conflict and has announced the discovery of several more tunnels since then. As a result, the military has invested great efforts in technologies to detect, destroy and block them. Israel has already surrounded Gaza with a sophisticated above-ground fence fortified with sensors, cameras, barbed wire and watch towers. The defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified matter, said work on the underground barrier had begun in recent weeks. When it is completed, it is expected to stretch the entire length of the roughly 70-kilometer (45-mile) border. The officials said the concrete barrier will run dozens of meters (hundreds of feet) deep. Israel is currently building an initial phase of the barrier over a small stretch of land measuring dozens of meters. At Kibbutz Erez, a community on Israel’s southern border with Gaza, work crews were busy Thursday using cranes, heavy machinery and cement mixers. Caravans were scattered around the site, while large metal pipes ran along the ground. The officials said the barrier’s construction could take years.
Life of the displaced — trying to build a home on a rooftop in Beit Hanoun
UNRWA 7 Sept — In Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, in a neighbourhood full of damaged and half-repaired houses with broad, sandy streets stretching between them, lives Jamila Hamad with her 10-year-old daughter Dina in a one-bedroom makeshift flat on the rooftop of a four-storey building. The furniture is sparse – a bed, an old cupboard and a plastic table. A small, white cat is lolling on the bed. One of the two windows has been fixed with cardboard; a curtain separates the room from the rest of the rooftop. “Now it is fine, but during winter this room is freezing cold, and the roof leaks,” says Jamila. Her small flat does not include a kitchen, but there is a fireplace outside on the rooftop, next to the water tanks, clothes lines and the typical colourful Palestinian mattresses put there to spend the hot summer nights outside in the cool evening breeze. Jamila, a widow for the past eight years, had to flee her home and seek shelter in an UNRWA school together with her daughter in the first days of the 2014 conflict, when her neighbourhood was shelled … While families remained in UNRWA collective centres for up to nine months following the ceasefire on 26 August 2014, Jamila almost immediately received rental subsidy payments from UNRWA to rent a temporary home. She chose the four-storey building next to where her old home once stood – now just an empty plot, littered with garbage. Thought of originally as a temporary solution, the displacement has since become part of Jamila and Dina’s new life…
Gaza’s children go to work in trash pits – Part 1
IMEMC/Agencies 9 Sept — “I remember when a 14-year-old child was buried under a pile of garbage,” said Atef O., also 14, from Shuja‘iyya, east of Gaza city. Each morning, Atef scavenges in the trash pits of Gaza city for five hours before attending school. There, he collects materials to be re-sold, making only 10 to 20 shekels ($2.60 to $5.20) a day. Once able to provide for his family, Atef’s father lost his livelihood as a result of political strife between Hamas and Fatah, Israel’s 2014 military campaign and its ongoing illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip. “My father worked as an inspector at the Karni crossing, but following the 2007 internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah, he lost his job,” Atef said. “He had to work as a taxi driver to support us after that.” Two years ago, during Israel’s assault on Gaza, an Israeli bombardment struck his uncle’s house, destroying his father’s taxi. “After that, Kamal, my brother, started working in the trash pits to collect plastic, steel, and gravel to sell so he could support us. He asked me and my brothers to help,” Atef told Defense for Children International – Palestine. Atef works early in the morning during the school year and long days during the summers in the trash pits near the sealed-off border between Gaza and Israel. He described in detail the many perils he faces to earn a few shekels a day. “It is dangerous because the dumpster is about 200 meters [656 feet] from the border fence, which means we come under Israeli fire and stop working,” he continued. “Many times Israeli tanks moved into the area and bulldozed it. We have to leave because the army could shoot anyone on sight.” In addition to his concerns about live fire from Israeli forces posted at the border, Atef worries he will be injured by one of the garbage trucks again. “The most important thing is to be alert all the time. There are hundreds of workers there. Trucks empty the garbage, and the workers race each other to collect what we can before the bulldozer pushes the garbage down into the hole….
The fish farmers hoping to end Gaza’s reliance on Israeli imports
The Guardian 7 Sept by Peter Beaumont in Gaza — At Al-Bahar fish farm in Gaza, a Palestinian family holding long-handled nets attempt to catch sea bream from a tank. There are squeals as a boy pulls out a fish, one of half a dozen that will shortly be gutted and grilled in the farm’s adjoining restaurant. The farm sits on a small rise above a beach, and looks out over the breaking surf of the Mediterranean. Alongside its restaurant and aquarium, Al-Bahar boasts a playground, and visitors flock there for a novel day out. For its owners, however, Al-Bahar represents the possibility of something much more substantial: providing Palestinians with a new source of fish supplies – and reducing their dependence on imports from Israel … Fish stocks in the zone are low, and Gaza’s fleet struggles to catch enough fish to supply the domestic market. As a result, markets currently sell sea bream – the area’s most popular restaurant fish – which they import twice a week from Israeli fish farms. Al-Bahar, whose 12 massive fish tanks were built at a cost of $1.2m (£900,000), is the most successful of four fish farms that have sprung up in Gaza since the 2014 war with Israel, and it is preparing to build an adjoining plot for a second commercial fish farm, . to be ready within a year….
VIDEO: Internet star sings of Gaza cat and ‘my trousers’
AFP 29 Aug — Mobbed by fans wherever he goes, Adel Meshoukhi is the kind of singer that perhaps only Gaza could produce: an internet sensation who depends on a modest stipend from Hamas.
Shot put Paralympian from Gaza aims for gold in Rio
MEMO 8 Sept — Bronze and silver Paralympic medalist Husam Azzam from Gaza is the sole athlete from Palestine to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympics, which begins today. Shot putter Azzam is in a wheelchair and has trained in challenging conditions in the besieged Gaza Strip to prepare for the competition. His wheelchair is homemade and the metal balls he trains with are rusty, whilst the sandy playground Azzam uses for practice does not meet international standards. Palestine made its debut at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Azzam became the first Palestinian athlete to compete in the Paralympics and won a bronze medal. In 2004 he secured silver in Athens, Greece, making him Palestine’s most successful Paralympian in individual events. In total, Palestine has won three medals at the Paralympic Games.
Bicycle marathon in Gaza demands end to Israeli-imposed siege
[with photos] GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — A bicycle marathon set off on Friday from the central Gaza Strip to the Erez crossing between the besieged enclave and Israel, demanding an end to the near decade-long siege. The marathon, which was organized by the group Youth for Gaza, started at 6 am as dozens of youths gathered at the al-Samer crossroads in Gaza city before setting off down the streets, waving Palestinian flags until they reached the Erez crossing. Participants of the marathon called for the end of the “slow death” policy of besieging the small Palestinian enclave, while demanding that Gazans be allowed to travel for medical treatment and freedom of movement that can only be realized if the Israeli-imposed siege is abolished.
Hamas hampering persistent press
GAZA CITY (9 Sept) by Mohammed Othman — The Foreign Press Association accused in a statement on Aug. 22 Hamas and the security services in the Gaza Strip of imposing restrictions on the entry of foreign journalists to Gaza. The statement listed some of the practices it deemed unjust, imposed by Hamas on foreign journalists in Gaza — such as the increase of the fee for armored cars used by those journalists — from 2,100 shekels a year (around $550) to 4,000 shekels a year (about $1,050) … According to the abovementioned statement of the Foreign Press Association — which operates in Gaza through Palestinian journalists working in foreign media institutions — Hamas had prevented back in June freelance photographer Heidi Levine from entering the Gaza Strip, under the pretext that her work “reflects badly on Gaza.” The movement also banned New York Times reporter Diaa Hadid, who is based in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, from entering Gaza under the pretext of writing false reports, a journalist working with the Foreign Press Association told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. For his part, the director general of the government media office, Salameh Maarouf, said the office had made several professional remarks to these two journalists about reports they had worked on. Maarouf stressed that the media office informed the two journalists that in light of the current situation in Gaza, they would rather not welcome them for their own security, as these journalists have addressed sensitive issues related to the resistance … Maarouf further stressed that Gaza is witnessing major security problems such as the recurrent wars, adding that the entry procedures are imposed on everyone — whether journalists or not. He said, “There are no particular procedures applied on journalists. On the contrary, journalists enjoy special treatment.”
Abby Martin barred from Gaza due to Israel ‘enemy state’ claims
teleSUR 7 Sept — Abby Martin, the host of teleSUR’s “The Empire Files”, was not given a press pass to enter the Gaza Strip by Israeli authorities due to what officials claimed was “some sort of collaboration between the Iranian state-run channel HispanTV and teleSUR.” “It was no less than President Nicolas Maduro who stated last week that teleSUR is a ‘sister’ of Hispan TV,” Ron Paz, the director of the Israeli foreign press department, told Martin in an email Tuesday. “What is the exact meaning of it and what are the implications of it and of other materials that we have—is what we are checking now.” In an email on Sept. 4, Paz also told Martin that her application for a Visiting Journalist Card might not be approved if it was confirmed that “teleSUR is associated with the government of Iran, an enemy country under the Israeli law.” Martin said she was quite surprised to hear the outrageous accusation by the Israeli government that they were working on behalf of a so-called “enemy state.” … teleSUR English issued a letter to Israeli authorities highlighting the fact that our channel is not associated with any other government in a manner that goes beyond the types of relations typical of other press outlets. You can read the document here (click here to view full size):
Risking death by drowning to escape Gaza siege
EI 7 Sept by Hamza Abu Eltarabesh — Nour Hammad cannot accept that she may never see her brother Sajed again. “I’m still waiting for him to come back,” she said. On 10 September 2014, more than 400 refugees from Gaza, Syria, Sudan and Egypt were drowned en route to Italy. More than likely, Sajed was one of them, although his body has never been found. His friends and family are keeping his memory alive. “We are always sending him messages on Facebook in the hope that he will read them one day,” said Nour. The circumstances in which Sajed went missing were horrific. An investigation by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor found that the Palestinians from Gaza who drowned in the incident had been promised a safe journey to Italy by smugglers of human beings. The smugglers charged each passenger from Gaza a few thousand dollars … Two days later, the passengers were once again told that they would have to switch boats. Yet when they realized that the new vessel was less than 18 meters long, many of the passengers complained it was too small and refused to board. Soon afterwards, another small boat appeared and began ramming the ship carrying Sajed and his fellow passengers. The attack caused severe damage to the ship, which began to sink. Most of the passengers onboard the ship drowned soon after the sinking, though approximately 50 are thought to have survived for more than two days before succumbing to the waves and exhaustion. Eight Palestinians, two Syrians and one Egyptian survived the incident, which took place in international waters, roughly 300 nautical miles off the Maltese coast … Some Palestinians have survived their dangerous journeys out of Gaza and arrived in Europe. Abdel-Aziz Hamdouna now lives in Brussels, where he is hoping to establish a career as an artist. It took more than two weeks of traveling before he made it to the Belgian capital earlier this year….
Israel freezes World Vision’s bank accounts amid Hamas funding row
GAZA (Reuters) 9 Sept by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Christian aid group World Vision has laid off contractors in the Gaza Strip following allegations by Israel that an agency staff member had diverted funds to Hamas, which Israel says is a terrorist organisation. In an August 29 letter handed to around 120 contractors at a meeting in Gaza, the NGO said its bank accounts in Jerusalem had been frozen by Israeli authorities and it was no longer able to transfer money to Gaza, making it impossible to pay them. The letter said World Vision was living through a crisis and its sources of funding had been affected. The letter was written in Arabic and a copy sent to Reuters … A spokesman for World Vision would not confirm that the contractors had been laid off, saying only that the agency’s operations in Gaza had been suspended following the accusations against the operations manager, Mohammad el-Halabi. “Due to the seriousness of the allegations laid against Mohammad el-Halabi, World Vision has suspended operations in Gaza,” the organisation said. “We are conducting a full review, including an externally conducted forensic audit.”….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian injured after being rammed by colonist’s car near Bethlehem
IMEMC 9 Sept — A Palestinian farmer from the al-Khader town, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, suffered several fractures and bruises, Thursday, after being rammed by a speeding Israeli colonist’s car, on bypass road #60, used by both Palestinians and Israelis. Medical sources said the wounded Palestinian man has been identified as Hussein Daoud Mousa, 65, and that he was heading back home. It later became known that the settler who rammed the Palestinian is also a soldier with the Israeli military, and was driving a civilian car. An Israeli ambulance was called to the scene, but the medics didn’t want to transfer the wounded man to an Israeli hospital and said he should be moved to a local Palestinian hospital, but his sons insisted especially since he was injured by an Israeli driver. It is worth mentioning that the man was riding his donkey when the incident took place, and his donkey was also struck and wounded. The soldiers also cuffed the wounded man’s son, after he rushed to the scene, and abducted him.
Israeli forces injure Palestinian youth walking home from school in Ramallah with live ammunition
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Sept – Israeli forces Thursday opened live fire on Palestinian students in the Jalazone refugee camp in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah as they were leaving school, injuring a Palestinian minor, according to locals. Local sources told Ma‘an that although no clashes were happening in the area, Israeli forces shot live bullets at the students, injuring a Palestinian student in his back and hand. After the minor was injured, clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths from the camp. Locals told Ma‘an Israeli forces opened live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets at the youths, while shooting sound bombs and tear gas canisters into the community during the clashes. It remained unknown as of Thursday the level of severity of the unidentified youth’s injuries.
Sniper kills Muhammad Abu Hashhash in al-Fawwar RC though he posed no threat
B’Tselem 9 Sept — On 16 August 2016, at around 5:00 P.M., a military sniper shot and killed 19-year-old Palestinian Muhammad Yusef Saber Abu Hashhash during a raid on al-Fawwar Refugee Camp, which lies southwest of Hebron. According to media reports, Abu Hashhash was shot from behind. A live bullet penetrated his back and exited through his chest, above the heart. The raid on the refugee camp began at around 3:00 A.M., when three battalions entered it. According to the IDF Spokesperson, the purpose of the raid was “to arrest suspects, to search for illegal weapons, and to summon individuals for questioning.” … B’Tselem’s field research found that some 32 Palestinians were wounded in the raid. The soldiers searched 150 to 200 homes, and in scores of them took up positions on rooftops. During most of the intrusions into homes, the soldiers closed all family members off in a single room or section of the house for several hours. Soldiers broke windows, doors and walls and damaged property in 28 of the homes they invaded. Residents of the camp began throwing stones at the soldiers in the early morning hours. At around 10:00 A.M., Abu Hashhash and other youths climbed up to a rooftop in the camp and threw stones at soldiers who had taken up positions on nearby rooftops. The youths went up to the roof and back down again several times throughout the day. At around noon, about ten soldiers entered the home of Bajes al-Hamuz in the center of the camp. According to al-Hamuz, the soldiers kept the family closed in the bedroom. During the raid on his home, al-Hamuz noticed the soldiers had removed the glass panes from the kitchen windows. When they left at around 8:00 P.M., he discovered they had opened a hole some 20 centimeters wide in the guest room wall, which faces east. It was later discovered that a sniper had been positioned there….
Israeli forces raid ‘Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, surround youth center
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces raided the ‘Aida refugee camp in northern Bethlehem on Friday afternoon and fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades at houses in the camp, local sources said. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli soldiers raided the refugee camp and surrounded the Lajee Center — a community organization that provides refugee youth with cultural, educational, social, and developmental services — while some 40 children were inside, which caused the children to panic. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they were looking into reports of the raid. On Sep. 1, several armed Israeli soldiers raided the Lajee center itself, searching the building while a group of children were forced gather in view of the troops.
Israeli forces raid, ransack Palestinian home in Bethlehem area, detain 1
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Israeli forces raided the village of Za‘atara east of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank early Friday and searched a three-story house belonging to the Sarahin family, detaining one person. Mahmoud Moussa Sarahin told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided his family’s house at around 3:30 a.m. on Friday. Sarahin said the family woke up to the sound of an explosion as Israeli soldiers blew up the front door and proceeded to search the house, destroying furniture, electrical appliances, windows, and doors, while locking the family inside one of rooms. Israeli soldiers and police dogs searched the house in addition to searching computers and mobile phones without confiscating any devices. Israeli forces ransacked and destroyed the first floor where the family car is parked and food supplies are kept — all of which the soldier discarded, Sarahin said. He added that soldiers also blew up the doors on all three floors of the house in addition to the main door of a nearby family house that has been abandoned for years. Sarahin said that some money that the children had saved was missing after the raid. Palestinians often report theft by Israeli forces during such raids. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they were looking into reports of the raid, adding that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian overnight in Za‘atara without being able to confirm if the detainee was a member of the Saharin family. Israeli forces carry out raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-nightly basis. In the two week period between Aug. 23 and Sep. 5, Israeli forces conducted a total of 186 search and arrest operations and detained 239 Palestinians in the West Bank, according to UN documentation.
Israel returns body of slain Palestinian 263 days after being shot dead
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — 263 days after he was shot dead by Israeli forces, Israel returned the body of 21-year-old Abd al-Muhsen Hassuneh to his family in occupied East Jerusalem in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday. Hassuneh was killed on December 14 after carrying out a car ramming attack on a bus stop in Jerusalem that injured 11 Israelis, shortly after he had announced his engagement. Shortly after Israeli authorities returned Hassuneh’s body to his family just after midnight, the family buried him in the al-Mujahidin cemetery just outside the walls of the Old City. His mother told Ma‘an about the night he was killed, saying he had left their home in Hebron City and was heading to a nearby mosque for dawn prayers so he could hand out sweets in celebration of his engagement. “We have waited 263 days to receive his body and bury him,” she said, “Abd was special among his brothers as he was my son and my friend. I miss seeing him and kissing him every day.” Similar to other cases of bodies being returned to their families completely frozen, Hassuneh’s mother told Ma‘an that her son’s body was “a little frozen, but his face is like the moon.” Shaher Hassuneh, Abd al-Muhsen’s father, said that Israeli authorities guarded the funeral heavily, preventing people from taking pictures and chanting prayers at the burial, in addition to the preconditions set by Israeli police limiting the numbers of attendees to 25 family members, and forcing the family to pay an “insurance fee.” Israeli forces also reportedly forced the Hassuneh family to cross out the word “martyr” from a wreath of flowers that the family had brought to put on Abd’s grave. Israeli forces also closed off the surrounding areas of the al-Mujahidin cemetery and prevented people from reaching nearby streets. The family highlighted that as some family members, including Hassuneh’s mother, hold occupied West Bank ID cards — which do not allow access to Jerusalem — they had to apply for permits to attend the funeral, and had to wait until Wednesday, just hours before the set time of the funeral, until permits were issued for them. The father added that another condition for returning Hassuneh’s body was that he would be immediately buried at the al-Mujahidin cemetery in Jerusalem City, despite the fact that the family had previously reached an agreement with Israeli officials earlier this year to receive their son’s body and bury him in Hebron City….
Thousands attend funeral of Palestinian killed in construction collapse in Tel Aviv
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Palestinians in the town of Beit Rima in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah Wednesday attended the funeral of 33-year-old Ahed Maarouf al-Remawi who was killed in the collapse of a construction site in Tel Aviv on Monday. Al-Remawi, a father of a child and an unborn baby, was among those killed after an under-construction parking garage collapsed in Tel Aviv. Al-Remawi’s brother was also injured in the collapse. Israeli authorities delivered al-Remawi’s body to the Ni‘lin checkpoint in western Ramallah. The funeral procession set off from his family house, making its way to Beit Rima cemetery where he was laid to rest following funeral prayers at a local mosque, according to a Ma‘an reporter who had attended the service. An unnamed survivor told Ma‘an that al-Remawi was injured along with another Palestinian worker, but died after reportedly being neglected by the rescue crews. According to the survivor, al-Remawi’s death was caused by a concrete block that fell on his head during the rescue mission. Nasser al-Qatami, deputy of the labor ministry, attended the funeral and said that the ministry’s reports indicate that 37 Palestinian workers have died in construction accidents while working in Israel since the start of 2015.
How police killed a Palestinian man, tried to blame his cousin
+972 blog 9 Sept by ‘John Brown’ — A Jerusalem court rejects police attempt to place the blame for their own bullets elsewhere, but it’s not the first time they’ve tried — or succeeded at doing so — On the night between Sunday and Monday of last week, Israeli Border Police officers shot and killed Mustafa Nimer, a resident of Ramat Gan, in Jerusalem’s Shu‘afat refugee camp. While the police officers initially claimed that the driver, Ali Nimr — Mustafa’s cousin — had tried to attack them, a video of the shooting that surfaced on Tuesday revealed that the officers continued to fire even after the vehicle came to a complete stop and posed no threat. The police admit that Nimr did not attempt to carry out a car-ramming attack, raising questions over why they opened fire in the first place. Another video that came to light on Wednesday raises suspicions that not only did the gunfire take place after the officers took control of the vehicle, but that one of the officers shot one of the passengers from close range. The deceased’s fiancée, who was driving behind him in a separate car as they headed out to buy pizza, says that some of the bullets hit other vehicles, and that the shooting ceased only after she yelled at them that she was Jewish. The officers removed her from the scene; according to her one of the border cops even told said, “get her out of here, she cares about that Arab dog.” On Wednesday the police claimed in a press release that Ali, not the officers, was responsible for his cousin’s death, since he drove recklessly and is suspected of having been under the influence of alcohol. It is clear that this is a baseless claim: the driver did not have have the ability to foresee that driving recklessly would end in gunfire, and he certainly did not foresee Border Police officers firing at his car after he had stopped. On Thursday the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court rejected the police’s allegation that his driving somehow made him responsible for Nimr’s death. So why is the driver being blamed?….
Palestinian arrested for Facebook post
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 Sept — A Jerusalemite citizen was arrested and investigated by Israeli police after breaking into his home in Silwan town in occupied Jerusalem — for a Facebook post. Jawad Abu Mayala had posted last Saturday on his Facebook account a verse of the holy Quran reading “Every soul will taste death,” before driving towards al-Khalil where he decided to spend the night there. On Sunday morning, Abu Mayala called his son-in-law to inform him that he will spend a second day in al-Khalil. However, he was surprised that Israeli police forces had stormed his house in Silwan in that night and summoned his wife for investigation over his last Facebook post. Meanwhile, Israeli police contacted him and demanded to turn himself in at the nearest military checkpoint in al-Khalil. Abu Mayala refused the Israeli order and decided to turn himself in at Salah al-Din police station in occupied Jerusalem. During the investigation, he was questioned about his last Facebook post as Israeli police thought that he was planning to carry out an attack against Israeli targets. The Israeli police officer threatened to impose a fine of 30 thousand shekels if he posts similar verses. More than 200 Palestinians were arrested since October 2015 over Facebook posts. Most of the reported arrests were carried out in occupied Jerusalem.
Just a sample of what goes on virtually every night
Israeli soldiers kidnap 17 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 8 Sept — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, on Wednesday evening and at night, and early on Thursday, seventeen Palestinians, including two children, in the occupied West Bank … The Jerusalem office of the PPS said the soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians, including two siblings and two children. The PPS said that resident Mohammad Jihad Za’tary, 19, from Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem, was kidnapped from his work in Pisgat Zeev. On Wednesday at night, the soldiers kidnapped two children, identified as Fathi Nasser and Mustafa Abu Bakr, members of a scout troupe that was preparing for a campaign to clean the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The two children were placing campaign posters on a number of walls, preparing for an activity that is planned for Friday, ahead of the Al-Adha Muslim feast. Also in Jerusalem, the soldiers kidnapped two siblings, identified as Hamed Obeid and Adam Obeid. On Thursday at dawn, the soldiers invaded Surif town, northwest of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, searched homes and kidnapped four Palestinians. The Hebron office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said several army vehicles invaded Surif town, before the soldiers searched homes and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Bassam Eghneimat and Saifeddin al-Hoor. In addition, the soldiers invaded Surif town, searched homes and kidnapped Anan Abdul-Hamid Ekhlayyel, 21, and Mohammad Hasan ‘Aadi, 22. The soldiers also invaded the home of Yahya Saleh, searched his property and summoned him for interrogation in the Etzion military base and security center. Furthermore, the Ramallah office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers invaded Beit Rima town, northwest of the city, and kidnapped a former political prisoner, identified as Saddam Shaher Barghouthi, 26. Also in Ramallah, the soldiers kidnapped Rami Mahmoud Sajdiyya, in addition to two former political prisoners, identified as Fadi Darweesh, 35, and Ahmad Zeid, 55. In the Nablus district, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Ismael Mohammad Kalbouna, 21, and Hisham Mohammad Bishkar, 21. On Wednesday evening, the soldiers invaded ‘Aida refugee camp, in Bethlehem, and kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Amjad Saleh Abu Aker. Also on Wednesday evening, the soldiers invaded Qabatia town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as Sabri Kamil, after breaking into his home and searching it.
Malik al-Qadi’s mother summoned to hospital as hunger striker slips into coma on 56th day of strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Sept — The Israeli prison administration Friday urgently summoned mother of hunger striker Malik al-Qadi to the Wolfson Medical Center where the 25-year-old has reportedly entered a coma. Al-Qadi has been on hunger strike for 56 days after declaring a strike on July 16 in protest of being placed in administrative detention — an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence. Executive Director of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Abdallah al-Zhgari told Ma‘an that a permit was urgently issued for al-Qadi’s mother following a severe deterioration of the hunger striker’s health. Al-Zhgari noted that PPS had previously applied for permits to allow the mothers of al-Qadi and the hunger-striking Balboul brothers to visit their sons. Al-Zghari emphasized that al-Qadi’s mother had visited him on Friday after his administrative detention was suspended by an Israeli court, and has since remained by his side. Al-Zghari added that families are permitted to visit the hunger strikers once their administrative detentions have been suspended. Al-Zghari also highlighted to Ma’an that Israeli prison officials are attempting to force treatment on al-Qadi in order to get him out of the coma, despite al-Qadi previously announcing his refusal to be treated during his strike regardless of his health condition. Al-Zghari told Ma‘an he feared al-Qadi could die at any moment. An emergency session is expected to be held on Saturday in an Israeli court to respond to a request made by al-Qadi’s lawyer to release him due to his health condition, al-Zghari said.
PHRI concerned by recent court and hospital decisions
IMEMC 9 Sept — PHRI – Press Release: Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI) is concerned by the recent court decision to temporarily freeze the administrative detention of hunger strikers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul until they recover from their hunger strike, with the option of renewing it once they are no longer in critical danger. This comes after the decision of the Wolfson Hospital Ethics Committee to allow the force-treatment of Muhammad Balboul and Malik al Qaadi, in violation of medical ethics and national law. Shortly following on the heels of Bilal Kayed, who was denied the visit of an independent doctor and throughout his 71 day strike was continuously shackled, these new and troubling steps testify to Israel’s ongoing attempts to use various means to break the hunger strikes. Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, 25 and 23 years old, had been on hunger strike for over 60 days. The court decision to freeze their administrative detention until they get out of critical condition, but explicitly not cancel it, creates a dangerous cycle of manipulation that can be repeated ad nauseum. In this cycle the detainee – once he reaches a critical condition – is urged to break the hunger strike, a non-violent strategy which requires massive psychological stamina, while the very problem about which the detainee launched his hunger strike is left unresolved. Meanwhile, the Wolfson Hospital Ethics committee, as seen in medical documents, came to a decision that Muhammad Balboul and al Qaadi, a 19 year old, are to be force-treated … From similar hunger strikes in the distant past, like the Irish independence strike in 1920 or the IRA strike in 1981, we find ourselves in critical days. PHRI’s own medical ethics committee, composed of volunteer doctors, wrote to Wolfson Hospital to protest this unethical and unlawful decision, and called for the hospital’s ethics committee and medical staff to respect the hunger strikers and treat them only with their consent….
Palestinian journalist jailed by Israel was arrested for criticizing PA, lawyer says
The Seventh Eye 7 Sept by Oren Persico & Nimrod Halberthal –Israel has been holding Palestinian journalist Omar Nazzal without charge or trial for over four months. In an interview, his attorney says that is because he criticized the PA over its handling of an assassination at its embassy in Bulgaria….
Israel approves the detention of 9 Palestinians without charge or trial
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — The Israeli military court at Ofer prison approved the administrative detention — internment without charge or trial — of nine Palestinians, according to a statement released by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) on Wednesday. PPS said in the statement that Israel sentenced five Palestinians to six months of administrative detention, identified by PPS as Muhammad Salah al-Jawarish, Tamer Mustafa Abu Dayyeh, Ihab Muhammad Hassan, Alaa Youssef Shabrawi, and Said Bassam Abu Eisha. Four other Palestinians were also sentenced, with Raed Hisham al-Matur sentenced to three months and Raed Abd al-Afou al-Amla sentenced to four months, while Mahmoud Kamal al-Ruzza and Walid Sameh al-Khatib were both sentenced to two months of administrative detention.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Apartheid
Palestinians try to block IDF from seizing their land
JPost 8 Sept by Tovah Lazaroff — At least 13 Palestinians have claimed ownership of the land which the Defense Ministry has earmarked as the best site on which to relocate the West Bank outpost of Amona. The High Court of Justice has ordered that the small hilltop community in the Binyamin region must be razed by December 25, because it was built without permits on private Palestinian property. The 40 [Jewish] families that live there have insisted that, in spite of the court ruling, the government has a responsibility to legalize their community, and that they have no intention of abandoning their homes. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has said that he intends to carry out the court’s ruling. However, he has offered a compromise, by which the outpost could be relocated to 35 abandoned property lots just a few meters away. This proposal would allow the families to remain in essentially the same location. Last month, he ordered the civil administration to begin the process of seizing the land, and news of the seizure plan was published in local Arabic papers. On Thursday, the non-governmental group Yesh Din announced that at least 13 Palestinians from the nearby villages of Silwad, Ein Yabrud and Taybeh have filed objections to the seizure plan….
Appeals to UNESCO as Israeli settlers fence off Palestinian village
SALFIT (PIC) 8 Sept — Israeli settlers residing in the illegal Leshem settlement, in western Salfit, have isolated an ancient Palestinian village from all sides. A PIC news reporter quoted eyewitnesses as saying that ongoing works to improve Leshem’s infrastructure at the expense of Palestinian lands led to the dismemberment of Deir Samaan [Roman] village. “From now on, in order for Palestinians to enter the village they will have to obtain permits from the occupation army after settlers fenced it off from all corners,” said a Palestinian native inhabitant. Researcher Khaled Maali urged the UNESCO to put Deir Samaan village on the World Heritage List so as to prevent its annexation to the Leshem settlement. Maali warned of the dangerous upshots of Israeli illegal settlement on Palestinian archaeological sites and historical monuments in Salfit, among other occupied provinces. “According to International Law, the Israeli illegal settlement is a war crime. It has led to the loss of Palestinian historical sites, several among which got leveled in favor of illegal settlement expansion,” Maali stated. He added that the Israeli government aims at distorting facts on the ground and concocting a counterfeit Israeli history. [See here for more on Deir Samaan and other threatened archaeological sites]
Israeli forces level private Palestinian land near Hebron, deliver demolition notices
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Israeli forces reportedly leveled 40 dunums of Palestinian land, uprooted more than 800 trees, and “soiled” two wells in the southern occupied West Bank village of Beit Ula, northwest of Hebron on Wednesday. Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday, Israeli forces also reportedly delivered demolition notices to three homes in the Hebron area village of Tarqumiya, claiming they were built in Area C- — the area of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control — without proper permission. According to the coordinator of a local committee in Beit Ula, Issa al-Emla, Israel regularly levels land, declaring them “state lands” through military decrees, without notifying the landowners, so that the Palestinian landowners won’t be able to appeal to Israeli high courts against the orders….
Bisected by a Jews-only road, a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron is dying
Haaretz 10 Sept by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Here’s the mission of Israel Defense Forces combat soldiers, moral to the bone and fearless – young men from an elite unit who are serving in Hebron: They stand on the road, all day and all night, watching over the house of Aref Jaber. As part of their operational mission, they prevent outsiders from entering the apartment building and block every attempt by anyone, including the tenants and local residents and even children, to go up to the roof. Why? The soldiers only know that Jaber has been prohibited to continue building his home, though they have no idea why. They claim that they have a “general’s order” in their pocket, which declares that the two-story building is a “closed military zone,” but that they are not allowed to show it to anyone. The order is secret … We are in Hebron’s Jaber neighborhood, where the homes are scattered on both sides of the main street that runs from the town of Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Jewish settlement in Hebron. The settlers call the street “Zion Road,” but it runs through a Palestinian neighborhood. It’s a Jews-only thoroughfare in this non-apartheid district. No Palestinian vehicle is allowed to enter. All traffic, all transportation and supplies, all access to homes and stores is either by foot or with the aid of donkeys and mules. Palestinian ambulances can enter only following prior coordination. Four months ago, a woman gave birth in the street, because the arrangements for the ambulance went on for too long. In these conditions, in which the only vehicles that pass through this Palestinian quarter are those of the Jewish settlers and the IDF, the neighborhood is slowly dying, just as the settlers wish: It was their brutality that brought about the street’s closure in the first place. This may be the only street in the world where the people who live on either side of it are not allowed to travel on it. Some of the apartments have been abandoned, as have most of the stores, of course. It’s a ghost quarter, but even so, less ghostly than down the hill, in the Old City and the Casbah, where the settlers rule absolutely. In this dying neighborhood, whoever can leave gets out….
Israel starts home demolitions in Syrian Golan, plans annexation
nsnbc 9 Sept by Christof Lehmann — Israel has for the first time used the illegal home demolition policy it uses in Palestine in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Tel Aviv declared that Israel and the Golan are “part and parcel” and that the international community should get used to the fact that Israel will annex the Syrian territory that holds major energy reserves. Israel also aids “Syrian rebels” via a corridor from which UN blue helmets were displaced … Al Marsad, which is the only human rights organization that operates in the Golan, reported that hundreds of Israeli police accompanied by bulldozers demolished the home of Bassam Ibrahim in Majdal Shams, the largest town in the Israeli occupied Golan. In a statement, Al Marshad said: “This is the first time that the Israeli authorities have demolished a home in Majdal Shams. … The destruction of this home marks the adoption of a new systematic policy of home demolitions by the Israeli authorities in the remaining Syrian villages in the Occupied Syrian Golan. The Syrian owners of dozens of other homes have been threatened with similar action. … As a result of the severe restrictions imposed by Israeli planning and construction committees, it is close to impossible for the Syrian population to obtain the necessary building permits. Therefore, the Syrian population is forced to build homes without building permits, as this is the only way to meet their housing needs given unprecedented levels of overcrowding,” The rights organization accused Israel of preventing the Syrian population from building in their cities while encouraging and facilitating the construction and expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights. Israel occupied the Syrian Golan Heights after the June 1967 war. Israel’s continued occupation violates international law and has been opposed by several UN General Assembly resolutions. None of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members (P5), however, has taken any tangible steps that would be consistent with their mandate and obligation to end the illegal occupation….
Israel used military censor to conceal first settlements from public, document reveals
Haaretz 7 Sept by Yotam Berger — ‘We cause entirely unnecessary damage to ourselves by publicizing things that can basically be done quietly.’ — A previously classified document from 1969 shows that Israel’s leaders used the military censor to cover up the establishment of the first West Bank settlements. According to the document, which has been released to the state archives, the censor banned the publication of articles by Haaretz and another daily, Hatzofe, on the issue. The document was sent on June 19, 1969, by Eliashiv Ben Horin, the Foreign Minister’s deputy director general, to the office of the foreign minister, Abba Eban. The paper, called “Gush Etzion – Publicity,” deals with the establishment of settlements in the West Bank’s Gush Etzion bloc. The area had ostensibly been seized for military purposes. The document refers to a Mr. Hillel – Shlomo Hillel, another deputy director general at the Foreign Ministry. “As you know, on June 5 a ‘seizure order for military needs’ was issued for specific land in Gush Etzion. That was after Mr. Hillel and the undersigned convinced those involved to waive a confiscation order” as opposed to a military seizure order, the document states … The building of settlements on areas ostensibly seized for security needs was very common in the settlement movement’s early days. It was designed to bypass international law, which banned the building of civilian structures in occupied territory. In the document, Ben Horin notes that information on the deception had reached the newspapers, so the military censor prevented publication.…
Other news, opinion
PCHR Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (1-7 Sept 2016)
PCHR-Gaza 8 Sept — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt. A Palestinian civilian was killed in Shu’fat refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem. 6 Palestinian civilians, including a woman, were wounded in the West Bank. Israeli forces targeted the border area along in the northern Gaza Strip. 3 houses and a military training site sustained material damage. Israeli forces conducted 78 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the southern Gaza Strip. 60 civilians, including 9 children, were arrested. 17 of them, including 5 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. 9-year-old boy was arrested when attempting to pass through the border fence into Israel. However, he was released the next day. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. A Palestinian civilian was obliged to self-demolish his house in the Old City. Israeli forces continued settlement activities in the West Bank. 250 olive trees in Ras Attiya village, south of Qalqilia, were cut off. 3 dwellings and 9 other facilities in al-Aqaba village, in northern Jordan Valley, were demolished. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea [full details of the week’s violations follow]
Decision on Palestinian elections September 21: minister
AFP 9 Sept — The top Palestinian court is to decide on September 21 on the fate of keenly anticipated local elections after the latest attempt to hold polls was suspended, a minister said late Thursday. Municipal elections had been scheduled for October 8 but were suspended by the high court on Thursday following disputes between the rival Fatah and Hamas movements. It now remains to be seen if a new date will be set or if the vote will be shelved indefinitely. “The Supreme Court will consider (the case) in a session on Wednesday 21 September and make a definitive and final decision,” local government minister Hussein al-Araj told the official Palestinian news agency Wafa. “We will implement any decision of the court in accordance with the applicable laws.” Islamist movement Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, boycotted the last Palestinian municipal elections in 2012, but had been due to participate this year. Hamas has rejected the suspension, calling it a “political decision.”… The high court said it had suspended the elections after an appeal by lawyer Nael al-Houh. Houh said his appeal was based on the fact that the elections were not being held in Jerusalem and over concerns related to polling in the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, a court run by Hamas cancelled Fatah candidate lists in several municipalities for “violating the election law”, according to a judicial source and a spokesman for Fatah. Jamal Dajani, a spokesman for the prime minister in the Fatah-run government in Ramallah, downplayed suggestions of political pressure to cancel the elections. “We look at it as a judicial decision and not a political decision,” he told AFP, saying the court had made its decision independently….
Palestinian president dismisses several members from Fatah party
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Palestinian President and leader of the Fatah movement Mahmoud Abbas issued orders on Thursday dismissing members from Fatah — the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Head of the media committee of Fatah Munir al-Jaghoub identified the dismissed party members as former Minister of Local Governance Khaled Fahd al-Qawasmeh and Deputy Head of the Hebron Municipality Jawdi Abu Sneineh. Al-Jaghoub told Ma‘an that the decision to dismiss them came after al-Qawasmeh and Abu Sneineh ran on lists other than Fatah’s in Hebron’s municipal elections, adding that additional members of the party would also be dismissed at a later date. However, al-Qawasmeh said he had not received any official dismissal order from Fatah. The Fatah Central Committee had demanded members commit to Fatah’s party list during the elections, saying that any member that ran on a different list and did not withdraw by Sep. 5 would be dismissed. The decision to dismiss al-Qawasmeh and Sneineh came just a day after the Palestinian Supreme Court in Ramallah cancelled municipal elections after several appeals challenged the legitimacy of the elections, and a court in the Gaza Strip dropped five Fatah-affiliated candidates from participating in the local elections in the besieged enclave….
Netanyahu ‘ethnic cleansing’ comment against Palestinians draws US rebuke
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 9 Sept — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said the Palestinians wanted to form a state devoid of a Jewish population and termed it “ethnic cleansing”, drawing sharp criticism from the United States. In a video message, Netanyahu said in reference to the removal of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, “The Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing. And this demand is outrageous.” Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated that a future Palestinian state would not permit a single Israeli settler to live within its borders. After viewing the video clip that was circulated on social media, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said at a briefing in Washington that the Israeli leader’s words were “inappropriate and unhelpful.” “We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” she said. Most countries view Israeli West Bank settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel rejects this, saying Jews have been living in the territory for thousands of years….
Why Israel’s actions can be called genocide
EI 6 Sept by Nora Barrows-Friedman — Israel lobby groups recently reacted with outrage against the Movement for Black Lives policy platform which refers to US complicity in Israel’s “genocide” and “apartheid” against the Palestinian people. The president of the liberal Zionist organization J Street condemned the use of the term genocide as “outrageously incorrect and deeply offensive.” Other pro-Israel Jewish organizations claimed that using the term to describe Israel’s policies is “anti-Semitic” and libelous. By contrast, Jewish Voice for Peace offered an unqualified endorsement of the Movement for Black Lives platform. Despite the outrage of many pro-Israel groups, there is a long history of human rights scholarship and legal analysis that supports the assertion Israel is committing genocide, according to a statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Genocide can be applied to the destruction of a people or a national group as a viable group, and that can be both with their being driven from a land or the rendering of their language no longer legal, or just the destruction of their national identity,” Katherine Franke, board chair at CCR, told The Electronic Intifada. Palestinians have claimed “that what the state of Israel has done is try to deny the very existence or presence of Palestinians in the area that was mandate Palestine before 1947,” she added … Israel’s systematic targeting of Palestinians since 1947 has been referred to as “incremental genocide” – a term used by [Israeli] historian Ilan Pappe and echoed by Michael Ratner, a human rights lawyer and CCR’s former president, who died earlier this year. “It’s been going on for a long time, the killings, the incredibly awful conditions of life,” Ratner said during Israel’s assault on Gaza in July 2014, referring to the expulsions of Palestinians from hundreds of towns and villages starting in 1947. “It’s correct and important to label it for what it is,” he added. Ratner asserted that such crimes can be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (ICC)….
Palestinians dismiss report Abbas was KGB agent as ‘smear’
AFP 8 Sept — A spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Thursday dismissed a claim by researchers that he worked as a Soviet agent in Damascus in the 1980s, calling it a smear intended to derail a Russian peace initiative. The claim emerged in a report by Israeli public television on Wednesday night citing two researchers who were studying the so-called Mitrokhin papers stored in Britain at Cambridge University’s Churchill Archives Centre. “In 1983, he (Abbas) is listed as being groomed by the KGB under the codename Krotov, the mole,” one of the Israeli researchers, Isabella Ginor, told the programme. Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh told AFP it “falls under the framework of Israeli absurdities which we have got used to,” calling it a “smear campaign.” Abbas was born in what was then British mandate Palestine, but his family fled to Syria during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel. The report did not make clear what Abbas is alleged to have done for the Soviets. “It is clear Israel is troubled by the (Palestinians’) strategic relationship with Russia and by the clear and announced Russian position, which is to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis on an independent Palestinian state and the right of self-determination for our people,” Abu Rudeineh said. The Mitrokhin Archive, where the document was said to have been found, is based on files of the Soviet spy agency KGB that were smuggled to Britain….
Why the Abbas KGB ‘revelation’ came out now
+972 mag 8 Sept by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Israeli academic who fed the story to the press tells the ‘NY Times’ he wanted to undercut the Kremlin’s efforts to host Israeli-Palestinian peace talks — Israel’s Channel 1 News broadcast a story Wednesday night alleging that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was a KGB agent in Damascus 33 years ago. The story, for obvious reasons, was picked up by local and international outlets within minutes of airing. In every good spy story, however, there’s always a hidden agenda to be uncovered. Or in this case, a not-so-hidden one. Speaking in the Channel 1 report, the two Israeli academics who discovered the incriminating document and who fed the story to the press made sure the news item included some circumstantial icing on the cake — that Russia’s current Mideast envoy, the one currently trying to arrange a Netanyahu-Abbas meeting in Moscow, was stationed in Damascus at the same time as Abbas. The insinuated allegation: he was Abbas’ handler. In a follow-up item in the New York Times, one of the academics, Gideon Remez, dropped all pretenses about the timing of the KGB story’s release, and his and his partner’s motivations. The final paragraph of the Times story reads: “Mr. Remez said that they were not trying to undercut Mr. Abbas and, in fact, they favor talks with the Palestinians — but not under the auspices of the Russians, who should not be trusted. “It is not basically a good idea,” he said. “So that is why we thought this is the time to go public with this discovery.” Their plan doesn’t seem to have worked….
6 Palestinians detained by PA without charge since April to be released
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — The Palestinian Magistrate’s Court in Ramallah on Thursday ruled to release six Palestinians that had been detained by the Palestinian Authority (PA) for over five months without charge. Basil al-Araj, 33, Mohammed Harb, 23, Haitham Siyaj, 29, Mohammed al-Salamen, 19, Ali Dar al-Sheikh, 21, and Seif al-Idrissi, 26, have all been held by the PA since late March and early April 2016. They are to be released on personal guarantees pending further proceedings, according to Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer. The six launched a hunger strike between Aug. 28 and Sep. 6 in protest of their unlawful detention. After being detained more than five months without charges being brought against them, the Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday issued a list of charges, and the men suspended their hunger strikes. The case sparked solidarity protests in demand of their immediate release amid reports of torture of the detainees and accusations of security coordination between the PA and Israel in the wake of their arrest….
Palestinian ministry of education condemns publication of fake Palestinian history books
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — The Palestinian ministry of education Wednesday condemned the issuing of fake Palestinian history school books that contained false information on Palestine. The ministry said in a statement that Israel issued school books that resembled official Palestinian school books, but included false information such as Jerusalem being the capital of Israel, adding that the move was an attempt to distort the Palestinian national identity. However, it was unclear if there was a specific Israeli company that was behind the publishing of the books. The ministry warned against using the Israeli-issued copies of the Palestinian school books, while calling on all schools in Jerusalem, teachers, parents, and students to be aware of the falsified school books.
Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem website takes an activist tone on behalf of city’s Palestinian residents
JPost 7 Sept by Ben Lynfield — …Launched in April, Al Jazeera al Quds, which is affiliated with Al Jazeera, the Qatari satellite station that is the most popular channel in the Arab world, may have the most intensive coverage of Jerusalem of any international media. On Sunday, a day when it seemed not much was happening in the city, the website featured four new articles about east Jerusalem – a mix of features and news – the part of the city Palestinians consider to be occupied and view as their future capital. With the website’s launch, Jerusalem is often covered by Al Jazeera more than any other story, including the civil war in Syria … By far, the most coverage is devoted to al-Aksa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, which is revered as the first qibla, or direction, to which Muslims turn in prayer and the departure point for the Prophet Muhammad’s night journey to heaven. The intensive coverage focuses not only on perceived Israeli violations of the site but also alleged silence, indifference or even “collusion’’ with Israel by Arab regimes, notably Egypt….
Iraq executes Palestinian youth
MEMO 9 Sept — Iraqi authorities executed a Palestinian youth yesterday after accusing him of collaborating with armed groups in Iraq, the Palestinian Safa news agency reported today. Ahmad Husni Shwahneh was arrested by Iraqi authorities almost a year ago and charged with working with militant factions. However, reports were unclear as to whether or not these groups were related to Daesh, nor what evidence Iraq had against the youth. Shwahneh, who also holds Jordanian nationality and lived in the Hashemite Kingdom with his family, was executed by hanging. An Iraqi court authorised his execution which was carried out before his family were informed. His family have stated that they will be conducting his funeral in Jordan, with his extended family from the West Bank town of Qalqilya holding a remembrance service. Iraq is known for its controversial anti-terror laws that have been criticised as allowing politically motivated executions. Amnesty International recently reported that Iraqi prisoners were routinely subjected to torture in order to extract “confessions” leading to unfair trials.
Israel allocated the work of the occupation unfairly, but that’s changing / Carolina Landsmann
Haaretz 9 Sept — There won’t be a critical mass for change as long as the dirty, contemptible work of maintaining the occupation isn’t divided equally among all classes of society — The Border Police – which is allocated numerous soldiers – has become the most coveted corps among Israel Defense Forces recruits. That is, more recruits want to serve in the Border Police than there are slots. In economic terms, this means the value of serving in the Border Police is about to soar — the service requirements for being accepted will become stricter, and it will no longer be within many recruits’ reach. The poor will have to look for cheaper units to serve in, unless the state decides to intervene and artificially increase supply, that is, increase the need for Border Policemen. Recent data issued by the IDF and police reflect a certain social justice. Once an assignment for “those with lower personal profiles,” as one of the Border Police commanders put it in the 1990s, who were sent to do the dirtiest work in Israel, the unit has turned into a platform for social mobility. Nowadays, combatants who drop out of training courses for pilots or other elite units come to the Border Police, said Former Border Police Commander Amos Yaakov. “Today we recruit youngsters from every part of Israel – even from the wealthiest communities,” he said … The work of the occupation was and is allocated unfairly. One can say that more or less, the Ashkenazim in the elite units were given the heroic tasks, while the Mizrahim in the Border Police served as the Israeli jackboot in the occupied territories. Not only was the dirty work allocated to the lower classes, but the moral dirt that stuck to them served to justify their continued discrimination and in many cases even putting them on trial. Elor Azaria is a case in point….
European MPs call for FIFA to act against Israeli settlement soccer clubs
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 9 Sept by Ori Lewis — Members of the European Parliament called on world soccer’s governing body FIFA on Friday to act against Israeli clubs based in settlements in the occupied West Bank and prevent them from participating in officially sanctioned play. Sixty-six members of the 751-member European Parliament signed a letter addressed to FIFA President Gianni Infantino urging action at next month’s FIFA Council meetings. The five clubs the MEPs referred to as being in breach of FIFA rules are all minor, non-professional outfits from the West Bank settlements of Maale Adumim, Ariel, Kiryat Arba, Givat Zeev and Bikat Hayarden (Jordan Valley). Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law, although Israeli disputes this. The European Commission, the EU’s executive, has sought to draw clearer distinctions between Israel proper and the land it occupies. “We urge you to act in accordance with FIFA statutes (and) international law…(that) FIFA should rule that settlement clubs either fully relocate within Israel’s internationally recognised borders or are excluded from the Israeli Football Association,” the letter said. The appeal to FIFA was led by Alyn Smith of the Scottish National Party, a member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, who while calling on FIFA to “respect its own rules”, added that it was not a request for a ban of Israel. “I am not asking FIFA to suspend Israel, we just want it to apply the rules. Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to play football…Allowing Israel to use football as an instrument of territorial expansion in the West Bank politicises football,” Smith said in a statement….
Trump supporters court Jewish settlers in the West Bank
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 Sept — Republican activists are trying to “make America great again” — from inside a Jewish settlement deep in the West Bank. This week, supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump have set up a campaign office in the Karnei Shomron settlement in the northern West Bank, hoping to tap into the large numbers of American immigrants in the area for support. The office is in addition to several Republican outposts set up across Israel to get American expatriates to register to vote. A new location in Gush Etzion, a bloc of settlements near Jerusalem, is expected to open next week. It’s believed to be the first time either Republican or the Democrat activists have placed a campaign office in the West Bank. Marc Zell, co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel, said the get-out-the-vote effort is not just for show. His group estimates there are about 300,000 American citizens living in Israel, including some 50,000 West Bank settlers. Zell hopes as many as 200,000 of them will register to vote. With the vast majority believed to be Republicans, he said there could be enough votes to influence results in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida. “The total Israeli vote could make a difference, as it has in the past,” he said. In 2000, for instance, he said about 1,500 Americans here cast ballots in Florida for George W. Bush — enough to provide the razor-thin margin that propelled him to victory….