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Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
13-year-old Palestinian shot in Duheisha last month detained, medically neglected
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — A 13-year-old Palestinian who was shot and seriously injured last month by Israeli forces during a raid into al-Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, and then detained from his home on Tuesday, remained in a dire medical condition, local sources reported on Thursday. Ramzi Abu Ajamiyeh was detained from his home two days ago, during massive military raids across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem when 40 other Palestinians were detained, including six other minors. The raid into al-Duheisha early Tuesday morning also sparked clashes during which two Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli fire. Meanwhile, Ramzi was shot in both of his legs during a detention raid in the camp in the beginning of August, and he remained in a “difficult” medical condition as of Thursday as he was being held in Israel’s Ofer military prison. Local sources added that since the boy was shot, he has had to undergo six surgeries due to his injuries. Throughout his detention over the past two days, Israeli forces have reportedly prevented Ramzi from taking his medication, despite Israeli authorities being informed of his medical condition. While it could not immediately be confirmed when in early August Ramzi was shot, Ma‘an reported on three separate detention raids in al-Duheisha last month that sparked clashes between local youths and Israeli forces, all the three of which resulted in locals being shot and injured … The raids in August came as reports emerged of an Israeli army commander responsible for Bethlehem’s three refugee camps making repeated threats to make “all youth in the camp disabled.” The commander, known to locals as “Captain Nidal, ” has made statements such as: “I will make half of you disabled, and let the other half push the wheelchairs,” and “I will make all of you stand in line at the ATM waiting for your disability subsidies and assistance,” according to an investigation by BADIL, the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights….
Soldiers injure a young man near Ramallah, assault a physically challenged man near Jenin
IMEMC 23 Sept — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, Friday, a young Palestinian man with live fire east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, while a number of soldiers assaulted a physically challenged man at a military roadblock near Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank. Medical sources said the soldiers invaded an area close to Yabroud bridge, between Silwad and Yabroud towns, east of Ramallah, and clashed with many locals. The soldiers fired several live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, and wounding a young man with a live round in his leg. Palestinian medics moved the wounded young man to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, suffering moderate but stable wounds.
In addition, soldiers stationed at the al-Jalama military roadblock, northeast of Jenin, assaulted a physically challenged young man, causing various cuts and bruises. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers repeatedly struck the young man, identified as Suleiman Zalafa from the Jenin refugee camp, “for approaching the roadblock before being ordered to.”
Palestinian teen reportedly shot after alleged stabbing attack near Kiryat Arba
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Sept — A Palestinian teen was reportedly shot by Israeli forces after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack in the southern occupied West Bank on Friday. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that an “assailant” attempted to carry out a stabbing attack against soldiers stationed at the Elias junction near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank district of Hebron, when he was shot by soldiers. The young Palestinian was receiving treatment for his injuries, the spokesperson added. Israeli media reported that the Palestinian had been shot in the stomach, and was suffering from moderate to critical wounds. The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the injured teen as Usama Murad Jamil Marie Zeidat, 15.The army spokesperson told Ma‘an that no Israelis were injured in the alleged attempted attack. Israeli media reported that another Palestinian was with Zeidat but fled the scene, with Israeli forces reportedly searching for him.
Israeli police assault Jerusalemite woman
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Sept — Israeli police have reportedly beaten a Jerusalemite woman named Hanade Halawani, as she was leaving al-Aqsa mosque. Halawani said that one of the officers beat her while she was leaving the holy site after the Maghrib prayer, according to Al Ray. She explained that the period for the expulsion order against her has ended; however, Israeli police ordered all members to bar her from entering the mosque. Halawani was able to enter al-Aqsa on Wednesday evening, as the period of expulsion, which lasted for a year, is ended.
Israeli soldiers attack the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddoum
IMEMC 24 Sept — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, many local and international activists holding the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddoum village, in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia, causing scores to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The protesters marched from the center of the village raising Palestinian flags and carrying posters of the detainees who ended their hunger strikes after reaching agreements for their release after extended strikes. The Popular Committee in Kafr Qaddoum said scores of locals, and international activists, suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, after the soldiers assaulted the protest. Morad Eshteiwy, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee, said many armored Israeli military vehicles and dozens of soldiers assaulted the protesters, and fired dozens of gas bombs, causing scores to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation. Clashes erupted between many local youngsters and the soldiers, in which the youngsters hurled stones at the invading army vehicles, while the soldiers fired additional gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets. The protesters closed roads with rocks, and burnt tires, in an attempt to stop the advancing military vehicles and armored bulldozers.
It is worth mentioning that army bulldozers closed several interior roads in Kafr Qaddoum with sand hills as an act of collective punishment against the Palestinians, as part of the attempts to force them to stop their protests.
Several Palestinians injured near Jenin
IMEMC 24 Sept — Medical sources have reported, on Friday evening, that several Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, after Israeli soldiers invaded Zabbouba village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. Mahmoud Sa‘adi, the head of the Emergency Unit of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Jenin, said clashes took place between the invading soldiers and many local youths, who hurled stones at the army vehicles, while the soldiers fired many gas bombs, some hitting homes. Sa‘adi added that the medics, who rushed to the scene, provided medical treatment to the families of Adel Ahmad Jaradat and Khalil Ibrahim Jaradat, after the gas bombs struck their homes and their yards.
Hundreds of settlers enter Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus
MEMO 22 Sept — Two young Palestinians were wounded with rubber-coated bullets this morning during clashes between dozens of Palestinian youths and Israeli forces after hundreds of settlers stormed the Joseph’s Tomb east of the city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank. Ghassan Douglas, who heads a committee on settlements in the north of the West Bank, said in a statement that six buses of settlers stormed the eastern area of the city, guarded by Israeli soldiers, to perform religious rites. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that two young men were hit in the leg by rubber-coated metal bullets during the confrontations with the occupation forces.
PPS: Israeli soldiers kidnap 27 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 22 Sept — UPDATED — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, on Thursday at dawn, 27 Palestinians, including a young woman, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. The PPS stated that the soldiers kidnapped five Palestinians from their homes in Shu‘fat refugee camp, and Abu Dis town, in Jerusalem … Furthermore, several army vehicles invaded Qarawat Bani Hassan village, northeast of Salfit, searched many homes and property, and claimed to locate machines used for manufacturing weapons. The soldiers kidnapped six Palestinians in the village; they have been identified as Issam Rayyan Abu Obeida, 44, Mojahed Adnan Mer’ey, 23, Ezzeddin Naim Mer’ey, 21, Mohammad Ezzat Mer’ey, 18, Ali Hatem Rayyan, 19, and Jihad Rafat Rayyan, 16. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers kidnapped three Palestinians, including a young woman. The Hebron office of the PPS said the kidnapped are a university student identified as Sojoud Saleh Daraweesh, 22, Ibrahim Hamza, and an elderly man identified as Mahmoud Amro, 60. In Jenin district, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers invaded and searched homes and kidnapped three Palestinians, identified as Hassan Ramzi Abu Salah, 39, Rida Jamil Habaiba, and a former political prisoner, identified as Ja’far Fawzi Abu Salah, 50. In Tulkarem, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers kidnapped one Palestinian identified as Nimir Khaled al-Ghoul. In Tubas, in central West Bank, the soldiers invaded homes and searched them, and kidnapped four Palestinians … In Ramallah, the soldiers also invaded and searched homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Fadi Hamad Ghanem, 33, and Rami Rebhi Khader, 35. In Bethlehem, the soldiers stormed and searched a few homes, and kidnapped Hussein Odeh Issa.
Updated: Israeli soldiers kidnap eight Palestinians in Bethlehem
IMEMC 23 Sept — Israeli soldiers and undercover forces invaded, on Friday at dawn, the West Bank city of Bethlehem, and Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, and kidnapped eight young Palestinian men. Update: The soldiers invaded al-Karkafa area, in Bethlehem city, and kidnapped two siblings, identified as George Hanna Abu ‘Aita, 29, and his brother Antwan, 20, after searching their home. The home invasions were first carried out by undercover Israeli soldiers, before the army invaded the neighborhoods, and took the kidnapped Palestinians away. Sep 23, 2016 @ 09:40: The Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers broke into and searched many homes in the refugee camp, and kidnapped the six Palestinians. The PPS added that the kidnapped have been identified as Haidar Ezzat Abu Dayya, 21, Morad Mohammad Zaghari, 21, Saber Ahmad Ma’ali, 27, Fuad Faisal Ma’ali, 26, Mohammad Zoheir Sha’ban, 25 and Abdul-Karim Hajajra, 17. Clashes took place between the invading soldiers and many local youths, who hurled stones at the armored military vehicles, while the soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades….
Dear Israel, how would you like your Palestinian?
+972 mag 22 Sept by Rami Younis — When the Israeli establishment prevents Palestinians on either side of the Green Line from struggling nonviolently, what other options are left? — So what do all these Arabs do when they aren’t willing to bow before the establishment? The last few days have provided a slew of examples of the Zionist establishment’s attempts to mold the Palestinian who opposes the occupation as someone who is either handcuffed or shot. Let’s begin with the lie that the media has been spreading over the past week. As my colleague Haggai Matar wrote in these pages, Israel’s “wave of violence” against the Palestinians never went away. A momentary calm in violent Palestinian resistance (a result of “security coordination” with the Palestinian Authority against the Palestinian people) and its resurgence over the past few days helps create a false image of a “wave” that Israel can control. As if the army, the Shin Bet, and Mahmoud Abbas can put a stop to violent attacks. Let us, then, try and understand why the “latest wave of violence” isn’t going to end anytime soon, despite the temporary letup, and why Israelis will continue to kill Palestinians, even when they haven’t done a thing. Around this time last year Palestinians were talking about the desperate situation in the West Bank. Aside from those in the PA’s inner circle, the Palestinians there have no real future, and it doesn’t matter how much they study or work hard. And if that’s not enough, Abbas’ security coordination with Israel has long ago put an end to the illusion of institutional resistance to the occupation, as if there was any way to conduct a struggle through the Palestinian Authority. Central political activists in the West Bank see Abbas and Israel as part of the same system of oppression, a notion that has become mainstream among the vast majority of Palestinians. Therefore when there is no one who will put an end to this desperation, people take matters into their own hands….
For families of Palestinian assailants, grief, pride and unanswered questions
Haaretz 23 Sept by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Two 17-year-old cousins attempt a copycat car-ramming attack – and one ends up dead. A 15-year-old boy is killed when he tries to stab a soldier. The families are in mourning in different ways — According to the Israeli media, Raghad al-Khadour and Firas al–Khadour were engaged. But the fact is they never could have married. As ‘milk siblings’, the 17-year-olds were forbidden by Islamic law to wed one another. Their mothers are sisters, their fathers cousins (and also partners in the family stonecutting business). Raghad and Firas were breast-fed with the same milk: their mothers fed them together, or perhaps — it’s no longer clear — one nursed both of them. They grew up as close cousins. Only a few hundred meters separate their homes in the town of Bani Naim, east of Hebron. Now Mussa and Abdullah, the fathers of Firas and Raghad, respectively, are sitting in the yard of Firas’ home, lamenting the death of the boy — he was killed while he and Raghad were trying to perpetrate a car-ramming attack — and praying for the recovery of his cousin. Raghad’s sister Majad al-Khadour, too, was killed three months ago when she tried to carry out a car-ramming attack at the entrance to the settlement of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hebron. Raghad and Firas attempted to run over settlers at the exact same spot. Raghad was furious at Israel’s refusal to return her sister’s body for burial. Her father is convinced this was her primary motive — “90 percent because of that,” he says. He has no idea what her condition is, nor even whether she is conscious. The milk siblings, Firas and Raghad, are no longer united.
A few kilometers from here, in a neighborhood of west Hebron, Kayed Rajabi is mourning the death of his firstborn son, Muhammad Thalji al-Rajabi. The 15-year-old was killed when he tried to stab a soldier at the Gilbert checkpoint in Hebron at the same time and on the same day — last Friday, September 16 — as the milk siblings carried out their car-ramming attack not far from there. The two houses of mourning, in Bani Naim and Hebron, are very different from each other. Lamentation and grief prevail in the mourners’ tent in Hebron; resignation and pride in Bani Naim. In Hebron, the men of the Rajabi family are sitting in a schoolyard, which has become a mourners’ tent. The family members wear tags indicating their family connection: “Father of the martyr,” “Brother of the martyr,” “Cousin of the martyr.” The father wears a knitted Muslim head covering. Utterly grief-stricken, he has the stubble of a man in mourning. The father of five children (including the dead Muhammad), he runs a used-industrial machinery business … When asked what made his son pick up a knife and go to stab soldiers, Kayed says only God knows. Nothing in the boy’s behavior indicated that he was about to commit the deed. “Everyone talks about the occupation all the time,” he says, “but nothing beyond that. Imagine that soldiers had killed your son.” In the wake of the incident at Kiryat Arba, the shoe manufacturer’s permit to enter Israel has now been revoked, and the extended Rajabi family in its entirety — about 17,000 people — has also been banned from entering Israel. Muhammad Thalji Rajabi’s body remains in Israeli hands, of course….
‘Suicide by soldier’ Palestinian girl freed by military court
Times of Israel 22 Sept — A teenage girl who was shot by Israeli security guards at a West Bank checkpoint, in an apparent suicide attempt, was released from custody on Thursday. Thirteen-year-old Bara‘a Ramadan Owaisi from Qalqilya was freed by an Israeli military court, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency. The court found there was no evidence that she had attempted any attack; nor had she been in possession of a weapon. On Wednesday morning she had approached the guards at the checkpoint, in the northern West Bank. When she ignored their calls for her to halt, one of them shot her in the leg, the Defense Ministry said. “The girl approached the vehicle crossing by foot, holding a bag,” arousing the suspicion of the security guards, the statement said. They “ordered her to stop and even fired warning shots into the air,” the ministry said, but when the teenager continued approaching despite the calls to halt, the guards “shot her in the legs in order to stop her.” She was lightly injured. During an initial investigation of the incident, the teenager said, “I came to die,” according to the ministry. A video circulating online appeared to depict the moment of Wednesday’s shooting. The past year of Palestinian attacks has seen several instances in which teenagers appeared to provoke gunfire from Israeli security forces in order to commit suicide. According to sources within the Israel Defense Forces, often terrorist attacks are a form of “suicide by cop,” or “suicide by soldier.” “Most of the people have personal problems with their families or they themselves are unbalanced,” a senior IDF officer in the Central Command told The Times of Israel. Owaisi’s aunt, Rasha Owaisi, 23, was shot dead at the same checkpoint last November when she brandished a knife and approached the guards there. The aunt had left a suicide note for her family.
Soldiers close all roads leading to Nablus
IMEMC 24 Sept — Israeli soldiers closed, on Friday evening, all roads leading to the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and prevented the Palestinians from crossing for several hours. The soldiers installed many roadblocks, even closing minor roads leading to the city, completely sealing it, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. The army claimed there was what it called “a security incident,” but did not provide any further information, and later removed the blockades.
Innocent Palestinians punished as lethal violence flares in Hebron
Palestine Monitor 22 Sept — Following a spate of lethal clashes between the Israeli Forces and Palestinian youths, innocent civilians are being denied the right to work, leave their home villages or retrieve the bodies of their dead children … In punitive response to a handful of individual attacks, over the last ten months over 2,000 Bani Naim residents have had their right to work in Israel revoked, some on a temporary and some on a permanent basis. Collective punishment is a war crime, explicitly prohibited by the Geneva Convention on Human Rights.
These measures are supposed to prevent attacks on Israeli soldiers and inhabitants of illegal West Bank settlements. But they mean hundreds of innocent Palestinians are now reliant on dwindling savings and the kindness of neighbours to keep food on the table and their children in school. Riad Tarayra, a merchant dealing in carpets and a father of seven, says he has been unable to work since losing his permit at the start of July. “If a Palestinian has it in mind to do an attack, you won’t stop him by taking away his permit,” he told the Palestine Monitor. “They just create more chaos in the area, and so the situation gets worse.” Even those few locals who manage to retain their work visas suffer under collective punishment in the aftermath of attacks. Following a June stabbing, the village was besieged by the Israeli Forces for over a month. And in the wake of recent violence, Bani Naim is being hemmed in once again. In the time it took to conduct these interviews, the Israelis dumped a new rubble blockade on the main road out of the village. “They are ready to destroy the whole economy here in Palestine,” motor trader Rahi Abu Sneineh said, gazing out of Bani Naim down a road freshly obstructed by concrete blocks and mounds of loose stone. According to Abu Sneineh, the 15-minute drive to Hebron can take up to five hours when Israeli blockades are in place, making business all but impossible …
The past year has seen the Israeli government repeatedly refusing to release the bodies of slain Palestinians to their families, on the grounds this could constitute “incitement”. But according to the grieving villagers of Bani Naim, Palestinian youths are far more likely to be “incited” by the collective punishment of their innocent compatriots.
Scores of Palestinians perform Friday prayers at Beita entrance to protest road closures
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Sept — Scores of Palestinians performed Friday prayers at a junction in the northern occupied West Bank village of Beita to protest the closure of the main entrance of the village for the fifth consecutive day. Beita Mayor Wassef Maalla told Ma‘an that the group prayer was an act of protest to demand that Israeli forces reopen roads in Beita, located in the Nablus district, and others linking the village to neighboring Palestinian municipalities. Maalla said that if the closure continued, residents of Beita and nearby villages would escalate protests starting on Monday by carrying out marches on main roads. Israeli forces closed the main entrance to the village of Beita on Monday night with huge concrete blocks and earth mounds, as well as other side roads near Beita and the nearby village of Huwwara. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that following “repeated” stone-throwing on Israeli settlers’ vehicles on the road adjacent to Beita and Huwwara, several roads between the two villages were being closed “in order to curtail threats.”….
Israeli forces expand Beit Ummar military watchtower, narrowing main street
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 22 Sept – Israeli forces reopened the northern entrance to the village of Beit Ummar north of Hebron City on Thursday, after the road had been closed by Israeli authorities for four days to carry out maintenance work on an Israeli military watchtower stationed there. Local activist Muhammad Ayad Awad said that the maintenance work expanded the military watchtower and narrowed the street, which is the main entrance to the village, to one lane instead of two lanes as before. He said that the development will have a negative impact on the daily lives of Beit Ummar’s residents, forcing them to live under continuous Israeli surveillance and increase traffic congestion in the village. Awad added that Israeli forces continued the closure of a smaller entrance near the village’s central vegetable market, which he said has been closed for five years.
Israeli forces shoot, injure 3 Palestinians near Gaza border
GAZA (Ma‘an) 23 Sept — At least three Palestinians were injured with live fire on Friday in clashes with Israeli forces along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Israel. Medical sources said two youths were injured east of Gaza City, while a third was injured by Israeli snipers east of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that “violent riots” occurred on Friday near the border in the central and northern Gaza Strip, and that Israeli forces used “riot dispersal means” at the demonstrators “in order to prevent infiltration” into Israel. The spokesperson could not specify which riot dispersal means were used, but confirmed the use of live fire east of Gaza City when a number of Palestinians breached the “buffer zone” close to the border. Palestinians often come under fire from military forces near the “buffer zone” between the Palestinian enclave and Israel, as the Israeli military has not made clear the precise area of the designated zone.
Gaza roof collapse kills Palestinian child, leaves sister injured
GAZA (PIC) 23 Sept — A Palestinian child died in the blockaded Gaza Strip at dawn Friday while his father and sister were left wounded when a roof of the family home collapsed over their heads. A PIC news correspondent said five-year-old Bilal Merish was instantly killed in the collapse of a tin roof while his father and sister sustained injuries. The casualties’ home is located in al-Shuja‘iya neighborhood, in eastern Gaza City, an area where hundreds of Palestinian civilian homes were destroyed by an Israeli military offensive in the summer of 2014. Several other homes are expected to collapse as a result of the serious damage inflicted by Israeli shelling.
IOF opens fire at shepherds in central Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 23 Sept — Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Thursday evening opened live fire at Palestinian shepherds in the eastern part of Juhr al-Deek town in the central Gaza Strip. Witnesses told the PIC reporter that Israeli soldiers stationed in Camera military site opened live fire at the shepherds. No initial injuries were reported.
IOF injures 13 Gazan fishermen, arrests 119 others
GAZA (PIC) 21 Sept — The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) shot and injured 13 fishermen and arrested 119 others off Gaza shores since the beginning of 2016, Mizan Center for Human Rights has revealed. In its new report, the center pointed out that Israeli attacks against Gazan fishermen have continued in flagrant violation of international laws. 37 Palestinian fishing boats were confiscated during the reported period, the center added.
Israel increases interrogations of Gazan travelers
JERUSALEM (AP) 22 Sept — For the past four years, Gaza hairdresser Safa al-Masri has obtained a travel permit from Israel to visit her relatives in the West Bank. But this year, when she applied for a permit to attend her sister’s wedding, she received a different answer: Come in for questioning by Israeli security agents or be barred from traveling. Al-Masri is among a growing number of people who have been ordered to submit to Israeli interrogations in order to receive a coveted travel permit to exit the blockaded Gaza Strip. While Israel defends the practice as a necessary security measure; critics say it exploits the weak and endangers those being questioned by placing them under the suspicion of the territory’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers. According to statistics compiled by Gisha, an Israeli advocacy group that pushes for freedom of movement for Gaza’s 1.8 million residents, 1,211 Gazans were summoned to the Erez border crossing for Israeli security interrogations during the first half of the year. That is roughly 2.5 times the 469 people interrogated during the same period a year earlier. Tania Hary, Gisha’s executive director, said that few people have been willing to speak about their experiences in the interrogation room. But she said there is a great risk that they will be seen as collaborating with Israel. “It is safe to say that this practice raises the level of anxiety among those who are seeking an exit permit and thus causes a chilling effect,” she said … In addition to the increased interrogations, Gisha on Thursday reported a significant jump in the number of permits either revoked or rejected by Israeli authorities over the last year. It said nearly half of the roughly 3,500 permits for Gaza merchants and 350 longer-term VIP permits for senior businessmen have been revoked. It also said more than one-fifth of U.N. workers seeking travel permits were rejected in June, compared to a 3 percent rejection rate in January. The World Health Organization reported similar trends for medical patients seeking permits — with the approval rate dropping from 82 percent in the first half of 2015 to 70 percent this year. The number of medical patients summoned for security interviews more than quadrupled — to 516 from 121….
Gaza power station to shut down due to lack of fuel supplies
GAZA (Ma‘an) 22 Sept, updated 23 Sept — The energy authority in the Gaza Strip has announced that the besieged coastal enclave’s sole power plant would stop running until next Tuesday due to fuel shortages, as Israel’s Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing remained closed to fuel imports for the second consecutive day. In a statement issued on Thursday, the authority said that since the crossing was closed after it was breached by burglars early Wednesday morning, the power station would be out of service due to lack of fuel deliveries. The flow of fuel supplies into the blockaded Palestinian territory was further impeded due to repair work on pipes at Kerem Shalom, according to a statement released Thursday by the borders and crossing committee. According to the statement however, all other goods besides fuel supplies were still being allowed through the crossing. Even at full capacity, Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza’s sole power plant, fail to cover the Gaza Strip’s energy needs and only provide energy to Gaza’s inhabitants for eight hours each day.
Israel pursuing crackdown on international NGOs in Gaza, aid workers say
MEMO 22 Sept — Israel is pursuing a crackdown on international NGOs operating in the Gaza Strip, aid workers have claimed, steps that could be paving the way for a new offensive on the fenced-in territory. The claims are made in a new article, “Israel Declares War on Gaza’s NGOs”, published [subscription] by Foreign Policy (FP), and written by the Times correspondent Greg Carlstrom. According to the report, NGOs have been “feeling unexpected pressure from Israeli authorities” in recent months. Foreign Policy spoke with “a dozen senior employees from NGOs and UN agencies” most of whom wanted to remain anonymous “lest they cause more problems” with Israel. One charity director said that 30 to 40 per cent of its Palestinian employees are now being refused travel permits”, individuals “who have been getting permits regularly, as recently as last year.” Another official, from a Scandinavian charity, said: “It’s become very complex. [The Shin Bet] is even looking into social media of the people who are asking for permits, checking on their friends.” The United Nations, meanwhile, “has found its work in Gaza increasingly challenged by Israeli restrictions.” According to the publication, while in 2015 and early 2016 just three per cent of UN employees were denied permits, over the past few months this has increased tenfold, to nearly 30 per cent. While some Israeli politicians and military figures have urged an easing of the blockade, over the summer, “Israel quietly started doing the opposite.” This has led “many of the aid workers who help keep Gaza afloat” to “fear another war is looming.” The FP article cites the case of World Vision employee Mohammad El-Halabi who has been charged with funnelling vast sums of money to Hamas, in a complex and years-long conspiracy. Many aid workers, however, “express grave doubts about the charges against Halabi”, who was held without a lawyer for three weeks, and whose trial is being conducted behind closed doors. Instead, these NGO workers “see the case as part of a broader policy shift in Israel aimed at stifling humanitarian work and economic life in Gaza.”….
Seven days on the Women’s Flotilla to Gaza
Israeli Social TV 22 Sept — Join reporter Yudit Ilany as she spends a week with the Women’s Flotilla to Gaza, while it makes port calls in southern Europe, and ultimately attempts to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza. For eight years now, international activists have attempted to symbolically break Israel’s decade-long blockade on the Gaza Strip. In 2008, the Israeli Navy let two sets of boats through. Two years later, Israeli commandos killed 10 activists on the ‘Mavi Marmara.’ Every year since, activists have attempted new flotillas, all of which have been stopped by Israel. This year, the Freedom Flotilla Coalition is sending a ‘Women’s Boat to Gaza,’ a flotilla of two boats named Amal-Hope and Zaytouna-Oliva. Israel Social TV reporter Yudit Ilany is sailing on the Zaytouna-Oliva. This is her travelogue from the first week. We have edited the Yudit’s diary for length. The full multimedia series can be found on Social TV’s Facebook page.
Video: ‘In the name of love and peace, kia ora Aotearoa’ — Kiwi [Maori] MP departs for Gaza peace flotilla
TVNZ 21 Sept — Green Party MP Marama Davidson recorded a heartfelt video as she began her epic journey from Auckland [New Zealand] to join a women’s peace boat that will highlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Ms Davidson left Auckland last night where she will travel fly to Dubai, then to Rome before making her way to Sicily where she’ll travel over the Mediterranean Sea to the shores of the Middle East where she’ll join a women’s peace boat off Gaza. “I’m deeply privileged to be part of the women’s boat to Gaza to challenge the Israeli blockade by seas, a blockade that’s been part of creating a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Ms Davidson said from her aircraft seat last night. “This is my role to uphold the Green Party’s longstanding kaupapa for peace and justice. It is also a longstanding kaupapa of my people, my tipuna. I am deeply privileged to be leaving right now.” The Green Party, citing the United Nations, said Israel has blockaded the Gaza strip by land, sea, and air since 2006, bringing a decrease in living standards and health services.
Egypt opens Rafah crossing one last day for return of pilgrims
MEMO 23 Sept — The Rafah border crossing was opened for the last time today to allow for the return of pilgrims from Hajj. The Egyptian government had declared that it would be opening the crossing for four days this week. Two groups of pilgrims were reportedly allowed to cross through yesterday. Egypt opened the crossing on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday to allow the return of the pilgrims. Palestinians in Gaza must receive permission from the Egyptian government to go on the Hajj pilgrimage as the airport in Cairo is the only avenue Gazans have to travel abroad.
Gaza soldier injured by shell launched from Egypt
MEMO 23 Sept — A member of the Gaza Strip’s Interior Ministry’s security apparatus was injured yesterday evening by an artillery shell fired from Egypt, the ministry revealed. In a statement, the ministry’s spokesperson Iyad Al-Bazm said the shell landed near a site along the southern border of the city of Rafah. The security member who was injured was taken to hospital for treatment while the shell also caused damage to the area. He called on the Egyptian authorities to open an investigation into the incident, stressing that shells have repeatedly fallen within the borders of the Gaza Strip in recent weeks. Egypt did not comment on the incident. Two weeks ago, a Palestinian security source told the Anadolu Agency that four shells were fired from Egyptian soil and fell within the borders of the Gaza Strip without causing injuries.
Dozens of Israeli attacks on Gaza in August
MEMO 21 Sept — Dozens of Israeli attacks were recorded in August on the Gaza Strip, according to data collected and published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR). According to PCHR, over the course of the month, Israeli forces were responsible for 53 shooting attacks and 24 incidents of shelling inside the “no-go zone” near the border fence and at sea. In addition, there were four incursions by Israeli forces into the Gaza Strip. Twenty Palestinians were injured in the course of these various incidents and 17 were detained. There were also a dozen cases of damage to, or confiscation of, property. Since the ceasefire that concluded “Operation Protective Edge” in August 2014, the Israeli military has carried out routine attacks on Palestinian farmers, protesters, fishermen and other civilians. [The PCHR report has details of all attacks]
Prisoners / Court actions
Former hunger striker Malik al-Qadi released by Israel, transferred to Palestinian hospital
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Israeli authorities released former hunger-striking prisoner Malik al-Qadi to Palestinian medics on Saturday to transfer him to a hospital in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Red Crescent said on Saturday morning that its staff was transferring al-Qadi from the Israeli Wolfson Medical Center to the Istishari Arab Hospital in the city of Ramallah. Al-Qadi is in a dire health condition after going without food for 68 days to protest being held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — by Israel. Al-Qadi ended his hunger strike on Wednesday, along with fellow prisoners Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul, after an agreement with the Israeli prisons services not to renew their administrative detentions. Muhammad Balboul, 26, had refused food for 77 days since July 7, while his 23-year-old brother Mahmoud had been on hunger strike 79 days since July 5, and al-Qadi, 25, declared his hunger strike on July 16. Qaraqe said in a statement on Wednesday that Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Balboul were set to be released on Dec. 8, while Malik al-Qadi would be released on Sep. 22, and that all three of their administrative detentions would not be renewed.
Gazans celebrate hunger strikers’ victory over administrative detention by Israel
GAZA (Ma‘an) 22 Sept — Scores of Palestinians gathered in front of the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City on Thursday to celebrate the victory of three Palestinian prisoners whose lengthy hunger strikes successfully pressured Israeli authorities to release them from administrative detention. The rally was organized by the Prisoners’ Committee of the National and Islamic Forces in the Gaza Strip, which encompasses the Palestinian factions Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and the DFLP — a day after Malik al-Qadi and brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul suspended their hunger strikes when Israel set dates for their release. “Congratulations to Palestinian prisoners who have achieved victory against the crime of administrative detention,” Nashaat al-Wahedi, a Fatah official from the committee, said at the rally, referring to Israel’s policy of internment without trial or charge based on undisclosed evidence used almost exclusively against Palestinians….
Israeli courts issue harsh prison sentences against 2 prisoners
BETHLEHEM (PIC) 21 Sept — An Israeli court sentenced Tuesday the Palestinian female prisoner Amal Taqatqa, from Bethlehem, to seven years imprisonment for an alleged stabbing attack few months ago. Last December, Amal Taqatqa was shot with three live bullets in the upper part of her body and another bullet in her foot for allegedly trying to carry out a stabbing attack near Gush Etzion settlement. Since then, she was held in Hadassah hospital where she underwent several surgeries. Taqatqa, 19, suffers from a very difficult health situation as she is unable to walk due to the Israeli deliberate medical neglect.
Along the same line, Salem military court sentenced Tuesday afternoon the prisoner Azmi Nafaa, 22, to 20 years imprisonment for allegedly trying to run over a group of soldiers at Zaatara checkpoint last November. Family sources affirmed that Nafaa was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 36-month suspended sentence for five years. His car was also confiscated. Nafaa was arrested after being shot at Zaatara checkpoint south of Nablus for allegedly carrying out a car ramming attack.
Lawyer: Palestinians in Israeli prison face torture, filthy living conditions
MEMO 23 Sept — Palestinian prisoners held in Israel’s Etzion prison have been assaulted, tortured, while enduring squalid living conditions, according to testimonies collected by a lawyer from the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs. In a statement released yesterday, Hassan Al-Sheikh said that Israeli forces have been assaulting Palestinian prisoners inside Etzion prison, while prisoners were also assaulted when Israeli forces initially detained them by breaking into their homes and beating them in front of their families. Furthermore, while the prisoners were being transferred in a military vehicle to the prison, they were also assaulted and “humiliated” by Israeli forces. Israeli forces continued to assault them when they arrived in prison, raid their cells, and routinely prohibit the prisoners from sleeping, drinking water and using the bathroom. Palestinian prisoners told Al-Sheikh that they have also been denied access to the prison courtyard, were served “inedible” food which was either cold, rotten or which could not be identified. Palestinian prisoners also reported they were being forced to bathe in large groups in the same shower without curtains for five minutes only, leading some prisoners to refuse taking showers altogether. The lack of sufficient healthcare and sanitation has led to reports of the spread of skin illnesses. The prison was infested with insects and bedsheets were filthy to the point that prisoners prefer sleeping without any covers. They have also been prohibited from washing or changing their underwear. Palestinian prisoners delivered a message through Al-Sheikh, calling upon all responsible authorities to intervene and put an end to Israel’s inhumane treatment of Palestinian political prisoners. They also called upon the International Committee of the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders to visit them at Etzion prison and end their suffering….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli settler takes over Palestinian-owned land in Jordan Valley
TUBAS (PIC) 23 Sept — An Israeli settler confiscated Thursday Palestinian-owned land in Jordan Valley in occupied West Bank after he had earlier built a mobile house and a sheep pen in the area. The local rights activist Mutaz Basharat affirmed that an Israeli settler erected a mobile house and a sheep pen over a [piece of] land of 350 dunums, owned by Palestinian citizens. Basharat pointed out that the settler erected the mobile house to pave the way for the confiscation of the whole land which is located near the illegal Israeli settlement of Makhula. He said a number of Israeli settlers had earlier built settlement outposts near the area in anticipation of confiscating the whole land.
Jerusalemites perform Friday prayers near their demolished homes
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 24 Sept — Dozens of locals in Qalandia village performed Friday prayers near their demolished homes which have been recently razed by the Israeli occupation. Representative for the houses’ owners Salah Ajalin called on the Palestinian Authority (PA) to work seriously and immediately to stop further demolition of the village houses. The demolition of 11 buildings in one single night and the escalated night raids into the village could only prove that there is something serious being prepared by Israeli authorities, he said. The escalated demolition orders, he continued, came as part of Israel’s racist policy against the Palestinian presence in the occupied city. Earlier Wednesday, Israeli municipal crews in occupied Jerusalem handed over demolition notifications against 26 apartments in ‘Issawiya town north of occupied Jerusalem. The notified apartments are home for at least 250 people including children and women.
Hebron: Palestinian trees resist Israeli occupation
IMEMC/Agencies 19 Sept — According to the PNN. the Center for Freedom and Justice in Beit Ummar village, to the north of Hebron, is facilitating a popular struggle with grape trees and vegetable fields as key components — Beit Ummar has, for several years, been a hot spot for nonviolent popular struggle against the Israeli occupation. The village of approximately 18,000 inhabitants has been subject to the expansion of six Israeli settlements surrounding the village. Until 2010, the popular struggle in Beit Ummar consisted mainly of weekly demonstrations protesting the on-going annexation of village land. But the formation of the Centre for Freedom and Justice (CFJ) has changed this. Director Muna Ammar explains: “When we demonstrated at the Israeli checkpoint near the city’s entrance, protesters were injured, imprisoned and killed by the Israeli forces and teargas would drift in to the adjacent houses. We realized that our struggle for freedom had to play on more strings, so we decided to stop focusing on demonstrations and the Centre for Freedom and Justice was formed.” The CFJ‘s main focus is to assist farmers in cultivating land next to the settlements. Before CFJ started this work, the farmers owning the land were not able to cultivate it, due to insufficient funds, fear of settlers attacking, and scarcity in the water supplies. The fact that the land was not being used made it a vulnerable target for annexation from the surrounding Israeli settlements. CFJ’s capacity for an international outreach enabled Beit Ummar to achieve donations from two French communities, the Rhone-Alps and Bakar region, through an NGO called MAN. The donations have been diverted, into the local community, in the form of water reservoir construction and 1800 trees, to this date. Another feature of the CFJ’s work is to invite international volunteers to take part in the cultivation, as well as acting as a protective presence seeking to prevent settlers attacking farmers working on their land….
15 families to be homeless in lieu of Israeli military drill
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Sept — Israeli authorities, on Wednesday, ordered 15 Palestinian families to evacuate their homes in the northern Jordan Valley, paving the way for projected military maneuvers in the area. Local anti-settlement activist Motaz Bisharat told the Palestine News Network (PNN) that the Israeli Civil Administration served evacuation notifications to 15 Palestinian families, in preparation for army drills. It was claimed that the evacuation is merely “provisional”. Quoting a PIC news correspondent, a Palestinian native inhabitant of the Jordan Valley said: “Where should our children and wives seek shelter now? This has always been the case. We’ll be wandering in streets until military maneuvers are over.” How dare Israelis force us out of our own and only homes just to carry out drills and prop up military grip around our neck? It’s like stealing our loafs of bread and forcing us to pay the price,” said an elderly woman.
Jewish National Fund confirms grants to West Bank settlement projects
MEMO 23 Sept — The Jewish National Fund (JNF) in the United States has confirmed that it grants money to projects based in, or benefiting, illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The information is contained within its annual financial report, which, according to the report in Haaretz, for the first time “includes a detailed breakdown of its investments in projects overseas.” According to the paper, groups opposed to settlements had long sought such a breakdown, “in order to determine whether the non-profit, which enjoys US tax-exempt status, contributes to Jewish settlements in the West Bank, as has long been suspected – and if so, to what degree.” The grants include $532,500 to the Gush Etzion Visitors Centre, located in Kfar Etzion settlement near Bethlehem. Another example cited is a $33,000 grant to Friends of Ir David, “a US organisation active in promoting the settlement enterprise.” The Ir David Foundation, also known as Elad, “purchases properties in Arab neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem in order to move Jewish settlers in.” Overall, “the total included grants to several other projects and organisations thought to be linked to the settlement movement or engaged in activities in the occupied territories.” The data confirms claims long made by anti-settlement activists, who have “contended that the JNF exploits its American tax-exempt status to promote projects in the West Bank.”
Palestinian refugees – Lebanon
Armed clashes erupt in Ein El-Hilweh camp
MEMO 22 Sept — Armed clashes erupted in the Ein El-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon between Fatah factions and member of Fatah Al-Sham yesterday evening, a Lebanese security source said. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source told the Anadolu Agency: “The Ein El-Hilweh camp in Sidon witnessed, late on Wednesday evening, armed clashes between elements of Bilal Badr’s group [Fatah Al-Sham] and member of the Fatah movement. The groups used “different tpes of machine guns and rockets.” He added that the clashes “resulted in material damage and the displacement of a number of residents from some neighbourhoods in the camp”, adding that no injuries or deaths were reported. The cause of the clashes was not revealed.
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violation in the occupied Palestinian territory (8-21 Sept)
PCHR-Gaza 22 Sept — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt. 8 civilians were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Among the killed was a Jordanian person, who was killed in occupied Jerusalem, and 5 children. 13 civilians, including 4 children, were wounded in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Israeli warplanes carried out 3 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, due to which 2 agricultural rooms and a water well were destroyed. Israeli forces targeted the border area in the northern Gaza Strip and wounded a farmer. Israeli forces conducted 116 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited ones in the southern Gaza Strip. 110 civilians, including 31 children and a woman, were arrested. 33 of them, including 12 children and the woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. [continued, with details of these and other occurrences]
Palestinian election delay leaves $8 million in limbo
Al-Monitor 22 Sept by Adnan Abu Amer — The Palestinian Supreme Court’s decision to delay local council elections has resulted in an estimated $8 million debt and many questions about how those funds were spent and how they will be repaid … “I expect that the decision to stop the elections will stir up social problems and lead to financial legal actions,” Omar Shaban, the head of PalThink for Strategic Studies in Gaza, told Al-Monitor. “Some candidates resigned from their jobs and others sold their cars to secure the financial expenses of their electoral campaign.” These expenses include amounts remitted by the candidates to their respective local councils to cover their unpaid water and electricity bills — which have been due for years — as required by Local Council Election Law of 2005 before they can run for election. The money also includes the amount the government pledged to give the Central Election Commission (CEC) in return for logistical support, including civil servants, transportation and telecommunication services, and office rental for CEC employees from the time the elections were announced in June, through Oct. 8. That is in addition to registration fees paid by the electoral lists, as well as campaign funds collected. All of these amounts are estimated to total $8 million….
Palestinians’ Abbas seeks British apology for 1917 Jewish homeland declaration
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 22 Sept by Arshad Mohammed and Michelle Nichols — Britain should apologize for its 1917 declaration endorsing the founding of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and should recognize Palestine as a state, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday. Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly, Abbas said that the Palestinian people had suffered greatly because of the Balfour Declaration in which Britain said it favored the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine but that this should not undermine the rights of others living there. “We ask Great Britain, as we approach 100 years since this infamous declaration, to draw the necessary lessons and to bear its historic, legal, political, material and moral responsibility for the consequences of this declaration, including an apology to the Palestinian people for the catastrophes, misery and injustice this declaration created and to act to rectify these disasters and remedy its consequences, including by the recognition of the state of Palestine,” Abbas said. “This is the least Great Britain can do.” The British mission to the United Nations had no immediate comment. Abbas raised the 1917 declaration – named for Arthur Balfour, then the British foreign secretary – in the context of other milestones, including the 1948 U.N. General Assembly resolution partitioning Palestine into two states and the 1967 war when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking a short time later at the annual gathering of world leaders, derided Abbas for focusing on the declaration and alluded to the possibility of the Palestinians suing Britain for it. “President Abbas just attacked from this podium the Balfour Declaration. He is preparing a lawsuit against Britain for that declaration from 1917. That’s almost 100 years ago. Talk about being stuck in the past,” Netanyahu said … The mutual recriminations in Thursday’s speeches underlined the low expectations for any revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks….
EU court moves to keep Hamas, Tamil Tigers off terrorism list
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) 22 Sept — The European Union’s top court took a step on Thursday towards confirming the removal of Hamas and the Tamil Tigers from an EU terrorism blacklist, despite protestations from Israel and the Sri Lankan government. An advocate general at the European Court of Justice, whose advice is usually followed by judges, recommended that they reject an appeal by the Council of EU member states against the lower General Court’s decisions in late 2014 to remove both movements from the sanctions list due to flawed procedures. At the time, Israel, which has had fraught relations with the EU in recent years, recalled Europeans’ treatment of Jews in the Holocaust and denounced the bloc’s “staggering hypocrisy.” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said of Thursday’s recommendation: “This is only a (legal) opinion which is not binding on the court and is part of the European judicial process. We are convinced that the European Union will do all that is required in order to keep Hamas, an active terrorist group, on the European terror list.” The United States has urged the maintenance of sanctions on Hamas.
How a church was smeared for an exhibit about Israeli occupation
MEE 23 Sept by Ben White — When a Methodist church in central London decided to hold a small exhibition about life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, its members probably did not expect to be smeared as antisemites in the pages of The Times. Yet that is precisely what happened to the members of Hinde Street Methodist church in Marylebone, in response to its “You cannot pass today” event, held as part of an annual “World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel”. The exhibition, designed for visitors to “experience what it is like to cross a checkpoint every day,” was intended to “explore how we break down the walls that divide us so no one lives in fear”. It was the result of a church member’s recent visit to the region as a volunteer. Hardly radical stuff. And yet, as sure as night follows day, one church’s modest attempts to communicate an aspect of life for Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was seized upon by Israel’s cheerleaders as a dangerous threat to communal relations. In The Times, the rabbi of a nearby synagogue claimed that the exhibition could “demonise” Israel, adding: “Why the hell is a church wasting resources on fanning the flames of antisemitism? They should be ashamed”….
Facebook disables accounts of Palestinian editors
EI 23 Sept by Ali Abunimah — Editors at two of the most widely read Palestinian online publications have had their Facebook accounts disabled. Administrators for the Facebook pages of Quds, which has more than five million “likes,” and Shehab News Agency, which has more than six million, found they could not access their accounts on Friday. Ezz al-Din al-Akhras, a supervisor at Quds, told The Electronic Intifada that at around 2pm, three of the publication’s editors found their accounts disabled. The same thing has happened to five editors at Shehab News Agency, a news editor for that publication told The Electronic Intifada. Both organizations are still publishing to Facebook as some editors can still access their accounts. – Censorship – Quds provided this screenshot showing what happened when one of their administrators tried to log in to his Facebook account. Both believe that the suspensions are directly related to an agreement between Facebook and the Israeli government to collaborate in monitoring what Israel claims is “incitement” by Palestinians. “The joint Facebook-Israel censorship efforts, needless to say, will be directed at Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians who oppose Israeli occupation,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote of the agreement earlier this month. “There has been no given reason for closing the accounts,” Quds’ al-Akhras said. “We believe this is the result of the agreement between Israel and Facebook. It is very strange that Facebook would take part in such an agreement, given that it is supposed to be a platform for free expression and journalism.” Al-Akhras said that it was particularly dismaying that Facebook would take this action as Quds got its start in 2011 as a Facebook-only platform. It only launched its own website and began using other social media platforms later on. “We learned what journalism and freedom of expression are using Facebook,” al-Akhras said, adding that Quds was the first Palestinian publication to systematically use the platform for crowdsourcing news and verifying events all over Palestine….
Israel’s showdown with UN over immunity for Gaza engineer
+972 blog 22 Sept by Marian Houk & ‘John Brown’ — Does a UN engineer Israel accuses of working with Hamas have immunity from prosecution? The UN says that if Israel shares evidence of his guilt, it will lift the immunity. So why won’t Israel hand over the evidence? — t didn’t take more than a few hours before the United Nations found out Israeli intelligence agents had arrested one of its Palestinian engineers as he was returning to the Gaza Strip through the Erez military checkpoint. The very next morning, on July 4, a senior UNDP official in Jerusalem fired off a “Note Verbale” to Israel’s minister of foreign affairs, Benjamin Netanyahu, that expressed anxiety. “At around 1730 hours while at Erez, Mr. [Waheed] al-Bursh was taken by two security officers, and since then we know nothing about him.” The UN official, Roberto Valent, asked that Israel provide the grounds for and circumstances of Bursh’s arrest, what charges he might face, and when he might be brought to court. In addition, he asked for access to Bursh “in his place of detention as soon as possible,” and for “assistance in arranging legal representation and the presence of UNDP at any court hearings.” These requests are part of long-standing procedure codified in a UN 1981 Administrative Instruction and approved in a 1982 UN General Assembly resolution, during the Cold War, when the UN had special concerns for its staff members who were, usually for political reasons, sometimes made to disappear during their “home leave” and secretly jailed, in certain countries. The Israeli Foreign Ministry was slow to reply (government regulations require written answers in 20 working days). Only when the Shin Bet was ready did the Foreign Ministry launch a high-profile campaign, on August 8. The next day Bursh had his first court hearing, which was held behind closed doors and without the presence of a UN official. In their announcement, Israeli authorities said they “arrested” Bursh on July 16, which means he was held almost two weeks longer — in isolation under interrogation — than Israel has so far publicly acknowledged. The indictment of Bursh, along with the high-profile case of World Vision local director Mohammad el-Halabi, both from Gaza – from which Israel unilaterally “disengaged” in August 2005 – appears to be based exclusively on Shin Bet interrogations. The two men are both charged with “assisting Hamas,” which is a crime in Israel – but not in Gaza. His prosecution is only possible because Israeli courts often claim universal jurisdiction with regards to security matters. The United Nations, however, asserts that Bursh enjoys limited immunity as a UN employee….
Will Obama’s final act be the liquidation of Palestinian rights?
EI 21 Sept by Ali Abunimah — Whenever a US president prepares to leave office, diplomats and Middle East specialists in think tanks urge him to make a final push for an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” deal. It is a time-honored Washington ritual. Given his passing reference to Palestinians and Israelis in his final speech to the UN General Assembly, however, it might seem like there is not much chance of that with Barack Obama. “Surely, Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land,” Obama told world leaders gathered in New York on Tuesday. It was classic Obama: tricky and deceptive language that seeks balance where there is none – equating alleged Palestinian “incitement” with real Israeli colonialism and occupation – and floating lofty goals belied by his actions. The most glaring of these, of course, is Obama signing off on the record 10-year, $38 billion dollar military giveaway to Israel. This weapons windfall caps a term during which Obama aided and abetted two devastating Israeli assaults in Gaza, as well as the ongoing siege, and offered Israel every diplomatic protection as it built more settlements on occupied Palestinian land, exceeding even the frenetic pace of colonization during the Bush administration….
First-ever professional skateboard tour hits Palestine
Palestine Monitor 22 Sept — ‘Radical Islam’, reads a graffiti tag in Nablus skate-park. Sketched below it is a bearded Imam, a broad grin on his face and a skateboard in his hand. On Saturday, September 10, he watched the park being put through its paces by the Isle skate team. Isle were in town for the first professional skateboarding tour in Palestinian history. The week-long trip, organized alongside SkatePAL, wrapped up on September 16. Sylvain Tognelli is a French skateboarder who has been signed to Isle since he turned professional in 2013. “Living in France, Germany or England, all you get to hear about is the negative side of things in Palestine, the war and the bombs. But it’s not like that at all,” he told the Palestine Monitor. He added that several team members “were a bit nervous” about the trip. But their expectations were confounded as they tracked down local skate spots in Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem. “In Ramallah, all the local kids came out, and it was great to hang out and skate with them,” Sylvain recalled. Co-organisers SkatePAL have previously grabbed global headlines by kitting out local kids with decks, building skate parks such as the Nablus rink and inviting international volunteers to share their skills with Palestinian skaters and instructors….