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Israel detains 10 high school students in Jerusalem’s Old City

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Israeli forces detain 17 Palestinians, including 10 high school students in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — Israeli forces detained 17 Palestinians in raids across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem overnight and during the day Monday, including 10 teenagers at a high school in Jerusalem’s Old City that Israeli police accused of throwing rocks. Israeli forces raided the Dar al-Aytam school in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, and first detained Samir Jibril, the director of the Palestinian Ministry of Education department, which oversees all Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem. The organization’s public relations officer Sawsan al-Safadi told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed the school, which also serves as an orphanage, and took Jibril to the Qishla police center near the Old City’s Jaffa Gate. He was released several hours later after being interrogated. She highlighted that it wasn’t the first time Israeli soldiers detained Jibril, saying that Israeli forces raided the school “several times” last week and detained Jibril.
Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement later on Monday that Israeli police also detained 10 students from the school, all between 15 and 17 years old, for “deliberately throwing rocks at the street endangering public safety of locals, tourists, and security forces that travel by (al-Wad) street every day.” Locals told Ma‘an they were detained as they left school and were chased by Israeli forces through the alleys of the Old City … During a raid by Israeli forces into the school last week over alleged rock throwing, Jibril had told Ma‘an that the Israeli soldiers’ accusations of rock throwing were “bogus” due to the fact that there were “security bars” secured over all the school’s windows, making it nearly impossible for students to throw anything out of them….

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

20 Palestinians injured, 1 critically, after Israeli forces violently disperse march
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 15 Oct — Some 20 Palestinians were injured, one critically with a live bullet to the head, on Saturday evening during clashes at the main entrance to the al-Jalazun refugee camp in northern Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank, following a march commemorating the first anniversary of the killing of 13-year-old Ahmad Sharaka, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces last year during clashes. Palestinian youths threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and empty bottles at Israeli soldiers who attempted to disperse the demonstration by firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas canisters at the dozens of participants in the march, before Israeli soldiers eventually retreated to the illegal Israeli Beit El settlement. Fares Ziad al-Bayed, 16, was critically injured after being shot in the head with a live bullet, according to local sources. Another unidentified Palestinian was injured by shrapnel from live ammunition in his back, while three others were shot in the head with rubber-coated steel bullets. Sources added that some 14 others were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets in various places on their body, while another was injured when Israeli forces fired a tear gas canister at his head. A number of the wounded were evacuated to the Palestine Medical Center for treatment, including al-Bayed who was undergoing surgery. The march was staged to commemorate the anniversary of the death of 13-year-old Ahmad, who was a resident of al-Jalazun refugee camp. He was shot in the neck with live fire during clashes in al-Bireh on Oct. 11, 2015, and succumbed to his wounds shortly after.

Israeli forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians in Jenin-area clashes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — Israeli forces reportedly shot and injured two young Palestinians in the village of Qabatiya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Jenin on Sunday, after an Israeli army raid into the town provoked clashes between locals and Israeli soldiers. State-run Palestinians news agency Wafa reported that 18-year-old Ahmad Hamamdeh and 21-year-old Amjad Kemail were shot by Israeli forces, and that Kemail, despite his injuries, was then detained and taken into custody.
The clashes occurred after Israeli forces reportedly raided and searched a number of commercial shops in Qabatiya, breaking down their front doors, according to Wafa.

Settlers attack Mohammad Al-Razem with a knife and batons
Silwanic 15 Oct  — Settlers attacked on Friday night 26-year old Mohamamd Khalil Al-Razem with a knife and batons while walking in “Bar Elan” Street in Jerusalem. Mohammad explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that he was driving his motorcycle in Bar Elan Street around 10:30 on Friday night. When he stopped at the traffic light, he was surprised by 5 settlers attacking him with knives and batons. He said: “Within minutes, I tried to flee the area but I couldn’t after falling off my bike. I was able to get up and defend myself.” He added: “A police vehicle passed by and the settlers quickly ran away after assaulting me.” He explained that he was stabbed in his thigh and was bruised in his leg after falling of his bike. He was transferred to Shaare Zedek hospital for treatment. He added that he filed a claim to the police regarding being assaulted in order to hold the assailants accountable.

Israeli colonists attack Palestinians picking olives near Nablus
IMEMC 16 Oct — Dozens of extremist Israeli colonists attacked, Sunday, Palestinians harvesting their olive orchards, in a number of villages and towns, west of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) official in charge of monitoring Israeli settlement policies in the occupied territories, said that the colonists came from the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad that was established on privately owned Palestinian lands. Daghlas added that the Palestinians had a prior arrangement with the Israeli District Coordination Office, allowing them to enter their orchards, isolated behind the Annexation Wall.
The attack led to some confrontations between the Israeli attackers and the locals before the army intervened, yet the soldiers forced many Palestinians out of their lands, and prevented others from even entering their own orchards.

Israel detains teenage son of slain shooter, extend detentions of his other 2 children
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 15 Oct — Israeli forces detained 18-year-old Sbeih Abu Sbeih, son of the slain Misbah Abu Sbeih, at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Saturday morning. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained Abu Sbeih Saturday, two days after he was detained for interrogation and released after a few hours. It remained unclear where the teenager was taken or for how long he would be detained. An Israeli army spokesperson said they would look into reports of the detention. Abu Sbeih’s detention came a day after an Israeli court extended the detentions of his 18-year-old brother Izz al-Din until Thursday, and of his sister Eiman until Sunday, according to Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners. Izz al-Din had been detained along with his brother Sbeih during a raid in occupied East Jerusalem overnight Thursday, though Sbeih was released shortly after. Eiman, 17, was detained from her family home in the Jerusalem district town of al-Ram the day after her father carried out the drive-by shooting that left two Israelis dead….

Israeli forces detain 20 in predawn military raids across occupied West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — At least 20 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces during overnight and predawn military raids Sunday, according to Palestinian and Israeli security sources. Palestinian Authority (PA) security sources told Ma’an that in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, Israeli forces detained six Palestinians from the town of Sabastiya …  The sources highlighted that Israeli forces sealed off an apartment and a warehouse in Nablus city that were allegedly being used for manufacturing explosive devices. Israeli troops also reportedly broke into a print shop on al-Salam street in Nablus and confiscated equipment. From the northernmost West Bank district of Jenin, Israeli forces raided the town of Qabatiya and detained Majdi al-Qazaha. In the central Jerusalem district, Israeli forces detained Udayy Badr from the town of Abu Dis, while five Palestinians were detained by Israeli police from the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, whom PA sources identified as three unnamed “minors,” and two “young men.” An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed one detention from Abu Dis, and added that two more were detained from the Jerusalem-area town of al-Eizariya. In the southernmost district of Hebron, Israeli forces raided the eastern town of Bani Na‘im, where they detained Suhaib Abd al-Hamid Abu Jarur, Murad Muhammad Abu Sakut, Munir Yousif al-Khudour, Fawzi Yousif al-Khudour, and Fayiz al-Teir al-Khudour. PA sources added that Israeli troops broke into a house in the Hebron-area town of Sa‘ir and seized “thousands of shekels,” that the Israeli army alleged were being “used to fund resistance activities against Israel.” An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the five detentions from Bani Naim, and said they were looking to reports of the thousands of shekels being seized.
On Friday, locals from the town of Beit Ummar in the Hebron district reported that Israeli forces raided their town and broke into a store where they stole several packs of cigarettes, and caused damages estimated at 15,000 shekels ($3,926).


Let’s talk about what UNESCO resolution does say instead of what it doesn’t
+972 blog 14 Oct by Tom Pessah —  The absence of an affirmation of Judaism’s connection to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is being exploited to distract from Israeli violations of the status quo, and restrictions on Muslim-Palestinian access to the holy site —  … UNESCO passed a resolution regarding holy Muslim sites in Jerusalem on Thursday. After “affirming the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions,” the resolution calls for the restoration of the previous status quo around “Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif and its surroundings.” The resolution notes that Israel is violating Muslims’ freedom of worship by hindering and preventing their access to the Aqsa Mosque; “deplores the continuous storming” of the mosque compound by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces; decries arrests and injuries of Muslim worshippers in the mosque; and “[r]egrets the damage caused by the Israeli forces, especially since 23 August 2015, to the historic gates and windows of the al-Qibli Mosque inside Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, and reaffirms, in this regard, the obligation of Israel to respect the integrity, authenticity and cultural heritage of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif, as reflected in the historic status quo, as a Muslim holy site of worship and as an integral part of a world cultural heritage site.” Nowhere in the UNESCO resolution is there any statement invalidating or denying Jews’ connection to Temple Mount: the Jewish connection isn’t discussed in any way, either positively or negatively. It is not mentioned because the resolution is about Israeli damage to a Muslim holy site – Al-Aqsa Mosque.  Beyond that there is no general assessment or rejection of any religion’s connection to the site, apart from an affirmation of “the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls for the three monotheistic religions.”

Israel closes news site focusing on Al-Aqsa
MEMO 17 Oct — Qpress, a media centre specialising in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa affairs, has been closed by Israeli authorities. After being questioned and banned from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque last week, the head of the news organisation, Dr Hekmat Na‘amna, was informed that Qpress was being shut down in accordance with a military decision issued early this month. He was also informed that the use of the website has been banned, in addition to the use of the Facebook page. He was warned by the Israeli intelligence that any use of Qpress would result in prosecution. These orders issued by the Israeli military and security forces indicate that the Qpress agency has been banned and completely shut down. Commenting on this decision, Mahmoud Abu Ata, a journalist specialising in Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and holy site affairs and a former employee of Qpress said that “this closure aims to silence the voice of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and the holy sites and to censor true facts and the true situation on the ground in occupied Jerusalem.” “The occupation wants to cover up its crimes and plans against Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem as well as across Palestine. Qpress has always exposed such crimes as part of its media duty in a professional and transparent manner. However, it seems that such objectivity and honourable professionalism that portrayed the events, pictures and videos exactly as they occurred did not please the Israeli administration.”

Israeli worshipers take to Al-Aqsa compound for Sukkot
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — A group of right-wing Israelis toured the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Monday morning for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) in charge of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound said. Waqf officials told Ma’an that 43 “extremists” escorted by Israeli police “stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque compound” through the Moroccan Gate. Waqf officials and eyewitnesses said that Israeli police officers stationed outside the gates of Al-Aqsa seized identity cards of Palestinian men and women before allowing them to access the compound. Witnesses said that Israeli special forces deployed in the yards of the compound to protect the Israeli visitors, and assaulted a young Palestinian man before detaining him. Several Israelis performed Jewish rituals outside the Cotton Merchants Gate while carrying palm branches, while others marched from the Bani Ghanim Gate of the Al-Aqsa compound to the Lions Gate of the Old City.


Israeli forces shoot toward Palestinian crew trying to repair Gaza electricity lines
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — Israeli forces fired gunshots at Gaza electricity company technicians on Monday morning in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses told Ma’an. According to eyewitnesses, the technicians were doing maintenance work on electricity lines in the eastern suburbs of the town of Khuza‘a, east of Khan Yunis, when Israeli troops fired at them. No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, Palestinian fishermen said that Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, causing no casualties.

Israeli soldiers open fire on a number of homes, lands and workers, in southern Gaza
IMEMC 17 Oct — Israeli soldiers, stationed at military towers across the border fence, fired several live rounds, on Monday morning, targeting a number of homes and agricultural lands, and maintenance workers, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds into agricultural lands, and a number of homes, east of Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis.

Israeli navy opens fire on fishing boats in Gaza waters
IMEMC 17 Oct — Israeli Navy ships opened fire, on Monday morning, targeting a number of fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters, in the northern part of improvised Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said navy fired many live rounds at the boats, and used water cannons, forcing the fisher back to shore. They added that the attack took place less than four nautical miles from the Gaza shore.

Israel takes exit permits away from top Palestinian officials in Gaza
Haaretz 18 Oct by Amira Hass — Wave of travel permit cancellations ‘implementation of Defense Minister Lieberman’s policy,’ says Palestinian official. COGAT and Shin Bet deny any change in policy — The Shin Bet security service has rescinded the permanent exit permits from the Gaza Strip of 12 out of 14 senior officials of the Gaza Strip’s Civil Affairs Administration. The administration acts as a mediator between Palestinian civilians and the Israeli authorities in matters involving exit permits from the Strip and the entry of construction materials. The officials whose permits were canceled, some of whom are affiliated with Fatah, have worked for the Civil Affairs office for 10 years or more. The current team has not been changed since 2007 and Israeli officers and officials in the Civil Administration know them well. The cancellation of the exit permits is part of a wave of cancellations and bans on leaving the Gaza Strip, which Haaretz reported in July. It has impeded exit for people whom Israel had in the past allowed to leave Gaza, particularly businesspeople and those in need of medical treatment. Officials in the Palestinian Civil Affairs Administration who asked Israeli officials in the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories’ office were told the permits were being rescinded due to “security reasons.” The spokesman for the Civil Affairs Administration in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Makadma, firmly rejected the implications of this reasoning. Makadma said he believed it was the beginning of the implementation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s policy, which he had openly declared when he took office, of disconnecting Israeli communication with Palestinian institutions under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and creating direct communication with Palestinian residents. One of the exit permits rescinded was that of the Palestinian head of the Erez crossing, who has worked side by side with Israeli officials and officers for years. Permits of officials in charge of applications for permits for infrastructure projects (electricity, water, sewerage and roads) and rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip were also rescinded.

Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for second consecutive day, letting 783 Gazans out
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the besieged Gaza Strip on Sunday for a second consecutive day, according to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) General Administration of Crossings and Borders. Egypt had opened the crossing going both directions on Saturday for humanitarian cases and “stranded people.” The PA said in a statement Sunday that 783 Gazans were able to leave the coastal enclave via the crossing since it opened Saturday morning. Among those who traveled Saturday were 11 patients who were transported in ambulances for medical treatment abroad. The statement added that Egyptian authorities notified the PA that the border crossing would be closed on Monday and Tuesday, and subsequently reopened Wednesday through Saturday. The head of the media office of the Rafah crossing, Wael Abu Omar, said that the crossing was closed on Sunday after seven buses traveled to Egypt. The crossings committee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Gaza has published the names of Palestinians allowed to travel through the crossing on Wednesday and Thursday.

Gaza court sentences man to death for ‘collaborating with Israel’
GAZA (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — The Supreme Military Court in the Gaza Strip sentenced a 54-year-old man to death by hanging on Monday after he was accused of collaborating with Israel, according to a statement released by the court. The convicted man, who was identified only by his initials “A.A.,” had allegedly been “collaborating with Israel since 1987,” by informing Israeli authorities of the names of rock-throwers, as well as the locations of residences belonging to people affiliated with Palestinian political movements that Israel has deemed “terrorist organizations.” The man was also allegedly the cause of numerous detentions and killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces. “A.A. stopped collaborating with Israel in 1993, but resumed collaborating in 1997 by providing information to Israel on the locations of Palestinian military resistance movements, which Israeli airstrikes then shelled,” the statement said. The court on Monday also sentenced a man identified as “M.H.” to 10 years in prison with hard labor for collaborating with Israel. M.H. was initially sentenced to 17 years in prison, but after an appeal filed to the court, the sentence was reduced to 10 years. Additionally, the court upheld the sentencing of a 26-year-old man identified as “F.A.,” accused of collaborating with Israel, to seven years to prison.

Israeli army says reports of rocket fire false
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Oct — The Israeli army told Ma‘an that earlier reports from Hebrew-language media of a rocket being fired from the besieged Gaza Strip into the Hof Ashkelon regional council of southern Israel Sunday afternoon were false.
Hebrew-language media sites had initially reported the incident, saying no injuries occurred as a result of the rocket. After the Israeli army denied the reports, Hebrew-language news sites then suggested that the rocket could have been fired, but was not yet located by the army.
The Israeli army and air force bombarded multiple targets in the Gaza Strip over a two-day period on Oct. 5 and 6, after a rocket fired from the blockaded coastal enclave landed on a road in the Israeli city of Sderot.

Gaza minister probably regrets insulting Bedouin tradition
Al Bawaba 17 Oct — A Palestinian minister has caused controversy in Gaza over his characterization of a traditional dance – which he characterized as an unintelligible nuisance. Hamas’ Minister of Culture Attallah Abu al-Subuh shared his views on Palestinian Dahiyya, a rhythmic group dance with deep roots in Bedouin culture, in a Facebook post last Thursday. He called the dance “one of the biggest noise pollutants” and describing the singing that often goes with it as loud and indecipherable. “The words are ridiculous, I can never understand it”, he continued.
The comments did not go down well. Many Palestinians expressed their fury over the remarks, with many objecting, in particular, to al Subuh’s use of the word “ja‘eer”, meaning raucous and noisy. A report by Al Quds news noted that the heavy cultural weight of Dahiyya, which is considered a treasured and artistic part of Bedouin heritage, amplified the offense – as did tension over the Bedouin place in Palestinian national identity. Some responses even extended to the street, as Bedouin groups in the Gaza Strip organized an event to celebrate Al-Dahiyya. Several Bedouin tribes demanded an apology from al-Subuh, and issued statements denouncing the comments and asking Hamas to intervene. The Al-Hnajerh and Al-Sawarka tribes were also reported to have implied that they were using legal and tribal procedures against Subuh, and making him pay for insulting Al-Dahiyya.

Trapped ‘from fence to fence’ in Gaza
+972 blog 16 Oct by Jehad Abu Salim — Not only are these borders artificially drawn, they highlight the utter insanity of fencing an entire population in the world’s largest open-air prison simply because of Israel’s need to maintain a Jewish demographic majority — Summer days are long, but in Gaza, they are longer than one might think. They get even longer when the electricity and the internet are shut off, which is most of the time. This had been my daytime nightmare ever since Israel imposed its siege on the Gaza Strip in 2007. To escape it, you could read or visit a friend to talk to, but when the weather gets hot and humid, the energy to do any of these activities evaporates. On one such hot and humid day, I went to the roof of my house out of boredom. Although this was not the first time I had looked at the landscape from my family’s rooftop in Deir Al-Balah, some thoughts and reflections made this day unforgettable. I looked east and there were the borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and I looked west and there was the sea. From that same spot, both borders were visible, and between them, the familiar scene of innumerable drab houses stretching towards both horizons. At that moment, I recalled one of the famous common sayings used by Palestinians in Gaza to refer to the Strip: we’re trapped ‘min al-silik ila al-silik’ (from the fence to the fence). This simple phrase sums up Gaza’s current reality: a fenced place, surrounded by dead-ends and, within it, a caged human sea with almost no hope or future …  ‘From fence to fence’ is a simple enough expression, and yet it reflects the geographic space Palestinians inhabit. For them, ‘the fence’ is the most pernicious manifestation of the Zionist conquest in 1948, and its continuity into the present. The fence is a physical barrier that was imposed by an external force, which divides what the Palestinians in Gaza consider as their historic land, and which prevents them from returning to their original towns and villages. The fence is a constant reminder of the rupture caused by the 1948 War, which pushed many Palestinians out of their towns and villages in what is today the State of Israel …  The fact that Gaza’s crisis could be solved tomorrow if the majority-refugee population were granted its right of return is completely ignored by the humanitarian discourse. The tragedy of Gaza needs to be understood through the intensity of loss, especially since in Gaza’s situation, what was lost is only a stone’s throw away for many refugees, who can still see their former towns and villages beyond the fence.

IDF soldiers shoot flare at teen’s face, killing him
+972 mag 15 Oct by Haggai Matar — Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian teenager by shooting a military-grade illumination flare directly at him, shattering and setting his face on fire last month, according to investigations by B’Tselem, Defence of Children International-Palestine (DCI), and video footage seen by +972 Magazine. The killing took place on September 9, when a group of roughly 100 Palestinian youths staged a demonstration near the border fence with Israel, east of al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. Some of the protesters threw stones toward the Israeli soldiers and attempted to cut the barbed wire near the fence. The soldiers initially responded with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Video shot at the scene, which we are unable to publish here, shows that the soldiers do not appear to be in any sort of danger. The soldiers stood on the other side of the fence, some dodging the occasional stone while others sat inside armored vehicles that were entirely unaffected by the stones. Quite unusually, however, at some point the soldiers also fired illumination flares, which were fired toward the protesters in an attempt to disperse the demonstration … Illumination flares are not intended for firing at a direct trajectory, or to for use as a weapon or crowd dispersal tactic. It is highly unusual to see them used against people. In this case, however, the video clearly shows that the illumination flares were shot directly at the protesters, despite the fact that the minor clashes were taking place in the light of day … It was exactly that type of [American-made] flare that appears to have been fired directly at the face of 15-year-old Abdel-Rahman al-Dabbagh. In the video (a screenshot of which appears above), al-Dabbagh is seen lying on the ground with smoke and fire streaming from his face, and then the burning stops suddenly, in a moment, just like the illumination flares extinguish. Al-Dabbagh’s friends are then seen carrying away his body, which shows signs of serious wounds and burns on his face….

Victims of Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla fear legal case will be dropped
The Guardian 18 Oct by Harriet Sherwood — A landmark case due to be heard by the high court in Istanbul over alleged crimes committed by Israel during the 2010 aid flotilla to Gaza could be dropped as a result of a bilateral agreement signed in June. The Turkish court is expected to hold a hearing on Wednesday aimed at holding four Israeli generals to account for the alleged assault and unlawful detention of more than 700 activists. They were aboard a fleet of boats attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza in May 2010. The case against the generals is due to be heard in absentia. However, the activists fear the judge will dismiss the case following a deal reached between Israel and Turkey in the summer to restore diplomatic relations, which broke off following the violent interception of the flotilla … Alexandra Lort Phillips, a British activist who testified in earlier court hearings in Istanbul, said: “The attack on the ships of the flotilla was a shocking event … The actions of Israel were illegal, plain and simple.” She said the legal process was now at risk of being “politically hijacked”, adding: “It is deeply upsetting. The legal process should not fall victim to power politics.” Ahsan Shamruk, another British activist, said he was shot in the head and stomach and left to die in the lethal military assault on the flotilla. “I am still suffering from nightmares and many sleepless nights. I have permanent ear nerve damage and my eyesight has drastically deteriorated. Those responsible must be held to account for this criminal act.”  The deal between Israel and Turkey was not enforceable as a matter of international law and under the European convention on human rights, said Rodney Dixon, a British QC who is part of the survivors’ legal team….

UNRWA official warns of ‘increasing frustration’ in Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — The director of operations for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, Bo Schack, warned on Monday of what he described as increasing desperation, frustration, and the absence of opportunities in the besieged coastal enclave. In a news conference held in UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza City, Schack said that the UN agency dedicated to helping Palestinian refugees was working hard to try to overcome a $70-million budget deficit. He added that the ongoing Israeli blockade and restrictions on movement were preventing improvements in the Gaza Strip, notably mentioning that “Israel hasn’t yet approved a list of names of Gaza citizens submitted in May 2015 whose houses have been damaged during Israeli military offensives and need construction.”….

Gaza cancer patients complain about Israeli restrictions on their treatment
MEMO 17 Oct — Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are ill-equipped to cope with the requirements of cancer patients. Furthermore, there is a severe shortage of all kinds of medicines, not just those which are essential for treating cancer. — While the world increases its efforts to spread awareness about cancer and celebrate new ways to treat it, cancer patients in Gaza have complained about the restrictions placed by Israel on their treatment. In a statement issued on Sunday, a group of patients said that they have been involved in a “humanitarian battle” with the occupation authorities to get the medicines that they need for their treatment to be effective. “This has been an ongoing struggle for ten years,” they pointed out. The statement focused on patients with breast cancer. Statistics issued by the National Centre for Monitoring Cancer in Gaza, note that there are 1,283 breast cancer patients in the besieged territory at the moment. That accounts for around 18 per cent of all cancer patients in Gaza. In total, 748 patients applied to the Israeli occupation authorities in 2015 for a travel permit to receive treatment in Jerusalem or West Bank hospitals. Of these, the Israelis deferred 293 applications, rejected 74 and ignored 219. Since the start of this year, 548 breast cancer patients have applied for travel permits, with 287 rejected for no reason and 125 others turned down for alleged “security” reasons. Palestinian breast cancer patients have, in their statement, repeated their belief that they have a right to receive proper treatment like other women around the world.

Gaza: I saw the tunnel, he saw the darkness at the end of it
Descrier 16 Oct by Marina Chamma — Bassam, let’s pretend that’s his name. How we met is unimportant, the random exchange we had later on is what matters. It was one of those Saturday night outs in Beirut, where the evening hustle and bustle can sometimes hide a deeper parallel dimension under its shallow guise. Bassam had just gotten back from a visit to see some relatives, as his “family gatherings” and “chats with my nephew” indicated all too often in the conversation. “My nephew has never left Gaza,” Bassam explained, “so I am the only real connection he has to the outside world, or rather, to the real world outside the prison in which he is forced to live in.” This time around, however, Bassam was on a mission. “Our chat came soon after my nephew was approached by Hamas recruiters, hoping to enlist him at a young age. My brother panicked at the mere encounter and didn’t know what to do, so he thought it would be a good idea for me to intervene, before it was too late.” “Did you say Gaza?” I asked perplexed. That Hamas would try to lure youngsters was unfortunate but not unexpected. The fact that Bassam had been to Gaza, given the near impossibility of going to the Occupied Territories from Beirut, let alone Gaza, was what stuck with me the most. “Yes,” Bassam nodded. “But how?” I asked. “Through a tunnel,” Bassam answered matter-of-factly, with a wide smile brightening his face, enough to get my imagination running wild. It took over a year to finally get the chance to sit down with Bassam and hear his entire story. In the meantime, I never forgot about the tunnel. I knew it wasn’t going to be the stuff of Hollywood movies, after all, Bassam had been to Gaza, and there certainly is no happy ending there. Yet, there was something that fascinated me about it, of how something so primitive was still used in our fast-paced, technologically-sophisticated times. On the practical level, I wanted to know how it actually worked, why Egypt and  Israel would turn a blind eye underground when they held so tight to their siege of Gaza above the ground….

Hamas leader shocks base, admits to ‘mistake’ in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 14 Oct by Rasha Abu Jalal — Head of Hamas’ political bureau Khaled Meshaal recently said that Hamas made a mistake when it decided to rule the Gaza Strip alone for the past 10 years. His statement led to many questions among the Palestinian people: Why did Hamas finally reach this conclusion? Is this a turning point in Hamas’ path toward Palestinian reconciliation? What are the future repercussions of this statement on the Gaza Strip? Meshaal said during a dialogue session in Doha on Sept. 24 in the presence of his deputy Ismail Haniyeh, “Hamas made a mistake when it thought it was easy for it to rule the Gaza Strip alone following the Palestinian division with Fatah in the wake of its victory in the 2006 parliamentary elections. It thought that ruling Gaza would be easy, but discovered that it was hard.” He added, “We made a mistake when we thought that Fatah’s days were long gone and that it was Hamas’ time now.” Meshaal’s words shocked the movement’s public base and members who believe that its leaders are infallible. Hamas leader Ahmed Youssef wrote in an article headlined “Khaled Meshaal sings off key” published by a local media outlet on Oct. 1, “Meshaal’s statement was a slap in the face for many of Hamas’ youths. The word ‘mistake’ does not normally figure in their vocabulary or political discourse. Their religious and factional upbringing has given them the confidence to believe they are infallible.” He added, “The statement that ‘we made a mistake’ has huge repercussions. Most Hamas leaders believe their ideologies are flawless and incontestable. They are convinced that they do not make mistakes and that the others are wrong and have gone astray.” Youssef added, “When I heard Abu Walid, aka Meshaal, saying ‘We made a mistake,’ I realized that [acknowledging the error was the right thing to do], even though the step is 10 years late. Admitting to one’s errors is the beginning of awareness and the first step toward change and reform.”

Prisoners / Court actions

Slain Palestinian’s mother released a day after being detained over Facebook post
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Oct — Israeli authorities on Friday evening released Suheir al-Halabi, the mother of a Palestinian slain by Israeli police last year after carrying out a deadly stab attack, a day after she was detained. In an interview with Sawt al-Asra (Voice of the Prisoners) radio, al-Halabi said she was to be sent to court on Sunday, but Israeli authorities retracted their decision and released her instead. Israeli forces detained al-Halabi on Thursday after summoning her for an interrogation with Israeli intelligence on Wednesday. The al-Halabi family told Ma‘an at the time that Israeli forces reportedly detained her due to a Facebook post. While the family did not provide details on the content of the Facebook post, scores of Palestinians have been detained across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel for social media posts that Israeli authorities have claimed “incite” against Israel…
Muhannad al-Halabi, 19, was shot dead by Israeli forces in October 2015 after he killed two Israelis and injured two more in Jerusalem’s Old City, in the first stab attack to take place in the wave of unrest that has spread across the occupied West Bank and Israel over the past year. At the start of this year, Israeli forces also demolished the family home of al-Halabi,  as part of an Israeli policy of punitive home demolitions that rights groups have called “collective punishment” that targets non-complicit relatives of an attacker. Rights groups and activists have also long accused Israel of targeting Palestinian families whose children or relatives were involved in attacks — or Palestinians politically active against the Israeli occupation — with detentions and interrogations.

Mother of Palestinian prisoner sentenced to a year in prison for attempting to smuggle phone
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Oct — An Israeli court sentenced the mother of a Palestinian prisoner to one year in prison on Saturday, according to the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, after being accused of attempting to smuggle a cell phone into prison. Amjad Abu Asab, head of the committee, said the Israeli central court sentenced Amal Mahmoud Al-Shawish, 48, to a year in prison in addition to imposing a fine on her. Al-Shawish was detained in March 2015 while visiting her son Muhammad, who was serving a five-year sentence, at a prison in the Negev desert of southern Israel. She was accused at the time of “providing services” to prisoners by attempting to smuggle a cell phone into the prison. She was released on on April 22, 2015 and placed under house arrest until her trial was completed. At the time she was released to house arrest, she was also fined 15,000 shekels ($3,800). Separately, Israeli forces also released Nawras Abu Ghazalah, 24, on a 2,000 shekel ($523.50) bail on Saturday. Nawras’ brother Ihab told Ma‘an that Nawras was detained by Israeli forces from their family home in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City for writing “our time has come” on his Facebook page, amid an increasing crackdown by Israel on Palestinian activists, journalists, and civilians for alleged “incitement” on social media.. His detention was extended on Tuesday.
Al-Shawish’s and Abu Ghazalah’s heavy fines were the result of the ongoing Israeli policy of routinely charging fines to Palestinian detainees upon their release from Israeli custody. The Palestinian Authority (PA) generally paid such fines on behalf of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons until March 2015. At the time the PA was paying 13 million shekels ($3.65 million) a year to Israel, spending up to 4,000 shekels on each fine, according to PA committee of prisoners’ affairs, Issa Qaraqe … While fines appear relatively small for minor infractions, between 300 to 800 NIS ($80-$200), payments cause financial hardships on the prisoners and their families, and prison time is extended if the fines are not paid.

Israeli court releases Eman Abu Sbeih, prevents her from talking to journalists, using social media
IMEMC 16 Oct – An Israel judge of the Jerusalem District Court has ordered the release of Eman Abu Sbeih, the daughter of Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed by the army on October 9, 2016 …  Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud said the District Court Judge has ordered Eman’s release, after imposing a 2500 Shekels fine, in addition to issuing a ruling preventing her from talking to media agencies and reporters, and preventing her from using all social media sites. Eman, from the al-Ram town north of Jerusalem, also received a court order preventing her from entering Jerusalem, for two months. Her brother, Ezzeddin, remains imprisoned since his abduction more than a week ago. Eman was taken prisoner, last Monday at dawn, after the soldiers invaded her grandfather’s home, in the al-Ram town, north of Jerusalem. Prior to her abduction, Eman published a video on Facebook praising her father, who was shot to death after carrying out a shooting attack near the light-rail stop close to the Police headquarters in Jerusalem.

Israeli court extends detention of Palestinian football team board member over photo
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — An Israeli magistrate’s court extended the detention of a Palestinian man who serves on the administrative board of an occupied East Jerusalem football team on Sunday evening, after Israeli officials accused him of publicly supporting “terrorism.” Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud of prisoners’ rights group Addameer told Ma‘an on Sunday evening that a Jerusalem court had extended to Wednesday the remand of Maher Abu Sneina, an administrative member of the Palestinian Hilal al-Quds football team. According to Mahmoud, who is representing Abu Sneina in court, the judge decided to extend Abu Sneina’s custody because of a photo showing him and the team’s players holding up a banner in support of slain Palestinian shooter Misbah Abu Sbeih. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who identified Abu Sneina as the team’s coach — though various Palestinian sources have countered the claim — Israeli police arrested Abu Sneina on Sunday after the photo was posted online. Abu Sneina, “who coaches the Hilal al-Quds team, was suspected of conspiracy to commit a crime and for publicly supporting terrorism,” Haaretz reported on Monday … Haaretz highlighted that while Mahmoud told the court that Abu Sneina was not responsible for the photo being taken, an Israeli police representative responded by saying, “but he could have prevented it.” The judge reportedly ruled that there was “sufficient suspicion that a crime was committed,” and that Abu Sneina’s answers during his interrogation by Israeli police were “incomplete and not credible.” The large banner featured the face of Abu Sbeih, who was killed by Israeli authorities last week after he committed a drive-by shooting that left two Israelis dead in occupied East Jerusalem. Alongside the photo of Abu Sbeih, the banner read: “Hilal al-Quds club mourns the lion of Al-Aqsa, martyr Misbah Abu Sbeih.”….

On anniversary of prisoner exchange, Palestinian groups vow to kidnap more Israeli soldiers
GAZA (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — At a rally organized in Gaza City on Monday commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, a number of activists and former prisoners vowed that Palestinian resistance movements would kidnap more Israeli soldiers until all Palestinian political prisoners were freed from Israeli custody. In 2006, Gaza militants captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and held him for five years before freeing him in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Monday’s rally, organized by the Hamas movement, was held in front of the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and was attended by officials of various political movements along with former prisoners who were freed in the deal. One of the prisoners freed in the exchange, Iyad Abu Fnoun, directed a message to Palestinians incarcerated by Israel, assuring them that they had not been forgotten. He argued that Palestinian prisoners could only be freed by force, saying that “what was taken by force, can only be restored by force.”….

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israeli authorities order Salfit-area village to stop paving main road
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — Israeli authorities on Monday delivered a notice to the municipality of al-Zawiya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Salfit, ordering the halt of an ongoing project to repave the northern entrance to the village. Mayor of al-Zawiya Naim Hamouda told Ma‘an that Israeli forces delivered the stop-work order at the construction site, demanding that the paving works halt immediately. Hamouda noted that paving the road was funded by the municipality and the projected was expected to be completed in just a few days. He added that the road is located adjacent to Aber al-Samera road, which is the main road connecting the town to the rest of the West Bank. Hamdouda said that the municipality had started writing to the competent authorities to pressure Israel to reverse their decision.

Thousands protest over the demolition of homes in Negev
[with video] MEMO 17 Oct — Thousands of Negev residents demonstrated yesterday opposite the Ramat Hanegev Regional Council building to protest against the demolition of homes in Negev and the fierce attack on Bir Hadaj, where numerous homes were demolished under the pretext of them having illegal licences. Protesters blocked traffic on Highway 40, in coordination with the police, carrying banners condemning home demolitions and calling for a halt of these crimes in the Negev. They comprised heads of municipalities, public and political activists and national forces. The protest was triggered after Israeli bulldozers, working under police protection, demolished the homes of families who have lived in the community for generations leaving them homeless, setting up makeshift tents for cover. As the Israeli government refuses to recognise the Negev’s 51 villages – including those which were established prior to the formation of the State of Israel – residents have been faced with displacement after Israeli forces increase demolitions in the area and confiscated their land and property. The area is being readied for the establishment of Jewish towns and farms on the ruins of Arab villages. Arab citizens in the Negev and Palestinian territories called on the international humanitarian and human rights organisations to visit the area and monitor the crimes committed against its residents.

BDS / Solidarity

Palestine solidarity campaigners target HP
EI 17 Oct by Stephanie Westbrook — The boycott of US information technology giant Hewlett-Packard has recently gained renewed interest, becoming the “hot new” target for Palestine solidarity campaigners in several countries. An international week of action targeting HP will take place from 25 November to 3 December, a culmination of recent efforts around the world. HP has long been criticized by the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign due to its role in Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. The company boasts of a “massive presence” in Israel, with more than 5,700 employees there, and is one of the Israeli military’s main information technology suppliers. The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation — now renamed the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights — and the Palestinian BDS National Committee recently hosted two webinars on the HP boycott….

Settlements Products Wikia
Wiki Settlement Products is a project by the Gush Shalom Movement (Israeli Peace Bloc). Its goal is to organize and make available to the public, in the most systematic and up to date manner possible, information about the factories and businesses that operate in settlements beyond the Green Line (pre-1967 border) and the products that they produce … Over the years, many changes have taken place in the economic, political and legal situation in general and in particular in the composition of the factories and businesses active in the settlements. A considerable number of businesses that were located in the settlements in the 1990’s have since moved to within the Green Line, or have ceased to exist. Some of these cases earned extensive media publicity. Many other cases were not as famous. In recent months our activists undertook a systematic examination. It should be stressed that all of the information that appears here was gathered by means of the voluntary activity of activists from Gush Shalom, an NGO with limited resources and funds and which (attn. Justice Minister Shaked) receives no government support – neither from the government of Israel nor from any foreign government.

Paris regional council vows to strip funding from BDS promoters
JTA15 Oct — A regional council in France that includes Paris has passed a precedent-setting amendment that excludes funding from promoters of boycotts against Israel. The council of the Ile-de-France region, where right-wing parties have a majority, adopted the amendment Thursday, the Le Monde Juif website reported the following day. The report said the council’s president, Valérie Pécresse of the UMP party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, led the vote in keeping with her campaign promises to pursue vigorous measures against the BDS movement – an acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. “In accordance with the law, I will not tolerate any form of boycotts against Israel in the Ile-de-France region,” she said while campaigning for the top executive political position of the region, which is home to most of France’s 500,000 Jews. Robert Ejnes, deputy president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, in a Twitter post congratulated the council for its amendment, whose final text was not yet published…..

New ad campaign in college newspapers calls out Israeli leaders’ bigotry against Palestinians
Mondoweiss 17 Oct by Annie Robbins —  Palestine Advocacy Project (PalAD) has launched a dynamic new ad campaign “Israel’s Leaders: In Their Own Words,” directly quoting prominent Israeli officials’ extremist and bigoted rhetoric. The In Their Own Words series was created to spark conversation on U.S. college campuses seldom featured in the mainstream media. Thus far nine college campuses, including University of California-Berkeley, have agree to publish ads in their campus newspapers. PalAd intern Maggie Liu said, “As a college student living on a politically-active campus, I know firsthand how little young people know about the reality of the situation. I hope these ads will bring some much-needed dialogue to campuses across the country.” Palestine Advocacy Project notes that during this election cycle American politicians have condemned Donald Trump’s racist, inflammatory rhetoric but they let Israeli politicians off the hook time and again because both the Democratic and Republican establishments pander to the Israel lobby:….

Palestinian refugees – Syria

ISIS bulldozes graves of 2 Fatah cofounders in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 17 Oct — The graves of two Fatah cofounders in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria were bulldozed by Islamic State (ISIS) fighters, relatives said on Monday. The family of Khalil al-Wazir said in a statement that the tombs of al-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, and Saad Sayil, known as Abu al-Walid were leveled on Sunday. Both Fatah cofounders were assassinated in the 1980s and buried in the Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus. “Bulldozing martyrs’ tombs today brings about worries that terrorist groups may commit more repulsive acts,” al-Wazir’s family said. Al-Wazir’s relatives called for his body, along with those of other “martyrs” buried abroad, to be brought back to the occupied Palestinian territory. “We are confident that Palestinian leadership, namely President Mahmoud Abbas who was a companion of the martyrs Sayil and al-Wazir, will exert serious efforts to bring back their bodies to be buried in their homeland and birthplace.” … Meanwhile, the Minister of Education for the Palestinian Authority (PA) Sabri Saidam denied the reports, saying that according to eyewitness testimonies that he had heard, ISIS only destroyed the gravestones, and did not raze the entire tombs … Yarmouk used to be home to nearly 200,000 people, the majority Palestinian refugees, but after two years of a devastating Syrian regime siege, followed by ISIS’ incursion into the camp, the vast majority were forced to flee.

Other news

Fatah congress to convene in November, says official
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 17 Oct – Fatah plans to hold its seventh congress in November, Fahmi Zaarir, deputy secretary of Fatah Revolutionary Council, said on Monday.  Speaking to Voice of Palestine, Zaarir, who is also spokesman for the preparatory committee for the congress, said preparations are underway for convening the seventh congress and most of the preparation should be completed by the end of this week. He said that a month after holding the Fatah congress, the Palestine Liberation Organization is going to convene a meeting for the Palestinian National Council, the Palestinian parliament in exile.

British Consulate to support Palestinian olive harvest
IMEMC/Agencies 15 Oct — British Consul General in Jerusalem, Alastair McPhail, announced on Friday that, for the second year in a row, the British Consulate General will be supporting the Palestinian olive harvest in Area C and East Jerusalem. McPhail made the announcement during an olive picking event in the village of Yanoun, near Nablus, according to WAFA: “I’m proud to launch our initiative to support Palestinian olive growers in vulnerable areas of the West Bank, for the second year in a row,” he said. “I hope that this exciting partnership with the Palestinian Authority Commission Against the Wall and Settlements will provide Palestinian farmers, in some of the most vulnerable areas, with the confidence and resilience to harvest their olives during these difficult times.The British Consulate General is keen to support Palestinian farmers during the olive harvest, as olive oil is a main source of income for thousands of Palestinian families.  This campaign will help 36 Palestinian communities, therefore increasing their steadfastness in their land,” said the Consul General. This year, the UK will support 36 Palestinian communities affected by Israeli settlements and settler violence.  The initiative, a joint partnership with the PA Commission Against the Wall and Settlements, will provide £20,000 of olive harvesting equipment – including ladders, olive collection sheets, olive harvesting combs, saws and tree clippers – to support over 300 Palestinian families. The communities chosen for support are among those most affected by settler violence, located adjacent to settlements, settler outposts and the barrier, where farmers are unable to access their lands at all times. As part of the initiative, the Consulate General has secured permits so that the farmers would be able to harvest their olives.  British Consulate General staff and representatives from the PA Commission will join these farmers to help pick the olives and to provide a supportive presence.

EU provides €1.5 million for the Social Protection System in Palestine
JERUSALEM  (WAFA) 18 Oct — Marking the United Nations-designated International Day of Eradication of Poverty, the European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Social Development launched a new €1.5 million capacity building program for the improvement of social protection systems in Palestine, an EU statement said on Monday. The new EU funded program has been designed in support of the upcoming Palestinian Social Protection Sector Strategy and the National Policy Agenda 2017-2022. The new program focuses, in particular, on the effectiveness and coherence of Palestine’s social protection system through focusing on improving the social services that in turn will contribute to the goal of ending poverty in all its forms in Palestine, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Syriza calls upon Greek government to recognize state of Palestine
ATHENS (Ma‘an) 17 Oct — Greece’s ruling left-wing Syriza party called for the Greek government to recognize the state of Palestine at the party’s second congress held in Athens, after months of delay in implementing a Greek parliament decision to recognize Palestine. The congress was attended by a delegation for the Fatah movement, the Palestinian Authority’s (PS) ruling party. Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath, who participated in the event that took place between Oct. 14 and 16, welcomed the decision, which he said was representative of the wider view of Greek citizens toward Palestine and Fatah. The delegation also included Fatah officials Abdallah Abdallah, Zuheir al-Wazir, Marwan al-Tobasi, and Kifah Radayda. Last month, the Greek foreign minister affirmed to his Palestinian counterpart Greece’s support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital, following a meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. While the Greek parliament voted in favor of a decision to recommend the government recognize a state of Palestine in December, the decision has not yet come to fruition. In June, a Syriza delegation told Palestinian lawmakers that despite the delay, the government was set to officially recognize the state of Palestine “soon,” without setting an exact timetable for the future recognition.If implemented, Greece would become the second European country to officially recognize the Palestinian state, following Sweden’s decision in 2014.

Israeli government heavily criticized for ‘propaganda’ video depicting Palestinians as invaders
Al Bawaba 16 Oct — Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sparked controversy after posting a satirical video on the history of the Jewish people to Facebook, which is being widely criticized on social media for being racist and historically inaccurate. The video, titled “Welcome to the home of the Jewish people”, stars a modern Jewish couple, Jacob and Rachel, as their suburban home, named the “Land of Israel,” is invaded by a hoard of unwelcome guests ranging from Assyrians, Greeks, Arabs, Crusaders. Eventually, the British give the couple back their house “in the name of the League of Nations”. However, as they celebrate the news, the couple are interrupted by a Palestinian couple knocking on the door, peering inside the house and waiting to be let in. The video provoked harsh criticism in the comments section (many from Israeli citizens themselves) – dismissing the video as historically inaccurate and offensive for its use of racist stereotypes. “Our foreign minister pushing the narrative of ignorance…” said one Facebook commentator. “The truth is the Jews were a minority for most of the last thousand years in Israel, Arabs lived here for a pretty long time, and geopolitics is not as simple as Liberman would like it to be.” However, the video’s portrayal of Palestinians as illegitimate invaders, who turn up after the State of Israel was established, is perhaps the most inaccurate and egregious claim in the video. “It’s a very crude piece of public relations or propaganda,”  said Yair Wallach, professor of Israeli studies at SOAS, University of London, to Al Bawaba….

Israeli rights group vows to fight policy despite Netanyahu
JERUSALEM (AP) 16 Oct by Ian Deitch —  An Israeli human rights group on Sunday vowed to continue its battle against Israel settlements built on occupied lands sought by the Palestinians, rejecting a harsh rebuke by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israeli leader accused B’Tselem of joining a “chorus of slander” against Israel, after the rights group urged the U.N. Security Council to take decisive action against settlements. His condemnation was the latest in a series of criticisms and threats against dovish rights groups by Netanyahu’s hard-line government. B’Tselem joined American Friends of Peace Now, the U.S. affiliate of an Israeli anti-settlement watchdog, at Friday’s informal Security Council session. Hagai El-Ad, executive director of B’Tselem, told the meeting that with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war approaching next year, “the rights of Palestinians must be realized, the occupation must end, the U.N. Security Council must act, and the time is now.” Late Saturday night, Netanyahu accused the group of making “false claims” and said he would remove B’Tselem from a list of organizations where Israelis can do national service in lieu of mandatory military service. Netanyahu repeated his belief that settlements are not a root cause of conflict with the Palestinians. He said attacks against Israel go back long before Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967, and that the conflict is rooted “in the continuous Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any borders.”….

US urges Israel to protect freedom of expression after Netanyahu attacks rights groups
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 18 Oct — The United States defended the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem in an interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Monday, saying the US was “troubled” by the recent attacks on the group by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has also recently come under fire for its targeting of foreign activists, and ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression through incarcerating Palestinians — including minors — over Facebook posts.
US State Department Spokesman John Kirby told the newspaper that “the (US) administration values the information published by the two nonprofits about the situation in the West Bank,” referring to B’Tselem and Americans for Peace Now, two NGO’s who spoke before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday regarding illegal Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory …  In response to Netanyahu’s verbal assault on B’Tselem, Kirby told Haaretz that the US government believes “it is important that governments protect the freedoms of expression, and create an atmosphere where all voices can be heard.””We are troubled by instances anywhere in the world where these principles are threatened,” he added….

The brewmistress of Taybeh
The Media Line 17 Oct —  Innovation has become a tradition in the Khoury family from the West Bank town of Taybeh. After opening the first microbrewery in the Middle East in 1994 and launching a local version of the well-known German Oktoberfest in 2005, the Khoury family now counts an inspiring young businesswoman among them. Madees Khoury, 31, the eldest daughter of Nadim, one of the founders of the Taybeh Brewing Company, is considered to be the first Palestinian female brewer in the Middle East. “I want to pursue my father’s dream. Since I was 10 years-old, I had been running around the brewery, watching my father and uncle working hard to establish this company. Growing up, I became more involved in the business every year, even when I was abroad,” Khoury told The Media Line. Khoury graduated with a master’s degree in business administration in Boston, where she also interned at a local brewery. At 21, she bought a one-way ticket back home and she has been working in the family business ever since. As general manager of the Taybeh Brewing Company, the energetic woman is in charge of most of the day-to-day operations. You will find Khoury on the brewery floor actively brewing, controlling quality, giving tours, dealing with customers or supervising exports, as well as organizing events. “I enjoy every part of the job; it is interesting, enriching, and actually a lot of fun. Of course, brewing is exhausting, but there is great satisfaction when I go out and see people enjoying our beers. I feel really proud to tell them that I made the beers they are drinking,” she said….,7340,L-4867155,00.html

Father of Israeli IS suspect rejects ‘inconceivable’ accusations
Times of Israel 15 Oct by Judah Ari Gross — The father of one of three Arab Israelis accused of working for the Islamic State terror group rejected the charges Friday, saying it was impossible that his son was involved in such activities. Amir Abdel Hakim Jabar, 20, was indicted Thursday along with 26-year-old Ibrahim Abdel Halim Sheikh Yusuf and Muhammad Tamim Nashaf, 32, for carrying out an arson attack in the name of Islamic State and attempting to dig a smuggling tunnel to the West Bank, officials said. According to the Shin Bet security service, the three men pledged allegiance to the terrorist group in May after studying its ideology. All three live in the northern Israeli city of Tayibe (not to be confused with the West Bank city Taybeh) … According to the Shin Bet, Jabara attempted to join the Islamic State by traveling through Turkey to reach Syria in April 2016, but was stopped at the shared border by local police. The Shin Bet said both they and the police interrogated Jabara when he returned to Israel, but was ultimately released. “Since he returned from Turkey, he has worked all the time at the industrial area in Tayibe and returned home in the evening,” Jabara’s father told Ynet. “To accuse him of belonging to Islamic State is not only delusional, but inconceivable. It never happened.” Hakim Jabara also cast doubt on the allegations that his son was trying to dig a tunnel into the West Bank, questioning whether it was even feasible….

Is Jordan Israel’s new best friend?
Al-Monitor 17 Oct by Adnan Abu Amer — Jordan is boosting its strategic ties with Israel based on their mutual economic interests, while Palestinians sound the alarm against normalization of relations with their enemy — Some Palestinians fear they’ve been jilted by Jordan, which seems to be cozying up to Israel rather quickly. This courtship is clearly reflected in several recent events. On Oct. 6, Israeli author Ephraim Herrera revealed in Israel Hayom newspaper that Jordan has requested security and political aid from Israel, which is showing its support for Jordan’s King Abdullah II, suggesting relations between the two sides are at their best. This observation is supported by the activities of the week before, which was a virtual whirlwind love fest: The two sides signed a 15-year gas purchase agreement valued at $10 billion, whereby Jordan will buy 45 billion cubic meters of gas from Israel. Israel announced it might employ more Jordanian workers in the Dead Sea hotels. Israel had issued 1,500 work permits for Jordanians to work in Eilat, an Israeli city off the coast of Aqaba on the Dead Sea. Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot revealed that a Jordanian military mission composed of 12 retired generals had secretly visited Israel. During the three-day visit, the mission met with senior Israeli officials and senior officers in the Israeli army. The newspaper did not mention the names of the Jordanian officers who visited Israel but indicated that Walid Oueidat, Jordan’s ambassador to Israel, planned and supervised the visit. That’s all in addition to an Aug. 23 request from Jordan for Israel’s help in containing and cleaning up a crude oil leak from a pipeline off the Port of Aqaba. It appears Palestinians are right to worry…. (listserv) (archive)

About Kate

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

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One Response

  1. talknic
    October 19, 2016, 6:04 am

    ““deliberately throwing rocks at the street endangering public safety of locals, tourists, and security forces that travel by (al-Wad) street every day.”

    Occupied Territories are a war zone. This amounts to the IDF hiding behind civilians who should not be in the area.

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