Israel’s next Gaza war will be ‘last’ one: Lieberman
AFP 24 Oct — Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Israel’s next war with Gaza militants would be their last “because we will completely destroy them,” but added he remains committed to a two-state solution. Lieberman, speaking in an interview with Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, said however that he did not want another war in Gaza, which would be the fourth since 2008. The outspoken former foreign minister urged Palestinians to pressure Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, to “stop your crazy policies” … Lieberman is part of what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israeli history, with several prominent members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition openly opposing a Palestinian state.But while he lives in a West Bank settlement and is known as a security-minded hardliner, Lieberman believes in a two-state solution to the conflict based on land swaps. He reiterated that position in the interview, saying he sees the main settlement blocks in the occupied West Bank remaining part of Israel under a final peace deal. He raised the possibility of trading Arab areas of Israel on the edge of the northern West Bank, such as the city of Umm al-Fahm, in exchange for settlements….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers open fire on Palestinians near settlement, hitting one, Israeli media says
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — Israeli forces reportedly fired at three Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, hitting one, on Saturday as they approached a fence surrounding the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to Hebrew-language news sites; however a spokesperson from the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma‘an they were not aware of the incident. According to Israeli news site Ynet, three Palestinians “approached and touched the fence surrounding the settlement” and Israeli soldiers stationed there opened fire, hitting one in the leg. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they were looking into reports and could not confirm the incident.
Israeli army opens probe after Palestinian teen shot dead for throwing stones
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — Israeli military police opened an internal probe on Friday into the killing of 15-year-old Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, who was shot and killed by Israeli forces on Thursday in Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank, after soldiers claimed he was among a group of youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the probe will look into whether the soldiers responsible for Khalid’s death followed procedure in accordance with the army’s “open-fire regulations,” which state that “soldiers should not shoot to kill unless they are in an immediate and clear danger.” An Israeli army spokesperson said at the time of Khalid’s killing that soldiers were “attacked” by Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers while they were patrolling the area near Beit Ummar. The spokesperson said one soldier was “lightly wounded’ by a rock and called one of the young Palestinian suspects to “halt,” fired warning shots in the air, and then fired “towards the suspect, resulting in his death.” Local reports claimed that the teenager was shot by Israeli forces in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest. Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad also told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers had prevented a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from approaching the youth, while witnesses said that Israeli forces refused to provide CPR to the youth after he was shot.
Palestinian man and his wife injured after being rammed by a settler’s car
IMEMC 25 Oct — Medical sources have reported that, Monday, that a Palestinian man and his wife suffered serious and moderate wounds after being struck by a speeding car driver by an Israeli colonist’s car, east of Qalqilia. The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that the man suffered life-threatening wounds, and his wife suffered moderate injuries, when the Israeli driver, who lives in a nearby illegal colony, struck a horse-driven carriage the two were riding. It added that Palestinian medics rushed to the scene, and moved the man and his wife to Darwish Nazzal Hospital, in Qalqilia, but later moved the man to a hospital in Nablus, due to the seriousness of his wounds. Local sources said the man, Mohammad Daoud, 58, and his wife were heading to their farm, east of Qalqilia, and were struck by the Israeli car while crossing the road.
Israeli soldiers invade the office of the Popular Committee against the Wall in Hebron
IMEMC 23 Oct — Several Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, the office of the Palestinian Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Hebron’s Old city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Younis ‘Arar, the head of the popular committee in Hebron, said the soldiers invaded the building, and were demanding the people inside the building to remove posters and pictures that expose the ongoing Israeli military violations, and the constant attacks carried out by extremist Israeli colonists in the city. ‘Arar added that the soldiers did not search the building, or cause any damage, and withdrew shortly after invading it.
Israeli soldiers kidnap twenty Palestinians in Jerusalem
IMEMC 23 Oct — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, Silwan and the al-‘Eesawiyya towns, Jabal al-Mokabber village and Shu’fat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem, violently searched dozens of homes and kidnapped twenty Palestinians. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported that the soldiers surrounded Silwan, al-‘Eesawiyya and Jabal al-Mokabber, in addition to Shu‘fat refugee camp, while military helicopter hovered overhead. It added that the soldiers invaded dozens of homes, and violently searched them, before kidnapping twenty Palestinians, identified as: Silwan: 1. Ziad Tareq Nasser, 20. 2. Amer Ziad Zidani, 20. 3. Luay Khader Rajabi, 21….
After kidnapping 20 in Jerusalem, army kidnaps six Palestinians in several parts of the West Bank
IMEMC 23 Oct — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn, several districts in the occupied West Bank, searched many homes and kidnapped at least six Palestinians. The soldiers also confiscated large sums of cash in Qalqilia and Hebron … The Tulkarem office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), in the northern part of the West Bank, said several army jeeps invaded ‘Anabta town, east of Tulkarem, and kidnapped one Palestinian, identified as As’ad Hazem Foqaha, 18. The soldiers also invaded Qalqilia city, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, and kidnapped Suleiman Abu Shehab. Also in ‘Azzoun, the soldiers and Israeli security officers confiscated large sums of cash allegedly used to finance the Hamas movement. The soldiers also invaded the al-Yamoun town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped Khaled Ahmad Houshiyya. In Ramallah, the army invaded Beit ‘Or at-Tihta village, west of Ramallah, and kidnapped Mohammad Wajeeh Othman. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers invaded Sa‘ir town, east of the city, and confiscated money from a home, after invading and searching it … On Saturday, the soldiers invaded Deir Abu Da‘if town, near Jenin, and kidnapped four Palestinians identified as Ammar Mahameed, Monir Mahameed, Ahmad Mahameed and Abdullah Mahameed. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers shave kidnapped twelve Palestinians, including a young woman, in Deir Abu Da‘if in the last two days.
Israeli forces detain 8 Palestinians during raids
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least eight Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank on Sunday and during overnight raids until dawn on Monday, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS released a statement Monday, saying that two Palestinians were detained overnight Monday from the northern West Bank district of Nablus. The group identified the detainees as Ahmad Jabr al-Hajj Muhammad, 30, and Hamza Labib al-Hajj Muhammad, 21. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detention of two “Hamas operatives” from the Nablus-area village of Talfit. The statement added that 19 year-old Abd al-Qader Hashash al-Samari and 18 year-old Bakr Omran Hashash al-Samarai were detained in Nablus during the day on Sunday. Also in the northern West Bank, PPS identified one Palestinian who was detained from the Qalqiliya governorate, and identified him as Ahmad Hmeida al-Raai, 33. PPS added that Israeli forces also detained three Palestinians from Jerusalem during the day on Sunday, and identified them as Samed Esila, Ammar al-Salayma and Radwan Abu Sneina.
Hundreds of Israelis enter Al-Asqa Mosque compound on last day of Sukkot
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — Hundreds of Israeli Jews escorted by Israeli forces took to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday on the seventh and final day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The Islamic Endowment (Waqf), which is in charge of the site, said that 346 Israelis toured the compound, with 242 entering the compound between 7.30 and 11 a.m., while another 104 entered the compound through the Moroccan Gate at 1.30 p.m., only to leave one hour later through the Chain Gate. Eyewitnesses said that many of the Israelis attempted to perform religious rituals in the compound — in contravention of long-standing agreements regarding non-Muslim prayer at the site — while others tried to “provoke” Palestinians at Al-Aqsa. Israeli police forces were deployed at all gates of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, seizing Muslim worshipers’ identity cards before letting them into the compound.
Israeli take to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for Shmini Atzeret
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israelis escorted by Israeli special forces and police visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Monday on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Shmini Atzeret. The Islamic Endowment (Waqf), which is in charge of the holy site, reported that a total of 67 Israeli settlers toured Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the morning and afternoon. Israeli Jews entered the compound from Moroccan Gate and performed religious rituals and prayers at the gates of the compound, witnesses said. Meanwhile, Israelis also organized a march on al-Wad Street in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli forces were heavily deployed in the area during the march, impeding the freedom of movement of residents and merchants.
Hamas fighter killed in tunnel collapse during ‘mission’ in Gaza Strip
GAZA (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — A member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, was killed in Gaza on Monday after an underground tunnel collapsed on him. According to a statement released by the Brigades, one of their fighters died during a “mission” when the tunnel collapsed on him. The statement identified the fighter as Amir Jaber Abu Tuima from the town of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Most recently, a fighter for the brigades was killed in a tunnel collapse on Saturday.
Israeli air forces shell alleged Hamas military post in northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli air forces shelled a military post allegedly belonging to the Hamas movement in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday morning, according to Israeli army and local Palestinian sources. Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that at least one Israeli artillery shell hit a military post belonging to what they called the “Palestinian resistance,” east of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, next to the border with Israel. The shelling caused material damages, though no human injuries or casualties were reported. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that early Monday morning, sirens went off in the Shaar Hanegev area of southern Israel — which borders the northeastern Gaza Strip — alerting the residents of the area that a rocket had been fired in their direction. While the rocket did not in fact land inside Israeli territory, the Israeli air force in response “targeted a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip,” the spokesperson said.
Israeli forces open fire at Gaza farmers near border
GAZA (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces on Monday opened fire at Palestinian farmers near the border between Israel and the besieged Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli troops stationed east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza opened fire at farmers in the area. No injuries were reported.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza after 2 weeks of openings
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip late on Sunday night after two weeks of discontinuous openings to let travelers in and out of the besieged Palestinian territory. According to the Palestinian borders and crossings committee, six buses left the Gaza Strip for Egypt on Sunday, adding that the Rafah crossing was initially scheduled to be closed on Saturday night, but that Egyptian authorities decided to open it for an additional day. According to the Gaza Ministry of Interior, 5,000 people, the majority of whom were students, patients, and expatriates, left Gaza en route to other countries through Egypt during the seven days of opening.
Gaza crossings’ operations status: Monthly update September 2016
EREZ CROSSING • Opened on all of the 26 scheduled days. • The overall number of crossings this month was 18% below the monthly average since the beginning of 2016. • 56% of permits for business people were approved, including the renewal of permits. • More than 36% of permits for medical referrals were denied or remained pending; the denial rate for national UN staff from Gaza stood at 41.3% • The crossing is accessible only to Israeli-issued permit holders, primarily medical and other humanitarian cases, merchants, and aid workers….
WHO: Only 63% of Gaza patients received permit during the past month
GAZA (PNN) 23 Oct — The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently published its [September] monthly report on Health Access for Referral Patients from the Gaza Strip. The report shows high demand for patient permits with a low approval rate: Of 2,026 patient permit applications to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in September, 63.77% were approved, the lowest approval rate since June 2009. 177 patients (8.74%) were denied permits, including 9 children and 7 elderly persons over 60 years. 557 patients (27.49%) received no response, including 175 children and 54 elderly people over 60 (Palestinian District Liaison office in Gaza). The Rafah border terminal was open in both directions for 4 days in September allowing 150 patients to travel for health reasons to Egypt, Rafah terminal….
UNRWA disburses $1.7 million to 242 Gaza families
GAZA (WAFA) 24 Oct — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said Monday that it was able to disburse over $1.7 million for reconstruction and repair work of Gaza homes damaged from Israel’s last war on the coastal enclave. The funds reached a total of 242 refugee families across Gaza, it said in a statement. Over $951,000 will go for homes that need reconstruction and over $759,000 to severe repair works. Emergency shelter – including support for home repairs, reconstruction and interim shelter solutions – is a top priority for UNRWA, said the international agency … UNRWA’s assessment confirmed 142,071 Palestine refugee houses as impacted during the 2014 war; 9,117 of them are considered totally destroyed. 5,417 shelters have suffered severe, 3,700 major and 123,837 minor damages. Since the start of the 2014 emergency shelter response, the Agency has distributed over $215 million (excluding Program Support Costs) to Palestine refugee families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the war.
Egyptian general who oversaw destruction of Gaza tunnels assassinated
CAIRO (TML) 22 Oct by Jacob Wirtschafter — A top Egyptian officer was gunned down in front of his home north of Cairo just after dawn Saturday in another sign of the increasing conflict between the government and its opponents – both armed and unarmed. The Lewaa Al-Thawra [Revolution Brigade] claimed responsibility for the assassination of Major Adel Ragaai, head of the Egyptian Ninth Amour Division – the unit charged with destroying the tunnels running between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. “Major Adel Ragaai was killed in front of his house in Obour City [25km. northeast of Cairo] as he was leaving for work,” said army spokesman Brigadier General Mohamed Samir. “Two bullets pierced his head.” … Ragaai’s death is the first political assassination of a military figure since former President Mohamed Morsi was removed from office by Egypt’s military in 2013. Since that year, the Egyptian military has destroyed more than one thousand smuggling tunnels, a key lifeline for what remains of the private sector in the Gaza strip. The tunnels also serve as a conduit for a busy cross-border arms trade that provides revenue and ammunition for the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas….
Struggling Gaza factory turns to recycling to survive
GAZA CITY (AP) 24 Oct — In the struggling Gaza Strip, Omar Ramlawi’s plastic factory is one of the few businesses that has managed to stay afloat, overcoming dire shortages of raw materials by resorting to an unusual source: recycling. Recycling has never been a priority in Gaza, a crowded and impoverished seaside territory whose already weak economy has been devastated by years of conflict with Israel and mismanagement by the strip’s ruling Islamic militant Hamas movement. The empty bottles and shopping bags strewn on Gaza’s beaches and roadsides provide vivid reminders of the lack of environmental awareness among its residents. Ramlawi has begun to change this, collecting tons of bags, bottles and other items to keep his factory open. With raw materials restricted under an Israeli blockade, Ramlawi says that he would have had to shutter the plant — and lay off his 50 workers — long ago. Instead, thanks to the recycling effort, his factory in east Gaza City produces between 1.5 to 2 tons of irrigation pipes, black trash bags and cable hoses each day — all supplied to the local market….
Gaza University to launch first film major in Palestine
GAZA CITY 23 Oct by Ahmad Abu Amer — A group of Palestinians who hold art degrees from Egypt are behind the first film studies major set to start by early 2017 at Gaza University, raising the hopes of many aspiring students — Gaza is getting ready to launch its first film studies major in the Palestinian territories in January 2017. The university program will be implemented in universities, as hundreds of students wishing to major in cinematography and film studies are unable to travel abroad to pursue their studies given the closure of crossings in the Gaza Strip, namely the Rafah crossing. Although launching the program could be a bumpy ride given the lack of the necessary equipment, such as school curricula and other work equipment, the program organizers, a group of people who hold university degrees from art faculties in Egypt, are seeking to bring in some material from abroad or tap into the available modest tools in Gaza after having obtained preliminary approval by the Ministry of Culture in early October….
Welcome to Gaza’s first deer farm
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 23 Oct by Iyad Qatrawi — Palestinians have always raised animals such as goats and camels, but one man has now taken up a new activity that is the first of its kind in the Gaza Strip. Majed Sharab, a resident of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza who owns Cardinal Garden, a shop for rare birds, as well as the new deer farm, told Al-Monitor, “I started raising deer four years ago because I wanted to have a farm and a zoo for people to visit and enjoy the many types of deer and several species of rare birds.” … Speaking about the purpose of deer farming, Sharab said, “I find great pleasure in raising deer. I spend most of my time taking care of them and feeding them. Raising deer is not that different from raising goats and sheep; they require the same kind of food such as grass and grains, and the climate in Gaza is adequate for them. Only their physical structure differs, as they are really fast and not easy to catch.” He continued, “If my goal was to make quick money, I would have sold the deer and made major profit. But my goal is to have a zoo with several types of deer and the best species of rare birds. And I hope to turn [this zoo] into a national project that people can visit….
Palestinian factions slam Lieberman’s offer to ease Gaza blockade as ‘blackmail’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip denounced remarks made by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman during a rare interview with Palestinian newspaper al-Quds on Monday, calling the ultra right-wing minister’s conditional offer to ease the blockade “blackmail.” In the interview, Lieberman said that Israel would agree to end its stringent blockade on the Gaza Strip and help build an airport, a seaport, and an industrial zone in the coastal enclave if Palestinian factions agreed to stop digging tunnels under the border with Israel and firing rockets at Israeli towns. Speaking to Ma‘an, Hamas movement spokesman Hazim Qasim said that the Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza was a “crime under humanitarian law and must be ended,” and that “our people has a natural right to have access to the outside world, including an airport and seaport that can guarantee the right to movement and travel, which are of the most basic of human rights.” However, he said that these rights should not be dependent on blackmail and political stipulations. “A people under occupation have the right to possess means of power, including military ones, so as to be able to defend themselves against continuous Israeli assaults,” Qasim said, adding that this right was “not debatable.” Meanwhile, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) politburo member Salih Zeidan rejected Liberman’s proposal, which he said wasn’t more than a political maneuver to attempt to blame the Palestinian resistance for the crippling siege imposed on the Gaza Strip. Zeidan added that Israel had not complied with the truce reached in Cairo following the devastating 2014 conflict, which stipulated that Israel limits the buffer zone inside Gaza to 100 meters and opens more terminals to allow the flow of goods into Gaza. Zeidan said that the agreement had also stated that Israel allow the construction of a seaport and an airport in the Gaza Strip. Gaza, he added, “has the right to have seaport and airport, but Israel has not complied with what has been agreed on.”….
Palestinian detainees in Galboa Prison declare hunger strike
IMEMC 22 Oct — The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported, on Saturday afternoon, that Israeli soldiers of the Masada special unit, of the Israel’s Prison Service, invaded Section 3 of Galboa prison, and assaulted many detainees, an issue that pushed them to declare a hunger strike. The head of the Detainees’ Committee Issa Qaraqe‘ said the soldiers assaulted several detainees, and searched all rooms, adding that 120 Palestinians are held in this section alone. Qaraqe‘ added that the invasion was sudden, without any provocation from the detainees, an issue that created tension, especially after the soldiers forced a detainee, identified as Mohammad ‘Arman, in solitary confinement. The detainees then decided to launch a hunger strike to protest the invasion, the assaults and ongoing violations.
Israel issues 46 administrative detention orders against Palestinian detainees
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 23 Oct – Israeli authorities issued 46 administrative detention order against Palestinian detainees, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative council (PLC), Sunday said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). A PPS lawyer said forces renewed the administrative detention of PLC member, Hasan Yousif, for the third consecutive time. To be noted Yousif was sentenced several times to jail, amounting to 18 years in total, including actual sentences and under administrative detention, the last of which was on October, 20th, 2015. The lawyer noted that the detention orders, without charge or trial, included 13 new orders, whereas the rest received renewed sentences. Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts. Palestinian detainees have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes as a way to protest their illegal administrative detention and to demand an end to this policy which violates international law.
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Report: Settlers continue building new illegal outpost despite stop-work orders
TUBAS (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — Israeli authorities ordered settlers to stop construction on a new illegal outpost in the Jordan valley district of Tubas in the northern occupied West Bank, according Israeli authorities. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the body responsible for implementing Israeli government policies in the occupied West Bank, told Ma‘an on Sunday that the “illegal construction” began at the end of September, and that COGAT issued “stop-work orders” to the settlers in the area. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday that their reporters visited the site of the outpost — which was established on privately owned Palestinian land, in close proximity to the illegal outpost of Givat Salit — and that construction was still ongoing, despite the stop-work orders that were issued, and COGAT’s claim that construction was halted. In its statement to Ma‘an, COGAT reiterated its assertion that construction had stopped, saying that “further inspection of the illegal construction found that the construction halted only after the orders were issued.” … According to Haaretz, settlers from the outpost — one of whom reportedly had a gun — began threatening Palestinian shepherds in the area, preventing them from bringing their flocks to graze on a nearby hilltop, which is designated by Israel as “state-owned land.” Additionally, Israeli Civil Administration staff reportedly demolished the tent encampment belonging to the Ayoub family, a Palestinian family of shepherds who had lived on the land for years, shortly after the outpost was established. Haaretz also reported that an Israeli jeep belonging to a resident of the nearby illegal settlement of Shadmot Mehola was seen on Thursday speeding into a flock of livestock owned by the Ayoub family, leading the family to fear that settlers from the outpost would physically harm their livestock. Since the outpost was established almost one month ago, according to Haaretz, the settlers at the site have laid down a main water pipe, pounded iron fencing into the ground “for what appeared to be a future livestock pen,” constructed various iron posts, and installed a water tank.
Palestinian villages ‘get two hours of water a week’
Ramallah, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 24 Oct by Eloise Bollack — Enas Taha, a resident of the Palestinian village of Kafr al-Deek in the occupied West Bank, has become desperate. “Since the [water] crisis started in June, the municipality has been able to supply water for only one hour twice a week,” Taha told Al Jazeera. “I am checking the weather forecast every day; they announced rain three weeks ago, but it has not come yet. The only thing I can do is to pray to God.” Many West Bank communities are facing similar problems, amid an acute water shortage that has lasted for months. In the Salfit, Jenin, and Hebron governorates, some villages have gone as long as 40 days in a row without running water. In mid-July, residents in the Bethlehem area staged a sit-in for days to protest against the shortages, sparking clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces. “It is a very stressful situation. I have to consider and prioritize every single drop of water I use,” Taha said. “We have barely enough to drink, cook, shower and use the bathroom. Sometimes I don’t do the laundry or clean the house for weeks. It is hot and dusty. This is exhausting.” Some Palestinians have joked that the water bill collector comes to their homes more often than water. As demand rises, the cost of drinking water has skyrocketed, with some families spending up to 30 percent of their meager incomes to purchase it. Israel implements a policy of water cuts each summer, but this year, it reached an unprecedented peak. In early June, Israeli water company Mekorot informed the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) of summertime supply cuts totaling more than 50 percent – and the cuts, while not as dramatic, remain in effect today, more than a month after the official end of summer.
Israeli bulldozers level lands, destroy Palestinian structures east of Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — Israeli bulldozers leveled Palestinian lands east of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank on Saturday morning, allegedly in preparation for the construction of new illegal settlement units, while structures belonging to Palestinians in the village were also dismantled. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers bulldozed lands just a few kilometers south of the illegal Elon Moreh settlement in the eastern part of the village of Deir al-Hatab, in what he said was in preparation to build new settlement units in the area. Meanwhile, in response to a request for comment on the incident, a spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities were responsible for dismantling Palestinian structures in Deir al-Hatab on Saturday, but did not directly confirm the settler activity in the same village on the same day. Two weeks ago, the spokesperson said, “an (Israeli) enforcement was taking place against illegally built tin structures” in the area that belonged to residents of Deir al-Hatab. “These were built again yesterday (Friday), and so an enforcement was taking place again (Saturday morning) against these illegal structures,” the spokesperson said … The majority of Deir al-Hatab’s population resides in Area B, while most of the land lying within Area C is agricultural land or has been confiscated for Israeli settlements. Israel has confiscated 659 dunams from the village for the establishment of the Elon Moreh settlement, which sits on the northeastern side of the village, according to a 2014 report by ARIJ. Since the establishment of the settlement in 1979, which at the time of the report had 1,595 residents, Palestinian residents and farmers of Deir al-Hatab have been subjected to various settler attacks, in addition to the settlers having also stolen crops, damaged trees and attacked animals, homes and other private property. According to ARIJ, settlers from Elon Moreh have cut off the village’s electricity supply by destroying the electricity infrastructure, and in 2009, settlers constructed a barbed wire fence around a water spring which served as one of the most important water sources in the village, despite an Israeli court ruling that stated the right of the Deir al-Hatab residents to the spring. [fairly long article which well illustrates how Palestinian land is stolen for settlements, industrial zones, and military bases]
Israeli forces keep Nablus area farmers from harvesting olives
NABLUS (WAFA) 25 Oct – Israeli forces on Tuesday prevented Palestinian farmers from the village of Deir al-Hatab, east of Nablus in the West Bank, from entering their land to harvest olives, according to local sources. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in Nablus area, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers conditioned entry of the farmers to their land on being inspected first, which they refused.
Illegal Israeli settlers uproot Palestinian olive tree
Palestinian Monitor 22 Oct by Matt Bromfield — The well-documented obstruction of the Palestinian olive harvest by Israeli settlers took a faintly ridiculous turn this week, as one farmer spotted illegal colonizers stealing an entire olive tree from his land. Like many residents of Hebron, Raid Abu Saleh lives under constant threat of harassment and assault from his heavily-armed, ultra-Zionist neighbors. “It was about 11 in the morning,” he recounts, pointing to the perimeter of his land from within his modest grove of olive trees. “Three settlers came and they dug up one of my trees, and continued moving.” Raid says he was unable to do anything but snap a series of pictures: “Of course I didn’t try to stop them. I was alone, and there were three of them, with their guns. Put yourself in my place.” The photos provided to the Palestine Monitor show a group of three male settlers, identifiable by their white shirts and kippahs, as well as by their mere presence in the Israeli-controlled H2 zone of the city. Making their way from Raid’s land towards the barbed-wire perimeter of their home, the photos show two of the men are sharing the weight of what does indeed appear to be a sapling olive tree. Actions like stealing a single olive tree seem almost petty in their victimization of Palestinians, but Raid places this violation of his property in the context of more serious crimes. “They’re not children,” he says vehemently. “Everything they do is serious, everything they do is planned. The Israeli government wants to dominate this whole area, to make it theirs.” The Hebron settlers have a particular reputation for personal attacks on the indigenous farmers and city residents, pelting them with soiled nappies, used toilet paper, and urine. More seriously, they are responsible for what human rights organization B’Tselem calls “almost daily physical violence and property damage” in the West Bank’s largest city. As Raid says, “these aren’t even normal settlers.”
General closure on West Bank ahead of Jewish holiday
IMEMC/Agencies 23 Oct — The Israeli army, on Saturday evening, slapped a total closure on the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which is to last until Monday night, ahead of the Jewish holiday of “Sukkot”. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers will not be able to enter or exit the occupied territories as a result of the measure, which will be in place from midnight on Saturday until midnight on Monday. Similar closures have been placed on the West Bank in the past, during Jewish holidays, particularly Yom Kippur and Passover. Those holidays are often associated, in Palestine, with increased terrorism and break-ins by extremist Israeli settlers at Islamic holy sites, particularly al-Aqsa Mosque. The crossings on the Gaza border have also been closed off for the holiday period, PNN further reports. [Apparently the next Jewish holiday isn’t until Hanukkah, from sunset on Dec 24 to Jan 1.]
Israeli forces reopen Ramallah-area village after declaring it a closed military zone
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Israeli forces reopened the entrances to the town of Deir Jarir in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah Monday morning, after declaring the town a closed military zone the night before. Israeli forces stormed the town Sunday evening and closed off all entrances and exits, just hours after two Israeli soldiers were reportedly injured during clashes with youth earlier in the afternoon, according to locals. Witnesses told Ma‘an that “fierce clashes” broke out between young Palestinian men and Israeli troops on Sunday afternoon after Israeli military vehicles stormed the town, “firing tear gas canisters and rubber-coated steel bullets in every direction.” The young men, many of whom were teenagers, then responded by throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli armored vehicles, which resulted in the injury of two soldiers. It remained unclear the extent to which the soldiers were injured. After the soldiers were hurt, locals said that Israeli troops set up military checkpoints at all entrances to the town, preventing the residents from moving in and out.
Jerusalem spokesman 2nd Fatah official to be discharged after attending meeting
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 23 Oct — Spokesperson for the Jerusalem office of the Fatah movement Raafat Elayyan was removed from office on Saturday, soon after Fatah — the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA) — discharged one of its senior leaders and lawmakers, Jihad Tummaleh. Both Elayyan and Tummaleh participated in a meeting attended by hundreds of local Fatah leaders at a community center in al-Amari refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, which was dispersed by Palestinian security forces. Member of Fatah’s Central Committee Mahmoud al-Aloul notified Jerusalem district leaders of the decision to discharge Elayyan later Saturday evening. Elayyan had served as a spokesperson for Fatah movement in Jerusalem for the last two years. While the order to discharge Tummaleh — approved Saturday evening by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — did not provide an explanation for the decision, sources in the Fatah movement told Ma‘an on Sunday that the decision to discharge Elayyan did come in response to his participation in the meeting at al-Amari refugee camp. Tummaleh wrote on his Facebook page Saturday that the goal of the meeting was to discuss “Fatah unity and awakening.” The anonymous Fatah sources also said that the meeting in al-Amari was considered “illegal” and that its participants have been accused of “delinquency” by Fatah’s Anti-Delinquency Committee, which was also responsible for the recommendation to discharge Tummaleh. Amid growing dissent within Fatah, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has come under fire for cracking down on Palestinians for criticizing the government….
Will the Palestinian Authority succeed in pursuing activists beyond its borders?
Al-Monitor 24 Oct by Adnan Abu Amer — The Palestinian Authority (PA) continues to pursue journalists and media activists — even those outside Palestine — for criticizing it in their social network posts, and some activists accuse the authority of resorting to violence. On Oct. 22, unidentified gunmen opened fire on the family home of Fahid Elsalameen in the town of Samu in the southern West Bank. The house was damaged but no one was injured. Elsalameen, one of Abbas’ most prominent opponents residing in the United States, accuses the PA of being behind the attack and said he expects another such shooting as he continues to criticize the PA and accuse it of corruption. “The Facebook activists pursued by the PA are among the finest young Palestinian men,” he told Al-Monitor. “They are intelligent, courageous, devoted to our homeland and well-aware of how the PA’s corruption is prevailing. They will not put up with the PA’s [actions], and they believe [the campaign of PA President Mahmoud] Abbas against us is shameful for him but a source of pride for us. He will never stop us.” Rai Alyoum newspaper reported Oct. 14 that the Palestinian Foreign Ministry had sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry accusing Elsalameen of supporting terrorism and inciting against peace. In the letter, the ministry asked the United States to prevent Elsalameen from writing anti-PA posts on his Facebook page. Earlier in the month, an anonymous source in the Foreign Ministry told Ni News that Abbas had asked Interior Minister Riyad al-Malki to prepare an urgent case against Palestinian activists in Europe, the United States and Arab countries who attack the PA online….
Rallies held in Gaza, Ramallah to urge Hamas and Fatah to end rivalry
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — A nonpartisan Palestinian group known as Patriots to End Disagreement and Restore National Unity organized rallies in Gaza City and Ramallah on Saturday, to urge political rivals Fatah and Hamas to put an end to their disputes. Scores of Palestinians gathered in Unknown Soldier’s Square in Gaza City, including representatives of Palestinian political factions and civil society groups. Coordinator of the national unity group Yusri Darwish said in a statement that “the mass participation in the rally today sends a message that, despite obstacles, we reject the crime of national disagreement.” He added that Palestinian security forces prevented access to buses transporting activists from across the Gaza Strip. According to Darwish, the rally was the first public activity to be organized by the group. More events, he said, would be organized to attempt to put pressure on rival parties end their rivalry.
Islamic Jihad calls on PA to cancel adherence to Oslo accords
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Oct — Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Shalah, is urging Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to “pluck up his courage” and cancel out the Oslo agreement, according to the PNN. Reaching out to Gaza by phone, during a festival held by the Islamic Jihad, to mark the 29th anniversary of the group’s inception, Shalah urged the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to backtrack on its recognition of Israel. He called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to take serious steps in favor of the Palestinian cause and people. The Jihad leader suggested ten tips as a way out from the current impasse emerging on the Palestinian national scene. He spoke up against the tragic upshots of the Oslo accord, proposing that it served as an umbrella to cover Israeli crimes….
Four Palestinians arrested by their security forces for settlement visit
RAMALLAH (Middle East Online) 21 Oct — Four Palestinians have been detained by their security forces after attending a religious festival in a nearby Jewish settlement, a Palestinian security official said Friday. Around 30 Palestinians from two neighbouring villages visited a celebration in the occupied West Bank settlement of Efrat on Wednesday, Oded Revivi of the YESHA settlers council said. In total more than 100 people attended, including senior Israeli military and police officers, he said, as part of celebrations for the annual Jewish festival of Sukkot. On Thursday, four men were called in for questioning by Palestinian security forces, according to a security spokesman. They were still detained on Friday lunchtime. “We heard from our neighbors they had received (summonses) for interrogation,” Revivi said. He said the men were senior figures in the local Palestinian villages of Wadi al-Nis and Al-Khadar. In an interview with Israeli army radio, Mohammed Taha, deputy governor of the nearby town of Bethlehem, said it was against Palestinian law to normalize relations with Israeli settlements. While Palestinians were free to talk to Israelis, “it is unacceptable, going inside (a settlement) is unacceptable”, he said.
Palestinian Authority releases four who visited settlers’ Sukkah
Haaretz 23 Oct by Jack Khoury & Yotam Berger — The Palestinian Authority released on Sunday four Palestinians who were arrested after they visited a sukkah in the Israeli settlement of Efrat on Thursday. The four, who were held for violating the Authority’s boycott of the settlements, were released after the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories intervened. According to the Efrat council, Riyad Abu Hamad, Yakoub Mousa Abu Hamad, Farouk Mousa Abu Hamad and Mohammad Ahmed Abu Hamad were invited to the sukkah, along with other Palestinians, by regional council mayor Oded Revivi, who said the event was meant to promote peace. Also present were Israeli Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon and Deputy Police Commissioner Moshe Barkat, commander of the Jerusalem division. Indictments weren’t served against the Palestinians and officials said that they had been arrested for questioning and also for their protection, in light of threats against them that spread on social media….
Israeli and Palestinian women ‘marching for peace’ meet with president Mahmoud Abbas
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received a delegation of Israeli and Palestinian women at his presidential compound in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday. The women had been participating in a two-week “March of Hope” throughout Israel and the West Bank. Abbas welcomed the delegation and “wished them success in their support for peace between Palestinians and Israelis,” while also stressing the important role women play in peacemaking initiatives. Abbas also encouraged the women to continue with more efforts to support peace and a two-state solution. The women responded with praise for Abbas’ support for the march, which was launched by Women Wage Peace on Oct. 4, and finally concluded on Thursday. According to Ma‘an estimates, several thousand Israeli and Palestinian women participated in the march, while Israeli newspaper Haaretz estimated the number to be in the tens of thousands. Haaretz reported that on Wednesday the group demonstrated outside of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house in Jerusalem, where the women called for peace between the Israel and Palestine.
Abbas meets with Erdogan during diplomatic visit
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Monday in an ongoing effort to improve Turkish-Palestinian relations. In an interview with Palestinian radio station Mawtini, Majdi al-Khalidi, Abbas’ advisor for diplomatic affairs and international relations, said that the two heads of state met on Monday in Turkey, where they discussed a series of internal and external Palestinian issues, specifically focusing on Palestinian national reconciliation. Al-Khalidi added that construction has begun on establishing a Palestinian-Turkish “industrial area” in the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin, “to share experiences between the two countries and improve Palestinian economic conditions.” Abbas arrived in Turkey on Sunday for a three-day diplomatic visit in which he was set to meet with Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, and Grand National Assembly Speaker Ismail Kahraman. According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas’ presence in Turkey coincides with a visit by Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim Ibn Hamad Al Thani in the country. Abbas was also scheduled to lay a wreath of flowers on the tomb of the founder the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. A report by Chinese news agency Xinhua said on Saturday that Abbas would fly to Qatar following his visit to Turkey.
Palestinians prepare to mark 100 years since Balfour Declaration
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Oct — … Meanwhile on Monday, Palestinian officials and activists decided to hold year-long activities, in Palestine and around the world, to mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration. November 2, 1917, is the date marking 100 years since then British foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, had promised, in a letter to Zionist leaders, a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. The letter triggered the century-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and many other wars in the Middle East. “The Balfour Declaration is in its essence a colonialist project,” Taysir Khalid, member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told the meeting held at the PLO’s Ramallah headquarters. He said that the activities will continue until November 2, 2017, with a goal “to remind the world, and particularly Britain, that they should face their historic responsibility and to atone for the crime the British government had committed against the Palestinian people.
Two female Palestinian directors win big at Haifa film festival
[includes trailer for Bar Bahar] Haaretz 23 Oct by Nirit Anderman — Two female Palestinian directors won top prizes at the Haifa Film Festival on Sunday, getting both prestige and lump sums for their feature-length movies in Arabic. “Personal Affairs,” directed by Maha Haj, won best feature, while “Bar Bahar – In Between” by Maysaloun Hamoud won best first feature. “Personal Affairs” focuses on an elderly Arab couple in Nazareth, their pregnant daughter, libertine son, and a grandmother who is rapidly losing her mind. “A creation entirely made of love for humankind, fluid and funny, captivating and kind-hearted, a human tapestry, local, universal and contemporary,” the judges wrote in their decision to grant the film the festival’s highest honor, as well as 100,000 shekels. “Bar Bahar – In Between” tells the tale of three young Palestinian Israelis living together in Tel Aviv, from the prying eyes of Arab society, which follows their every step, and in the heart of liberal Israeli society that always treats them as second-class citizens. The film won 50,000 shekels. “A powerful creation about women fighting to mold their own fate, through competition, friendship, courage, victory and breaking free, and the prices these carry,” the judges wrote. Hamoud’s film also won the Audience Award, and its three actresses won the Fedeora award for artistic achievement in an Israeli feature, handed out by the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and Mediterranean. Both Haj and Hamoud, who live in Nazareth and Tel Aviv respectively, have Israeli citizenships. However, they identify as Palestinian.
Palestinians aim to promote local cinema with new award
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 23 Oct — A Palestinian film organization has launched a new cinema award in an attempt to stimulate the local filmmaking industry and promote cinema culture in the Palestinian territories. Filmlab, a local nonprofit backed by European partners, hopes the “Sunbird Prize” will grow to become the Palestinian version of the Oscars. A jury of four Palestinians and two European cinema experts chose Thursday night’s winners. The jury awarded prizes, named after a local bird, to one short and one feature length film out of 80 total entries. A large number of local VIPs, including the Palestinian culture minister, attended the event. Reflecting the immediate concerns of Palestinians, both of Thursday’s winners dealt with the conflict with Israel. The short, entitled “Izriqaq (Blued),” tells the story of a man who kills his father, then leaves the body next to an Israeli checkpoint. Local villagers, believing the father was killed by Israeli troops, venerate him as a “martyr,” and his son gets away with the crime. “We have been living in a circle of violence. The Israeli occupation created this cycle of violence, and a new generation was born violent because of that,” said May Odeh, the film’s producer. “The real story is about a man who is violent as a result of the circle of violence around himself and the society,” she said. A second prize was given to “Ambulance,” a documentary about an ambulance driver in the Gaza Strip during the 2012 conflict between Israel and Hamas militants. The prize capped the week-long Days of Cinema festival, which screened dozens of Palestinian and foreign movies in five cities across the West Bank and Gaza Strip. “Most of the cinema houses in the Palestinian territories have been closed for either political or economic reasons,” said Hanna Atallah, Filmlab’s artistic director. “We are trying to bring the movies to people in cultural centers for free to enable them to see them and slowly get back to cinema culture.” Days of Cinema screened 80 films, 20 of them by Palestinians. Khulood Badawi, a spokeswoman for the project, said thousands of people attended the festival….
Nablus high school awarded $1 million in Dubai
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 24 Oct — Palestinian high school Talai al-Amal (“Vanguards of Hope” in Arabic), located in the city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, was awarded $1 million in Dubai on Monday for having the best reading initiatives in the Arab world. The announcement was made at the closing ceremony of the Arab Reading Challenge, launched in 2015 by United Arab Emirates Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The ceremony took place at the Dubai Opera House, where al-Maktoum presented the awards. Palestinian Minister of Education Sabri Saidam attended the ceremony along with a delegation representing Talai al-Amal. “The ongoing successes of Palestine will not cease, and the Ministry of Education, together with all Palestinians, are proud of this accomplishment,” Saidam said.
How textbooks became latest battleground of Mideast conflict
Al-Monitor 23 Oct by Adnan Abu Amer — Palestinians feel that Arab official circles are neglecting their cause, as the Israeli narrative is increasingly promoted in schoolbooks — Palestinians are proud of the Arab public support for their cause, which can be detected in the intermittent protests that take to the streets in solidarity with them. In October 2015, protests were staged in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco to support the wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis, which broke out early October of that year. Protests also took place in Arab countries to support Palestinians during the 2014 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. Public sympathy, however, outweighs the interest of the official regimes, which have been distracted from the Palestinian cause. Palestinians are worried that their cause might be losing momentum on the agendas of Arab politicians. On Oct. 6, the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education called on several of its Arab counterparts to recall textbooks with which Arab students in Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain study because they offend the Palestinian people. The ministry demanded holding the people in charge of adopting the books accountable, because they contradict Palestinian religious and national values and describe resistance as terrorism….
Are NGOs in Palestine up to the challenge?
Al-Monitor 21 Oct by Asmaa al-Ghoul — Civil society and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have failed over the past decade to influence the Palestinian street and put an end to division or to topple the two ruling parties behind the division, namely Fatah and Hamas — even though they are the cause behind the deterioration of living conditions and the growing violations of human rights. This raises questions about the role these institutions should play, the limits of their intervention and their pursuit of democracy and change, as they receive foreign funding. According to official government estimates published by the Palestine Economy Portal in January 2016, these funds amounted during the first nine months of 2015 to $800 million. Amjad Shawa, director of the Palestinian NGOs Network in the Gaza Strip, believes that these questions and demands undermine the role played by NGOs. “We cannot ask them to do what is beyond their capacity under a weak state or authority and amid the Israeli occupation,” he told Al-Monitor. He pointed out that these institutions will never be a substitute for the state, as a strong civil society infers a strong state and vice versa….
Israeli MK calls for revoking citizenship of B’Tselem director
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — A right-wing member of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, called for revoking the citizenship of Hagai El-Ad, the director of Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, in response to El-Ad’s recent criticism of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory in front of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2, MK David Bitan, who serves as the Knesset’s coalition chair and as the whip for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, stated: “I examined whether, legally speaking, if I can ask the interior minister to revoke the citizenship of B’Tselem’s executive director.”“I checked, and there’s no legal avenue for doing so today,” Bitan continued, “but we must strip his citizenship.” Referring to El-Ad’s appearance at a special meeting at the UNSC — when he slammed numerous Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank, particularly illegal settlement building — Bitan called El-Ad’s actions a “blatant breach of trust by an Israeli citizen to the state,” saying that “as such, he should find another nationality.” In response to Bitan’s comments, B’Tselem released a statement saying that “for nearly 50 years Palestinians have not had citizenship or rights. Now the coalition chairman, the messenger of the Prime Minister, wants to cancel the citizenship of those who speak out against this reality.” The statement added that the MK’s threats would not deter B’Tselem’s work, nor the “hundreds of thousands of Israelis who oppose the occupation.” ….
Haaretz Editorial: Israel’s conspiracy of silence over its use of drones
25 Oct — …The absence of risk for pilots increases the temptation to use flying robots. President Barack Obama has made drones the United States’ main weapon in its war against Islamic terror. Use of the weapon is mounting in Israel as well: Remotely operated aircraft account for 70 percent of the air force’s flight hours. Israel, however, isn’t up front about their use. Israel doesn’t acknowledge that these aircraft are armed and used in combat, despite plentiful testimony from Palestinians who have seen them strike Gaza, the governments that have bought such aircraft from Israel, and even a military presentation showing how the Zik – the Israel Defense Forces’ main drone – wiped out a Hamas cell that infiltrated Israel during the 2014 Gaza war. In the United States, the public debate over drone attacks is lively. The discussion is focused on the ethics of robotic weaponry operated by people not in harm’s way, and over the mental toll on those operating the equipment – people killing people thousands of miles away. At first the Obama administration took a vague approach, but that has gradually changed. It has taken responsibility for the drone activity and has revealed some of the rules for their use. In the end it has restrained their use. In Israel, official silence and military censorship are preventing such a debate. The result: Media reporting and public attention ignore the air force’s main weapon … Israel is also a leading drone exporter, but official opaqueness prevents a debate over the recipients of these exports, which include countries that aren’t democracies. This month Israel rejected an American initiative to set rules for the use and export of armed drones, apparently also against the backdrop of competition in markets such as India and Germany.
The other Bob Dylan / Ali Saad
Al Jazeera 22 Oct — Dylan’s silence and support for the Israeli oppressor makes a mockery of his stature as an “angry humanitarian” — As the media hype surrounding Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature begins to fade away, the coverage – so far – appears to be concentrating only on one corner of the picture. While the world media, as well as the majority of the Arab mainstream news outlets, framed the singer as the face of protest against US involvement in the Vietnam war, an icon of the anti-war movement and an ally of the underdogs of the world, Dylan’s selective approach in standing for humanity and morality, and how his human and civil rights bona fides have faded over time, have been largely missing. For the singer, who wrote Masters of War – a song said to be a protest against the military-industrial complex – at times chose to side with those who are aggressive and who oppress. His vehement support for Israel’s wars against the Palestinian people is a glaring example. The purpose here is not to delve into Dylan’s ideological views, since the singer no longer pursues anti-war activism or influences public opinion or collective conscience. Rather, it is to question the way in which media outlets, both Arab and international, framed the story without taking issue with Dylan’s pro-Israel stance and instead portrayed him exclusively through the prism of his constructed image as defender of the oppressed….