Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Negev
Video: Israeli soldiers throw stones at Palestinian children
EI 28 Oct by Ali Abunimah — This video shows Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank throwing stones at Palestinian schoolchildren in the village of al-Tuwani on 27 October. According to the video’s captions, the Israeli soldiers are supposed to protect the children from attacks by Israeli settlers in the area. But instead, as the video shows, the soldiers lob stones towards the children, including with a slingshot. The soldiers also failed to come to the designated point to meet the children, according to the video, and “checked one child’s bag and stopped another one without a clear reason.” Al-Tuwani is a village in the South Hebron Hills area of the occupied West Bank, where thousands of Palestinians living in dozens of small communities are resisting expulsion or the loss of their land from encroaching Israeli settlements. Settlers from the nearby colony of Havat Maon habitually attack Palestinians. In one such incident last November, masked, rock-throwing Israelis injured a 6-year-old Palestinian girl in the head. The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has regularly documented settler attacks, including a days-long rampage in Hebron a year ago while Israeli forces looked on and did nothing. In other cases, Israeli occupation soldiers have been filmed protecting and assisting settlers as they attack Palestinians. While Israeli soldiers and settlers enjoy near-total impunity for violence against Palestinians, Israel has recently toughened penalties for Palestinians, including children, accused of throwing stones.
Palestinian man seriously injured by Israeli army in Ramallah
IMEMC 29 Oct — Israeli soldiers shot and seriously wounded, on Saturday at dawn, a young Palestinian man, near Ein Yabroud town, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, after he reportedly attempted to “ram Israeli soldiers with his car, then tried to stab them.” The Israeli army claims that the soldiers shot and injured the young man, identified as Ahmad Ayman Hamed, 21, after he “tried to run over them” near a military base, close to Ofra illegal colony. It added that the soldiers fired at the vehicle Ahmad’s vehicle, forcing him to stop, and that he allegedly stepped out of his car and “tried to stab a soldier, before he was shot and injured.” An Israeli ambulance was called to the scene and moved Ahmad to a hospital for treatment. Palestinian eyewitnesses said while the young man was driving his car, he was surprised to see a group of soldiers in his way on the main road, before the army opened fire and seriously wounded him. They added that the wounded young man was shot with three live rounds in his abdomen, and was left bleeding, without any first aid, until the Israeli ambulance arrived and took him away. Following the shooting, the soldiers invaded Ahmad’s home, and interrogated his family while searching their property. Many Palestinians have been shot dead by the soldiers since last year under similar allegations of attempting to ram soldiers with their car. Last September, the soldiers shot and killed a young Palestinian man, identified as Mustafa Nimir, 25, after alleging he attempted to ram them with his car, but later admitted that the man was not even the driver of the vehicle, to blame his brother-in-law for “driving erratically.”
Several Palestinians injured by army fire in Shu‘fat
IMEMC 27 Oct — Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Thursday evening, that several residents, including children, suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, various cuts and bruises, during clashes with Israeli soldiers who invaded Shu’fat refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem. Several army vehicles invaded the camp and were deployed in various alleys and neighborhood, leading to clashes with youngsters who hurled stones at them. The soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at random, wounding at least twelve Palestinians, including children, while many others suffered severe effects of tear gas inhalation. The Palestinian Red Crescent said one child suffered fractures in several fingers, while a young man suffered a fracture in one of his legs. It added that one of the wounded children, only thirteen years of age, was hospitalized after being shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his thigh. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers also occupied rooftops of several buildings and used them as firing posts and monitoring towers.
Israeli soldiers injure two Palestinians in Beit Ummar
IMEMC 29 Oct — Several Israeli military jeeps invaded, on Friday afternoon, Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and attacked Palestinians holding a nonviolent procession. The residents were marching while carrying Palestinian flags, demanding Israel to release the corpse of Khaled Bahar, 15, who was killed by army fire last week. Mohammad Awad, the media spokesperson of the Popular Committee in Beit Ummar, said the soldiers were stationed at the entrance of the town, and started firing rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at the nonviolent protesters. Awad added that two young men were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets in their legs, while scores of residents suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation.
Clashes break out in Bedouin village after Israeli police deliver demolition orders
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Clashes broke out on Wednesday between Israeli police and local youth in the Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj in Israel’s Negev desert, after Israeli police affixed demolition orders on some villagers’ homes. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained a number of people during the clashes, and that some Bir Hadaj residents were injured in the process. They added that Israeli police issued demolition notices for homes belonging to the Abu Murayhil family ordering that the houses be demolished within 24 hours. Locals said these houses had been demolished by Israeli authorities two weeks earlier, and had been recently rebuilt with the help of the Higher Guidance Committee of Arab Residents in the Negev. “Israel thinks that it will find a solution by using force,” Bir Hadaj local committee head Salama Abu Idesan said. “It is not accustomed to negotiate with citizens, but we confirm that we are willing to have a dialogue and will not leave our land.” … While Bedouins of the Negev are Israeli citizens, the villages unrecognized by the government have faced relentless efforts by the Israeli authorities to expel them from their lands and transferring them to government-zoned townships in order to make room for Jewish Israeli homes. Indigenous rights groups have pointed out that the transfer of the Bedouins into densely populated townships also removes them from their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyles which is dependent on access to a wide range of grazing land for their animals….
Israel forces expel Nablus area farmers from lands while picking olives, detain 1
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian farmer on Friday afternoon, shortly after expelling several others from their lands while picking olives in the Nablus district of the northern occupied West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces expelled the farmers while picking olives on their agricultural lands in the village of Qusin, west of Nablus. Daghlas added that Israeli forces detained one farmer, and identified him as 45-year-old Radwan Mutlaq Abu Laila. It remained unclear as to why Abu Laila was detained, or if he was released from Israeli custody.
Separately, Israeli forces closed the Huwwara checkpoint in southern Nablus on Friday afternoon for a march that was being held by Israeli settlers from the nearby illegal Yitzhar settlement. Israeli forces prevented dozens of Palestinians from entering the town of Beita — whose main entrance is located at the Huwwara junction — as the settlers protested the “vandalism” of large cinder blocks on the settlement’s property, which they said were spray painted by local Palestinian youths.
Israeli forces raid Palestinian home, use it as a temporary military post
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli forces raided a home in a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem early on Thursday morning, turning one of the floors into a temporary military post. Israeli soldiers stormed the house of Mansour Zreiq Issa, a resident of the village of al-Khader, in the early hours on Thursday without specifying why, family member Ali Issa told Ma‘an. Issa added that the soldiers stationed on the third floor of the building for six hours, and sequestered four people inside the home during that time, scaring the children of the family. Clashes broke out on Wednesday night between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces in al-Khader as the Israeli forces installed a number of temporary checkpoints at the village’s entrances.
Israeli forces detain 3 youths during raid in Ramallah-area village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli forces detained three Palestinian minors during a raid in the village of Deir Nidham in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Thursday. Locals said that Jaber Ahmad Faraj Mizher, 17, Ayoub Ahmad Saleh Assaf, 16, and Iyas Mahmoud Yahiya Tamimi, 17, were detained when Israeli forces raided the village. The soldiers fired live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas “provocatively” during the raid, locals said. Israeli forces also reportedly continued to close roads in Deir Nidham village for the fifth day in a row, locals added.
Israeli forces detain 17 Palestinians, including two young children, in overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least 17 Palestinians, including two young children, during overnight raids [Wed-Thurs] across the occupied Palestinian territory, also raiding the home of a sick prisoner and threatening his family, locals said.
Bethlehem and Hebron districts: Israeli forces detained two 8-year-old children near the illegal Israeli settlement of Migdal Oz in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Wednesday evening, claiming that they were trying to carry out a stabbing attack. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that two Palestinian children under the age of ten were detained near Migdal Oz, and that knives were found in their possession. She added that the two children, who were reportedly from the village of Beit Fajjar, said during interrogations that they had been sent by someone to carry out a stabbing attack. She did not have further information on whether the children were still detained as of Thursday evening, nor whether their parents had been contacted.
Meanwhile, local sources said that Israeli forces detained Sharaf Yaseen Abu Salem from the ‘Aida refugee camp adjacent to the city of Bethlehem … In the southern West Bank district of Hebron, locals told Ma‘an that Ayman Taha was detained in Hebron city, while Rami Muhammad Jaber al-Rujoub was detained in the village of Dura.
East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jerusalem districts: In occupied East Jerusalem, locals reported that Israeli forces detained Diyaa Obeid from the neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya. Meanwhile, Yassir Allan was reportedly detained in Shu‘fat in the Jerusalem district of the West Bank. In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, the army spokesperson said that one Palestinian was detained in the village of Kharbatha al-Misbah.
Qalqiliya district: Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the town of ‘Azzun in the northwestern West Bank district of Qalqiliya, searching several houses and detaining five Palestinians, identified as Mahmoud Radwan, Omar Radwan, Mirsal Radwan, Tamer Radwan, and Muath Sweidan. Locals added that Israeli soldiers stole money while searching the houses, and that clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces, without causing injuries. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said that Israeli forces violently raided the homes of former prisoners in the Qalqiliya district, identifying them as Mhanna Abu Haniyeh, Ahmad Abu Haniyyeh, and Ramadan Abu Haniyyeh. Israeli forces also raided the home of sick prisoner Mutawwakil Radwan overnight, and threatened his access to medical care if his relatives kept advocating for his release. Radwan, who is serving a 22-year-sentence, is currently at the al-Ramla Hospital in a fragile health condition as he suffers from cancerous tumors and heart disease. Several events have been carried out in solidarity with Radwan in Qalqiliya recently demanding his release.
Salfit, Nablus and Jenin districts: In the northern West Bank, locals reported that Israeli forces detained Anwar al-Sakhil in the city of Nablus, as well as Shadi Talal Zakarna in the Jenin-district village of Qabatiya. The army spokesperson confirmed one detention in Qabatiya, but said that two Palestinians, one of whom was an alleged Hamas operative, were detained in Nablus. She added that another Palestinian was detained in the Salfit-district village of Bani Hassan.
Israel: Settlers’ takeover of security posts ‘alarming’
JERUSALEM (Al Jazeera) 28 Oct by Jonathan Cook — The gradual infiltration of religious settlers into the police has mirrored a similar process in the Israeli army that began two decades ago — The top posts in Israel’s national police force are now in the hands of hardline religious settlers who are seeking to make “alarming” changes to policing in both Israel and the occupied territories, critics have warned. The growing influence of the settler movement was highlighted this month with the appointment of Rahamim Brachyahu as the force’s chief rabbi. He lives in Talmon, a settlement close to the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank. Roni Alsheikh, who was made police chief late last year, lived for many years in one of the most violent settlements, Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron. According to Israel’s Haaretz daily, Alsheikh lobbied hard on behalf of Brachyahu for the chief rabbi position. It is the first time members of the religious settler community have held either of these top posts. Both have expressed their commitment to accelerating a programme called Believers in the Police, established five years ago, to recruit settlers and fast-track their promotion to officer rank. Brachyahu has described the influx of religious settlers into the police as “a beautiful partnership, bringing something Godly into something that has historically functioned as not Godly.” He has also declared his intention to place a stronger emphasis on Jewish religious law, or halakha, in policing work. His goal, he has stated, is to create a book of Biblical and rabbinical commandments for use by all police officers as they go about their duties. That has raised deep concern among Palestinian leaders because Brachyahu has defended a notorious rabbinical handbook for settlers known as the King’s Torah. It argues that Jewish religious law justifies killing Palestinians as a preventative measure – including children in case they grow up to become “terrorists”….
Gazans demonstrate in support of Raed Salah
MEMO 27 Oct — Palestinians on Thursday demonstrated outside the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza City to protest the ongoing solitary confinement of Palestinian resistance icon Raed Salah by the Israeli authorities. “We’re here today to show solidarity with Raed Salah, the Sheikh of Jerusalem, who defends Palestine, its people and its holy places,” Ahmed Bahr, deputy president of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said. “Salah has exposed the criminality of Israel, which arrested him and now keeps him in solitary confinement,” Bahr added. In April, Salah — leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s northern branch — was sentenced to nine months in solitary confinement by Israel’s Supreme Court for alleged “incitement to violence” for a 2007 speech he gave in East Jerusalem. On Wednesday, an Israeli court in the southern city of Beersheba rejected a legal request to remove Salah from solitary confinement. Speaking at Thursday’s protest in Gaza City, Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Movement, described Salah’s ongoing confinement as “unjust” … For more than two decades, Salah has led the charge in defense of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, leading to frequent harassment and arrest by the Israeli authorities. Salah was born in 1958 in the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel. He later studied Islamic Law at the University of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. He served as mayor of Umm al-Fahm for three consecutive terms from 1987 to 2001. In 1996, Salah was elected leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, which is known for holding daily demonstrations at the Al-Aqsa — Islam’s third holiest site — to protest violations of the iconic mosque by the Israeli authorities. Last November, Israel’s security cabinet outlawed the movement, accusing it of “incitement” and “propaganda”.
‘Return to the Mount’ activists seek destruction of Al-Aqsa
MEMO 27 Oct — “Return to the Mount” is a group of radical, right-wing Jewish activists, whose members, according to Haaretz, “are identified with the far-right Kach movement founded by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane.” They are part of a growing tide of “Temple Mount” activism, which ultimately aims to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and replace it with a Jewish temple. The following text is an abridged version of an article published by Israeli news site Walla! on 23 October, translated for MEMO. The Hozrim Lahar (Return to the [Temple] Mount) movement, which strives to promote the renewed construction of the [Jewish] temple and the destruction of the mosques on Temple Mount, subscribes to an extreme ideology and its activists may “bring about the conflagration of an extensive blaze on nationalistic grounds to the extent of bodily harm” – This was stated this week for the first time by the Israeli Supreme Court. This strict definition originates in a ruling which rejected a petition by two key activists in the movement, chairperson Raphael Moris and coordinator Yair Kehati. In the beginning of October, restraining orders were issued against the two, banning their entry to Jerusalem during the holiday period. The orders were issued by the Shabak, based on the [British Mandatory] Emergency Regulations (1945) for the purpose of “ensuring state security, the safety of the public and the maintenance of public order.” In the petition, filed via Attorney Yitzhak Bam, the two asked not only for the annulment of the orders, but also for a court statement so as to past cases in which such orders have been used. Hozrim Lahar is a fairly new movement which focuses on the Temple Mount and raising awareness of the need and the demand for the construction of the Third Temple. The organisation was established around four years ago as the initiative of several Hilltop Youths who were active in the advancement of settlements in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], and decided to channel their energy to the Temple issue….
Opinion: Our holy sites vs. their holy sites / B. Michael
Haaretz 28 Oct — Israel’s whining over UNESCO is arrogant and hypocritical, coming from a state that does everything in its power to conceal or minimize everything that existed here before we came, and after we left, until we returned — On the sidelines of the manufactured hysteria over UNESCO’s resolutions on Jerusalem, a pair of contemptible traits to which the Bibi government has given renewed life once again emerged: hypocrisy and its permanent partner, chutzpah. The UNESCO resolutions, incidentally, don’t even touch on the question of the Jews’ connection to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, or lack thereof. Not by so much as a single word. It’s all spin, it’s all a bluff. And this Israeli lamentation is no different from Muslim lamentation (had there been any) over the fact that the UNESCO resolutions didn’t confirm the truth of Mohammed’s ascension to heaven on the back of his winged horse. But someone like Netanyahu would never waste the opportunity to inflame tempers a little. And what’s more inflammatory than the site of our Holy of Holies? Yet the whole issue of the Temple is also wrapped in spin and bluffs. It’s true that there’s more than enough convincing written evidence that a Jewish temple once stood in Jerusalem. But there isn’t even a shred of evidence, archaeological or otherwise, as to its location. Was the Temple on the northern part of the plateau forming the Temple Mount? The southern side? Perhaps on the east? Not on the west? Was it atop the eponymous rock of the Dome of the Rock? Or alongside it? There are as many theories as there are scholars. And in fact, this isn’t surprising in the least. It’s not easy to discover the location of the needle known as the Temple in the haystack of the Temple Mount … But in the view of most Israeli Jews, and their rulers, the entire Temple Mount is the site of our Temple; it’s all holy, and it’s all ours. Only ours. And the lamentations and the hysteria reach the heavens: “Oy gevalt! The United Nations didn’t declare that it’s all ours.” This whining is both arrogant and hypocritical, especially coming from a state that has destroyed dozens of mosques so thoroughly that their burial site is unknown. One that intentionally ignores 1,000 years of Muslim rule in Jerusalem….
Israeli authorities seal main road in occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Israeli forces closed off a street with cement blocks in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem early Friday, according to locals. Member of a local committee in the village Rasem Ubeidat told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities closed the al-Madares Street as a “collective punishment” against the village, after the authorities claimed that fireworks were fired from the village towards the Israeli Armon Hanatziv settlement. According to Ubeidat, the street serves as one of the main streets in the village, as it leads to the main entrance to the village, and that more than 5,000 students attend various schools located on the road. Ubeidat added that Israeli authorities regularly subject residents of the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood to “collective punishments,” and impose strict restrictions of movement on the village.
Israeli authorities reopen entrance to Hebron-area village after weeks of closure
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli authorities reportedly decided on Wednesday to reopen the entrance of the village of Beit Einun in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. Palestinian sources told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities had decided to reopen the entrance of Beit Einun leading to the nearby municipalities of Hebron and Sa‘ir due to prevailing calm in the area in past weeks after “efforts” by the Palestinian side. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that they would look into the reports. An entrance to Beit Einun had previously been closed by an iron gate for nearly a year before being reopened for only a day in September. It remained unclear whether the entrance reopened on Wednesday was the same entrance. The occupied West Bank has seen an increase in arbitrary military road closures since October 2015, when a wave of unrest first erupted across the West Bank and Israel, leading to periodic blockade of Palestinian villages, towns, checkpoints, and entire districts.
Prisoners / Court actions
Samer al-Issawi declares new hunger strike in solidarity with female Palestinian prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Prominent Palestinian prisoner Samer al-Issawi has been on hunger strike for three days at the Israeli prison of Nafha jail, sources told Sawt al-Asra (Voice of Prisoners) radio station on Thursday. Sawt al-Asra said that al-Issawi was forgoing food to obtain the end of the mistreatment of Palestinian female prisoners in the Damon detention center. His demands also included the transfer of these prisoners to a detention facility closer to the courts in which the detainees are tried, that the prisoners be provided with appropriate medical treatment, and that international NGO Doctors Without Borders (MSF) be allowed to visit the prisoners. Al-Issawi gained global recognition in 2012 when he began a hunger strike to protest being redetained by Israel after he was freed as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal. Upon signing a deal guaranteeing his release, the East Jerusalem native ended his strike in April 2013 after 266 days without food. Al-Issawi was released in December 2013, only to be detained once again six months later. In 2015, al-Issawi joined a hunger strike in solidarity with fellow prisoner Muhammad Allan to denounce Israel’s policy of administrative detention — internment without charges or trial.
Israeli court accuses slain Palestinian’s twin brother of social media ‘incitement’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — The public prosecution of Israel’s Jerusalem magistrate court presented on Thursday a list of indictments against the brother of a slain Palestinian youth, accusing him of incitement on social media. The prosecution accused 20-year-old Muhammad Shuyukhi of inciting “terrorism” on social media following the killing of his twin brother Ali by Israeli forces during clashes in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Silwan on Oct. 11. Israeli forces had detained Muhammad Shuyukhi during an overnight detention raid two days after his brother was killed, amid widespread detention raids across the entire Jerusalem district following a deadly shooting in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Oct. 9 that left two Israelis dead. The indictment list presented on Thursday said that Muhammad Shuyukhi had published several posts on his Facebook page that included sayings which “incited terrorism,” while other posts of his included support for the Hamas movement and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the Fatah movement.
Court charges Palestinian citizen of Israel with planning attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — A Palestinian citizen of Israel was indicted on Thursday over suspicions of planning an attack against Israelis, Israeli police said. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Mahmoud Moussa Abbasi, a 25-year old resident of East Jerusalem, was detained three weeks earlier by Israeli police in conjunction with Israeli intelligence agency the Shin Bet. During interrogations, Israeli forces police reportedly learned that Abbasi was researching how to manufacture pipe bombs to and planning a shooting attack on Israeli security forces and civilians in East Jerusalem. Abbasi also revealed during interrogations that he was involved in throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles, and that he had also shared “inciting” posts on social media, notably in support of the Hamas movement, al-Samri added. The charges levied against Abbasi include plotting to assault a police officer, participation in “extremely dangerous acts that violate order,” support of a “terrorist organization” and “incitement.”
3 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces along Gaza border
GAZA (Ma‘an) 28 Oct — Three Palestinians were injured in Gaza on Friday during clashes with Israeli forces stationed along the border with the Gaza Strip. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the ministry of health in Gaza, told Ma‘an that after they were injured in the clashes, the three were taken to the hospital in moderate condition. Al-Qidra did not elaborate on the nature of the injuries, [or say] if the three were injured with live fire. He added that two were injured in clashes east of Gaza City near the Nahal Oz border crossing, and the third was injured east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, near the “buffer zone” with Israel.
Israeli army levels lands in Gaza ‘buffer zone’
GAZA (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — Israeli military vehicles entered into the besieged Gaza Strip “buffer zone” on Thursday and leveled lands south of the Bureij refugee camp, Palestinian sources said. Palestinian security sources and eyewitnesses reported that Israeli vehicles entered the central Gaza Strip early on Thursday morning and leveled lands dozens of meters within the blockaded Palestinian territory. They added that Israeli surveillance aircraft were flying over the area … Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence ….
Israel limits imports to Gaza
MEMO 27 Oct — Israeli authorities reduced the number of trucks of goods allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip through the Karam Abu Salem crossing today. The Palestinian authority for border crossings said that Israeli authorities informed it that only 250 trucks carrying goods and 90 trucks carrying cement would be allowed to enter Gaza through the crossing, which is also known as Kerem Shalom, today. The Palestinian coordination committee for the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip said that around 70 trucks would be denied access into Gaza in accordance with the Israeli decision. The committee called the Israeli decision an attempt to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip, adding that 600 trucks of goods were needed daily to meet the enclave’s needs. However, a spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the Palestinian territory, told Ma’an that the number of trucks allowed through was only limited “in order to avoid overcrowding at the Kerem Shalom crossing and creating disorder in its operations,” and would return to normal in coming days.
Israel’s wars in Gaza propel child labor for Gaza’s kids
+972 Blog 26 Oct by Cody O’Rourke — The military offensives enmesh and worsen widespread poverty in Gaza, which in turn drives children into the labor market to help support their families — When an Israeli airstrike destroyed 12-year-old Rezek’s house west of Gaza City in 2012, his family lost everything, forever altering his life. His family fell into economic hardship and had no money for food, so Rezek dropped out of school to work to help his family. As humanitarian conditions deteriorate in Gaza, and the blockade continues to stifle rebuilding efforts and destroy livelihoods, many children, like Rezek, work in dangerous conditions. One year after losing their home, Rezek’s family was destitute. “My dad owned a bakery, but he lost everything,” Rezek told Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) field workers. “He became jobless. He had money to provide for us, but soon ran out of money and could not feed us.” In September of 2015, Rezek began working in his uncle’s bakery. Working 11-hour shifts, six days a week for about five dollars a day, he operates the furnace and dough-cutting machine, both posing serious safety risks to a child. “I work on the dough cutter, with knives cutting the dough. It could cut off your hand if you get distracted for a second,” Rezek told DCIP. “My co-worker, Luai, was distracted and had three of his fingers cut off.” Rezeq’s story is not unique. An investigation by DCIP between January and April 2016 revealed the deplorable work conditions for child laborers in Gaza. From scouring trash pits for re-sellable materials to working long shifts on fishing boats for a few shekels, child labor in Gaza has doubled over the past five years as families struggle to survive….
Theater company tackles social injustice in Gaza’s streets
BEIT HANOUN (EI) 27 Oct by Mousa Tawfiq — The scene is unexpectedly fraught. In a classroom in Gaza, new students have been asked to say where they live. It is ordinarily a simple enough question, but one student stumbles. It soon becomes clear that he is Bedouin. The attitudes of teacher and peers change almost immediately. The scene comes from a new play that is unusual in more ways than one: It publicly confronts audiences in Gaza with social ills that are rarely so openly portrayed and, for the first time, according to the organizers behind the performance, does so in the format of street theater. For the past several months, Palestinians in Gaza have been able to catch In the Rectangle of Doubt on public streets or in local institutions, a departure from the more familiar street-performing clowns or puppeteers. And unlike such performances, what Theatre Day Productions is trying to accomplish is altogether more ambitious. “We wanted to raise people’s awareness of social problems with real street theater,” Tania Murtaja, the external relations officer of the non-profit theater company, told The Electronic Intifada. The format, she explained, is very effective in connecting with audiences, necessary when confronting people with problems in their midst. And discrimination against Bedouins was chosen as the topic of the play after months of brainstorming and research….
All-girls Palestinian school bags million-dollar prize for reading revival
The Media Line 27 Oct by Katie Beiter — Talai al Amal high school honored in Dubai’s Arab Reading Challenge The first word in the Qur’an, the Islamic bible, is “Iqra!” meaning “Read!” It is said by the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Mohammed. According to tradition, Mohammed responds that he is illiterate. Since then, Arabs, and especially Palestinians, have valued education. Palestinians have the highest number of PhD’s of any Arab group. Now a Palestinian girl’s school, Talai al Amal, has taken first place out of 30,000 schools throughout the Arab world, for the best initiatives to encourage reading. The win comes with a one million dollar prize. “Palestinians look forward to being number one in the world in everything – not only in reading, but in knowledge as a whole,” Maha Shahrouri, supervisor of the English section at Talai al Amal, told The Media Line. From drama classes and puppet making to book discussions, the school beat out four finalists from Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco in the Arab Reading Challenge competition. “(Winning) reflects the Palestinian educational system’s success,” Ali Abu Zaid, the general director of the Palestinian ministry of education, told The Media Line. “Palestinian people are very interested in education as an entrance to freedom and independence.”….
Israeli NGO slams Lieberman’s ‘development for disarmament’ in Gaza
MEMO 28 Oct — Israeli NGO Gisha, which focuses particularly on the blockade of the Gaza Strip, has “strongly” condemned recent remarks by Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, making the lifting of movement restrictions for the territory’s residents contingent on Hamas’ disarmament. “The right to freedom of movement isn’t Lieberman’s to negotiate,” Gisha said, noting that “Israel has a legal and moral obligation to allow access.” The NGO’s statement continued: “The fact that he is willing to bargain the needs of civilians on a largely unachievable and unmeasurable goal is disheartening to say the least. As with his ‘carrots and sticks’ approach in other realms, if it smells like collective punishment, apparently it is. Gisha noted that “there was a drop in exit of Palestinians via Erez during the month of September, including in the category of traders, as compared with the total for August and with the average monthly figure for the first half of 2016.” Recently, Gisha published a factsheet on the rise of “security blocks”, preventing people from traveling via the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing in northern Gaza. Although the NGO has not received “official information” to explain the “trend”, in court proceedings state officials have apparently “made vague reference to the security situation in the West Bank, citing the need for increased scrutiny of applications for permits for Gaza.” Gisha added: “It’s hard to make the connection between increased scrutiny and wholesale cancellation of hundreds of existing permits for individuals who have travelled regularly for years. “Decisions appear arbitrary and several cases Gisha has brought were reversed once we encouraged oversight by journalists, diplomats or courts.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
1600 Israeli settlement units to be built in occupied Golan
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Oct — According to reports, the Israeli Finance Ministry has approved plans for the construction of 1,600 homes in the illegal Israeli settlement of Katzrin, in the occupied Syrian Golan. Katzrin is the largest Israeli settlement (population 8,000) in the Occupied Syrian Golan. According to the PNN, it was built over the destroyed Syrian villages of Qasrin, Shqef and Sanawber, whose inhabitants were either forced to leave their homes by the Israeli army or were displaced by fighting, at the time of the Israeli occupation in 1967. Once the hostilities came to an end, the native inhabitants of these villages were forbidden from returning. Israel began to establish settlements in occupied Golan within a month of the occupation. Today, there are approximately 23,000 Israeli settlers in the area, living in over 34 illegal settlements. The construction and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Syrian Golan is illegal, under international law, and has been repeatedly condemned by the international community. Nonetheless, the Israeli government continues its policy of settlement expansion — indeed, only last year, the Israeli government announced plans for 100,000 new settlers to relocate to the region over the next five years. Meanwhile, due to discriminatory land, housing and development policies, Syrian residential areas are severely overcrowded. As a result of severe restrictions imposed by Israeli planning committees, it is close to impossible for the native Syrian population, in the remaining Syrian villages of the Golan, to obtain building permits….
The Druze of Golan: Caught between a rock and a burned place
GOLAN HEIGHTS (MEE) 26 Oct by Matt Broomfield — A sofa teeters on a mound of earth overlooking rebel-held Syria, incongruous in the twilight. Abruptly and silently, dust billows from the foothills of Mount Hermon. The roar of a missile impact follows several seconds later. Abandoned beside the settee is an Israeli tank, left to rust with its muzzle gaping towards Syria. It commemorates a previous war, in 1973, when a coalition of Arab nations unsuccessfully attempted to seize back land previously lost to the Israelis. To the 20,000 members of the embattled Druze minority still living in the annexed Golan Heights, the tank is also a reminder of a half-century spent under Israeli occupation. From this vantage-point, they can watch munitions rain on their relatives’ land across the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), and ponder the twist of fate which means their occupier is also their sole protector from the horrors of the Syrian War.(map) … Twenty thousand Israeli settlers live on Druze land in the Golan. They do not often share the zealotry of their West Bank counterparts – to most, the Golan is simply an attractive place to live – but their homes are no less illegal under international law … To Druze farmer Faisal, unconstrained by the mandatory politeness of the tourist industry, the takeover is no joke. “The border is not the problem,” he emphasises. “Israel is not a big country. Everybody lives near a border.” Though his vineyard abuts the mine-strewn DMZ, he is less concerned by his Salafist neighbours than he is by the steadily encroaching occupation. Thanks to discriminatory Israeli rationing, he has water for only five months a year. And while settlers string fairy lights through their gardens, he says, his entire farmhouse is cut off from the power grid … Ninety-four percent of land in the Golan is now given over to Israeli use, the settlers sucking up so much water they have come close to draining the shimmering Lake Ram. And with $108m recently earmarked by the Israelis to establish 750 new farming estates in the Golan, life on the scraps of land remaining to the Druze is only going to get harder….
181 settlement units to be built in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Oct — Israeli occupation authorities are planning to build 181 new housing units in Jerusalem, next week, according to the Bilateral Committee for Planning and Municipal Building in the “Gilo” neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem. According to the report published by Israeli Channel 2, last night, the approval was delayed in order not to affect a recently signed US “security support” agreement. The newspaper pointed out that construction was stopped during the recent visit of US President Barack Obama to Israel, for Shimon Peres’ funeral. Al Ray further reports that, after the declaration of the project, international condemnation is expected, especially from the European Union and the United States of America, who consider the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories.
Israel postpones decision regarding fate of Bedouin school
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Oct — The state of Israel has postponed this week its decision regarding the fate of a primary school in the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank, which has been threatened with demolition by the Israeli government for years. A source, who spoke to Ma‘an on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday that a ruling was postponed by four months, leaving the school “off the hook until the decision is made.” The school in Khan al-Ahmar, which was partially funded by an Italian organization and the Italian government, has long been slated for demolition by the Israeli government. The announcement came days after a European Union delegation visited Khan al-Ahmar, which, like the nearby Abu Nuwwar community, is under threat of relocation by Israel. Both are located in the contentious “E1 corridor,” set up by the Israeli government to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega settlement of Maale Adumim. In August, after reports emerged that the Israeli prime minister’s office ordered the school in Khan al-Ahmar to be closed down, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the state of Israel provide a formal opinion on the school the following week. More than two months later, the Israeli NGO Rabbis For Human Rights speculated last week that they believed Israel was avoiding making a decision as a result of the immense international pressure not to demolish the school, built of mud and tires, which has become one of the most high-profile targets of Israel’s massive demolition campaign against Palestinian homes and livelihood structures….
Row after Israel permits limited Palestinian construction in West Bank
MEMO 28 Oct — Israel’s security cabinet secretly voted last month to authorise a number of construction plans for Palestinians in Area C of the occupied West Bank. The news, reported in Haaretz yesterday, prompted an angry response from some coalition members. The decision was the first of its kind in years, and was kept secret at the time in order to avoid political controversy. The plan, described by the paper as “relatively modest in scope”, includes some “general construction plans, as well as building permits for public structures and housing units for Palestinians in a number of villages in the West Bank.” According to Haaretz, the plan also calls for “establishing an economic corridor between Jericho and Jordan, an industrial zone west of Nablus and for construction of a hospital near Bethlehem. Additional soccer fields and playgrounds will also be built in rural areas.” The Jerusalem Post cited an unnamed government official who “stressed that all the projects are in the economic and civil realm and none is for housing.” … The proposal was initiated by Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who sees the construction as part of his “carrots and sticks” policy. Lieberman has previously stated that his “goal is to show the Palestinians that it pays to live in coexistence and not to get involved in the cycle of terror.” The only two members of the security cabinet who voted against (in absentia) were Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Haaretz noted that a similar, even broader, plan was put forward in November-December 2015 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, but objections from Likud and Jewish Home ministers prevented any progress. Responding to the news, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said: “This is a miserable reality, in which the settlers get sticks and the carrots go to the Palestinians. We never expected this.”
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (20-26 October)
PCHR-Gaza 27 Oct — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt A Palestinian child was killed in Beit Ummar village, north of Hebron. 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli forces targeted the border areas in the Gaza Strip. However, no casualties were reported. Israeli forces conducted 56 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the Gaza Strip. 57 civilians, including 15 children and a woman, were arrested. Thirty-two of them, including 12 children and the woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the sea. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. A residential building belonging to Ja’afrah Family was demolished in Silwan village in addition to 3 other houses in Beit Hanina, rendering 46 persons homeless. A printing house was shut down in al-Ram after confiscating its contents. Hundreds of Israeli settlers raided al-Aqsa Mosque on Jewish holidays FULL REPORT follows.
Under pressure, Abbas plans first Fatah congress since 2009
AFP 28 Oct — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah party aims to hold its first congress since 2009 by the end of this year, an official said, in what some analysts have called a bid by the 81-year-old to stave off rivals. The plan to hold the congress of the mainstream party he heads comes as Arab states have reportedly been pressuring Abbas to bring longtime rival Mohammed Dahlan back from exile in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While Abbas’s advisers insist the congress is being organised simply because it is overdue, some analysts see it as an opportunity for him to reshuffle key positions and sideline Dahlan allies. A member of the Fatah central committee said on condition of anonymity that the congress would take place “before the end of the year,” hopefully in November. It will be Fatah’s seventh since its formation and the first since 2009. The congress is to include elections for Fatah’s 23-member central committee, in which Abbas serves as president, and its 132-member revolutionary council. The so-called Arab Quartet — Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE — has been pushing for Abbas to resolve issues with rivals in Fatah with a view towards a wider reconciliation between Palestinian factions….
Palestinian president meets Hamas chief
AFP 28 Oct — Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmud Abbas has met the head of Hamas and his deputy in Qatar, a Palestinian official said Friday, in a sign of easing tensions. Thursday’s meeting in the Qatari capital was the first between Abbas and Doha-based Khaled Meshaal in two years, and the second between him and the Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, since 2012. Abbas’s secular party Fatah and the Islamist Hamas have been at loggerheads since the latter seized Gaza in a near civil war in 2007. The Doha meeting provided the opportunity to “insist on the need to resume dialogue between Fatah and Hamas”, Palestinian presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said. Abbas stressed the need for “Palestinian national reconciliation”, as well as “forming a national unity government and holding elections.”
In Pictures: Repairing Palestine’s historic mosaics
JERICHO, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 28 Oct by Mary Pelletier — The sprawling mosaics at Hisham’s Palace in the occupied West Bank city of Jericho were on rare display for a single day in October, celebrating the start of a long-awaited renovation project. Hisham’s Palace is home to one of the world’s largest mosaic carpets, usually covered with a thick layer of sand for conservation purposes. This year, with help from the Japanese International Development Agency, archaeologists and the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities developed a plan to restore and maintain the mosaics, which date back to the first half of the 8th century. “Hisham’s Palace is one of the most famous sites in Jericho, one of the most important places in Palestine,” Iyad Hamdan, head of Jericho’s Ministry of Tourism, said of the 150-acre archaeological site, which is composed of a palace, audience hall, thermal bath and fountain pavilion built during the Umayyad period. “Last year, 120,000 people visited Hisham’s Palace. After we uncover the mosaic, we expect the number of visitors to double or triple.” Made up of 38 individual designs that cover 827 square metres of the audience hall, the mosaic carpet is an incredibly preserved example of early Islamic art. On October 20, visitors had a chance to explore its many floral and geometric designs before it was covered again. The restoration project, expected to finish in 2018, will see the mosaic uncovered permanently, topped with an elevated viewing walkway and shelter. “This site is not just for us as Palestinians,” Hamdan said. “It is for the world.”
Divide and rule: How the school system sows division among Palestinian citizens of Israel
MEE 27 Oct by Mona Bieling — The Israeli school system, as it currently exists, clearly caters to the best interests of the state rather than Arab Palestinian students — Steering Druze away The main and most apparent active interventions by Israel in the education system in order to divide its Palestinian population are the attempts to separate the community based on their religion. Divide-and-rule as a practice within the education system dates back to 1956 when a separate school system for the Druze in Israel was established. This development has to be seen in the broader context of Israel trying to single out the Druze community as ‘a people apart’, not belonging to the Palestinian community in any way. Instead, the Druze’s loyalty to the state was emphasized and ensured by conscribing all male Druze to the Israeli army and promoting it in Druze schools. Therefore, as Ra’afat Harb, a Druze political activist told me this past summer, both atmosphere and curriculum in Druze schools differ from the one in other Arab Palestinian schools. The result of the segregated, limited and biased education in Druze schools is that Druze identity is being remodeled in a way that suits the goals of the state and the Jewish majority. Of course, identity is always a shifting concept that differs individually and collectively and that can manifest itself in various ways. Again, according to Harb, there are Druze who identify as Palestinians, as Arabs, as Israelis or even as Zionists. However, through the education system, the state actively suppresses the development of the Druze’s Arab and Palestinian identity and instead imposes a separate uniquely Druze/Israeli identity on them. In doing so, the state clearly follows an agenda of steering the Druze away from the Arab Palestinian community. Challenges for Bedouin Arabs Another major division that is created within the Palestinian community in Israel is between Christian/Muslim Arabs on the one side and Bedouin Arabs on the other side … While the state is obligated to provide education for all its citizens starting at age 3 or 4, schools in the Naqab can only be found in the recognised villages and towns. This makes it difficult for parents in the unrecognized villages to send their children to school on a regular basis. Because parents can face legal prosecution if they fail to send their children to school, some families have moved from the unrecognised to the recognized villages in order to facilitate school attendance and to avoid criminal charges … Here again, education is used as a political tool to force the will of the state unto its Arab citizens, in this case by removing parts of the population from its ancestral land. Singling out Christian Arabs A third, fairly recent development is the attempt of Israel to single out the Christian Arabs as they have done with the Druze for the past 60 years….
How Arab women are reshaping Israeli’s film industry
Al Monitor 28 Oct by Shlomi Eldar — The rift between the Jewish and Arab communities in Israel has deepened recently, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning his constituents on the last day of the elections in March 2015 that Arabs were “voting in droves,” thus making more than a million Arabs feel like second-class citizens. But despite this deepening rift, three films have taken the Israeli film world by storm, providing a fascinating glimpse into Arab society in the Jewish state. The first film to win big was “Sand Storm” by Elite Zexer that won six Ophir Awards (Israel’s equivalent to the Oscars), including one for best film. Then came “Personal Affairs” by director Maha Haj that took the top prize at the 2016 Haifa Film Festival, followed by “In Between” from director Maysaloun Hamoud, which has also received various prizes, including best debut feature film at the Haifa Film Festival. These three films deal with the cultural, social, religious and traditional world of the Arab community in Israel, as well as with the identity crisis and intergenerational changes it is undergoing. This wave of Arab cinema is particularly fascinating given the fact that its creators are women — directors and actresses — and their scripts deal with the lives of Arab women in Israel’s Arab and Jewish communities. In many respects, the wave of films by Arab creators shatters stereotypes not only through the narratives it tells but also through its Arab directors and actresses who hail from traditional homes and a traditional society, displaying courage in making liberated, free-spirited, promiscuous films. One of Israel’s top film critics, Gidi Orsher, told Al-Monitor that these films are a reaction to changes sweeping Arab society, whose residents are experiencing an identity crisis due to being a minority among a Jewish majority. Yet, he said that these films are also a reaction to Palestinian male cinema that has dealt in the past mostly with the Israeli occupation. “The statement of the Arab female filmmakers now is to say, ‘Yes, we have a position of our own on politico-diplomatic issues, but let’s see what’s happening to us as human beings too,’” Orsher said. He predicts that these films will have an impact on Israeli cinema in the future….
UN expert to examine Israeli human rights groups
UNITED NATIONS (AP) 28 Oct by Michael Astor — A United Nations expert said Friday that he will examine the Israeli government’s treatment of human rights groups in the region in his next report. Michael Lynk, the U.N.’s special representatives on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, said that human rights defenders in the region face scorn and he accused Israel of trying to delegitimize their work. “The fact that the Israeli government threatened to revoke the citizenship of the executive director of B’Tselem is a particularly worrying path for Israel to wind up taking,” Lynk said, referring to the rights groups’ appearance before the Security Council earlier this month. “I am in full support of the statements and the appearance of B’Tselem, the American Friends of Peace Now and any other organizations that appear before the United Nations, trying to highlight the violations of human rights, the violations of humanitarian law and to remind us this occupation is entrenched, is dripping in human rights violations,” he added. In a statement, Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon called Lynk’s comments offensive and said it “shows the immense damage done by Israeli organizations that defame us in front of the international community. This U.N. Rapporteur stands at the head of a biased body, he is not credible and we do not recognize his authority,” he said. “The lies spread by extremist organizations are ‘ammunition’ in the hands of those hostile to Israel and provides legitimization for those who wish to act against us in the international arena.”
‘My solution is just equality for all of the people’: Israeli activist Renen Raz dies at 28
Mondoweiss 26 Oct by Allison Deger — Renen Raz, a prominent Israeli activist known as a defender and advocate for the rights of Palestinians and promoter of the BDS movement, died at the age of 28 over the weekend. His friends say he suffered from brain cancer. Within the close circle of Israeli and Palestinian activists who regularly protest the occupation together Raz was a beloved figure. Many knew him as a staple in the weekly demonstrations in the West Bank and a regular participant in the protests in the hamlet of Nabi Saleh. “You will be truly missed, you dedicated yourself for Palestine and Palestinian cause and you went all the way to free Palestine,” said Manal Tamimi, one of the protest leaders in Nabi Saleh, “Sorry that you couldn’t stay longer to see your dream come true but for sure we will remember you while we are celebrating our freedom.” … Raz frequently mentioned his kibbutz upbringing as both a sheltering from the conflict with Palestinians and his personal turning point. One stone building in particular near his childhood home did not match the style of the modern houses of his communal town, he said often in interviews. The stone house was Palestinian and empty, the kibbutz was Israeli and full of life. Raz said he was curious as to what happened to the people who once lived in the stone house and it started him on his path to activism: “I was born and raised in a kibbutz. When I was young, I remember there was an old building in a style totally different than our houses. When I asked to whom it belonged, I was told that it belonged to people who used to live there but left a long time ago. ‘Don’t worry about it’. But that fed my curiosity and I kept on asking about those ‘other people’, until my teachers in school told me never to mention ‘them’ again.” “That was the moment I realized something wasn’t right. I decided to become a conscientious objector: I refused to join the army, and instead, I started to help those who had to leave their houses because of us. It caused great antipathy within the community and my family, so I left.”….
Guantanamo board rejects release of Palestinian held by CIA
MIAMI (AP) 27 Oct — A board deciding whether to continue holding men at Guantanamo Bay has rejected the release of a Palestinian who was the first high-profile CIA prisoner after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The Periodic Review Board cited “past involvement in terrorist activity” in a short statement announcing the decision regarding the prisoner known as Abu Zubaydah. The statement was released Thursday. The prisoner, whose real name is Zayn al-Ibidin Muhammed Husayn, appeared before the board in August. He has been held at the U.S. base in Cuba since September 2006. Abu Zubaydah was captured in 2002 and was the first CIA prisoner subjected to “enhanced interrogation” techniques that critics have called torture. His lawyers say he is not a threat to the U.S. and should be released, or at least charged.
Police called after pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian students clash at UCL event
[with video] The Independent 28 Oct by Rachel Pells — Police were called to an event at University College London after violent clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and members of a pro-Israeli group. Officers entered the lecture hall to accompany members of UCL’s Friends of Israel society away when a talk by a former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) agent was disrupted by demonstrators. Footage taken of the event on Thursday night shows crowds of pro-Palestinian protesters at the university venue, holding banners while chanting “shame” and “free Palestine”. Metropolitan Police said they were investigating an alleged assault on one woman at the event, but that no arrests had been made. Former IDF intelligence officer Hen Mazzig had been due to give a talk on his experiences. Speaking to The Independent, he said the pro-Palestinian student group had contested the university’s decision to allow him to speak for several weeks. “I don’t think any speaker from any country no matter his background, ever faced something like this,” he said….
UCL students reject reports that pro-Palestinian, pro-Israel protesters clashed
MEE 28 Oct — People have taken to social media to rebut claims that pro-Palestine and pro-Israel supporters clashed at a London university event last night. Hen Mazzig, an Israeli army spokesperson, was met by a pro-Palestine protest after being invited to speak at University College London (UCL) by the university’s Friends of Israel society. While police were called in and extra security was present, the university’s union (UCLU) has since stated that this was “due to the controversial nature of the event.” Some reported accounts of disorder but the university has since released a press release stating that “the police reported no instances of violence, and the protest continued from 6:30 to 9:00.” Two sets of protests are said to have taken place, one in support and one in opposition to the event. Many have since taken to social media to express their feelings towards the event: