Israel bans 5-year-old Palestinian boy from visiting father in prison
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Israeli authorities have banned 5-year-old Ibrahim from visiting his father, Palestinian Muhammad Ahmad Abd al-Fatah Abu Fanunah, in prison, Abu Fanunah’s wife said to Voice of Prisoners (Sawt al-Asra) radio on Sunday. Umm Mahmoud told the radio station that she has also been banned from visiting her husband ever since he was detained on Oct. 22, 2015, calling the Israeli policy of preventing family visits a means to pressure Palestinian prisoners. Abu Fanunah, a 51-year-old father of nine from the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, has been detained by Israel seven times over the years and spent a total of 10 years in Israeli custody, Umm Mahmoud said, adding that Abu Fanunah was currently being held in administrative detention — internment without trial or charges. She stated that Abu Fanunah had surgery done to his ear a few days ago after nearly losing his hearing, adding that he also suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol. Israeli authorities also prevented Umm Mahmoud from traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage earlier this year, she added. One of the couple’s sons, Mahmoud, was killed by Israeli forces in March after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack on an Israeli soldier.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian killed after alleged car-ramming attempt near Hebron-area village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — A Palestinian allegedly carrying out a car-ramming attack was killed by Israeli forces near the village of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron early on Sunday evening. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the Palestinian driver was shot and killed after carrying out a car-ramming attack in the vicinity of the illegal settlement bloc of Gush Etzion near Beit Ummar. She said that the Palestinian vehicle “swiftly” approached a group of Israeli police forces who were carrying out a “security mission” in the area, lightly injuring three border police officers before other officers on the scene shot at the Palestinian driver, killing him. Al-Samri added that an investigation was ongoing. The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the killed Palestinian as Khalid Ahmad Elayyan Ikhlayyil, 23, from Beit Ummar. According to Ma‘an documentation, Ikhlayyil was the latest of 236 Palestinians killed by Israelis since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015.
Haaretz editorial // A license to kill
30 Oct — The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office issued an official license to kill last week, almost indiscriminately. By deciding not to indict two civilian security guards who shot and killed Maram Abu Ismail and her brother, Ibrahim Taha, at the Qalandiyah checkpoint in April, the office effectively said that the guards’ hasty trigger fingers were a legal and proper way to act. From now on, nothing bad will happen to someone who shoots to kill based on any suspicion at all, regardless of whether or not his life is endangered. According to the prosecutors, investigators found that the Palestinian sister and brother approached the checkpoint while hurling abuse at the guards. Then the sister pulled out a knife and threw it at one of the guards, while her brother tried to pull her away. A source who viewed footage of the incident – which the police have refused to release for months and which, even now, after being sent to the prosecution, still can’t be seen by the public – said the sister pulled out her knife while she was standing about 20 meters (66 feet) away from the guards. Her brother isn’t seen taking out a knife at any stage. Everyone who has seen the footage – including the prosecutors themselves – agrees that it shows Ibrahim holding onto his sister and seemingly trying to pull her away from the scene. Nevertheless, the prosecutors concluded that the above series of events was sufficient for the guards to shoot and kill both of them….
Israeli forces raid Ramallah-district village, spark clashes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Israeli forces raided the village of Beitin in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Sunday evening, sparking clashes with local Palestinian youth. Israeli forces raided shops in the village and confiscated surveillance cameras, witnesses told Ma‘an. The reason for the raid remained unclear at publication time … Israeli forces carry out raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-daily basis. According to UN documentation, the Israeli army carried out 178 detention raids in the West Bank from Oct. 4 to 17 alone.
Armed and entitled, Israeli hikers sow fear in Palestinian farming village
Haaretz 29 Oct by Amira Hass — Israeli visitors to an idyllic West Bank village walk around with guns, swim in the nude, generate fear and wreak havoc – either accidentally or intentionally. And these aren’t even the biggest problems facing the local Palestinian farmers — Smoke from the generous slices of red meat being grilled on coals curled through the leaves of the olive trees. Seven children and adolescents of various ages bit pleasurably into sandwiches painstakingly prepared by two men in caps. Hiking equipment lay there, too, in the natural lean-to created by the rich foliage of the vine lying on steel rods and a makeshift storeroom fashioned from tin sheets and wooden planks. Soon, one of the youths would strip and enter the glittering, greenish water of the irrigation pool at noon on that mid-August Friday. They didn’t know that Majed (the names of the villagers mentioned in this article have been changed), a lawyer and the son of the land’s owner, had just passed by. Furious. He didn’t stop to tell them what he told us afterward: “This is our pool. It irrigates our corn and squash. My father made the lean-to and storeroom, and planted the vine. This land financed the schooling of all his children. And now, when he is too old to work, I come in the morning before work and in the afternoon, and on Fridays, to tend to it.” Majed didn’t tell them all that, but not because he acknowledges the right of Israelis to picnic in the fields of his village, Wadi Fukin – which lies about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) west of Bethlehem, smack up against the eastern side of the pre-1967 borders of Israel (also known as the Green Line). He didn’t dare confront them because, in the past, when he and other villagers asked Israelis not to enter their man-made pools, their response was to nonchalantly wave the weapons they bore….
Protesters in Bil‘in cut Israeli barbed wire, face tear gas fired by Israeli troops
IMEMC 29 Oct — On Friday afternoon, around 50 international supporters joined 30 local residents and 10 Israelis in a protest against the Israeli Annexation Wall. They marched from the center of Bil‘in towards Palestinian lands close to Modi’in Illit colony, where they raised Palestinian flags and pictures of an Israeli activist [Renen Raz] who recently died from cancer. The Israeli they memorialized was a known activist and a supporter of the Palestinian struggle against the occupation, the wall and colonies. Some protesters cut sections of the barbed wire fence, which had been installed in certain areas with electronic sensors by the Israeli military. There were many supporters and journalists from Brazil, in addition to Americans and from various other countries. Many soldiers were deployed on the Palestinian land in front of and behind the wall. They fired high-velocity tear gas toward the crowd, forcing them back away from the site of the wall construction. Ashraf Abu Rahma told the IMEMC that the protests will continue, despite the excessive use of force by the army. Abu Rahma pointed to the steadfastness of the residents of Bil‘in, as well as the ongoing support of Israeli and international peace activists. Ashraf Abu Rahma said the nonviolent protests in Bil‘in started in 2015, and managed to achieve many successes including the rerouting of the Wall in certain areas due to court cases in the Israeli legal system, in addition to regaining nearly 1000 dunams of orchards belonging to the villagers. Ashraf’s brother, Bassem Abu Rahma was killed April 7, 2009, when a soldier fired an international banned high velocity gas bomb that struck him in the chest, fracturing his ribcage and punctured his heart. His sister, Jawaher Abu Rahma, was also killed on January 1, 2011, when the soldiers attacked a nonviolent and fired dozens of gas bombs in various directions leading to her death after her lungs collapsed from the toxins in the bombs
Israei army halts Palestinian olive harvest after IDF outpost vandalized
Haaretz 30 Oct by Yotam Berger — An unmanned Israel Defense Forces outpost and a memorial for fallen soldiers were defaced Thursday night in the West Bank, near the Yitzhar settlement and the south Mount Hebron region, respectively. Swastikas and the words “Death to Jews” were scrawled at the outpost. After the outpost was defaced, an olive harvest taking place in the area was canceled by the IDF, which decided to bar Palestinians from the area. Settlers from the adjacent Yitzhar settlement claimed that the vandalism at the IDF outpost was made possible because the army permits Palestinians to access their olive groves this time of the year. Meanwhile, in the south Mount Hebron region, an olive tree planted in the center of the memorial site for 2nd Lieutenant Yoav Doron and Staff Sergeant Yehuda Ben Yossef was set on fire. The Israel Police have opened an investigation into the incident.
Israeli forces detain 3 Palestinians in predawn military raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians during predawn military raids across the occupied West Bank on Sunday, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that Israeli forces raided the village of Burqin in the northern Jenin district, where they detained Ashraf Zeidan al-Jada and his brother Nasser. PPS highlighted that Ashraf had previously served 12 years in Israeli prisons. According to the group, Israeli forces also raided the town of al-Samu‘ in the southern Hebron district, and detained 22-year-old Bilal al-Zaarir, the son of prominent Jenin-area lawmaker Basim al-Zaarir. Hebrew language news sites also reported that a hunting rifle was seized during “security activity” in the Bethlehem area.
The Kafr Qasim massacre of 1956
Thousands mark 60 years since police massacre at Arab town
Times of Israel 29 Oct — Thousands of people marched in the Arab town of Kafr Qasem on Saturday to mark 60 years since the massacre of 49 residents by Border Police officers on October 29, 1956, after they returned home past curfew. The curfew, which was imposed by the government at the time, was shortened by an hour, unbeknown to local residents. The villagers — including women and children — returned home at the original hour, but were fired on by officers who believed they violated the curfew. Mahmoud Frij, now aged 84, was 24 years old at the time. He told Channel 2 television on Saturday how he escaped death, even as he watched family and friends shot dead before his eyes. “I was shot at point blank, those who were killed – were killed, and I was wounded. They didn’t know I was alive. If they knew I had only been wounded they would have finished me off,” Frij recalled. “As I fell, [another resident] arrived, and so they dealt with him and left me alone. I heard people talking to [the police], I could recognize them by their voices, and I knew each person who arrived was killed.” Frij told Channel 2 that the town, situated just 20 km from Tel Aviv and along the Green Line border with the West Bank, has asked many Israeli leaders to officially admit the state’s culpability, but were always rebuffed. “We ask that they claim responsibility, but they won’t. Until today they say ‘No, we didn’t do it.’ They say ‘it was a mistake.’ The people responsible never paid a price, nothing. Not even one dime. There are people who until today don’t believe there was a massacre in Kafr Qasem,” he said. The commanders responsible for the massacre were punished, but lightly. Most received 11 months imprisonment and among those sentenced, many were paroled or successfully appealed their terms. The incident has come to be the defining case of what constitutes a “blatantly illegal order” — a legal army definition of an order that must be disobeyed or an order that would constitute a crime if obeyed … A large monument stands in the center of the town, inscribed with the names of the slain residents. In 2014, President Reuven Rivlin laid a wreath at the site during the annual memorial of the massacre, becoming the first Israeli head of state to attend the ceremony.
Remembering the Palestinians murdered at Kafr Qasim six decades ago
[with photos of memorials] The Conversation 28 Oct — October 2016 marks the 60th anniversary of one of the key events in Jewish-Arab history within Israel: the Kafr Qasim massacre of 1956, in which 49 women, men and children were shot dead by an army unit instructed to kill all breakers of a badly implemented curfew. This event is not part of the national Israeli calendar. It is mentioned only in passing as a “bad apple” in the national story. As far as Palestinian Israelis are concerned, the massacre, the impunity enjoyed by its perpetrators and the Israeli state’s failure to go beyond cynical gestures and officially recognise it as a crime have left a gaping wound in Jewish-Palestinian relations. Histories of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict often neglect the Palestinian population that remained in Israel after it was formally created – and in particular, surprisingly little is said or written about the extended period highly restrictive military rule imposed on them between 1948 and 1966. During this period, Palestinians living within Israel were deemed a “security threat” and were required to obtain official permits for travel outside designated areas. It was in this charged atmosphere that the massacre took place … The offending unit was not part of the Israel Defence Forces but of the newly formed “border patrol” – and the authorities put the blame for the massacre squarely on the soldiers who committed it. Of the 11 defendants accused of taking part in the massacre, eight were given long sentences. They went free within a year. Shadmi [the commander], meanwhile, was tried separately and was ultimately fined one hundredth of an Israeli Lira, then roughly the equivalent of an American penny. Palestinian Israelis remember the sentence as Qirsh-Shadmi, or “Shadmi’s Penny” – a measure of how much the Israeli state values Palestinian lives, even among its formal citizens. Nonetheless, the trials did establish a legal precedent that Israeli soldiers are obliged to defy “blatantly illegal orders” such as the one Shadmi gave….
Kafr Kasim: Echoes of the massacre Ben-Gurion tried to hide
JPost 30 Oct by Ben Lynfield — Sixty years after Border Police officers shot dead nearly 50 Arabs, a Jewish civilian recalls how he risked everything to expose the atrocity to his young nation — Latif Dori’s voice rises and his hands cut through the air as he gestures emphatically. He’s excited and animated, as if he’s breaking the news of the Kafr Kasim massacre for the first time. Only it’s now sixty years after the murder by border policemen of 48 Arab citizens on the eve of the Sinai campaign. It was Dori who, as a young man, brought the atrocity to the attention of the country, risking his life in the process. “I can’t forget the 49,” he said. His fatality tally, like those of Kafr Kasim residents who marked the anniversary on Saturday, includes the unborn child of a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy, who was slain along with the others as they headed home from outside the village during a curfew they had no way of knowing about. The orders of the Border Police were to shoot anyone violating the curfew. Dori, a vibrant 83, can look back on a colorful life of activism, mostly in the left-wing Mapam Party, in which he focused on Arab affairs and to bridge between Arabs and Jews. But he is still, in a sense, fixed on 1956, still reliving the cutting down of men, women and children in all its horror, even as he encouraged his interviewer from The Jerusalem Post to sip lemonade in his comfortable living room in Ramat Gan. This is in keeping with the hospitality he learned growing up in Baghdad, where he lived before making aliya, on his own, at age seventeen. Six years later, he was the head of the Arab department in Mapam. When party leaders received word from Kibbutz Horshim, neighboring Kafr Kasim, that something grave had happened there, they assigned Dori to find out what it was. “…I went through the kibbutz and infiltrated from there.” Dori could have been shot but he was not detected. “I went straight to the mukhtar [head man], Wadie Sarsur. He gave me a list of all those who had been slaughtered. “He also told me there were 13 wounded in Beilinson Hospital. These were people who had seen what happened….
Israel postpones Gaza fishing zone expansion by two days
GAZA (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Israeli authorities have postponed the temporary expansion of the besieged Gaza Strip’s fishing zone, the Palestinian civil affairs administration said on Sunday. The head of the administration’s media office, Muhammad al-Maqadma, said in a statement that Israeli authorities had decided to postpone the expansion, which was supposed to be effective on Oct. 31, by two days due to “bad weather.” Israeli authorities have planned to expand the fishing zone off the northern Gaza coast from the current six nautical mile limit to nine nautical miles for the duration of the month of November, with Israeli officials indicating that the extension could be effective for an additional month “if the Palestinian side maintains calmness at the maritime boundaries.” Israel previously extended the fishing zone off Gaza’s southern coast to nine miles on April 3, before reducing it again to six miles on June 6, then re-extending the zone for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan due to an “abundance of fish” at the time. As part of Israel’s blockade off the coastal enclave since 2007, Palestinian fishermen have been required to work within a limited “designated fishing zone.”
Israeli navy opens fire, injures fisherman off Gaza shore
GAZA (WAFA) 30 Oct – Israeli naval boats on Sunday opened gunfire towards Palestinian fisherman while sailing offshore Gaza, injuring at least one of them moderately, according to witnesses … He was transferred to Shefa hospital for medical treatment.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces stationed at military watchtowers along the border with Gaza opened gunfire toward agricultural lands along the borderline area. There were no reports of injuries.
Gaza flotilla raid victims’ kin vow legal battle against Israel
AFP 29 Oct — The families of Turkish activists killed in a 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship say they will not drop their legal cases despite a deal between Turkey and the Jewish state. Nine Turks died when Israeli marines stormed the “Mavi Marmara”, which was part of an aid flotilla to break a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. One more died in hospital in 2014. Ties between Israel and Turkey crumbled after the raid but in June they finally agreed to end the bitter six-year row after months-long secret talks. Israel had offered an apology over the raid, permission for Turkish aid to reach Gaza through Israeli ports, and a payout of $20 million (18 million euros) to the families of those killed. Turkish officials confirmed the amount was transferred to the justice ministry account last month. Under the deal, both sides agreed that individual Israeli citizens or those acting on behalf of the government would not be held liable. Families of the victims however say they will press on with their legal battle until the alleged perpetrators are brought to justice. Cigdem Topcuoglu, an academic from southern Adana province, said her husband was killed as the couple embarked on the ship. “We are certainly not accepting the compensation,” she told AFP in Istanbul. “They will come and kill your husband next to you and say ‘take this money, keep your mouth shut and give up on the case’. Would you accept that?”….
How Gaza’s plastic factories are betting on recycling
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 30 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal — The Ramlawi Plastic Factory, located east of Gaza City, is making strides in the local plastics industry by recycling plastic and scrap for use in its products. This comes at a time when Gaza’s plastics factories face numerous obstacles due to Israel’s ban on the entry of raw materials for plastics industries … Garbage containers and bins are seen as the best places to find plastic waste to be recycled in Gaza’s factories, including at the Ramlawi factory, which was established in 1986. More young Palestinians have started to gather and then sell plastic materials to factories as a source of livelihood. The Gaza Strip produces about 1,900 tons of solid waste per day, 65% of which is organic waste, and the remaining 35% comprising plastic, paper and glass, according to a press statement from Gaza’s Environmental Quality Authority. Amin Abu Sabih, 28, collects empty plastic bottles in the early morning hours from bins in Gaza and then sells them to factories. “Collecting plastic waste is a source of income for me and my family of four,” he told Al-Monitor. “I sell 1 kilogram [2.2 pounds] of plastic for 2 shekels [$0.50]. I collect about 20 kilograms every day.” Collecting plastic waste is a source of livelihood for him and many others in light of rampant unemployment in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, the collecting of plastic has helped reduce the instances of burning plastic as a form of waste disposal, thus mitigating the environmental damage caused by the practice….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces demolish family homes in Bedouin village for second time in October
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — For the second time this month, Israeli forces demolished several homes belonging to a Bedouin family in the Negev desert in southern Israel on Sunday. Members of a local committee dedicated to fighting Israeli government demolitions of Bedouin homes told Ma‘an that several bulldozers arrived to the village of Bir Hadaj on Sunday morning under heavily armed protection from Israeli authorities. The bulldozers then tore down all the makeshift shelters built by members of the Abu Murayhil family after their houses were demolished on Oct. 9. Sunday’s demolitions left the family members homeless for the second time this month. Commenting on the demolition, Said al-Kharumi, secretary of the Higher Guidance Committee of Arab Residents in the Negev, said that “the Israeli occupation insists on targeting the simple people, turning a deaf ear to all the solutions suggested by the village’s local committee.” “This is a desperate attempt to get us to kneel,” al-Kharumi added. “We will be with our people there to follow up with the repercussions of this criminal racist attack.” Clashes broke out on Wednesday between Israeli police and local youth in Bir Hadaj after Israeli police delivered demolition orders to the Abu Murayhil family’s homes, which were supposed to be demolished within 24 hours.
Israeli settlers cut down 18 trees on private Palestinian land near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — Israeli settlers on Saturday morning cut down 18 olive trees belonging to a Palestinian family in the village of Nahhalin, west of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank. Journalist Hani Fanun, whose family owns the trees, said his family went to harvest olives on their land in the Wadi al-Hariq area of Nahhalin, and found that settlers from the nearby illegal Gush Etzion settlement bloc had cut down over 18 large olive trees. Fanun told Ma’an that the family’s land is closest to the Bat Ayin settlement — which is part of the cluster of Israeli settlements that make up the Gush Etzion bloc — and was reclaimed by the family after an order by the Israeli Supreme Court proved that it belonged to them. The Fanun family’s land, which spans 10 dunams, is surrounded by lands that were confiscated and turned into nature areas for the settlers of Gush Etzion … This year’s olive harvest season, which began early this month, has seen several incidents of attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinian farmers and their lands in the occupied territory….
Israel orders halt on construction of home near Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 30 Oct – Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered a halt on the construction of a house in the town of Yatta, south of Hebron in the West Bank, according to local sources. Rateb Jabour, who monitors settlement activities in Hebron, said an Israeli army force accompanied by staff from the Israeli Civil Administration broke into the village and ordered Mohammad Abu-Qabita, a local Palestinian, to stop the construction of his house. The area is located in Area C of the occupied West Bank, under complete Israeli military and civil control, where Israel imposes strict restrictions on the issuance of construction permits to Palestinians. Due to the lack of adequate planning and discriminatory allocation of public land, it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in most of Area C, according to OCHA. Official data obtained by the organization indicated that over 11,000 demolition orders – affecting an estimated 13,000 Palestinian-owned structures, including homes – are currently ‘outstanding’ in Area C of the West Bank.“These orders heighten the vulnerability of thousands of poor Palestinian households, some of whom are at imminent risk of forcible displacement,” OCHA said in a factsheet released in September 2015. “Even basic residential and livelihood structures, such as a tent or a fence, require an [Israeli] building permit.”
State delaying appeal to High Court over evacuation of illegal West Bank outpost
Haaretz 29 Oct by Yotam Berger — According to one source, the Ministry of Justice wants to ask for a postponement in order to prepare a new site for the Amona outpost, but the settlers oppose this solution — The state is dragging its feet over appealing to the High Court of Justice to postpone the deadline for the evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed with ministers Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Avigdor Lieberman two weeks ago that the state would request a six month postponement. The court has ruled that the settlement, which was built on private Palestinian land, must be evacuated by December 25. Since then, the issue has been in the hands of the Justice Ministry. Political observers expected the appeal to be lodged with the court immediately after the decision, but that did not happen. Sources in Habayit Hayehudi, the party led by Bennett and Shaked, warned last week that they would energetically promote a legislative solution to the issue if the evacuation is not postponed by the start of the Knesset’s winter session next Monday. The threatened legislation, which would legalize West Bank outposts built on Palestinian land, will be discussed by the Ministerial Legislative Committee on Sunday.…
Palestinian refugees – Syria
Kuwait donates $5 million to support Palestinian refugees in Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced on Friday that Kuwait would be donating $5 million to the organization. The donation was made in support of UNRWA’s ‘Syria Regional Crisis Emergency Appeal,’ following pledges made by Kuwait at the Fourth International Pledging Conference in London earlier this year. UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl released a statement praising the “renewed solidarity” from the state of Kuwait towards Palestinian refugees in Syria. “I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the government and people of Kuwait for this valuable support,” Krähenbühl said, “it will allow us to responds to essential needs of some 440,000 Palestine refugees deeply affected by the dramatic conflict in Syria.” The statement went on to praise Kuwait’s “consistency” and “reliability” as a donor, highlighting that the small Gulf country has contributed a total of $45 million over three consecutive years in support of the agency’s efforts to assist Palestinian refugees in Syria. In 2016, the statement added, UNRWA is appealing for $414 million “to meet the minimum humanitarian needs of Palestine refugees affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria.”
Hamas leaders meet with Abbas in Qatar, present ‘complete vision’ for reconciliation
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Oct — Leaders of the Hamas movement announced on Thursday that they had offered Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a “complete vision” to achieving reconciliation between Hamas and the ruling Fatah movement. Hamas politburo head Khalid Mashaal, his deputy Ismail Haniyeh, and Abbas met in Qatar on Thursday, at the home of Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Muhammad Bin Abd al-Rahman al-Thani. The Hamas movement released a statement following the meeting, saying they discussed challenges and risks surrounding the Palestinian cause, “priorities for the Palestinian people at this stage, especially achieving reconciliation and ending division.” The statement added that the movement’s leadership “offered a complete vision for achieving reconciliation via certain techniques and steps to uphold previously signed agreements.” The movement highlighted the necessity for “comprehensive elections on all levels” and an agreement between the political parties “on a political and resistance agenda to face the occupation,” specifically regarding the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. Palestinian Authority (PA)-run Wafa news agency reported that during the meeting in Qatar, Abbas stressed national reconciliation “and removing all causes of division by forming a national unity government and holding elections.” According to Wafa, the two parties agreed that achieving reconciliation was the key to “saving the Palestinian national project and facing the Israeli government’s plans of destroying the two-state solution.”
PCHR Press Release: ‘In security escalation in Nablus, 2 wounded, including security officert
Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR) 30 Oct — Yesterday (Saturday), two persons, including a Palestinian security officer, were wounded during clashes between Palestinian security officers and armed persons in Balatah refugee camp in Nablus. These clashes are a resumption of the clashes witnessed in the camp 10 days ago, as clashes erupting now and then have resulted in the injury of civilians, including children. For over two months, Nablus has witnessed a state of security chaos, whereas clashes erupt between security services and armed persons. As a result of these clashes, 7 persons, including 4 security officers, were wounded in total. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights’ (PCHR) investigations, at approximately 01:00 on Saturday, 29 October 2016, Palestinian security services moved into Balatah refugee camp, southeast of Nablus, to arrest wanted persons. Meanwhile, a number of security officers topped [went onto the rooftops of] some houses after which clashes erupted between them and a number of armed persons. The clashes lasted until 09:30 after which the security services withdrew. The clashes resulted in the injury of two civilians, one of whom was a security officer. The two wounded were taken to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus, but the security officer was then transferred to al-Najah Hospital. The 2 wounded were identified as: Abdullah Bassam Shraim (28), a security officer from Qalqilya. He sustained a shrapnel wound due to which he lost his eye; and Khaled Hassan Hashash (53). He sustained a shrapnel wound to the head.
Previously, two civilians, including a child, were wounded during clashes between Palestinian youngsters and security officers on 25 October, as the youngsters closed al-Quds Street adjacent to Balatah refugee camp. They then threw stones, empty bottles, Molotov Cocktails and home-made grenades at the security officers, who opened fire in response. As a result, two civilians from Balatah were wounded … PCHR expresses its deep concern over the deteriorating security situation and warns against moving towards security chaos. PCHR also stresses the importance of taking all necessary measures in order to control the security situation and prevent gun possession. PCHR also emphasizes that security services should comply with the principles of proportionality and legality of using force, protecting civilians, avoiding excessive use of force and taking into consideration the human rights standards when dealing with fugitives from justice..
West Bank arms itself in run-up to succession war for post-Abbas era
NABLUS, West Bank (MEE) 29 Oct — “Worst is yet to come” say observers who believe recent increase in violence is a rehearsal for post-Abbas era power struggle — On a recent Friday, dozens of security men dressed in green-olive uniforms were deployed along the main street near Balata refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and exchanged fire with gunmen who were shooting from the camp’s alleyways. Echoes of the gunfire were heard across the camp of 17,000 refugees and the city’s nearby neighborhoods, frightening the residents, and their children in particular. Over the next few days, similar clashes erupted in Jenin refugee camp, as well as the in al-‘Amari refugee camp near Ramallah. “They are Fatah gunmen,” said Jihad Harb of the militants who have been opening fire on Palestinian security forces. Harb is a commentator who lives in Balata, the biggest and most impoverished refugee camp in West Bank. He said he sees three kinds of armed men in Balata: gunmen from Fatah, who are funded by and loyal to various leaders in the movement; gunmen from criminal gangs involved mostly in the drugs and arms trades; and gunmen from the Palestinian Authority, funded by security apparatus and local governors. The situation in Balata refugee camp is being replicated in refugee camps, cities and villages across the West Bank. Harb believes senior Fatah leaders are buying the loyalty of gunmen and arming them in preparation for the expected succession conflict after Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, 82, dies. “Some groups are loyal to more than one leader at the same time,” said Harb, who is himself an activist in the Fateh movement. “Most senior Fatah leaders are arming their loyalists for that moment, the moment of succession,” he said. Tensions have escalated in the run-up to the Fatah convention in late November. In the al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, security forces raided a meeting last week held by those believed to be loyal to exiled Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan….
Abbas’ political rival Dahlan says he won’t seek presidency, backs jailed Barghouti
Haaretz 30 Oct by Jack Khoury — Speaking in Cairo, Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan blasts President Mahmoud Abbas for attempts to oust dissenting voices from the party — Senior Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan said on Sunday he does not intend to vie to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority and will instead back the candidacy of Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for murder in an Israeli jail. Dahlan is considered to be one of Abbas’ main rivals and, in an interview with the Palestinian news agency Ma‘an, accused Abbas of demonstrating a lack of leadership. Nevertheless, he rejected the suggestion that he sees himself as a potential successor to Abbas. He also spoke at length about the seventh Fatah General Conference, which is slated to be held next month, saying he would not accept any decision by the conference to expel him and his supporters from the Fatah party, which Abbas heads … Dahlan urged Barghouti – whom polls show enjoying strong public support to succeed Abbas – not to accept the post of Abbas’ deputy if it is offered to him. That idea has arisen in informal talks among Abbas’ advisers, with the goal of reducing Dahlan’s influence. “Barghouti is too cautious to join a deal like this, and he’ll aspire to receive legitimacy from all parts of the Fatah movement,” Dahlan said….
Several injured, one with live fire during clashes with PA in Tulkarem area village
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 29 Oct — One Palestinian was injured with live fire while several others suffered from severe tear gas inhalation during clashes with Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces in the Tulkarem-area village of Qaffin in the northern occupied West Bank. Medical sources told Ma‘an that clashes broke out on Saturday between PA security forces and members of a family from Qaffin, after the funeral of a local man who was attacked on Thursday and succumbed to his injuries on Friday. According to the sources, PA security forces have been deployed in the village for three days, following the deadly attack on village resident Bilal Muhammad Kamil Hirsha, who was killed by a group of men from the village. Hirsha, 47, was attacked at his workplace near the Israeli army checkpoint of Bartaa west of Jenin on Thursday. Shortly after his death on Friday, Palestinian police arrested six suspects and identified four others who were still on the run. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that right after the funeral, “hundreds of angry family members of Hirsha rushed to the suspects’ houses to set fire to the houses.” Security officers then fired tear gas canisters at the crowds of family members. PA security sources added that “warning gunshots were also fired into the air given the large numbers of attackers,” and as a result a man was injured with live fire. Local sources confirmed to Ma‘an that family members of the suspects had already left their homes fearing such an attack from the victim’s family.
UNRWA and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the Saudi Fund for Development inaugurate the new Aqbat Jabr Health Centre
28 Oct — On Tuesday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) inaugurated the new UNRWA Health Centre in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank. The Health Centre was constructed with a generous grant of US$ 1,900,000 from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). The inauguration was attended by Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank Scott Anderson and UNRWA Senior External Relations and Projects Officer Munir Manneh. Also present were UNRWA health staff and representatives of the local community. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Anderson said: “The new Health Centre will allow UNRWA to address the health needs of Palestine refugees in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp in an accessible, spacious and safe environment. I extend my gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their generous donation, which will significantly improve the quality of care provided by UNRWA in Aqbat Jabr.” At 1,900 sq m, the new Health Centre includes three family health zones, all of which consists of family planning and antenatal rooms, mother and child health care, and care for patients with non-communicable diseases. In addition, the Health Centre also includes a dental care unit, laboratory services, an x-ray room, a physiotherapy unit and a psychosocial counseling room. The new Aqbat Jabr Health Centre will serve approximately 14,600 beneficiaries living in Aqbat Jabr refugee camp and the surrounding area….
New UN secretary-general considers special mission to Palestine
Al Monitor 30 Oct by Uri Savir — New UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will present innovative and proactive ideas for the United Nations to deepen its involvement in advancing the two-state solution — Guterres is very much a champion of collective diplomacy to bring peace to the Middle East. He is well-known to some Israeli Labor Party leaders, as he served as the secretary-general of Socialist International from 1999 to 2005, and he was a close friend of late President Shimon Peres. Guterres will undoubtedly bring to the office of the UN secretary-general some innovative approaches, both on the international refugee crisis and in the field of conflict resolution, especially regarding Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Indeed, he has strong views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a friend of Israel, historically inspired by Israel’s dramatic nation-building since its establishment. He is fully opposed to the occupation of the West Bank and to Israeli settlement policies. He believes Israel’s security can only be assured by a fair two-state solution guaranteed by the international community. Terje Roed-Larsen, the president of the International Peace Institute, was one of the initiators of the Oslo peace talks in the early 1990s while serving as a Norwegian diplomat and was later appointed UN undersecretary-general on the situations in Lebanon and Palestine. He told Al-Monitor that Guterres will bring to the table “out of the box” thinking on conflict resolution and will most probably be a very proactive secretary-general, not giving in to the traditional US pressure on the UN to stay out of international conflict resolution….
Arab students face new barrier as top Israeli university raises bar of required Hebrew
Haaretz 30 Oct by Yarden Skop — Arab NGO says no reason to demand high level of Hebrew for mostly technical studies, but Technion science institute says move intended to reduce dropout rate of Arab students —Israel’s leading science and technology university has raised the level of Hebrew proficiency required for admission, a move that many fear will damage Arab applicants’ chances of being accepted to the Technion in Haifa. The change seems to undermine a key goal of the Council for Higher Education’s multiyear plan, which is to get more Arabs into higher education. The Technion decided last month to raise the cutoff score for admission from 105 to 113 on the Hebrew proficiency exam (known by its Hebrew acronym, Yael). The new academic year starts this week….
Book Review: What makes Israeli apartheid ‘special’? / Rod Such
EI 26 Oct — Israel and South Africa: The Many Faces of Apartheid, a collection of essays edited by historian Ilan Pappe, takes for granted the validity of the assertion that Israel is an apartheid state. Instead, what this book explores are the similarities and dissimilarities between Israel today and South Africa during its apartheid era. Pappe claims that understanding the historical roots of these commonalities and differences is essential to realizing why Israeli apartheid is of “a special type” and has been more difficult to overcome … The commonalities have by now become obvious. Both countries were established as settler-colonial states. Both were ethnocentric states, and both created Bantustans or zones of limited autonomy for the oppressed indigenous population. Less examined are the differences. As Ronnie Kasrils, a leading member of the African National Congress during the apartheid era, points out in his essay, South African settler-colonialism sought to exploit the labor of the indigenous African majority while Zionist settler-colonialism sought to exclude and expel the native Palestinians. Apartheid South Africa’s attempt to keep Blacks in Bantustans failed because its economy was dependent on Black labor. Israel, on the other hand, “sought to rid itself of the Palestinian workforce on its doorstep.” Having established an overwhelming Jewish majority through the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, Israel allowed its Palestinian minority the right to vote. This attempt at “visible equality,” journalist Jonathan Cook’s phrase in his chapter, helped disguise Israel’s special type of apartheid. Although Palestinian citizens of Israel were able to vote, Cook notes, their vote was meaningless because any Palestinian political party had to accept the framework of a Jewish state and no Palestinian political party was ever invited into a governing coalition….
How Israel privatized its occupation of Palestine
The Nation 27 Oct by Antony Loewenstein & Matt Kennard — It’s 4:30 am with the moon still high in the sky, but Palestinians from across the West Bank are already disembarking from buses outside the Qalandia checkpoint near Jerusalem. They’re about to begin a day’s work on the other side of the separation wall, in Israel. The warehouse-like checkpoint looks like a cattle pen on the inside: Metal bars on either side and above form a narrow chute, enclosing and herding the workers—many of whom have traveled from villages more than an hour away—toward the point where their documents will be checked by Israeli officials. They then wait on the Israeli side for transport from their employers. For years, these checkpoints were manned by personnel from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Border Police. But starting in January 2006, gun-toting private security guards joined the soldiers and police. Today, there are 12 checkpoints in the West Bank and two on the Gaza border that use such guards. Israel is slowly privatizing its occupation. Many of the Palestinians we speak to are unaware of the changes. As far as they’re concerned, any Israeli with a gun and a badge is licensed to humiliate them. Day laborer Imad (like most Palestinians we interviewed, he didn’t want to give his last name) is standing in line at Qalandia and smoking a cigarette. He has slicked-back hair and wears a gray T-shirt. “If they are supposed to help, they don’t,” he says of the private security guards. “They are no different from the army.” Just after 6 am, armed figures who initially look like Israeli soldiers start turning up; they’re wearing uniforms darker than the traditional olive green of the IDF, with a badge that reads “Ezrachi.” The company Modi’in Ezrachi is the largest security contractor currently employed by the Israeli government, and its personnel were among the first private guards the government used to staff its checkpoints. They can also be seen checking public buses in Jerusalem, protecting Jewish compounds in mostly Arab East Jerusalem (with the guards accused of terrorizing Palestinians and enabling settler violence), and standing watch at the city’s Western Wall plaza. Modi’in Ezrachi has repeatedly breached Israeli labor laws by underpaying its workers, along with other violations, but this has had no effect on its ability to get government contracts. This is a trend we’ve witnessed in many other nations, including Australia, Britain, the United States, and Greece, where governments and private security firms collude to avoid responsibility….
Israel calls on Google, Apple to remove ‘false, aggressive’ Gaza game encouraging violence against IDF soldiers
[includes preview of game] Algemeiner 30 Oct by Ruthie Blum — Israel’s minister of public security, strategic affairs and information — who has been leading the government’s battle against incitement on social media — demanded that Google Play and Apple App Store immediately remove an app with “false and aggressive” content, which could endanger IDF soldiers by encouraging players to kill them, the Hebrew news site Walla reported on Sunday. According to the report, Gilad Erdan was complaining about “Liyla and the Shadows of War,” which invites users to put themselves in the shoes of a Palestinian girl in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war against Hamas in the summer of 2014. The description of the free app, developed by Gaza resident Rasheed Abueideh, is as follows: When you live in a war zone and death is hunting everyone, things will look different and choices become harder. Face your fate in an unjust war to survive with your family from the shadows of war. Time is running against you, your family is in danger and there is nowhere to hide or to do but to get them out of home through a hero journey to a safer place … Since its release in May, the game — which portrays Israeli soldiers as murderers — has been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Though the Apple App Store makes no mention of Gaza or Operation Protective Edge, Abueideh states on the game’s site that it is “based on actual events; it tells a story of a little girl liv[ing] in Gaza during the war in 2014.” According to Walla, when the game was first released, Apple told its Palestinian developer that the app would be disqualified as a “game,” due to its political content, and proposed that it be placed in the “news” category. Abueideh’s response was to lead a social media protest, which caused Apple to relent, omitting all references to the Gaza war. Walla reported that out of 21,284 ratings it has received in the Google Store, 18,649 gave it five stars. Only 1,428 gave it a low score….
Abbas meets Martin Luther King III in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 29 Oct – President Mahmoud Abbas received Saturday at his office in Ramallah Martin Luther King III, an American human rights activist and son of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., along with Johnny Mack, founding member of the board of directors of Realizing the Dream, Inc. Abbas briefed the visitors about the latest developments in the Palestinian territories and the political process that had reached a dead end … The two visitors briefed Abbas on their visit earlier in the day to Jenin refugee camp and their observations on the life of Palestinian refugees. They called for an end to the Israeli occupation and solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Dead Sea products mall kiosk owner sentenced to jail for illegally employing Israelis
JTA 31 Oct — An Israeli man who owns kiosks in shopping malls in seven states was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in jail for illegally employing Israeli nationals to sell Dead Sea beauty products. Omer Gur was sentenced Thursday morning in US District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, the Virginia Pilot-Ledger reported. Gur, 36, pleaded guilty on July 6 to conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to launder money. The kiosks located in Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Missouri operated under names including Premier Skincare, Orogold and Seacret Spa. Gur’s businesses also were part of a larger venture called Rasko, which reportedly recruited Israelis to work in the US kiosks, helping the Israeli nationals obtain travel visas, or B-2 visitor visas, in order to enter the country. Gur’s US operations started in about 2005. Beginning in 2011, Gur and his associates began hiring Israeli nationals on tourist visas in violation of US immigration law. He employed about 340 during those six years, including more than 250 who were in the country on tourist visas, and brought in $14 million, according to the Pilot Ledger. The young Israeli salespeople are known to be aggressive in their sales pitch. They generally use their commissions and earnings to fund post-army treks or university studies. Gur, a former member of the Israeli Navy’s Shayetet 13 commando unit, also was ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and forfeit several properties he owned in North Carolina, a 2011 Audi Q5 SUV and $300,000 in cash, according to the newspaper. He will be deported when released from prison.
Roger Waters loses $4 million sponsorship over ‘anti-Israel rhetoric’
JTA 30 Oct — Roger Waters’ anti-Israel activism has cost the British rock star millions of dollars and an American Express sponsorship, the New York Post reported. The credit giant took off the table a $4 million sponsorship of Waters’ 2017 tour in North America following his partisan and anti-Israel rhetoric this month at a festival that American Express sponsored, according to the tabloid’s report Thursday. “Roger is putting on a huge show. The company was asked to sponsor his tour for $4 million, but pulled out because it did not want to be part of his anti-Israel rhetoric,” an unnamed source from American Express was quoted as saying. But an official spokesperson for the firm said it never formally offered to sponsor Waters’ 2017 tour. “When we were approached with the options, we passed on making a bid,” the spokesperson said. At the Oldchella festival, Waters used his time on stage to blast the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and to call for a boycott of Israel, according to the Post. “F*** Trump and his wall,” Waters said at the event, calling the billionaire reality star “arrogant, lying, racist, sexist.” He then voiced his solidarity with students protesting for Palestinians. He also urged people to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel….
Obama’s last 70 days: Israel on pins and needles
MEE 29 Oct by Yossi Melman — Netanyahu fears that during Obama’s transition period, his administration will support – or at the very least not veto – any move at the UN Security Council to recognise the State of Palestine — … All in all, there is no one serious force – be it a state or an organisation – which currently threatens the very existence of Israel, and the country’s strategic posture has never been better. Frenemies in the jungle But instead of capitalising on its authoritative edge and using it to enhance its security and advance the peace process with the Palestinians, the jungle villa management is wary of the jungle keeper, its best friend … The right-wing government, first and foremost Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lives in fear and trepidation of the American administration led by President Barack Obama. It is focused on the day after the US elections, which are being held in two weeks. For Netanyahu, the period between 9 November and 20 January, when Obama leaves the White House and is replaced by the new president (as it seems, the first female president) will be a time of tactical plotting and strategizing … Netanyahu humiliated Obama like no other leader of a friendly state had ever dared to do to an American president (with the exception of the new president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, who called Obama a “son of a bitch” and told him to “go to hell”.) But rather than punish Netanyahu, last month Obama showered his frenemy with $38bn in a new memorandum of understanding signed between the two states for the next 10 years. Despite the hostility between Obama and Netanyahu, the relationship between the states – on every level, and most certainly in defense and intelligence – has not yet suffered. But the keyword here is yet. Netanyahu knows that there is still a danger that Obama will seek revenge – a danger that might have grown stronger. Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and the other ministers in the cabinet are biting their nails in real concern….
2006 audio emerges of Hillary Clinton proposing rigging Palestinian election
Observer Media 29 Oct by Ken Kurson (Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, publisher of Observer Media) — On September 5, 2006, Eli Chomsky was an editor and staff writer for the Jewish Press, and Hillary Clinton was running for a shoo-in re-election as a U.S. senator. Her trip making the rounds of editorial boards brought her to Brooklyn to meet the editorial board of the Jewish Press. The tape was never released and has only been heard by the small handful of Jewish Press staffers in the room. According to Chomsky, his old-school audiocassette is the only existent copy and no one has heard it since 2006, until today when he played it for the Observer. The tape is 45 minutes and contains much that is no longer relevant, such as analysis of the re-election battle that Sen. Joe Lieberman was then facing in Connecticut. But a seemingly throwaway remark about elections in areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority has taken on new relevance amid persistent accusations in the presidential campaign by Clinton’s Republican opponent Donald Trump that the current election is “rigged.” Speaking to the Jewish Press about the January 25, 2006, election for the second Palestinian Legislative Council (the legislature of the Palestinian National Authority), Clinton weighed in about the result, which was a resounding victory for Hamas (74 seats) over the U.S.-preferred Fatah (45 seats). “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake,” said Sen. Clinton. “And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”Chomsky recalls being taken aback that “anyone could support the idea — offered by a national political leader, no less — that the U.S. should be in the business of fixing foreign elections….