Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian killed by Israeli forces after alleged attempted stabbing near settlement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — A Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces on Thursday afternoon after allegedly attempting to stab an Israeli soldier in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that a Palestinian “armed with a knife attempted to stab an Israeli soldier guarding a bus stop” near the illegal settlement of Ofra. She said that Israeli forces shot at the Palestinian, “resulting in his death.” The army spokesperson said that she was not aware of any Israelis being injured in the case. Israeli forces reportedly prevented Palestinian medics from approaching the scene, eyewitnesses said, adding that Israeli medical teams did not treat him, leaving him to bleed to death. The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the slain youth as Maen Nasser al-Din Abu Qaraa, 23, from the village of al-Mazraa al-Qibliyaa in the Ramallah district. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces closed the entrances and the roads to the nearby villages of Silwad town and Ein Yabrud following the killing, preventing Palestinians from going in and out of the two municipalities. Abu Qaraa is the 238th to be killed by an Israeli since the beginning of a wave of unrest across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015, the vast majority of whom were shot dead by Israeli forces. During the same time period, 34 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians.
Palestinian officer dies from wounds suffered in 2002
IMEMC 3 Nov — Palestinian medical sources have reported that a Palestinian security officer died Thursday from wounds he suffered in 2002, when the Israeli army invaded Nablus city, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The officer, Raed Fuad Hijja, 38, from Borqa village west of Nablus, was a member of the Palestinian National Security Forces. Israeli soldiers shot him in the head and arm, and he also suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation after his injury. Medical sources said Hijja became a quadriplegic, and unable to speak, in addition to suffering from various ongoing complications due to his head injury. He remained in hospitals and rehabilitation centers from the time of his injury until his death at the National Hospital in Nablus.
Thirty bullets to take down a teen with a knife
Haaretz 4 Nov by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Did she want to die? Was she tired of her short married life, which began with a kitschy honeymoon and continued as a hell in San Francisco? Was she afraid to return to her husband in America, who, according to her mother, used drugs and beat her? Was Raheeq Birawi – a pretty 19-year-old from the town of Asira al-Shamaliya, near Nablus, a young woman from a poor family whose parents are separated – tired of her new life in the American golden cage? Is that why she took a shared taxi to the Tapuah checkpoint in order to end her life? And, above all, is it even important whether or not she wanted to die? When someone tries to commit suicide, everywhere else in the world, including security forces, try to save him or her. In the occupied territories, however, the situation is reversed: There’s nobody like the Israel Defense Forces or the Border Police when it comes to helping Palestinians – mainly, Palestinian women – carry out their death plans. In the case of Raheeq Birawi, they were especially happy to do so: Border policemen fired over 30 bullets at her, one after another, to make sure 30 times over that her death wish would come true. Her story is not unique: A large percentage of the knife-wielding women killed by Israel in recent months at checkpoints and bus stops in the territories had a similar background and motives …An internal investigation by the IDF that was published last week noted four cases in recent weeks in which Palestinians were killed or wounded, during which soldiers and Border Police acted improperly. The investigation revealed that in all four instances, those forces could even have refrained from shooting altogether. One of the cases covered in the report was that of the killing of Raheeq Birawi. The report notes that the border policemen fired over 30 bullets at her after she pulled out the knife and walked toward them. …Israel has retained possession of her daughter’s body, in accordance with the despicable practice of preventing funerals that could escalate into riots. Zahra wants her daughter to have a proper burial, but has no idea how to go about asking for the body.
Israeli soldier injured in alleged attempted shooting attack near Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — An Israeli soldier was injured in a shooting incident near the northern occupied West Bank city of Tulkarem Thursday night. Israeli media reported that a soldier was lightly wounded by armed Palestinian gunmen, near the Gate 104 road gate in western Tulkarem city. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an that at least one Palestinian gunman opened fire at Israeli army forces, lightly injuring one soldier, who was immediately taken to receive medical treatment. The spokesperson added on Friday that several bullet casings were found at the scene, and that Israeli forces were continuing their search for suspects. Palestinian security sources added that the Israeli army had informed them of “security activity” in Tulkarem city and the surrounding refugee camps following the incident.
Israeli forces maintain checkpoint closure two days after attack
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israeli forces kept a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah closed on Wednesday, two days after a Palestinian police officer was killed while carrying out a shooting there. The Beit El checkpoint, which leads to the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh, where major Palestinian Authority (PA) institutions are located, has been closed in both directions since Monday, when Muhammad Turkman, 25, injured three soldiers before being killed by Israeli forces. The checkpoint’s closure has particularly affected residents of the village of Beitin less than two kilometers away, forcing them to walk long distances to reach Ramallah … The West Bank has seen an increase in military road closures since October 2015 when a wave of unrest first erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, leading to periodic closures of Palestinian villages, towns, checkpoints, and entire districts, with the southern district of Hebron put under the most extensive closure since 2014 earlier this year. The road closures have been slammed by rights groups as constituting collective punishment.
Video: Army injures three, kidnaps one, and sprays waste-water inside home in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 5 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, Friday, Kufur Qaddoum town, in the northern West Bank district of Qalqilia, assaulted Palestinian, Israeli and international activists holding the weekly nonviolent protest wounding three Palestinians, and kidnapped one who was visiting relatives. The army also deliberately sprayed homes with waste-water mixed with chemicals. Morad Eshteiwy, the media coordinator of three Popular Committees against the Wall and Colonies, said several Israeli army vehicles invaded the town, and fired dozens of gas bombs, rubber-coated steel bullets and concussion grenades at the protesters. He added that an Israeli peace activist was mildly injured by army fire, and before Palestinian medics provided him with the needed treatment. Eshteiwy also stated that the soldiers deliberately fired gas bombs into several homes, and sprayed them with waste-water mixed with chemicals. Medical sources said the family of resident Taher Zahi suffered severe effects of teargas inhalation, after the soldiers fired gas bombs into their property. Today’s protest also comes to mark the 99th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration [see articles at the end of this newslist], in which Britain, the country that was illegally occupying Palestine, promised Palestine as a homeland for the Jewish people. [‘waste-water’ means the ‘Skunk’ weapon – see Wikipedia for description]
Israeli troops attack nonviolent demonstrators in Bil‘in
IMEMC 5 Nov — On Friday afternoon, Israeli troops attacked a non-violent demonstration against the Israeli Annexation Wall in the village of Bil‘in, in the central West Bank, kidnapping one Palestinian and one Israeli peace activist. The protest began in the village of Bil‘in, and the demonstrators marched down to the site of the Annexation Wall, constructed on village land. Israeli troops assaulted the demonstrators, and abducted Ahmad Abu Rahma, one of the local organizers with the Popular Committee Against the Wall, and brother of two Palestinians who were killed in separate incidents by Israeli troops who attacked non-violent demonstrations. Micha Rachman, an Israeli peace activist, was also abducted by Israeli forces. The protest was attended by around 60 Israeli and international activists, and 40 Palestinians. Ashraf Abu Rahma, a non-violent organizer of the Bil‘in protests, told the IMEMC that the soldiers kidnapped his brother Ahmad, and told Ahmad that he needed to sign certain documents saying that he would cease participation in protests, in order to secure his release. Ahmad refused to sign the papers, which were in Hebrew. The soldiers used their megaphone to call out the name of Ashraf Abu Rahma, threatening to abduct him, and giving him five minutes to leave the area … After they called out his name on the megaphone, Ashraf Abu Rahma approached the soldiers and said, “You killed my brother Bassem and my sister Jawaher, and now you are threatening to abduct me. This is the land of Bil‘in, this is our land, our trees, our olive orchards, our home.” In response, an Israeli soldier shouted back at him, “No, this is the land of Israel.”
Israel detains 3 Palestinians accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at settler car
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli forces recently detained three Palestinians from the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at an Israeli settler’s vehicle in 2015, injuring a toddler, Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet said on Thursday. The Israeli Shin Bet said that a “cell” of three Palestinians — identified as Khalid Badha, 43, from the Qaddura refugee camp, Abed Badra, 27, from Beituniya, and Luay Nimt, 34, from the al-‘Amari refugee camp — was apprehended recently. During questioning by Israeli forces, the three Palestinians reportedly admitted to throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle in October 2015, which lightly injured a three-year-old Israeli girl in the vehicle. They also admitted to having thrown more Molotov cocktails, and of planning to carry out a shooting attack inside Israel, the Shin Bet statement added. Israel’s interrogation practices have long been a target of scrutiny and condemnation by rights group who have documented numerous cases of Israeli intelligence officers forcing confessions — particularly of Palestinian children — by various unlawful measures including torture.
Israeli forces detain 28 Palestinians in overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israeli forces detained at least 28 Palestinians during raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. In the southernmost West Bank district of Hebron, Palestinian sources reported that former prisoner Abd al-Karim Jabr Titi was detained in the al-‘Arrub refugee camp. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detention in al-‘Arrub to Ma‘an, adding that, elsewhere in the district, one Palestinian was detained in the village of Beit Ula, one in Sair, and another in the city of Hebron. In the Bethlehem district, locals said that five Palestinians were detained in the Duheisha refugee camp, including an unnamed youth who was injured in the leg during the raid … Meanwhile, locals said that Israeli forces detained Muhannad Abu Srour and former prisoner Tariq Bassam Abu Akir in the nearby refugee camp, as well as Elias Salah Faraj al-Malhi in the town of Beit Jala. In the Jerusalem district, Palestinian sources said Naela Halayqa and her husband Hani Muhammad Dish were detained in the village of Sur Bahir, while the army spokesperson said that one Palestinian was detained in Qalandiya. In the Ramallah district, locals said that Israeli forces detained Alaa Abu Rweis from the al-‘Amari refugee camp. The army spokesperson said one Palestinian was detained in al-Bireh — where al-Amari is located — adding that one alleged Hamas operative was detained in the village of ‘Arura, and another Palestinian was detained in Kobar. In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Palestinian sources said that Imad Masharqa, originally from the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem, was detained at the Huwwara checkpoint, while Nasser Halaweh, Laith Khashaneh, and Badr al-Tashtoush were detained elsewhere in the district. The army spokesperson, meanwhile, said four Palestinians were detained in the city of Nablus. Meanwhile in East Jerusalem, Palestinian sources said that five unidentified Palestinians were detained in the neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya. Israeli forces conduct night raids across the occupied Palestinian territory on a near-daily basis. According to UN documentation, the Israeli army carried out 178 detention raids from Oct. 4 to 17. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians were held in Israeli prisons as of August. The organization estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
Israeli forces detain family of 8, journalist, 14 others in West Bank raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli forces detained at least 25 Palestinians, including two parents, their six sons, and a journalist, in overnight raids in the occupied West Bank between Wednesday and Thursday, Israeli and Palestinian sources told Ma‘an. In the West Bank district of Ramallah, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained eight members of the same family in the al-‘Amari refugee camp, sparking clashes in which four Palestinians were injured according to witnesses. The family members were identified as Zuhdi Thib Abu Shusheh, his wife Jihad Abu Shusheh, and their six sons Mahran, Ihab, Muhammad, Fadi, Bahaa, and Thib. Clashes broke out at dawn between Palestinian youth and Israeli forces during the raid, the second one in as many days in al-‘Amari. Israeli forces deployed heavily in the camp, closing all the entrances and stationing on the rooftops of Palestinian homes, from which they fired rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and sound bombs at Palestinian youths, who responded by throwing empty bottles and rocks. Elsewhere in the Ramallah district, PPS reported that Hamid Ahmad Hmeidat, 25, was detained in the al-Jalazun refugee camp … In the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, locals reported that brothers Muhammad and Mujahid Ali Uweisat, as well as Muhammad Daoud Abdo, were detained in the village of Sheikh Saad. In the southern West Bank, nine Palestinians were detained in the Hebron district. In the village of Dura, Israeli forces detained Muhammad Shahin, Yousif Nassar, and Ahmad Abu Sundus, who had previously spent seven years in Israeli custody, locals said. PPS identified six other Palestinians detained in the district as Bashir al-Jabali, Dirar Sultan, as well as Abdullah al-Tawil and his sons Hazem, Muhammad, and Hamzeh … Meanwhile, in the northern West Bank, PPS reported that journalist Khalid Maali was detained in Salfit, while brothers Musab, 27, and Muhannad Dalal, 23, were detained in Qalqilyia.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel seeks greater use of detention without trial
EI 2 Nov by Charlotte Silver — Israel’s government is seeking greater use of detention without charge or trial, at a time when at least three Palestinian prisoners are on hunger strike against the practice. Administrative detention, as the practice is known, has been widely used by the Israeli military against Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank. About 700 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons without charge, according to the latest data. The use of administrative detention against Palestinian citizens of Israel has increased considerably in the past 12 months. New data on the administrative detention of citizens of Israel has been supplied to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. The data indicates that the number of administrative detention orders issued for citizens of Israel jumped from zero in 2014 to 20 within the past year. Most were issued against Palestinian citizens of Israel. -Wider powers- Last week, the Israeli government submitted a proposal to give the defense minister wider powers to detain citizens of the state without charge or issue other restrictions on their freedom … In addition to indefinite detention without charge, the new proposal would allow the defense minister, currently Avigdor Lieberman, to ban an individual from certain professions, confine them to a specific location and forbid contact with certain people on the basis of “national security or the public safety.” Administrative detention orders would be limited to six months, and other administrative restriction orders to one year, according to Haaretz. The defense minister would be able to indefinitely renew such orders with the authorization of a court. A legal opinion prepared for the Knesset’s constitution committee has expressed concerns about the new proposal … In a new video, the Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer denounces the practice of administrative detention:
Court sentences Palestinian minor to life in prison, $500,000 fine for killing Israeli
HEBRON (Ma’an) — An Israeli court sentenced 16 year-old Palestinian Murad Badr Ideis to life in prison and a nearly $500,000 fine on Wednesday for carrying out a deadly stabbing attack in January. Ideis, a resident of the village of Beit ‘Amra in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, received the life sentence and a 1.75 million-shekel ($458,875) [or 750,000 shekels (about $196,000/€178,000) acc. to AFP], fine after being convicted of carrying a stabbing attack on Jan. 17, killing Dafna Meir, a 38-year-old Israeli woman living in the illegal settlement of Otniel. Ideis was detained two days after the attack, when he was still 15 years old, and was convicted of murder and knife possession, Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs lawyer Khalid al-Aaraj said. Al-Aaraj said that he had appealed the court asking it to take into account Ideis’ age and not try him as an adult, but that the appeal was rejected. The head of the Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs in Hebron, Ibrahim Najajra, called the sentencing unjust and said the sentence, as well as the huge fine, was part of an Israeli policy of revenge on the Palestinian people. Israeli forces demolished Ideis’ family home in Beit Amra in June. Israeli rights group B’Tselem has condemned the practice of punitive house demolitions as “court-sanctioned revenge” carried out on family members who have not committed crimes, amounting to collective punishment and illegal under international law.
Israeli court indicts Palestinian youth for allegedly carrying out hit-and-run attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — An Israeli court in Jerusalem filed an indictment against a Palestinian youth accused of ramming two Israelis with his motorcycle in October, Israeli media reported on Thursday. According to Arutz Sheva, 20-year-old Murad Rajabi, a resident of the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, was indicted for attempted murder and possession of a weapon. At the time of the incident, it was reported that a Palestinian youth was accused of intentionally ramming his motorcycle into two Israelis, and getting into a fight with the two after hitting them with his vehicle. The two Israelis were lightly injured. While Israeli police initially considered the incident an accident, they allegedly found a knife on the scene and detained Rajabi under suspicions that the accident may have been a planned attack. However, it remained unclear how Israeli police connected the knife to the youth.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Settlements
Israeli authorities ban Muslim call for dawn prayer from 3 mosques in Jerusalem town
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — Israeli authorities reportedly banned the Muslim call to dawn prayer from being projected over loudspeakers in three different mosques in the Jerusalem district town of Abu Dis on Friday, according to local sources. Lawyer Bassam Bahr, head of a local committee in Abu Dis, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the town just before the dawn prayer on Friday. According to Bahr, Israeli forces raided the al-Rahman, al-Taybeh and al-Jamia mosques in the town, and informed the ‘muezzins’, the men responsible for the call to prayer — also known as the adhan, which is broadcast five times a day from mosques — that the call for dawn prayer through the loudspeakers was banned. Bahr added that the forces did not provide any reason for the ban, and also prevented locals living in the eastern part of the town from reaching the Salah al-Din mosque for dawn prayers. Bahr condemned the “unjustified ban,” saying that “Israel attacks Palestinians in all aspects of their lives,” in the form of limiting free movement through the use of checkpoints, and through the disruption of daily life in the form of nightly detention raids.
The events in Abu Dis came a day after a number of Israeli settlers from illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev protested in front of the house of Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barakat over the ‘noise pollution’ caused by the Muslim call to prayer. A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality told Ma‘an that Barkat, “in collaboration with the Jerusalem District police chief and local Muslim leadership, has developed a plan to protect the religious freedom of Muslim muezzin to announce the call to prayer, while ensuring reasonable quiet in Jerusalem’s residential areas.” … Adnan al-Husseini, the Palestinian Authority (PA)-appointed governor of Jerusalem, told Ma‘an at the time that the call to prayer was one of the main Muslim religious rituals and an integral part of Jerusalem’s identity. He said that Israeli demands to lower the sound of the adhan was a threat which had been issued several times before in Jerusalem. Al-Husseini said that the sound of the adhan doesn’t rise above an agreed-upon decibel level, adding that Israeli settlers were not annoyed by the noise, but by the call to prayer as a reminder of Palestinian presence in Jerusalem….
Palestinians mourn final Cremisan Valley olive harvest
BETHLEHEM, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 4 Nov — The rocky terraces of the Cremisan Valley are mostly overgrown and wild these days, as local landowners say they have lost all hope of keeping control over the more than 300 hectares of olive trees and orchards along the sloping mount, confiscated by the Israeli government earlier this year. “I haven’t been here at all this year. Look how the weeds have grown over, and trash from the street has piled up,” Ricardo Jaweejat said, motioning towards the vast olive grove that has belonged to his family for generations. “What’s the point? When we learned the Israelis were taking the land, I avoided doing anything with it. It’s a little bit dangerous to be here now.” Beit Jala olives are known by Palestinians around the world for producing the finest olive oil, and the oil from the city’s Cremisan Valley is considered to be the best of Beit Jala, a district of the Bethlehem municipality in the southern occupied West Bank. This year is expected to be the last chance to harvest olives from the valley, which will soon be blocked off by an extension of Israel’s separation wall. The land, now technically the property of the Israeli government, will be closed off to those who normally depend on the autumn olive harvest for what the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has called an “indispensable source of income”. “My great-great-great-grandfather harvested this land, and every grandfather after that until my father and I,” Jaweejat said. “I just can’t imagine that this is it; we will lose this land for good.”….
East Jerusalem: Palestinians at risk of eviction
[with map] OCHA 3 Nov — A mapping exercise carried out by OCHA indicates that at least 180 Palestinian households in East Jerusalem have eviction cases filed against them. Most of these cases were initiated by Israeli settler organizations, based on ownership claims, as well as claims that the residents are no longer ‘protected tenants’. As a result, 818 Palestinians, including 372 children, are at risk of displacement. This mapping aims at filling a longstanding information gap and to improve preparedness and targeted responses, both in preventive legal aid and post-eviction assistance. In recent years, Israeli settlers have intensified efforts to take control of properties within Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. This has led to restrictions on public space, residential growth and freedom of movement for Palestinians and resulted in tensions and clashes. Settler takeover of these properties exacerbates the coercive environment facing Palestinians and increases their risk of forcible transfer. The eviction cases exist within the context of Israel’s annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and the subsequent extension of its domestic legal jurisdiction to the annexed area. UN Security Council resolutions affirm that all legislative and administrative measures taken by Israel to alter the character and status of Jerusalem are null and void. (See, inter alia, Security Council resolutions 252, 267, 471, 476 and 478.)
Israeli authorities demolish house in Jerusalem-area village of Beit Hanina
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israeli bulldozers demolished a residence in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Wednesday morning, despite the owners saying that the demolition order had been postponed. Thalji Suleiman, the owner of the building said that an Israeli court had postponed the demolition order by two months on Tuesday, and that his family was attempting to obtain building licences from the Israeli municipality but were taken by surprise by the demolition. He added that his family tried to show the municipality crew the postponing order to get them to call off the demolition, to no avail. Suleiman said that the family had started work on the two-story building two years ago, adding that some of the four apartments inside were still under construction. The Jerusalem municipality told Ma‘an that it carried out the demolition to “enforce zoning regulations in the city,” denying that the order had been postponed….
Israeli forces demolish 3 structures in Palestinian village’s market
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli forces demolished three stands at a farmers’ market in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus before dawn on Thursday for lacking Israeli-issued building permits. The mayor of Beita, Wasif Maala, told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers escorted by Israeli forces raided the village’s farmers’ market at 2:30 a.m. and started demolishing stands. Israeli forces had previously carried out demolitions at the market in March. A spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma‘an that “enforcement measures were taken against four illegal buildings in Beita,” adding the demolitions took place after “all relevant orders were issued.”
High Court to decide on demolishing homes in West Bank Bedouin village
Haaretz 2 Nov by Amira Hass — Lawyer representing residents of Duquiqa points to historic link between Ka‘abne-Farijat tribe and its lands — The state will on Wednesday ask the High Court of Justice to recognize its authority to immediately demolish 36 homes in the Bedouin village of Duquiqa in the southwest West Bank – more than a quarter of the community’s homes. The state is also seeking the court’s recognition of its authority to demolish the rest of the village’s structures in the future and forcibly move all 300 residents to Hamida, an adjacent Bedouin village. Duquiqa is home to 35 families from the Ka‘abne-Farijat tribe, whose livelihood comes from shepherding and dry farming. The village has a mosque, a school and a clinic managed by ministries of the Palestinian Authority that were set up with the help of international organizations. The village is not connected to the water or electricity infrastructures; it relies on cisterns that store rainwater and on water from tankers that cost 10 times the regular price of water. Attorney Neta Amar Schiff of Rabbis for Human Rights, who represents Duquiqa in the petition to be heard Wednesday, will ask the state to consider planning solutions in consultation with the residents that will not interfere with their way of life and their chances of sustainability and development. One solution could be approving a master plan for the village prepared by planner Rassem Khamaisi, which was rejected by the Civil Administration in 2013….
Israeli forces demolish Bedouin village of al-‘Araqib for 105th time
BEERSHEBA (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israeli bulldozers raided and demolished the unrecognized Palestinian Bedouin village of al-‘Araqib in the Negev desert for the 105th time on Wednesday morning. Officers from Israeli police’s Yoav unit, the section created to implement demolitions of Bedouin homes in the Negev, were heavily deployed in the area. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed to Ma‘an that police forces were deployed in the area to carry out demolitions on a “number of buildings” in accordance with a court order. Israeli forces confiscated possessions including vehicles belonging to residents of al-‘Araqib [and water tanks, according to IMEMC]. Israeli forces began targeting the village with demolitions in 2010, along with filing multiple lawsuits against the residents and imposing more than 2 million shekels’ ($527,920) worth of fines. The first demolition of al-‘Araqib took place more than six years ago on June 27, 2010. Al-‘Araqib is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state. According to ACRI, more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages. 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 in order to make room for Jewish Israeli homes….
Israeli forces deliver stop-construction notices to residents of Hebron-area village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israeli forces delivered notices earlier this week to several families in the southern occupied West Bank village of Idhna ordering the halt of construction on several homes. The public relations department of the Idhna municipality said that resident Abdullah Suleiman al-Masri received a stop construction notice for a 300 square-meter, two-floor house on Monday. The municipality added that Muhammad Yunis Tmeizeh also received a stop construction notice for his house in the same area.
Israeli forces regularly issue notices and leave them near houses without their owners’ knowledge, the Idhna municipality said, adding that it would provide its services to targeted residents and follow up on these notices with the appropriate parties. A spokesperson for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied West Bank, told Ma‘an that three stop orders were handed in Idhna this week for not having obtained approval from Israeli authorities. Israel rarely grants Palestinians permits to build in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, although the estimated 550,000 Jewish Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory are more easily given building permits and allowed to expand their homes and properties….
Israeli lawmakers push new bill to legalize unauthorized Israeli settlements
Haaretz 3 Nov by Jonathan Lis & Yotam Berger — Knesset members from Habayit Hayehudi and Likud submitted new legislation on Wednesday in a fresh attempt to craft a bill that would legalize unauthorized Jewish outposts in the West Bank built on privately owned Palestinian land. It is still not clear whether the bill will receive the support of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, who ruled that a previous bill on the subject was unconstitutional and would not stand up to the scrutiny of the High Court of Justice. The new bill distinguishes between ownership of land and the right to use land. It would enable the government to have the right to use private Palestinian land without taking ownership of it. In another change, the new bill, if passed, would only apply to outposts that the government was involved in establishing, such as the highly contentious outpost of Amona. Its residents face a High Court eviction order which must be carried out by December 25. The bill would establish a presumption of good faith to outpost residents. Palestinians who prove ownership to land there would be entitled to increased compensation. For its part, Yesh Din, the Israeli human rights organization representing the Palestinian petitioners in the Amona case, said the bill is designed “to institutionalize the mass theft of land throughout the West Bank while trampling every value that the State of Israel pretends to uphold.” The bill has no counterpart in the democratic world, the organization claimed … The Knesset presidium approved an expedited procedure for the bill on Wednesday that will allow it to be submitted to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation next week.
Light rail to run into East Jerusalem, West Bank
i224NEWS 1 Nov — Israel intends to add new lines to the Jerusalem light rail system running to a number of East Jerusalem neighborhoods as well as West Bank settlements, Channel Two News reported Tuesday. The decision to extend the light rail to the settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev was ratified by Transport Minister Yisrael Katz. “I see Jerusalem and the greater Jerusalem area as one entity,” the official was quoted as saying. “Whoever lives in Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim, Beit Shemesh, or Mevasseret should enjoy accessible transportation services,” the right wing statesman further added. “And should someone say that we ought to erect put an artificial barrier between those residents who live over the so-called ‘green line’ – well, this is an argument we do not accept.”….
Extremist settlers reap profits from occupied Jerusalem sites
EI 3 Nov by Charlotte Silver — Photo: A man examines damage done to the home of a Palestinian family, from digging work at the settler-run “City of David” archaeological site, in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, 12 April — Israel’s state comptroller has sharply criticized three government agencies for outsourcing the management of major archaeological excavations and sites in Jerusalem to Elad, a private organization that settles Jews in the militarily occupied eastern part of the city in violation of international law. The report says the Israel Antiquities Authority has not supervised Elad’s archaeological work, nor has the Israel Nature and Parks Authority supervised Elad’s management of the so-called City of David, a settlement containing an archaeological museum catering to tourists. The City of David settlement is located in the middle of the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, and Elad asserts it is the ancient biblical City of King David mentioned in the second book of Samuel. Emek Shaveh, an alternative archaeology group that opposes Israel’s use of archaeology as a political tool to assert claims to East Jerusalem, says the report confirms many of the issues the group has been protesting for years. -Archaeology for settlement- Elad has been spearheading archaeological excavations in Jerusalem since the mid-1990s in order to support its claim that Jews have a right to possess and control certain locations….
Looting Palestinian cultural heritage
IMEMC 3 Nov by Sergio Yahni — The construction of Israel’s National Archaeology Campus (NAC), designed by architects Moshe Safdie and Irit Kohavi, has slowly but steadily progressed since 2012. NAC will sit next to the Israel Museum and Bible Lands Museum in central West Jerusalem, on what Israelis call “Museum Hill.” The $104 million building spans 35,000 square meters and stands nine floors tall. Inside will be the offices of Israel Antiquities Authorities, storage for two million artifacts, laboratories, a library, as well as exhibition spaces. Israeli authorities first started planning the new museum after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993. It was envisioned as a way to transfer archaeological collections from the Rockefeller Archaeological Museum (RAM) in East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem, where NAC will be based. It appears that this transfer process is picking up speed: Hava Katz, PhD in archaeology and chief curator of the exhibition, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that a Byzantine mosaic from Beit She’an Chapel was “brought” from RAM’s cellars and now is being installed onto the roof of NAC’s entry plaza. No news yet has surfaced, however, on the status of the 100,000 rare books – some dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries – that Israel has also pledged to take from RAM and resettle in NAC. The international community is apparently unaware of this impending, massive confiscation of artifacts belonging to a population living under military occupation – a clear violation of international law. An Israeli organization, Emek Shaveh, tried to challenge the project as illegal in the Israeli High Court, but its petition was rejected. The court ruled that the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has the right to move around Palestinian archaeological artifacts essentially as it wishes….
Israeli army prevented American diplomats from visiting Jordan Valley Palestinians
Haaretz 3 Nov by Amira Hass — The Israeli army on Thursday prevented American consular diplomats from entering an area in the northern Jordan Valley where a Palestinian shepherds’ encampment was recently demolished and a new and illegal settler outpost is being built. The diplomats were scheduled to visit the area of Tel al Hema with activists from the all-female Machsom Watch group, which monitors army checkpoints. On arrival at the Al-Auja region, just north of Jericho, the two diplomats and a large security detail were informed by the Israel Defense Forces that Tel al Hema was a closed firing zone, currently hosting army training exercises. The delegation was attempting to reach Khalet Hamed, a community adjacent to the Israeli settlements of Mehola and Givat Salit, created in 2001, which is not inside an IDF firing zone and can be directly accessed by Route 90. Residents from Tel al Hema who spoke with Haaretz said they did not see or hear any army training in the area….
Two Palestinians wounded by Israeli army fire in Gaza
IMEMC 5 Nov — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, Friday, at least two Palestinians with live fire, after the army assaulted protesters near the border fence, east of Gaza city and in Central Gaza, while many suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, stationed on military towers and in the Nahal Oz military base across the border fence, fired many live rounds at the Palestinians, wounding two in their legs, before local medics rushed them to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Medical sources said the two suffered moderate wounds, and that many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. In addition, soldiers stationed on military towers across the border fence, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp in Central Gaza, fired many gas bombs at Palestinian protesters, causing scores to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Israel postpones temporary expansion of Gaza fishing zone
MEMO 4 Nov — Israeli authorities once again postponed the expansion of the Gaza Strip’s fishing zone yesterday, pushing it back three days. The head of the media unit at the public committee of the Civil Affairs Ministry, Muhammad Al-Maqadma, told Ma‘an that Israel decided to postpone the expansion of the fishing zone from six to nine nautical miles to Sunday. Israeli authorities had previously postponed the temporary expansion on 30 October, citing poor weather. Israeli authorities planned to expand the fishing zone off the northern Gaza coast 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.”
250 Gazans travel to Al-Aqsa for Friday prayers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Nov — Some 250 Palestinians from the besieged Gaza Strip traveled to occupied East Jerusalem on Friday to attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Palestinian liaison officials. The officials told Ma‘an that the worshipers, all above the age of 50, traveled to Jerusalem via the Erez crossing between the besieged enclave and Israel to attend prayers, and would immediately be returning to the Gaza Strip following the conclusion of Friday prayers. The number of Palestinians permitted to worship at Al-Aqsa was reduced by Israel earlier this year, as Israeli authorities had previously permitted 300 elderly Palestinians from the small Palestinian territory to travel to Al-Aqsa every Friday.
Israeli official claims Hamas ‘exploiting’ Gazans, threatens to tighten siege
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — An Israeli official accused Hamas on Tuesday of “exploiting” Palestinian residents of Gaza traveling to Israel to make them cooperate with the movement, and threatened to reduce access to aid in the blockaded coastal enclave if such alleged pressures continued. In a statement quoting an interview given by Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) head Fares Atila to Voice of Israel radio, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the agency responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, asserted that Hamas officials at border crossings between Gaza and Israel were “exploiting” Palestinians. “We have evidence that Hamas is exploiting and forcing merchants and patients who are crossing from Gaza to Israel and to Judea and Samaria to cooperate and facilitate terrorism,” Atila was quoted as saying, using the Israeli term for the occupied West Bank. Atila claimed such actions were notably taking place at the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings. The COGAT statement did not specify how the Hamas movement was coercing the Palestinian travelers, nor what exactly it asked them to do … Israel has been repeatedly accused over the years of blackmailing Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, into collaborating, by threatening to remove access to life-saving health care permits to Israel, or even to out queer Palestinians if they did not become informants.
Gaza factions applaud actions of Palestinian officer slain while carrying out shooting
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Nov – Several Palestinian factions based in Gaza released statements on Tuesday applauding a shooting attack carried out a day earlier by a Palestinian Authority (PA) police officer in the occupied West Bank. Muhammad Turkman, 25, a police officer from the northern West Bank district of Jenin, was killed by Israeli forces on Monday after he committed a shooting attack near the Ramallah-area illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, injuring three soldiers … The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Gaza called the attack “one of the heroic operations the Palestinian people have been performing during the Al-Aqsa Intifada to oppose security coordination with the Israeli occupation,” using a term to refer to the wave of unrest. The PFLP went on in its statement to urge Palestinian security officers to carry out “more similar attacks.”Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees movement, Khalid al-Azbat, said the shooting delivered a message that all the pressures “by both Israel and the PA can no longer prevent the Palestinian people from performing heroic operations against the occupation.”….
Gaza doctor who lost daughters to tank shell: Conflict is a sickness destroying us all
Times of Israel 3 Nov — A Palestinian doctor from Gaza who lost three daughters to an Israeli army shell in 2009 visited Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s house Wednesday and preached for coexistence, likening the conflict to a disease that was destroying all those involved. “Israelis and Palestinians are Siamese twins,” Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish said, according to a report on the Ynet news website. “It is decreed that we must live together. Our future is entwined, one with the other…We must build bridges between people, not put up blockades.” Three of Abuelaish’s daughters and a niece were killed when a tank shell hit his family home in the final days of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009. Shortly after the incident Abuelaish emigrated to Canada with his remaining family. He has dedicated his life to advancing coexistence and established a foundation in memory of his daughters named the Daughters for Life Foundation. On Wednesday he visited Rivlin as part of a delegation accompanying the Governor General of Canada David Johnston … Abuelaish said it pained him to come to Israel without being able to visit his daughters’ graves “because there is no time, because I need permits and because of the barriers here.”….
[Palestinian doctor Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish was giving Israel’s Channel 10 his daily account from inside the war zone in Gaza when three of his daughters were killed in an Israeli attack. See the video from Channel 10 as it happened – but be warned that it is very tough to watch and listen to. Also read the Forward’s article: Gazan doctor’s tragedy opens Israelis’ eyes to Palestinian pain]
The month in pictures: October 2016
Electronic Intifada 4 November
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory ((27 Oct – 2 Nov 2016)
PCHR-Gaza — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt Two Palestinian civilians, including a police officer, were killed in the central and Western sides of the West Bank. Palestinian civilians 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 60 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one in the Gaza Strip. 70 civilians, including 16 children and a woman, were arrested in the West Bank. Twenty-two of them, including 13 children and the woman, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the sea. 4 Palestinian fishermen were wounded and two fishing boats were confiscated. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. A residential building was demolished in Beit Haninah village. Settlement activities continued in the West Bank. 4 dwellings, 10 sheep barns and fodder stores and 3 toilets were demolished in Kherbet al-Deir….
Palestinians say will protest Interpol membership delay
AFP 4 Nov — The Palestinian government will protest against a delay in its application to join the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) at the body’s annual conference next week, an official said Friday. “Palestine applied for membership of Interpol more than a year ago, but the executive committee of Interpol rejected the Palestinian request for a vote and referred it to a committee of experts for examination,” foreign ministry official Ammar Hijazi told AFP. He added that “executive measures” had prevented the issue being on the agenda for Interpol’s next annual meeting, to be held on the Indonesian island of Bali from November 7-10. Hijazi said Palestinian officials would nevertheless attend the meeting to register their protest. “There is no plan to vote on the Palestinian request at the next meeting, but the diplomatic battle ahead is to expose what the Executive Committee did to postpone a decision,” he said, adding that the Palestinian Authority was seeking to enlist support for its bid. Interpol confirmed it had received “several” requests from member countries to discuss Palestine’s membership at the annual conference. “However, under Interpol’s rules it is the Executive Committee which sets the agenda,” a statement said. The committee will meet on Saturday to finalise the agenda, it added. The Lyon-based Interpol currently has 190 member countries, enabling police across the globe to share information….
Why did Saudi Arabia halt its aid to Palestinian Authority?
Al Monitor 4 Nov by Adnan Abu Amer — The Palestinian government continues to talk about its fiscal deficit and questions its ability to meet Palestinians’ economic needs. Most recently on Oct. 24, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is facing a severe financial crisis, calling on nations and donors to fulfill their obligations toward the Palestinians per the Oslo Accord signed between Palestinians and Israelis in 1993. On Oct. 30, the director of the Budget Department at the Palestinian Ministry of Finance, Farid Ghannam, pointed to Saudi Arabia’s failure to meet its financial obligations toward the PA since April, noting that the value of this seven-month failed contribution is estimated at $140 million … On Oct. 26, Ahmad Majdalani, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, confirmed that the PA has not been receiving financial support from Saudi Arabia. He attributed this to economic factors in light of the Saudi Treasury’s economic crisis due to the war it is fighting in Yemen and the oil prices slump. Al-Monitor tried to contact Ghannam several times but to no avail … Jamal Nassar, the chairman of the budget committee in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), told Al-Monitor, “Saudi Arabia’s failure to pay its share of support for the PA is mainly due to political reasons in light of the chill in the political relations between the two … For his part, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said Sept. 9 that foreign support for the PA dropped by 70% compared to 2014 and 2015. The PA’s financial situation requires seeking new sources, like the Arab states, to overcome the tough situation. He demanded to supply an Arab security network that would give the PA $100 million monthly to face its financial crises and pressure.
Italian president meets with Abbas during first visit to West Bank
MEMO 1 Nov — Italian President Sergio Mattarella today expressed his appreciation for the link between his country and Palestine during his first visit to the occupied Palestinian territory. In a joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Mattarella called for an appropriate environment for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and for moves to be made by the international community to foster such efforts. Mattarella mentioned Italy-funded projects in the occupied Palestinian territory, notably the restoration of an ancient mosaic in the West Bank city of Jericho, which he visited with Abbas this afternoon….
Grim situation of Palestinian refugees highlighted
NEW YORK (Bernama) 2 Nov — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) notes that there were 750,000 Palestinian refugees back in 1950; and these numbers have risen to some five million in 2016. This has led to an often emotionally loaded discussion at the UNRWA over the grim situation of Palestinian refugees; which has remained largely unchanged since the Palestine problem first erupted nearly six and a half decades ago. Commissioner General of the UNRWA, Pierre Krähenbühl, highlighted on Tuesday the frustrations and the sufferings of the Palestinian refugees as a result of the international community’s passiveness and impotence to bring about improvements in the daily lives of the Palestinian people. This is especially on the fact that they have become refugees in their own land and also in other countries of the region … He stressed that the UNRWA was created in 1949, by a very young United Nations in context of a resolution of the (UN) General Assembly and setting the stage for an organisation to begin addressing some of the needs of the Palestinian refugee community. It was to address the plight of some 700,000 to 750,000 people who had fled or were forced to flee their homes and what was then mandate Palestine, and arrived in what is today the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon which remain UNRWA’s mandated areas of operations, and have remained so ever since … UNRWA’s existence is, in fact, a tragic reminder of the failure of the international community to find justice for Palestinians, he stressed….
In a West Bank refugee camp, political struggle turns to violence
BALATA REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank (Reuters) 3 Nov by Luke Baker — Hundreds of bullet holes scar the concrete walls, shop fronts and trash-strewn alleys of Balata, the West Bank’s largest refugee camp, the result of furious clashes earlier this week between Palestinian security forces and local gunmen. The heavily armed force came before dawn on Monday, hunting for a handful of locals they say are criminals and thugs. For six hours the gunfire raged, shattering windows and piercing metal, before the security squad withdrew, empty handed. Two days on, one of the men sought that night walks brazenly down the main street, past the meat hanging outside the butcher’s shop and the fresh, warm pita from the bakery oven, proud that the camp stood firm and repelled the assault. “Balata is a fortress,” 31-year-old Khattam Abu Rezak told Reuters, dragging on a cigarette as he sat in the sparsely furnished front room of a friend’s rundown house, the curtains firmly drawn, a fading portrait of Yasser Arafat on the wall. “We don’t let the Palestinian Authority in because they will take us, torture us,” he said, referring to the administration run by President Mahmoud Abbas that has limited self-rule in the Israeli occupied West Bank. “We are not criminals. The youth of Balata are angry because they are not being listened to. We want dignity, we want better lives.” To an increasingly large extent, the future of Palestinian politics and the fate of Abbas, now 81 and in power for 11 years, are being forged in Balata, a heartland of both the first and second Palestinian uprisings against Israeli occupation. The camp of nearly 30,000 people, all refugees or descendants of refugees from the 1948 war that followed Israel’s founding, is one of the most destitute places in the West Bank. Over the decades, through intifadas and Israeli security clampdowns, the population has grown ever angrier and more marginalised, its struggle to escape poverty ever harder. During Arafat’s time that frustration was directed squarely at Israel, with Balata’s young men willing recruits to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah Party that Abbas now heads. These days most of the wrath is aimed at Abbas himself and his failure to keep his promises….
2 Palestinian teachers qualify to participate in Global Teacher Prize
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Two Palestinian teachers from the occupied West Bank district of Nablus have qualified to participate in the Global Teacher Prize organized by the Varkey Foundation. A Palestinian teacher, Hanan al-Hroub, won the prize in 2016. This year, Lina Raheid Rashad al-Betar and Nidaa Dar Salah, two of 18 Palestinian teachers who registered to participate, qualified in the competition. Al-Betar, an English teacher in Bir Quza elementary school, has begun an initiative in her school to learn by playing and singing, which aims to get students to love the learning process by using songs and games to teach the material….
Israel funds group that ‘saves Jewish girls’ from marrying Arabs
Haaretz 4 Nov by Or Kashti — Israel’s welfare agency has recently expanded its cooperation with an organization that seeks to “save Jewish girls” from marrying Arabs, Haaretz has learned. The Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry has increased funding for a young women’s shelter run by Hemla, a group headed by figures associated with the radical right. According to the organization, the shelter is geared toward “female youths from broken homes who are at risk of shmad” – a Hebrew term that denotes coerced conversion to another religion. In a promotional flyer released two years ago, the head of Hemla, Elyakim Neiman, described intermarriage between Jewish women and Arab men as a “national plague.” “We are doing our best to save these girls before they reach [Arab] villages and give birth to ‘Ahmad Ben Moshe,'” he said. “We provide for the girls’ physical and spiritual needs.” According to the brochure, the young women receive mental and social assistance until they “return to the path of healthy Jewish life, as is appropriate for the daughter of a king.” Another promotional leaflet for the shelter boasted that the woman who runs it, Rachel Baranes, has dedicated her life to “saving the daughters of Israel from the claws of the Ishmaelites,” a term referring to Arabs … Hemla has in the past been closely linked to Lehava, a radical rightist organization known for its efforts to prevent marriage between Jews and Arabs.
Forced to divorce by Israel
EI 1 Nov by Maram Humaid — For Samira Shawamreh, the cost of cancer treatment was that she and her husband had to divorce. In 2014, Samira was diagnosed with bowel cancer. For treatment, she had to travel regularly between Hebron, where she then lived, and hospitals in Jerusalem and Beit Jala, also in the occupied West Bank. On her way to these hospitals, she was frequently stopped at Israeli military checkpoints. Sometimes she was held for hours before being allowed to continue. On occasion, she was told she could not go any farther. The Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints claimed that Samira’s identity card bore the name of a “terrorist.” The name in question was that of her husband Ahmad Nattat. In 2011, Ahmad was arrested by Israeli forces at the Allenby crossing between Jordan and the West Bank … -Ordeal- Samira suffered considerable pain at Israeli checkpoints. “I was not even able to stand,” she said. To end her ordeal, Samira needed to have Ahmad’s name removed from her ID card. That required a divorce. “The decision to get a divorce was the hardest one I have ever made,” Samira said by telephone. “But I was forced to because of the severe deterioration of my health.” … Israel has been tearing Palestinian families apart for decades. Since 1988 Israel has restricted Palestinian movement between the West Bank and Gaza. The policy has become more severe over the years. At present, Israel’s stated policy is that travel between the West Bank and Gaza is permitted in “exceptional humanitarian cases only, particularly urgent medical cases.” Israel does not recognize that married couples have a right to live together….
From Poland to the Ivory Coast to Israel: ‘We’ve come home’
Ynet 4 Nov by Omri Efraim & Rachel Cadars — Among the 300 olim who landed in Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday and Wednesday, were the four members of the Camara family, who arrived from France and who have a dramatic story spanning across continents that would put Hollywood to shame. Emmy, a medical doctor, came with her husband, George — a pilot — and their 15-year-old twin daughters Shili and Heidi. Emmy’s mother, named Solange Shuster, was born in Poland in 1938, and escaped with her mother and cousin to France during WWII. At first, they hid out in the home of a French Christian family, and then later they were smuggled into the unoccupied area of France. They were among the few family members who were not murdered at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camps. Solange then continued her life in France, where she eventually met a man from the Ivory Coast called Triora. The two were married and moved back to the Ivory Coast in 1967, where their daughter Emmy was born and raised Jewish children. Amy [Emmy?] then married a local man named George. During the country’s 2012 civil war, they moved with their daughters to France. Emmy’s husband George also has an interesting story to tell. He leads a Jewish lifestyle and started a conversion process two years ago. Moreover, he discovered that he is a descendent of an African tribe that believes itself to have originated from the Tribe of Dan, with some of its members still conducting a traditionally Jewish lifestyle.“I am very excited to come to Israel. This for me is coming full circle,” said Emmy. “My mother and her family were persecuted by the Nazis. Later in life I, myself had to leave the Ivory coast and find shelter in France, and now finally I arrive with my family in Israel, where I’ll find shelter and a home as a Jew.” ….
Saudi activist still in jail after serving sentence over Gaza protest
Times of Israel 3 Nov — Saudi Arabia continues to hold in a prison an activist who already completed his sentence for protesting the 2008-9 war in Gaza. According to Human Rights Watch, Khalid al-‘Umair was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison for protesting against the 2008-9 Operation Cast Lead. Al-‘Umair was arrested on January 1, 2009, along with 14 other Saudis and Palestinians residing in Saudi Arabia, as they were beginning a protest in Riyadh against the Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip. There is a blanket ban on public protest in Saudi Arabia, and dozens of people have been arrested since 2011 for protest-related offenses, Human Rights Watch said. More than 25 have been sentenced to death. Al-‘Umair was convicted on May 15, 2011, of “breaking obedience with the ruler” and “embarking on a protest.” He was given a prison sentence of three years for these charges, plus an additional five years for violating Saudi Arabia’s cybercrime law, as he had organized the protest online. His eight-year sentence began on the day of his arrest in 2009, and was completed on October 5, 2016, yet he remains imprisoned (his sentence was eight years according to the Islamic calendar, which is used officially in Saudi Arabia; the Islamic year is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar).
Palestinians demand UK apology for Balfour declaration
Al Jazeera 1 Nov by Shafik Mandhai — Activists launch parliamentary petition calling on Britain to take responsibility for its colonial legacy in the region — Palestinian activists have launched a campaign calling on the British government to apologise for the Balfour Declaration, which pledged a homeland for the Jewish people in historic Palestine nearly a century ago. At a launch event at the House of Parliament last Tuesday, Palestinian groups and their supporters blamed the plight of the Palestinian people on the legacy of the pledge and wider British colonialism in the region. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the British parliament will have to consider debating the subject. Baroness Jenny Tonge, an independent member of Britain’s upper house of parliament, said pro-Palestinian MPs from across the spectrum would push the issue regardless of what happens with the petition. “There will be people in the House of Commons and the House of Lords who will be raising the issue all through the next year,” Tonge said. The activists, backed by the Palestinian diplomatic mission in the UK, intend to pressure the British government in the lead up to the hundredth anniversary of the pledge in November 2017….
How Britain destroyed the Palestinian homeland
Al Jazeera 2 Nov by Ramzy Baroud — Ninety-nine years since Balfour’s “promise”, Palestinians insist that their rights in Palestine cannot be dismissed — When I was a child growing up in a Gaza refugee camp, I looked forward to November 2. On that day, every year, thousands of students and camp residents would descend upon the main square of the camp, carrying Palestinian flags and placards, to denounce the Balfour Declaration. Truthfully, my giddiness then was motivated largely by the fact that schools would inevitably shut down and, following a brief but bloody confrontation with the Israeli army, I would go home early to the loving embrace of my mother, where I would eat a snack and watch cartoons. At the time, I had no idea who Balfour actually was, and how his “declaration” all those years ago had altered the destiny of my family and, by extension, my life and the lives of my children as well. All I knew was that he was a bad person and, because of his terrible deed, we subsisted in a refugee camp, encircled by a violent army and by an ever-expanding graveyard filled with “martyrs” … Finally, I became fully aware of why Balfour was a “bad person.” Once Britain’s Prime Minister, then the Foreign Secretary from late 1916, Balfour had pledged my homeland to another people. That promise was made on November 2, 1917, on behalf of the British government in the form of a letter sent to the leader of the Jewish community in Britain, Walter Rothschild. At the time, Britain was not even in control of Palestine, which was still part of the Ottoman Empire. Either way, my homeland was never Balfour’s to so casually transfer to anyone else … The British government remains unrepentant after all these years. It has yet to take any measure of moral responsibility, however symbolic, for what it has done to the Palestinians … Balfour was hardly acting on his own. True, the Declaration bears his name, yet, in reality, he was a loyal agent of an empire with massive geopolitical designs, not only concerning Palestine alone, but with Palestine as part of a larger Arab landscape. Just a year earlier, another sinister document was introduced, albeit secretly. It was endorsed by another top British diplomat, Mark Sykes and, on behalf of France, by François Georges-Picot. The Russians were informed of the agreement, as they too had received a piece of the Ottoman cake. The document indicated that, once the Ottomans were soundly defeated, their territories, including Palestine, would be split among the prospective victorious parties. The Sykes-Picot Agreement, also known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was signed in secret 100 years ago, two years into World War I….
Al Jazeera 2 Nov by Ilan Pappe — The Balfour Declaration 99 years ago marked the beginning of a settler colonial project of tragic proportions — November is a painful month in the Palestinian calendar. It is dotted with commemorative days that have one theme in common: the partitioning of Palestine. Today is the 99th anniversary of the Balfour declaration. Although it did not offer partition, it sowed the seeds for it, which eventually allowed the Zionist movement to take over Palestine. On November 15, we commemorate the Palestinian Declaration of Independence (issued by the Palestinian National Council (PNC)), which was a reluctant national Palestinian consent to partition, notwithstanding the injustice and criminality involved in such an act. At the end of the month, on the 29th, we commemorate the UN General Assembly Resolution 181, which recommended in 1947 the partition of Palestine into two states. Put into the right chronological sequence, we can see a direct line between the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1947 UN partition resolution and the 1988 PNC’s document. It is worth our while to re-read Edward Said’s wise words about the Balfour Declaration.
“What is important about the Declaration is, first, that it has long formed the juridical basis of Zionist claims to Palestine, and second, more crucial for our purposes here, that it was a statement whose positional force can only be appreciated when the demographic, or human realities of Palestine are clearly understood. For the Declaration was made (a) by a European power (b) about a non-European territory (c) in a flat disregard of both the presences and the wishes of the native majority resident in that territory, and (d) it took the form of a promise about this same territory to another foreign group, that this foreign group might, quite literally, make this territory a national home for the Jewish people.”
In fact, it was more than that: It allowed a settler colonial movement, appearing very late in history, to envisage a triumphant project even before it set proper foot in the land or had a meaningful geographical and demographic presence there….