Bill to legalise settler-outposts advances in Israeli legislature
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 16 Nov by Jeffrey Heller — Israel’s parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a disputed bill that would retroactively legalize Jewish settlement outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The United States has described the measure, promoted by far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, as “troubling” and said it could pave the way for the legalization of dozens of outposts, built deep in the West Bank without Israeli government authorization. Outposts usually start with pre-fabricated huts on remote hilltops and lived in by a handful of settlers. Over time, they acquire Israeli military protection and hook up to water and electricity networks, slowly becoming more formalized, despite being regarded as illegal. The far-right Jewish Home party and members of Netanyahu’s Likud faction have pushed for the law, in part to try to circumvent a Supreme Court order to destroy the settlement outpost of Amona, where 40 families live on Palestinian-owned land. The demolition is set for Dec. 25. “To those of you who still don’t understand: The bill basically gives the go-head for annexing the territories. Welcome to the bi-national state,” Tzipi Livni, a leader of the center-left Zionist Union and a former foreign minister, tweeted after the vote was approved by 58-50. Israel’s attorney-general has said the proposed legislation likely violates international law and he would be hard-pressed to defend it against any challenges in the Supreme Court … Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of Jewish Home told parliament just before it voted 58-50 in favor of the bill that the Supreme court could “re-examine its moves” once parliament “changes the rules of the game”. The legislation offers monetary compensation or alternative plots to Palestinians who own land on which settlers have built homes without a formal state go-ahead. There are some 100 unauthorized settlement-outposts in the West Bank, where more than 350,000 Israelis live in other settlements built with government permission. Naftali Bennett, the leader of Jewish Home, said this week that the legislation, if approved, would legalize 2,000-3,000 outpost housing units, lived in by around 15,000 people.
Israeli settlement ruling sets new challenge for PM
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Nov — Israel’s high court Monday rejected a government bid to delay the evacuation of a wildcat Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, in a fresh challenge for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Amona outpost is under a court order to be evacuated by December 25 since it was built on private Palestinian land, but right-wingers in Netanyahu’s cabinet have called for the around 40 families living there to be allowed to remain. “The evacuation must occur before December 25,” the high court said in its ruling. “The court rejects the delay requested by the state.” In what seemed to be a sharp criticism of the government, it said that “the duty to obey rulings is not a matter of choice. It is an essential component of the rule of law to which all are bound as part of the values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” Whether the Netanyahu government moves ahead with the demolition of Amona has been seen as a test case of whether it will heed international calls to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank. The government, which had sought a seven-month delay while it considered where to move the Amona settlers, is seen as the most right-wing in Israel’s history. Key members of Netanyahu’s coalition advocate settlement building while openly opposing the idea of a Palestinian state. “We’re aware of the duress of the Amona residents and are acting in different ways to solve the problem,” Netanyahu told lawmakers from his Likud party on Monday … Netanyahu is concerned that controversy over settlements could provoke an international backlash and possibly prompt US President Barack Obama to seek a Security Council resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before he leaves office on January 20….
Settlers in Amona pledge to resist Israeli government-mandated evacuation
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Nov — Israeli settlers residing in the soon-to-be demolished illegal Amona outpost in the occupied West Bank held an emergency meeting on Monday evening following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to continue with evacuation plans in the community, and pledged to resist any demolitions carried out in the area. The Amona outpost, where at least 40 Israeli families reside, was slated for demolition in 2008 after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of Palestinians whose private land the settlement outpost was built on. The spokesperson for the Amona outpost, Avihai Boaron, was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying during the meeting that the settlers would “stand here like a bulwark” in response to the court’s decision, and called for those who supported the outpost’s resistance to construct a tent city at the outpost as a protest demonstration. Boaron also pleaded for the intervention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that “It’s up to you [Netanyahu] to save us or sacrifice us,” and urged him to pass legislation that could retroactively legalize the outpost. “Pass the bill and remove the sword of evacuation and transfer from over our heads,” Boaron was quoted as saying, referring to the so-called formalization bill being introduced in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, that could retroactively legalize some 232 Israeli outposts scattered across the West Bank — most built on private Palestinian land — which are considered illegal by the Israeli government….
After Amona ruling, Jerusalem asks court to approve demolition of Palestinian homes
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — In response to the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling to evacuate the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona in the occupied West Bank by the year’s end, the Jerusalem Municipality has reportedly demanded that the court in turn approve the immediate demolition of more than a dozen Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. Leading up to a court session regarding a petition by the state to postpone the evacuation of Amona, the implementation of which has faced almost a decade of delays amid widespread backlash from Israel’s right-wing government, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat threatened last week that dismantling the outpost would be met with the mass demolition of Palestinian homes lacking Israeli-issued building permits in occupied East Jerusalem. After the court emphatically decided to uphold the decision and reprimanded the Israeli government’s attempt to evade the rule of law, a legal advisor for the Jerusalem municipality submitted a request to the court to approve demolition orders for 14 homes housing some 40 Palestinians in the Beit Hanina neighborhood, according to a report Wednesday by Israeli news site Arutz Sheva. Barkat has claimed that thousands of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem lack the difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building licenses, arguing that they should be subject to the same standards applied to the decision to demolish Amona. “There cannot be one law for Jews and another law for Arabs.” the mayor reportedly said….
Palestinians denounce Israeli bill to legalise settler homes
RAMALLAH (AFP) 14 Nov — Palestinian leaders on Monday denounced an Israeli bill to legalise several thousand Jewish homes in the occupied West Bank, vowing to take up the issue at the UN Security Council. They also sharply criticised a separate bill that would limit the volume of calls to prayers at mosques in Israel and Jerusalem, a measure government watchdogs have called a threat to freedom of religion and a provocation. A committee of Israeli ministers adopted the two bills on Sunday, though they must still be approved by parliament. The settler bill had been pushed forward by Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the hardline Jewish Home party. Bennett last week called for an end to the idea of a Palestinian state after Donald Trump’s presidential election win in the United States. “The recent Israeli measures are going to lead to catastrophe in the region,” said Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. “The Palestinian leadership will turn to the UN Security Council and all other international organisations to stop those Israeli measures.” Palestinian foreign minister Riad al-Malki accused the Israeli government of seeking to “impose facts on the ground and create new realities by legalising the illegal actions that it commits.” UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said that the settlements bill and other such issues were “further pouring oil onto the fire.”….
Trump team urges Israeli right to tone down jubilation: media
AFP 16 Nov — Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday said Donald Trump’s aides were urging right-wing Israeli politicians to curb their public jubilation at his election as US president, Israeli media reported. Trump is seen as likely leading to a far more favourable policy toward Israel, though many analysts have cautioned his thinking remains unclear and he has proven himself to be unpredictable. “Israel has received messages from Trump transition team to ‘tone down’ their post-election enthusiasm & act with more humility,” the English-language Jerusalem Post’s Herb Keinon wrote on Twitter after Lieberman gave an off-camera briefing to Israeli diplomatic correspondents. “I hope that we have enough sense to stop the jubilation and public enthusiasm,” Haaretz Daily quoted Lieberman, of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, as saying. “It is undoubtedly damaging.”
Local media said Lieberman proposed Israel should strike a deal with the US president-elect under which it would freeze building in the more isolated of its West Bank settlements while ramping up construction in the major settlement blocs. “If the new administration agrees to that we should grab it with both hands,” Israeli army radio quoted him as saying. “It’s maybe not electorally popular but it’s the right thing to do.” It was certainly not popular with deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, which leans heavily on settler support. “The defence minister’s statement harms the Israeli interest and is not acceptable to the government,” she said in comments broadcast on public radio….
Violence / Detention — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers invade office of legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi
IMEMC 17 Nov — As part of massive Wednesday dawn invasions and breaking into homes, media centers and buildings, Israeli soldiers also invaded the office of Palestinian legislator and the head of the Palestinian National Initiative, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi. The soldiers broke into Dr. Barghouthi’s office, in Ramallah, amidst massive and violent invasions into dozens of homes, offices and media centers in different parts of the occupied West Bank, leading to excessive property damage, and many abductions. Dr. Saeb Erekat, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), strongly condemned the invasions and violations, that resulted in abducting, and wounding, dozens of Palestinians. Dr. Erekat added that the invasion into the office of Dr. Barghouthi, a democratically elected legislator, is a serious and direct violation of International Law, international treaties, and all signed agreements between Israel and the PLO.
Army invades a health and media center in Ramallah, injures three Palestinians
IMEMC 16 Nov — Dozens of soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, after detonating many doors and walls, violently searched it and injured three students. Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, a member of the Public Committee of the “Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute” (HDIP), said more than eight Israeli military vehicles invaded the Institute campus, before the soldiers detonated many of its doors and walls, and illegally confiscated equipment, including computers. Barghouthi denounced the serious Israeli violations, especially since the institute’s area of work is health and human rights, and considered it another attempt to silence health and legal human rights groups, and journalists. The soldiers fired many gas bombs, and concussion grenades, at students in the Institute, wounding three. Late on Tuesday at night, the soldiers invaded, the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, kidnapped two Palestinians and confiscated surveillance tapes and equipment
Clashes in Nablus after Israeli soldiers invaded dorms for female students
IMEMC 14 Nov — Media sources in Nablus, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, have reported that clashes took place between dozens of soldiers and local youths, after the army invaded the city, and stormed dorms for female students. The sources stated that the soldiers invaded the al-Khalili building, used as dorms for female college students, and searched it while interrogated many students. The attack led to clashes between the soldiers and dozens of local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading forces, while the army fired rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs….
Explosive device detonates near Israeli soldiers near Bethlehem, causing no injuries
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — An explosive device detonated near Israeli soldiers on Wednesday [Monday, according to Ynet] morning in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, causing no injuries. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the explosive detonated while Israeli soldiers were patrolling near the village of al-Khader, without wounding anyone. The spokesperson did not have further information on the nature of the explosive device, adding that Israeli forces were now investigating the case. Israeli website Rotter reported that the device was placed on a route used by Israeli military vehicles near Route 60, whereas Walla news said that the explosive was thrown at the army vehicle.
Israeli police launch detention campaign against Palestinian workers in Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Nov — Israeli police detained 47 undocumented Palestinians in the southern Israeli [Bedouin] city of Rahat in the Negev region, according to Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri, who said in a statement Tuesday that the raids were carried out by 250 Israeli police officers, special forces, and border guards. During the campaign, Israeli police also detained four people for employing the Palestinian workers, as well as five homeowners who employed Palestinians as construction workers to build their houses. The raids also targeted 37 Palestinians who Israeli police said were “wanted” by Israel. Five rifles were seized, and three suspects were detained for selling drugs during a sting operation by an undercover Israeli police officer. Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are forced to seek a living by working in Israel due to crippling unemployment in the occupied West Bank, as rights groups have stated that the growth of an independent Palestinian economy has been stifled under the ongoing Israeli military occupation.
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct ten Palestinians in the West Bank’
IMEMC 14 Nov — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers have abducted, overnight and earlier Monday, at least ten Palestinians, including a child, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, and injured five Palestinians near Jericho, including one who suffered serious wounds. The Hebron office of the PPS, in the southern part of the West Bank, said the soldiers invaded and searched many homes in the Hebron district, including the city itself, and abducted seven Palestinians … In Bethlehem, the soldiers abducted a child, identified as Mohammad Ibrahim Abu Yabes, 15, and summoned two others from Doha town, west of Bethlehem, for interrogation. The soldiers also invaded Salfit district, searched homes and abducted Ismael Aziz Mer’ey, 27. In Tulkarem, in the northern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted a man, identified as Hussein Nawwaf Jallad, 40 … Furthermore, the soldiers invaded al-‘Oja [or al-‘Auja] village, northeast of Jericho, and clashes with local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles at the military jeeps, while the soldiers fired live rounds, gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets. Medical sources said five Palestinians were injured, including one who suffered serious wounds before he was moved to a local hospital.
Israeli forces detain 16 Palestinians across occupied West Bank, Jerusalem
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 15 Nov — At least 16 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces across the occupied West Bank on Monday evening and during predawn raids Tuesday, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. Locals from the southern Hebron district told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained four Palestinians between Monday night and predawn Tuesday. Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad from the town of Beit Ummar north of Hebron, said Israeli forces detained Muhammad Ahmad Khumayyis, 37, after ransacking his house in the al-Bayada neighborhood around dawn. Awad added that Israeli soldiers broke into several other homes in the al-Bayada and Irq al-Lattoun neighborhoods, claiming they were searching for “wanted Palestinians.” Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained Abd al-Qadir Jabir al-Titi and his brother Shamikh from the nearby al-‘Arrub refugee camp. Separately, Israeli forces detained Dirar Nayif al-Fakhouri from the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron city on Monday evening, after soldiers claimed they found a knife in his possession. An Israeli army spokesperson said they would look into reports of al-Fakhouri’s detention and alleged knife possession. Local sources in occupied East Jerusalem told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed Silwan and al-‘Issawiya neighborhoods, and detained six Palestinian teenagers. Their identities remained unknown. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli forces detained two 13-year-old boys from Silwan on Tuesday morning. The two, she said, were suspected of throwing stones at four tourists traveling in a private Israeli vehicle last Friday in Silwan. She added that the boys confessed to the charges, highlighting that more suspects would be arrested. In the Bethlehem area village of Hussan, Israeli forces detained two Palestinian teenagers, who their families identified as Abd al-Rahman Tahir Zaol, 15, and Muhammad Issam Sabatin, 15….
Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians, including 12-year-old, in overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including a 12-year-old, during predawn detention raids carried out across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem on Wednesday, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. In occupied East Jerusalem, a 12-year-old Palestinian was detained, identified by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) as Ahmad Marrar, in addition to another Palestinian identified as Abd al-Rahim Barbar. In the southern West Bank district of Hebron, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the al-‘Arrub refugee camp. The detainees were identified by PPS as Ibrahim Atallah Jawabreh, 25, and Mustafa Jamal Abu Wardeh, 22. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed two detentions in al-Arrub. According to locals, Israeli forces fire live bullets and tear gas in al-‘Arrub, as Palestinian youths threw rocks at the soldiers. Several Palestinians were reported to have suffered from tear gas inhalation. Locals added that Israeli forces searched several houses and confiscated surveillance cameras. Two Palestinians were also detained from the Bethlehem area, identified by PPS as Wael Ismail Sbeih, 18, and Muhammad Issa Hmeid, 18. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that two Palestinians were detained from the Bethlehem-area villages of Tuqu‘ and Husan. In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, two Palestinians were detained, identified by PPS as Maen Imad Abu Tayyun, 25, and Jawad Muhammad al-Hajj Muhammad, 35. Meanwhile, in the West Bank district of Tubas, Israeli forces detained Raed Ahmad Subuh, 45, from the al-Fara refugee camp. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detention. An Israeli army spokesperson reported an additional detention in Qalqiliya….
Opinion: How to make revenge even sweeter / Amira Hass
Haaretz 16 Nov — Why does Israel need to imprison for 12 years a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who did not injure anyone? — The childish expression on his face, which the sadness has turned adult, is known to every Palestinian. In the Israeli media, only the first letter of his name, A. [Ahmed], is allowed to be published. That, and the fact that his trial was held behind closed doors was the sum total of proper treatment of a boy who was 13 years and 9 months old when he allegedly committed the crimes of which he was convicted. With all the rest – his arrest after the mob attack against him and his injury, the brutal interrogation, the extreme indictment, the verdict and the sentence – the legal system treated him precisely in the spirit the Israeli public demands: vengeance, vengeance, vengeance. The judges, Yoram Noam, Rivka Friedman-Feldman and Moshe Bar-Am, convicted him of two attempted murders, although he did not stab anyone. From the beginning A. told his interrogators and the judges that he and his cousin, Hassan Manasra, went out about a year ago to Pisgat Ze’ev to scare Jews with knives they were holding (because of how the Israeli regime harms the Palestinians), maybe to injure someone, but not to murder anyone. He was convicted because 15-year-old Manasra (the Border Police team could have arrested him but they executed him, as is the fashion around here) stabbed a young man and a boy. The judges did not attribute importance to A.’s testimony that from the start he and Manasra had decided not to hurt women, children or old people, they intentionally did not try to hurt an old man whom they came across on their way … “Today!” Judge Noam decreed on the day of sentencing last week. The boy must be taken immediately to prison (Megiddo). Vengeance is sweet and to sweeten it more the judges ordered the minor to pay compensation of 180,000 shekels ($46,870) to the injured parties. Let the family go completely broke, why not?….
Health of jailed Palestinian teen shot by Israeli soldiers improving
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — The health of a 15-year-old Palestinian detainee has improved, a week after he was shot and injured by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs. Committee lawyer Karim Ajwa said that Anas Zaid, a resident of al-Jalazun refugee camp in Ramallah, was being held by Israeli authorities at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and was reported to be in stable condition. Zaid was shot and injured in his right leg and left arm last week when Israeli soldiers opened fire at protesters near the Attara checkpoint, north of Ramallah, following a series of checkpoint and road closures across the district. After he was transferred to the hospital, Zaid underwent surgery in his right leg and was transferred to the orthopedic department for recovery. According to Ajwa, Zaid recounted the day of his injury, saying that he wasn’t involved in the protests or clashes near the checkpoint, but was merely trying to stop a taxi in order to go visit his relatives nearby when Israeli forces shot at him “without any reason.”
Israel to release detained Palestinian journalist after 8 months in prison
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — Israeli authorities are expected to release imprisoned Palestinian journalist Sami Said al-Saee on Thursday after detaining him for eight months for alleged incitement. Al-Saee’s wife told Sawt al-Asra (Voice of Prisoners) radio on Wednesday that her husband had served his sentence and was set to be released. She added that al-Saee had been interrogated for two weeks in the Huwwara military base when he was first detained, before being transferred to the Megiddo prison, then to the Gilboa detention center. Al-Saee, 37, is a married father of four residing in the Irtah neighborhood of the city of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank. He was working as a journalist for both Sawt al-Quds radio and New Dawn TV channel when he was detained by Israeli forces in March and later accused of inciting against Israeli authorities on social media.
In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians, including journalists, for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory since October 2015 was encouraged largely by “incitement.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization
9 Palestinian households lose source of income as owners forced to demolish shops
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — Two Palestinian residents of the Beit Hanina neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem were forced to demolish their own stores on Monday upon orders by Israel’s Jerusalem municipality. Nidal Ghaith and Muhammad al-Najjar told Ma‘an that they emptied their stores before they disassembled the roofs and demolished the walls. Al-Najjar said his 50-square-meter store, which was used as a fruit and vegetable market, was built nine years ago, and was the main source of income for four households. Meanwhile, Ghaith said his store was built three years ago and served as a shop for construction and sanitation material. He added that five households relied on the shop’s income. Both al-Najjar and Ghaith’s shops were given demolition orders by the municipality for being built without proper permits … Monday’s demolitions came a day after 12 Palestinians were left homeless when they were forced to demolish their apartments in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, also in accordance with a demolition order that claimed the apartments lacked proper permits….
Video: Israeli soldiers demolish a store, a stable, and a room in Jerusalem
IMEMC 15 Nov — Israeli soldiers demolished, on Tuesday at dawn, a store in Jabal al-Mokabber, a stable for horses and a hot house, in Silwan town, in occupied East Jerusalem. The soldiers invaded the al-Farouq area in Jabal al-Mokabber, southeast of Jerusalem, and demolished a store for what the army said “being built without a permit.” In addition, the army invaded the ath-Thoury neighborhood, in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and demolished an agricultural hothouse and a stable for horses, owned by Ala’ Issa Shweiki, who is also a former political prisoner. The attacks also led to damage to nearby property, and resulted in cutting and uprooting several trees. Shweiki told the WAFA News Agency that he never received a demolition order, and that his demolished stable was 200 square meters, built with bricks in addition to being roofed with tin plates, while the hothouse was 15 square meters. He added that the Jerusalem city council imposed, five years ago, a 40.000 Shekels fine, and that he has been paying it regularly.
Video: ‘Israeli colonists cause damage to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, attempt to occupy it’
IMEMC 17 Nov — Many extremist illegal Israeli colonists, living in an outpost above the Church of Holy Sepulcher, in occupied Jerusalem, attacked the church property, causing damage, and attempted to occupy a room belonging to the church. The attack caused excessive damage to the church property, while priests and church officials called the police, who later came to the church and were shown the damage. The Nativity TV in Bethlehem has published a video of the attack’s aftermath, also showing a Greek Orthodox priest talking to Israeli police officers while inspecting the damage. The video also shows illegal settlers in their outpost right above the building, with the Israeli flags raised above it.
Israeli forces demolish community center and home in Yatta
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Nov — Israeli occupation bulldozers, on Tuesday morning, demolished a community center and a home, in the Umm Al-Kheir community of Yatta town, southern Hebron Hills. Director of the center, engineer Aziz Al-Hathaleen, told the PNN that Israeli military jeeps broke into Umm Al-Kheir in the early morning hours. Israeli civil administration followed them, with a tank, and began the demolition process. Al-Hathaleen said that this is the second time the community center has been demolished, adding that Israeli forces continually harass the people and restrict their movement, as the community is located in Area C of the West Bank, which falls under Israeli civil and military control, and faces ongoing settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian houses. The Umm Al-Kheir community has faced demolition by Israeli soldiers many times, yet the community simply rebuilds it.
Israeli forces carry out spate of demolitions in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Nov — Israeli forces demolished several Palestinian structures, delivered demolition notices and detained a Palestinian man during demolition raids in the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron districts on Tuesday, locals told Ma‘an. Bethlehem district Hassan Breijiya, a representative of the local anti-wall and settlement committee in Bethlehem’s Cremisan Valley, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces demolished a “residential cave” in the Cremisan area, northwest of the town of Beit Jala. Breijiya said that Israeli forces raided and demolished the cave, and detained owner Nasri Abd al-Rabbo for the duration of the demolition. Breijiya added that Abd al-Rabbo and his family had been living in the residential cave for years “in an attempt to prevent Israel to take over his land for purposes related to Israeli settlement activity.” Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad added that Israeli forces issued a stop-work order to Issa Ibrahim Awad from Bethlehem, who owns nine dunams of land in the district, ordering him to stop working in his land. Awad had been using a bulldozer to carry out amendment works on his land in order to use it for agricultural purposes. Israeli forces gave him until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to leave his land or they would confiscate the bulldozer he had been using … Hebron district In the Hebron district, Israeli forces detained Sheikh Suleiman al-Hathalin, 65, and demolished a residential barracks and a tent, without previous notice, during a raid on the village of Um al-Kher al-Faqir in the south of Hebron. It remained unclear if the structures that were demolished belonged to al-Hathalin. Israeli forces also raided the southern part of the village of Beit Ummar in the northwestern Hebron district, and delivered demolition notices to two Palestinian houses, Awad told Ma‘an. Awad said that Israeli forces delivered demolition notices to Muhammad Said Attiya Awad for his 170-square-meter one-story house, and to Abd al-Rahman Sabri Abd al-Fatah Arar for his 150-square-meter one-story house. Awad noted that both homes were still under construction….
Pro-settler group returns to court to evict 9 Palestinian families in Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 — Ateret Cohanim, a pro-settler Israeli organization, has asked the Israeli courts to begin the evictions of nine Palestinian families in the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, according to Israeli media. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the total number of Palestinian families the settler group has attempted to evict has risen to 72, all of whom live in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan. Ateret Cohanim is an Israeli pro-settlement nonprofit organization — receiving tax-deductible donations from the United States through their financial intermediary American Friends of Ateret Cohanim — which focuses on “Judaizing” East Jerusalem through a Jewish reclamation project working to expand illegal settlements and facilitate Jewish takeover of Palestinian properties across the Green Line into Palestinian territory. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center obtained a map last year that detailed the group’s plans of confiscating 5,200 square meters of land in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan under claims that the properties were owned by Jews from Yemen since 1881. The land in question houses around 300 Palestinians, or 80 families, living in more than 30 buildings, according to the center. The area under threat was reportedly owned by Yemenite Jews since 1881, but was later abandoned and repurposed for Palestinian housing after the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 which established the state of Israel and displaced some 750,000 Palestinians….
Israeli Supreme Court rejects Palestinian village’s appeal over confiscated land
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — The Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by residents of the occupied West Bank village of al-Nabi Elyas over Israel’s confiscation of 100 dunams of Palestinian land, Israeli radio reported on Thursday. According to the Arabic-language Voice of Israel station, the court ruled on Wednesday that residents of al-Nabi Elyas in the district of Qalqiliya could not prove ownership of land which had been seized to build a road. The court claimed that the road, whose construction is expected to begin in January, would benefit both Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the area. The ruling added that if Palestinians were able to prove ownership of the land after the confiscation, they were allowed to demand compensation.
Israel approves master plan for Palestinian village in Area C
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Nov – In a rare move, Israel’s Civil Administration approved a master plan for a small Palestinian village in the northern occupied West Bank. In a statement received by Ma‘an on Tuesday, the Civil Administration, which controls zoning and construction in Area C of the West Bank, said that the higher zoning committee had approved a master plan for the Palestinian village of Tinnik in the Jenin district. The houses in the village, which has a population of some 1,000, are located in Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control — where Palestinians are rarely able to obtain Israeli-issued building permits. However, under the master plan, the already constructed houses, in addition to new houses, will be able to obtain Israeli building permits and avoid threats of Israeli demolitions. “The legal recognition of the village will allow for future development,” the statement read. The master plan was submitted by the village’s local council and dignitaries, and was approved after several meetings with Israeli Civil Administration officials. The Civil Administration is working on a project seeking to establish an economic passage between Jordan and Jericho, which will reportedly benefit the Palestinian population in the West Bank, the statement added.
Israel’s Muezzin bill seeks ‘Judaisation of Jerusalem’
Nazareth (Al Jazeera) 16 Nov by Jonathan Cook — The bill shows Israel’s growing intolerance towards its non-Jewish citizens, say Palestinian activists — Palestinian politicians in Israel have found an unexpected ally inside the government against a new bill banning mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the call to prayer. The so-called Muezzin Bill – named after the person who calls Muslims to prayer – was approved by a ministerial committee on Sunday, on the grounds that it is needed to reduce “noise pollution” from mosques. A first vote in the Israeli parliament on the legislation – due on Wednesday – had to be delayed, however, after a small Jewish religious party raised objections. Yaakov Litzman, the health minister, was reported to be concerned that the legislation’s current wording, which refers simply to “houses of worship”, might also cover synagogues. Sirens are often used to announce the start and end of the Sabbath … “This bill is the ugly product of Islamophobia that has come to dominate Israel,” said Thabet Abu Ras, of the Abraham Fund, which promotes better relations between Israel’s Jewish and Palestinian citizens. “Now the government will try to reframe the bill to satisfy the Jewish religious parties so that it can proceed.” … A report commissioned by the Israeli parliament in 2011 found that several European countries had placed restrictions on the call to prayer, including France, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands … Haneen Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, called the comparison with Europe “ridiculous”. She told Al Jazeera: “If Netanyahu really admires Europe so much, what is preventing him from going back there?” She added that Jews who were offended by the sound of the mosque were those who had chosen to settle near Palestinian communities in Israel or the occupied territories. “The issue is not about noise in their ears but about the noise in their minds. What disturbs them so much is the noise of the Palestinians’ presence in their own homeland. “Netanyahu and the other racists in the government still behave like colonialists who refuse to internalise that they should be part of the region they live in.”….
Israel partially reopens Ramallah checkpoint after 2 weeks of closure
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — Israeli authorities on Monday partially reopened the Beit El checkpoint, which connects the eastern Ramallah district with the central occupied West Bank cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh, after almost two weeks of closure, according to Palestinian officials. The checkpoint, which is located near the illegal Israeli Beit El settlement, had been closed since Nov. 1 after Israeli soldiers shot and killed 25-year-old Palestinian policeman Muhammad Turkman, who committed a shooting attack at the checkpoint injuring three soldiers. Only holders of VIP cards, which the Israeli Civil Administration issues to Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and businessmen as well as foreign diplomats, will be allowed to leave Ramallah through the checkpoint, while ordinary citizens in private vehicles will be allowed to enter the city through the checkpoint, according to Palestinian liaison officials. Taxis and trucks will not be able to pass in either direction. The Ramallah district was the site of widespread closures and clashes last week, in the wake of two attempted attacks on Israeli soldiers in the area in the span of a week.http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=773967
Mere weeks after last closure, Israeli forces block roads in Hebron area
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — Israeli forces closed off two roads in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Monday morning. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces placed concrete blocks in the middle of the road near the village of Beit Einun, effectively cutting off two roads leading to the city of Hebron and the nearby village of Sair … The road had been reopened in late October after weeks of closure. An entrance to Beit Einun had previously been closed by an iron gate for nearly a year before being reopened for only a day in September.
Damaged power lines and generator strain electricity supply in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 17 Nov — Several Egyptian power lines and a power generator in the southern Gaza Strip were damaged on Thursday, causing further strain on the besieged Palestinian enclave’s tenuous electricity supply. A spokesperson for Gaza’s electricity company said that a generator had been damaged in Gaza’s sole power plant, leaving only one generator working. The spokesperson added that several Egyptian power lines which had recently been repaired had once again been damaged and the electricity supply through these lines would be cut off to conduct repairs, impacting many districts of the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, Gaza’s power authority confirmed on Wednesday its readiness to pay all costs for additional electricity supplies from Israel, and to take full financial responsibility of the management of the blockaded Palestinian territory’s electricity sector in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority. The power authority added that increasing the power supply to the Gaza supply was vital to ensure the proper functioning of basic services, particularly for foreign-funded projects. The authority notably mentioned a World Bank-funded project to repair the sewage system in northern Gaza which has been on hold for two years, a German-funded project to repair the central Gaza sewage station, and a UNICEF water desalination project, which have all been delayed due to insufficient electricity access….
Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza opens for third consecutive day
GAZA (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian border and crossing committee. Egyptian authorities announced on Sunday that they would open the Rafah crossing for five consecutive days, beginning Monday morning and ending Friday evening, only for humanitarian cases, students, holders of Egyptian passports, patients and visa holders. The committee said on Wednesday that students whose names were registered in the committee’s records would be allowed to travel through the crossing on Thursday and Friday, the last two days the crossing would remain open. The committee added that six buses left the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, including one bus transporting Palestinians qualifying as humanitarian cases, a bus of Palestinians with Egyptian passports, and another transporting Palestinian holders of Egyptian permits. Several buses also transported Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side back into the besieged coastal enclave, the committee noted. According to the committee, 386 Palestinians were able to cross into Egypt through the crossing on Tuesday, while 274 arrived in the Gaza Strip. However, 30 Palestinian were denied entry by Egyptian authorities for unknown reasons….
Israeli navy opens fire on fishing boats in Gaza
IMEMC 15 Nov — Israeli navy ships opened fire, earlier Tuesday, targeting a number of Palestinian fishing boats, close to the shore in Gaza Sea, and chased several boats back to the shore. The navy fired dozens of live rounds towards the fishing boats, while fishing less than four nautical miles in Gaza territorial waters, and chased several boats back to the shore while using water cannons to flood them. The attack caused excessive property damage to several boats, but did not lead to injuries, or arrests.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian businessman at Erez crossing
GAZA (Ma‘an) 14 Nov — Israeli forces detained and interrogated a Palestinian businessman, identified as Raed Rashad Abu Shamlakh, on Monday at the Erez crossing as he attempted to enter Israel from the besieged Gaza Strip, a source at the Palestinian liaison office told Ma‘an. Israeli forces have detained around 20 businessmen from Gaza since the start of 2016 for various reasons, the source said. A spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, did not respond to Ma‘an’s request for comment on Monday.
Israel confiscates truck allegedly transporting rocket building materials to Gaza
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 Nov – COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, said on Wednesday that they managed to stop a truck attempting to carry materials used to build rockets into the blockaded Gaza Strip. “Today, a truck with home electronics and spare parts arrived to the Kerem Shalom crossing. Hamas, however, had other plans,” a statement on the official Facebook page for COGAT said.“They attempted to hide stainless steal (sic) metal, which is used to build rockets, inside the goods. Those rockets could have been used to hit Israeli civilians and take innocent lives,” the statement continued.“This is not new, but still distressing — Hamas terrorists rather hurt Israeli civilians than help their own citizens!” The statement concluded by saying all the goods were seized, and that “for the first time” the truck itself was also seized. “We must battle the deadly threat of terror with strong measures. The safety of Israel comes first.”….
Gaza Education Ministry: 15 new schools to open in 2017
GAZA (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — In the besieged Gaza Strip, 15 newly established schools are set to open their doors at the beginning of the new school year in 2017, the deputy minister of Gaza’s education ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. Ziab Thabet said that the ministry had established 15 new schools in the small Palestinian territory, and that the schools would be opened in the next school year despite lack of school materials and the Palestinian government’s refusal to employ new teachers, which has caused strain on the school systems. Thabet added that the schools were ready to enroll thousands of students, noting that the lack of teachers has remained the central issue facing the school’s future. Despite this, Thabet said that establishing more schools, providing suitable education environments, and amending old schools were the ministry’s top priority. Thabet underscored what he believed to be a great achievement of constructing the schools amid the near decade-long Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli ban on importing construction materials … Last month, the UN released a report detailing the multitude of challenges facing Palestinian students in the besieged Gaza Strip, whom have grown up most or all of their lives under a crippling Israeli-imposed siege….
Turkey rebuilds Gaza mosques destroyed in Israeli offensive
ISTANBUL (Daily Saban/Anadolu Agency) 15 Nov — Nine mosques that were destroyed by the Israelis in a military offensive launched on the blockaded Gaza Strip in 2014 have been rebuilt in a project initiated by Turkey’s Religious Affairs Presidency Foundation and will officially be opened next month, Turkish authorities announced yesterday. The opening of the mosques marks the completion of a reconstruction project announced by the Turkish foundation last year that cost an estimated $4.5 million. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Religious Endowments, 64 mosques were destroyed and 150 others partially damaged during Israel’s deadly military offensive in 2014. The Israeli army pounded the blockaded Gaza Strip with airstrikes, military assaults and used warships in the Mediterranean for seven weeks to pursue the ostensible aim of intercepting Palestinian rocket fire. The project includes the Hasan al-Banna Mosque where 10 people were killed in Israeli gunfire and the Safa Mosque, a place of worship built in the 1940s that was also destroyed during the 2014 offensive….
100 Gazan homes get new roofs
MEMO 15 Nov — One hundred homes in the Gaza Strip are having their roofs fixed or reconstructed by the Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs. The campaign, which costs $80,000, has been launched in preparation of the winter season, according to Hassan Al-Saifi, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf in Gaza. The campaign aims to serve those in need who are suffering every winter from rain water leaking into their homes. There are many of these cases in the Palestinian refugee camps. A home in Al-Shati Camp has already started to be built for the Filfil family living in the camp. They have expressed their joy and gratitude to the contributors for building a new roof for their home, as rainwater has damaged their home and furniture. The Filfil family currently use corrugated iron sheets as a makeshift solution.
Palestinians fume as Gaza cartoonist ridicules Arafat
RAMALLAH (Gulf News) 15 Nov by Nasouh Nazzal — Dozens of Gazans loyal to the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat have filed a lawsuit against a controversial cartoonist who published offending caricatures of the iconic leader on the anniversary of his death and the Palestinian “Day of Independence.” The Gazans, led by Saleh Rashad Saqallah, lodged the complaint against the Hamas-affiliated cartoonist and caricaturist, Bahaa Yassin, with Gaza Attorney General Esmail Jaber, who accepted the complaint and promised that it would be processed through the official legal channels. A similar complaint was lodged with the Government Media Centre, which has also pledged to investigate the matter. The Islamist movement Hamas, which has been ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007, following a brief civil war, has vowed to prosecute and punish those who incite divisions among Palestinians. For many Palestinians, Arafat is a symbol of Palestinian resistance, steadfastness and liberation from the Israeli occupation. Arafat however failed to bring independence for his people from the brutal Israeli occupation. The recent anti-Arafat statements and caricatures published by Yassin have caused a stir in Palestinian society, setting social media on fire. In one image, Arafat is depicted as a mouse with his well-known keffiyah (headdress) on his head. Yassin also called Arafat “Abu Himar” (father of a donkey), playing on his nickname, Abu Ammar. “Eighteen community leaders have signed the lawsuit filed against Yassin, and we will go all the way to ensure that the cartoonist receives the necessary trial and punishment,” Saqallah told Gulf News. “This time, we will not accept an apology. Yassin has crossed too many lines, and it is not his first violation against the Palestinian people and their leaders.”….
Lieberman’s airport comment not so ridiculous, says Gaza activist
Al-Monitor 15 Nov by Daoud Kuttab — Though a UN envoy dismissed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s recent claim that Israel would be the “first to invest” in a Gaza airport as a “distraction,” coverage of the minister’s remarks has drawn attention to a proposed UN-administered facility approved by both Hamas and the Palestinian president — In an Oct. 24 interview with the widely circulated Palestinian daily Al-Quds, Avigdor Liberman offered the formula for a possible Gazan port and airport. “If they make the decision to stop digging tunnels, smuggling arms and firing rockets at us, we will be the first to invest in a port, an airport and industrial areas.” The strange thing about this statement was that it didn’t include the usual Israeli call for completely disarming Gaza, and that Liberman volunteered to talk about the port and airport without being asked about them. Ahmed Alkhatib, a Palestinian-American aviation visionary who has been advocating for a UN-administered airport for some time, was quick to note the opening provided by Liberman in the interview … Alkhatib told Al-Monitor that the concept is not new for either the UN or for Gaza, saying, “In the 1950s and 1960s, the UN operated an airport in Gaza, and that history is well-documented by the UN and others.” Alkhatib’s idea is that the UN, working with third parties, would be fully responsible for managing the airport, avoiding the current political and security complications of travel. “The third party running the airport for the UN could be any country or organization that Israel would approve. It could come from NATO if that would put the Israelis at ease,” he said.
Nablus mayor: Autopsy confirms woman killed in clashes was not shot by police
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 16 Nov — Nablus Mayor Akram al-Rujoub said in a statement on Wednesday that an autopsy revealed that the bullet that killed a woman in a shootout between Palestinian police and armed locals was not fired by Palestinian police. Early Wednesday morning, clashes broke out after Palestinian gunmen allegedly attacked members of Palestinian security forces in Nablus’ Old City during an Israeli army raid into the area. Three Palestinian officers were left injured in the shootout and 39-year-old Hilda Bassam al-Asta was fatally shot in the chest. Al-Rujoub said Wednesday evening that an autopsy revealed al-Asta was shot by an M16 rifle bullet. He claimed that because Palestinian security forces do not possess M16s, the armed men, who do carry those weapons, were responsible for her death. He added that the gunmen had also attacked the headquarters of the Palestinian security forces amid the clashes, which he confirmed took place in the presence of Israeli army forces who had raided the Old City. According to the mayor, three of the shooters were able to escape to Balata refugee camp after they forced a taxi driver to take them there at gunpoint, the taxi driver told police. Al-Rujoub said that the gunmen very heavily armed and fired more than 1,400 shots from M16 rifles at the scene of the shooting, which he claimed indicated that they planned and prepared for the attack in advance. He also said that Palestinians security forces identified the three armed men, but were withholding publishing their identities. The Nablus district has been the site of violent clashes involving Palestinian security forces since a massive security crackdown was launched across the West Bank, which turned deadly in August when two policemen were killed during a raid in the Old City of Nablus to uncover weapons and make arrests.
UN envoy warns West Bank camp could ‘explode’
Balata (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 14 Nov — The UN’s top official on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process said Monday he was concerned the West Bank’s largest refugee camp could “explode” if intra-Palestinian clashes worsen, during a rare visit to the Balata camp. In what his officials said was the first visit in “years” by a top UN official to the camp near Nablus in the northern West Bank, Middle East peace envoy Nikolay Mladenov met with civil society figures and politicians including those believed to be opposed to President Mahmud Abbas. Balata has seen an uptick of violence in recent weeks, with Palestinian security officials attempting a series of raids to capture alleged criminals in the camp — leading to gun battles. Analysts say Abbas sees the camp as a base for support for his political rival Mohammed Dahlan, who is currently in exile in the United Arab Emirates. Mladenov said he had visited the camp to send a message that the “international community is watching” the situation on the ground. “If you forget about these communities they will explode,” he said in an interview with AFP. Balata, where 30,000 people live in 25 hectares (62 acres), is the largest Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank and played a key role in previous Palestinian intifadas, or uprisings, against Israel. The lives of residents have worsened as the camps have been left behind economically compared with major Palestinian cities, said Mukhaimer Abusada, professor of politics at Azhar University. “Dahlan, who is the main competitor against Abu Mazen, has exploited the situation in the camps by offering some assistance to those in the camps,” said Abusada….
PLO marks the 28th anniversary Palestinian Declaration of Independence
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 15 Nov — On the 28th anniversary of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat lauded the “historic declaration” for its role in paving the way for Palestinian statehood. In a statement Tuesday, Erekat called on the international community to fulfill its “political and ethical duties” in order to “translate this declaration into a reality, by embodying the state of Palestine on the ground.” That declaration of independence, he said, laid the foundation for future achievements “towards realizing the legitimate rights of our people.” Erekat said that in spite of the Israeli government’s attempts to “eradicate” the Palestinian identity and its ongoing violations of international law, several successes have been made since the declaration for the Palestinian cause on an international level. The Palestinian Declaration of Independence was proclaimed by Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the PLO, on Nov. 15, 1988, during the 19th session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) in Algiers. Arafat became the first president of the state of Palestine. The 12-page declaration was written by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and was adopted by the PNC, the legislative body of the PLO. The document came amid the first Palestinian uprising (Intifada), which broke out a year earlier….
UNRWA headquarters on strike in West Bank and Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Nov — The employees at all United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) headquarters, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, launched a strike on Monday, in a response to the systematic neglect of the international agency and its denial of the rights of refugees and staff. The head of the UNRWA Employees Union, Sohail Al-Hindi, explained that the strike includes all UNRWA facilities, including education and health. This time, according to Al Ray, the strike includes only Gaza City, and the cities in the northern occupied West Bank (Jenin-Nablus-Tulkarem, etc.), while the events will extend to include all regions under UNRWA provision, in the event of failure to respond to demands, Al-Hindi added. According to al-Hindi, the union has also demanded that UNRWA increase salaries to reflect the high cost of living, and to stop reducing services which the organization previously offered to Palestinian refugees.
The Israeli company that fenced in Gaza climbs 19% on Trump’s wall
Bloomberg 14 Nov by Jonathan Ferziger — Magal Security Systems Ltd., an Israeli builder of sensor-laden border fences and walls, rose 6 percent Monday, capping a 19 percent advance since Donald Trump’s U.S. election victory. Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall on the Mexico border may have helped drive the rally, Magal Chief Executive Officer Saar Koursh said. “It seems clear that Trump is going to put more investment into security on U.S. borders,” Koursh said in an interview. Yehud, Israel-based Magal’s stock, which trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market, rose 6 percent, to $5.30 at 3:29 p.m. in New York. The shares rallied 9.9 percent the day after Republican Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 vote. Magal built the anti-terrorist fence that wraps the Gaza Strip and Koursh said in an August interview that he hoped the company would win part of the contract to build the Mexico wall.
Israeli minister: Trump election is time to ‘reset’ policies
JERUSALEM (AP) by Josef Federman — A senior Israeli Cabinet minister on Monday said the election of Donald Trump has helped create an opportunity for Israel to abandon its stated commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The remarks by Naftali Bennett reflect sentiment in the nationalist Israeli right wing that Trump’s election could usher in a new era of relations with the United States. While the two countries are close allies, relations were sometimes tense between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because of their vastly different world views. Bennett last week welcomed Trump’s election, predicting that “the special relationship” with the U.S. would grow stronger and noting that the Republican campaign platform had no mention of a Palestinian state. “The era of a Palestinian state is over,” he declared at the time. Speaking to foreign reporters on Monday, Bennett was more cautious, citing an order by Netanyahu for his Cabinet not to talk about the election in public. But he made clear that he will push his own government to rethink its commitment to Palestinian independence. “The combination of the changes in the United States, in Europe and the region provide Israel with a unique opportunity to reset and rethink everything,” Bennett said. “It’s no secret that I think that the notion of setting up a Palestine in the heart of Israel is a profound mistake,” he added….
Egypt condemns Israeli bill that could approve settlements
JERUSALEM (AP) 15 Nov — Egypt has condemned an Israeli bill that, if adopted, would legalize settlements built without government permission in the West Bank — territory Palestinians claim as part of their future state. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid expressed Egypt’s “deep concern” on Tuesday over the bill, which needs to pass several stages to be adopted. It was promoted by the pro-settler Jewish Home party in part to stop the evacuation of Amona, an outpost that Israel’s Supreme Court ruled was built on private Palestinian land and ordered demolished by Dec. 25. Amona’s fate could destabilize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line coalition….
Egyptian court overturns ex-president Mursi’s death sentence
CAIRO (Reuters) 15 Nov — Egypt’s Court of Cassation on Tuesday overturned a death sentence against deposed president Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered a retrial. Mursi was sentenced to death in June 2015 in connection with a mass jail break during Egypt’s 2011 uprising. Mursi, democratically elected after the revolution, was overthrown in mid-2013 by then-general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now the president, following mass protests against his rule, and immediately arrested. Tuesday’s court ruling means that Mursi is no longer under threat of execution, although he is serving three lengthy jail sentences. Since toppling Mursi, Sisi has clamped down on dissent. Mass trials have been held for thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, and hundreds have received death sentences or lengthy prison terms. Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud, the Brotherhood’s lawyer, said the Court of Cassation had applied the law correctly. “The ruling was expected because (Mursi’s conviction) was legally flawed, and we are waiting for the retrial.”….
Turkey names new ambassador to Israel in reciprocal move
Reuters 16 Nov — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan named a new ambassador to Israel on Wednesday, reciprocating a move by the Israelis a day earlier – steps towards restoring diplomatic ties between the once-close allies that broke down in 2010. Israel and Turkey said in June they would normalise relations – a rapprochement driven by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals as well as mutual fears over security risks in the Middle East. “We are appointing as ambassador to Israel Kemal Okem, our prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser,” Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara before leaving on an official visit to Pakistan. On Tuesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said Eitan Na’eh, currently deputy ambassador in London, had been appointed ambassador in Ankara. It was not immediately announced when he would take up his post….
Pressure grows on Facebook over censorship
EI 16 Nov by Charlotte Silver — Pressure is growing on Facebook to shed light on its decisions to censor content and user accounts. “It’s not just a platform where people are getting news, but it’s increasingly a platform where people are documenting human rights injustices and breaking news,” Chinyere Tutashinda of the Center for Media Justice told The Guardian last month. The Center for Media Justice is one of more than 70 organizations that wrote to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding that his company adopt a more transparent policy on removing content. Palestine Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, Color of Change, 18MillionRising and Dream Defenders also signed the letter, which specifically points to the disabling of Palestinian journalists’ accounts and the removal of Black activists’ content as examples of Facebook’s censorship.It also refers to the deactivation of the account of Korryn Gaines….
Israeli army jails two new conscientious objectors
+972 mag 16 Nov by Haggai Matar — Dozens accompany the two young women as they declare their refusal to serve in the occupation — Two Israeli conscientious objectors declared their refusal to serve in the occupation Wednesday morning at the IDF’s Tel Hashomer induction base outside Tel Aviv. The two young women, Tamar Alon of Tel Aviv and Tamar Ze’evi of Jerusalem, are expected to be sentenced to military prison within a matter of hours, after which they will be sent back to the induction base where they can be sentenced to another stint in prison — a cycle which can continue for months. [Update: A military tribunal sentenced Alon and Ze’evi to two days in prison each, after which they will be brought back for another hearing and possible sentencing.] Around 80 supporters accompanied the two conscientious objectors to the military induction base, carrying supportive signs and calling out slogans demanding the pair’s release and the end of Israel’s military rule over the Palestinians. The solidarity protest was organized by the “Mesarvot” (the Hebrew word for “refusers,” in the female tense). Among the protesters was Member of Knesset Yousef Jabareen, who called the two refuseniks “a ray of light” in dark times, noting how symbolic it is that they declared their refusal on the same day the Knesset is expected to vote on a law that would retroactively legalize the theft of Palestinian land. Also speaking at the solidarity protest was conscientious objector Tair Kaminer, who spent five months in military prison earlier this year for her refusal to serve in the occupation. Kaminer told the new objectors that as they enter prison a silence will fall upon them, but they should remember that their actions are actually breaking that silence and that they will draw support from all over the world. The protest caught the attention of many other Israeli youngsters who were being drafted into the army on the same day, as well as their friends and families who gathered to see them off. Some of them cursed and spat at the refuseniks and their supporters, and accused them of treason….
New lawsuit challenges US weapons sales to Israel
EI 15 Nov by Charlotte Silver — The US government is being sued for authorizing massive weapons deliveries to Israel. A new lawsuit notes that the State Department approved the export of more than 47 million rounds of ammunition to Israel between 2007 and 2009. That was enough to “injure or kill every Palestinian living under occupation 10 times over,” according to the lawsuit. Filed in a district court in Washington, DC, the complaint argues that by sending military aid and approving weapons sales to Israel, the US is violating its own legislation. Under the Foreign Assistance Act, the US government is required to halt aid to countries that violate human rights with impunity or have used US military equipment for anything but self-defense. “I’m not asking the court to resolve a longstanding debate,” Martin McMahon, the main attorney involved in the lawsuit, told The Electronic Intifada. “I’m asking the court to enforce the current laws.” The lawsuit follows the Obama administration’s recent approval of a military aid program to Israel worth $38 billion over a 10-year period … It also follows last week’s election of Donald Trump as US president. The Republican Party platform on which Trump’s campaign was fought contains strong commitments to keep arming Israel. Claiming that US citizens have a “strong desire for a relationship with no daylight between America and Israel,” the platform pledges to “ensure that Israel has a qualitative military edge over any and all adversaries.” The lawsuit plaintiffs include around 30 Americans, some of whom are originally Palestinian or have Israeli citizenship. One of the lawsuit’s objectives is to uphold the so-called Leahy law, an amendment to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act. That law – dating from 1997 – prohibits US military aid to governments which systematically violate human rights….
The founding myths of Israel / Khelil Bouarrouj
PS blog 14 Nov — These myths all served to anchor a narrative of righteous nationalism, which is still potent today. Dispelling this fiction is the first step toward correcting the record — Recently, a veteran of the 1973 October War admitted on Israel’s Channel 2 news that he had made up one of the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) most hallowed tales of “heroism” in order to boost soldiers’ morale. Greengold, whom Nafshi credited with single-handedly destroying 60 Syrian tanks, thus holding off the Syrian offensive in the occupied Golan Heights. Greengold later received the IDF’s highest military honor, the Medal of Valor. “What did you want?” an unapologetic Nafshi said in the news broadcast. “We needed some kind of story.” Nafshi’s admission raises questions about other stories Israel has spun to salvage Zionism’s legitimacy. –A land without a people for a people without a land– Perhaps the earliest story buttressing Zionist myth-making originated with Christian Zionists advocating the “return” of European Jewry to Palestine in the middle of the nineteenth century. Israel Zangwill, an ally of Theodore Herzl, the founder of political Zionism, popularized this myth. In 1901, Zangwill told a British audience that “Palestine has but a small population … Restore the country without a people to the people without a country.”