Violence / Detention — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces fire tear gas at memorial event of Fatah minister beaten to death by Israeli forces
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Israeli forces on Friday dispersed with tear gas canisters a memorial ceremony for slain Palestinian Ziad Abu Ein, 55, in the town of Turmus‘ayya in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Abu Ein’s family and the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission demonstrated in the town to commemorate the two year anniversary of Abu Ein’s death. Abu Ein was a Palestinian politician, minister and a member of the Fatah movement’s revolutionary council. Abu Ein died after an Israeli border police officer beat him in the chest with his helmet and the butt of his rifle on December 10, 2014, following a 300-person march to plant olive trees in the town. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters at Friday’s memorial ceremony participants, causing three people to suffer from suffocation. Participants laid flowers on Abu Ein’s shrine, which was constructed in the same place he was beaten to death. Participants also gave speeches reaffirming that they would “follow that path of Abu Ein in fighting the Israeli occupation,” adding that the “Israelis war criminals” who killed Abu Ein must be prosecuted.
In August of this year, Israeli police closed its investigation into Abu Ein’s death, concluding that he had “died of natural causes.” Israeli news website Arutz Sheva reported at the time that an autopsy by the police department of internal investigations concluded that Abu Ein died of a heart attack. Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din, which represents Abu Ein’s family in the case, expressed its outrage at the police’s decision to close the case without ever interrogating the border policeman suspected of killing Abu Ein or asking him to testify. “Most cases of Israeli violence against Palestinians are closed. But we expected that at least a proper investigation would take place,” Yesh Din spokesman Gilad Grossman told Ma‘an on Wednesday. “This shows Israeli armed forces’ impunity when committing violence against Palestinian civilians.”….
Israeli forces violently suppress clashes in Shu‘fat refugee camp
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — Israeli forces violently suppressed clashes overnight Wednesday in Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, leaving several injured by rubber-coated steel bullets, while four Palestinian youths were assaulted and detained, locals sources said. Fatah party spokesperson in Shu‘fat refugee camp Thaer Fasfous told Ma‘an that Israeli forces heavily deployed in the camp and took pictures of several buildings, causing clashes to erupt. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinian youth during the clashes, which Fasfous said lasted for hours on end. Fasfous said that seven Palestinian youths were shot and injured by rubber-coated steel bullets while many others suffered severe tear gas inhalation. He added that Israeli forces “ambushed” four Palestinian youths, assaulted them, and led them to the Israeli military checkpoint installed at the camp’s entrance. It remained unclear whether the four were still being detained as of Wednesday afternoon … Shu‘fat refugee camp is located in northeastern Jerusalem within Israel’s municipal boundaries of the city, but is encircled on three sides by Israel’s separation wall, forcing residents to pass through a congested military checkpoint to access the rest of Jerusalem where most claim residency status. In September, the camp experienced at least seven consecutive days of violent raids in the weeks following a fatal shooting of a camp resident by Israeli forces while he was driving home.
Israel detains two Palestinians, assaults woman in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 11 Dec – Israeli forces last night detained at least two Palestinians and brutally assaulted a woman during raids in the West Bank districts of Hebron and Jerusalem, according to local sources. Israeli forces reportedly detained one Palestinian from the town of Dora, southwest of Hebron, and another one from the village of Hazma, northeast of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops broke into the town of Shuyukh, northeast of Hebron, and raided a house, searched it and sabotaged its furniture, during which they assaulted the wife of the house’s owner, causing her serious bruises in her chest. She was transferred to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.
Israeli troops attack Palestinian villagers near Hebron
IMEMC 9 Dec — Dozens of Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation Friday when Israeli troops invaded the village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, and fired tear gas canisters. The soldiers invaded the town with armored vehicles, jeeps, and numerous soldiers armed with automatic weapons. According to local sources, the soldiers pointed their weapons at children and shouted at village youth in Hebrew. When some children remained on the street, Israeli troops fired tear gas canisters directly at them, causing dozens of children and adults to suffer from tear gas inhalation. Most were treated on-site by medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, who were called to the scene by local residents, and arrived in the center of town with an ambulance equipped with oxygen and other lifesaving equipment. Following the initial assault by Israeli forces, local sources reported that some teen boys and young men began to throw stones at the soldiers’ vehicles, shouting at them to “Get out of our town”. Israeli forces have frequently invaded Beit Ummar, as Israeli settlements encroach closer onto village land, and the route of the Israeli Annexation Wall snakes through land confiscated from Palestinian villagers just outside the village. The Israeli military has engaged in dozens of raids on Palestinian villages in recent weeks, with the invasions reaching a peak in the two week period prior to November 29th, in which 252 raids were carried out in just 14 days.
Police raid media center in East Jerusalem, detain staff
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 Dec – Israeli police raided on Thursday Elia for Media offices on Salah Eddin Street in East Jerusalem and detained two employees, according to staff. They said police detained reporter Luma Ghousheh and photojournalist Yasmini Adeleh. No reason was given for the raid or the detention. The staff said police seized computers and other office contents. The media’s Facebook page says its purpose is capacity building for Jerusalem youth.
15-year-old Palestinian girl detained at Qalqiliya checkpoint for running in restricted area
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli forces detained a 15-year-old Palestinian girl on Saturday morning at the 109 checkpoint south of Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank, for allegedly running toward the checkpoint. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces fired warning shots in the air before detaining Qalqiliya resident Nawras Ali Zamari,15, and taking her in for interrogation. Israeli media quoted Israeli forces in a statement saying that Zamari was “wearing manly clothes” and was running in an area of the checkpoint that is banned for Palestinians, “while putting one of her hands in her pocket.” The statement added that soldiers detained the teenager without harming her.
Palestinians arrested for allegedly planning to kidnap Israelis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec– Several Palestinians have been arrested after they were accused of being involved in a “Hamas terror cell” allegedly planning to kidnap Israelis, the Israeli army told Ma‘an on Thursday. A joint operation between the Israel Security Authority, Israeli police, and the Israeli army recently apprehended the men, who an Israeli army spokesperson said were planning to “carry out terror attacks and abductions against civilians and Israeli forces.” The spokesperson added that during the arrest, Israeli forces uncovered and seized a large amount of weaponry that they said belonged to the men. According to a report from Israeli news site Ynet, the cell was comprised of seven men and based in Surif and Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank, and intended to carry out the abductions as a bargaining chip to release Palestinian political prisoners. The news emerged on Thursday after an Israeli authorities-issued gag order on the case was lifted. Just a day prior, Israeli authorities also lifted a gag order on the arrest of another “terror cell” based in the village of Silwad in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah … Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan urged Palestinian resistance fighters this week to capture Israeli soldiers in order to position them as a bargaining chip to force Israeli authorities into releasing Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons….
Israeli forces detain 24 Palestinians and seize rifle in widespread overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Israeli forces carried out wide-reaching military raids across the occupied West Bank before dawn on Thursday, detaining at least 23 Palestinians over alleged security reasons, with the Israeli army saying they uncovered a Kalashnikov in the city of Yatta. According to a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), five Palestinians were detained in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, identified as Mohammad Yassir Hassan Qawasmi in Hebron City, Abd al-Rahman Osama Dweik, Rafaat Muslim Abu Qbita in Yatta, as well as 58-year-old Nasri Sabarna and his 22-year-old son Rushdi in Beit Ummar. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the detention in Yatta, and said that two of the other detentions in the district were carried out in Hebron City, while another was carried out in the village of al-Dhahiriya. Locals said Israeli forces raided the home of Abu Qbita in Yatta and detained him after searching the house and seizing a Kalashnikov rifle, which an Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an. Local sources said that Israeli forces raided the village of Beit Ummar in the northern region of the district and searched the house of Nasri Sabarna, a former mayor of the village. Local activist Mohammad Ayyad Awad said that soldiers raided Sabarna’s house and held him for several hours before releasing him and detaining his 22-year-old son Rushdi Sabarna. Israeli forces assaulted Rushdi during detention and summoned his 25-year-old brother Ahmad Sabarna for interrogation. Ahmad is a former prisoner who has spent years in Israeli jails, according to Awad. Awad added that Israeli forces broke down the doors of the Sabarna home during the raid and attempted to assault Nasri Sabarna’s wife….
Israeli forces detain Palestinians, ransack homes during overnight raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 11 Dec — Israeli forces detained at least three Palestinians, delivered interrogation summons to others, and ransacked several homes during overnight detention raids across the occupied West Bank, according to local Palestinian and Israeli army sources. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the southern occupied West Bank town of Dura, west of Hebron city, and ransacked several homes before detaining resident Munir Abu Sharar. North of Dura in Beit Ummar, local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that Israeli forces stormed the Irq al-Lattoun neighborhood in the northern part of the town and ransacked the home of Ahmad Mahmoud Khmayyis. The soldiers then delivered interrogation summonses to Khmayyis’ sons Muhammad, 38, and Murad 35. The two were ordered to show at Israel’s Gush Etzion interrogation center for questioning by Israeli intelligence for unspecified reasons. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma‘an one detention from Dura, and added that two other Palestinians were detained from the occupied West Bank. The spokesperson cited one from the central Ramallah district’s al-Amari refugee camp, and one from the Bethlehem-area village of Tuqu‘….
B’Tselem: IDF exploits Palestinian homes for personal use
Ynet 8 Dec by Elior Levy — Palestinian residents in Hebron claim that IDF soldiers who arrived at their homes while taking up positions used facilities in the homes for personal use, contrary to military procedure. Following complaints that the soldiers used beds, kitchens and bathroom, the IDF said that it was looking into the veracity of the claims … Samih Da‘ana, from Jabal Johar near Hebron, claimed that a group of IDF soldiers entered his home with a military warrant that allowed them to sleep overnight inside the house. At first, Da‘ana refused and said he wasn’t prepared to allow military personnel to sleep in the same home as him and his wife. Despite his protestations, Da‘ana claims the IDF soldiers chose his 17-year-old daughter’s bedroom and informed him that they would also be using the kitchen and the bathroom. According to Da‘ana, the soldiers slept in his daughter’s bed, used the bathroom throughout the night, used the kitchen to make coffee and eat, and even requested an electric heater, which Da‘ana provided them. He did point out that the soldiers did not behave aggressively towards him or his family and even cleaned up after themselves, he still felt “disgusted that they slept in my daughter’s bed.” B’Tselem, which collected evidence from the scenes, said, “Puzzling that the defense budget, which manages to pay the 600 soldiers guarding the 800 settlers in Hebron, could not find the money to buy the soldiers soap. The IDF treats the homes of Palestinians in Hebron like hotels which they have free access to. This is routine in the occupation, which has been going on for nearly 50 years. The entry of the army into a private home is a violent and humiliating act that terrifies the residents, invades their privacy and harms their ability to lead a normal life.”….
Settler violence and IDF collusion deny Palestinians the fruits of their harvest
+972 blog 9 Dec by Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din — Stolen fruit, destroyed trees and harassment by the army and settlers wreak havoc with the yearly olive harvest, an essential source of subsistence for West Bank Palestinians — “I’ve been taking care of my trees for 31 years. These are my trees, I planted them, they’re like my children,” says Ali Taher Ali Salah. He is standing in his toy shop in the village of A-Sawiya, watching the children coming and going, buying toys that cost a shekel each. Not far away, near a military base, are his olive groves. We visited him at the height of the olive harvest season in early November. Palestinians rely greatly on the olives and the oil they make from it for their livelihood. Some two months ago, before the official beginning of the harvest, Salah saw children — not much older than the ones who frequent his store — stealing the fruit from his trees, filling one sack after another. “I see them harvesting the olives, putting a sack under the tree. Can you imagine how hard it is for me to see someone else harvesting my trees, and I can’t walk over to him and ask ‘what are you doing?’” Salah’s grove is located next to another grove that had been looted two weeks earlier. In this case the police arrived on the scene, but made it too late. In Salah’s case, the cops caught the minors red-handed and returned his olives to him, but the case against the thieves was closed due to their young age … The main source of the problem is the army. It is the army that prevents Palestinians from accessing their land, and it is the army that does not protect Palestinian farmers suffering from settler violence — contrary to its duty under international law and High Court rulings. It is the army that limits Palestinian farmers to a small number of days in which they can reach their land. Abu Nijmah noted that the harvest’s plowing season is in April. Plowing is essential to cultivate the trees and to air the soil. He received a permit to reach the land in August. “What’s the point of plowing in August? I’m ruining the trees,” he said. By his estimates, prior to the Second Intifada he would produce a drum to two drums of oil from each tree. Since then, due to his inability to reach the trees and cultivate them properly, the output was reduced to about half a drum per tree … In recent years, Yesh Din opened 25 cases dealing with incidents of destruction of trees, which took place or were discovered during the harvest season or close to it. The cases document 23 events of burning, cutting or poisoning of trees. Six hundred trees were found cut down; hundreds more were burned….
Israel informs High Court it will return seven of 10 Palestinian assailants’ bodies
Haaretz 9 Dec by Barak Ravid — The Israeli government told the High Court on Friday that the security cabinet had decided to hand over seven out of the ten bodies of Palestinians who carried out terrorist attacks over recent months, so that they may be buried. The state told the court that it will hand over the bodies to the families of the deceased only if they agree to the Israel Defense Forces’ conditions regarding the funerals. The three remaining bodies belong to terrorists affiliated with the Hamas group in Gaza, and thus will not be handed over. The State Attorney filed its pre-hearing statement to the High Court in response to a petition filed by the relatives of five West Bank assailants, whose bodies are being held by the IDF. The petition asked that the court instruct the state to hand over the bodies, so that they may be buried. The statement said that the security cabinet held a long and in-depth discussion on the subject on Wednesday, and that the members decided that, “Already at this stage it is possible to take action and return seven out of 10 bodies discussed in different petitions.” However, the return of the bodies would only take place if the families of the assailants agree to all of Israel’s demands “which are intended to assure that the funerals don’t turn into displays of incitement and support for terrorism.” The response filed by the State Attorney stated that the matter needs to be studied further with regard to the remaining three bodies due to the fact that the three are affiliated with Hamas, as well as the fact that one of the bodies belongs to the terrorist who murdered 13-year-old Hillel Yaffe Ariel in her home in Kiryat Arba last June. In its response, the state said that the security cabinet is expected to hold another discussion on the matter in order to discuss the different possibilities available for dealing with the bodies. If the security cabinet decides not to hand them over, the statement said, the Attorney General will assess the legality of this decision. The state asked for an additional 60 days to prepare its position regarding the three bodies….
Closures / Restriction of movement
Israel to ease mobility restrictions for Christian Palestinians over holiday season
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israel’s Defense Ministry announced that it plans to ease restrictions on travel for Christian Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip over the Christmas holiday season, Israeli news site Haaretz reported on Friday. Haaretz cited the ministry as saying that 400 Christian Palestinians would be permitted to enter Israel in order to travel abroad via Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, something that Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza are not allowed to do unless granted special permission from Israel. Additionally, Haaretz reported that around 100 Christian Palestinians from Israel and the occupied West Bank with relatives in the Gaza Strip will be allowed to visit their relatives in the besieged coastal enclave, which has been under siege for nearly a decade since Hamas was elected to govern the territory. The reported add that 700 Palestinian Christians from Gaza will also be permitted to visit occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israeli authorities often ease its restrictions on Palestinian mobility during Muslim and Christian holidays, while also tightening and cracking down on Palestinian movement to and from Israel and within the West Bank during Jewish holidays.
How fire at an Israeli settlement sparked closure of a Palestinian village
Haaretz 10 Dec by Amira Hass — After several houses in Halamish went up in flames two weeks ago, the Israeli army closed off Deir Nizam and turned one home into a military outpost. And then the problem really flared — …Immediately after the fire at Halamish, which broke out on the night of Friday, November 25, the army blocked two of the three access roads to Deir Nizam. On the third, it stationed soldiers who blocked all vehicular traffic, and sometimes even pedestrians as well. That same day, the army blocked the main entrances to other villages in the area, using iron gates erected more than a decade ago during the second intifada, or various other methods. But the closure of Deir Nizam has continued to this day. Cars have been allowed to enter since Wednesday, but two access roads – the western and southern ones – remain blocked. -No fresh food– During the first days of the closure, teachers who weren’t residents of the village couldn’t get to the school, so students learned only the subjects taught by teachers from the village: math, Arabic, English and religion. Students who attend the high school in the neighboring village of Aboud (“That’s where the smarter ones study,” laughed someone who attends the Deir Nizam high school) couldn’t go to school. The trucks that bring fresh food weren’t allowed to enter. Ditto those that bring gas canisters. Luckily, there were no health problems that required an ambulance or a doctor. The 20 or so residents who work in Israel couldn’t get to work, one said … Every day, soldiers entered the village and fired stun grenades and tear gas that penetrated into the houses, residents said. The peak was on Monday, when a tear gas grenade was fired into a school during school hours. The students on the ground floor, choking, rushed outside in a panic and scattered everywhere … “I wanted to bring my daughter-in-law and the small children to my home,” said Kifah Tamimi. “I went out of my house, a distance of 5 or 7 meters [16 or 23 feet], then a soldier told me, ‘You have seven seconds to get back,’ and cocked his rifle. They wouldn’t even let us sit on the balcony, in the sun.” Her mother, Aisha Tamimi, who lives on the corner of the street, came to visit her together with one of the grandchildren. The soldiers allowed this. But when she returned home, she said, a soldier threw a stun grenade at her, which exploded only a few centimeters away. “I thought my head was exploding, splitting into two,” she said. “I am 73.” She has kept the grenade’s terrifying, heavy orange canister … On Monday night, Abu Mizhar’s nephew returned from Ramallah at around midnight. He is a cabdriver, a wage earner. At the end of his shift, a colleague drove him to the main road and he walked into the neighborhood. The soldiers in the occupied building arrested him and left him with his hands and legs cuffed until 5 A.M., freezing in the cold. Abu Mizhar, who speaks Hebrew, tried to negotiate with the soldiers so that his brother’s son would be released. They refused to listen to him, he said. When his nephew was eventually released, he couldn’t move his arms or legs….
Former hunger-striking Balboul brothers released from Israeli prison
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Dec — After more than five months in Israeli prison and refusing food for more than 75 days in protest of being held by Israel without charge or trial, the now iconic Balboul brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud were released on Thursday. Head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe told Ma‘an Israeli authorities released the two at the Salim checkpoint of Jenin, the northernmost district of the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received Mahmoud and Muhammad at the presidency’s headquarters in Ramallah in the central West Bank shortly after their release, in a meeting attended by Qaraqe and Ramallah Mayor Laila Ghannam. After the meeting, the Balboul brothers made their way to their home in the Old City of Bethlehem, where crowds of people awaited their return in Manger Square. Muhammad, 26, and Mahmoud, 23, were initially detained during an overnight raid on June 9, and were subsequently sentenced to six months of administrative detention — an Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence. Muhammad and Mahmoud launched a hunger strike on July 7 and 5 , respectively, going without food for 77 and 79 days … The European Union representative in Jerusalem and Ramallah released a statement on Thursday condemning Israel’s policy of administrative detention, highlighting the cases of Shadid and Abu Farah. “There are now over 700 Palestinians, including at least three minors being held in administrative detention, a number which has more than doubled within the last 18 months,” the statement said….
Palestinian committee: Israel ‘deliberately’ tries to kill Palestinian hunger strikers
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Palestinian prisoners’ rights groups accused Israeli authorities of “deliberately” attempting to kill Palestinian hunger strikers, while simultaneously employing several tactics to convince hunger strikers to break their strikes, according to statements released on Thursday. The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said in a statement that Palestinian hunger striker Ammar Ibrahim Hamour, 28, who has been on hunger strike for 18 days in protest of being held in administrative detention — the controversial Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial — told PPS lawyer Khalid Mahajna that the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has been attempting to pressure him to end his strike. According to the Mahajna, Hamour has been held in solitary confinement in Israel’s Ashkelon detention center after being transferred from Israel’s Ktziot prison a few days prior, and informed Mahajna that he was being kept in “very bad conditions,” while IPS officials have taunted the hunger striker with meals. An Israeli doctor in the prison also visited him to convince him to take vitamins, according to the statement….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli forces deliver 13 demolition notices to Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — Israeli Jerusalem municipality crews escorted by armed Israeli forces raided the al-Bustan neighborhood of the village of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday and delivered 13 demolition notices for several residential structures. Activist and member of the Committee for the Defense of Silwan Properties Fakhri Abu Diyab told Ma‘an that municipality crews handed 13 demolition notices to several families in al-Bustan neighborhood. Abu Diyab noted that the houses slated for demolition were built tens of years ago, and are home to more than 100 Palestinians, including women and children. He highlighted that Israeli municipality crews raid the town on a weekly basis, mostly on Fridays and Saturdays, and deliver demolition notices and summons for residents under different pretexts. “The municipality’s raids aim is to tighten the situation and create a psychological, economical and social pressures on residents to force them look for other places to live in,” Abu Diyab said …
Friday’s targeting of the al-Bustan neighborhood is part of a decades-long battle that began in the 1970’s between Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality and the neighborhood’s residents over the Israeli government’s plan to build a national park in the area. According to the city’s “Master Plan No. 9,” al-Bustan Valley was defined as an open space where construction was prohibited. Due to the designation, residents have long faced great difficulties contending with demolition orders issued against their homes, due to the fact that they cannot lay down proper infrastructures, build public facilities, or build additions to their homes or new homes on the lands that they had owned long before the annexation of occupied east Jerusalem in 1967….
Israel hands out demolition notices for homes in Jerusalem’s ‘Issawiyeh
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 11 Dec — Staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Sunday notified Palestinians of their intention to demolish a number of their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-‘Issawiyeh, under the pretext of being built without an Israeli-issued permit. WAFA correspondent said a large Israeli force, along with a municipality staff, stormed the neighborhood before proceeding to hand demolition notices to Palestinian residents. Residents Eyad al-Sayyed, Ahmad Mahmoud, and Khaled Mahmoud were handed demolition notices for their homes. The notices gave them a day and a half to evict the homes as a prelude to demolishing them.
Israeli settlers demolish parts of a home near Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 10 Dec – Israeli settlers tore down walls and parts of a house under construction in Silat al-Dhahr, south of Jenin, Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlements in the north of the West Bank, said on Saturday. He told WAFA that settlers came from the settlement of Homesh, which was evacuated 10 years ago, and tore down the walls of a house owned by Iyad Abu Diyak causing extensive damage. Abu Diyak told WAFA that the settlers broke into his house, which he was in the process of building and was located near the settlement, and used hammers to tear down the walls and damaged a water tank. He estimated the damage at around $4,000. He said he had filed a complaint with the Palestinian security in Jenin.
Land razed near Hebron to build sewage line to settlement
HEBRON (WAFA) 8 Dec – Israeli occupation authorities razed Palestinian land in the village of Umm al-Khair, south of Hebron, to build a sewage line for the nearby Jewish settlement of Carmiel, a local activist said on Thursday. According to Rateb Jbour, coordinator of national and popular committees in the south Hebron area, military bulldozers razed agricultural land owned by the Hathalin and Awad families in order to place sewage pipes that serve the illegal settlement built on Umm al-Khair land. Palestinians living in that area, also known as Masafer Yatta since it is part of the greater Yatta area, say Israel is trying to push them out of their homes and land, where they have lived since they were pushed out of their land in historic Palestine following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, in order to take it over for settlement expansion.
West Bank demolitions displaced 1,500 Palestinians in 2016
+972 10 Dec by Natasha Roth — The number of Palestinian structures Israel has destroyed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has passed the 1,000 mark for the year, according to data from the UN humanitarian agency. As of the end of November, Israeli authorities had demolished 1,051 structures, displacing 1,569 Palestinians. This represents, with a month of the year left to go, a doubling of the equivalent number from 2015, during which Israel demolished 544 Palestinian structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, displacing 757 Palestinians … Particularly affected — especially by home demolitions, which hit a 10-year high in the first half of 2016 — have been Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, the Jordan Valley and the E1 area around Ma’ale Adumim….
Army forcing Palestinian families from their homes – to train on their land
Activestills 10 Dec by Keren Manor — For the past week, the Israeli army has been training in areas designated “firing zones” in the Jordan Valley, in the northeastern edge of the West Bank. As a result dozens of families belonging to the A-Ras al-Ahmar community, as well as three families from Khirbet Humsa — a total of 91 people, of them 15 children — were made to leave their homes midday. An additional hundred families living in various communities in the northern Jordan Valley, adjacent to the firing zones, were given military orders forbidding them to leave the areas around their homes or graze their sheep in the nearby hills during training days. Evacuating civilians from their homes for the purpose of military training is a contravention of international humanitarian law. Israel, as the occupying power, is not allowed to use occupied territory for military purposes. This is not the first time the Israeli army holds training exercises in populated areas of the Jordan Valley. In fact, members of the A-Ras al-Ahmar and Khirbet Humsa communities are forced to evacuate their homes every few months under the same pretext. According to statistics provided by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, families from A-Ras al-Ahmar had been evacuated eight different times in 2015, while families from Khirbet Humsa were evacuated 19 times in the same year due to military training exercises … Traces of Israeli forces remained in the area even after the army left. B’Tselem researcher A’araf Drarma reported that 500 dunam of agricultural land, used mostly for growing corn, was left in ruins. The training exercises on the land pose a risk to the lives of the residents due to duds [unexploded ordnance] left in the area … In 2014 Haaretz journalist Amira Hass published an article which revealed how the army had been increasingly conducting training in the Jordan Valley and other areas of the West Bank as a means of decreasing the number of Palestinian residents there, as well as to combat illegal construction….
New video explores Israel’s strategy toward occupied East Jerusalem
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 Dec – A new video by the Negotiations Affairs Department titled “East Jerusalem: Israel’s Colonial Project Unraveled,” said Israel’s policy in the city since its June 1967 occupation is threefold: creating a Jewish majority, reducing Palestinian presence, and isolating East Jerusalem and dividing it from its West Bank parts. The 2:43-minute tape described this policy as “a policy of special colonial segregation enforced by Israel’s settlement enterprise.” The video said Israel turned 35 percent of the area of East Jerusalem into land for settlement construction and left only 13 percent of the area for Palestinian construction leaving a severe housing crisis and forcing many Palestinians to build without a permit. It said a total of 3,500 homes were demolished under the pretext of being built without permit and around 25,000 more are slated for demolition under the same pretext leaving 100,000 Palestinians at risk of displacement. Israel also revoked residency status from 14,500 Palestinians from East Jerusalem under all sorts of pretexts, while it built thousands of housing units for settlers and opened bypass roads for them through Palestinian land. This policy created a Jewish settlement population of 100,000 in East Jerusalem in addition to 200,000 in the western side of the city, in comparison to 300,000 Palestinians with Jerusalem residency, including 100,000 who live outside a 240 kilometer long concrete wall and fence built to separate Israel and occupied East Jerusalem from the West Bank. “Colonized, impoverished and segregated.” With these words the Negotiations Affairs Department video concluded its narrative of the future facing occupied East Jerusalem and its Palestinian residents. [Watch it here]
Israeli bill to legalise settler homes ‘unequivocally illegal: UN
GENEVA (AFP) 8 Dec — The UN human rights chief on Thursday slammed a bill in Israel that would legalise some 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, saying it would clearly violate international law. Israeli lawmakers voted Wednesday to advance the bill, which would retroactively legalise settler homes built on private Palestinian land. “I strongly urge lawmakers to reconsider their support for this bill, which if enacted, would have far-reaching consequences and would seriously damage the reputation of Israel around the world,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein. He pointed out that “in enabling the use of land privately-owned by Palestinians for Israeli settlements without the owners’ consent, this legislation would violate international law. “Israel as the occupying power, must respect the private property of Palestinians, regardless of whether or not compensation is provided,” he said in a statement….
Israel pushes plans for hundreds of new houses in contiguous East Jerusalem neighborhood
[with map] Haaretz 8 Dec by Yotam Berger — The group Ir Amim says the city is promoting construction in Gilo for Israelis living over the Green Line while freezing planning in adjacent Palestinian neighborhoods — The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee has moved forward with a plan to build 770 housing units in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo, which lies beyond the Green Line, a project critics say may be large enough to cut chances of achieving a two-state solution. The municipality says the plan has been going through the approval process since 2013 and several more planning stages must be approved before construction can begin. The nonprofit group Ir Amim says the plan leaves a very small area between Jerusalem and the Palestinian town Beit Jala. Gilo is on the other side of the Green Line, Israel’s border before the 1967 Six-Day War. “The municipality is promoting construction for Israelis while continuing to freeze planning and engage in widespread home demolitions in the adjacent Palestinian neighborhoods,” Ir Amim said in a statement. It said Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat “is proving once again that the city’s Jewish and Palestinian residents are not treated equally there. He is also harming the chances for a future political accord.”….
Facing evacuation, West Bank settlers remain insistent
AP 9 Dec — With a court-ordered evacuation of Amona looming over them, residents of the West Bank settlement are gearing up for one final battle; but while the country remembers all too well the trauma of the Gush Katif evacuation, Amona supporters are careful to insist on a peaceful resistance — Facing a court-ordered evacuation, residents of the Jewish settlement outpost of Amona in the West Bank are digging in for a fight to the finish. Vowing fierce but nonviolent resistance, they have built shelters, bathrooms and a large kitchen to host thousands of supporters they hope will join them in their struggle to stay put. With the Dec. 25 evacuation date approaching, Israel’s pro-settler government is scrambling to find a solution, fearing a repeat of the violent showdown between extremist settlers and Israeli security forces that took place on this same wind-swept hilltop a decade ago. Residents are playing down any expectations of violence, saying the arrival of supporters is meant as a show of strength. But they are hunkering down in hopes that a last-minute deal can still be struck that would thwart an evacuation … In 2014, Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered Amona to be evacuated, after it determined the outpost was built on private Palestinian land, giving the government until this Dec 25 to tear down the outpost’s 50 trailer homes … The volcanic matter of evacuating Amona has threatened to end Prime Minister Netanyahu’s coalition. He has been forced to find a balance between appeasing his settler constituents and maintaining the integrity of Israel’s Supreme Court, which has come under attack by hard-line legislators accusing it of ruling unfairly against settlers….
Fresh Amona rehousing plan envisions new West Bank settlement
Times of Israel 7 Dec — The residents of an illegal West Bank outpost set for eviction later this month will reportedly be rehoused in the neighboring settlement of Ofra until a new settlement can be founded. According to a Ynet report published Wednesday, the 40 families living in Amona, which the High Court of Justice ordered demolished because it was built on private Palestinian land, will be accommodated in temporary housing in Ofra. A permanent settlement will be established seven miles to the north, next to the existing Israeli settlement of Shvut Rachel. The details of the plan were being finalized by the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, the military organ responsible for governing the West Bank. The Amona outpost is due to be demolished by December 25, according to a High Court of Justice judgment from 2014. The families who live in the outpost, the subject of some 15 years of legal wrangling, are slated to be transferred to three plots of land located just dozens of meters from the current site of the outpost. The new location will house the families for eight months while permanent alternatives are arranged. According to Ynet, the plan entails putting up 20 families in temporary houses on open plots in Ofra, while another 20 families will reside in a school. The attorney general’s office told the website that the plan was still being assessed, and that the Defense Ministry was still planning alternatives. A defense official said that the above-mentioned plan was the most realistic option….
Tens of thousands attend rally in Gaza on Hamas anniversary
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Dec — The Hamas movement continued to celebrate their 29th anniversary, with the movement releasing a statement Saturday saying that some 100,000 members and supporters took part in a rally held Friday in the Gaza Strip. Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya addressed the crowds, saying that after 29 years, “Hamas remains strong and united and holds an unwavering commitment to resistance as the main option to confront the Israeli occupation and liberate Palestine,” according to the statement, adding that the movement “rejected all forms of normalization with the Israeli occupation.” Al-Hayya called attention to the some 700,000 Palestinians that were displaced as a result of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and called on “all Arabs and Muslims to provide a dignified shelter to Palestinian refugees until they return to their land.” He reiterated Hamas’ condemnation of the Fatah movement, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, for its “security collaboration” with Israel, urging the party to “immediately suspend political arrests.” He also called for the abolishing of the “ominous” Oslo accords, which he said have only brought “harm and disagreement” to Palestinians. The rally came a day after a military show in the northern Gaza Strip was held by the Hamas movement’s armed wing the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, to mark the anniversary, when the Brigades presented and demonstrated several types of weapons and told the crowd that they were continuing to prepare for any Israeli aggression in the future.
Hundreds of Palestinians allowed to leave Gaza as Egypt opens border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 11 Dec — Hundreds of Palestinians managed to leave the Gaza Strip and travel to Egypt after Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah border crossing Saturday morning, as part of a three-day opening. The Gaza borders and crossings committee said in a statement on Sunday that 669 passengers left from Gaza to Egypt on Saturday. The statement highlighted that the terminal reopened for operation on Sunday morning. According to the committee, priority has been given to “humanitarian cases” including medical patients, students studying outside of Gaza, and expatriates, in addition to holders of Egyptian passports.
Israeli soldiers open fire at homes, farmlands in Khan Younis
IMEMC 10 Dec — Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Saturday morning, at several homes, and into farmlands, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, fired dozens of live rounds at homes and lands, in Khuza‘a neighborhood, east of Khan Younis. They added that the attack caused property damage, but did not lead to casualties.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian youth allegedly crossing Gaza border with weapons
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Dec — Israeli forces Friday at dawn detained a Palestinian youth after allegedly “illegally” crossing the border barriers in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media. Several Israeli news outlets claimed that the Palestinian youth was carrying a knife and a grenade when he was detained and taken to interrogation. An Israeli army spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the incident. Separately, Israeli forces reportedly detained a Palestinian youth after approaching the Ofer military camp west of Ramallah City in the central occupied West Bank on Thursday. Israeli media reported that the youth was “suspicious” which “called for detaining and transferring him for interrogation.”
Legal experts back Palestinian BDS as ‘free expression’
Al Jazeera 9 Dec by Shafik Mandhai – Around 200 leading legal experts have signed a statement defending the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement (BDS) as a lawful exercise of freedom of expression. The legal experts from 15 countries agreed the BDS movement should be treated the same way as the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa. Lawyers backing Friday’s statement include South African jurist John Dugard, who served at the International Court of Justice, and Guy Goodwin-Gill, former legal adviser for the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). “No government ever attempted to outlaw or criminalise the Anti-Apartheid Movement for advocating boycott, disinvestment or sanctions to compel South Africa to abandon its racist policies,” Dugard said. “BDS should be seen as a similar movement and treated accordingly.” Robert Kolb, a legal expert who served with the Swiss Foreign Ministry, said BDS activism should be legally protected. “The right of citizens to advocate for BDS is part and parcel of the fundamental freedoms protected by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights,” said Kolb, who was part of the group that signed the statement. BDS groups welcomed the lawyers’ statement, terming it a “defining moment” before saying the backing would help quell attempts by pro-Israel groups to proscribe the movement. “This is a defining moment in the struggle against Israel’s patently repressive legal war on the BDS movement for Palestinian rights,” said Ingrid Jaradat of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, a coalition of civil society groups at the forefront of the movement. “Leading European jurists have now confirmed that advocating and campaigning for Palestinian rights under international law is a legally guaranteed right for Europeans and indeed all citizens of the world. “Israel’s desperate attempts to outlaw the BDS movement and to legally bully its supporters into silence threatens democratic space.” .A number of measures targeting the BDS movement have been introduced in Israel and Western countries with varying degrees of success….
BDS: HP actions broadest ever coordinated
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Dec — 40 UK towns and cities saw actions across the week, from Brighton to Bristol, Liverpool to Lewisham, Edinburgh to East London, Cardiff to Chester, and many places in between. During the International Week of Action on Hewlitt-Packard, it was revealed that the world’s largest security firm, G4S, had agreed to relinquish most of its Israeli business deals. After years of campaigning, BDS activists are celebrating a victory against a company whose complicity in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people is coming to an end. The unprecedented scale of the International Week of Action on HP, and the success of the campaign against G4S would not have been possible without people, all around the world, coming together to challenge corporate complicity in Israel’s occupation. The Palestinian News Network (PNN) thanks its audience for standing in solidarity with Palestinians
German bank shuts down account belonging to Jewish peace group
+972 mag 8 Dec by Haggai Matar — Bank für Sozialwirtschaft tells members of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, which includes a number of Israelis, that its account has been closed due to their support for BDS — …Following protests by Jewish Voice activists, supported by members of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, the bank agreed to meet with the organization. “We met with the head and spokesperson of the bank and explained to them that we are a Jewish organization with many Israeli members, and that we cannot be anti-Israel,” says Shir Hever, an Israeli who lives in Germany and serves on Jewish Voice’s board. “We said that our support for BDS is general, as a nonviolent campaign for human rights, and that we support actions directed at companies that directly profit from the occupation, and that even our platform includes support for two states.” The bank was unconvinced. On Tuesday the bank published a statement according to which the goal of the boycott is to “undermine the foundations of the State of Israel,” and that support for BDS violates the “acceptable rules of democratic dialogue.” The bank’s statement also included a quote by a German sociologist who called the boycott campaign “anti-Semitic.” The bank, which has a number of Jewish shareholders, believes in improving ties between Israel and Germany, and thus cannot allow itself to continue managing the organization’s account….
Other news, opinion
PCHR Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (1-7 Dec)
PCHRGaza 8 Dec — Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt A Palestinian civilian was wounded in the east of Gaza City, while another was wounded in the east of Bethlehem. Israeli forces conducted 49 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 10 ones in occupied Jerusalem. 51 civilians, including 4 children, were arrested. Sixteen of them, including 2 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued to target Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. 6 fishermen were arrested in the northern Gaza Strip and a fishing boat was confiscated. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli forces forced two brothers to self-demolish their houses in Silwan Settlement activities continued in the West Bank. Israeli forces demolished 3 dwellings in Fasayel village, north of Jericho, rendering 21 individuals homeless, including 12 children. Israeli forces stopped paving an agricultural road in Jaloud village, southeast of Nablus. Settlers leveled 40 dunums, southeast of Nablus, to expand the borders of “Yesh Kodish” outpost. [Details of these and other events follow]
Palestinians try to sway Obama not to veto UN resolution on Israeli settlements
Haaretz 10 Dec by Barak Ravid & Jack Khoury — A Palestinian delegation will arrive in Washington to discuss Security Council bid, which criticizes settlement construction. Western diplomat: If they would soften certain sections, there’s a chance Obama will comply — The Palestinian Authority is interested in coming to an understanding with the outgoing administration of U.S. President Barack Obama that would avoid an American veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution that the Palestinians intend to introduce in January, Palestinian officials and Western diplomats told Haaretz. The resolution would be critical of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. A high-level Palestinian delegation is scheduled to arrive in Washington in the coming week, led by senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and the head of the Palestinian general intelligence service, Majid Faraj. The delegation also includes the future Palestinian ambassador in Washington, Husam Zumlut, President Mahmoud Abbas’ senior adviser, as well as a number of high-level officials from Abbas’ Fatah party and from the Palestine Liberation Organization. The delegation will be coming to the U.S. capital to participate in a strategic American-Palestinian dialogue session, the first of its kind ever to be held. The more important meeting, however, will be that of Erekat, Faraj and other members of the delegation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. The main item on the agenda is expected to be the resolution, which the Palestinians are currently discussing with members of the UN Security Council. The Palestinian visitors will also be meeting with representatives of the Republican Party and with advisers of President-elect Donald Trump….
Netanyahu ally says he would prefer Arab Israelis not to vote
AFP 10 Dec — A close ally of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday he would prefer Arab Israelis not to vote in parliamentary elections. David Bitan, chairman of Netanyahu’s governing coalition and a lawmaker from the premier’s Likud party, said it would have been better if Arab Israelis “didn’t go to the polls at all”, in comments broadcast by Channel 10 television station. “Ninety-five percent of them (Israeli Arab voters) vote for the Joint List, which doesn’t represent the Arab Israelis but Palestinian interests,” he said. The Joint List holds 13 of the 120 seats in parliament, and is the third largest bloc in the legislature. The head of the Joint List reacted on Twitter, accusing Bitan and the Israeli government of “racism”. Arab Israelis — who make up around 18 percent of Israel’s population — are the descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948. Although they are citizens of the Jewish state, they largely see themselves as Palestinians. Bitan was replying to a question about controversial comments Netanyahu made during the March 17, 2015 elections, appealing to his supporters to go to the polls to counter a high turnout among Arab Israelis. The premier said at the time: “The rule of the rightwing is in danger. Arab voters are going to the polls in droves!”
Leading Arab journalist: Should Arab MKs even be in the Knesset?
JPost 9 Dec by Ben Lynfield — One of the leading Arab journalists in Israel is calling on Arab citizens to reassess having representatives in the Knesset in light of its passage on first reading of the settlements regulation bill legalizing settler housing units built on private Palestinian land. Rami Mansour, chief editor of the popular Arab48 website, questioned the wisdom of voting for and serving in the Knesset after the bill passed preliminary and first readings this week. Among Arabs, it is viewed as authorizing the theft of Palestinian property. Expanding on an article he published Thursday, Mansour told The Jerusalem Post that the Knesset’s action “changes the rules of the political game.” By imposing its laws on an occupied population, the Knesset is violating democracy, he said. “Parliaments generally deal with laws inside their country,” he said. “The United States doesn’t legislate laws that apply to India. But here Israel is legislating a law that applies to territory not under its sovereignty. It is legislating a law to expropriate from Palestinians not by means of military orders but by legislation in contravention of what was in the past. This is antidemocratic and turns the Knesset into the tool of the right.” “Arabs have to ask themselves if they are willing to be part of this. Maybe there is no point to it,” he said, adding that participating in the Knesset is enabling the moderate right to depict the legislature as democratic when it is not….”
Arab Knesset members vow to sue Netanyahu
Al Jazeera 8 Dec by Zena Tahhan — Joint List promises to sue PM over “incitement” against Palestinians during fires, but lawyers say plan is not feasible — Members of the Joint List, a predominantly Arab electoral coalition in the Israeli parliament, have vowed to sue Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “incitement” against Palestinian citizens of Israel during the recent large-scale fires that engulfed Israel and the occupied West Bank. “They [Israeli officials] called it a wave of Palestinian terror while they were quiet about the thousands of Israelis inciting against Arabs and calling for their death,” Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, told Al Jazeera. Last week, Netanyahu suggested that the fires were started deliberately and promised to punish any person guilty of arson in a string of threats made publicly. He said those responsible would be treated as “terrorists” – a term usually reserved by Israeli officials to refer to Palestinian attackers – and said he would revoke their citizenship … Gilad Erdan, Israel’s public security minister, also chimed in, calling for the demolition of the home of any person found guilty of arson – a frequent sanction used by Israel against Palestinians. “This incitement is very dangerous. It could cause Israelis to go out and attack Arabs [Palestinians] as acts of revenge,” Odeh continued … the options to charge Netanyahu, both in Israel and internationally, are limited and grim, legal academics and lawyers say. They believe the Joint Lists’s threats are empty, designed to pacify the anger of Palestinians in Israel. “There is no chance that Mandelblit will open an investigation against Netanyahu because, if he did, that would mean that we [Palestinian citizens of Israel] could be filing lawsuits against every aspect of the Zionist foundation of the country,” Haifa-based lawyer, Jehad Abu Raya, told Al Jazeera….
Turkish court dismisses case over 2010 Israeli flotilla raid: lawyer
Reuters 9 Dec — A Turkish court on Friday dismissed a case brought by victims of an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla that killed 10 people in 2010, said a lawyer for the victims’ families, who stormed out of the courtroom as the judge ordered one co-plaintiff to be ejected. The judge accepted the prosecutor’s plea that there was no case to examine following a deal in June between Israel and Turkey in which the victims’ families received compensation from Israel and the two countries restored relations. Israeli-Turkish relations had broken down in 2010 when Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed by Israeli commandos enforcing a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. The soldiers raided a ship, the Mavi Marmara, leading a flotilla toward the Hamas Islamist-run Palestinian territory. The summer’s rare rapprochement in the divided Middle East was driven as much by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals as by mutual concern over growing security risks. Israel, which had already offered apologies for the raid – one of Ankara’s three conditions for a deal – agreed to pay out $20 million to the families of those killed, another key element in the restoration of ties. The case was brought on behalf of 740 victims of the Israeli raid, with Israel’s chief of staff, naval commander, head of intelligence for the air force and head of military intelligence – all absent from the court – as the defendants. At the final hearing on Friday, too many of the plaintiffs’ lawyers and victims’ families had gathered to fit in the courtroom. Tensions rose when some were not allowed inside, leading to protests and shouts of ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest)….
Modern dance gives performers an escape from the daily grind of life in the West Bank
RAMALLAH (Wash Post) 9 Dec by Ruth Eglash & Sufian Taha — It’s Tuesday evening, and a small group of young women has gathered for their weekly dance class. Warming up with sensual, yoga-like movements, they eventually face one another in coordinated steps. Dressed in tight black leggings and oversize T-shirts, the women could have been members of a troupe in the United States or Europe. In fact, their session would not have been out of place in the modern-dance studios of Tel Aviv, not more than 40 miles away. But this practice took place in an old arabesque building in West Ramallah. While Palestinians might be better known for the dabke folk dance, these women are pushing the boundaries of their conservative society by embracing a more contemporary style of movement. Most of the dancers in the Sareyyet Ramallah company are women in their 20s, although a few are teenagers, and all say they dance to escape from the daily grind of work or the monotony of their studies, as well as from the nearly 50-year Israeli occupation….
3 Israelis take wrong turn in West Bank, rescued by PA police
Times of Israel 10 Dec — Three Israelis mistakenly drove into the West Bank city of Ramallah on Saturday, and were safely rescued with the assistance of Palestinian Authority security forces. The three were escorted out of the city by the PA forces and handed over to Israeli police at the Focus checkpoint near the settlement of Beit El, said the Ynet news website. The incident was the latest in a spate of similar events of Israelis — mostly soldiers — being rescued after erroneously entering Palestinian areas of the West Bank. Last month, an IDF soldier was lightly wounded when rocks were thrown at his vehicle after he and three other servicemen “mistakenly entered” a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, the army said. The army did not say how the soldiers accidentally entered Anabta, a town east of Tulkarem. In the past, however, such incidents occurred due to troops relying on smartphone navigation apps….
Remembering the First Intifada
MEMO 8 Dec by Yasmina Allouche — What: The First Intifada Where: West Bank and Gaza When: 8 December 1987-17 September 1993 What happened? The First Intifada, or uprising, began on 8 December 1987 in the Jabalia refugee camp in the Gaza Strip when an Israeli army truck collided with a civilian car resulting in the deaths of four Palestinians. The killings caused uproar and soon protests began to gain fierce momentum with civil disobedience and resistance being the driving force. The general frustrations of Palestinians influenced the speed of the mobilisation with scores of unemployed youth taking to the streets to protest against Israeli violence as well as the Israeli state’s total control of their social, economic and political development. The protests began with general strikes and the boycott of Israeli civil institutions across the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank with many Palestinians who travelled to Israel to work or who worked in Israeli settlements taking part in an economic boycott. This included refusal to pay taxes, to drive Palestinian cars with Israeli licences, working in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs, barricading roads and – what would go on to define Palestinian resistance – stone throwing at Israeli tanks and infrastructure. Israel responded by deploying around 80,000 soldiers to break-up the protests which included spraying the crowd with bullets and killing scores of Palestinians. In just over a year 332 Palestinians were killed, 53 of whom were under the age of 17, and 12 Israelis died. Following the shoot-to-kill policy adopted by the Israeli army, beatings became a common sight with Israeli soldiers using batons to literally break the bones of Palestinians. What happened next? For Israelis, the intifada was a reminder of the words of their first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion who said in 1938: “A people which fights against the usurpation of its land will not tire so easily.” By its end in 1993, 1,489 Palestinians and 185 Israelis had been killed. The hugely disproportionate violence and casualties on the Palestinian side provoked widespread international condemnation which influenced the UN Security Council to draft resolutions 607 and 608, demanding Israel cease the deportation of Palestinians….
Former IDF ethicist tapped to censor ‘political speech’ in Israeli universities
+972 mag 9 Dec by Natasha Roth — Professor Asa Kasher, whose code of ethics for the IDF found expression in the devastation of the 2014 Gaza war, is set to decide what lecturers at Israel’s universities and colleges can and can’t say — Education Minister Naftali Bennett intends to lay down new “ethical rules” for what lecturers at Israel’s centers of higher learning can and can’t say regarding politics, Haaretz reported on Thursday. The move is the latest in a long line of Bennett initiatives aimed at making Israel’s academic institutions more right-wing, more Zionist and more — as he would see it — loyal to the state. Israeli lecturers, spooked by the prospect of further censorship in an already-hostile environment for left-wing academics, have already started a petition against the new proposal. With principals being threatened by the Education Ministry for inviting Breaking the Silence representatives to speak in their classrooms; teachers being hounded for criticizing the Israeli army; and books being banned in high schools for depicting a Jewish-Arab love story, this new initiative is worrying enough on its own….
Opinion // When Israelis can no longer go to Macy’s / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 11 Dec — The policy of deporting anyone who disagrees with government policy is wreaking havoc on what little remains of Israel’s positive image — Israel presents: The thought police. The Deutsche Demokratische Republik at Ben-Gurion Airport. After denying entry to those whom it views as endangering its security, a standard of unparalleled flexibility and arbitrariness, and after interrogating and humiliating those whose origins reveal their dangerousness – another arbitrary standard – the next stage has arrived: Israel is deporting those whose opinions that state doesn’t like. It began with BDS supporters – there’s already a network of government informers – but it won’t end with them. Soon, it will be entry for Zionists only. He loves us, he loves us not: He loves us? Enter. He doesn’t? Go home. No such thing exists anywhere in the free world. Only in Israel would a high-ranking theologian be deported because someone thinks her organization supports boycotting Israel. This is the same Israel that dared to deport Noam Chomsky, no less, and also Norman Finkelstein – two famous intellectuals for whom even being Jewish was to no avail – as well as a Spanish clown who came to entertain the Palestinians, an American author who came to dedicate a playground for them and even an Israeli exile who wanted to visit his elderly mother on kibbutz. And we haven’t yet said anything about what happens to Israeli Arabs. In the spirit of the time and place, which is the spirit of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, this problem will only get worse. The gates of our military base will gradually close, not only on those deported, but on us. If it could, the state would long since have preventing Israelis not to its liking from entering their own country. That will be the next step …This ugly practice, which arouses no interest in Israel, can be countered in only one way: measure for measure. Interrogation for interrogation. Deportation for deportation. No country has yet dared to do so, for fear of Israel. But it seems they owe this to themselves, to their own honor and their own deported citizens….
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