Media Analysis

Israeli authorities reveal they lost the bodies of seven Palestinians killed in the second Intifada

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Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Report: Israel admits to ‘losing’ remains of Palestinians killed during Second Intifada
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — The Israeli government has admitted to losing the remains of seven Palestinians who were killed while “committing attacks” against Israelis during the Second Intifada, Israeli news daily Haaretz reported on Monday. According to Haaretz, the admission came from the Israeli state prosecutor’s office in response to petitions to Israel’s Supreme Court filed by the slain Palestinians’ families, demanding the return of the bodies. During a Supreme Court session last month, it was revealed that the number of Palestinians whose burial places are unknown is far higher than the seven that Israel has admitted to losing. Haaretz quoted Israeli prosecutors as saying that as of 2015, out of 123 petitions submitted by Palestinian families, only two bodies had been located. “A number of Israeli legal and military officials say they believe the state has no information about the whereabouts of many of the bodies. In a few cases, the remains had been in Israel’s possession since the 1990s,” Haaretz said, adding that Israel has yet to decide which government agency will be tasked with handling the matter. Haaretz quoted a Ministry of Justice official as saying that the burials of dozens of missing Palestinian bodies could have been carried out by “a few companies working for the National Insurance Institute” or the Israeli police. The official pointed out that one of the companies involved in the burial of Palestinians during the Second Intifada went out of business a few years ago, and the documents relating to the identities of the interred were destroyed … The Director of the Center for the Defense of the Individual Dalia Kirshstein criticized the Israeli government, saying that “every smashed Jewish gravestone around the world raises a hue and cry in Israel, but when it comes to dozens of bodies of Palestinians that disappeared, there’s complete silence.” …
Meanwhile, a coordinator for the Palestinian national campaign to restore the bodies of slain Palestinians, Amin al-Bayid, spoke to Ma‘an on Monday and contradicted the Haaretz report, saying that the bodies of Palestinians who were killed in the Second Intifada “who blew themselves up seeking to die martyrs are all available and there is no problem identifying them.” Separately, al-Bayid added that the committee had previously filed an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court through the Jerusalem Center for Human Rights to release 65 bodies of Palestinians who were killed before 1980 and were buried in what Israel calls “enemy fighter cemeteries,” known to Palestinians as “cemeteries of numbers.” ….

Palestinian teen succumbs to wounds weeks after being shot by Israeli forces
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Palestinian teenager Jassem Muhammad Nakhla, who was shot and grievously injured by Israeli forces near the al-Jalazun refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank in March, succumbed to his wounds on Monday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported. Nakhla, whose family said was 17 years old contrary to earlier reports, died in an Israeli hospital in Tel Aviv after Israeli forces shot him in the head and foot on March 23 when he was in a vehicle with three other young Palestinians. One of the other youths, 17-year-old Muhammad Mahmoud Ibrahim al-Hattab, died that day, while the two others, Muhammad Hattab, 18, and Muhammad Moussa Nakhla, 18, were also seriously wounded. Medical sources told Ma‘an on Monday that Nakhla had been clinically dead since he was injured, and had been kept on life support since. Both Jassem and Muhammad Nakhla were transferred for treatment in Israel on March 28 in an attempt to save their lives, while Hattab remained at the Palestine Medical Complex in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
The circumstances of the shooting have been highly contested, as local sources told Ma‘an at the time of the deadly shooting that Israeli soldiers in a military tower near the entrance of the camp, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, fired heavily towards the teens’ vehicle while they were inside. An Israeli army spokesperson claimed at the time that the boys were throwing Molotov cocktails at the settlement, and that they were outside of their car when they were shot.  However, video and photographic footage taken by locals at the scene following the shooting showed the vehicle riddled with bullets, windows shattered, and blood staining the seats, casting doubt on the Israeli army’s narrative of the event. When questioned by Ma‘an in March about how the teens could have re-entered their car and driven away from the scene after being injured with multiple rounds of live fire to the head and chest, the Israeli army spokesperson said she could not comment. The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday about Nakhla’s passing, nor about whether an Israeli investigation into the shooting had yielded any results….

Thousands partake in funeral march in Ramallah for slain Palestinian teen
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Thousands of Palestinians marched through Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank for the funeral of 17-year-old Jassem Muhammad Nakhla on Tuesday, a day after the teen succumbed to wounds he sustained on March 23 when he was shot by Israeli forces … The funeral set off from the Palestine Medical Center, where mourners carried Nakhleh’s body, wrapped in the Palestinian flag, through the main streets of Ramallah and finally to al-Jalazun. Nakhleh’s body was taken to his family house in the refugee camp, where family members said their final goodbyes before the teen’s body was taken to the camp’s mosque and then to the camp’s cemetery for burial. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) said on Tuesday that they held the Israeli government responsible for Nakhla’s death, with PA spokesman Tariq Rishmawi writing in a statement that Israel was perpetuating its “successive crimes” against the Palestinian people and turning a blind eye to international law. “This crime won’t be the last as long as the international community remains silent,” Rishmawi said of Nakhla’s death. Rishmawi urged the international community and human rights organizations to coerce Israel into ceasing its ongoing violations against the Palestinian people, especially children. The PA also denounced Israel’s “systematic assault” against Palestinians.

Opinion: Bodies should be returned, not lost / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 12 Apr — The conclusion is that the state must not be allowed to play games with the bodies of Palestinians, to use them either as merchandise or as a deterrent, collateral for the future, or as a show of revenge — It reads like a thriller. The best ones are made into Hollywood blockbusters, sometimes marketed as being “based on a true story.” The shocking story that government agencies admitted to having lost track of the remains of Palestinian terrorists that were buried in Israel (Or Kashti, April 10) could be prefaced by: “This is a true story, unfortunately the film itself was lost in the archive.”  The horrific synopsis would be simple, direct and easy to understand. Out of 123 bodies whose return has been requested by families, only two have been found. Two is more than none.
Israel has demanded that Hamas in the Gaza Strip return the bodies of two soldiers, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. And in exchange for the bodies of two soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, Israel released five Lebanese prisoners and the remains of 199 Lebanese combatants and infiltrators, in a deal with Hezbollah. The abduction of the soldiers, we might note, was the pretext for the Second Lebanon War. If Hamas or Hezbollah were holding the remains of 123 Israelis, a world war could be expected. No excuse, explanation or shrug of the shoulders from these organizations would save them. Would anyone believe that Hamas or Hezbollah, groups that control every single thing within their territories, lost 123 bodies, or 10, or even one? But a state may do what a terror group may not, especially a state that is willing to send soldiers to their deaths in order to recover bodies back, a state country that does not quail at killing on a wholesale scale in order to free the bodies of Jews.

Israeli settlers harm livestock, intimidate shepherds in Jordan Valley, Palestinians say
Haaretz 10 Apr by Amira Hass — Two Israelis killed a sheep and wounded a goat as they threw stones at a flock belonging to a Palestinian family in the northern Jordan Valley on Friday, according to family members, in what locals are describing as a clear escalation between them and an illegal outpost in the area. A third sheep was wounded and fled and has not yet returned. Two members of the Iyoub family were with the grazing flock at 3 P.M. some two kilometers from their residence at the [Khirbet] Tel al-Hima camp, family members told the Ta’ayush organization on Saturday morning. They claimed that two Israelis arrived on the scene, one of whom was riding a horse, wearing black and had his face covered. The masked Israeli allegedly threw rocks at the flock from horseback. According to the family, the Palestinians were verbally abused by the Israelis who used words “that we can’t repeat.” The stone-thrower referred to himself as Soheil, according to the Palestinians. Although his face was covered, the Palestinian family says they recognized the stone thrower and know his name. In September, a group of Israelis erected an unauthorized outpost on a hill above Tel al-Hima, where Palestinian shepherds have been grazing their flocks for years. Since September, the Israelis in the outpost have been preventing the shepherds from grazing in the area. The incident on Friday represents an escalation in the situation for the locals. Police, the Israeli army and the Civil Administration in charge of the West Bank are aware of the existence of the unauthorized outpost and attacks against neighboring shepherd families.

When remembering the Sabbath day enables settler violence
+972 Blog 12 Apr by Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din — Settler violence on the Sabbath is not uncommon in the West Bank: Israeli civilians feel emboldened to attack Palestinians, knowing that law enforcement will refrain from taking serious action until the following week — They came riding on a horse, two Israeli civilians armed with firearms. One of them jumped off, drew a box cutter, and informed the Palestinian shepherd, B., that “this is our land.” As if to prove the point, he added that he would kill the sheep as well. The two Israelis began throwing stones at the animals, killing one of them with a direct hit to the head. The herd began running away in panic, and B. saw two of them falling down, their legs broken. One of the attackers began hitting sheep in the eyes with a stick. The place: Khirbet Tel Al Hime, Tubas Region, Jordan Valley. The date: February 17, 2017. Khirbet Tel Al Hime is a small enclosure located some 250 meters west of Road 90, the major north-to-south highway in Israel-Palestine that runs through the West Bank. Around 30 people, all of them from the Ayoub family, live there, and have been living there since 1962. Until the last few months, say the residents, they had few problems, and none with settlers — though the army did demolish some of their tents from time to time. They shepherded their flock and made cheese from the milk, selling it in the nearby town of Tubas. There is no infrastructure in place, and even the water has to be delivered in tanks from another town. But, all in all, the residents say it wasn’t bad. All this changed in September 2016. The army raided the enclosure and demolished it. Almost at the same time, a new Israeli outpost was built nearby …  One suspects we see the old method, the one described in Yesh Din’s The Road to Dispossession report, in action: first, the army allows Israelis to take over land, then turns a blind eye when they use ideological violence against Palestinians, all of which is part of an attempt to push them into despair so they’ll leave.

When shooting a teen in the back is a ‘professional error’
+972 Blog 11 Apr by ‘John Brown’ & Noam Rotem — An IDF brigade commander shot a Palestinian teen who threw a rock at his jeep, while the boy was running away, and then left him bleeding on the road. Initially, the colonel claimed his life was in danger. With each subsequent interrogation, the story changed. The military police determined the incident was a ‘professional error’ –  bad aim – and closed the case despite evidence that tells a very different story — On July 3, 2015, Col. Yisrael Shomer, then-commander of the IDF’s Binyamin Brigade, was driving towards the Qalandiya checkpoint in the West Bank. Mohammad al-Kasbeh, a 17 year-old Palestinian, threw a large rock at the windshield of Shomer’s vehicle, and started to flee. The Binyamin Brigade commander stepped out of the car, fired two bullets into the back of the fleeing boy, and left him wounded and bleeding on the ground without offering any help. Kasbeh died from his wounds. The military police file was closed with no indictment filed, and Col. Shomer was promoted to commander of the IDF’s Southern Command. Now, for the first time, our investigation reveals that a subordinate soldier who was with Shomer at the time of the shooting testified to Military Police investigators that neither man was in immediate danger, and that his commander failed to follow the protocol for arresting suspects. Furthermore, while Shomer claimed that the boy was holding an object, the soldier testified that that the boy held nothing…. [See also Shooting and lying: a textbook example of IDF impunity]

Israeli soldiers abduct a legislator and a Hamas spokesperson from their homes in Ramallah
IMEMC 12 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday at dawn, a Palestinian legislator who is originally from Jerusalem and a Hamas spokesperson, after storming their homes in Ramallah, in the central West Bank. One Palestinian was also abducted in Hebron. The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said the soldiers abducted legislator Ahmad ‘Attoun and Hamas spokesperson in the West Bank Fayez Abu Warda, after violently searching and ransacking their homes, and took them to an unknown destination. It is worth mentioning that legislator ‘Attoun is from occupied Jerusalem, but was forcibly exiled from the city, and has not been allowed to return. He was repeatedly abducted and imprisoned by Israel, spending at least ten years behind bars. The abduction of ‘Attoun brings the number of imprisoned democratically elected Palestinian legislators, to 13, including senior Fateh movement leader, Marwan Barghouthi, and the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Ahmad Sa‘adat
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers invaded Doura town, south of the city, and abducted a young man, identified as Hazem Khaled Khallaf, 24.

Israeli forces detain 11 Palestinians in West Bank, East Jerusalem raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Israeli forces detained at least 11 Palestinians during military raids between Sunday and before dawn Monday morning, with the Israeli army saying they uncovered a weapons manufacturing workshop for the second day in a row. Local sources in Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank said Israeli forces detained two young Palestinian men during raids in the city, when soldiers also confiscated equipment from a blacksmith workshop that the Israeli army alleged was used for manufacturing weapons. Israeli troops stormed the workshop, located in the Aqbat Taffuh neighborhood in the west side of Hebron, and confiscated its equipment before sealing it off.  Israeli soldiers detained the workshop owner’s son, Raafat Maher Sharabati, and also detained Musab Abu Turki after raiding his house in Hebron.  The Israeli army claimed in a written statement that a joint security force confiscated seven “weapon manufacturing machines” before “seizing” the workshop. Meanwhile, locals in southern Hebron told Ma‘an that Israeli forces ransacked several homes, damaging furniture, during searches in the area. Israeli forces also raided Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem and detained a Palestinian when police found a gun in his home …  Separately, Rosenfeld said that five Palestinians between the ages of 17 and 24 were arrested in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem on Sunday, after they were accused of throwing homemade bombs at Rachel’s Tomb near ‘Aida refugee camp and at passing Israeli cars on Route 60, “over the last few weeks in the area.” … In the central Ramallah district, one Palestinian was detained in the village of Ni‘lin, and one was detained in Qalandiya refugee camp. Another Palestinian was detained in the village of Sanur in the northernmost district of Jenin.


Israel arrests 17 far-right Jews allegedly attempting to sacrifice goats on Temple Mount for Passover
Haaretz 12 Apr by Nir Hasson — Fanatic group that seeks to dislodge Muslim presence from Jerusalem holy site attempted to carry out ancient Passover tradition — Seventeen people have been arrested for allegedly attempting to disturb the peace and policemen on duty while trying to smuggle baby goats onto the Temple Mount to reenact the Passover sacrifice. Six of the detainees were minors. Six goats were rescued and handed over to the Agriculture Ministry’s investigative department, police say. All day Monday police halted and searched cars entering the Old City of Jerusalem to foil activists from sacrificing baby goats according to ancient Passover traditions. Earlier in the day the joint Temple Mount administration stated that police had detained 11 activists in the morning hours. Police later revised that number to 17. The day before, seven activists, including Raphael Morris, head of the Return to the Mount movement, were arrested on suspicion of planning to reenact the Pesach sacrifice on Temple Mount….

Israeli forces search Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after detaining Palestinian from the area
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli forces entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday night to inspect the premises after detaining a Palestinian man following evening prayers, in the latest of dozens of Israeli detentions carried out on Palestinians as Jewish Israelis marked the start of the Passover holiday. The compound’s director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained a young Palestinian man as he left the compound following evening prayers. Israeli forces raided the compound several hours later, he said. The Israeli officers claimed that they were searching for a bag belonging to the Palestinian man who was detained earlier, which they said was hidden in the compound, according to al-Kiswani. Israeli forces inspected storehouses and surrounding gardens but did not find anything. Al-Kiswani added that on Tuesday morning some 30 Israeli settlers had entered the compound from the Moroccan gate during Passover celebrations. The settlers toured the compound under Israeli military protection, he said….

Restriction of movement / Closures

Israel denies head of Palestinian Federation of Chile entry into West Bank
MEMO 11 Apr — Israeli authorities reportedly prevented the head of the Palestinian Federation of Chile, Anwar Makhlouf, who holds Chilean citizenship, from entering the country through the King Hussein (Allenby) Bridge border crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank yesterday. Hebrew-language news sites reported that the Israeli Minister of Media and Strategic Affairs Gideon Saar said in a statement: “The days when BDS activists used to work here freely have long gone and we will not allow enemies of the state in.” Neither a spokesperson from the Israeli Airports Authority or the Israeli Security Agency were immediately available for comment. Last month, chairman of the London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) Hugh Lanning was denied entry into Israel and deported just one week after Israel passed the controversial “BDS ban” law. B’Tselem Executive Director Hagai El-Ad highlighted in March that “Israel controls not only who enters Israel, but also who enters Palestine,” hence affecting pro-Palestinian activists’ access to the occupied territory.

Opinion: On lockdown – questions for Seder Night / Salman Masalha
Haaretz 10 Apr — While households in Israel prepare for the Festival of Freedom, Palestinian households also need to prepare: With the advent of Jewish holidays they are obliged to remain under siege — You are probably deliberating and asking yourselves how this (Monday) night is different than any other night. Well, on this night, as on many others, no one can leave or enter. A decade comes and a decade goes and the occupation stands forever. While households in Israel prepare for the Festival of Freedom, Palestinian households also need to prepare. For many years the Palestinians have had to accept the fact that with the advent of Jewish holidays they are obliged to remain under siege. On this backdrop, it seems worthwhile to address those in charge of Jewish traditions. They apparently haven’t paid attention to the fact that over the years further traditions have been added to the holidays, becoming part of the Zionist experience. These new traditions are those of robbers, occupiers and thieves. One tradition has stood out and become entrenched over the last decade – the tradition of laying siege and closure to the sons of Ismail. Thus, as the House of Israel turns its attention to getting rid of leaven, purifying the Passover dishes and preparing for the seder night, the House of Ismail, revolted by the customs of the occupation, prepares for the night of closure about to be imposed on them, lest they disturb the Festival of Freedom. Should one even mention the obvious? Liberty is indivisible, and a nation’s freedom cannot be complete if this involves the subjugation of another people….

Israeli forces close off Hebron’s old city, block entrance to Palestinian medical center
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Israeli forces stationed in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank closed the entrance to the Palestinian Health Work Committees’ emergency center on Monday, leaving patients and ambulances unable to reach the center. According to locals, the closure was conducted in line with a series of procedures that Israeli forces routinely take in the Old City during Jewish holidays. Monday’s closure saw all entrances leading to the Old City shut down with iron gates and cement blocks, including the only entrance leading to the medical emergency center. The entrance leading to the center was closed with an iron gate, which prevented anyone from reaching or leaving the center, including those in need of medical care.
Locals told Ma’‘an that the center has been “subjected to all types of aggression by Israeli forces over the years,” highlighting that it had been raided multiple times, and used by Israeli forces as a military post, notably for soldiers to fire tear gas and live fire at Palestinians during clashes or protests in the area. In response to Monday’s closure, a spokesperson from the center told Ma‘an that the center “will stay present in the area and will continue providing medical care to more than 60,000 Palestinians, despite all Israeli forces and settlers violations and aggressions against it.” … An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed to Ma’an that the roads had been closed, but said early Monday evening that they had since been reopened. Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.

For first time in 17 years, some Palestinian business people can enter Israel in their own cars
JPost 11 Apr by Adam Rasgon — Palestinian business people have not driven their personal cars into Israel since the start of the Second Intifada, over a decade ago — A limited number of Palestinian business people have received permits to enter Israel in their Palestinian-plated vehicles, a Palestinian Authority official said on Tuesday. “A total of 270 business people were granted permission to drive their cars into Israel,” PA Civil Affairs Ministry spokesman Walid Wahdan told The Jerusalem Post. Palestinian business people have not been allowed to drive their personal cars into Israel since the start of the second intifada in 2000, when Israel banned their entry as a part of its crackdown on the largely armed uprising. The intifada is considered to have ended more than a decade ago. “This is very important for us,” Jamal al-Nimr, a Palestinian businessman from Ramallah, who was granted a permit, told the Post.  “Time is money for us,” Nimr said. “We need to be able to move around quickly, especially when we travel to Israel to meet with Israeli businessmen, authorities and others.” Nimr and many other Palestinian business people work closely with Israeli business people to import goods to the Palestinian territories and undertake other transactions. According to Nimr, the permits will also dramatically cut expenses. “Before, I had to hire a chauffeur at the cost of NIS 800-NIS 1,000 a day,” he said. “Now all I have to pay for is the fuel.”….

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Israeli archaeological dig forces 25 East Jerusalem residents to evacuate homes
Haaretz 9 Apr by Nir Hasson — Twenty-five residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan were evacuated from their homes last week, from a building they say was undermined by archaeological excavations being conducted underneath it. The municipality declared the building unsafe and temporarily moved the residents to a hotel in the city, though just the next day, they were informed they would have to leave the hotel. “Our home was ruined, it is impossible to live there any longer, we have nowhere to live,” said Suleiman Oweida, one of the evacuated residents. The building includes three apartments, and residents say it is located above the underground excavations of the Herodian stepped street being conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Elad nonprofit organization. Most of those living in the building are children, members of the extended Oweida family. The residents said that although they noticed cracks opening in their walls three years ago and engineers came a number of times to examine the cracks, they remained in their homes. Recently, the cracks have expanded in a number of rooms and the family has complained of the floor and walls shaking. “All the time we hear noises under the house day and night but yesterday we felt as if something was moving,” said Oweida last week … The Herodian street that’s being excavated is from the Second Temple period and leads from the Siloam (Shiloach) Pool at the bottom of the City of David up to the Western Wall. A month ago, Haaretz reported that two senior IAI archaeologists criticized the excavations in internal correspondence. They wrote that the work being done in the tunnels, contrary to accepted practice, was “bad archaeology” and added that “the authority could not be proud of this excavation.” The excavation is being conducted in an underground tunnel supported by wood and steel beams. In the past, Palestinians from the neighborhood have claimed the excavations have caused damage to their homes, but the high Court of Justice denied a petition from the residents trying to prove a connection between the dig and damage to the buildings … The cause of the cracks in the building is being investigated, said the city.

Palestinians in Silwan defend their homes from ongoing settler excavations
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr  — After Israel ordered the evacuation of three homes in occupied East Jerusalem due to severe structural damage caused by settler-led tunnel construction below, Palestinian residents say they refuse to leave, and accuse Israel of indirectly attempting to expel them from the city, where Israel has openly called for maintaining a Jewish majority.
The homes are located in the Wadi Hilweh area of Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood just south of the Old City walls, where Israel frequently allows excavations and archaeological digs that threaten the structural integrity of Palestinian homes and holy sites in the area. Rights groups claim that these excavations often seek to promote Jewish heritage and attachment to the occupied city, while erasing Palestinian history, in order to promote claims of Jewish ownership and further displace Palestinians, particularly those living in neighborhoods around the Old City. Last October, UNESCO denounced Israel for failing to put an end to the practice…
Palestinian residents in Wadi Hilweh have long reported sounds of underground digging and the resultant cracks appearing on the walls of their aging homes, but the Oweidas said that the “life-threatening” damages in their homes seen in recent weeks were “more severe than ever before.” However, Khadija Oweida affirmed to Ma‘an that her family would not leave. “We have been living in these houses for decades despite cracks in the foundations and despite the risks,” she said. While the municipality says the buildings have become too dangerous to inhabit, Oweida explained that if the families abandoned the houses, they also ceded control over what happened to them. Settler groups, such as the Elad organization, have long been trying to take over any house in the area by any means, she argued … Rather than force them out of their homes, Oweida demanded that Israeli authorities simply put a stop to the excavations … Israeli authorities have claimed, according to Siyam, that the excavations “are based on engineering standards to ensure the safety of neighborhood.” Siyam said that the cracks and collapses sections in walls, rooftops, and floors in numerous homes in the area are proof of the contrary. Meanwhile, according to experts, archaeologists abandoned the practice of digging horizontal tunnels as long as a century ago, as it is considered professionally unethical and actually leads to the destruction of antiquities.

On Passover, settlers take over for state inspectors to mark Bedouin structures for demolition
Haaretz 12 Apr by Amira Hass — Five volunteer jeep owners from settlements near Ma’aleh Adumim, east of Jerusalem, are watching the Bedouin encampments in the area to thwart any construction while Civil Administration inspectors are on Passover vacation. They answered the call of a group known as the Jerusalem Periphery Forum. According to a forum activist who asked to remain anonymous, the five are working in shifts of a few hours each. On weekends, when the Civil Administration inspectors are also off duty, Yariv Aharoni of Kfar Adumim, and the forum’s coordinator of issues involving land, is the inspector. However, during Passover week, Aharoni is on partial vacation and so the forum called for volunteer backup. The Jerusalem Periphery Forum includes representatives of the settlements of Alon, Kfar Adumim, Nofei Prat and Mitzpeh Yeriho, and a representative of the Binyamin Regional Council.
According to the activist, the forum works “against the illegal Palestinian-European construction in this area and along Route 1 between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.”  According to the forum activist, during Purim vacation two years ago, the Bedouin put up 22 prefabricated dwellings in various encampments, which the official called “outposts.” Those structures were donated by European organizations. After that, the forum decided to fund special manpower from the settlements to oversee what was happening in the encampments. The oversight, according to the forum activist, serves as a deterrent, even if not every structure built without a permit is discovered in real time. “The volunteers in their jeeps immediately report any deviation to the Civil Administration and the police, so that even if someone built, it will be destroyed immediately without the need to be dragged to High Court of Justice petitions,” he said. “The European Union also understands that this is a wasted investment for it and [its representatives] go build elsewhere,” he added.

Israeli settlers trespass on Palestinian lands to skinny dip in local well
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 20 Apr — A group of Israeli settlers trespassed onto private Palestinian land and vandalized property in the central occupied West Bank district of Salfit on Sunday, a local activist told Ma‘an. Nathmi Salman said that nine settlers went to a water well belonging to Jamal Abu Hijla near the villages of Deir Istiya and Haris, fully removed their clothes and jumped into the well to swim. Salman added that a heated argument broke out between Abu Hijla and the settlers before the latter got dressed and left the premises. In a separate incident in Saida, an area of Deir Istiya, Palestinian farmers encountered a group of Israeli settlers with construction equipment trying to transform a well owned by Khalid Abu Nasser into a swimming hole, Salman said. The settlers fled the scene once they saw the farmers, who also found Hebrew graffiti on nearby rocks. Incidents involving Israeli settlers damaging Palestinian property in the occupied Palestinian territory are a regular occurrence in the occupied territory….

Israeli forces uproot olive trees while settlers level lands in Salfit district
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli authorities on Tuesday uprooted and chopped down more than a dozen olive trees in one area of the central occupied West Bank Salfit district, while Israeli settlers used bulldozers to level lands in another area of the district, according to reports from locals. Director of the Ministry of Agriculture’s office in Salfit Ibrahim al-Hamad told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities uprooted 15 olive trees and chopped down three others in the al-Zibaq area of Deir Ballut village in western Salfit. According to al-Hamad, the destruction was part of ongoing land works for a project to build a water pipeline in the area meant to serve illegal Israeli settlements built on the private Palestinian lands of Deir Ballut. The trees in question were more than 40-year-old trees, he added, highlighting that more trees are expected to be cut down as bulldozers remained in the area and continued to work on the pipeline.
Separately, Israeli settlers leveled privately owned Palestinian lands north of the Kafr al-Dik village in Salfit. Witnesses told Ma‘an that they saw bulldozers escorted by settlers from the nearby illegal Leishim settlement level agricultural lands and pastures in preparation to expand the settlement, highlighting that the archaeological site of the Church of Saint Simeon Stylites, known to locals as Deir Samaan, was “harmed” in the incident. Local farmer Mahmoud al-Dik expressed frustrations over settlement activity in the area, saying that settlers “have started to take control of the whole area north of Kafr al-Dik,” with bypass roads constructed for settlers “swallowing Palestinian lands.” ….

Israeli colonizers uproot 310 olive trees near Jerusalem
IMEMC 10 Apr — Many extremist Israeli colonists invaded, earlier Monday, Palestinian olive orchards in Mikhmas village, southeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, in the West Bank, and uprooted 310 old olive trees, owned by several Palestinian villagers. Media sources said the assailants invaded orchards owned by Ali Aref al-Haj, Abdul-Samea Mhanna and Dahesh Mhanna. The sources added that Israeli soldiers came to the orchards while the settlers were uprooting the old olive trees, but did not remove or apprehend any of them. The attack is the second targeting Mikhmas orchards in the past two years, as the previous invasion into the orchards resulting in uprooting 200 olive trees.


Reports: Gaza security forces arrest suspected killer of Mazen Fuqahaa
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Gaza security forces have reportedly detained a person suspected of killing prominent Hamas member Mazen Fuqahaa, Arabic-language news site Falastin Alan (Palestine Now) reported on Monday evening. The Palestinian media outlet wrote that it was “almost confirmed” that the suspect had been arrested, adding that they would be tried promptly. However, the Hamas movement, the de facto ruling party in the besieged Gaza Strip, had yet to officially confirm the news as of Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, Israeli news site Ynet reported that a Hamas-appointed committee investigating Fuqahaa’s death had submitted its conclusions to Gaza politburo chief Yahya Sinwar. Fuqahaa was shot dead in Gaza City on March 24, in what Hamas quickly branded an assassination ordered by Israel, although it has yet to make public evidence to support its accusation. The attorney general in the small Palestinian territory has meanwhile issued a gag order banning publication of any information about the ongoing investigation unless it came from official Palestinian judicial sources. Following Fuqahaa’s death, Gaza security forces imposed unprecedented restrictions on freedom of movement in the blockaded coastal enclave for nearly two weeks as part of the search for those involved in the deadly shooting….

Israel detains 2 Palestinians for crossing Gaza border into Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians on Tuesday evening after they crossed the Gazan border into Israel’s Eshkol Regional Council bordering the besieged enclave. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that two suspects had “infiltrated” Israeli territory from southern Gaza. They were subsequently transferred to the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, for interrogations, according to the spokesperson.

Israel reopens commercial crossing with Gaza after 2-day closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Apr — Israeli authorities on Wednesday reopened the Karem Abu Salam (Kerem Shalom) commercial crossing between Israel and the southeastern Gaza Strip after two days of closure, while civilian passage for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza would remained closed until April 17 for the Jewish holiday of Passover. Palestinian management of the crossing told Ma‘an that said that 750 truckloads, including 15 truckloads of diesel, were expected to enter the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The Karam Abu Salam crossing serves as the only point through which commercial and industrial goods are allowed to enter the besieged coastal enclave, which has been suffering under a near decade-long Israeli blockade.

Crisis point reached in Gaza hospitals due to fuel shortage
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Apr — Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), on Tuesday, called upon the UK government to help ensure that the lives of Palestinians in Gaza are not put at greater risk as a result of the critical lack of fuel there. In a statement issued on Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that the fuel at its disposal to run generators at hospitals and other medical facilities will deplete in about one week. There is a tangible risk of operating theatres and hospital departments having to close, endangering the lives of patients. Fikr Shalltoot, Director of Programmes for MAP in Gaza warned: “The lack of fuel at Gaza hospitals is as dangerous as the lack of life-saving drug items. The absence of either one will cause the death of seriously ill patients.” “Most at risk are the lives of seriously ill patients in intensive care, and in neonatal and kidney dialysis units which lack the fuel to keep their ventilators and hemodialysis equipment running.” MAP, a British humanitarian and development organisation, is calling on the UK government and the international community to urgently intervene, to avert the worsening crisis. In the immediate and short term, adequate emergency funding for fuel must be delivered to Gaza to sustain Gaza’s already overstretched health services.

Israel expresses concern, blames Palestinian leadership for Gaza water crisis
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Israeli authorities — which have maintained a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip for nearly ten years — have contacted international organizations to urge them to address the deteriorating water situation in the small Palestinian enclave, Israeli media reported on Sunday. A United Nations report warned in 2012 that water from Gaza’s sole aquifer would become completely undrinkable by the end of 2016, with damages becoming irreversible by 2020. In November, the World Bank stated that only 10 percent of the population in Gaza had access to safe drinking water. According to the Army Radio, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry and international representatives — including United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov — on the issue in the past week. For the second time in the span of six months, the Times of Israel reported, COGAT head Yoav Mordechai called on international aid organizations to advance projects to build desalination plants in Gaza to alleviate the water crisis.
According to the Times of Israel, Mordechai attributed the grave shortage of drinking water in the Gaza Strip to “excessive pumping,” and blamed both the Hamas-led de facto government in Gaza and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) for stalling the process of improving water infrastructure in Gaza — implicitly attributing responsibility for the humanitarian crisis to internal Palestinian political tensions instead of the Israeli blockade. Mordechai reportedly blamed Hamas for refusing to connect a recently completed desalination plant built by UNICEF in Khan Yunis to Gaza’s electrical grid, while saying that PA President Mahmoud Abbas had not responded to an Israeli offer to double its supply of water to Gaza from 10 to 20 million cubic meters per year….

Palestinians fear return of power crisis in Gaza
MEMO 10 Apr — Fears reemerged yesterday of a new energy crisis in the Gaza Strip, as fuel supplies from Qatar and Turkey are due to end in mid-April. The Gaza Energy and Human Resources Authority announced that it will not be able to buy fuel at the price determined by the – West Bank based – Palestinian Authority, due to financial conditions resulting from Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip. “The fuel supply for the two fuel refineries will have been exhausted by Thursday. This includes the Qatari supply which was worth $12 million and lasted for over three months and the grant from Turkey, which has supplied 8,000 tonnes of fuel for power,” the Gaza Energy Authority said. The Energy and Human Resources Authority explained that it is not possible to buy fuel at the price set by the Palestinian Authority due to the high price resulting from additional taxes. A member the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Talal Abu Zarifa, said that for the last ten years the electricity crisis has become a source of political disruption. In an interview with Quds Press, he called on the Palestinian leadership to implement projects that would end the electricity crisis permanently. Gaza currently runs on an eight-hour cycle for electricity, in which power is supplied for eight hours before being cut for eight, however if the power plant stops working it could return to a six-hour cycle.

Palestinian PM conditions salaries on Hamas concessions
MEMO 11 Apr — Palestinian Authority (PA) employees in the Gaza Strip will receive their full salaries depending on the availability of funds and Hamas’s response to certain political demands, Rami al-Hamdallah, head of the Ramallah-based Palestinian government, said Tuesday. He made the assertion in a press statement released following a weekly meeting in Ramallah, during which he reportedly vowed that his government would “not abandon the Gaza Strip”. “The recent decision to reduce the salaries of [PA] employees in Gaza is a temporary one,” he said in the statement. Full salaries, he went on to assert, “will be paid once the needed funds are available and Hamas responds to proposals made by Palestinian President [Mahmoud] Abbas”. Last week, Abbas called on Hamas — which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007 — to dissolve a recently established “administrative committee” tasked with coordinating between various branches of the Hamas-run Gaza government.
Hamas MP Yahia Moussa, for his part, said the seven-member committee had been drawn up with a view to “coordinating between the ministries of the Gaza government in the absence of any governing role by the Ramallah-based unity government”. The PA’s Gaza-based employees were surprised early last week to find that their monthly salaries for March had been cut by some 30 percent. In an effort to resolve the crisis, Fayez Abu Eita, a spokesman for Abbas’s Fatah movement (which leads the unity government), said a Fatah delegation would visit the Gaza Strip “within days” to meet with Hamas officials. Abu Eita did not provide an exact date for the visit but voiced hope that Hamas would “respond positively” to Abbas’s request for the new administrative committee’s dissolution … Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, for his part, said that reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas could only be achieved “if President Abbas wills it”. “Reconciliation hinges entirely on the president; it depends on his personal discretion,” Qassem told Anadolu Agency, going on to assert that Abbas “rejects any kind of national partnership”.

Bringing back water to farmers in Gaza
ACTED 11 Apr — Like in many places in the world, farming is a way of life in the southern Gaza Strip. However, the 2014 conflict has had a significant impact on agriculture in the area, severely limiting access to water, land and resources, and amplifying the already high levels of food insecurity. Faced with such challenges, many hardworking farmers struggle to grow crops and yield only a small, if any, profit despite all their constant efforts. Alia, a 65 year old Palestinian farmer who heads a household of six people, was spending as much as 80% of her farming revenue on water and fertilizers alone, gaining very little reward for her hard work. Add to this the high cost of seeds and inadequate water infrastructure in the area, and it is no surprise that many farmers cannot afford or are unable to cultivate their own land. While the challenges farmers face in Gaza are not always the most apparent, they impact the food security of the wider area. With help from the local community, ACTED and the Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD) came together in 2016 as part of a project funded by UNOCHA to improve water access and restore the livelihoods of farmers in the southern Gaza Strip. Through the installation of 26 water ponds and the repair of 15 kilometers of damaged irrigation lines, 502 dunums (50 hectares) of land are now once again being cultivated by farmers as a direct result, both improving their livelihood and income opportunities and strengthening the area’s food security. With the improved access, Alia’s water costs have now halved, allowing her to cultivate two more dunums of land with her savings. Like Alia, 656 other farmers have benefited from this project….

Most of Gaza’s libraries have been closed or destroyed — and you can help a new one get off the ground
The Nation 12 Apr by Katha Pollitt — There are as many opinions about Israel and Palestine as there are minds and mouths (and fingers to type a tweet), but here is something everyone can agree on: People in Gaza need more books. Mosab Abu Toha, a young Gazan with a degree in English literature who has never been able to explore the world due to Israel’s ban on travel, escapes through reading. Now he is trying to start an English-language library and book shop. (It will have books in Arabic as well—there is a great shortage of books in any language in Gaza, much fewer than one per person.) He and his friend Shafi Salem have collected hundreds of books, which currently live in his apartment. His dream is to set up a library in a building of its own, with a coffee shop and a book shop—the sort of social and cultural amenity that is practically nonexistent in Gaza, where most of the public libraries have been closed or destroyed, and where the remaining ones hold only 70,000 books for a population of 1.8 million. Now the two young men have started a crowdfunder to raise $15,000 [so far they’ve only collected $3,463] to get the library off the ground–for rent, shelves, tables, chairs, and staff. Can you chip in to help make the library a reality and do something concrete and positive for the people of Gaza? Noam Chomsky has donated books to the library project. Here’s what he says about it:….

How Israel worsened a farm crisis in Gaza
GAZA STRIP (EI) 11 Apr by Sarah Algherbawi — Israel stands accused of worsening a crisis in Gaza’s livestock sector. Earlier this year, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in Gaza. For 17 days, Israel blocked the entry of vaccines required to prevent the virus from spreading, according to Gaza’s veterinary services. The delay hampered efforts to deal with the outbreak. By obstructing the delivery, Israel appeared to renege on its own commitments. In February, the Israeli agriculture ministry announced that it would provide 30,000 doses of a foot-and-mouth disease vaccine to the Palestinian Authority. The provision of these vaccines was presented as a response to the outbreak. The announcement was made after it was confirmed that cattle had been diagnosed with the disease at an Israeli kibbutz close to the boundary with Gaza. The Palestinian Authority had not informed Israel about how the disease “started its circulation” in Gaza several weeks previously, a statement by the Israeli agriculture ministry claimed. Hassan Azam, director of the veterinary services administration in Gaza, said last month that most sheep and goats in the territory have been vaccinated, but decried the lack of Israeli response to the ongoing need for vaccines. He advised The Electronic Intifada on 7 April that a further 102,000 doses are still required for ongoing safety throughout the year – 72,000 for sheep and 30,000 for cows. The outbreak had harsh consequences for Waleed Abdeen, a farmer in the Khan Younis area of Gaza. Around 40 of his 400 cows died in the two days following the outbreak….

After waiting for eight years, Wataniya mobile to soon launch service in Gaza Strip
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 Apr — Wataniya Mobile Palestine, a member of Ooredoo Group, is expected to start operations in the Gaza Strip this year after an eight-year wait, officials said on Monday, ending 18 years of monopoly by the only other cellular telephone company in Palestine, Jawwal. Company CEO Durgham Maraee said Wataniya has started work on providing mobile service in the Gaza Strip after a launch and operation in the West Bank since November 2009 … He said technical teams have started to build the transmission towers throughout the Gaza Strip as a prelude to start full operation there within this year.  While Wataniya Mobile Palestine was launched in Ramallah in November 2009 and built a mobile phone network in the West Bank, Israel did not allow it to bring equipment into the besieged Gaza Strip to offer service to the two million people there … Ooredoo CEO Sheikh Saud Al Thani also expressed his delight that Wataniya will finally be able to operate in Gaza, which he expects will have good benefits for his company’s Palestine subsidiary….

Photos: Celebrating Palestinian Children’s Day in Gaza
MEMO 10 Apr –Palestinian Children’s Day was marked in the besieged Gaza Strip with local and international NGOs sponsoring activities on 5 April.

Israeli occupation damages Palestinian crops in Gaza Strip
GAZA ( 11 Apr — The Israeli occupation continues destroying agriculture fields in the besieged Gaza strip as Israeli planes damage crops of Palestinian farmers in the farming areas along the border areas … Israeli aircraft spray herbicides on fields of vegetables causing great damage to the [crops] and also farmers. For the second time in less than two weeks, Israeli planes destroyed the vegetable fields of the Palestinian farmer Zakaria Ghalia, 30 years old, who survived the last round where Israeli planes destroyed his field. This time, Israeli planes sprayed herbicides on his potato field , and it was completely damaged. Zakaria’s field is only 150 meters away from the separation barrier between Gaza and Israel. Israeli planes damaged some 20 dunums of  squash, broccoli and cabbage. Zakaria said that few days ago, Israeli  aircraft sprayed pesticides above the farming area where wind helped to spread it, and it damaged large fields in the areas including his field, where fruits and were entirely destroyed. Several dunums of zucchini were completely damaged where farmers were about to harvest it and give it to the merchants for selling….

Palestinian refugees – Lebanon

Death toll rises to 8 amid ongoing clashes in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Apr — Clashes in Lebanon’s Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp continued for the fourth consecutive day, after the death toll rose to at least eight people as of Monday morning according to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), breaking a short-lived ceasefire declared the previous night. At least 35 more have been injured since violence broke out Friday — including four-year-old Zaher Khattab who was shot by a stray bullet Sunday evening — as armed clashes raged between a new joint Palestinian force deployed in the camp and Islamist militants led by Bilal Badr, who has alleged links to al-Qaeda and lives in the camp’s al-Tira neighborhood. Palestinian security forces chief Subhi Abu Arab was quoted by Lebanese news sites as saying that Palestinian forces were committed to continuing operations until Badr and other gunmen turned themselves in.

Palestinian factions agree to dissolve Takfiri group in Ain al-Hilweh
Al-Manar 11 Apr — Palestinian factions announced on Tuesday an agreement had been reached to dissolve a self-proclaimed security zone of a Takfiri group which has been engaged in fierce clashes with the Joint Palestinian Security Force in Sidon’s Ain Al-Hilweh refugee camp in the last five days. Following a meeting for representatives of Palestinian factions in the Lebanese southern city, Fatah Movement Secretary Fathi Abu al-Ardat said the factions agreed to dissolve the Bilal Badr group’s so-called “security square” in Al-Tireh neighborhood, the scene of fierce clashes which took place between the terrorists and the Joint Security Force in the refugee camp. It has been circulated since Monday night that the terrorist group leader Bilal Badr had fled Al-Tireh neighborhood. Abu Al-Ardat said Badr is now at large and the Joint Security Force is seeking his arrest in a bid to hand him over to Lebanese authorities. The official in Fatah movement stressed meanwhile that the Joint Security Force will be deployed in any post across Ain Al-Hilweh camp. Tensions have been high in Sidon since last Friday, when Badr group opened fire on the Joint Security Force fighters as they were deploying in Al-Tireh neighborhood, as a part of an agreement following an earlier battle which lasted for days in the refugee camp last February. Schools and universities have been closed due to fierce clashes which killed at least 8 people and injured dozens of others.


Tufts students vote to divest from Israeli occupation
EI 11 April by Charlotte Silver — Tufts University’s undergraduate student senate passed a resolution on 9 April that calls on the university to divest from companies involved in Israel’s occupation and violation of Palestinian human rights. The resolution, written by the Boston school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, passed by 17-6 with eight abstentions, despite strong opposition from pro-Israel groups. It was endorsed by the school’s Jewish Voice for Peace chapter. While Tufts’ specific holdings are not public, the resolution calls on the school to create “a human rights screen” to bar investments in companies involved in “human rights violations against Palestinians, non-US-citizens in detainment and deportation proceedings, and incarcerated individuals.” It identifies Elbit Systems, G4S, Northrop Grumman and Hewlett Packard Enterprise as companies that provide military, surveillance and prison services to the Israeli and US governments….

Other news

Fatah delegation to meet with Hamas in Gaza in bid toward reconcilation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 11 Apr — A delegation representing the Palestinian Authority’s ruling Fatah party is set to travel to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, after Israel ends its lockdown on the occupied West Bank and Gaza imposed for the Jewish holiday of Passover to end Monday night. Member of Fatah’s Central Committee Jamal Muheisin told the Voice of Palestine radio station that the delegation would appeal to Hamas officials to uphold to the terms set out in the 2012 Cairo agreement. Muheisin accused Hamas of taking steps that violated past agreements made toward reconciliation, namely, a recent plan unveiled by Hamas to form a new administrative committee to run the Gaza Strip. Hamas officials have meanwhile countered that the committee was merely a temporary solution to coordinate between Gaza’s ministries in Gaza, and lobbed accusations back at the PA for failing on efforts towards forming a unity government for both territories. Regardless, Muheisin warned that if Hamas did not back down on such moves, “possible future steps will be discussed upon the delegation’s return in order to protect our national project.” The Fatah official’s remarks came after sources close to the PA told Ma‘an on Monday that the Palestinian government would be “reshuffled” if Hamas does not adhere to policies set out in the 2014 agreement to form a national unity government….

Opinion: Australia is in danger / Amira Hass
Haaretz 12 Apr — The state Down Under recently revoked the visa of a noted Palestinian activist – the long arm of Israel is most apparent — Why is the Australian government afraid of Bassem Tamimi, a Palestinian from the village Nabi Saleh? Last Wednesday, Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection revoked the entry visa it had given him a day earlier. Tamimi, who with other popular resistance activists in his village and across the West Bank have managed to focus international attention on the evils of the Israeli occupation, was invited by a left-wing organization and some pro-Palestinian groups to hold a series of lectures and meetings in Australia. No less than Tamimi, they were shocked by the hysterical revocation of his visa. As expected, pro-occupation and pro-expulsion websites were delighted. The revocation document, posted on the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), says “the [immigration] department has recently been made aware of information that indicates there is a risk that members of the public will react adversely to Mr. Tamimi’s presence in Australia regarding his views of the ongoing political tensions in the Middle East. his presence in Australia would or might pose a risk to the good order of the Australian community.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin couldn’t have better formulated the rationale for silencing any opposition voice … “His views,” says the official document. As if this were a debating salon and not irrefutable, first-hand testimony about a regime of ethnic segregation that Israel fashions….

Two electoral lists for local councils are female-only, says election commission
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 11 Apr – Statistics on the preliminary register of electoral lists and candidates for the upcoming local council elections released Tuesday by the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC) said that two electoral lists had only female candidates. In addition, eight lists were headed by woman candidates, said the CEC, putting the percentage of woman candidates in all the lists at 26 per cent. A total of 735 lists were submitted for 391 districts in the West Bank broken down into 116 city councils and 275 village councils. The CEC said the number of lists registered as political parties or coalition of parties represented 41.6% of the total candidate lists, whereas independent lists which are not affiliated to any political party represented 58.4% of the total lists. Young candidates aged 25-35 accounted for the majority of candidates in the lists representing 31% of the total number of candidates with Hebron district topping the list where percentage of candidates under the age of 36 reached 38% of the total number of candidates….

EU provides €12 million to support families in need in the West Bank and Gaza
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 11 Apr — The European Union (EU) contributed almost €12 million to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) quarterly payment of social allowances to 109,000 poor Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza, an EU press release said on Tuesday.  This contribution amounts to €11.75 million and is funded by the European Union (€10 million), the Governments of Austria (€1.25 million) and Ireland (€0.5 million). It will cover the payments made to around 71,500 families. “The EU supports the payments to households living in extreme poverty that are registered in the cash transfer program of the Ministry of Social Development. Two thirds of the families benefiting from this program live in Gaza,” said the statement. “The fight against poverty is at the heart of the EU’s political, economic, and social agenda,” said the Deputy EU Representative Tomas Niklasson.

For Palestinian family, an udder-ly unique power source
AFP 12 Apr — Power comes in many forms, but Kamal al-Jebrini’s family looked to where others may fear to tread for a new source of it: cow dung. The family has begun recycling waste from its cows to produce electricity for one of the largest Palestinian dairy plants and even to provide power to some houses. They discovered the idea during trips abroad and decided cow dung that would otherwise mainly rot in the sun — apart from some used as fertiliser by neighbouring farmers — could be put to better use. “It was a shame to allow all of that manure to be lost and impact the environment when we can produce electricity with it,” said Jebrini, who owns a large farm of about 1,000 cows with his brothers. He spoke after inspecting the milking room, where workers looked after lumbering cows. The project in the occupied West Bank is the first of its kind in the Palestinian territories, where renewable energy usually means solar panels. The family turned to Maher Magalsay, who specialises in renewable energy at the Polytechnic University of Hebron, the major city located nearby in the south of the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel for 50 years. Magalsay brought engineers and a large generator from Germany to develop the project that involves using heat to produce methane and biogas from the cow dung, eventually leading to electricity … Now, he proudly shows off two large silos where manure and biogas are stocked to be later cooled and transformed. It allows the 30 tonnes of dung produced daily by Jebrini’s cows to generate 380 kilowatt hours. He can even route part of the energy produced to the local electricity company. There is no power plant in the West Bank, and nearly 90 percent of the 5.3 gigawatts of energy consumed are bought from Israel….

Facebook vs Palestine: Implicit support for oppression
Al Jazeera 11 Apr by Nadim Nashif — Facebook’s censorship and information sharing policies reveal a persistent pro-Israeli bias — Between 2015 and 2016, Israel arrested more than 400 Palestinians because of content they circulated online, often on Facebook, that Israel alleged amounted to “incitement”. Around 200 are embroiled in court cases. One of the best-known cases is that of Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour, who faces up to eight years in prison for a poem she posted on her Facebook page in 2015. The last witnesses in her case testified on March 28, and a verdict is expected in a few months. At the same time, Facebook has been cooperating with the Israeli government to remove content the latter finds objectionable, including briefly shutting down the page of the political party Fatah in March, because of an old photo posted of former leader Yasser Arafat holding a rifle….

Israel’s ‘slow’ plan for peace
Al-Monitor 11 Apr by Daoud Kuttab — Israeli politicians are arguing that at least 10 years of calm and negotiations are required before the possibility of founding an independent Palestinian state — The most prominent Israeli politician with a chance of replacing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that peace with the Palestinians will take decades. Speaking at a rally in Netanya, north of Tel Aviv, on March 26, Yair Lapid, chairman of the center-right Yesh Atid, said “Any negotiations with Palestinians would need to be conducted in very slow stages.” By “slow” he meant 15-20 years. Earlier, Israel’s current opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, had called for a decade of calm before any peace process could bear fruit. The Israeli Labor Party leader on Feb. 23 outlined a 10-point plan that called for 10 years of absolute calm on the west bank of the Jordan River, anchored and supervised by a UN Security Council resolution, before a Palestinian state could be truly independent. It is not clear why such extended periods are deemed necessary before implementation of the internationally accepted two-state solution. While some might argue that the above statements were made in light of the growing expectation of early Israeli elections, according to some politicians and analysts, there is no doubt that the politicians making them believe that they are what the Israeli public wants to hear … The arrogance of Israeli politicians arguing for an almost indefinite continuation of illegal occupation and colonial settlement stems from one simple fact: The cost of occupation is so cheap that it gives them little incentive to tackle it, as the Israeli population has moved farther right and become more hawkish on the issue. The situation will only change once Palestinians, Arabs and the international community make Israel pay a serious price for its continued occupation and violations of human rights. (listserv) (archive)

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Is the situation in Gaza expected to worsen shortly? US Embassy in israel has issued a travel advisory (11th April) advising Americans to leave:

Israel’s corpse fetish is gruesome