Israeli soldiers kill one Palestinian, injure ten others, in Gaza
[with video] IMEMC 10 June — Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, one Palestinian and injured at [least] ten others, after the army attacked dozens of Palestinian protesters in Palestinian lands near the border fence east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Medical sources at the Indonesian Hospital, in nearby Beit Lahia city, said the Palestinian, identified as Aa‘ed Khamis Jom‘a, 35, was shot with a live round in the head. They added that the soldiers also shot and injured ten other Palestinians with live fire. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, fired dozens of live rounds and gas bombs at the protesters, who were marching near the border fence, and added that the army also used drones. It is worth mentioning that the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, issued a statement mourning Jom’a as one of its members. There have been no armed clashes during the Israeli attack, and none of the protesters, including the slain Palestinian, carried weapons.
Furthermore, the soldiers shot one Palestinian with a live round in his leg, after attacking protesters in Palestinian lands, east of the Sheja‘eyya neighborhood, in the eastern part of Gaza city. The wounded young man was moved to the Shifa Medical Center, west of Gaza city…
Three Palestinians were also shot with live Israeli army fire east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, and were moved to the Al-Aqsa hospital, in Deir al-Balah.
Furthermore, the soldiers attacked protesters east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the besieged coastal region.
Israeli forces injure Palestinian with live bullet during clashes in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli forces stationed on the Gaza Strip’s eastern borders opened live fire and shot tear gas at Palestinian youths on Thursday, injuring one Palestinian with a live bullet and causing many others to suffer from tear gas inhalation. A spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said that Israeli forces injured a Palestinian with a live bullet during clashes in the east of Jabaliya refugee camp. His injuries were described as moderate.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson added that Israeli forces fired tear gas at Palestinians in the east of Gaza city and east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, causing many to suffer from tear gas inhalation, including two medics…
Clashes have regularly erupted on Gaza’s border with Israel, as tens of Palestinians continue to demonstrate in protest of Israel’s decade-long siege on the small Palestinian territory. On Tuesday evening, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian protester [Fadi Ibrahim al-Najjar] and injured at least seven others with live fire in the besieged Gaza Strip during clashes.
Hamas military leader killed in accidental Gaza explosion
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 June — A leader of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, succumbed late on Wednesday to wounds sustained earlier that day during an explosion at a “resistance site” in the southern besieged Gaza Strip. The al-Qassam Brigades announced that 51-year-old Ibrahim Hussein Abu al-Naja, whom it described as a prominent leader, was killed in an accidental explosion near the town of Rafah, in which three other Hamas fighters were injured. Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra confirmed that Abu al-Naja passed away after sustaining critical wounds during the explosion. Abu al-Naja is the second Palestinian to be killed in accidents in Gaza sites used by resistance groups in less than two months.
Palestinian embassy: Turkey to send aid shipment to Gaza during Ramadan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 June — A meeting in Ankara on Friday between the Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa and Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak revealed that a cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid would arrive in the besieged Gaza Strip before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. According to a statement released by the Palestinian embassy in Turkey, humanitarian aid would be distributed to Palestinian families in Gaza in order to “lessen their suffering” and help them prepare for Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. The statement noted that it was Turkey’s third shipment of aid to Gaza since a year ago when Israel and Turkey normalized their relationship and forged an agreement that included Israel’s approval of Turkish aid to reach the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Feature: 1st charity market provides needy Gazans with free shopping
GAZA, June 9 (Xinhua) by Osama Radi, Emad Drimly — It was a happy moment for Sobheya Abu Zuhri, a 60-year-old poor woman from the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, to go for a free shopping. A first ever charity market in the region provides poor people a free shopping, with a variety of vegetables, fruits, foodstuffs and fresh meat for three days. Elderly Abu Zuhri, responsible for a family of nine, said she had acquired canned food, vegetables and meat, as she has to feed her family during the Muslims fasting month of Ramadan started on May 27. Rayan Shurrab, another beneficiary of the project said “the charity market is a good way to help poor people during Ramadan. What distinguishes this kind of charity work is that you can choose what you need from the market, unlike others who just give you a closed box of food.” “Here, we can take what we really need,” said Shurab, while he was picking up some vegetables, cooking oil and a chicken. Shurab is one of tens of thousands of people who live in the Gaza Strip under the poverty line due to a tight Israeli blockade that has been imposed on the coastal enclave for more than ten years … The charity market project was funded by a South African charity organization. The organization funded the project with 35,000 U.S. dollars, he said.
Qatar charity iftar meals to benefit 56,000 on Gaza Strip
MENAFN 7 June — Since the beginning of Ramadan, #Qatar Charity (QC) has continued to implement Ramadan Iftar and food basket projects. The beneficiaries of the two projects during the holy month have been 98,700 people, including orphans, the disabled, poor families and other needy groups. QC’s Office distributed 8,030, out of 12,258, family breakfast meals till the sixth of Ramadan as part of its fast- breaking project (one family meal is meant for four people). More than 56,000 people, including orphans, poor families and the handicapped, are expected to benefit from Iftar meals by distributing this food to the marginalised areas in the Gaza Strip, as well as group Iftar for orphans in partnership with Wajd programme launched by Welfare Association and funded by #Qatar Development Fund. The project was implemented with the participation of 37 local institutions distributed throughout the five governorates of the Gaza Strip. Besides, it included the delivery of these meals to about 5,273 families sponsored by QC’s Office in Gaza, in addition to 1,800 families who are not sponsored….
Analysts: Qatar supports Gaza not Hamas
Al Jazeera 7 June — The recent Qatar-GCC rift has to do with an attempt to impose a new leadership on the Palestinians, analysts say — On Tuesday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir called on Qatar to end its support for the Gaza-based Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. But it is Qatar’s strength as a regional player, rather than its support for Hamas, that is at the heart of the recent rift between some GCC countries and Qatar, analysts told Al Jazeera. “The pressure on Qatar is not to do with Hamas, but it’s the fact that it is a successful state that tries to engage in dialogue and it has been very successful in solving issues in the region,” says Waleed al-Modallal, head of political science at the Islamic University of Gaza. “Qatar is a small country playing a big role in the region. That is what seems to have angered the bigger countries nearby,” Modallal told Al Jazeera by phone from Gaza.
Jubeir’s statements came shortly after Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, severed diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar on Monday, with air, sea, and land borders shut down and Qatari diplomats and residents expelled from the neighbouring countries. Yemen, Libya, the Maldives, Mauritania, followed later and broke off diplomatic ties, as well. Jordan also announced that it will downgrade its diplomatic representation in Qatar, and asked the Qatari ambassador to leave. The rift is the worst to hit the Gulf states in decades. Al-Jubeir told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that Qatar was undermining the Palestinian Authority and Egypt through its support of Hamas and the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas responded to Jubair’s statements in a press release, stating: “We express deep regret and indignation at the statements made by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir against Hamas, which we consider to be alien to the kingdom’s positions”. The movement said the minister’s remarks “are a shock to our Palestinian people and our Arab and Islamic nation, which considers the Palestinian cause its central cause”.
Qatar has long hosted Hamas’ political leaders in Doha and has provided large sums of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which has undergone a decade-long Israeli blockade and three Israeli assaults that massively damaged its infrastructure. Some analysts interpreted Qatar’s diplomatic approach as supportive of Hamas, though Qatar repeatedly stated that its policy was one of engagement with all sides to push for peace….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
The month in pictures: May 2017
Electronic Intifada 5 June — Seven Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers, police and armed civilians during the month of May. Fatima Hjeiji, 16, and Raed Ahmad Radaya, 15, were killed by soldiers during separate alleged stabbing attempts in the occupied West Bank which left no Israelis injured. Muhammad al-Skaji, a 57-year-old Jordanian national of Palestinian origin, was shot dead in Jerusalem’s Old City after he stabbed a police officer who sustained moderate wounds. Muhannad Abd al-Rahman, 45, died two days after he was shot during a stabbing attack that left a police officer lightly injured in the Israeli city of Netanya. Saba Abu Ubeid, 23, died after he was shot in the chest with a live bullet in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh during confrontations with soldiers following a march held in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. Mutaz Hussein Hilal Bani Shamsa, 23, was killed when he was shot in the head by an Israeli settler during a demonstration in support of the hunger strike in Huwwara, a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank. A photographer with the Associated Press was also shot in the hand and moderately wounded. Muhammad Majid Baker, 28, became the second Palestinian fisherman killed this year after he was shot by Israeli naval forces while sailing off the coast of Gaza. Meanwhile, Fatima Taqatqa, 15, died of injuries she sustained when she was shot by soldiers during an alleged car ramming attack in the southern West Bank in March.
Twenty-six Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and armed civilians so far this year. Six Israelis, most of them soldiers, and a British national have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period. Two Palestinians in Gaza, Talat al-Shawi, 52, and Walid Qaoud, 59, died after Israel stalled on issuing them permits to travel to a hospital in Jerusalem for cancer treatment….
Kafr Qasim killing shows police threat to Palestinian citizens
+972blog 6 June by Yael Marom, with Orly Noy — As long as police continue to see Palestinian citizens of Israel as ‘the enemy,’ the deadly shootings — and the ever-deepening crisis in relations — will continue — An Israeli security guard shot and killed 28-year-old Mahmoud Mahmoud Salim Taha, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, in Kafr Qasim on Monday night. Disturbances had broken out while police were arresting another resident of the town, and in the course of the clashes, a security guard at the police station opened fire on Taha. Below are three comments on the incident.
– Where else have protesters been shot and killed?- Over 30 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed in violent episodes since the start of the year, most of them shot dead. Arab and mixed towns across the country have, over the last few weeks, seen protests against police ineffectiveness against the increasing violence and murder rate in the community. Leaders and regular citizens have pleaded endlessly for the police to start properly tackling the organized crime and hoards of weapons that threaten Palestinian society. There is also Palestinians’ complete lack of faith in the authorities, above all the police. And that lack of faith is justified: 48 Palestinian citizens of Israel have been shot and killed by police since 2000, according to Mossawa Center — The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel. Monday night’s incident in Kafr Qasim, which came less than six months after the deadly events in Umm al-Hiran, is yet another assault by police on already frail relations. On the one hand the police talk about creating trust; on the other, they behave, at best, like a bull in a china shop, and routinely treat Arab citizens like the enemy. When do they ever shoot other protesters, even if they throw stones and burn cars? Without minimizing the police violence against ultra-Orthodox protesters in Jerusalem over the last few weeks, not a single officer drew their weapon and opened fire, even as the police put out dramatic statements about ultra-Orthodox rioting and stone-throwing.
Rivlin meets with Kafr Qassem mayor after deadly riots
Times of Israel 8 June by Stuart Winer — President talks with Adel Badir about improving law enforcement in Arab town following violent clash with police — President Reuven Rivlin met Wednesday with the mayor of an Israeli Arab town where a man was shot dead by a security guard earlier in the week as rioters attacked a local police station. Kafr Qassem Mayor Adel Badir met with Rivlin and Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem to discuss ways of restoring calm in the town. They agreed to continue with efforts to boost law enforcement in the crime-ridden town, and in Arab towns and villages throughout the country. Local Arab leaders have long accused the police of neglecting their communities and allowing crime to flourish unchecked. In the meeting, the sides agreed that “such activity requires full cooperation [from the community], led by Arab leaders, which will enable the return of law and order to the streets,” the President’s Residence said in a statement. Kafr Qassem residents have criticized the police’s failure to crack down on crime in the city, which lies east of Tel Aviv. The statement also said that a work meeting would be scheduled in the near future at the President’s Residence between senior police officials and heads of Arab local authorities. Mohammed Taha, 27, was shot dead by a private security guard outside the town’s police station in the early hours of Tuesday morning.…
Opinion: Good Arab, dead Arab / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 7 June — In Israel, police killing a demonstrator is a marginal story, only because the victim is an Arab — Let’s say the demonstrator who was shot to death by a security guard had been a Jew. Let’s say he had been an ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) man, or someone of Ethiopian origin, or – just imagine – a settler. It’s hard to conceive of because it has so rarely happened. But if a Jewish demonstrator had been shot to death by the security forces, the country would be up in arms — though even then, the degree of outrage would be based on the victim’s ethno-political rank: If the victim were Ethiopian, less outrage; if he were a Haredi man – more; and if he’d been a settler it would be the end of the world. But it was Mohammed Taha’s bad luck to have been born an Arab – not a settler, not a Haredi, and not even an Ethiopian Jew. Being an Arab was his bad luck, both in life and in death. That’s why his killing was effaced by the Israeli media and wasn’t considered a tragedy. The teacher who hugged his pupils inappropriately in a Tel Aviv school was the bigger story Tuesday, because that was about our tender, precious children. Arab citizens are far less tender and precious to us. That’s why the killing of an Arab demonstrator was shoved to the margins. It’s hard to believe, but police killing a demonstrator is a secondary story, only because he was an Arab. In an incredible coincidence, the demonstrators shot to death in Israel are always Arabs. The thieves shot to death are also almost always Arabs … It’s an unfortunate coincidence that it was Arabs who were killed. But the truth is that no security guard has been born who would shoot a Jewish demonstrator in the face from a protected guard post simply because he “looked death in the eye.”….
Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians, including Hamas leader, during overnight raids
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 June — Israeli forces detained at least six Palestinians, including a Hamas leader, during overnight raids across the occupied West Bank between Thursday and Friday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained Abd al-Khaleq al-Natsheh, a leader of the Hamas movement, in his home in the Jabal al-Rahma neighborhood of Hebron City at dawn on Friday. Israeli soldiers also confiscated al-Natsheh’s private vehicle during the raid, which was filmed by a neighbor. The footage [below] shows al-Natsheh being taken away by several soldiers, while others drive off in a civilian vehicle — presumably al-Natsheh’s — as a female relative watches. According to Ma‘an documentation, al-Natsheh was last detained in 2013, and spent more than a year in Israeli custody under the country’s highly contested policy of administrative detention — internment without trial or charges. Locals added that another Palestinian was also detained in Jabal al-Rahma during the overnight raid, whom they identified as Dirar Abu Munshar.
Meanwhile, Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained two young Palestinians, identified as Nadi and Harun al-Jaabari, following an altercation in the al-Ras neighborhood of Hebron City late on Thursday. The sources added that Israeli soldiers assaulted the two Palestinians before detaining them for interrogation.
An Israeli army spokesperson only confirmed three overnight detentions in the city of Hebron, all of whom they said were “Hamas operatives,” and told Ma’an that they would look into the reports of the al-Jaabaris’ detention.
The spokesperson also said two other Palestinians were detained in the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya in the Nablus district, adding that they too were alleged Hamas members.
Court actions / Prisoners
Palestinian citizens of Israel charged with planning alleged ‘revenge attack’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — Four Palestinian citizens of Israel were charged with allegedly planning to kill an Israeli army officer in revenge for the killing of Hamas leader Mazen Fuqahaa in March, Israeli media reported on Thursday. Fuqahaa was shot with four bullets to the head in front of a residence in southwestern Gaza City on March 25. Hamas officials said that the assassination was carried out with a silenced gun by assailants who were “collaborating” with Israel. The well known Hamas leader was from the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas, and served nine years out of a life sentence in Israeli custody before he was released in 2012 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoners exchange deal. He was then exiled to the besieged Gaza Strip.
According to The Times of Israel, Israeli forces had detained seven Palestinians from the Palestinian town of Jaljulia in Israel over suspicions of possessing illegal weapons. One of the detainees, Mahmoud Muhammad Abd al-Karim Daoud, had apparently revealed details about the attack during interrogations with the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, and pointed to two brothers: Adam Ismail Muhammad Faki, 25, and Firas Ismail Muhammad Faki, 27. The Times of Israel reported that Adam Faki visited the besieged Gaza Strip in 2014 and was reportedly recruited to Hamas by his half-brother Muhammad and another resident, Hassan al-Matsi. Adam Faki had also reportedly developed ties with Hamas leader Hassan Jaabari, the brother of Ahmad Jaabari, who served as head of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, before being killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2012. Reportedly under the direction of Muhammad Faki, Adam was told to “acquire weapons, identify a victim and recruit a helper” in order to carry out an alleged revenge attack following Fuqahaa’s assassination. He then attempted to acquire two pistols and a silencer from a fellow Jaljulia resident, Yassin Marari. Meanwhile, Adam’s brother Firas was also arrested by Israeli authorities over suspicions he had known about the planned attack. The three other suspects continued to remain in Israeli custody….
Israeli soldier faces dismissal after ‘fleeing’ from teen girl during stab attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 June — An Israeli soldier who fled from a 16-year-old Palestinian girl last week when she had carried out a stabbing attack at the entrance of Israel’s illegal Mevo Dotan settlement in the Jenin district of the occupied West Bank is reportedly facing dismissal from the army for failing to “engage” the teenager, Israeli media reported on Friday. According to Israel Hayom, the army had said that “fleeing from terrorists, let alone a teenage girl, is unacceptable,” and has begun considerations over the dismissal of the soldier over the incident. However, the incident is still under investigation, with a decision expected to be made next week, according to Israel Hayom. “The commanders see this as a very serious incident,” an Israeli commander from the soldier’s unit reportedly said. “Every IDF soldier, let alone a commando, is expected to engage. What if she had stabbed a little girl?” Nuf Uqab Abd al-Jabar Infiaat was shot and critically injured after she stabbed and lightly wounded an Israeli soldier at the entrance of an illegal Israeli settlement in the Jenin district, and succumbed to her wounds a day later….
Two Jews convicted of incitement to violence against Arabs
Ynet 8 June by Raanan Ben Zur — Avraham Binyamin, 32, and Yehoshua Hess, 44, two senior activists from Yitzhar in the Jewish Voice group, were convicted on Thursday of numerous offenses of incitement to violence and racism. The two were convicted at the Petah Tikva Magistrates’ Court. The indictment had been approved by the attorney general, as required by law for the relevant offenses, due to the potential freedom of expression consequences. The court found that in their various publications, the defendants systematically included content relating to incitement to violence. Among other things, the two posted praise for acts of physical violence against Arabs [Palestinian citizens of Israel, or all Arabs?]. In addition, the publications included content related to incitement to racism, such as statements that all Arabs are “murderers,” “violent,” “savages,” “terrorists,” “abusers,” and “cruel.” They also published supportive and sympathetic statements about harm to the bodies, property and freedom of Arabs wherever they may be. Judge Eliana Danieli was presented with a plea agreement for Benjamin’s sentence: a half-year of community service if found suitable, as well as a suspended sentence and a fine. There is no agreement for Hess’s sentence, which will be decided in court.
Israel renews admin detention of Palestinian prisoners’ advocate
+972 mag 9 June by Orly Noy — Hasan Safadi, who was accused of affiliation with a proscribed organization and visiting an enemy state, will remain imprisoned without charge for another six months — Israeli military authorities extended the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoners’ rights activist Hasan Safadi on Thursday. Hasan Safadi, a journalist who works as media coordinator for Addameer, an NGO that supports Palestinian prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian prisons, was supposed to be released from administrative detention on June 10. The authorities decided his detention would be extended for another six months, until December 8, 2017 … Safadi, who lives in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood, was first arrested on May 1, 2016 as he was crossing Allenby Bridge from Jordan into the West Bank on his way home from an Arab Youth Conference in Tunisia. From there he was transferred to the Russian Compound interrogation center in Jerusalem, where he was interrogated for 40 days. During his trial, the military prosecution allegedly claimed that Safadi was affiliated with an illegal organization and has visited an enemy state (Lebanon) more than one time. It further claimed that he has conducted illegal activities without specifying exactly what those activities are, and argued that he is affiliated with other Palestinian detainees without identifying the names of said detainees….
Hundreds of thousands visit Al-Aqsa Mosque at Ramadan
Al Jazeera 10 June — An estimated 250,000 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, the blockaded Gaza Strip, and Arab communities inside Israel converged on East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque complex to perform Friday prayers during the Ramadan fasting month. Men over 40, children under 12, and women of all ages were allowed by Israeli authorities to enter East Jerusalem for the occasion without permits. Since Friday morning, the Israeli authorities have stepped up security around the flashpoint site, deploying thousands of troops in surrounding alleyways and erecting roadblocks at the entrances of Jerusalem’s Old City. “I usually perform Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa for Ramadan despite the stepped-up security,” he said. Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, the Palestinian director-general of religious endowments and Al-Aqsa affairs, said about 250,000 worshipers showed up at Al-Aqsa to attend Friday prayers. “We’re expecting about 150,000 Palestinian worshipers from the West Bank and Gaza Strip to stay for taraweeh [nighttime] prayers,” he said. Al-Khatib added the Jordan-run Religious Endowments Authority would distribute food and water to worshipers each day at sunset. Salem Sabaana, a 40-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank city of Jenin, told said it was his first time to visit Al-Aqsa since his childhood.”I am excited to finally visit and pray at Al-Aqsa again,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for 30 years.”…..
Jewish Israelis disguised as Muslims attempt to pray at Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — A group of right-wing Israeli women dressed up in religious Muslim clothing, reportedly in an attempt to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Thursday evening, in contravention of agreements regimenting the holy site. Security guards at Al-Aqsa said that eight women who entered the Al-Aqsa compound through the Cotton Merchants’ Gate dressed in Islamic outfits before the ‘ishaa’ prayer on Thursday aroused their suspicions. When the security guards went to speak with the women in Arabic, they only responded in Hebrew, outing them as Israelis. The guards then evacuated the women from the compound, and informed the Israeli police of the incident.
There have been other reported instances of Jewish Israelis attempting to enter Al-Aqsa disguised as Muslims, despite non-Muslims being allowed on the compound. Following Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967, however, Israel has maintained a compromise with the Islamic trust that controls the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to not allow non-Muslim prayers in the area. Israeli forces nonetheless regularly escort Jewish visitors to the site, leading to tension with Palestinian worshipers.
Restriction on movement / Closures
Video: Checkpoint 300
EI 8 June — Video by Ahmad Al-Bazz, Haidi Motola and Anne Paq/Activestills — “This is our life: difficult and full of problems.” So says one of the thousands of Palestinian laborers who queue before dawn each day to pass through Checkpoint 300, separating the occupied West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The Israeli military checkpoint is the main crossing point for Palestinians from all over the southern West Bank who work in Israel. Palestinians in the West Bank must hold an Israeli permit to cross the checkpoint. They are not allowed free movement into Israel. There are around 100 fixed checkpoints like Checkpoint 300 in the West Bank.
Palestinian activists break Ramadan fast at Hebron checkpoint
+972 mag 6 June by Orly Noy — The restrictions on movement between different neighborhoods of Hebron meant that a number of Palestinian activists, who were on their way to an iftar meal in Tel Rumeida, were compelled to break their fast sitting on the ground at a checkpoint instead — Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims across the world, is a time for family get-togethers, especially around the Iftar meal, which breaks the day-long fast every evening. Extended families gathering for a meal — what could be more trivial than that? Except if it happens in Hebron, where nothing is as trivial as it seems. Several members of Dismantle the Ghetto, a group that was established February of this year and includes activists from different factions and human rights organizations in Hebron, were invited last Saturday for an Iftar meal at a friend’s home in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. “There was only one problem,” says Badie Dweik, one of the organizers. “We needed to pass a checkpoint through which we weren’t allowed on the way … When the activists arrived in Tel Rumeida on the way to the meal, soldiers at the checkpoint began checking their identification cards. Beginning in October 2015, Tel Rumeida was deemed a closed military zone and residents of the neighborhood were forced to register with the military authorities, in order to confirm the fact that they indeed are residents of the neighborhood. Only those registered as residents are allowed entry. Because a number of Dismantle the Ghetto activists are not residents of Tel Rumeida and cannot enter the neighborhood, they decided to break the fast at the checkpoint itself. “With no other choice, we spread out the blankets on the ground and began serving the traditional maqlouba,” says Dweik. “This is the reality in Hebron. We cannot even break the fast together, if we want to be humans and not numbers.”
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
The immigrants fueling the population growth of West Bank settlements
Haaretz 7 June by Judy Maltz — Immigrants to Israel account for as much as half the population at some West Bank settlements, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told settler activists attending a parliamentary committee meeting on Tuesday. “Tens of thousands of immigrants have been warmly welcomed – not forcibly moved – to the settlements of Judea and Samaria,” he said, referring to the West Bank. “We’ve already stopped counting the numbers, but in some, they are almost half the population … their contribution has been considerable.” Edelstein was addressing a special session of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs on the role of immigrants in the settlement movement to mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War. The settlements began after Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in that war. Edelstein, a former Soviet refusenik and member of the ruling Likud party, is an outspoken advocate of the settlement movement. A former minister of immigrant absorption, he lived until recently in the West Bank settlement of Alon Shvut.
The Knesset committee meeting was attended by several mayors of West Bank settlements as well as a delegation of immigrants that live across the West Bank. Most of the members of this delegation were converts from what are known as “emerging Jewish communities” – in particular the Bnei Menashe from northeast India and the Bnei Moshe, also known as the Inca Jews, from Peru. These are communities whose members, after having undergone Orthodox conversions in the early 2000s, were brought to Israel by private organizations affiliated with the religious right and moved to West Bank settlements to boost the population there…
In her new groundbreaking study of the impact of American immigrants on the settlement movement, Oxford scholar Sara Hirschhorn estimates that about 60,000 Israelis with U.S. citizenship live in the West Bank….
Marking 50 years of occupation, Amnesty launches global campaign targeting Israeli settlements
LONDON (WAFA) 8 June — To mark the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, Amnesty International (AI) is launching a new campaign calling on states across the world to prohibit settlement goods from their markets and to prevent their companies from operating in settlements or trading in settlement goods. The international community must ban the import of all goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements and put an end to the multimillion dollar profits that have fueled mass human rights violations against Palestinians, said Amnesty International in a press release on Wednesday. “For decades, the world has stood by as Israel has destroyed Palestinians’ homes and plundered their land and natural resources for profit. While the Palestinian economy has been stunted by 50 years of abusive policies, a thriving multimillion dollar settlement enterprise has been built out of the systematic oppression of the Palestinian population,” said Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International. “Fifty years on, merely condemning Israel’s settlement expansion is not enough. It’s time for states to take concrete international action to stop the financing of settlements which themselves flagrantly violate international law and constitute war crimes.”….
A surreal visit to an Arab Israeli town straddling a contested border for the last 50 years
BARTA‘A (Haaretz) 8 June by Judy Maltz — Half a century after the Six-Day War, the Green Line dividing Barta‘a is as pronounced as ever — It was the second day of the Six-Day War, but since there was no fighting going on nearby, 14-year-old Riad Kabha ventured out of his home to cross the border from Israel into what was then Jordan, literally the other side of town. “I wanted to see my two uncles, whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time,” he recalls 50 years later, “and I also wanted visit the library in the eastern part of the city so that I could read books and newspapers in Arabic. I was a kid who loved reading, and in those years it was very difficult to get your hands on Arabic reading material in Israel.” The 1949 Armistice Line drawn up after Israel’s War of Independence – also known as the Green Line – runs right through this town in northern Israel’s Wadi Ara region. Between 1949 and 1967, the western side of Barta‘a was under Israeli control and the eastern side was ruled by Jordan. Even though most of the residents of this town belong to one large clan, the Kabha family, during those years, it was difficult to maintain contact since Jordanian troops patrolled the border and prevented movement across it. The humiliating defeat suffered by Egypt, Syria and Jordan during the Six-Day War left many Israeli Arabs feeling devastated. But for those who lived in Barta‘a, there was at least some small consolation: They could finally see their siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren – and in some cases, even parents and children – from whom they had been cut off for 19 years. The ensuing period of free movement across the Green Line did not last long, however. With the outbreak of the first Palestinian intifada in the late 1980s, residents of the eastern part of Barta‘a were largely banned from traveling into Israel without special permission – and that included travel to the town’s western side. Whose brilliant idea was it to stick a border smack in the middle of a town? Kabha, a former mayor of the regional council that includes Barta‘a, says it was completely unintentional. “Barta‘a was so small at the time,” he says, “that it didn’t even appear on the map. There were only a few hundred families here then. Those drawing up the armistice agreement noticed there was a wadi here, and they figured that would be a natural place to put a border. They didn’t take into account that there was one big clan that lived on both sides of this riverbed.”….
New settlement outpost actually temporary Israeli film set, Israeli media reports
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — Israeli media revealed on Thursday that a film set that had been temporarily used by an Israeli children’s TV show in the occupied West Bank district of Salfit had mistakenly been perceived as a new Israeli settler outpost.
According to Israel’s The Jerusalem Post, what residents of the village of Deir Istiya had believed was the start of a settler outpost — considered illegal even under Israeli law — claims which Ma‘an reported on Wednesday, was in fact a filming set for the Israeli children show Yuval HaMebulbal. The reports of the outpost emerged on Tuesday after a local activist said that settlers had erected 13 tents and a number of wooden caravans on Palestinian land owned by residents of Deir Istiya in the area of Khirbet Shihada.
Palestinian farmers in Deir Istiya said that an armed Israeli settler also threatened them from going near the area. According to The Jerusalem Post, the filming “forms part of a campaign to promote Israeli movie production in the Samaria Regional Council area of the West Bank,” referring to a “regional council” of Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land in contravention of international law. The occupied West Bank has been a target of land expropriation and routine violence since Israel’s occupation in 1967, and any Israeli activity in the Palestinian territory is typically seen by locals as indicative of Israel’s aggressive colonization policies in the region. Meanwhile, residents of Deir Istiya have been prevented from accessing the same lands of Khirbet Shihada where the movie set was erected for more than a decade owing to the expansion of Israel’s illegal Havat Yair settlement….
Racism / Discrimination / Lack of respect for others’ religions
Israeli police fine Palestinians for doing their Ramadan job
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 June – Israeli police fined early Thursday four young Palestinians for calling on people to wake up in the pre-dawn hour to eat their last meal before they start the Ramadan fast, according to WAFA correspondent. He said the four were charged with disturbing Jewish settlers in a nearby illegal settlement. The four are members of the Jabal al-Mukabbir boy scouts who bang on drums at around 3:00 a.m. every morning as they walk around the neighborhood to wake up people to eat their light meal known as sohour before they begin their fast at dawn. The drum beater is referred to as musaharati. The sohour and the wake-up call by the musaharati are part of the Ramadan tradition throughout the Muslim world … The Israeli police said the Jabal al-Mukabbir musaharatis disturb the settlers in the settlement of Nof Zion, built illegally on Palestinian land expropriated from the Arab neighborhood. Each of the Jabal al-Mukabbir musaharatis was fined around $100 after they were detained for two hours, said the correspondent, and they were warned not repeat it.
[Note that on 28 Nov 2002 Israeli troops shot to death Jihad Natour, one of the Ramadan drummers in the New ‘Askar refugee camp in Nablus, as he was making his rounds]
WATCH: How Israel discriminates against its Bedouin citizens
Israeli Social TV 7 June — From suffering home demolitions to persistent demonization in the media, Israel’s Bedouin citizens are frequently the targets of the very attitudes they’re accused of — What do young Israelis know about the Bedouin? Only that he’s a thief or a drug dealer.
ADL denounces top Israeli politicians’ presence at anti-Arab book party
WASHINGTON (Haaretz) 10 June by Amir Tibon — The Anti-Defamation League on Friday denounced the participation of senior members of Likud, Israel’s ruling party, at an event celebrating a racist book that rails against Israel’s Arab citizens. The event, first reported by Haaretz on Thursday, was held a day earlier and was attended by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Coalition Chairman David Bitan, who is considered especially close to Prime Minister Netanyahu. The book, titled The Arab Minority in Israel: Open and Hidden Processes, has been heavily criticized for containing numerous prejudiced accusations against Israel’s Arab citizens, as well as a number of factual errors. At one point, the book’s author, Prof. Raphael Israeli, laments the fact that Arabs in Israel aren’t being incarcerated in camps like the ones built for Japanese-American citizens during World War II. “This is dangerous and inhumane,” the ADL wrote on its official Twitter account. “All of us, including Israeli leaders, have a duty to reject this hateful rhetoric.” In an earlier tweet, the organization stated that it condemns the “participation of Likud Minister Katz, Coalition Chair Bitan & [Member of Knesset] Zohar in event for book calling Israeli Arabs parasites.” The ADL is one of the leading organizations in the United States that combats anti-Semitism and other forms of racism. The organization released a similar tweet in Hebrew on its Israeli branch’s account….
Far-right vandalism suspected in Jerusalem
Times of Israel 9 June — Cars were vandalized in the Jerusalem Arab neighborhood of Beit Safafa overnight, police said on Friday morning, in a possible so-called “price tag” hate crime attack by right-wing extremists. Cars belonging to residents had their tires slashed, and a nearby wall was spray-painted with the words “price tag” and “Kahane was right” — invoking the name of slain far-right Israeli activist Rabbi Meir Kahane. Kahane was the founder of the Jewish Defense League in the US and the Kach political party in Israel, for which he served as a member of the Knesset before the party was banned as racist by Israeli law in 1988. Kahane promoted the idea of annexing the West Bank and forcibly removing the Arab population. He was killed by an Arab gunman in New York in 1990. “Price tag” refers to vandalism and other hate crimes carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists ostensibly in retaliation for government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by nationalist vandals in recent years. The acts have been condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum. Forensic investigators collected evidence from the site Friday and police said they were investigating. Beit Safafa straddles the Green Line, with the majority in East Jerusalem and part of the neighborhood in West Jerusalem. From the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 until 1967’s Six Day War the neighborhood was divided between Israeli and Jordanian control, and a two-foot high barbed wire fence ran through it.
Video: Let Palestine be ‘wiped out’, sings Jerusalem Day mob
EI 2 June by David Sheen — Every year, Israel’s far-right nationalist religious camp, currently headed by Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, celebrates Israel’s 1967 conquest of East Jerusalem by parading through Palestinian neighborhoods. After militarized police units clear the parade route of Palestinians, even from the Muslim Quarter, thousands of Israelis assert their territorial and religious claims to the city with a massive march, dancing and singing victory songs. The “Jerusalem Day Flag Parade” has long been an annual excuse for Jewish dominionists – those who seek to transform Israel from a democratic ethnocracy into a theocratic ethnocracy – to treat the Palestinians of Jerusalem as they generally treat Palestinians in the rest of the occupied West Bank. That is to say, as detested temporary guests whose eventual planned expulsion is openly discussed. This year, the flag paraders were bolder about their plans for ethnic cleansing than ever before. Stickers saying “Kahane was right” – a reference to the late Israeli lawmaker Meir Kahane – are a regular sight at the parade, but this year they were more popular than in previous years. In the 1980s, when few talked about it openly, Kahane evangelized for the idea of total expulsion of the Palestinians. It has long been common for marchers to belt out racist songs, including “Zachreni Na,” with its call for ethnic cleansing: “Palestine – May their name be wiped out!” This year, however, it seemed as if that song was the official anthem of the parade, repeated ecstatically countless times….
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (1-7 June 2017)
PCHR-Gaza 8 June — Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) In 2 crimes of excessive use of force, Israeli forces killed a girl in the West Bank and another civilian in the Gaza Strip. 12 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israeli forces conducted 40 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 limited ones in the Gaza Strip. 33 civilians, including 7 children, were arrested. 12 of them, including 4 children, were arrested in Jerusalem. Israeli forces continued settlement activities in the West Bank. The settlers set up a new settlement outpost, west of Deir Estiya village in Salfit. Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th year Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. 3 civilians were arrested at military checkpoints in the West Bank. [details follow]
New chapter begins in Israel-Palestine water dispute
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 9 June by Ahmad Melhem — After a suspension of seven years, the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee is reconvening, but will Palestine finally get a fair share of water? — After a seven-year hiatus, the Israeli-Palestinian Joint Water Committee (JWC), established under Article 40 of the 1995 Oslo Accord, resumed its meetings May 16. A new mechanism was developed to accelerate the implementation of infrastructure projects — such as supply lines, tanks, water and sewage networks, water pumping stations and treatment plants — in many Palestinian areas in the West Bank. The JWC reconvened in execution of an agreement signed Jan. 15 between Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories, and Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, with the participation of the heads of the Israeli and Palestinian water authorities. The JWC was formed under the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement that sought to regulate water issues during the interim period (1995-99). However, in light of the failure to reach a final agreement, the JWC, whose term was supposed to expire in 1999, has yet to be dissolved. The committee’s main objective is to approve and oversee every new water and wastewater project in the West Bank, excluding the Jordan River … In the West Bank, dozens of residential areas face weeks of water shortages every summer as a result of Israel’s control over water resources and the water quota distributed to the Palestinians. Attili noted that he does not expect this problem to be solved soon, since the JWC is mainly tasked with getting approval on internationally funded infrastructure projects. He added, “Israel is obstructing the water supply to these projects and preventing the Palestinians from digging wells — not to mention that all water projects in Area C must be approved by the Israeli civil administration.”….
Landmines haunting Christian site in occupied West Bank – in pictures
The National 7 June — Israel booby-trapped buildings in the Qasr Al Yahud baptism site to prevent Palestinian and Jordanian fighters from using them for refuge during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Now, 50 years after the war, a demining operation is under way. All photos by Heidi Levine
Learning the language of occupation
Al-Monitor 8 June by Akiva Eldar — June 5 marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War, but the State of Israel, its institutions and its citizens continue to disagree about what exactly happened in June 1967. At public rallies, Israelis on the right are celebrating the liberation of Judea and Samaria, otherwise known as the West Bank. Meanwhile, activists on the political left are gathering at numerous seminars on the occupation of Palestinian land. As for the rest — that is, most Israelis — they are staying at home. The majority were born into the “situation” or found it “ready-made” when they immigrated to Israel. They are satisfied with the information they are fed by politicians and journalists, most of whom were also born after 1967 or moved to Israel years later. The public discourse since June 1967 helps millions of Israelis sleep peacefully with a clear conscience. The “laundered language” used — as defined by author David Grossman in a series of articles he wrote after two decades of occupation and published as a book titled “The Yellow Wind’’ — seeks to conceal the existence of millions of other people living miles from Israel’s cities, people who have not enjoyed a single day of liberty, freedom of movement or dignity in 50 years. To mark the occupation jubilee, this column looks at the top 10 terms of “occupation speak.”
“Judea and Samaria” These biblical terms even roll off the tongues of left-wing Israelis. There is nothing better with which to wash away the long green stain of the Green Line, demarcating Israel’s eastern border until June 5, 1967. How many Israelis can distinguish between the “Judean Mountains,” under Israeli sovereignty, and the “Judea area,” in the southern part of the West Bank captured by Israel in 1967 and not recognized internationally as part of its territory? Omission or blurring of the Green Line appears constantly in the official terminology of government offices and public services….
Palestinians opt for Islamic banking
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 9 June by Hana Salah — Islamic banks operating in Palestine have experienced remarkable growth in the past decade compared to conventional banks — Sumaya is standing in a line at a commercial bank in the Gaza Strip to ask about the possibility of applying for an Islamic loan with zero interest. She wants to buy a small apartment as an investment. Asked why she was looking into an Islamic loan, she said, “I have no intention of yielding to the exploitative gains of an interest-based loan. The money is more blessed when the Sharia is applied.” Islamic banks in Palestine have been doing remarkably well over the past few years as a result of increased demand for their services. They have not only increased their market share of customers, but are also making more investments compared with their conventional, commercial competitors. Islamic banks offer standard banking services like any other bank, in addition to certain finance tools specific to Islamic finance, that is, that comply with Islamic law. Among the latter are “mudaraba” (profit- and loss-sharing financing), “murabaha” (cost plus financing), “bai salam” (advanced payment contract) and “istisna” (manufacturing finance). The key tenet of Islamic finance is that “riba,” interest paid on loans, is forbidden. Thus Islamic banking instruments are designed in such a way to avoid interest….
Palestinian violinist brings music to young refugees
AFP 9 June — As a boy, Ramzi Aburedwan found himself caught up in the f irst Palestinian uprising, a well-known photo at the time showing him holding stones to throw at Israeli soldiers. He has since become a respected musician and composer, who gives back to children from Palestinian refugee camps, like himself. Today, he provides musical training to around 2,000 of them through his project called Al-Kamandjati, or The Violinist, in Arabic. Aburedwan, now 38 and who grew up in Al-Am‘ari camp in the occupied West Bank’s Ramallah area, says he hopes to create a “strong future generation capable of expressing itself” through such projects. He launched Al-Kamandjati in 2002, wanting to offer youngsters from the camps and other poor children access to expensive musical instruments and music theory classes. The violinist, who studied music in Angers in western France, began by collecting instruments donated by various institutions across Europe. On his return to Ramallah, he extended the project in 2008 to Beirut’s Shatila refugee camp as well as the Bourj el-Barajneh camp in Lebanon. Aburedwan’s project now counts eight music schools and more than 2,000 students aged between five and 18. In March, Palestinian officials named him cultural figure of the year….
Jewish nurse breastfeeds Palestinian baby boy after his mother is seriously hurt in a car crash in Israel
Daily Mail Online 8 June by Dave Burke — A Jewish nurse has won hearts around the world after she was pictured breastfeeding a Palestinian boy whose mother was seriously injured in a car crash. The heartwarming image showed Ula Ostrowski-Zak caring for the infant, whose father died in the collision in Ein Kerem in central Israel. She tried for seven hours to get nine-month-old Yaman Abu Ramila to take milk from a bottle before deciding to feed him herself. She said: ‘His aunts were surprised that a Jew agreed to breastfeed him, but I told them that any mother would do it. ‘I fed him five times. His aunts embraced me and thanked me. They were really surprised.’ The young boy was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital following the crash with an armoured vehicle. And thousands more offers to feed the young boy came flooding in after Ms Ostrowski-Zak posted a call for new mums online. She said: ‘Within two hours I received more than a thousand likes and responses from women who volunteered to help, women who were willing to travel even from Haifa (in northern Israel) to breastfeed him … With Yaman’s mother still seriously ill, his aunts are expected to care for him when he is discharged from hospital soon. One unnamed aunt said she would be able to make arrangements for the boy to be breastfed when she got home.
Qatari crisis could spell new trouble for embattled Hamas
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) 9 June by Fares Akram — Qatar, one of the few foreign backers of Hamas, faces massive pressure from its Gulf neighbors to cut ties with the Islamic militant group. If it does, the result could be disastrous for Hamas-ruled Gaza. Qatar has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in roads, housing and a major hospital in the tiny territory. Its infrastructure projects are one of the few job-creators in a devastated economy. Gaza already suffers from an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, widespread destruction from a string of Israel-Hamas wars, economic misery and chronic electricity shortages. For Hamas, Qatar’s money pumping into the economy is a vital lifeline bolstering its rule. Qatar appears to be weighing its options. The mere prospect of losing Qatari support prompted Hamas on Wednesday to issue rare criticism of Saudi Arabia, which has been leading the campaign against its tiny Gulf neighbor. Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said the Saudi call for Qatar to cut ties with the Palestinian group is “regrettable” and contradicts traditional Arab support for the Palestinian cause. He accused Saudi Arabia of siding with “American and Zionist calls to put Hamas on the terrorism list.” Saudi Arabia and three other Arab states cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting violent Islamist groups across the region, including Hamas. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Qatar must sever its ties with Hamas. Qatar has denied the allegations … Qatar doesn’t support Hamas directly, but its large-scale projects have significantly eased the burden on Hamas authorities and given it some credit for bringing this money to Gaza. In 2012, Qatar’s then-emir, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, visited Gaza, the first and only head of state to do so since Hamas seized control of Gaza from the forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 10 years ago. The emir announced a grant of $407 million for humanitarian projects. The grant is being used to build a housing complex of 3,000 units. Two phases of the project have been completed and families moved into their new houses in the complex, dubbed the Hamad Residential City in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. Last month, Palestinian contractors and Qatari envoys signed deals to start the third and final phase of Hamad City. Now, those deals could be in question….
Qatar investigation finds state news agency hacked – foreign ministry
DUBAI (Reuters) 7 June by Noah Browning — A preliminary investigation has confirmed that Qatar’s state news agency was hacked, and false statements attributed to the country’s ruler were posted that helped ignite a rift with other Gulf states, the Qatari foreign ministry said on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday in part because of comments posted briefly on the Qatar News Agency’s website on May 23. The article quoted Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as cautioning against confrontation with Iran, as well as defending the Palestinian group Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shi’ite movement allied with Tehran. “The Ministry said the investigation team confirmed that the piracy process had used high techniques and innovative methods by exploiting an electronic gap on the website of the Qatar News Agency,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. It did not say who might have carried out the hack. A CNN report quoted unidentified U.S. officials briefed on the investigation as saying that Russian hackers were suspected. Moscow said the report was false. One U.S. intelligence official said that while Russia has the expertise and an incentive to sow division among Arab states allied with the United States, Russian hackers were available for hire to other countries and criminal groups. Arab countries at odds with Qatar accuse it of supporting militant groups and advancing their arch-rival Iran’s agenda in the region – charges Doha calls baseless … Qatar’s foreign ministry thanked the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the British National Crime Agency for cooperating in the investigation, without elaborating.
Why I helped build a ‘freedom camp’ in the West Bank / Rabbi David J. Cooper
Jewish News of No. California 7 June — The first time I was in Israel, I was 16. It was 50 years ago and I was on a teen tour a few weeks after the Six-Day War. During that summer of 1967, I was encouraged in my belief that the territories seized during the war were likely to be returned within a limited amount of time. Visit Bethlehem; visit Jericho before it’s too late. This seized land would be a bargaining chip for peace and I was elated by the prospect. But within a few months, I learned that Israel had annexed not only areas within Jerusalem’s existing borders, but also land beyond those borders. And within a year I learned Israeli civilians were moving into the occupied area beyond Jerusalem and building settlements. My puzzlement eventually turned into dismay. I could not understand how any of this could benefit the peace of Israel, and I felt that it could become an injustice to the Arabs of the territories. But my concern for the plight of those under occupation was first ignited in Israel the day we visited the Western Wall. I recall that on the tourist bus to Jerusalem I was singing “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” and “Sharm El Sheikh,” songs I learned in Hashomer Hatzair (the Zionist Socialist youth movement associated with the Mapam kibbutz movement). I was excited about seeing Jerusalem and especially the Wall — and I knew what I would be seeing. The photos and paintings of the Wall hung on all the synagogues I attended. Those pictures from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s showed Jews davening against the Wall, which ran along a small street facing a line of residences. I was ready to walk into that picture.
But when we arrived, it looked completely different. The Wall now faced an open square. I asked the tour guide if the Jordanians had torn down the houses in the intervening years. “No, we just did it now.” I asked what seemed obvious to my teenage consciousness: “But what about the people who lived there?” With an incredulous and disdainful expression he replied, “What does that matter?” In the years since, I have learned that 135 families were given a few minutes’ notice one night in June to clear out. They refused, some only evacuating as the bulldozers began the demolition. The first house went down before people had left and an older woman, Hajjah Rasmia Tabaki, died in the ruins of the house. Well, it did matter to me, and it still does. Although I have been to Israel many times since, I decided to go back this year in commemoration of that first visit and to mark the anniversary of an occupation that was supposed to be temporary and which I now feel compelled to oppose. I have just returned from the trip….
US Congress and Knesset celebrate ‘reunification’ of Jerusalem in joint event
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — In the latest event celebrating the “reunification” of Jerusalem in Israel, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and the US Congress held a joint live broadcast event marking the occasion on Wednesday, in which leaders from both countries celebrated their shared colonial histories and applauded Israel’s control over occupied East Jerusalem.
As Israelis celebrate the “reunification” of Jerusalem to mark the Israeli military takeover of the territory decades ago, Palestinians, in contrast, have commemorated the Naksa, meaning “setback,” marking the Israeli invasion and occupation of the West Bank — including East Jerusalem — Gaza, Sinai, and the Golan Heights that began on June 5, 1967 during the Six-Day War, displacing some 300,000 Palestinians, as well as thousands of Syrians, from their homes. Since 1967, Israel has stood accused of committing major violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including excessive and deadly use of violence; forced displacement; the blockade of the Gaza Strip; unjustified restrictions on movement; and the expansion of illegal settlements. “For the sake of Jerusalem, let us not remain silent. Let us promise that support for unified Jerusalem remains high on both sides of the aisle, across the political spectrum, and throughout the United States,” Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein said during the event
“Looking around the world, and especially at this region, one thing becomes crystal clear: Only Israeli sovereignty will ensure that the city’s holy sites remain open, free, and safe for members of every religion,” he added. While Israelis are permitted freedom of movement in Jerusalem and even in the majority of the occupied West Bank, most Palestinians are not permitted to enter Jerusalem without Israeli-issued permits, belying claims of the city being “open and free” under Israeli control. Edelstein also applauded the US’ own colonial history, saying that “your country was settled by pilgrims building a city upon the hill,” and developed a “just society based on the values that the Hebrew prophets preached right here thousands of years ago,” without mentioning the mass killings and displacement of the indigenous peoples of that land, as some academics have estimated that 20 million indigenous peoples died as a result of the European invasion and subsequent colonization of the Americas.US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also reiterated a similar point of equal rights at the holy sites, before saying that ”without Jerusalem, the Israel we know today would simply not exist” and called members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) “terrorists” for taking Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel in 1976…..
US ambassador to the UN calls for end to ‘bullying’ of Israel during 3-day visit
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 June — US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the UN could no longer “bully” Israel over its violations of international law, during a three-day visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank in which she met with both Israeli and Palestinian officials. According to the Jerusalem Post, Haley — who was appointed by US President Donald Trump, known for his use of domineering and threatening rhetoric — said she had “no patience” for bullying and that “we are not going to let that happen anymore.” Both Israel and Trump’s administration have criticized the UN for what they deem is the unfair targeting of Israel over its breaches of international law, particularly its illegal settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Haley’s visit comes in the footsteps of a UN Human Rights Council meeting during which she said that the US could leave the UN body unless it backed off from criticizing Israel. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hailed Haley, saying that, thanks to her, “Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also expressed gratitude to Haley for standing up for the “truth” and for Israel, which he said meant “standing up for America,” in a meeting in which the two notably discussed how to prepare for an eventual UN resolution denouncing the humanitarian impact of the crippling 10-year Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Haley said she appreciated the support she has received from Israel, adding that “all I did at the United Nations was tell the truth.” Israeli media reported that Haley visited the Western Wall in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday, and the border between Gaza and Israel on Thursday….