Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Five settlement homes found to have been built in Area B
Times of Israel 31 July by Jacob Magid — Houses in Shaarei Tikva were constructed after signing of Oslo Accords, which gave the Palestinian Authority control over the land — Five homes in the Shaarei Tikva settlement in the northern West Bank were reportedly built on land allocated to the Palestinians under the Oslo agreements. While a construction permit for one of the houses was given prior to the signing of the 1995 Oslo II Accords, work on the structure began only afterward, according to a report Monday by the Walla news site. The other four homes, however, were all approved and developed after the bilateral agreement signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that divided the West Bank into three administrative categories.
Under the Oslo Accords, Area C of the West Bank — 60 percent of the territory, where most of the Jewish settlements are located and some 150,000 Palestinians live — is under full Israeli administrative and military control, while in Area B (22%), administrative control is the responsibility of the PA and the IDF is in charge of security. Area A — 18%, encompassing the major Palestinian cities — is under the full administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority.
Three of the houses were found to have been built completely in Area B, while the two other homes were revealed to have been constructed partially in area B and partially in area C … The Samaria Regional Council, which handed down the permits to the Shaarei Tikva residents, released a statement Monday insisting that the fault for the “historic error” lay with the cartographers who produced the maps used in the Oslo agreements as well as the Civil Administration — the Defense Ministry body responsible for approving construction in the West Bank — which did not notify them of the change. The council’s chairman, Yossi Dagan, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “personally intervene in order to correct this absurdity.” … The Kerem Navot settlement watchdog harshly criticized the findings in a statement Monday, saying that “construction within Area B is contrary to the official agreements signed by the government and is a radical move that can entangle Israel in the diplomatic arena.” The organization went on to refer to the illegal construction as part of a “criminal culture that has developed over the years in the settlements, and in Shaarei Tikva in particular.”
Israeli bulldozers enter Bedouin town in Negev, prepare for demolitions
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Israeli bulldozers entered the Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj in the Negev of southern Israel on Wednesday in preparations for a number of demolitions expected to be carried out there, according to Palestinian media. Local sources told Arab48 media site that Israeli authorities intend to demolish six houses belonging to the Abu Marhil family, which house more than 50 people, for the fourth time. Israeli authorities claim that the homes were built on Israeli “state land,” according to Arab48, in what is presumably an area designated for the construction of a new Jewish town in the Negev, whose plans were approved in 2015. Local committee member Salman Abu Hamid told Arab48 that the situation was “hopeless” and that Israeli authorities have attempted to “intimidate” the residents in order to transfer them to a township established by the Israeli government for Bedouin residents of the Negev with the ultimate goal of “taking over all the lands.” Abu Hamid noted that the village would be continued to be rebuilt each time the Israeli army demolishes it. According to Arab48, Israeli forces have demolished more than 1,000 homes in Bir Hadaj, which has a population of some 6,000 residents, since 2016.
Israeli police demolish Bedouin Naqab village for 116th time
NAQAB (WAFA) 1 Aug – Israeli police backed by heavy machinery Tuesday demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab region, in southern Israel, for the 116th time since 2010. Witnesses said staff from the so-called Israel Land Authority accompanied by Israeli police and bulldozers broke into the village and demolished the homes, mainly made of tin, which residents build every time their village is demolished. The first demolition of al-Araqib took place in late June 2010. Al-Araqib is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli government. Demolitions targeting Palestinians with Israeli citizenship sharply increased in 2017. An Israeli police raid to evacuate the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran turned deadly in January, and sparked widespread protests of the treatment of Palestinian citizens in Israel. Right groups say that the demolition of unrecognized Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities….
Israeli Supreme Court temporarily halts home demolitions in al-Walaja
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — The Israeli Supreme Court ruled to temporarily halt the demolition of seven homes in the village of al-Walaja in the Bethlehem district of the occupied West Bank. Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Wednesday that Hassan Burajiya, a Palestinian who monitors illegal Israeli settlement building in Bethlehem, said that a Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) attorney had filed a petition to the Supreme Court to challenge the pending demolitions. The Supreme Court ruled to halt the demolition of seven homes in the village, protecting the homes temporarily. However, 21 other al-Walaja homes are slated for demolition by Israeli authorities. Burajiya told Wafa that the Supreme Court would issue a final ruling at a later date. According to Wafa, the 28 homes have received demolition orders from Israeli authorities under the pretext of building without Israeli-issued construction permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain for Palestinians in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, Israeli authorities delivered 13 demolition notices for buildings in the Ein al-Jweizeh area of al-Walaja, locals told Ma‘an on Wednesday. Residents said that nine of the notices had only given a few days to appeal in front of Israeli courts. The village of al-Walaja has long been the target of Israeli land confiscations and mass Israeli demolitions for the purpose of expanding Israel’s illegal settlements and advancing the construction of Israel’s separation wall — deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004….
Video: Israeli settlers seize Palestinian family homes in Hebron
Al Jazeera 2 Aug — The flashpoint city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank has seen a rise in tensions after Israeli settlers moved into three Palestinian apartments by force just over a week ago. Within hours the army turned the site into a closed military zone, in effect providing protection to the settlers, and restricting the Abu Rajab family access to their own home. The Abu Rajabs are slowly being forced from a cluster of apartment buildings, in which they have lived for decades. Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Hebron.
Israeli settlers install caravans on Palestinian land near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 31 July – Israeli settlers Sunday installed caravans on a land just outside the illegal Shevot Rahil settlement, near the village of Jaloud to the south of Nablus in the West Bank, according to local sources. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the West Bank, told WAFA that settlers installed 10 caravans on a land where Israeli bulldozers have been working. He said that work is ongoing on land in the Nablus area for the construction of the new settlement of Amichai.
Opinion: The mantra of ‘united’ Jerusalem is a macabre joke / Amira Hass
Haaretz 2 Aug — If Beit Hanina and Sur Baher interest Jews, it’s because they have unused land that can still be stolen from the Palestinians to build a Zionist fortress — The Jewish brain has invented another novel idea: How to change the address of 140,000 people without their having to leaving home. This is peanuts for us. In our unbridled chutzpah we have imposed the Entry into Israel laws on the Palestinians of Jerusalem, as though they chose to live in Israel of their own free will. We have sentenced them to conditional residency, with the dangling sword of isolation, impoverishment and expulsion hanging over them. So why shouldn’t we be able to change the definition? We can always find the researcher, the planner and the legal scholar who will think up and pen the latest trick to make another group of human beings disappear from our eyes and our responsibility. It’s almost certain that our Knesset will accept the change in the Basic Law on Jerusalem, thereby removing two Palestinian neighborhoods, Kafr ‘Aqab and the Sho‘afat refugee camp, from the municipal boundaries of the capital and declaring them an Arab local council. Nobody is asking their residents. The two don’t have territorial contiguity. They are separated by military checkpoints, a long wait, barbed wire fences, a winding wall, settlements and hostile police and army patrols. They have no additional land to enable development and expansion because the planners left most of it for the Jews. So what? That’s how you establish a new Arab local council in the Jewish state. It’s disingenuous to say that the budget that wasn’t found for them as neighborhoods of Jerusalem will be found for them as a separate council. In Israel, every administrative decision related to land and Palestinians encompasses a great deal of long-range vision and planning skills and not an iota of benign intention. It contains only a desire to harm, to create a new absurd situation with a new solution that was considered entirely unacceptable just a short time before….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Israeli forces detain Palestinian after injuring him with tear gas canister
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — A Palestinian man was injured and subsequently detained Tuesday night during clashes with Israeli forces in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, after he was shot with a tear gas canister. Locals in the Bethlehem-area village of al-Khader told Ma‘an that 24-year-old Diyaa Khader Salah was driving his motorcycle near the southern entrance of the village where clashes were ongoing between local youth who threw stones, and Israeli forces who fired tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, and live ammunition. While he was on his motorcycle, Israeli forces fired tear gas in Salah’s direction, injuring him, according to locals. He was then detained by Israeli forces.
Israeli police detain 5 in Jaffa as residents protest racial profiling
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) — Israeli police detained five Palestinian citizens of Israel overnight Sunday in the town of Jaffa, which has been the scene of protests over the weekend against police brutality and racial profiling. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement on Monday that five residents of Jaffa, including three minors, were detained after setting fire to garbage containers during the night. She added that Israeli police was also investigating the torching of two vehicles in the area on Sunday night.
Hundreds of mourners participated in a funeral on Saturday night in Jaffa for 22-year-old Mahdi al-Saadi, who was shot dead by police early Saturday morning. According to Israeli police, the man was suspected of taking part in a criminally motivated shooting and was shot dead, alongside another who was shot and injured, in a police chase as the two allegedly fled on motorcycles. However, locals argued that al-Saadi posed no threat to Israeli police when he was fatally shot and that he could have been detained without using lethal force.
Palestinian teen detained after stabbing Israeli man in central Israel
[with VIDEO of the attack] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — A Palestinian teenager has been detained for stabbing an Israeli man in the central Israeli city of Yavne on Wednesday, leaving the man with serious injuries, according to Israeli police. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a 42-year-old Israeli man was stabbed and seriously wounded by a 19-year-old Palestinian from the village of Yatta, located in the Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank. Micky Rosenfeld, another Israeli police spokesperson, identified the alleged attacker as Ismail Ibrahim Ismail Abu Aram. The stabbing took place at a supermarket in Yavne city, al-Samri added. Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that the Palestinian was being held and questioned by Israeli authorities. He added that Israeli police were currently looking into reports of whether the incident was a politically motivated attack — which he referred to as a “terrorist attack.” Israeli police later confirmed that the incident was indeed being considered a “nationalist” attack. Israeli media reported that the Palestinian was initially “captured” by Israeli civilians in the area, before being handed over to the police. Israeli media added that the wounded Israeli was taken to the Kaplan Medical Center in the Israeli city of Rehovat for treatment. Israeli media also reported that Israeli forces raided Abu Aram’s family home in the Hebron-area village of Yatta following the attack.
Israeli soldiers abduct 41 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 31 July — Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight and at dawn Monday, at least 44 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 30 from occupied East Jerusalem, during massive invasions and violent searches of homes. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers invaded many Palestinian communities in the West Bank, before storming and violently searched dozens of homes. It added that dozens of soldiers invaded several neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem, especially in at-Tour, interrogated many Palestinians while searching their homes, and abducted thirty. They have been identified as Ahmad Jawdat Idrees, Ahmad Jawdat Razem, … , in addition to three children: Hamza Zaki Khweiss, Ramez Waheeb Ajlouni and Noureddin Maher Mheisin, The soldiers also abducted two Palestinians, identified as Abdullah Mohammad Ziyad and Mohammad Jamil Mteir, from their homes in Qalandia, north of Jerusalem. In Bethlehem governorate, the soldiers searched homes and abducted Omar Mousa Qowwar, Anas Saifi, Yahia al-Khamour and Islam Qneiss. In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers abducted Bashar Jamil Masharqa, 21, and Ali Mahmoud Abu Arram, 42. In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Nahed Ahmad Kabaha, while Montaser Sa’id al-Ashab, 24, and his brother Mohammad, 21, were taken prisoner in Qalqilia governorate, in northern West Bank.
Israeli account of the Jerusalem arrests, citing ‘riots’:
Police arrest 33 suspected of instigating Temple Mount riots
Times of Israel 31 July — Police arrested in raids overnight Sunday 33 men suspected of playing key roles in recent violent demonstrations against Israeli security measures at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. Officers and border guards, equipped with arrest warrants, raided homes in East Jerusalem and detained the suspects for questioning, police said in a statement. Seven were minors aged between 13 and 17, police said. Raids took place in Al Tur, the Shu‘afat refugee camp, Beit Hanina, Wadi Joz, Ras Al Amud, ‘Issawiya, and the Old City. The detainees are suspected of taking part in riots and endangering lives, the statement said. Following questioning they will be brought before a court to have their detention extended. Police said that by using a combination of groundwork, intelligence-gathering, documentation, and “sophisticated use of technologies” they were able to identify major instigators of violent rioting.
Israeli forces detain 22 Palestinians, PLC deputy, in overnight West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Aug — Israeli forces detained at least 22 Palestinians, including a deputy of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), in overnight raids between Tuesday and Wednesday across the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 95 search and detention raids carried out over the course of 2016, according to UN documentation. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, as of May, there were 6,200 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, including 12 PLC members.
Northern West Bank: Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the town of Asira al-Shamaliya in the Nablus district and detained PLC deputy Husni al-Bourini, former prisoner Munadil Saada who spent 15 years in Israeli jails, former prisoner al-Sheikh Darar Hamadna, and former prisoner Adham al-Shawli. In the Qaryut town southeast of Nablus city, Israeli forces detained Muhammad Tariq Odeh and Islam Muhammad Majli Issa, while al-Sheikh Omar Darawsha and Riyad Yousif Salahat were detained from the Talluza town northeast of Nablus …
Meanwhile, Israeli forces also raided the home of Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Abd al-Basit in the Deir Samit village in Hebron during dawn hours on Wednesday, as Israeli forces seized cash and a vehicle, according to local sources. The sources added that Israeli forces had claimed that the father of Abd al-Basit had been receiving cash from the Hamas movement — deemed a terrorist organization by the Israeli government — following an attack al-Basit had allegedly carried out two years prior in the south of Hebron.
Israeli forces raid Palestinian civil office in Hebron’s Old City
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 2 Aug – Israeli forces raided a civil investigations office in the Old City of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, detained the staff members, and confiscated equipment from the office. Local sources told Ma‘an that the office was opened just a few days ago after an agreement was made between Palestinian and Israeli authorities to establish an office in order to deal with a “wave of increased violence” among locals, especially family disputes in the area which often turn violent. The sources noted that 30 Palestinian civil employees were hired to work at the office. Israeli forces have continued to hold a number of the employees, local sources said, while Palestinian authorities have been making calls to the Israeli side in order to secure the release of the employees and allow them to continue their work.
Opinion: Music, children’s choirs and camels in the desert / Amira Hass
Haaretz 1 Aug — 1. My friend B. lives in Kobar. Somehow, during the four years of her young son’s life she has managed to protect him from the not-for-children narrations about the army and death, the occupation, shooting and guns. She and her husband have created an island around him, with children’s books and games, and made sure that the television, with its horrible sights, wouldn’t be turned on in his vicinity. Last week reality forced itself on them. Every day the army bulldozers came, made the barriers at the entrance to the village higher and wider, and deepened the wound they dug in the asphalt. Every day the residents swept aside the earth at the edges of the barriers so that their cars could pass. And when my friend passed by there in her car, with her son next to her, he wondered and asked who had made those high piles of earth. Al jish [jaysh], the army, she replied. He at first thought she had said the jag (the hen) and was very confused. And then she had to tell him what the army is, whose army it is, and why they’re against everyone large and small.
Comment 1: If until now B. was able to protect her son from the violent lexicon created by the Settlements Defense Forces, that says something about the relative quiet in the village of Kobar (despite pinpoint raids to detain residents). But almost a week of nighttime raids, with dozens of soldiers deploying among the houses, beating residents, firing stun grenades and tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets, reminded them that the relative quiet is deceptive.
Comment 2: The Shin Bet security services and the Israel Defense Forces were the subjects of exaggerated praise this week. Their stand concerning the metal detectors at the entrances to the Temple Mount did in fact prove that they understand the overall picture. In other words, the collective revenge campaign that they carried out last week in Kobar did not stem from a lack of understanding or knowledge that the harassment of the entire village and the persecution of all its residents would only give rise to more anger, even among those who are opposed to the attack in the West Bank settlement of Halamish or have reservations about it. This collective revenge is not a case of shooting from the hip. It’s part of the plan. Part of the logic of control. You escalate, you incite, you detain more young people, you scare more children to create more reasons for preventive activities and oppression, and to maintain the apparatus….
Hundreds of Israelis enter Al-Aqsa compound for Jewish holiday
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — Hundreds of far-right religious Israelis entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’av. Tisha B’Av notably commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temple, which Jews believe were located where the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, now stands. Islamic Endowment (Waqf) spokesman Firas al-Dibs told Ma‘an that 870 Israeli Jews had entered the compound in large groups under heavy military protection between 7 and 11 a.m., adding that several Israelis had performed Jewish religious rites in the compound. While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that hundreds of Jewish worshipers had congregated at the Western Wall — located just below the Al-Aqsa compound — overnight for religious rituals amidst heavy police presence. Al-Samri reported that nine Jewish visitors were evacuated from the compound for violating regulations, adding that five Jews were arrested for various charges, including assaulting Israeli police officers and impeding their work by not complying with police orders. Al-Samri had noted earlier in the day that three Israeli Jews and a Palestinian Muslim were also detained after a heated argument between them turned into a physical fight outside of Al-Aqsa’s Chain Gate …
The Islamic Endowment, or Waqf — in charge of running Al-Aqsa Mosque compound — said on Tuesday afternoon that the number of Jews visiting the holy compound “broke a five-year record” with 1,046 Jewish visitors recorded to have entered the holy site. The largest number of Jewish visitors in one day was 900, which was a few months ago on Jerusalem Day, according to the Waqf … According to extremist Israeli organization Yeraeh, which pushes for the destruction of Al-Aqsa in order to build a Third Temple in its place, at least 17,000 Jews have visited the compound since October, marking a 15 percent increase over the previous year, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday. …
Committees formed to assess damage caused by Israel at Al-Aqsa Mosque
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 31 July — Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and its Governor Adnan Husseini said Monday that the Islamic Waqf Department has formed four committees to assess damage and inspect property at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Husseini told Voice of Palestine radio that these committees are composed of staff from the Islamic Museum, the Manuscripts Department, the Reconstruction Committee, the libraries and the Sharia Court in order to give an initial report on what happened inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and its facilities during the two-week Israeli siege. The minister added that the next stage requires specialized experts to know if the occupation forces put cameras or listening devices in the mosque. Husseini said that if the final report shows that the occupation authorities have made any changes in the mosque or the theft of any of its belongings, then work will first focus on returning these documents and then on pursing Israel in international courts on ground of stealing and damaging important historical documents and property in order to punish Israel for its crime.
Religious official cautions against rumors on Israeli violations at Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 31 July — The President of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, urged caution on Monday over reports alleging that Israeli forces had caused major damages inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound over recent days. Israeli authorities shut down the Al-Aqsa compound for almost three days following a deadly shooting attack on July 14, only to reopen it after having installed increased security measures. The Israeli move sparked widespread anger among Palestinians, who perceived the move as further infringement of Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam. After two weeks of protests in which six Palestinians were killed in clashes, the security measures were lifted completely after noon prayers on Friday.
Speaking to Ma‘an on Monday morning, Sabri emphasized that the technical committee of the Islamic endowment (Waqf) tasked with examining the premises after the compound was occupied by Israeli forces was the only authority entitled to make statements about any damages or losses incurred since, urging media outlets to exercise caution when publishing new on Al-Aqsa. Sabri’s comments came after Hassan Khater, the chairman of the International Jerusalem Center claimed that Israeli forces had seized important documents from the Waqf archives during the three days following the July 14 attack, adding that Israeli officers had been “moving freely between rooms, offices, archives, and documents after they evacuated worshipers, employees, and security guards from the compound.”
Islamic Cooperation Organization holds meeting on Jerusalem in Istanbul
ISTANBUL (WAFA) 1 Aug – The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Tuesday morning held an extraordinary meeting on the recent Israeli escalations in East Jerusalem with the participation of foreign ministers of member states. Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio station, Palestinian ambassador to Turkey Faed Mustafa said the Palestinian side counted on the meeting and hoped that member states would send three main messages to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Israel and the international community. Mustafa explained the Palestinian side hopes member states of the OIC would send a message of support to Palestinians in East Jerusalem through discussing practical steps to support them and preserve Islamic holy sites. He added member states of OIC were anticipated to demand the Israeli government halts all its measures and violations of international laws in Jerusalem and affirm that Israel should not tamper with Al-Aqsa for political and ideological gains. Regarding the third message, Mustafa explained member states of OIC were expected to generate mechanisms of coordination that would compel the international community to assume its responsibilities and help the Palestinian Authority score political achievements.
Mustafa said that the General Consulate of Palestine would be opened Tuesday in Istanbul.
The Palestinian women’s uprising that electrified Jerusalem
+972 Blog 1 Aug by Elhanan Miller — Religious Palestinian women are taking in active role in the protests at the Temple Mount, shattering stereotypes of Muslim women as docile and subservient — In the struggle of the Palestinian religious factions against Israel, the place of women has been missing from the battle. As opposed to Fatah and the left-wing factions, in which women often take an active role, religious Palestinian women are often left behind the scenes. The events of the last few weeks teach us, however, that the struggle over al-Aqsa is an exception. In September 2015, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared the Murabitat, a group of Muslim women activists at Al-Aqsa, a proscribed organization. After they were removed from the site, the women were quiet for some time, yet the women returned to play a central role in leading Palestinian resistance to Israel around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, and in the refusal to accept any change in the status quo around the site, including installing security measures. Hamas’ news outlet, Al-Resalah, dedicated an article to activist Zeinab Amar, who claimed that the security cameras Israel is planning to install — after it removed the metal detectors — will allow it to control the entire area, effectively wresting control from the Jordanian Waqf. Amar insisted that Israel intends on changing the nature of the Mount in order to establish a synagogue “for settlers” on its eastern side. She added that the women will not halt their protest at Lions Gate until Israel reverses the steps it has taken….
Closures / Restriction of movement
Israel completes construction of separation wall in South Hebron Hills
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — Israeli authorities have reportedly completed the construction of a 26-mile section of Israel’s separation wall — deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004 — in the South Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank. Israeli media reported on Wednesday that the concrete barrier was erected between the Tarquimiya crossing and the Israeli town of Meitar. The resumption of the barrier’s construction earlier this year was reportedly advanced as a punitive response to a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv carried out in June last year by Palestinians from the village of Yatta in Hebron. According to Israeli media, the 26-mile barrier consists of some 20-feet-high cement blocks, where “additional protective measures” are also expected to be installed. Before the construction of the cement wall, a barrier fence was erected by Israeli authorities there. “The completion of the wall in the southern Hebron Hills is another step in the Ministry of Defense’s efforts to significantly increase the security of residents of the area, and of all Israeli citizens,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly said…
Israel’s separation wall, expected to reach 440 miles upon its completion (88 percent of which is planned inside occupied Palestinian territory), is a common sight in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli-installed cement walls and barrier fences zigzag throughout the landscape. Israeli leaders often claim that the wall serves a security purpose to deter potential Palestinian attacks on Israelis. However, many activists, academics, and analysts have said that the wall is instead a massive “land grab” of large tracts of the Palestinian territory, and a strategy to consolidate Israel’s sovereignty over Area C — the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control — where all of Israel’s illegal settlements are built or are in the process of being constructed….
Israeli army places Yatta village under complete lockdown following attack
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — Israeli forces implemented a closure on the village of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Wednesday, and raided the village again early Thursday after a 19-year-old resident allegedly carried out a stabbing attack at a supermarket in the Israeli city of Yavne, leaving an Israeli man seriously injured. On Wednesday, a Palestinian teenager identified as Ismail Ibrahim Abu Aram was detained by Israeli forces after allegedly stabbing a 42-year-old Israeli man at the Shufersal supermarket in Yavne, where the Palestinian teenager and Israeli reportedly worked. On Thursday, Israeli media reported that the injured Israeli was in stable condition after sustaining multiple stab wounds during the attack. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the Yatta village was put under a complete closure hours after the attack, with Israeli forces blocking all entrances and exits of the village. “All crossings and passages from the village will be permitted for Palestinians only after security checks,” she said….
Israeli forces continue 2-week closure of Qalqiliya-area village
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — Israeli forces continued to uphold a closure on the village of ‘Azzun ‘Atma in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya for the second consecutive week. Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Monday that Israeli forces have continued to prohibit Palestinians from entering the area who are not residents of the village. An employee at ‘Azzun ‘Atma’s village council, Abd al-Karim Ayoub, reportedly said that Israeli forces had erected an army checkpoint at the northern entrance of the village “under the pretext that Palestinians illegally enter Israel through the village.”
Detainees / Indictments
Israel issues administrative detention orders against 47 Palestinians, 1 lawmaker
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 1 Aug — Israeli authorities recently issued administrative detention orders against 47 Palestinians, including a lawmaker, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS lawyer Mahmoud al-Halabi told a group of reporters on Tuesday that among the 47 Palestinians that received administrative detention orders — the Israeli policy of internment without charge or trial — was Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Hassan Yousif. Yousif, who has served a total of approximately 18 years in Israeli custody, has been in Israeli prison without trial or indictment since October, 20, 2015, and on Tuesday, was sentenced to three more months of administrative detention.
Israel to deport West Bank Palestinian detainee to Gaza Strip
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 July — Israeli authorities issued a decision to deport Palestinian “youth” Karim Falah Ramadan Abed Rabu, a resident of the occupied West Bank, to the besieged Gaza Strip, according to a Monday statement from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs. According to the committee, Israeli forces detained Abed Rabu from his home in the Ramallah-area al-Jalazun refugee camp on July 28 and was being held in Israel’s Ofer prison. The committee did not specify why Abed Rabu was detained or why the decision was made to deport him to Gaza. It also remained unclear when Abed Rabu would be deported.
Abed Rabu, according to the committee, was born in the West Bank, while “his family origins are from the Gaza Strip.” … According to Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer, threats of deportation to Gaza are used by Israeli authorities during interrogation as a form of pressure in order to coerce Palestinian detainees into providing a confession. B’Tselem has called the policy “collective punishment,” and noted in a 2011 report that the Fourth Geneva Convention “prohibits the deportation or forcible transfer of residents of occupied territory,” and also “forbids collective punishment and harm to innocent persons as a means of deterrence.”
Palestinian prisoner transferred to hospital as group accuses doctors of neglect
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 31 July — The Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs warned on Monday of the deteriorating health of a Palestinian prisoner, accusing Israeli authorities of intentional neglect. Sami Abu Diak, a 34-year-old resident of the village of Silat al-Dhahr in the northern occupied West Bank, was recently transferred by the Israel Prison Service (IPS) from Rimon prison to the Soroka hospital. The committee said that Abu Diak had previously undergone surgery to remove tumors in his digestive system more than a year ago, during which 80 centimeters of his large intestine were removed. Following the surgery, Abu Diak suffered from an infection, and his health has been worsening ever since, the committee said, accusing doctors at Soroka of intentionally neglecting his health. Abu Diak has been imprisoned by Israel for 13 years, and is serving three life sentences. The prisoner’s health has been a cause of concern for years, as he has been diagnosed with renal and pulmonary failure, as well as issues with his liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. In 2015, the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) stated that poor conditions in Israeli prisons were suspected to have caused numerous health issues for a large number of Palestinian prisoners.
Israeli court indicts 5 Jerusalemite Palestinians over social media ‘incitement’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 July — Five Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem were indicted by an Israeli court on charges of “incitement” on social media, Israeli news website Ynet reported on Monday. According to Ynet, the five Palestinians — identified as Muhammad Mahimar, 19, from ‘Anata, Sufian Mahmoud, 26, from ‘Issawiya, Muhammad Samasana, 23, from Shu‘fat refugee camp, an unnamed 17-year-old, and another unidentified Palestinian — were indicted by a Jerusalem magistrate court for “calling for terror attacks to be carried out against Israel,” and for Facebook posts allegedly supporting a deadly shooting attack at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on July 14. Following the attack, which left three Palestinian assailants and two Israeli police officers dead, Mahimar reportedly published a number of posts on his Facebook, one of which Ynet translated as saying “with a rock, a knife, an ax, a Molotov Cocktail, or a lighter. Spontaneous without planning. Three martyrs came from Umm al-Fahm. A thousand consolations are with us and we are following you. We were raised on the holy way of death.” The teen, according to Ynet, also uploaded a picture of an Israeli policeman holding his face as paramedics tended to wounds sustained by one of his colleague, accompanied by the caption: “Hell and darkness in the next life.” …
Israeli news daily Haaretz reported in April that Israeli forces detained at least 400 Palestinians in less than a year over social media activity, and that 400 others were detained for the same reason by the Palestinian Authority through its widely condemned policy of security coordination with Israel.
As of January, only 200 Palestinians were had faced trial for such charges, according the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh [حملة].[ The report also quoted a former Israeli military prosecutor as saying that since September 2015, dozens of social media posts resulted in administrative detentions — Israel’s widely condemned policy of internment without trial or charge used almost exclusively against Palestinians — while others were formally convicted if they were “identified as liable to carry out a terror attack.”
By contrast, a report released by 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users — without a single case being opened against an Israeli.
Israeli army enters Gaza, opens fire on Palestinian farmers amid search for tunnels
GAZA (Ma‘an) 3 Aug — Israeli army vehicles entered lands east of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Israeli authorities have resumed excavations at the border area in search of tunnels from the besieged enclave. Palestinian security sources said that five Israeli army vehicles entered tens of meters inside the Gaza Strip, near the town of Khuzaa, east of Khan Yunis. The sources also confirmed that the vehicles had leveled agricultural lands and opened fire at Palestinian farmers, forcing them to flee their lands. Meanwhile, local sources told Ma‘an on Wednesday that the Israeli army had brought eight cranes and heavy excavation equipment to the border line between Israel and Khuzaa. The sources said that the Israeli army was conducting digging operations in the area in order to uncover alleged “Hamas tunnels” near the border regions.
‘The worst it’s been’: children continue to swim as raw sewage floods Gaza beach
GAZA (The Guardian) 31 July by Peter Beaumont — It is high summer on Gaza City’s beach. A horse and cart patrols the shore selling brightly coloured swimming rings. A small boat is giving joy rides out to sea. Families sit on chairs while a few children play in the water. Normally, in the midst of the school holidays, the beach would be crowded. Particularly this year, as an electricity crisis makes many homes unbearable during the heat. But these days many parents are keeping their children away. The first hint is the smell: the sulphurous odour of raw sewage. Where children are swimming the water is a murky brown, with a fine suspension of faecal matter visible to the naked eye. Small fish at the water’s edge, scooped out by the giggling children, are dead. While pollution of Gaza’s 25 miles of beaches is not new, what is different is the degree. These days, according to the last environmental survey, 73% of Gaza’s coastline is dangerously polluted with sewage amid an energy crisis that is now also affecting Israel across the border wall, sharply up from 40-50% a year ago … Without electricity to power its lagoons, treatment works and sewage pumps, Gaza’s waste managers have been forced to make a choice, permit the cities to flood – or allow raw sewage to escape the overflows into the sea. It is a new level of contamination that is not only having an environmental effect, but a profound social one too. In an overcrowded strip of land home to two million people, and largely cut off from the outside world, for many the beach and sea are the only affordable – and accessible – form of recreation….
World Bank to install solar panels to supply Gaza with electricity
JOL 1 Aug by Judith Abramson — The World Bank has begun a program in which it will be installing solar panels on Gaza residents’ roofs as a partial solution to the Gaza Strip’s electricity crisis. Estimates indicate that the panels will be able to supply at least 150 megawatts of power to Gaza — The World Bank is teaming with the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company and the Palestinian Energy Authority for a trial program that will install solar rooftop systems with a megawatt output for one thousand consumers in the Gaza Strip. The program’s initial cost will be $2.5 million, as part of a larger program that will end up costing $11 million and will be funded by the World Bank and a multi-donor trust fund called Development Partners. A new World Bank study called “Securing energy for development in West Bank and Gaza” determines that more than 150 megawatts of solar energy can be produced for the Gaza Strip. The Gaza power plant’s maximum output is 140 megawatts when in reality, it rarely produces more than 60 megawatts due to high diesel fuel prices. While rooftop solar energy may not solve Gaza’s power consumption problem, which according to the study is expected to reach 900 megawatts by 2030, estimates do indicate that solar energy will significantly contribute to an increase in daily power supply. Furthermore, the solar energy will help ensure life-saving health care, connect communication systems, improve the water supply, provide proper wastewater treatment, and ensure that the consumers remain connected to electricity even if part of the network is damaged during another operation or war….
Opinion: Limited power supply doesn’t stop Gaza programmers from doing their job / David Slama
Haaretz 1 Aug — Israel’s Mellanox Technologies employs scores of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, using technology to overcome political barriers; other companies should be doing the same — Desperate for skilled workers, Israeli startups are recruiting workers from all around the world. But while companies court computer programmers and engineers from places like India and Ukraine, they are ignoring the thousands of Palestinian university graduates in computer science right at their doorstep.
Every year, more than 3,000 young Palestinians complete studies in engineering and technology at institutions of higher education in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. A few of them try their luck in the Gulf states, while others travel even farther in search of work, but three-quarters of them end up unemployed or underemployed. At a time when politicians on the left talk about political agreements and regional peace and politicians on the right propose an economic peace, some Israeli high-tech companies have discovered the human potential just over the separation barrier. Mellanox Technologies, for one, has added to its roster of offices in Israel and abroad locations in the West Bank cities of Rawabi, Nablus and Hebron, as well as in the Gaza Strip. The internet has helped overcome the restrictions on travel Israel and the Palestinian areas. Even the limited supply of electricity in Gaza hasn’t stopped our Gazan programmers from completing their projects faultlessly and on schedule.…
Islamic University best in Gaza, third in Palestine
[with photo] MEMO 31 July — The Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) announced yesterday that it was classed the top higher education institution in the Gaza Strip and the third in Palestine based on Webometrics July 2017 edition, Safa news agency reported. The IUG said it came in at number 54 among 988 higher education institutions in the Arab region which were included in the evaluation. Chairman of the IUG, Professor Adel Awadallah, hailed the efforts of the university staff who worked hard to maintain these high levels and ensured its continued development. The university has been subjected to destructive Israeli rocket attacks in 2008 and 2014 and in 2007, the Palestinian Authority (PA) security services affiliated to Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas attacked and burnt its buildings.
Gaza set to become scene of Egypt-Qatar tug of war
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 31 July by Ahmad Melhem — The Gaza Strip and Hamas are attracting attention from both sides as the Gulf crisis grows, but they might have to choose between longtime supporter Qatar on one side and the UAE, Egypt and Mohammed Dahlan on the other — It appears the long-besieged Gaza Strip might finally benefit as alliances continue to shift in the Middle East. Gaza, ruled by Hamas, is actually being wooed by both sides in the Qatar crisis. Hamas concluded a set of meetings earlier this month with dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan and the Egypt-backed United Arab Emirates (UAE). Those meetings give the Gaza Strip hope for a breakthrough in its decade-long blockade by Israel and Egypt. This breakthrough opens up several possibilities: a $100 million power plant that would take 18 months to build; the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt at the end of August; and the activation of the community reconciliation committee that was established under the 2011 reconciliation agreement concluded in Cairo. The committee, backed by Hamas and its one-time foe Dahlan, will settle the cases of those killed in the 2007 inter-Palestinian conflict by financially compensating their families. All of these projects are to be funded by the UAE, where Dahlan lives. These understandings benefit all parties concerned … The UAE will not only seek to strengthen the status of its allies (Egypt and Dahlan) in Gaza but will also work to expel Qatar from Gaza — despite Qatar’s long-time financial generosity toward Hamas and the strip. This comes as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt have cut ties with Qatar due to its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its hostility toward the UAE-backed Egyptian regime. “Hamas does not want to lose any side,” political author and analyst Talal Awkal told Al-Monitor. “It wants to retain the Qatari support and gain the Egyptian and Emirati support, but this is no longer possible in light of the regional crises, which will prompt it to pick a side.”….
Gaza: Surviving Shujayea — a film by Ibrahim al-Otla [warning: graphic]
Al Jazeera 2 Aug Running time: 47: 24– How a young girl was rescued from the rubble of her home in Shujayea after an Israeli bomb killed most of her family — “I saw a red light, then the house was bombed. I fainted. Then I woke up and found myself under the rubble.” Bisan Daher will never forget the day when Israel attacked Gaza’s Shujayea neighbourhood in 2014. The eight-year-old girl was rescued from the rubble of her home after an attack that killed six members of her family. Israeli “Operation Protective Edge” began on July 7, 2014, and was purportedly aimed at stopping alleged rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. On the 13th day of the assault on Gaza, Israel declared the district of Shujayea a closed military zone. Israeli artillery, backed by the air force, intensified its attacks, forcing thousands of residents to flee. At least 72 Palestinians were killed and another 288 injured during the attack, according to Palestinian health ministry sources. As Israeli planes still flew overhead, a Palestinian ambulance team heard someone crying for help from deep under the remains of a home on Nazzar Street. “The civil defence workers hesitated … the paramedics were strongly against it because their colleague was killed that morning”, says cameraman Yaser Murtaja. “They were worried they’d be bombed if they entered the area.” After much debate, the civil defence team along with Red Crescent paramedic Alaa Abu Sheir decided to risk their lives to rescue Bisan Daher and her pregnant sister-in-law, Shaimaa. Shaimaa’s husband, Mohamed, was pulled out of the rubble first, but later succumbed to his injuries and died at Shifah Hospital. Under the constant threat of the building collapsing and further Israeli shelling, the team’s rescue efforts grew more complicated, according to Abu Sheir. “We thought we’d reach them. But we found it was still very difficult. It was dark and dangerous. It became even harder when I got inside. When more bombs fell nearby, I thought the ceiling would collapse. The fear increased, for myself and those under the debris,” he says. Describing Shaimaa’s rescue, Abu Sheir says, “Shaimaa was in a very difficult situation. Concrete blocks, a metal window and lots of rocks were on her. And a dead body, too. I asked her who that was. She said, ‘Adham is on my legs and I can’t move.’ I asked her if he was alive. She said she didn’t know, but he was very cold. I checked his pulse. He was dead.” Recalling that horrific day, “I was in a dark place, like a grave,” says Shaimaa. “There was only a very small opening. When I felt I was suffocating, I’d raise myself to get air.”…..
Gaza kids enjoy day to remember in Manorhamilton
Leitrim Observer (Ireland) 2 Aug — A group of 19 young footballers from Gaza, Palestine who are travelling around Ireland as part of a nine day trip enjoyed a day to remember in Manorhamilton yesterday. The children from the Al-Helal Football Academy arrived in Ireland on Saturday and yesterday arrived in Manorhamilton where they took on Manor Rangers. A large crowd was present to welcome the youngsters from Gaza in Manorhamilton yesterday [and the Gazans players won all three games – story includes photos and a short video including interviews with Gazan visitors]
US Senator withdraws sponsorship of an Israel anti-boycott bill
WASHINGTON, DC (WAFA) 3 Aug — New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) has formally withdrawn her sponsorship of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act following pressure from constituents who repeatedly questioned her support for the bill at recent town halls in New York City, according to a press release. Residents were concerned about threats the bill could cause to the civil liberties of Americans and to the grassroots boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights. Senator Gillibrand’s withdrawal marks one of the few times a member of Congress has removed their name from a bill supported by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which raised protests from civil liberties groups such as the ACLU, attempts to criminalize Americans who support Palestinian human rights. It seeks to impose fines of up to $1 million and up to 20 years in prison, as well as to deny government loans to corporations refusing to do business in Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in violation of international law and nearly 50 years of official US policy. Not only does it infringe on the First Amendment-protected right to promote BDS but the bill also seeks to legitimize Israel’s settlements. The language of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act equates illegal Israeli settlements with Israel, breaking with decades of US policy of refusing to recognize settlements as legally part of Israel….
Palestine in Pictures: July 2017
Electronic Intifada 2 Aug — Twenty Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire during the month of July. Three Palestinian citizens of Israel were shot and killed by Israeli forces after a deadly ambush that left two police officers dead outside the al-Aqsa mosque compound on 14 July….
Palestinian PM: We are ready to work in Gaza, Hamas must accept Abbas’ initiative
GAZA (Asharq Al-Awsat) 2 Aug — Palestinian Prime Minister Rami al-Hamdallah said his government was ready to work in Gaza Strip, stressing that there would neither be an independent state in Gaza nor would a Palestinian State be established without it. Hamdallah called on Hamas Movement, which has been controlling Gaza for 10 years, to respond to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ initiative, dissolve the administrative committee and enable the government to work to end divisions and restore national unity. “There is a de facto government in Gaza since 2007, and its procedures are of a political nature. The end of this government is a step towards ending the division. We are ready to go to Gaza to work, but how will we work with another government run by Hamas?” The prime minister said in an interview with the Palestinian Television. He stressed that attempts to separate Gaza would not succeed, adding that “setting conditions before the dissolution of the administrative committee would hamper reconciliation efforts.” He also noted that his government has maintained its financial support to Gaza and paid around 70 to 80 million shekels per month.
In response, Hamas Spokesman Hazem Qassem said that the ongoing problem had no connection with the administrative committee, noting that the Palestinian government had not fulfilled its duties since its establishment in June 2014. In statements to Asharq al-Awsat, the Hamas official said that repeated talks about the dissolution of the administrative committee were aimed at misleading the public opinion, adding that the crisis would be resolved “when Abbas removes all punitive measures” against the Strip. Qassem urged the Palestinian government to assume its duties towards Gaza and to complete the implementation of the reconciliation agreement, by calling for a meeting between the PLO’s provisional leadership and the Legislative Council, and holding genuine and comprehensive elections. He pointed out that his movement is ready to dissolve the administrative committee if Abbas implements those measures and lifts all sanctions against the Gaza Strip….
Palestinian doctors go on strike for 2 hours in protest of armed assaults on hospitals
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Aug – Palestinian doctors working in public hospitals in the occupied West Bank went on strike for two hours, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., on Tuesday in protest of recent assaults on hospitals in Jenin and Hebron in which Palestinian gunmen raided the premises and destroyed property and assaulted doctors. Spokesperson for the Palestinian doctors’ syndicate Nitham Najib urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to provide more protection to doctors and medical teams in Palestine’s hospitals, after both al-Razi hospital in Jenin and Alia hospital in Hebron were raided by Palestinian gunmen on Monday.
According to Palestinian police spokesperson Luay Irzeiqat, gunmen had broken into al-Razi hospital’s emergency room and “demolished properties, smashed an ambulance, and fired two gunshots.” Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that the alleged assailants in Jenin “were furious by the hospital’s administration refusing to transfer one of their relative patients, who had just arrived to hospital with critical injuries resulting from a car accident, to a hospital in Israel.” However, such transfers typically take time, as it has to be approved by the Ministry of Health, Wafa noted. A video of the incident also emerged, showing a gunman waving his gun at doctors at the hospital, while others damage property and physically assault another staff member….
Government spokesman says Jenin hospital assailants are in police custody
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 1 Aug – Government’s spokesman Yousef al-Mahmoud said Tuesday that a number of outlaws who on Monday assaulted medical staff at Razi hospital in Jenin and at Hebron public hospital, in two separate incidents, have been caught and are now in police custody. Al-Mahmoud, speaking on behalf of the Council of Ministers, condemned the two attacks describing them as insulting acts that are not in line with Palestinian norms and traditions. This came as a video, which went viral online, showed a group of assailants attack medical staff, including physicians, at Razi hospital in Jenin, in the north of the West Bank on Monday evening … Governor of Jenin, Ibrahim Ramadan, also condemned the attack, saying all outlaws have to understand that no one is above the law. Speaking to a crowd of medical staff from Jenin’s hospitals who were protesting the attack, Ramadan promised the assaulted doctors and medical staff that the assailants will be given the maximum legal penalties applicable.
Archives belie Israel’s narrative of Palestinian conflict
Al-Monitor 1 Aug by Daoud Kuttab — Early members of the Zionist movement and later Israelis have consistently attempted to control the narrative of the conflict with the Palestinians, including by seizing photographic evidence of Palestine and the Palestinians’ history — It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. In the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, an image can also be as dangerous as a cannon. This appears to be the conclusion reached by two women, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, who have dedicated most of their lives to researching images related to the conflict and their use and fate. Rona Sela, a curator and lecturer at Tel Aviv University, recounted to Al-Monitor how she first became involved with these images 20 years ago. “I was doing research in the mid-1990s,” she began. “My focus was an analysis of Zionist photography in the early stages of the state of Israel. I researched the way institutional Zionist propaganda departments from the 1920s to 1948 used visual images to construct a national identity to build people’s consciousness about national issues. As the Palestinian narrative was, in most cases, missing from the Zionist one, I started searching for Palestinian images.” … Sela explained, “In the beginning, it was accidental that I came across traces of the looting, but then I started deliberating trying to find more material that was plundered and to understand what the meaning of these images was and how they fit into the larger narrative of the conflict.” Another Sela discovery was a pre-state Zionist project called Village Files, Aerial Photos and Surveys. Sela went public with her research in 2009 and later published it in the Jerusalem Quarterly in 2013. The project involved detailed documentation of pre-1948 Palestinian villages in which the Jewish underground was interested. The Village Files included photographs and surveys of most of the 418 Palestinian villages that have since been demolished or repopulated by Zionists after the Nakba. According to Sela’s published research, many of the images were taken from the air by young Jewish couples often posing as tourists taking romantic flights over the villages. In fact, they were documenting the area and providing the photos to the Jewish underground. The images were to have been kept secret to prevent the possibility of comparisons between before and after photos….
Groups demand Israel remove army outposts and minefields from occupied Syrian town
HAIFA (WAFA) 2 Aug – Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Al-Marsad Arab Human Rights Centre in the Golan Heights sent a letter to senior Israeli military officials on 30 July demanding that they evacuate Israeli military outposts and minefields from the occupied Syrian town of Majdal Shams located on the Golan Heights, a press release said on Wednesday. The military outposts, constructed after Israel occupied the Golan Heights in 1967, are situated on dozens of acres belonging to Majdal Shams residents. The outposts, and the associated minefields which surround the outposts and the town itself, are located directly adjacent to residential homes and the some 11,000 civilians who live there. Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad and Al-Marsad Attorney Karama Abu Saleh wrote in their letter that the military outposts and minefields present a direct danger to Majdal Shams residents. “Their very presence near the town endangers the lives of town residents in an illegal manner… Fields of anti-personnel landmines have been placed around the outposts and the town itself. These mines pose a most serious danger to the residents as they cannot be easily identified, they drift beyond the [marked] minefields [because of flooding] particularly during the winter months, and move towards the town’s homes and orchards. Some of the mines even explode as a result of summer heat. Over the years, many village residents – particularly children – have tragically been harmed by exploding mines.” Israel’s failure to remove the minefields and the military outposts is a violation of international humanitarian law, Adalah and Al-Marsad said. “Israel’s actions on the Golan Heights are subject to international humanitarian law. Article 43 of the Hague Convention stipulates that an occupying force’s primary factor when considering any action is its benefit to the local civilian population, and [this article] obligates protection of the residents of the occupied territory. Article 46 further requires protection of the lives and property of the local population.”….
Israel has occupied Majdal Shams since 1967. In 1981, Israel annexed the village, along with the other small Syrian villages of Ein Qiniyye, Mas‘ade and Buq‘ata, under the Golan Heights Law. Most inhabitants of Majdal Shams hold permanency residency status in Israel, as do Palestinians residents of East Jerusalem….
Austria sentences Hamas man to life for terror plot in Israel
Times of Israel 31 July — Austria sentenced a Hamas operative to life in prison for enlisting Palestinians in the West Bank to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets. The Palestinian man, whose name is being held under gag order in Austria, was sentenced last week, Israel’s Justice Ministry said in a statement. The Hamas operative was previously serving a life sentence in Israel, but was released to the Gaza Strip in the 2011 prisoner exchange deal for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. He later relocated to Austria. In 2016, the Palestinian man contacted two residents of the West Bank over the internet and enlisted them to carry out grenade attacks in Jerusalem and to assemble additional cell members. The planned attacks were never carried out. After learning of the Hamas member’s intentions, the Shin Bet security agency was able to track him to Austria. The agency also arrested four Palestinians suspected of involvement in the planned attacks, the Justice Ministry said. Israel also transferred intelligence on the Hamas operative to Austrian authorities, leading to his arrest in Austria. At Austria’s request, Israel also provided legal assistance in the case, including by allowing the Austrian judge to question the four West Bank residents suspected of involvement in the planned attacks by video conference….