Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian girl dies after being struck by settler car
Al Jazeera 27 Aug by Linah Alsaafin — Relatives doubt Israel police will properly probe killing of eight-year-old, whose family home was about to be seized — An eight-year-old Palestinian girl who was run over by an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank was buried on Sunday. Aseel Abu ‘Oun was killed a day earlier by a settler who drove his car near where she lived in the Foroush Beit Dajan village, in the Nablus district. She was leaving a supermarket around noon with a friend when she was struck. Haaretz, the Israeli daily newspaper, reported that police detained the driver of the vehicle for questioning. Police said they opened an investigation, Haaretz reported, but did not specify whether the settler had been released. However, members of Aseel’s family said the announcement of a police investigation was simply an attempt by the Israeli government to quell public anger … Tareq Abu ‘Oun, the girl’s father, witnessed his daughter being run over and, with the help of other men, managed to stop the car from speeding away. “The settler was armed and they took his weapon from him until the Israeli police arrived,” Jawdat said. While it is legal for settlers to carry weapons in the occupied West Bank, Palestinians are banned from being armed.
‘Aseel hoped for a better future’ The victim’s short life was heavily affected by the Israeli occupation. After moving his family from the village of Jaba to Foroush Beit Dajan, Abu ‘Oun worked in agriculture but was plagued by constant visits and orders by the Israeli army to demolish his house. Aref Daraghmeh, an expert on settlement affairs and Israeli violations, told local media that he had visited the 10-member family on Friday to document their suffering – the day Israeli forces officially notified them that their home would be seized. “I spoke to Tareq [Abu ‘Oun] about the threats the Israeli authorities made to him about demolishing his home and dispersing his family,” Daraghmeh said. “Aseel was sitting on the floor, holding papers, and was full of hope for a better future for her and her family.” An Israeli police spokeswoman told local media that emergency services had tried to resuscitate the child on Saturday. She was announced dead on arrival at the hospital. Incidents of Jewish settlers running over Palestinian children in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem are not uncommon and are rarely investigated, even in fatal cases….
Israeli army shoots, injures 2 Palestinians amid settler visit to Joseph’s Tomb
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 29 Aug – Two young Palestinian men were shot and injured and another was detained early Tuesday morning when clashes erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian youths, as the soldiers escorted hundreds of settlers and right-wing Israelis to Joseph’s Tomb near Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an in Nablus that five busloads of Israelis under heavy military protection stormed the area to perform religious rituals at Joseph’s Tomb, which is located in an area controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The sources added that young Palestinian men clashed with the Israeli soldiers around the site and two young men were shot and mildly to moderately injured during the clashes. Israeli soldiers detained a young Palestinian man amid the clashes, who was identified by the Palestinian security sources as Mousa Suleiman Saadah. Israeli soldiers and worshipers left the area after 4 a.m, the sources said.
Israeli settlers hurl stones at Palestinian homes in South Hebron Hills
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — Israeli settlers raided the Bedouin community of Umm al-Kheir in the South Hebron Hills region of the occupied West Bank on Tuesday and attacked Palestinians homes with rocks and glass bottles, Palestinian Authority-owned Wafa news agency reported. Rateb al-Jabour, a local activist, told Wafa that Israeli settlers from the illegal Karmel settlement located just next to the isolated Palestinian village hurled stones at homes belonging to the Hathalin family, “terrifying children and causing damage to some of them,” the report said. No injuries were mentioned in the report … Suleiman Hathalin said that his family is regularly attacked by Israeli settlers in an attempt to intimidate the Bedouin community to leave their lands so that the illegal settlements in the area can continue to expand.
According to Jabour, Israeli authorities delivered seven demolition orders to the Dababseh family in Khirbet Khillet al-Dabe last week, which is also located in the South Hebron Hills adjacent to two illegal Israeli settlement outposts, Maon and Havat Maon, Wafa’s report said.
one night’s abductions:
Israeli soldiers abduct fourteen Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 28 Aug — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, fourteen Palestinians, including children, from their homes in different parts of the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that the soldiers invaded and ransacked several homes in occupied East Jerusalem, and abducted six Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Totanji, Ahmad Mteir, Faisal Shabana, Odai al-Hadra, and Adnan al-Hadra, in addition to Anas Shatara, 18, who was taken prisoner from his home on al-‘Ezariyya town, southeast of Jerusalem. In Bethlehem, the soldiers invaded several homes and abducted Mohammad Rezeq Najajra, 16, Mahmoud Taleb Najajra, 16, and Khalaf Shadi Najajra, 14. In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mohammad al-Atrash, and his brother Yousef, from Kafr Ra‘i town, in addition to Ahmad Qottein Mousa, from ‘Arraba town. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Jayyous town, northeast of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and abducted Mohammad al-Qaddoumi, 22, while resident Mousa Sami Sa‘ada, was abducted in Nablus, also in northern West Bank.
Jerusalem stakeout reveals ‘new generation’ of radical Jewish settlers
Haaretz 27 Aug — Turning point, says Shin Bet source, was evacuation of illegal outpost of Amona, and Shin Bet’s kid-glove conduct during it. Since then, attacks on Palestinians, left-wing activists and soldiers have multiplied — Until recently, the Baladim outpost near the West Bank settlement of Kochav Hashahar was of great concern to the Shin Bet security service. The Shin Bet considered Baladim the epicenter of Jewish terrorism in the West Bank and ascribed attacks on numerous Palestinians, left-wing activists and soldiers to the few dozen young men who intermittently resided there. Since being evacuated two months ago, Baladim has stood almost empty; the so-called hilltop youth haven’t returned. But the Shin Bet says this quiet is deceptive: In recent months, the extremist fringe has actually grown stronger. The Shin Bet terms it “the second generation of the infrastructure of the revolt.”
>> Meet The Revolt: The Jewish extremist group that seeks to violently topple the state<<
The first generation was responsible, among other acts, for the murder of the Dawabsheh family in the Palestinian village of Duma in 2015 and torching the Church of the Loaves and Fishes that same year. Now, the Shin Bet fears a new wave of Jewish terror.
But some people familiar with both the Shin Bet’s work and the hilltop youth consider the terms “infrastructure” and “terrorist organization” exaggerated. This “second generation” is just an amorphous group, they say, and its members – a few dozen people aged 16 to 25 – don’t function as a coordinated, hierarchical organization…
The Shin Bet is proud of having dismantled the “first generation,” which it did partly by putting some members in administrative detention, or jail without charges, and slapping others with orders barring them from the West Bank. Despite admitting that some of these people had no connection with major crimes like the Duma murders, the Shin Bet said these controversial tactics were necessary to dismantle the terrorist network. But the rise of a second generation calls the efficacy of those tactics into question….
Gideon Levy // Palestinian’s family kept in the dark after Israeli troops shoot him seven times in nighttime raid
Haaretz 25 Aug by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — The Israel Defense Forces troops who raided Deheisheh refugee camp, outside Bethlehem, before dawn on August 9 – apparently to arrest 22-year-old Raad Salhi – probably knew nothing about the circumstances of his family. It’s unlikely they knew about the tragic situation in his home or were aware that they were compounding it. The soldiers, who seem to have been from an undercover, Duvdevan special-ops unit, fired seven rounds into the young man who had awoken from his fleeting night’s sleep and tried, unarmed, to escape the troops’ clutches. They snatched him, kicking, from the arms of his brother, who was trying to get Raad out of harm’s way, and shook him violently, dragging him over the course of a half-hour through the camp’s alleyways, while he bled from his mouth and body, critically injured. He was taken to Hadassah University Hospital in Ein Karem, Jerusalem, where he’s now under arrest in the intensive-care unit, apparently in a coma. The Israel Defense Forces wanted Raad dead or alive, though it’s hardly clear why – such routine nighttime raids in the West Bank can have a variety of motives – and thus the troops seized him from his brother, despite his serious condition. No one has bothered to update the family about Raad’s situation, nor is the IDF allowing his mother, 52-year-old Zeinab Salhi, to visit him. Last week, she arrived at Hadassah accompanied by D., a Jerusalem-born Jew, her partner and the father of two of her children, with whom she’s been living for a decade in Deheisheh…
The disasters, neglect and adversity that have befallen this home are mirrored in its appearance. It’s one of the most squalid houses in Deheisheh, which is perhaps the most squalid of West Bank refugee camps … Zeinab lives here with three of her five sons from her first marriage, and with Tamara and Yosef, the daughter and son fathered by D. The two children have no legal status, no rights and no documentation, and they do not attend school…
A few years ago Zeinab fell ill and underwent heart surgery twice in Israel, after which she was compelled to stop working. A few months ago, D. was diagnosed with cancer and he too forced to stop his work, renovating houses. He’s undergoing treatment at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. It was into this situation that IDF soldiers entered on August 9.
Israeli Knesset members take to Al-Aqsa after Netanyahu lifts ban
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — A number of right-wing members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, took to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound under heavy military protection on Tuesday after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lifted a ban on MK visits to the holy site in October 2015, aiming to ease tensions amid a deadly wave of political unrest that erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. Netanyahu had decided to temporarily lift the ban — which also affected Palestinians and Muslims MKs — from accessing the compound for a five-day period in late July, but canceled the order in the wake of a deadly shooting attack that led to a 13-day long civil disobedience campaign to denounce new Israeli security measures installed at the site, which were later removed. Israeli forces are now expected to assess whether to permanently allow lawmakers to visit the compound. Israeli police and special unit officers deployed in large numbers at the holy site as far-right settler groups and Knesset members flooded through the Moroccan Gate as part of a one-day trial for such visits. Among them was Likud MK Yehuda Glick, one of the leading advocates for Jewish visitation to the Al-Aqsa compound, and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, an MK from the Jewish Home party. Members of the Knesset’s Joint List coalition, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel, reportedly announced they would not visit the compound….
Prisoners / Court actions
Family of Halamish terrorist convicted for not preventing attack
Haaretz 27 Aug by Yotam Berger — The Judea Military Court convicted five relatives of Omar al-Abed, the 20-year-old Palestinian who murdered three members of the Salomon family in the West Bank settlement of Halamish last month, for not preventing the crime on Sunday. The court found that the five – al-Abed’s mother Ibtisam al-Jalil, his father Abed al-Jalil, two of his brothers and his uncle – “knew about his intention to carry out the terror attack and did not act to notify the security services in order to prevent it.” Al-Abed’s two brothers and uncle were fined and sentenced to eight months in jail, and his father was sentenced to two months in prison. His mother, who was convicted of incitement a few weeks ago, was also fined and sentenced to one month in jail. The five were convicted in a plea bargain after admitting to the charges. The family was indicted following the Military Advocate General’s Corps determination that they were aware of a Facebook post al-Abed published hours before the attack….
Israel extends detention of Palestinian NGO worker
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Israeli authorities have extended the remand of Salah Hamouri, a human rights defender and field researcher for Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer. The NGO said in a statement on Sunday that a judge at the Israeli magistrate’s court in Jerusalem extended Hamouri’s detention for an additional three days for further interrogation. Addameer said that one of its attorneys, Mahmoud Hassan, has submitted an appeal against the extension. Hamouri 32, who holds dual Palestinian-French citizenship, was detained during an overnight raid on Wednesday from his home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab.
Meet the Palestinian Israel put on trial for her poetry
+972 mag 28 Aug by Orly Noy — Dareen Tatour has spent over a year and a half under house arrest for publishing a poem on her Facebook page. Since then, she has lost the ability to support herself, and cannot leave the house without a ‘chaperone.’ Orly Noy spoke to Tatour about the difficulty of living under constant surveillance, her love for Hebrew and Arabic poetry, and the need for Jews and Arabs to learn each other’s language — One day in the future, when they write the book on the belligerence and aggression of the State of Israel toward its Arab citizens, the story of Dareen Tatour — who has been under house arrest for nearly two years, including three months of jail time — will have its own special chapter dedicated to it. Tatour was arrested in October 2015 for both a poem and Facebook post she published. Since then, the state has been waging a legal battle, which has included bringing in a series of experts on both Arabic and Arabic poetry, in order to dissect the words of a young poet who was nearly anonymous until her arrest. Her trial, and the state’s attempts to turn a poem into an existential threat, has been nothing short of Kafkaesque. I spoke to Tatour from her home in the village of Reineh, near Nazareth. As part of the conditions of her house arrest, Tatour is not allowed to use the Internet or smart phones. “So I started using dumb phones,” she laughs. Soft spoken, Tatour maintains a reserved matter-of-factness even as she recalls those first knocks on her door and the moment everything changed….
Islamic Jihad fighter dies in accident during Gaza ‘mission’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — The Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, said that one of its members died Monday night in an accident during a “jihadi mission” in the Gaza Strip. The brigades said in a statement that Samid Salah Hajjaj, from Gaza City’s Shujaiyya neighborhood, was killed “accidentally” during the mission, without providing further details on the incident that lead to his death. Hajjaj’s body was taken to al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City. His funeral is scheduled to be held after the midday prayer Tuesday. Members of the the al-Quds Brigades, as well as members of Hamas’ military wing the al-Qassam Brigades, are regularly killed during training exercises or in Gaza’s notoriously dangerous tunnel networks in the north and south of the blockaded coastal enclave.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza after 2-day opening
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Aug – Egyptian authorities have closed the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip after it was opened Sunday and Monday to allow humanitarian cases leave the besieged coastal enclave. Hajj pilgrims also left Gaza to travel to Saudi Arabia, according to earlier reports, and Palestinians that were stranded on the Egyptian side of the border were allowed to return home. Gaza’s crossings department said in a statement Tuesday that 882 humanitarian cases including students, patients, and holders of Egyptian passports left via Rafah crossing on Monday, while 166 passengers who were stranded in Egypt arrived in the Gaza Strip. The statement made no mention of how many of the Palestinians were hajj pilgrims, but the crossings department announced Sunday that a group of hajj pilgrims — all said to be first-degree family members of Palestinians who have been killed by Israeli forces — would be allowed to leave the small Palestinian territory and travel to Saudi Arabia via Egypt during the exceptional border opening. Egyptian authorities also denied 66 passengers entry into Egypt without giving justification, according the crossing department’s statement….
Israeli bulldozers level lands near southern Gaza border
Gaza (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers crossed the border into the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday morning, where they leveled lands in the “buffer zone” of southern Gaza. Witnesses told Ma‘an that four Israeli military bulldozers staged a limited incursion near the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza as drones hovered overhead and Israeli soldiers intermittently opened fire in the area, causing no injuries.
Palestinian Authority backtracks: 6,000 Gazan employees won’t be forced to retire early
Haaretz 26 Aug by Amira Hass — The Palestinian government in the West Bank rescinded its decision to send 6,145 public workers in the Gaza Strip, whose salaries it pays, into early retirement. The move was announced on Saturday by Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who spoke at the dedication of new departments in the public hospital in Hebron. According to Palestinian news agencies including the official Palestinian Authority agency Wafa, Hamdallah said the decision was made with the approval of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In July, the government in Ramallah announced its intention to impose early retirement on around half of the PA employees working in the Strip. It was one of a number of measures meant to punish the Hamas government for establishing an independent administrative council for Gaza. In his remarks at the dedication ceremony, Hamdallah again called on Hamas to dissolve the council and allow the “consensus government” to resume. As of last week, when the new school year began in the Gaza Strip, the names of the candidates for early retirement had not been published, causing great confusion and anxiety among teachers and health employees. The punitive measure against Hamas, whose efficacy was in any case in doubt, further undermined the image of the PA and of Abbas in the eyes of a generally supportive part of the community….
New Hamas leader says it is getting aid again from Iran
GAZA CITY (AP) 29 Aug by Fares Akram & Josef Federman — Hamas’ new leader in the Gaza Strip said Monday his group has repaired relations with Iran after a five-year rift and is using its newfound financial and military aid to gear up for new hostilities with Israel. The announcement by Yehiyeh Sinwar came as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting Israel. At a meeting with the U.N. chief, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained about what he called rising anti-Israel activity by Iran and its allies in the region. Iran was once the top backer of Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction. But Hamas broke with Iran in 2012 after the group refused to support Iran’s close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, in the Syrian civil war. During a four-hour meeting with journalists, Sinwar said those ties have been restored and are stronger than ever. “Today, the relationship with Iran is excellent, or very excellent,” Sinwar said. He added that the Islamic Republic is “the largest backer financially and militarily” to Hamas’ military wing. It was the first time that Sinwar has met reporters since he was elected in February. The 55-year-old Sinwar, who spent two decades in Israeli prison after being convicted of masterminding the abduction and killing of two Israeli soldiers, has close ties with Hamas’ militant wing and takes a hard line toward Israel….
IDF maintains readiness as soldiers drill for urban conflict in Gaza
JPost 26 Aug by Anna Ahronheim — Hundreds of Golani Brigade infantrymen last week took part in a large-scale exercise simulating urban combat in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Soldiers from Golani’s 12th “Barak” Battalion began the two-day drill late Tuesday night with an overnight march of some 30 kilometers from Moshav Meitav, south of Afula, to Harish. “The soldiers were ‘ambushed’ during their march and had to fight off their enemies and deal with their wounded comrades,” a senior Golani officer in charge of the exercise told The Jerusalem Post while taking a short break from the drill. The IDF has significantly stepped up the scope and frequency of its combat training, and while most such exercises take place on the Golan Heights, this one took place in the growing town of Harish, just inside the Green Line and an hour’s drive from Tel Aviv. The Post visited Harish as soldiers were drilling on taking over half-built buildings and engaging the enemy, who lay in wait to ambush them from a ditch. “This is the perfect place to hold a drill simulating urban combat,” the senior officer said as a young boy pedaled by on his bike. “The biggest challenge for the soldiers in this drill was to differentiate between the ‘enemy’ and civilians.” Hovering above the town throughout the exercise was a Skylark drone, the IDF’s smallest, which operates on all fronts for tactical surveillance. According to the senior officer, the Skylark was not the only unmanned aerial vehicle taking part in the drill. Once soldiers succeeded in taking over a building, they launched quadcopters – helicopter drones that are lifted and propelled by four rotors – to see what lay ahead.
Israeli AG fails to respond — for two years — to appeals against closure of investigation into Bakr boys’ killings during 2014 Gaza war
27 Aug — Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza), and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (Gaza) sent a letter on 20 August 2017 to senior Israeli legal officials demanding that they respond to the appeals submitted against the closure of the investigation into the 2014 killing of four children on a Gaza beach and order the military to hand over materials from its investigation. On 16 July 2014, during the military offensive that Israel termed “Operation Protective Edge”, the Israeli forces fired missiles that killed four children of the Bakr family – Ahed (10 years), Zakaria (10 years), Mohammed (11 years) and Ismail (10 years) – while they were playing soccer on Gaza City’s fishermen’s beach … This incident was witnessed by foreign journalists covering the 2014 Gaza war and it received widespread global media coverage. Two days later, Adalah and Al Mezan sent a letter to the Israeli defense minister, the military advocate general, and the attorney general, demanding an investigation into the killing of the Bakr boys. Almost one year later, on 11 June 2015, the Israeli army announced the closure of the investigation without further measures….
Negotiator: Israel should hold 200 Palestinians for each Israeli captive
JPost 28 Aug by Anna Ahronheim — For every Israeli soldier kidnapped by the enemy, Israel should hold 200 of their fighters, Col. (res.) Lior Lotan, former coordinator on the issue of prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action, said in recordings aired on Army Radio on Monday. “If the enemy is holding one of our soldiers, a war should end with Israel holding 200 of theirs. If it’s two then we should hold 400, if it’s three of ours then it should be 600 of theirs,” Lotan, who resigned last week after three years in the position, is heard saying in recordings taped several months ago. “It doesn’t mean that the problem will be solved but the formula will be different,” Lotan added, arguing that the policy would provide Israel with a “kidnap bank” that will serve as a bargaining chip.
The goal, he says, would be to deter terrorist groups against holding Israelis captive. Israel routinely holds the bodies of Palestinians, both Hamas terrorists and assailants shot dead while carrying out attacks during the two-year wave of violence in the West Bank and Israel.
In December of last year Israel’s security cabinet decided that Israel will withhold the bodies of Palestinian terrorists killed in attacks against Israeli citizens. “The security cabinet discussed ways to effect the return of fallen soldiers and of civilians held in the Gaza Strip… and decided that [the bodies of terrorists] should be buried, rather than returned,” a statement released at the time said. Under the policy, the bodies would be buried in Israel and could be exhumed and handed back if Hamas was willing to strike deals with Israel. Hamas is believed to be holding the bodies of missing IDF soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul who were killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, as well as two other Israeli citizens who voluntarily crossed into the Strip.
On Sunday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated that Israel will not repeat the “mistake” of freeing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for any Israeli citizen held in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, dead or alive.
New initiative brings Qur’an to Gaza’s hearing-impaired
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 27 Aug by Alaa ElBurai — In an attempt to teach the Holy Quran to the deaf in the Gaza Strip, the Future Society for Deaf Adults (FSDA) offers religious and awareness courses aimed at interpreting the Quran using sign language. The initiative was first launched on Feb. 2, 2013. Courses are offered for deaf youth ages 12-18, targeting 500 deaf people in Gaza. The courses are funded by the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Foundation and are given at the Dar al Quran al Karim Wa Sunnah, which has 14 branches in the Gaza Strip. Each class consists of 20 students … FSDA President Adham Eid told Al-Monitor, “Ten years ago, most of the deaf Palestinians did not know who the Prophet was. However, today things have changed with the religious awareness courses in sign language, which were diligently prepared by Jordan’s Conservation of the Holy Quran Society with the cooperation of the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and a professional team of sign language interpreters over the past five years.” Eid added that one of the most prominent advantages of this initiative is the unification of sign language in interpreting the Holy Quran; in other words, the Quranic verses are being interpreted using the same signs and body postures….
Dormant Gaza cinema scene stirred by first feature film
GAZA CITY, Palestine (Anadolu) 27 Aug by Kaamil Ahmed — No one pays any attention to the al-Nasr cinema in Gaza City anymore. It stands out on the city’s main thoroughfare as testament to a time when Gaza was flush with cinemas, even if now no one so much as glances upwards as they rush past. Hints of the building’s Art Deco-inspired former glory remain, from when Gaza was controlled by Egypt and Egyptian cinema flourished, but are hidden behind overgrown trees and a bricked-up entrance. In the shade of the cinema’s portico, a weather-beaten white car is parked where the ticket office might have once stood. Over the decades, the handful of cinemas that populated each of the enclave’s cities were bricked up or burnt out as Gaza was overtaken by conflict and a more hostile mentality to cinema. Filmmaking in Gaza has also suffered — until Saturday, when a group of filmmakers screened 10 Years, the first feature-length drama made in the blockaded enclave for more than a decade. “In 1944, Gaza had cinema. Today, we’re in 2017 and don’t have any cinema,” the film’s Director, Alaa al-Aloul, told Anadolu Agency. The film, a portrait of Gazan society, has tried to end the stagnation. Coming in the tenth year of the Israel and Egyptian-imposed blockade of the coastal enclave, many have assumed that would be the film’s subject. “People ask why 10 Years? A lot of people assume it’s about the blockade or the political split but we’ve kept away from this subject,” Aloul said…..
Gazans have the hots for chili peppers
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 25 Aug by Moath al-Amoudi — No Gazan table is complete without peppers that come in various shapes and sizes. Green and red chili peppers are often on the table, ready to be consumed with flatbread. Pickled yellow peppers or roasted bell peppers — yellow, green and red — accompany grilled meat and shawarma. Meanwhile, other chili peppers in the form of flakes, powder or a paste are used for spicing up fava beans. The Gaza kitchen, which has become increasingly familiar in Europe and the Unites States, is a variation of Levantine cuisine. Compared with other regional cuisines, however, it uses more seafood and spices, particularly chili peppers. One of the best-known dishes prepared for holidays, sumaghiyyeh, is made with ground sumac, first soaked in water and then mixed with tahini, a sesame seed paste. Then it is cooked with pieces of slow-stewed beef, beans and seasoned with dill seeds, chili peppers and garlic …”Peppers have been part of our diet and our culinary culture in Gaza for many years,” said Atef al-Assouli, a professor of social sciences and family counseling at Al Quds Open University in Gaza. “People eat them fresh, roast them, pickle them, make them into hot chili pastes or grind them, according to the type.” He said that when people go to most restaurants, peppers are often present on tables in a variety of forms. It is common to hear customers tell waiters, “Bring more peppers,” Assouli said. “People in Gaza take pride in eating chili peppers — the hotter the better for boasting,” he said….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Discrimination
Netanyahu vows to never remove Israeli settlements from West Bank: ‘We’re here to stay, forever’
Haaretz 29 Aug by Yotam Berger — ‘We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle,’ Netanyahu tells settlers at event marking 50 years to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Monday that he will not evacuate Israeli settlements in the West Bank. “We are here to stay, forever,” the prime minister said at an event in the settlement of Barkan, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. “There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel. It has been proven that it does not help peace,” he said. “We’ve uprooted settlements. What did we get? We received missiles. It will not happen anymore. “And there’s another reasons that we will look after this place, because it looks after us. In light of everything that is occurring around us, we can just imagine the result,” he said, citing threats to Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport and a main highway that runs along the border with the West Bank. “So we will not fold. We are guarding Samaria against those who want to uproot us. We will deepen our roots, build, strengthen and settle,” he said, using the Jewish name for part of the West Bank….
Israeli state orders settlers to evacuate Palestinian family’s home in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) — Israeli authorities have ordered a group of Israelis to evacuate a building in Hebron’s Old City in the southern occupied West Bank that belongs to the Abu Rajab family, after the settlers forcibly took over the home a month ago amid a years-long legal battle over the building. Meanwhile, a member of the Palestinian family reported continued physical attacks at the hands of the settlers. The Israeli state prosecutor told the Israeli Supreme Court that the fifteen settler families have seven days to vacate a three-story building, Israel’s justice ministry announced on Sunday evening. The state was responding to an appeal submitted to the court by the Abu Rajab family against the takeover of the house, over which settlers have erroneously attempted to claim ownership for years to establish the so-called Beit Hamachpela settlement. The Israeli prosecutor said that once the families leave the building they can still ask the Israeli Civil Administration’s Registration Committee to temporarily give them rights to hold onto the property during the ongoing legal proceedings to transfer the title to their name. If that right was granted, then they could move back into the structure, the state said. The registration committee denied the settlers’ request to establish the settlement in 2015 on the grounds that the settlers failed to prove their alleged purchase of the Palestinian house. The settlers appealed the decision and had been waiting to reappear before the committee when they decided to move into the house anyway….
PA decries Torah scrolls-placing ceremony at settler-run synagogue in Silwan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — The Palestinian Authority (PA) denounced a Torah scrolls-placing ceremony at a synagogue established by Israeli settlers in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, according to Palestinian media, calling the act a “new act of Israeli aggression.” According to Wafa news agency, some 300 Israelis, including Israel’s Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel and Israeli lawmakers attended the ceremony in Silwan, which was organized by settler group Ateret Cohanim. The group has been behind several Palestinian evictions in occupied East Jerusalem, including in the Old City. Ateret Cohanim — which receives tax-deductible donations from the United States through their financial intermediary American Friends of Ateret Cohanim — focuses on “Judaizing” East Jerusalem through a Jewish reclamation project working to expand illegal settlements and facilitate Jewish takeover of Palestinian properties across the Green Line into Palestinian territory. PA spokesperson Yousif al-Mahmoud said that the move at the synagogue was a “new act of Israeli aggression against Jerusalem,” and represented a “grave violation” to the Islamic character of the city, Wafa reported. Al-Mahmoud added that the establishment of the synagogue, which was advanced by Ateret Cohanim after it took over the property in 2015, had “nothing to do with religion,” and that it was “purely a politically motivated act.”….
Israeli settlers reportedly level land west of Salfit to expand industrial zone
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Israeli settlers reportedly leveled Palestinian land west of Salfit city in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday. Arab 48 news site quoted witnesses as saying that bulldozers leveled farmlands and pastures, some of which was planted with olive orchards. According to the report, the land is owned by the Islamic Endowment. Villagers in the Salfit district told Arab 48 that the bulldozers leveled lands in an area known locally as Khallat al-Jami, part of which has already been developed by Israeli settlers to build a factory in the Ariel Industrial Zone, part of the illegal Israeli settlement bloc of Ariel — one of the largest settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. The report quoted Khalid Maali, a researcher of settlement activity, as saying that lands razed on Sunday were an area considered by the Israeli state to be part of the industrial zone … Ma‘an reported that Israeli bulldozers razed some 20 dunams (five acres) of Palestinian land to expand the industrial zone in March, and that Israeli authorities uprooted more than a dozen olive trees and leveled lands nearby in April.
Palestinian villages in the area, including Kafr al-Dik, Deir Ballut, Rafat, Sarta, and al-Zawiya, have seen vast tracts of land confiscated for the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the western outskirts of the Salfit district over the years.
Video: Israeli army deprives Palestinian villagers of solar power
Al Jazeera 26 Aug — The Israeli army has confiscated solar panels which provided much-needed power to villagers in occupied West Bank, The solar panels were donated by the Netherlands. The army says the equipment was set up without the permissions required. The European Union fears other projects will also be switched off. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from Jubba al-Dibb, Occupied West Bank.
EU lets Israel destroy West Bank schools it funded
EI 28 Aug by Ali Abunimah — Dozens of Palestinian children were due to begin classes in Jubbet al-Dib, a village near Bethlehem, last week. But on the evening of 22 August, Israeli occupation forces destroyed their new school. It consisted of six prefabricated buildings largely funded by the European Union and several of its governments. During the five-hour assault in Jubbet al-Dib, Israeli forces declared the area a closed military zone and used stun grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets to keep residents away as they dismantled and confiscated the buildings…
Weak EU response — In a weakly worded statement last week, the European Union expressed its “strong concern” – not even “condemnation” – about this and other demolitions. The statement neglected even to mention that the buildings were funded by European taxpayers. The EU did, however, mention Israel’s policy of “designating land for exclusive Israeli use and of denying Palestinian development” – an indirect acknowledgement of what others have more forthrightly and accurately labeled apartheid. Yet on Monday, the EU confirmed that it is content to let the destruction pass without any tangible action to hold Israel accountable. Asked what the EU planned to do to seek restitution and accountability from Israel, the spokesperson said: “The EU has raised these matters publicly and also privately in its dialogue with the Israeli authorities.” That’s diplomatic speak for: we’ve done all we’re going to do, which amounts to nothing … The demolition in Jubbet al-Dib was one of several recent Israeli attacks on Palestinian schools … “The latest spate of school demolitions and confiscations in the West Bank forms part of a wider attack on education in Palestine,” the Norwegian Refugee Council noted. According to the agency, about 55 schools in the West Bank are currently threatened with demolition or so-called “stop work” orders by occupation forces … In recent years, Israel has destroyed at least $74 million worth of EU-funded projects, including schools, playgrounds and agricultural initiatives. Analysts have suggested that EU officials have downplayed the full extent of Israel’s destruction in order to avoid embarrassment….
Israel is systematically revoking Arabs’ citizenship, Don’t act surprised.
+972 mag 26 Aug by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Hundreds if not thousands of Bedouin are having their citizenship revoked seemingly for no reason, according to ‘Haaretz.’ Shocking as it may be, it’s not surprising. Citizenship has never provided non-Jewish Israelis with the same security it gives their Jewish compatriots — Imagine going to renew your passport or change your official address and after a few minutes of pattering on a keyboard without looking up to see the human being in front of him or her, a government clerk informs you that you are no longer a citizen of the only country you have ever known. The country of your birth. And no, it’s not that your citizenship is being revoked, the clerk calmly explains. It’s not like that. You were never a citizen in the first place, you see, it was all a mistake — never mind the fact that you were born in Israel to parents who are Israeli citizens, and your siblings are Israeli citizens, and maybe you even served in the Israeli army. Hundreds if not thousands of Bedouin
citizens of Israel have undergone that exact terrifying experience in recent years, according to a report by Jack Khoury in Haaretz Friday …
As shocking as the Haaretz report is, nobody should be surprised. The Israeli prime minister has openly declared his belief that some, namely Arab, Israeli citizens should be stripped of their citizenship for making political statements not to his liking. A senior government minister recently threatened a “third Nakba,” referencing the largely forced displacement of 700,000 Palestinians in 1948. And then there was the landmark ruling earlier this month actually stripping a Palestinian-Arab man of his Israeli citizenship because of his familial lineage. Let us not forget the more-than 14,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who have had their permanent residency status stripped of them over the years, sending them into exile. Again, none of this should be news. Israel is not a state of all its citizens — any minister in the current Israeli government would be happy to tell you as much….
Palestinian forces to demolish own home
LOD, Israel (IMEMC/Agencies) 28 Aug — Israeli occupation forces imposed an order on a Palestinian man, Sanad Al-Faqeer, to demolish his home Saturday in Lod, under the pretext of “unauthorized construction.” He demolished his home in order to avoid paying huge sums should the Lod Municipality itself demolish the home, according to Al Ray. The issues of land and housing are the most crucial problems in the mixed Arab-Jewish cities, such as Lod, Ramla, Jaffa, and Dahmash village; as there are dozens of homes threatened with demolition.
‘Living in Jisr al-Zarqa is like living in jail’
JISR AL-ZARQA, Israel (Al Jazeera) 26 Aug by Yuval Abraham — Arab residents of the impoverished village in Israel are fighting a legal battle for more land and urban development — – Unfinished, multistorey buildings are densely packed along the narrow roads of the coastal Palestinian village of Jisr al-Zarqa. Named after the river that flows beside it, the impoverished village, home to 14,000 people, is one of the poorest and most crowded in Israel. “Living in Jisr [al-Zarqa] is like living in jail,” 15-year-old Jalal, who was born in the Arab town, told Al Jazeera. With the village virtually under siege on all sides, leaving no more territory on which to expand, Jalal is doubtful that he will be able to find space to build his own house someday. Other Arab towns in Israel are also overpopulated, and Jewish towns make it difficult for Arabs to buy or rent houses. Along with human rights groups, Amash is leading a bureaucratic fight aimed at pressuring Israel to provide Jisr with more land and an updated urban plan – but he faces fierce opposition from a coalition of actors, including neighbouring Jewish towns. The village is enclosed by three Jewish towns: Beit Hanania to the east, Maagan Michael to the north and Caesarea, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s hometown, to the south. Jisr’s residents say they owned some of these lands in the past, but they were expropriated after the 1948 founding of Israel. A busy highway parallel to the coast, paved by the state in the sixties, runs along and seals the village’s eastern border, while the Mediterranean Sea lies to the west of the village….
Palestinian judges launch campaign against further erosion of their independence
Haaretz 27 Aug by Amira Hass — Palestinian Authority judges have been facing outside attempts to influence their decisions, salary cuts, a failure to implement their rulings and a bill that would blur the separation of powers — Protests at the Palestinian court complex in the West Bank town of El Bireh are not a new occurrence, but last Wednesday’s was a particularly unusual spectacle: The 40 or so demonstrators at the modest entrance to the Palestinian Supreme Court were judges, prosecutors and lawyers. A few policemen stood idly along the sidelines. The protesters didn’t carry placards or chant slogans. The low number of journalists covering the event (five) was surprising, considering the rare sight of judges publicly demonstrating their concern over the erosion of the Palestinian judicial branch’s independence.
The Palestinian Authority’s legislative council has been paralyzed since 2007, the year Hamas took over control over Gaza’s security agencies. As a result, the work of passing laws has been assumed by the executive branch of the PA in Ramallah and carried out either through presidential decrees or a legislative committee that is subordinate to the government. The draft of a bill that would change the PA’s 2002 law on the powers of the judiciary was made public in June. It included two concerning provisions, some judges told Haaretz: One would give the Palestinian president the authority to appoint the head of the High Judicial Council, which oversees the courts and has the responsibility for protecting their independence. The second would allow the president to appoint the head of a separate committee that oversees judges. Alongside these was a provision for judges’ early retirement, which implies that judges whose rulings are not to the liking of the executive branch could find themselves out of a job. The High Judicial Council has objected to the proposed law. So have the judges and prosecutors and the Palestinian bar association. A district court has ordered the executive branch to stop interfering with the judiciary. It was then discovered that the salaries of about 30 judges, including senior members of the bench, had been cut. The judges assume that it was a result of their public opposition to the bill. The district court ruled that cutting the judges’ pay was illegal, but two months later their salaries still have not been restored….
Israel’s high court bans Israeli company from punitive power cuts to West Bank
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 26 Aug — The Israeli Supreme Court has issued a temporary order preventing the Israeli Electric Corporation (IEC) from cutting power to the occupied West Bank as a punitive measure for outstanding Palestinian debts. The court will have a final decision on the case in two months, according to Hisham al-Omari, the head of the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO) — the Palestinian power company. He said it was the second time the court issued such an order upon an appeal submitted by JDECO, after threats from IEC to turn off electricity to the West Bank. In April 2016, IEC asked the Israeli Supreme Court for permission to disconnect JDECO grids due to accumulated debts, as the Israeli company imposed a spate punitive power cuts in major Palestinian cities across the occupied West Bank, which was denounced as constituting collective punishment.
After months of deliberations, the court rejected IEC’s request and issued a temporary order preventing the disconnection of JDECO’s grids. Al-Omari said that IEC has continued to threaten to cut power despite an agreement that Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed in September 2016, which aimed to settle all electricity debt and to position the PA as the sole authority over electricity distribution across the occupied West Bank….
UN chief in Israel to push Netanyahu, Abbas to ease restrictions on Gaza
Haaretz 28 Aug by Jonathan Lis — UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who was due to arrive Sunday, is expected to ask both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to ease restrictions on the Gaza Strip. On Monday Guterres is scheduled to meet Netanyahu. An Israeli official said one of Guterres’ main objectives on this tour is the visit to Gaza, where he will look into the worsening humanitarian situation. He is expected to demand that Israel allow a greater number of Palestinians requiring medical assistance in Israeli hospitals to enter from Gaza. Guterres is also likely to ask for an increase in the amount of goods Israel allows into the Strip. On Tuesday, Guterres is set to meet Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas. In that meeting, Guterres is expected to discuss Abbas’ decision to restrict the supply of electricity to Gaza, which has greatly exacerbated power outages there. The next day Guterres is due to visit Gaza and examine the operation of UN facilities. Later he will visit Israeli communities along the Gaza border and meet with senior army officers.
Abbas meets with Erdoğan in Ankara
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday in the Turkish capital of Ankara. According to the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned news agency Wafa, the two presidents discussed a number of issues of importance for both countries. The two reportedly discussed the ongoing Israeli “acts of aggression” in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as efforts by Palestinian leadership to convene the Palestinian National Council. Wafa also said Abbas and Erdoğan also discussed ongoing efforts to end the inter-Palestinian conflict between the Hamas movement and the Fatah-led PA and achieve national reconciliation. Palestinian and Turkish officials are scheduled to hold an open meeting later before the two presidents hold a joint press conference.
PA to transform Presidential Guest Palace into national library, official says
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 27 Aug – Chairman of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development & Reconstruction (PECDAR), Mohammad Shtayyeh, said on Sunday that President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to transform the Presidential Guest Palace in Ramallah into a national library. Shtayyeh said the palace, which has been under construction for five years by PECDAR, was first supposed to serve as accommodation of the president, where he would also receive foreign delegations. He said nonetheless, President Abbas decided to transform the palace into a superb and large national library. According to Shtayyeh, PECDAR has completed all the works inside the palace, but they are still working on the outside facilities of the palace, including a green zone and a helicopter landing pad. The palace has a total area of 4,700 square meters and is located in the town of Surda, just three kilometers north of Ramallah. It was designed and constructed by Palestinian architects in a manner resembling ancient Muslim architecture.
Palestinian museum highlights Jerusalem’s isolation
BIRZEIT, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 27 Aug by Nigel Wilson — Jerusalem Lives, the inaugural exhibition at the Birzeit museum, mixes traditional and contemporary art — Outside the white-walled facade of the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit, a cacophony of sharp, demanding voices disturbed the quiet. “Ramallah! Ramallah! Ramallah!” cried one voice. Others followed, booming from the loudspeakers placed across the museum car park, enticing potential travellers to destinations including Gaza, Beirut and Damascus. The sound installation, Untitled (Servees) by Emily Jacir, brought a chaotic urban scene to a sleepy hilltop in the occupied West Bank for the launch of Jerusalem Lives, the inaugural exhibition at the Palestinian Museum. The museum’s formal opening was set for Sunday evening. “Emily did this work in 2008 in Jerusalem at Damascus Gate,” said Reem Fadda, curator of Jerusalem Lives. “She asked the taxi drivers to recreate the emotion that was there when they used to take travellers all across the cities of Palestine, from Lyd to Ramle to Ramallah and across the borders into Arab cities. They used to go to Damascus, Beirut and it was all connected.” Jacir’s sound work establishes one of the key themes in Jerusalem Lives: that the city has lost connectivity and become increasingly isolated from the rest of the world since it was occupied by Israel in 1967. Fadda’s politically charged exhibition aims to animate Jerusalem for Palestinians throughout the occupied West Bank who are prevented from visiting the city….
In Pictures: Palestinian museum in West Bank
Arabian Business 27 Aug — Media tour ahead of the ‘Jerusalem Lives’ exhibition at the Palestinian Museum, in the West Bank town of Birzeit, near Ramallah.
British Police reopen investigation into 1987 murder of Palestinian cartoonist in London
Haaretz 29 Aug — The British police have reopened an investigation into the unsolved murder of a controversial Palestinian cartoonist, 30 years after his death. Naji Salim Hussain al-Ali [who originated the iconic image of the Palestinian refugee boy Handala] was shot to death in West London on July 22, 1987, as he walked to work in the well-to-do Knightsbridge neighborhood. The Guardian reports that at the time of his death, Ali was one of the best-known cartoonists in the Arab world, with his illustrations frequently mocking Palestinian and Arab leaders. Some Middle Eastern writers suggested at the time that Ali had been killed by the PLO, but the Palestinian organization denied this. BBC News quoted Ali’s son, Khalid Al-Ali, as saying, “Obviously, many people were unhappy with his cartoons throughout his career: that could range from, obviously, Israel as the enemy, and Arab leaders and Arab governments, including the Palestinian leadership … In its statement released Monday, the Met Police wrote: “At approximately 17.10hrs on Wednesday, 22 July, 1987, Mr. Naji Salim Hussain Al-Ali – a political cartoonist for Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas – was shot in the back of his neck as he walked to his office in Ives Street, Knightsbridge.” The head of the Met’s counterterrorism unit, Commander Dean Haydon, said: “The gunman was seen following Ali for about 40 seconds before he shot him. Despite the briefness of the attack, witnesses were able to give investigators a good description of the suspect. Witnesses described the suspected gunman as being of Middle-Eastern appearance and aged about 25, which would make him about 55 today. London police have issued an updated artist’s impression, showing what the alleged gunman may look like today.
Israel’s culture minister pressures theater over Palestinian poet
Al-Monitor 23 Aug by Shlomi Eldar — Minister of Culture Miri Regev is on the attack again and with all her might. On Aug. 21, she spoke out against the new film “Foxtrot” by director Samuel Maoz, which was accepted to two important film festivals, Venice and Toronto, and is a leading nominee for the Ophir Prize (the Israeli Oscar). The minister wrote in a statement that the way the film depicts Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers tarnishes their names and plays into the hands of the haters of Israel. Regev added that funding for the film was allocated by the Israel Film Fund during the tenure of her predecessor, Limor Livnat, “and I can’t but be sorry for it.”
At the same time, the Ministry of Culture, at Regev’s direction, threatened to eliminate funding to the Arab-Hebrew Theater in Jaffa. In a letter to the minister of finance, Regev demanded to stop funding the theater because of an event the theater is hosting that calls for the release of the Arab-Israeli poet Dareen Tatour, who is accused of incitement and affinity with a terrorist organization and has been under house arrest for two years. The event was the initiative of playwright and actor Einat Weitzman, and the theater is hosting it for a fee. In an interview with Al-Monitor, the theater’s director, Yigal Ezrati, said that two days before Regev’s letter, he received an email from extreme right-wing activist Shamai Glick, threatening harm to the theater … The Arab-Hebrew Theater espouses coexistence, and the plays it presents at its home in the mixed city of Jaffa give an Israeli audience the chance to see plays and performers from the Arab world in general and from among Arab Israelis in particular — those who don’t find a welcoming stage at other Israeli theaters. “We deal with intercultural encounters. For instance, we read aloud Umm Kulthum and Farid Al-Atrash and Mahmoud Darwish to a Hebrew-speaking audience,” said Ezrati.
Palestinian graduate’s thorny business blossoms
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 24 Aug by Ahmed el-Komi — Ever since she was a kid, Haneen Ahmed Ghanem has been fond of collecting cactus plants. What started as a hobby led her to establish this year the first cactus nursery in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. Ghanem, 23, is an agricultural engineer who graduated from the Plant Production and Protection Department at Al-Quds Open University in the West Bank. She started growing cactus and succulent plants on the balcony of her room in the Jenin camp and then published photos of her minuscule garden. “I’ve always loved collecting cactus, and my major encouraged me to continue doing so. In time, I acquired sufficient experience in the field to start a cactus business,” Ghanem told Al-Monitor … Today, her rooftop is a huge cactus nursery. Asked why she picked cactus, she said, “I chose it because it is a new niche for Jenin. The cactus plant is also easy to cultivate, and it lasts a long time.” She said the nursery includes more than 100 cactus species and various types of succulent plants, most of which are used for decoration … Agricultural engineer Javad Zakarneh at the Ministry of Agriculture praised Ghanem’s project and told Al-Monitor that she had come up with a successful project in deciding to produce cactus. “Ghanem has distinguished herself from other cultivators by choosing a specific and rare plant,” he added. He said the cactus nursery enhances the environmental and biological diversity of the Jenin camp, and he praised Ghanem’s efforts in marketing cactus in innovative ways such as Facebook….
Hobby Lobby funds Israeli settlement archaeology
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Al Jazeera) 26 Aug by Creede Newton — Tax forms reveal US art retailer’s support of Israeli groups plundering Palestine’s cultural heritage — Hobby Lobby, the US-based arts-and-crafts retailer recently fined for buying Iraqi artefacts on the black market, gave $25,000 to organisations based in Israeli settlements – including archaeological groups plundering Palestine’s cultural heritage. The payments were made by the Museum of the Bible (MB), Hobby Lobby’s non-profit museum set to open in Washington, DC in November. The information comes from tax documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the US body responsible for collecting taxes … The MB is set to display artefacts from Qumran, [as well as] occupied East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood, which is the site of the controversial “City of David,” a settler-archaeology site that is displacing native Palestinians … The MB’s support of settlements extends beyond archaeology. The organisation gave $10,000 in 2015 to Ohr Torah Stone Institute of Israel (OTSI), an educational initiative that allows Jewish people to study Jewish holy texts in a “Zionistic, intellectually-stimulating and open environment”. While the MB’s tax filings list the organisation’s address in New York, OTSI’s website lists a mailing address in Efrat, a Jewish-only settlement in the West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Hobby Lobby also cosponsors “Passages,” a programme that takes Evangelical Christians to Israel and the occupied territories in order to reinforce support for Zionism….