Gaza’s first music therapist is transforming the lives of war-traumatised children
The New Arab 21 Sept by Rami Almeghari — The gentle waves lapped at the Gaza shore as a group of children played music together, led by their teacher Reem Anbar, a lute player. The Alshalihat beachfront resort was playing host to a summer camp, organised by Handicap International, for Gaza’s children – particularly those with special needs. “Over the past two years, I have held several training sessions for people with special needs, adult girls and children, using certain techniques of my own,” said Reem, a 26-year-old music therapist. “Many of those sessions were therapy with the help of music, dedicated for those exposed to some bad life experiences,” she told The New Arab, as the children played on. Reem has been playing music since she was 12 years old. A graduate in business administration, she travelled to Belgium in 2014 – where she began taking part in children’s musical therapy….
Hamas insists that resistance weapons are not for discussion
MEMO 23 Sept — The Deputy Leader of the Hamas Political Bureau reiterated on Friday that resistance weapons are “not for discussion” during the talks about internal reconciliation with rival faction Fatah, Al-Hayat.com has reported. Mousa Abu Marzook pointed out that the issue of resistance weapons had never been discussed before and noted that it was not even proposed to be on the agenda. Such weapons, he added, are the property of all the Palestinians and their “guarantee” against Israeli aggression. Stressing that Hamas wants guarantees for any elections, Abu Marzook said that it is also ready to share the responsibility with the Palestinian Authority and the other Palestinian factions for making decisions about peace and war. “This is a national issue and needs a national agreement,” he insisted.
Following the dissolution of the administrative committee in Gaza by Hamas, the senior official said, it is demanded of PA President Mahmoud Abbas to cancel all of the punitive measures he has taken against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and for the government to take up its responsibilities in the enclave. Abu Marzook noted that the PA is expected to respond to Egypt’s invitation to talk about all of the issues, including the Palestinian elections, reformation of the PLO and the Palestine National Council. As far as the elections are concerned, he said, there are a number of questions to be resolved. Will they only be held in Gaza, the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, for example, and will there be conditions for the voters and the elected people in the future? “Will the election results be accepted if Hamas wins again,” he asked, “or will it be banned from taking up its responsibilities?” He pointed out that the movement has not had any guarantees on these points….
Israeli bulldozers carry out limited invasion into Gaza Strip
Gaza (PNN) 24 Sept — Four Israeli bulldozers on Sunday morning crossed the borderline with the Gaza Strip east of Khazaa town, near the city of Khan Younes in the southern Gaza Strip. Bulldozers crossed the borderline and razed agricultural lands in the area before pulling out back. Israeli military regularly infiltrates Gaza border and prevents farmers from reaching their land close to the border fence.
Video: Waiting at the border
22 Sept 3:40 — Rafah crossing – the sole point of exit and entry for most of the two million Palestinians in Gaza – has been kept shut by Egypt for nearly a decade. Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza are registered and waiting to cross for urgent purposes such as study abroad and accessing medical treatment unavailable in the Strip. The crossing has been partially opened only 26 days so far this year. It was partially opened just 44 days in all of 2016. Egypt has given various reasons for the prolonged closure: insecurity in the Sinai peninsula and the building of a new border terminal. Rafah crossing is meanwhile being used by the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank in its bid to reestablish control in Gaza, with senior officials lobbying Egypt not to reopen the crossing unless it is operated by PA personnel, rather than Hamas officers. The situation has left Palestinians in Gaza exasperated. “The border crossing is the most insufferable aspect of the division,” said a Gaza man who has been waiting to cross for almost a year. “If the division ends, everything follows.” Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.
Border restrictions hinder Gaza boy from setting world record
MEMO 23 Sept — Youssef Al-Bahtini wants to leave the Gaza Strip so that he can enter the Guinness Book of World Records as a contortionist, but the closure of the borders of the enclave by Egypt and Israel looks set to prevent his record attempt from taking place. Two months ago, the talented 12-year-old received approval from the Guinness team to try for the record in Amman, Jordan. “We received approval two months ago for my brother Youssef to participate in the Guinness World Records competition in Jordan,” said Mohammad Al-Bahtini, 21. “Since then, we have been trying to leave Gaza, but the crossings are closed, into Egypt and into Israel.” The administrators of the Guinness World Records are aware of the difficulties faced by potential record-breakers from Gaza, added Mohammad. They have not fixed a date for the record attempt by young Youssef, but are willing to wait until he can leave the besieged territory. Although the Egyptian authorities open the Rafah Border Crossing occasionally for humanitarian purposes, it is usually closed except for essential travel. Nevertheless, the Bahtini family hope that the talented Youssef will soon be able to honour Palestine and show his skills to the world. This is not the first time that a young Palestinian from Gaza has attracted the attention of the Guinness Book of World Records. Last year, “Spiderman” Mohammad Al-Sheikh broke a world record for twisting his body around 38 times in one minute while keeping his chest on the ground….
How Gaza’s only escape turned deadly
Al Jazeera 22 Sept by Ahmed Abdelal & Belal Aldabbour — Owing to the power crisis, coastal pollution worsens, causing death and disease — On a hot summer day in mid-July, Ahmed al-Sayis, a Palestinian from Gaza’s al-Zaytoon neighbourhood, decided to take his four daughters and five-year-old son Mohammed to the Sheikh Ejlin beach west of the city, to cool off. Temperatures were nearing 40 degrees Celsius and electric fans were paralysed by the unprecedented power shortage. As the sun blazed over the desert-bordering Gaza, the beach seemed like the only escape. “The new school semester was approaching and the heat was unbearable. The children needed a breather so we tried to find a clean spot in which to swim and cool off,” al-Sayis told Al Jazeera. Everything seemed fine when the family got back home. Later that night, Mohammed began to show symptoms of illness. “He became sick and vomited several times. The next morning, he was unresponsive and his fever spiked, so I took him to the hospital immediately,” continued al-Sayis. Soon enough, Mohammed fell into a coma. He was placed in intensive care and, three days later, transferred to al-Rantisi tertiary hospital for further tests. There, Mohammed’s doctors mustered all their resources to save the child’s life, but despite strong antibiotics and the best available care, Mohammed’s health continued to deteriorate. Running out of time and options, the doctors requested an urgent referral to a hospital outside Gaza. Ahmed hurriedly tried to get the necessary approvals for the referral. “I kept trying for a week to obtain the necessary approval [from the health ministry in Ramallah], I left no stone unturned, but the approval was never granted,” Ahmed lamented. Mohammed died on July 29, 2017. His death certificate cites a query diagnosis of Ekiri Syndrome, a lethal toxic encephalopathy of an infectious cause and a rapid, progressive course. Doctors informed the family that Mohammed most likely caught the bug during his swim in the polluted seawater, which turned out to be his last….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinian boy, shot in stomach, interrogated on video
EI 22 Sept by Maureen Clare Murphy — “Give me water, give me water.” So pleads a Palestinian boy, lying on the ground after being hit with a bullet in his stomach, as he is questioned by an Israeli officer. The exchange is shown in a video apparently recorded by the officer and obtained by a settler group which uploaded it to YouTube. “What are you doing here?” the officer asks. “I came to kill myself,” replies the boy, accused of running toward Israelis while wielding a kitchen knife at the entrance to the Kiryat Arba settlement. No one is shown in the video attempting to provide first aid to the wounded boy. Amnesty International has previously stated that an intentional failure by Israeli forces to provide medical aid to a wounded person violates international prohibitions on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. And while it is unclear how the video – evidently filmed in an area under complete Israeli military control – came to be published, international law prohibits an army from exposing persons in an occupied territory to “insults and public curiosity.” No Israelis were injured during the 13 September incident that left the teen, identified as Hasan Issa Jaradat, from the nearby village of Sair, with serious injuries. In the video the boy gives his age as 15; some news reports have said he is 13. Ten residents of Jaradat’s hometown – several of them children – have been killed in such incidents since late 2015.
Shoot to kill Jaradat is not the first young Palestinian to have apparently attempted suicide in this way…
Israel’s military occupation and settlement colony enterprise in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – imposed for 50 years – exposes Palestinian children to routine violence. Earlier this month, a group of Israeli settlers attacked 15-year-old Osama Daghlas, beating him and dragging his naked body and throwing him off a two-meter-high fence. Daghlas had been sitting with his cousin, who managed to get away, when the settlers pursued them. The boy fell in and out of consciousness during the assault, which ended when one of the settlers threw a sound grenade next to the youth. The wounded teen was discovered by a shepherd who had heard the sound grenade. Daghlas was treated for his injuries at a hospital. Israeli settler violence has surged in the first half of this year, with nearly double the number of incidents resulting in Palestinian fatalities, injuries or property damage, compared to the same period last year, according to United Nations data.
Live ammunition fired at protesters in Kafr Qaddum
KAFR QADDUM 22 Sept by ISM Nablus Team — During today’s march in Kafr Qaddum, three protesters were injured by rubber coated steel bullets fired by the Israeli armed forces. When it looked as if the soldiers had retreated, they surprised the demonstrators by re-entering the village and fired several rounds of live ammunition. Shortly after the march had started, the Israeli military entered the village and fired sound bombs, rubber coated steel bullets and tear gas at protesters. A 22-year old got shot by a rubber-coated steel bullet in his shoulder and a 20-year old and a 46-year old man got shot in their hands. All could be treated at the scene. It was some time ago that the military used live ammunition in Kafr Qaddum. One of the demonstrators told ISM that it reminded him of the dramatic incidents between 2014 and 2016 where many people were shot with live ammunition. Six of these people were children under the age of 11 and six people got shot in the upper parts of their body. Some of them are still suffering from their injuries. Four people got killed. During this period there were also 170 protesters arrested and kept in military detention from 3 months to 24 months. Since 2011, the villagers of Kafr Qaddum have had weekly marches towards their main road which have been closed since 2003. The road is closed off due to the location of the illegal settlement of Kadumim, and have severe effects on the daily commutes for the villagers of Kafr Qaddum. A [6-minute] video of the protest can be found here:
Israeli settlers torch olive trees after illegal outpost evacuated south of Nablus
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Israeli settlers site fire to a grove of olive trees on privately owned Palestinian land in the northern occupied West Bank on Sunday morning, shortly after Israeli forces evacuated an illegal settlement outpost in the area, according to an Israeli NGO. A spokesperson for Yesh Din, a human rights organization working in the occupied Palestinian territory, told Ma‘an that officers from the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli army had arrived to evacuate the small outpost, which consisted of three tents and a building near the village of Kafr Qalil south of Nablus city. In response to the eviction, settlers later torched a number of olive trees belonging to Palestinian resident of Kafr Qalil. Yesh Din reported on Monday on Facebook that an illegal settlement outpost was set up about two months ago on the land, located a few hundred meters from Kafr Qalil. The outpost was subsequently taken down by the Israeli army, but two days later, three tents were erected in the same location, and as of Monday there was a building set up by the settlers. The Palestinian landowner also told Yesh Din that a shepherd from Kafr Qalil recently tried to reach the land and was chased back by the settlers. The organization highlighted that its documentation of “ideologically motivated crimes” committed by Israeli citizens against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, has “revealed that the existence of unauthorized outposts creates growing circles of violence against Palestinians living and farming in the vicinity.”
Yesh Din said in the statement last Monday that a week prior, unidentified assailants had sprayed graffiti on the walls of a quarry near to Kafr Qalil. Among other things, one message in Hebrew read, “Muhammed is a pig,” according to the group. Last Wednesday, the Yesh Din also documented that eight fruit trees were uprooted near the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, located south of Kafr Qalil, and that days after that, 12 olive trees belonging to a Kafr Qalil farmer were chopped down….
Israeli forces detain 14-year-old Palestinian girl, raid female student dormitory overnight
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 25 Sept — Israeli forces raided several areas of the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem in the predawn hours of Monday, clashing with Palestinians and arresting three, including a 14-year-old girl. Official Palestinian Authority (PA) Wafa news agency reported that Israeli forces detained a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from the ‘Anata town, northeast of Jerusalem in the central West Bank, “on suspicion of intention to carry out an attack.” Wafa added that three Palestinians were detained from the East Jerusalem town of Silwan. Among the detainees were two brothers, aged 18 and 20, and a third unidentified resident. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an they would look into reports of the detention in ‘Anata. An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the detentions in Silwan.
Meanwhile, in the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, Israeli forces raided several homes in the al-Duheisha refugee camp and ordered a three-week shutdown of a bookstore in the camp. According to Wafa, clashes broke out during the raid between local youth and Israeli forces, who fired tear gas. While no detentions were reported, one camp resident was hospitalized after he was reportedly severely beaten by the soldiers. In the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, clashes erupted after Israeli forces raided a female students’ dormitory at the Khadouri Technical University. Wafa reported that soldiers ransacked and searched several dorm rooms, while a number of Israeli jeeps closed off the main street to the university. During the raid, clashes broke out in the area between students and Israeli forces, who fired tear gas, causing several to be hospitalized after suffering from severe tear gas inhalation. A car was also reportedly burnt after it was hit by a tear gas canister, causing extensive damage to the vehicle.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian man over ‘inciting terrorism’ on social media
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Israeli police forces have detained a 35-year-old Palestinian man for allegedly threatening violence and “inciting terrorism” on social media. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a written statement that the man was detained in Jerusalem “on suspicion of threats to violence and incitement and supporting terrorism” on social media. The suspect, Rosenfeld said, saw his detention extended on Sunday until Sep. 27. “Police are continuing intelligence and operations to find suspects that are involved in incitement and terrorism and using social media as a platform,” the statement concluded. In recent months, Israel has detained hundreds of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that first swept the occupied Palestinian territory in October 2015 was encouraged largely by “incitement.”…
By contrast, a February report released by the Arab Center for Social Media Advancement 7amleh documented that slanderous, provocative, and threatening posts made by Israelis against Arabs and Palestinians had more than doubled in 2016, reaching 675,000 posts made by 60,000 Hebrew-speaking Facebook users — with only very few cases being opened against Israelis.
Israeli forces detain 21 Palestinians over the course of Rosh Hashanah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 24 Sept — Israeli forces detained at least 14 Palestinians in predawn military raids across the occupied West Bank on Sunday, in addition to 21 other Palestinians who were detained over the course of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and the weekend, an Israeli army spokesperson said. The spokesperson did not provide additional details on the locations of the detention raids.
Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes. Israeli authorities implemented a “general closure” on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip for the holiday, starting Tuesday night and ending Saturday night.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society documented 10 detentions carried out in predawn raids Sunday — five Palestinians were detained from Qalqilya, three from Bethlehem, and two, including a former prisoner, from the Hebron area. Muhammad Ayyad Awad, a local activist in the southern occupied West Bank town of Beit Ummar, reported that Israeli forces stormed Beit Ummar before dawn Sunday morning and arrested 20-year-old Essam Muhammad Issa Bahr, after raiding and searching his family’s house. Meanwhile, Palestinian security sources said Saturday evening that Israeli forces detained a Palestinian man, identified as Mamoun Hussein al-Natsheh, in the Tel Rumeida area of the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, with Israeli forces claiming the man had a knife in his possession and was planning to stab soldiers.
Earlier Saturday afternoon, eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that a young Palestinian man was detained after Israeli police forces rammed into his vehicle and physically assaulted him. According to the witnesses, an Israeli police vehicle forcefully rammed into 20-year-old Zaid Fawaw Hamid‘s car near the entrance to the village of Silwad in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, and then proceeded to violently beat him. Israeli forces were seen preventing local Silwad medics and ambulance crews from approaching the area to treat Hamid, who Israeli soldiers detained for unknown reasons.
Israeli forces detain 18 Palestinians from West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Sept – Israeli forces Monday detained at least 18 Palestinians in overnight raids across the West Bank, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and security sources. Israeli forces detained eight Palestinians, including three 16-year-old and two 17-year-old teens, after storming their family homes in Qalqiliya district in the northern West Bank. Forces also raided Yaabad town, southwest of Jenin, where they detained a Palestinian and ransacked several homes. Another Palestinian was detained from the Nablus-district town of Burin in the northern West Bank. Two more Palestinians were detained during separate raids into Ramallah-district town of Beit Liqya and from Jericho. In the southern West Bank, forces detained two Palestinians after ransacking their parents’ homes in separate raids into al-‘Azza refugee camp, north of Bethlehem city, and Wadi Shaheen neighborhood. Two more Palestinians were handcuffed and detained in a raid into ‘Arroub refugee camp in Hebron district. Forces conducted a predawn raid into Abu Dis town, east of Jerusalem, where they detained a Palestinian.
Jewish extremists condemned for vandalising Jerusalem church
MEMO 22 Sept — The Council of Catholic Churches in Jerusalem yesterday condemned the attack by “Jewish extremists” on one its houses of worship and called on the Israeli government to do more to curtail the escalating violence against Christians in the holy land. Wednesday’s attack on St. Stephen Church in occupied Jerusalem resulted in the destruction of glass artwork and statues that depict the life of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary. The new patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, speaking to AsiaNews said that the incident “fits in with the pattern of past incidents” and was carried out by “some fanatics” whom he described as most likely being “Jewish extremists”. In addition to the “huge damage” caused by the destruction of statues and windows, there is the deep pain caused by “the fanaticism of these groups who do not want to accept diversity and the faith of others,” the patriarch said. The attack took place near a chapel dedicated to St Stephen where a group of nuns and some members of the communities of the monastic family of Bethlehem live….
53 mosques and churches vandalized in Israel since 2009, but only 9 indictments filed
Haaretz 24 Sept by Yotam Berger & Nir Hasson — The many unsolved crimes are a question of police priorities, says head of monitoring group. ‘Without a doubt, they aren’t looking hard enough’ — Over 50 Christian and Muslim sites have been vandalized in Israel and the West Bank since 2009, but only nine indictments have been filed and only seven convictions handed down, according to Public Security Ministry data. Moreover, only eight of the 53 cases are still under investigation, with the other 45 all closed. The ministry data only goes through July 2017, but the vandalism hasn’t ended. The latest attack occurred last Wednesday, at St. Stephen’s Church in the Beit Jamal Monastery, near Beit Shemesh. Many items were broken, including some of the stained glass windows and a status of the Virgin Mary. Police are investigating, but so far no suspects have been arrested and the motive is said to be unknown. This was the third such attack on the monastery in the last five years. In 2013, a firebomb was thrown at a door and hateful slogans were scrawled on the walls. And about 18 months ago, gravestones were vandalized in the cemetery. No suspects were arrested in those cases, either … The Tag Meir organization, which monitors hate crimes, keeps its own records. It says there were 44 attacks on Christian and Muslim sites between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2016. Tag Meir said many arson attacks on mosques have never been solved. These include mosque attacks in the West Bank villages of Kafr Yasif, Luban al-Sharqiya, Beit Fajjar, Hawara and Qusra, as well as one in the Israeli Bedouin town of Tuba-Zangaria and some in Jerusalem….
Israel issues 50 administrative detention orders against Palestinians
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Sept – Israeli authorities have issued since the beginning of April 50 administrative detention orders against Palestinians, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) on Monday. PPS said 16 orders were issued against Palestinians who had served months and years in Israeli jails in administrative detention without charge or trial. The sentences varied between two and six months and could be renewed at the end of the term. Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six month periods that could be renewed indefinitely. The use of administrative detention dates from the “emergency laws” of the British colonial era in Palestine.
Israeli officer indicted for assault on Palestinian detainee
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — Israel’s Justice Ministry filed an indictment against an Israeli police intelligence officer this week for assaulting and injuring a Palestinian detainee, Israeli news daily Haaretz reported on Wednesday. According to Haaretz, the justice ministry department, which investigates police misconduct, has also called on Israel’s police department to file disciplinary charges against three other policemen who witnessed the assault but did not report it. The assault reportedly took place in February, when the policemen were “searching for suspects” in a synagogue break-in in the Israeli city of Ashkelon. During the search, the indicted officer, Yahav Simon, slapped and beat a Palestinian with an iron bar, after the Palestinian allegedly did not respond to Simon’s questions, saying that he didn’t speak Hebrew. According to Haaretz, an Israeli state comptroller’s report issued in April “accused both the Justice Ministry and the police of failing to properly address police brutality, saying that most complaints against policemen were not investigated adequately, and only rarely did police face either criminal or disciplinary charges.” The report also found that Israeli policemen were rarely suspended from the force even if they were indicted, and sometimes not even if they were convicted. Haaretz highlighted that Simon, however, was suspended shortly after the incident occurred.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli soldiers photograph residential buildings and a mosque, in Jerusalem
IMEMC 25 Sept — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday before noon, the al-Matar neighborhood near Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem, and photographed residential buildings and a mosque, in preparation for demolishing them. The threatened buildings, including vacant and occupied flats and the mosque, are facing demolition by the Israeli army under the pretext of being built without permits. The City Council in occupied Jerusalem is also planning to pave a road parallel to the Annexation Wall in the area, an issue that placed the building under direct threats of demolition. The issue is still being discussed in Israeli courts, and the demolition notices have been served even though, so far, no final verdict has been reached.
Israel tells High Court: Bedouin in unauthorized West Bank village will be evacuated by 2018
Haaretz 25 Sept by Yotam Berger — The Bedouin around Ma’aleh Adumim live in areas that Israel considers strategic for building and expanding settlements and establishing a territorial link between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem — The state informed the High Court of Justice on Sunday that it plans to evacuate an unauthorized Bedouin village by the middle of next year. Khan al-Amar was established without any permits and has become a symbol of the Bedouin presence in the Ma’aleh Adumin area of the West Bank. The Bedouin around Ma’aleh Adumim live in areas that Israel considers strategic for building and expanding settlements and establishing a territorial link between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, which government and settler leaders have sought to reinforce Israel’s hold on the populous settlement in any future peace negotiations. The government has long expressed its desire to evacuate Khan al-Amar, but has delayed doing so for fear of international criticism. Some 150 people live in Khan al-Amar in temporary dwellings not properly connected to utilities. Foreign governments, including the Obama administration, have come out against the village’s demolition. According to B’Tselem, demolition of an entire community in the territories has almost no precedent since 1967. Sunday’s hearing touched on two petitions: the first from settlers in the area who have demanded that an ecological school in the village be demolished, the second from Bedouin residents against demolition orders on their homes…. In response to the petitions, the state said residents of Khan al-Amar have been offered an alternative location about eight kilometers from their present one. This site is considered less strategic for the state since it is further from the area between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumin in which the state hopes to create territorial contiguity. The Bedouin have rejected this suggestion in the past as they say it is inappropriate for their lifestyle and forces them into urban living. They have also argued that the area is already settled by other Bedouin factions in a manner that does not allow them to settle there….
IOF confiscate vehicles from Tubas
BETHLEHEM (PNN) 24 Sept — Israeli forces Sunday seized vehicles and tractors in the area of al-Ras al-Ahmar, south of Tubas town in the West Bank, local sources said. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the area, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers seized three cars and two tractors that belong to residents in al-Ras al-Ahmar, an area of agricultural nature. Israeli forces have been seizing residents’ agricultural properties and vehicles for more than ten days.
Opinion: How Israel tries to get a Palestinian family to quit their home / Amira Hass
Haaretz 25 Sept — It seems the Jabaris’ land is blocking the settlement Kiryat Arba’s expansion hopes, so the army — following planted rumors about weapons — is raiding the house of a family where several children have been disabled since birth — What’s the connection between collecting municipal taxes, the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba and weaponry? Ask the Israel Defense Forces. This is the second time in less than a year that our army, by rare coincidence, has seen fit to raid Abdul Karim Jabari’s house in Hebron just a few days after Kiryat Arba failed in its invidious, brazen attempts to collect municipal tax from the family. Based on the exchange of comments by several soldiers who conducted the latest raid, and who were videotaped by a member of the family, one can conclude that they planted some kind of device in the house. Here is part of the conversation the soldiers held while walking through the Jabari house as if it were their own. Female soldier: So you’ll hide it in the bathroom, okay? Male soldier: Too bad it doesn’t reach everywhere. Male: In the bathroom, we have to think where we can bring it in from. As you said, we have to pass it under something. Male: Everything here is low. I could put it on the window, but … Female: We’re working here and she’s filming it. It’s completely forbidden for anybody from the house to see it. Male: Put it on the window. Male: Start over. You can close it. Do it again in a room with closed doors. Close it and work inside. What’s the problem? I’ll return to the question of whether the IDF planted a device in the Jabari house shortly … The courageous Ayat Jabari, a volunteer with rights group B’Tselem, insisted on her right to film the soldiers while they raided her house. They staged a “security check” on her, in her own house, to prevent her from filming. According to the IDF Spokesman’s Office, no device was planted in the house. According to the IDF, the raid was an “operation in the Al-Muhawal neighborhood whose purpose was to search for weaponry, which, according to our intelligence, was in the house. To conduct the search, the force was accompanied by a classified IDF unit that uses dogs trained to search for weapons by methods we cannot elaborate on. During the searches, security checks were performed on everyone present in the house, as standard procedure, while preserving the dignity of family members and the house.” No weapons were found, but the goal was partly achieved. Once again, the family awoke in fear in the middle of the night to the sound of soldiers knocking on their doors. Once again, rifles were pointed at the frightened children, all the drawers were overturned and their new router was broken during the search….
I was a radical settler
Americans for Peace Now 24 Sept — My name is Shabtay Bendet. I am forty-four. I have six children and I live in Jaffa. I recently joined Peace Now as the director of the Settlement Watch team, after several years of working as the West Bank correspondent of Walla, Israel’s most popular news site. This move, for me, is a closure of sorts. I see it as a tikkun, repairing a chapter in my life in which I was a settler and took part in the injustices that West Bank Palestinians suffer as a result of the occupation and the settlement enterprise. About 20 years ago, with an eight-month-old daughter, I decided to move with my family to establish the first unauthorized outpost in the West Bank, Rahelim. During the years we lived in the Occupied Territories, I worked in the adjacent settlement of Yitzhar, studied at the Joseph’s Tomb yeshiva in Nablus, and worked in agriculture near the illegal outpost of Shvut Rachel, in areas that paved the way for the establishment of more outposts. In fact, during those years, I devoted my life, my whole life, to activity (today, perhaps, I would call it being an activist) in order to advance the ideology in which I believed. But then something happened. I lost faith, not only in religious doctrines, but also in the nationalist ideology of Greater Israel. I dreamed of being a journalist in order to, among other things, use my coverage to examine in depth issues as an observer and not as part of the story. Indeed, as a reporter, I chose to return to the West Bank, where I had lived for 12 years, and get to know it from a different perspective. To my shame, I understood that for 12 years I had lived side by side with Palestinians without knowing anything about them. I had not seen in any way the implications of my decision and the implications of the policies of the State of Israel that were designed to perpetuate the occupation and expand and bolster the settlement enterprise. During these years, I was incapable of understanding or identifying with Palestinians’ basic wishes, the same aspiration that every nation has and the same ambitions that led us to establish the State of Israel, aspirations for self-determination and the creation of an independent state of their own … On this eve of Yom Kippur, I resolve to atone for what I did in those past years, and to act with all my might to bring about the change for which both peoples yearn so much. To my friends at Americans for Peace Now, thank you for all you do to advance our shared goal. I wish you a happy new year, a year of peace.
New Israeli closure at Al-Aqsa escalates tensions
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 22 Sept by Ahmad Melhem — Israeli-Jordanian ties are likely to deteriorate following an Israeli court decision to close the Bab al-Rahma building inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and to try the Islamic Religious Endowments as a terrorist organization — In a closed meeting Sept. 14, the Jerusalem religious authorities, which consist of four Islamic institutions, warned that measures will be taken in protest against Israel, in case the latter does not retract its decision to close down the Bab al-Rahma building inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and to bring the Islamic Religious Endowments before the Israeli court, considering it to be a terrorist organization. Ekrima Sabri, the head of the Supreme Islamic Council in Jerusalem, told Al-Monitor, “Israel is deliberately taking retaliatory measures against Jerusalemites and Islamic Religious Endowments. The Israeli court decision consists of an encroachment upon the religious endowments’ powers, given that it is not entitled to issue any decision that has anything to do with Al-Aqsa.” On the possibility of mobilizing worshippers and Jerusalemites at the entrances of Al-Aqsa, Sabri said, “Everything is possible. The religious authorities decided Sept. 14 that there will be measures in protest against such a decision, in case the occupation authorities did not retract their decision. Yet these measures will be determined in time. There is consensus on the need that the Bab al-Rahma building be opened and that prayers be held inside it, as it is a part of Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Upon the recommendation of the Israeli police to permanently close the building, the Israeli Magistrates Court in Jerusalem renewed Aug. 30 the decision to close down until further notice the Bab al-Rahma building inside Al-Aqsa Mosque, which includes several offices and was initially closed down in 2003…
The Bab al-Rahma building dates back to the Umayyad period [661–750 CE]. It is a complex that includes several facilities and offices, including the offices of the defunct Islamic Heritage Committee that operated from 1992 until 2003, when the committee was dissolved and the building was shut down by Israel. Israel seems to be seeking revenge on the Islamic Religious Endowments, which played a significant role in mobilizing the Mourabitoun in front of Al-Aqsa’s gate during the crisis on July 14-27. Eventually, Israel caved in to the Palestinians’ demands and removed the electronic gates and surveillance cameras.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli rights group demands Israel connect Bedouin village school to power grid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Sept — Israeli rights group Adalah has demanded in a letter to senior Israeli officials that Israel connect a school in the Bedouin village of Wadi al-Naam in the Negev of southern Israel to the national electricity grid, Adalah reported on Tuesday, as the village’s local council called the situation “shameless.”
According to the letter, 3,000 children in Wadi al-Naam are forced to study in schools powered by diesel generators owing to a lack of electricity in the village. The electrical power lines connected to the village are only serving Israeli chemical plants located near the area, and not the village or the schools, according to Adalah. At the start of this month, Adalah sent a letter to the Israeli Education Ministry’s Southern District Director Amira Haim, Israel Electric Corporation CEO Eli Glickman, the Interior Ministry’s Southern District Director Avi Heller, and to Neve Midbar Regional Council head Ibrahim Elhawashli, demanding that Israel connect schools in Wadi al-Naam to Israel’s electricity grid. Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher said in the letter that the diesel deliveries to the school take place during active hours, and pose health and safety risks to the students and staff. “Access to the generators is not entirely blocked off and children are able to walk over to the generators during recesses in the schoolyards, putting them in life-threatening danger. The generators also produce noise, which disturbs classes,” Zaher said. She added that during power outages, the school’s staff are forced “to cancel school entirely – particularly during periods of heavy heat and cold winter temperatures.”
The group has been demanding that unrecognized Bedouin villages be connected to Israel’s power grid for years….
Video: Soldiers assault woman who resists as they weld her door shut
Electronic Intifada 15 Sept by Ali Abunimah — This video shows Israeli occupation forces violently assaulting and attempting to handcuff 55-year-old Zleikhah al-Muhtaseb in a family-owned building in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Israeli forces invaded the home in order to weld shut one of its two entrances, and Zleikhah tried to stop them. Zleikhah’s niece Rania al-Muhtaseb lives in the building with her husband Bassem and their three children. The building has a back door towards Hebron’s market, and a front entrance towards the Ibrahimi mosque. The front entrance goes out into an area heavily controlled by Israeli occupation forces which family members cannot easily cross except by passing through military checkpoints. Trapped by checkpoints When the Israeli soldiers showed up at the house on 13 August, Rania called her aunt, one of the building’s owners, who lives in Hebron’s Old City. “She arrived within half an hour,” Rania told the human rights group B’Tselem. “The officers were trying to screw the door shut just as she came in. She went up to them and tried to stop them. She pressed herself against the door and held on to it. The female soldier tried to get her away from the door, but couldn’t.” What happened next can be seen in the video above, filmed by Rania. Israeli forces did eventually weld the door shut, causing the family considerable hardship. “Before they welded the back door shut, I would go in and out of the house through the market,” Bassem explained. “Now, I have to get home by walking on the rooftops of the houses near the market. It’s dangerous at night, because the military watches the rooftops in the area.” The alternative is to go through one of the military checkpoints where Palestinians face long delays and routine harassment. “On top of this, my wife is pregnant, and I’m worried she’ll go into labor at night and we’ll have to get to hospital,” Bassem added, noting that occupation forces rarely agree to open the emergency gate in the checkpoint.
As apartheid deepens, Israel targets the UN settlement database
MEMO 22 Sept by Ben White — The Israeli government and its allies are mobilising to try and thwart a United Nations list of companies complicit in illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). These efforts are taking place in parallel to significant initiatives by figures within and outside of the Israeli government to normalise the presence of the settlements, moves which could contribute towards a future, formal annexation of sections of the West Bank. On 24 March 2016 the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution by 32 votes to 0 (with 15 abstentions) that called for the establishment of “a database of all business enterprises involved” in settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), to be updated annually … Israeli and US opposition The database was fiercely opposed from the very beginning by the Israeli and US governments. In the weeks before the March 2016 vote, both made “intense diplomatic efforts” to block the resolution, with Israeli ambassadors “instructed to convey to the highest echelons” of their respective capitals that Israel wanted Council members “to oppose the resolution”. But what explained Israel’s unusually intense level of mobilisation – or its depth of anger at the resolution’s adoption (government spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said the UNHRC was “in need of urgent mental treatment”)? As the Financial Times explained, Israel and the US “fought against the database provision for fear it would lead to pressure to boycott the companies in question” An op-ed in Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth was clearer about the threat. In contrast to “the hundreds of other anti-Israeli resolutions” the UNHRC has passed “which didn’t change a thing,” the piece argued, the database would be “likely to cause serious trouble”. Why? The “list of Israeli companies working in the settlements is long and includes most of the business sector”….
Government to hold next week’s cabinet meeting in Gaza — spokesman
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Sept –The Palestinian government is expected to hold its cabinet meeting next week in Gaza in a sign indicating improvement in relations between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which rules Gaza since its 2007 coup. Government spokesman, Yousef al-Mahmoud, said Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah decided after consulting with President Mahmoud Abbas to hold the weekly cabinet meeting in Gaza next week. Hamas announced two weeks ago dissolving its appointed administrative committee paving the way for reconciliation efforts to succeed. Mahmoud said the prime minister and cabinet ministers will arrive in the Gaza Strip next Monday to assume their duties after Hamas has agreed to dissolve the administrative committee, as demanded by President Abbas to proceed with reconciliation efforts. The cabinet meeting is expected to be held the next day. Member of Fatah Central Committee who heads the Department of Civil Affairs, Hussein Sheikh, also said the government will go to the Gaza Strip next Monday following instructions by President Abbas. Civil Affairs is in charge of coordinating with Israel the movement of the cabinet ministers between Ramallah, the temporary seat of the Palestinian government in the West Bank, and the besieged Gaza Strip.
Hamas criticises Abbas for continuing punitive measures against Gaza
MEMO 25 Sept — Hamas said yesterday that there is no reason for Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to delay cancelling his punitive measures against the Gaza Strip, Al-Resalah newspaper reported. Members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) have pointed out that the PA’s punitive measures against the Strip, such as cutting civil servants’ salaries, cutting electricity and limiting medical services and funds, have hit young professionals and the poor the hardest. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said that Abbas should have cancelled punitive measures against Gaza as soon as Hamas dissolved the administrative committee of Gaza, which he claimed was the reason for such measures. Since then Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas has only hailed this measure, but has not yet cancelled punitive measures in place against Gaza.
Top Palestinian negotiator awaiting lung transplant in US
RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 24 Sept — Former Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sunday he is awaiting a lung transplant in the United States, after several years of battling pulmonary fibrosis. Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and a prominent Palestinian official for decades, issued a video message on his health via social media. He is being treated in Virginia in the Washington area. “After reading a few baseless rumours, I have completed my medical tests,” the 62-year-old said. “Now I am on the priority waiting list to get a lung transplant any day depending on finding a matching donor.” Erekat, an academic with a perfect command of English, has been part of every team to negotiate with Israel since 1991, with the notable exception of those who secretly hammered out the 1993 Oslo Accords. Born in Jerusalem, he has been a key figure in the Palestinian political landscape, an indispensable briefer for foreign envoys and a suave tactician who can register indignation when necessary. Erekat, who now lives in Jericho in the occupied West Bank, was close to the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and has been a stalwart presence in the inner circle of Arafat’s successor, president Mahmud Abbas….
PA struggling to stop gas smuggling in the West Bank
RAMALLAH 21 Sept by Ahmad Melhem — So far, 2017 has been an exceptionally busy year for smugglers moving adulterated fuel from Israel to the West Bank. The fuel is not only causing damage to the machinery in which it is used, but also to the coffers of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which loses out on tax revenue that would normally be paid on regulated fuel. Luai Bani Odeh, head of public relations and information with the customs police, told Al-Monitor, “Since the beginning of the year until Aug. 31, 82,000 liters of adulterated fuel have been seized compared to 58,300 liters in 2016.” Odeh said that adulterated fuel — fuel mixed with spent oil or a hydraulic fluid — is being smuggled from Israel into Area C, which is under full Israeli security and administrative control. From there, it is smuggled further into Palestinian cities and towns for distribution to individuals and unlicensed gas stations….
Palestine’s struggling palm sector
Al-Monitor 24 Sept by Hana Salah — While Palestinian dates are slowly becoming popular around the world, the palm sector is facing several Israeli constraints — The Palestinian territories produce fresh and dried dates that are popular in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, but this promising sector is facing many challenges due to Israeli constraints on exports and Israel’s control of water resources in the West Bank. In addition, the palm sector does not have a strong council of representatives to support farmers and teach them how to fight the red palm weevil (RPW) and improve the quality of their produce to comply with exportation standards. Each year, in August, the palm season is launched in Jericho, the West Bank, which is historically known as the “City of Palms” and is famous for growing Medjool dates. The season lasts until November. In the Gaza Strip, known for the Hayani variety of dates, the season extends from September to December, specifically in Deir el-Balah and Khan Yunis. Wael Thabet, the director general of the General Directorate for Plant Protection at the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza, told Al-Monitor, “In the Gaza Strip, there are 250,000 palm trees, including 150,000 ones bearing fruits that produce around 15,000 tons of dates yearly. Most of the production is locally consumed, while 1,500 tons are stored in freezers and are exported to the West Bank when the Israeli authorities allow it in limited quantities that do not exceed 700 tons per year.” The remaining quantities are left for local consumption or thrown away if there are long electricity cuts that damage them…
According to Fares, the palm sector in Jericho suffers from Israeli tensions all year long. He told Al-Monitor, “Medjool dates are profitable and cannot bear dryness. The Israeli control over water resources in al-Aghwar [in Jericho] is the toughest challenge for the palm sector.” Fares noted, “Israel repeatedly forbade the agriculture director from restoring old historical wells in the region and refused to license new wells. Israel also destroyed some wells it had built around ponds in Jaflak in al-Aghwar.” Fares added, “Israel, which controls the crossings, forces Palestinian companies to pay three times the shipping and exportation costs, compared to Israeli exporters who enjoy facilitated services to export Israeli dates.”….
Book review: Why the occupation is no accident
Electronic Intifada 18 Sept by Rod Such — The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories by Ilan Pappe, Oneworld Books (2017) — As early as 1963 – four years before the 1967 War – the Israeli government was planning the military and administrative takeover of the West Bank, according to The Biggest Prison on Earth, a new book by the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe. The planning for that operation – codenamed Granit (granite) – took place over a month on the campus of Hebrew University in the Givat Ram neighborhood of western Jerusalem. Israeli military administrators responsible for overseeing Palestinians within Israel joined military legal officials, interior ministry figures and private attorneys to create the judicial and administrative decrees required to rule over the one million Palestinians then living in the West Bank. These plans were part of a larger strategy for placing the West Bank under military occupation. That strategy was codenamed the Shacham Plan for the Israeli colonel, Mishael Shacham, who authored it, and was formally presented by the Israeli chief of general staff to the army on 1 May 1963. Pappe has long maintained that the 1967 War and the occupation that followed was not the “accidental empire” described by liberal Zionists. A “Greater Israel” was envisioned as early as 1948, Pappe argues, and planning for it occurred as early as the 1956 Suez War. What is new in The Biggest Prison on Earth is Pappe’s detailed accounting of exactly what the Israeli planners were contemplating in 1963; namely, “the largest ever mega-prison for a million and a half people – a number that would rise to four million – who are still today, in one way or another, incarcerated within the real or imaginary walls of this prison.”….
Book review: ‘A story of survival and rebirth’ // The Palestinians who didn’t flee during the Nakba
Haaretz 22 Sept by Dalia Karpel — Historian Adel Manna tells the story of the 120,000 Palestinians who remained in Israel in 1948 while 750,000 were driven out — When he was in the fourth grade in elementary school in the Arab town of Majd al-Krum in Upper Galilee, Adel Manna took part in the preparations to celebrate Israel’s 10th Independence Day. At home, he told his father, Hussein, about how thrilled he was to be in a play about the achievements of the Zionist movement and the young state. His father’s face clouded over. Sitting Adel, his firstborn child, by his side, he explained with much forbearance why the event was not a cause for celebration for the Arabs, rather a day of grief and trauma. “It is not a day of istiqlal [independence] but of istakhlal [conquest, occupation],” he said. “My father told me about the murders that Israel Defense Forces soldiers committed in Majd al-Krum in November 1948, and that months after the end of the war, hundreds of residents were expelled, including our family,” Manna tells me during an interview in Jerusalem. In January 1949, his family crossed into Jordan and afterward went on to Ein al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon. Sixty years have passed since Manna grasped the difference between those two Arabic words. The circumstances of his family’s exile and subsequent return to the ancestral home have haunted him all his life. Now, following a difficult gestation, those experiences have produced a groundbreaking historical study, “Nakba and Survival: The Story of the Palestinians Who Remained in Haifa and the Galilee, 1948-1956,” which first came out in Arabic and has recently been published in Hebrew.…
Book review: Poetry steeped in sarcasm and politics
Electronic Intifada 19 Sept by Sarah Irving — In Jerusalem and Other Poems, 1997-2017, Tamim Al-Barghouti, Interlink Books (2017) — In the world of Arabic poetry, Tamim Al-Barghouti is a bit of a star. In 2007 he appeared on the Arabic-language TV show Prince of Poets, a hugely popular competition which saw authors reciting their verses to audiences of millions. His stirring poetic rendition of “In Jerusalem” is comparable to Mohammed Assaf’s vocal performance of “Raise the Kuffiyeh” during the final of Arab Idol, which saw both audience and judges simultaneously crying and dancing. On a more sober note, Al-Barghouti is the author of an impressive six collections of verse, some in colloquial Egyptian, others in the complex classical form of Arabic … Despite the success of Al-Barghouti’s books in Arabic, this slim volume of his poems is his first collection translated into English, although he is entirely proficient in the language. Some of the poems in this anthology were translated by the poet himself, and he is the author of several English-language books and academic articles on political theory. Al-Barghouti’s poetry very much reflects this multi-faceted background and range of interests. It is rich with references from classical Arabic, ancient Mesopotamian and Biblical literatures, but also redolent with anger that springs both from the poet’s life as the son of an exiled Palestinian and as an activist in the movements for change in the form of the uprisings that swept through the Arab world in 2010….
Opinion: As Israel backs Kurdish independence, Palestinians may reap the benefit / Dahlia Scheindlin
Haaretz 24 Sept — Israel’s right-wing government might end up regretting its public support for Kurdistan. After all, if historical justice legitimates Kurdish and Jewish self-determination, it’s just as applicable to the Palestinians — On the eve of Kurdistan’s referendum, the international community is rife with speculation about what the vote will mean for the future of Iraq, the fight against ISIS, regional dynamics with Iran, Turkey, Syria, even Israel – and for relations with and between the U.S. and Russia. Monday’s vote is expected to pass, and touch off negotiations with, or demands from, the central government in Iraq about future independence. The Iraqi Parliament has rejected the legitimacy of the vote, and its Supreme Court has ordered it suspended on suspicion of violating Iraq’s constitution. The stage is set for a clash that many fear will ignite yet another war in this tormented country. But the vote raises another significant question: How are new states born? It is a vexing problem in the post-World War II international scene. Borders are not supposed to be changed by force, yet new states are mostly born in blood … This very real threat of violence is one factor that has led Western countries to oppose the Kurdish referendum. But their opposition is rife with self-interest. It is unlikely that the U.S. cares deeply about the effects of war on Kurdish and Iraqi people; they do however worry that such a war could dilute the fight against ISIS – fought largely by Kurdish peshmerga forces. Principles such as the right to self-determination – hardly disputable in the case of the Kurds – appear to be missing from Western governments’ approach….
Hamas hails decision to list Israel as human rights abuser
MEMO 25 Sept — The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] hailed on Sunday the decision of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to add Israel to the list of human rights abusers, Quds Press has reported. Hamas described this as an important step that exposes the real face of the Israeli occupation authorities and their treatment of the Palestinians. Putting Israel on the list of entities which violate human rights and human rights activists confirms that the Palestinian people are oppressed [under the Israeli occupation],” insisted the movement. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on the international community and institutions, including the International Criminal Court, to hold Israel to account for its violations and to implement measures to “punish” the Zionist state. He stressed the importance of supporting the efforts of the Palestinian people to obtain their freedom and regain their “stolen” rights. The UNHRC added Israel to a human rights blacklist on Wednesday. The list includes 20 countries which “systematically take revenge measures against human rights activists who cooperate with the UN.” In March, Fox News reported that the UNHRC called Israel “the worst human rights violator in the world today.”
Palestinians back Standing Rock Sioux in ‘struggle for all humanity’
EI 10 Sept by Andrew Kadi — Palestinians are expressing support for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their months-long resistance to the US government’s plan to install an oil pipeline on their land. The people of Palestine supports you and all those standing with you right now in North Dakota to protect your tribal lands and resist the desecration and destruction of your sacred burial sites at the hands of the Energy Transfer Partners corporation and the Dakota Access Pipeline they are building,” the Palestinian BDS National Committee said on Friday. In another statement issued on Friday, individual Palestinians around the world say they “recognize the multitude of ways that Native American and First Nation struggles to protect indigenous territories have ultimately been struggles on behalf of all of humanity.” Their full statement is below….
Majority of Brits think UK should recognize Palestine as a state
MEMO 25 Sept — A majority of the British public believe the UK should recognise Palestine as a state, according to the results of a new YouGov poll published Monday. 53 percent of respondents said they agree with such a step, as opposed to just 14 percent who disagreed (33 percent said they were ‘neutral’). Responding to the poll, Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian ambassador to the UK, said public opinion has been shifting. “I have been here for 11 years and have noticed dramatic changes in the British public’s views on Palestine”, he said. “That only 14 percent say they wouldn’t want the Palestinian state to receive recognition is an indication of the Palestinian cause worldwide being accepted”, he added. The poll also addressed views amongst the British public towards the Balfour Declaration, whose centenary will be marked in November. According to the poll, opinion is deeply divided over the Balfour Declaration: 32 percent of Brits think it is something to be proud of, while 27 percent consider it “something to be regretted” (and 41 percent selected ‘Neither’). The poll also revealed a partisan divide….