Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Israeli forces detain Palestinian band over song praising Halamish attacker
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — Israeli forces detained a popular Palestinian wedding singer and a number of his band members during predawn raids Wednesday in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, reportedly over a video released by the group applauding Omar al-Abed, who has been indicted for carrying out a deadly stabbing attack in July that left three Israeli settlers dead. Local sources in Beit Rima said Israeli forces raided the village overnight and detained the singer, Muhammad Barghouthi, and his band’s organist Naji Rimawi. Israeli forces also raided the nearby village of Kafr Ein and detained the band’s audio engineer Nazzal Barghouthi … The raids came a few days after the band produced a Bedouin-style song, or dihiya, glorifying al-Abed for infiltrating the illegal Israeli settlement of Halamish, which is located near Kobar, and carrying out the stabbing attack.
The deadly incident took place on the same day that three Palestinians were killed amid civil disobedience demonstrations in occupied East Jerusalem, in which hundreds more unarmed Palestinians were wounded by Israeli forces, over heightened Israeli security restrictions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Child seriously injured after being rammed by a settler’s car in Hebron
IMEMC 2 Sept — Palestinian medical sources have reported, Friday, that a child was seriously injured after being rammed by a speeding car driven by an Israeli colonist near Kiryat Arba illegal colony, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The sources stated that the child, identified as Samira ‘Ala al-Ja‘bari, only six years of age, suffered various wounds, especially in the head, and was rushed to Hadassah Israeli medical center, in Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers shoot a man at a roadblock near Jenin
IMEMC 1 Sept — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, on Thursday evening, a Palestinian man after firing at his car at a sudden military roadblock between Qabatia town and Msalya village, south of Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers stopped the car of Samer Sameeh Abu Jalboush, 38, near “Abu George Animal Feed Factory,” and thoroughly searched it while inspecting his ID card. They added that the soldiers then ordered him to leave, and just after driving a few meters, one soldier opened fire at his car, wounding him in the shoulder. A Palestinian ambulance then rushed to the scene, and moved the man to a hospital in Jenin city. The soldiers did not provide medical treatment to the wounded man, and did not attempt to abduct him.
Israeli forces shoot 14-year-old with rubber bullet during Kafr Qaddum clashes
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Israeli forces injured a 14-year-old Palestinian with a rubber-coated steel bullet on Friday while suppressing a weekly march in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya. Coordinator for the village’s popular committee Murad Shteiwi said that Yousif Amer, 14, was injured with a rubber bullet in his stomach while inside his uncle’s house. Palestinians often report that Israeli forces directly aim at Palestinian homes during clashes, causing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters to break through windows into homes. Amer was taken to the Rafadiya Hospital in Nablus to receive treatment, according to Shteiwi. Shteiwi said that locals had participated in the march on the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, in order to stress their commitment to the village’s popular resistance. Like most weeks, clashes erupted in the town between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces. Israeli forces also raided and searched the town for specific locals and checked Palestinian ID cards.
Israeli mayor, police assault Palestinian worshipers in attempt to stop Eid prayers
[with video] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Israeli police forces on Friday raided a mosque in the central Israeli city of Lod, or Lydda, and attempted to stop the Eid al-Adha prayers and the call to prayer — also known as the adhan — that were being transmitted through the mosque’s speakers, citing noise violations. Yaffa 48 news website reported that Israeli police escorted the Israeli mayor of the city, Yair Revivo, into the mosque, who physically attempted to prevent worshipers from partaking in the holiday prayers. Revivo claimed that he was “hit in his arm” by worshipers while trying to prevent them from praying. Worshipers said that the mayor’s actions were “provocative and racist,” adding that he “searches for ridiculous excuses to prevent prayers.” One worshiper who was at the mosque said that Israeli police forces assaulted and pushed worshipers during the raid, according to Yaffa 48. The witness added that Revivo assaulted one of the worshipers who was filming the incident. Despite the raid, worshipers continued to file into the mosque and performed the prayers.
Israeli settlers attack with rocks Palestinian homes in Masafer Yatta
HEBRON (WAFA) 29 Aug – Israeli settlers Tuesday threw rocks and glass bottles at Palestinian homes in the area of Um al-Khair, east of Yatta in the occupied West Bank, local sources said. Rateb al-Jabour, a local activist, told WAFA that settlers from the illegal settlement of Carmel threw stones at homes for the Hathalin family in the Bedouin community of Um al-Khair in Masafer Yatta, terrifying children and causing damage to some of them. Suleiman Hathalin said his family is regularly attacked by the settlers who try to push them out of their land in order to seize it and expand their settlement. Jabour said the Israeli occupation authorities handed last week seven demolition orders to the Dababseh family in Khirbet Khillet al-Dabe, also in the Masafer Yatta area. Two illegal Jewish settlement outposts, Maon and Havat Maon, located near the Bedouin village want to expand at the expense of Khillet al-Dabe.
Israeli forces raid, issue closure order on Palestinian radio station in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Israeli authorities raided and shut down a Palestinian radio station for six months for allegedly “inciting terrorist attacks” during predawn hours on Thursday in Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank. Israeli soldiers raided the al-Hurriya (Freedom) Media Company in Hebron — which runs the Manbar al-Hurriya radio station and al-Nawras TV — and destroyed, damaged, and confiscated various equipment, according to Ayman al-Qawasmi, the head of the radio station. “We were not surprised at the occupation’s barbaric policy and they will not be able to silence the voice of al-Hurriya,” al-Qawasmi told Ma‘an, adding that it was not the first time the radio had been shuttered by Israeli forces. Israeli forces issued a military order that the station be closed for six months owing to charges of “inciting terrorist attacks,” according to the order posted on the door of the company. All employees and workers have been banned from entering the building until Feb. 14, 2018, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa. According to Wafa, Mahmoud Iqnibi, public relations manager for the company, said that the radio and TV station had been raided, and that soldiers had “uninstalled transmission devices, broke the live camera and surveillance cameras and equipment .”However, he added, the soldiers had only issued the closure order for al-Hurriya radio station. Iqnibi added that the closure order was “an attempt to silence Palestinians and cover (up) Israel’s crimes.” Al-Qawasmi told Ma‘an that 56 employees work at the radio station, all of whom have families to support….
Israeli police confiscate weapons, detain 2 Palestinians during East Jerusalem raids
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Israeli police confiscated weapons and ammunition during search and detention raids carried out in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, when at least two Palestinians were also detained by Israeli forces. According to an Israeli police statement, a loaded gun was found inside a sock on a rooftop of a Palestinian’s home that was raided in East Jerusalem. Two rifles and ammunition were also found in a bedroom of another home. The statement did not specify in what neighborhoods the raids had taken place. The statement added that two Palestinians were detained by Israeli police during the raids, and were transferred for interrogations with Israeli authorities.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with a biweekly average of 85 search and detention raids carried thus far in 2017, according to UN documentation.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,128 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of July, 320 of whom were children. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
one night’s abductions:
Israeli forces detain 19 Palestinians during overnight raids in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Israeli forces detained at least 19 Palestinians during overnight raids between Wednesday and Thursday across the occupied West Bank, while raiding toy shops in the Hebron district — confiscating toy guns, fireworks, and laser pointers, of which the soldiers said could be used for “terrorism.”
In the northern West Bank, locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the village of Yaabad in the Jenin district and detained a Palestinian “youth” from the al-Atatra family … Israeli forces also raided the Mirka village in Jenin and detained three brothers, identified by locals as Alaa, Hamza, and Yousif Jalboush. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed two of the detentions in Mirka, saying one of the detainees was an alleged Hamas operative.
In the Nablus district, Israeli forces detained Osama Sawalma from the village of Asira al-Shamaliya, according to locals. However, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that two Palestinians were detained from the village over being alleged Hamas operatives. The spokesperson added that one Palestinian was detained from the Balata refugee camp and one was detained from Nablus city.
In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had detained Ihab Suhdi Abu Shusha from the al-‘Amari refugee camp after raiding his family’s home. According to locals, Israeli forces had also demolished a car repair garage near the refugee camp. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that six additional Palestinians were detained in the Ramallah district, including a Palestinian in the Rammun village who the spokesperson said was an alleged Hamas operative, another Palestinian in the village of Deir Abu Mashaal, and four Palestinians in Ramallah city.
In the southern West Bank district of Hebron, locals said that a Palestinian “youth,” identified as Muhammad Matar Abu Sharar was detained from Dura village. Meanwhile, locals told Ma‘an that three Palestinians were detained in the village of Bani Naim, identified as Rami Khalil Harahsheh, Muhammad Ghaleb Ideis, and Taleb Adra.
How Palestinian students prepare for settler attacks
NABLUS, Occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 1 Sept by Jaclynn Ashly — From a distance, the Urif Boys Secondary School looks like any other school in the occupied West Bank, built of plain cement with a Palestinian flag propped on its roof. On closer inspection, however, the rocks scattered across the school’s protruding windowsills and the holes pierced in its water pipes reveal the ugly reality of Israeli settler violence in the area. “Our curriculum reflects that of other Palestinian schools,” science teacher Abdel-Hakim Shihada told Al Jazeera. “But we also teach the students how to handle Israeli settler attacks on the school, including undergoing practice drills.” In this USAID-funded school, all teachers are certified in first aid, while half of the some 200 students are certified to administer emergency medical aid. In Abdel-Hakim’s science class, students learn to manufacture face masks to protect them from tear gas, often shot by Israeli forces to prevent Palestinians from approaching settlers on village land … The school has been attacked dozens of times by settlers, Fawzi said, noting that when settlers are spotted, residents are immediately notified on the village’s WhatsApp group and a warning is blared from the local mosque. The settlers often pelt rocks at the school, aiming at the windows and water pipes. The school must buy new pipes every few months due to the attacks, residents say. On the roof, one of the school’s water tanks has been pushed on its side. “They like to target the water sources,” Fawzi said. The USAID-funded water reservoir next to the school has also been attacked by settlers. “The students will be frightened,” Hakim said. “But we keep them in the classrooms, close all the windows, and lock the doors to prevent settlers from entering the building.” Students have also been trained to hide under their desks when Israeli forces shoot tear gas canisters, sound bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets directly at the school….
Video: Harassment at night in Hebron
B’Tselem Press Release 29 Aug — “You can take your camera and stick it straight up your big ass” — Kiryat Arba settlers verbally abuse Palestinian woman in Hebron and threaten her with violence for hours, in the presence of Israeli soldiers and police — On Thursday, 24 August 2017, settlers from Kiryat Arba used a loudspeaker system to verbally abuse Palestinian residents of al-Hariqah neighborhood in Hebron, using offensive language and insulting Islam. A B’Tselem volunteer filmed parts of the incident from her window. When the settlers noticed her, they turned their abuse towards her, threatening violence and using racist and obscene language, including descriptions of extreme sexual violence. Although the threats were explicit and the swearing constituted severe sexual harassment, Israeli security forces who were present allowed the settlers to continue undisturbed, as is usually the case. The volunteer described the incident in a testimony she gave to B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri on 27 August 2017: … “The settlers began to use foul language and call out obscenities concerning me, Islam, and especially the Prophet Muhammad. The Israeli soldiers and police did nothing to stop them. This was not the first time: about a year ago, I documented settlers swearing, using foul language and calling out obscenities against the Prophet Muhammad while soldiers and police allowed them to continue. “Life in al-Hariqah has become intolerable. The military repeatedly raids the neighbourhood and the settlers assault and harass us. As a Muslim, I was extremely offended by the insults hurled at the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. As a woman, I felt terrible hearing the foul language directed personally at me for filming them.”…. [Note other B’Tselem press releases with videos on site, most concerning events in August]
A settler farm sows fear among Palestinian shepherds, with help from the Israeli army
Haaretz 2 Sept by Amira Hass — Thirteen years ago Omer Atidiah situated his private farm on Palestinian land north of Jericho; since then his name has terrorized the area — …We have no conflict with the area’s Bedouin shepherds, [Atidiah] said. On the contrary. We came to make the area more fertile, and to have good neighborly relations with everyone. The ones who ruined the peaceful relations that prevailed until recently were those activists from Ta’ayush, Atidiah said … “I tried to explain to the Bedouin how to graze their flocks without hurting the flora and the land,” Atidiah said. “They didn’t listen to me. You know, it’s a matter of culture.” … Blaming the black goats and their ignorant Arab owners for natural disasters echoes Zionist myths that have long been disproven. In April’s issue of the journal “Eretz Vateva,” Yadin Roman discussed the political correlation between the myth of the harmful goat and the authorities’ plans to remove the Bedouin from their lands. He cited Israeli scientists who explained back in 1978 that black goats actually prune vegetation, enabling it to grow better, rather than killing it … In their home in Auja this past Wednesday, brothers Ahmed and Mahmoud Najadeh grinned with astonishment at the stories of good neighborliness and rejected lessons in shepherding. They have almost no goats left, they explained, because goats aren’t as profitable as sheep. When sheep graze, they stay in one place and the shepherd relaxes. After just two months of grazing, they can be sold for about 1,000 shekels ($280) each. Goats run around, exhausting the shepherd, and need four months of grazing before being sold for a maximum of 600 shekels. For the last 13 years, the name “Omer” has terrorized the area, because he and the young men with him use intimidation tactics – such as firing in the air and galloping horses or racing vehicles among the locals’ houses, or even worse, among their flocks….
In pictures: Thousands pray at Al-Aqsa on first day of Eid al-Adha
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Sept — Thousands of Palestinians performed prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, marking the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, or “Feast of Sacrifice.” Palestinian Muslims arrived early on Friday to Al-Aqsa from across occupied East Jerusalem and Israel to perform prayers, while Muslims from other Arab and Islamic countries also came to the holy site to pray during the holiday. Hundreds of family members congregated at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam, while several clowns toured the holy site and organized activities with the children.
Eid al-Adha is meant to commemorate Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his adult son after being commanded to by God. However, just as he was about to sacrifice his son, an angel appeared and provided him with a ram to sacrifice instead.
Traditionally, Muslims around the world sacrifice a goat or sheep in order to commemorate the incident.
Jordanian official demands Netanyahu reinstate Al-Aqsa ban on Knesset members
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Aug – A Jordanian government official condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to lift a ban on Israeli Knesset members from visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, calling the move “irresponsible.” Muhammad Momani, the state minister for media affairs and the government spokesperson, said that the move was “irresponsible” and would increase tensions at the holy site, which falls under Jordanian custodianship, Jordanian news agency Petra reported. Netanyahu had placed the ban on Knesset members visiting the site almost two years ago in order to ease tensions amid a deadly wave of political unrest that had erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. Netanyahu’s lifting of the ban is being considered a test trial, for Israeli forces to assess whether to permanently allow lawmakers to visit the compound. Momani demanded that Israel stop encouraging Jewish extremists to enter Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, and to reinstate the ban on Israeli Knesset members from entering the holy site.
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel frees Palestinian clown held without charge for 20 months
JERUSALEM (AFP) 31 Aug — A Palestinian clown accused by Israel of membership in a banned leftist group and held without charge for 20 months has been released. Mohammad Abu Sakha, 26, told AFP on Thursday he was released the day before from administrative detention, the controversial measure under which Israel detains suspects without trial for periods of several months, renewable indefinitely. He said following his release he returned to the northern West Bank city of Jenin, where family and friends were waiting to welcome him. “It was like a party,” he said. Abu Sakha had been part of the Palestinian Circus School in Bir Zeit in the occupied West Bank since 2008, first as a student and later as a clown and teacher. He said Israeli forces never told him the exact reason for his arrest in December 2015 or how long he would be detained. Israel’s Shin Bet security agency accused him of being a member of the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which the Jewish state considers a terrorist group because of its armed wing. Amnesty International had called for his release. He said he would “absolutely” be returning to the circus as it was “a message.” “Israel arrests people every day, and closes them off economically,” he said. “The circus gives people hope.”
West Bank resident charged with attempted murder in central Israel stabbing attack
Haaretz 30 Aug by Yotam Berger — A 21-year-old Palestinian man from the West Bank was charged on Wednesday with attempted murder in a stabbing in July in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva, an attack that seriously wounded an Arab Israeli man. According to the indictment, filed in an Israeli military court, Mansour Hatib stabbed the man, Abd Fathi Abu Hillel, 31, a number of times in the torso until he thought he had killed him. With the intention of harming more people, Hatib then entered a nearby pizzeria and tried to attack a customer before being knocked down with a pizza tray by the restaurant owner. Abu Hillel, who remained conscious, was evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in a stable state….
Two more patients die in Gaza after being denied travel for treatment
MAP 1 Sept — Two more Palestinian patients have died after being denied permits by Israeli authorities to exit Gaza for medical treatment. Both women were diagnosed with cancer and denied access to vital treatment in Jerusalem. According to Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Ka‘enat Mustafa Ja‘arour, 42, was suffering from uterine cancer, and was referred for treatment at a hospital in Jerusalem. Her first request for a permit to exit Gaza via the Erez Crossing was submitted to the Israeli authorities at the end of April 2017, and was rejected. She received no response to two subsequent requests until her death on 27 August.
Fatin Nader Ahmed, 26, was referred to the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem for treatment for brain cancer. Her first permit request was submitted to the Israeli authorities in November 2016, however, the status of her permit request for treatment remained “under security check”. Two further requests also remained under security check, and a fourth was rejected. Fatin’s fifth request was finally approved, allowing her to cross Erez for treatment in Jerusalem. Doctors at Augusta Victoria Hospital recommended a course of four consecutive sessions of chemotherapy. However, following her first treatment, Fatin’s following three permits to exit Gaza for treatment were rejected by Israeli authorities, not allowing her access to the vital completion of her course of treatment. Fatin died in Gaza City on 23 August 2017, a mere hour’s drive away from the hospital that could have given her the treatment which could have extended her life….
Hajj: The journey from Gaza to Mecca (2-minute video)
Al Jazeera 29 Aug — The Rafah crossing is one of the few routes Palestinians can use to leave the Gaza Strip. It had been closed for four months, but Egypt opened the crossing for three days earlier this month. About 3,000 Palestinians headed for Mecca to attend the Hajj pilgrimage. Deciding who could go was based on a lottery system. Fuad al-Barrawi, a 65-year-old Palestinian, and his wife were among those lucky enough to win a place. Al Jazeera joined Barrawi on his journey out of the Gaza Strip.
No Eid treats in Gaza
[with photos] MEMO 31 Aug by Mohammed Asad — As Eid Al-Adha approaches, Palestinians in Gaza are struggling more this year than ever before, following the Palestinian Authority’s decision to cut salaries, force a number of employees into early retirement and to stop paying Israel for Gaza’s electricity supply. PA employees in Gaza are now only receiving about half of their salaries, making celebrating Eid a near impossible task. In the markets across the Strip there is little activity with Palestinians only buying fruits, biscuits and sweets for their children. Clothing stores, which normally see increased activity during this time of year as people search for a new outfit for the occasion, have struggled. Instead of paying for a Qurbani, a meat sacrifice, as is the tradition at this time of year, Palestinians in the Strip have been forced to settle for soft toys in the shape of sheep to bring some joy to their little ones and a taste of the occasion.
Photos: Eid al-Adha in Gaza
MEMO 1 Sept — Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) is celebrated throughout the Muslim world as a commemoration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God, and cows, camels, goats and sheep are traditionally slaughtered on the holiest day
Gaza exports first shipment of ready-made clothes in 10 years
GAZA (PNN) 29 Aug — A Palestinian sewing company in Gaza has exported a shipment of ready-made clothes to Israel for the first time in ten years. Director of Media and Public Relations in the Palestinian Borders and Crossings Department, Hisham Adwan, said: “One shipment of ready-made clothes and two shipments of vegetables crossed the commercial Karm Abu-Salem crossing on Monday heading to Israel.” Head of UniPal 2000, Bashir Al-Bawwab, told Quds Press that this is the first time he has been able to export clothes to Israel since 2007. “The shipment included 3,500 pieces of different kinds and sizes that meet the international quality standard,” he said, noting that they were produced by “skilful” Palestinian workers. Al-Bawwab noted that this shipment would be followed by one or two shipments every week. “It depends on how much the Israeli authorities are committed to their promise,” he said. He said that his company is a merger of four sewing factories with a capital of $1.2 million and 200 workers. Prior to 2000, there were 36,000 Palestinian workers working in this profession as the Gaza Strip used to export up to 1,500 ready-made clothes to Israel and abroad every month. Most of these factories were closed after the strict Israeli measures imposed on Gaza. All of the remaining factories closed in 2007 after the start of the Israeli-Egyptian siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, which included the almost full closure of all crossings which allow movement in and out of the enclave….
Israeli mayors call on US to solve Gaza’s electricity crisis
JERUSALEM (CNN) 1 Sept by Oren Liebermann & Abeer Salman — A group of local Israeli leaders have warned Israel and the United States that the sewage crisis in Gaza could lead to the spread of disease and cause long-term environmental damage. Gaza lacks the power to run a new sewage facility in the north of the region for more than a few hours a day because of the ongoing electricity crisis. The facility was introduced as a stopgap measure to relieve the burden on the existing plant.
As a result, raw sewage piles up on the beaches of Gaza and southern Israel, contaminating the groundwater in the process. The sewage problem has forced beach closures in Gaza and Israel, as well as the stoppage of groundwater pumping stations.
Calling on Israeli and American leaders to provide Gaza with electricity to run the plants, the group warned the entire region is “on the verge of a health crisis that does not take into account political borders.” In a letter written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and handed to US Special Envoy for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt during his recent visit, the group added that it is “an absurd situation” in which Israel tries to curb the effects of the untreated sewage instead of providing the power to treat the sewage before it harms the environment … More than 100 million liters of untreated sewage are being discharged into the sea every day, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, citing tests by the Water Quality Department in Gaza. In addition, nearly 75% of Gaza’s beaches are contaminated….
Visiting Gaza, UN chief calls to lift blockade in face of humanitarian crisis
Haaretz and DPA 30 Aug — UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip during his first visit to the Hamas-run enclave on Wednesday. Guterres arrived in the Gaza Strip for a several-hour visit to check the humanitarian situation, officials said. “I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” Guterres said, according to AFP. Making “two strong appeals” during his remarks, Guterres urged for Palestinian unity “in line with the principles of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.” Division, he says, “only undermines the cause of the Palestinian people.” “I have a dream,” he said before making his second appeal. “A dream to one day see the holy land with two states – Israel and Palestine – living in peace and security together.” To achieve that goal, he proposed a credible political process and actions to improve living conditions of Palestinians. It is “important to open the closures” imposed on the enclave, he said. Guterres is visiting the main UN headquarters in Gaza City to receive a briefing from UN leaders, touring the Gaza Strip and meeting with both Palestinian notables and Gaza clan leaders. The UN chief is not scheduled to meet with any Hamas leaders … Guterres was accompanied by Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s deputy military chief. Danon warned Guterres that Gaza’s Hamas rulers have been exploiting international humanitarian aid to dig tunnels aimed at attacking Israel. He says: “Instead of working to ensure a better future for their children, Hamas has turned the residents of Gaza into hostages.” Guterres met local Israeli residents of the area surrounding Gaza before heading to the territory. Earlier in the day, Guterres toured Hamas cross-border transport and tunnels….
Trump’s peace envoy: Palestinian Authority must control the Gaza Strip
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy said on Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) must resume its control over the government in the besieged Gaza Strip during a tour of the Gaza-Israel border.
Jason Greenblatt voiced vehement opposition to Hamas’ rule in the small Palestinian territory, and his support of the PA to take back control of the besieged enclave. “It is clear that the Palestinian Authority needs to resume its role in the administration of Gaza, as Hamas has substantially harmed the people of Gaza and has failed to meet their most basic needs,” Greenblatt said following the tour, which also included Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Yoav Mordechai. Greenblatt said he had “learned a great deal” from the border tour, particularly concerning the “challenges” facing the Israeli army, Israeli civilians living near the border, and Palestinians living in Gaza, which he then singularly attributed to “Hamas’ mismanagement of humanitarian aid and its commitment to terrorist violence.”….
Hamas allows exiled Dahlan supporters to return to Gaza
Alaraby 31 Aug by Robert Cusack — Hamas is currently preparing to allow hundreds of Fatah members to return to the Gaza Strip, as part of its agreement with exiled Fatah member Mohammad Dahlan. The ruling party in Gaza is creating a list of names of those who may return – related to around 90 percent of Fatah members who fled Gaza after Hamas took power. Chief among those who are set to return is Dahlan’s right-hand man, Samir Mashrawi, controversial in Gazan politics for his personal role in persecuting Hamas members during the 1990s. Mashrawi’s return symbolises a major return to Palestinian politics for Dahlan and some pundits have pointed out the importance of a Fatah movement in Gaza separate from Fatah in the West Bank. Palestine President in the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas, attempted a policy of ‘starve or kneel‘ with the besieged Gaza Strip for months – leading to Hamas’ unlikely alliance with its one-time enemy in Dahlan. The Fatah list of returnees forms part of a string of goodwill measures agreed between Hamas and Dahlan in Cairo that gave rise to important UAE investments in the besieged Strip. Hamas on Tuesday also agreed to the release of three prominent prisoners, including Hassan Mohammed Al-Zant, the would-be assassin of current Hamas chief, Ismail Haniya. According to Fatah’s Committee on Community Reconciliation, the two others released were Ahad Abu Qamar and Subhi Abu Dahi.
With Iran’s help, Hamas reaches out to Syrian regime
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 1 Sept by Ahmad Abu Amer — The new Hamas leadership has taken dramatic steps since assuming office in mid-February that suggest its policies will differ significantly from those of previous officials. The new administration has been trying to restore ties that had been cut off or seriously frayed with many parties such as Iran, Egypt, the Syrian regime and the followers of Fatah’s dismissed leader Mohammed Dahlan. Could this be a kinder, gentler, more accommodating Hamas? Many remain unconvinced, but Iran is working toward that goal. Hamas left Syria at the end of 2011, after the Syrian civil war broke out, out of support for the Syrian people. The regime then completely severed its relationship with the Palestinian movement, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused Hamas of supporting some of the armed groups fighting against the Syrian regime. Hamas, a key pillar in the so-called anti-Israel “axis of resistance,” which includes Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, did not deny receiving Syrian support for years before it left the country, where it enjoyed great freedom of movement. A well-informed source in the Iranian regime told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Senior Iranian officials, including speaker of the Shura Council Ali Larijani and adviser to the supreme leader Ali Akbar Velayati, met with Hamas leaders visiting Iran Aug. 4 to participate in the second inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. [The officials] offered to mediate between [Hamas] and the Syrian regime in a bid to restore their broken relations.” The Hamas delegation said it welcomed the offer and would refer it to the group’s leadership for consideration, according to the source. Hamas would not mind bolstering its ties with the Syrian regime, Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, told Al-Monitor when he met with reporters Aug. 28 in Gaza….
Gaza radio station gives a voice to refugees, women
Al-Monitor 29 Aug by Amjad Yaghi — On the air since the first week of August, Hawwa radio station in Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip aims to become the voice of Palestinian refugees, and women in particular. It is the product of years of preparation, efforts to find funds and volunteer work. “I first had the idea to start a radio station in 2011, but it took me until 2013 to find the financial means to start online broadcasts,” Bahaa Abed, Hawwa’s director, told Al-Monitor. He had no money to pay for an FM broadcast band so he used the internet. Abed saved until he could afford headquarters and equipment, and since Aug. 5, the radio station broadcasts both online and on the air. Hawwa (Eve) is the first radio station that targets women, children and refugees from Nuseirat refugee camp, which has been the home to displaced Palestinians since 1948. Since Hawwa does not follow any specific political movement, it does not receive support from any party, and so the radio station is solely funded by Abed. For now, he said the station will rely on income from commercials. The 20-member team of presenters, talk show hosts and technicians all work as volunteers. Since Nuseirat camp is near several other refugee camps in central Gaza — such as Bureij, Maghazi and Deir el-Balah — Hawwa also aims to cover topics that are important in these camps. Abed noted that he would like Hawwa to be the voice of at least a quarter of a million refugees. “We want to broadcast to all refugee camps, especially since most camps are in low-altitude areas where the service is usually bad,” Abed said, noting that the radio station reaches listeners in Hebron city in the West Bank, as Nuseirat is close to the eastern border with Israel….
Gallery: Tribute to Gaza fishermen
We Are Not Numbers by Leen Abu Said — On Sept. 8, 2016, Israeli naval forces opened fire on five Gaza fishermen, then detained them and seized their boats—a daily occurrence for the fishermen of the Strip. This week, one of those boats, owned by Abd al-Muti Al-Habil, served as an open-air gallery for a tribute to the many fishermen of Gaza who risk their lives to support their families and maintain this element of Palestinian culture. To date this year, two Gazan fishermen have been killed: Mohammed Bakr and Mohammed Al-Hissi. Twenty-three fishermen have been arrested and six boats have been destroyed. Photographer Khalid Hashem spent a day documenting the lives of the Gaza fishermen as part of his work for Samidoun, an organization that advocates for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. For two days, he displayed 18 dramatic photographs in an exhibit called “Hook,” dedicated to the some 3,000 fishermen who continue to take to the sea every day (compared to the 10,000 who used to earn their living this way in 2000). “Although many Israeli navy boats shot directly at them while they were fishing, no one was afraid. I was taken by their bravery,” he said as he described what he called their “journey of death.” The camera is the only thing that frightens the Israelis, he says, because it exposes their brutality.
Video: Power cuts in Gaza melt ice cream business
TRT World (Turkey) 29 Aug — The besieged Gaza Strip is not only suffering from an economic blockade but is also grappling with severe electricity cuts. As Ahmed al Burai reports, the daily blackouts are affecting businesses and even depriving people of a favourite summer tradition.
Israeli bombs crushed footballer’s ‘first and last option’
EI 29 Aug by Hamza Abu Eltarabesh — Muhammad Abu al-Bayd was once a rising star with Gaza’s al-Daraj football club. But during a recent friendly match in Gaza City’s Yarmouk stadium, the former midfielder sat on the sidelines, cheering on his team. It wasn’t an injury on the football pitch that ended 30-year-old Abu al-Bayd’s burgeoning sports career. He lost a leg to an Israeli shell fired on the fifth day of Israel’s massive offensive on Gaza in the summer of 2014. Now he struggles, like many other Palestinian athletes who saw their dreams shattered by Israeli violence, to cope with his new reality. Before the war, Abu al-Bayd had dreamed of joining Palestine’s national team. He played as an attacking midfielder, earning the nickname Isco after the Real Madrid star. Today Abu al-Bayd collects a monthly stipend of $200 from a benefactor to support a family household of nine … Abu al-Bayd was injured while standing outside his home in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City on 13 July. “Suddenly Israeli shelling targeted a group of men in the street, and I woke up in the hospital with one leg.” …
Some 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza – including 3,400 children – were injured during Israel’s onslaught three years ago, around 10 percent of them permanently. Thirty-two athletes were among the more than 2,250 Palestinians killed by Israel in the summer of 2014, according to Gaza’s youth and sports ministry. An additional 27 athletes were seriously injured. More than 30 sports facilities were destroyed or damaged, at an estimated financial loss of $3 million, the youth and sports ministry stated shortly after the offensive….
Rare skin disease ruined Gaza man’s life – until Israeli doctors stepped in
NPR 1 Sept by Sara Toth Stub — Muhammad Taluli arrived from Gaza at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center a few months ago and unwrapped the cloth from his hands to reveal gray and white growths that looked like tree bark. The doctors had never seen anything like it. In fact, there have been only a handful of such extreme cases of this rare condition — called epidermodysplasia verruciformis — documented in medical literature around the world, says Dr. Michael Chernofsky, senior hand and microvascular surgeon at Hadassah, who is overseeing the man’s treatment … The culprit behind epidermodysplasia verruciformis is the human papillomavirus … After a few well-publicized cases in Bangladesh and Romania, the condition was nicknamed “tree man” disease in the media because the tumors often resemble wood or bark … Taluli, 42 and a father of six, hadn’t been able to use his hands for 10 years and was in severe pain. “This was ruining his life,” Chernofsky says. Doctors in Jordan and Egypt had recommended amputation, and doctors at Palestinian hospitals in the West Bank told him there was no effective treatment. “There was nothing to do,” Taluli said in a statement released by Hadassah. Eventually, Palestinian and Israeli officials arranged for him to seek treatment at the medical center….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Apartheid
Israel boosts powers of Hebron settler enclaves
JERUSALEM (AFP) 1 Sept – Israel has given Jewish settlement enclaves in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron the authority to manage their own municipal affairs, in what critics say is an entrenchment of “apartheid”. The army said it had signed an order to boost the powers of the settlers, who had until now run their day-to-day affairs in the council that served as a local authority but had no legal standing. “By force of the order, an administration will be established to represent the residents of the Jewish neighbourhood in Hebron and to provide them with municipal services in a variety of fields,” it said in an English-language statement issued late Thursday. Hebron, in the southern West bank, is home to around 200,000 Palestinians, with about 800 settlers living under Israeli army protection in several heavily fortified compounds in the heart of the city … Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the new arrangement was more than a technicality. “By granting official status to the Hebron settlers, the Israeli government is formalising the apartheid system in the city,” it said in a statement on Thursday. “This step… is another illustration of the policy of compensating the most extreme settlers for their illegal actions,” it added….
Palestinian children demonstrate against Israeli occupation in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — Dozens of children and their parents demonstrated south of the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron’s Old City in the occupied West Bank on Monday against the ongoing presence of Israeli settlers in the area and the Israeli army’s restrictions on Palestinian movement. Coordinator for the local activist group Youth Against Settlement Issa Amro told Ma‘an that the demonstration was the first activity of a local and international campaign against the Israeli occupation’s “ethnic discrimination and apartheid” policy in the center of Hebron. The campaign, he said, will include local activities, demonstrations, sit-ins, voluntary events, and protest tents. Organizers of the campaign will also install street signs and billboards using the original names of Palestinian neighborhoods. In addition, there will be signs illustrating the history of Hebron’s Old City to visitors, to contend with signs that have been installed by Israeli settlers. Amro, who is known for advocating non-violent resistance and is facing charges in Israeli military court related to his activism, added that the organizers would contact international organizations to organize solidarity activities abroad, which, he said, would help to put pressure on the Israeli occupation.
Amro explained that the Salayma and Gheith neighborhoods south of the Ibrahimi mosque, where Monday’s action took place, were suffering from the approximately 10 Israeli military checkpoints clustered in the small area. The Israeli army, he added, recently installed a gate at the main entrance to the neighborhoods that Israeli soldiers operate from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. “Israeli soldiers close the gate whenever they please, punishing 50 Palestinian families who live in the area.” ….
Right to education severely impeded for Qurtuba school students
HEBRON, occupied Palestine 29 Aug by ISM, al-Khalil Team — Israeli forces in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) are severely restricting, for the second day in a row, the freedom of movement for Palestinian students and teachers at Qurtuba school. Whereas on Monday students and teachers were detained by Israeli forces for almost half an hour before being allowed to continue on their way home after the school day, the following day Israeli forces prevented the students from bringing essential school materials and denying them, again, to pass the checkpoint. Qurtuba school is located in the H2-area of occupied al-Khalil, under full Israeli military control. In order to reach Qurtuba school, all students and teachers are forced to pass at least one, sometimes two, or even three Israeli military checkpoints within Palestinian neighborhoods. The majority of the students and teachers accesses the school through a set of stairs at Daboya checkpoint. This checkpoint marks for Palestinians the spot where Shuhada Street has been ethnically cleansed of Palestinians, an undergoing policy which continuously forbids them from this point further down the road – the part of Shuhada Street where the illegal Israeli settlements in the heart of the city are located. At Daboya checkpoint, thus, the only possible direction for Palestinians is to go up the stairs, which lead to Qurtuba school … On Monday, 28th August, the students were detained with their teachers after the end of the school day, waiting at the top of the staircase for the soldiers to finally decide to allow them to reach their homes. On Tuesday, when students wanted to bring school books, they were again detained by the soldiers at the top of the stairs, while down on Shuhada Street, infamous and aggressive settlers Anat Cohen and Ofer Yohana gathered to watch the show of power by the Israeli forces. Eventually, the soldiers denied children the possibility of carrying their school materials altogether, and the children went back to their classes without books.
46 Bedouin communities at risk of forcible transfer in the central West Bank: A vulnerability profile
OCHA oPt — Many Palestinians throughout the West Bank are at risk of forcible transfer due to a coercive environment generated by Israeli policies and practices, which create pressure on many residents to leave their communities. In the central West Bank, 46 Palestinian Bedouin/herding communities are considered to be at high risk of forcible transfer due to a “relocation” plan advanced by the Israeli authorities in recent years.In May 2017, OCHA carried out a vulnerability profiling exercise of these 46 communities, designed to measure vulnerabilities and quantify sectoral needs. Through key informant interviews, information was collected on a range of humanitarian indicators related to land and livelihoods, electricity and water, access to education and health services, shelter and infrastructure. The Vulnerability Profile dashboard is an online tool designed to visualize the key findings of this comprehensive data set. In order to facilitate focus on sector-specific vulnerabilities and inform humanitarian and development programming, the findings are presented through charts on specific indicators under several thematic sections. Updated demographic figures are also available.
France condemns Israeli demolition of schools, calls for return of seized EU-funded property
PARIS (WAFA) 30 Aug — France condemned this week the latest Israeli demolition and dismantling of French and European Union-funded Palestinian educational facilities in Area C of the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to return the property it had seized from these facilities. A French Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the Israeli action was contrary to international law, expressing concern regarding Israeli plans behind these destructions and their impact on the creation of a viable Palestinian state. Israel demolished on August 21 a kindergarten in the community of Jabal al Baba and the next day demolished a school in the village of Jubbet adh Dhib. It also seized earlier in the month solar panels providing electricity to a school in the community of Abu Nuwar. The buildings of this school, which is funded by France, had also been confiscated in February 2016, just after they were built. “This destruction, which is contrary to international law, is all the more disturbing since it has notably taken place in the area known as E1 (between East Jerusalem and the settlement of the Ma’ale Adumim), which is of strategic importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital and for the two-state solution, to which France reaffirms its attachment,” said the French spokesperson. “Several of these structures were funded by European donors, including France. The latter have approached the Israeli authorities to secure the return of the confiscated property. “We call on the Israeli authorities to return the confiscated property and to put an end to this destruction which forms part of their settlement policy in the West Bank and East Jerusalem:” These confiscations have also been repeatedly condemned by the EU.
During the first six months of this year, 259 Palestinian structures were destroyed in Area C and in East Jerusalem, while the Israeli government has announced or approved plans to build more than 10,000 new homes for Jewish settlers, more than three times as many as in 2016.
Greek Orthodox patriarch targeted in land sales complaint
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 31 Aug — A lawyer says more than 300 Palestinian Christians and associations filed a complaint against the Greek Orthodox patriarch for allegedly selling property to Israelis. The church is a major property owner in the Holy Land. The Greek clergy has rejected demands by the Palestinian flock to open the books on property deals. Nabil Mushahwar said Thursday that a complaint over “selling land to the enemy” — potentially a capital offense in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — was filed with the Palestinian attorney general. The church declined comment Thursday. Last month, an Israeli court upheld the sale of prime church property to companies representing Jewish groups that seek an expanded presence in Jerusalem’s Old City. The church had challenged the deal as an illegal transaction by the previous patriarch.
Al-Haq condemns PA for ‘arbitrary’ detention of Palestinian man from Dura
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — The Palestinian Authority has continued to detain a Palestinian man from the Hebron-area town of Dura in the southern occupied West Bank despite four court orders calling for his release, according to a statement released on Wednesday from legal NGO al-Haq, in which the group condemned the PA for the detention. Shadi Nammourah has been “arbitrarily” detained by the PA’s General Intelligence Service (GIS) in its Jericho detention center, according to al-Haq, which cited release orders by courts in Dura and Jericho issued on May 30, June 13, June 20, and Aug. 3. GIS responded to each release order by continuing to detain Nammourah, allegedly based on new charges, al-Haq said.The Palestinian human rights organization said they have sent a letter to the head of GIS calling on him to implement the courts’ orders, underscoring that “the ongoing arbitrary detention of Nammourah is in violation of the Palestinian Basic Law,” al-Haq wrote, adding that it was also a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The group further filed a complaint with the PA public prosecutor and sent a notice to the Palestinian Anti-Corruption Commission in response to Nammourah’s case … The PA has arbitrarily detained Palestinians in defiance of release orders before, to the outrage of the public and Palestinian factions who have long accused the PA of carrying out politically-motivated arrests against Hamas members and others — including journalists and activists — who express opposition to PA policies….
Israel decides not to revoke press card of Al Jazeera reporter
JERUSALEM (Xinhua) 30 Aug — Israel’s Government Press Office (GPO) said on Wednesday that it will not revoke the credentials of an Al Jazeera reporter after holding a hearing over his alleged support of Palestinian “resistance.” Elias Karram was called in for the hearing two weeks ago, after an interview he gave in 2016 was exposed. “As a Palestinian journalist in an occupied area or in a conflict zone, media work is an integral part of the resistance and its educational political activity. The journalist fulfills his role in the opposition with the pen, voice or camera because he is part of this people and he carries out resistance in his unique way,” Karram said in the interview, according to GPO. In the hearing, held on Monday in Jerusalem, Karram said “he had no intention of supporting or expressing sympathy for armed resistance.” “The resistance means only media exposure to the reality of the Palestinian people living under occupation. I did not adopt, call for or incite a resistance of any kind,” Karram explained. After the hearing, GPO Director Nitzan Chen decided to suspend his decision on revoking the press card of Karram, GPO said in a statement. However, the press office said it will monitor Karram’s reports for the next six months “in order to ensure that his clear statements are reflected in his actual journalistic work.”
Israel and Palestine compete over Muslim tourists
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 31 Aug by Ali Sawafta & Dan Williams — Though only a small part of Jerusalem’s religious tourism market, Muslim pilgrims are becoming a sought-after demographic for both Israel and the Palestinian Authority — On any given day, Muslim pilgrims arrive at a Middle East airport on a journey to one of Islam’s holiest sites. At Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, they rub shoulders with larger groups of visitors – diaspora Jews and Christian tourists – many of them headed for the same destination, a 45-minute drive away: the sacred city of Jerusalem. The Muslims are only a small part of the Holy Land’s religious tourism market. But both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank are vying for their business. They come mainly to pray at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, in a compound that is one of the world’s most contested and volatile holy sites. Al-Aqsa is the most important shrine in Islam after Saudi Arabia’s Mecca and Medina, but less of a draw for foreign Muslims, many of whose countries spurn Israel or its claim of sovereignty over the eastern sector of Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 war. Israel’s Tourism Ministry recorded 115,000 Muslim tourists in 2016 – 3 percent of the 3.8 million foreigners who arrived at its airports or land borders it controls with Jordan and Egypt. Half of these Muslim tourists identified as pilgrims, the ministry said. Most of them – around 100,000 – came from Turkey, which recognizes Israel. But there were also some from Indonesia and Malaysia, which do not, and whose citizens Israel admits under special provisions for pilgrims. Each Muslim tourist spends an average of $1,133 on the trip, the Israeli ministry said. Palestinians fret that too much of that goes to Israel and want the tourists to opt for alternative Palestinian venues in Jerusalem or the West Bank … Beyond the economic benefits, Palestinians see such visits as cementing pan-Islamic sympathy for their goal of establishing a state with East Jerusalem – whose walled Old City is dominated by Al-Aqsa and the gilded Dome of the Rock – as their capital. To that end, Palestinian religious authorities dispute an edict by Youssef Al-Qaradawi of Egypt, Sunni Islam’s top cleric, that non-Palestinian Muslims should not go to Jerusalem lest they be perceived as validating Israeli rule….
In Palestine, UN chief says two-state solution ‘only way to guarantee peace’
UN 29 Aug — United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today reiterated his call for a political solution to the Middle East conflict that would end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and would create an independent Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. “It is my deep belief that it is essential to restart a serious and credible political process of negotiation aiming at that objective – the two-state solution – as it is also important to create conditions on the ground to improve the situation of Palestinian populations,” Mr. Guterres said at a press conference in Ramallah after meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. “A two-state solution that will end the occupation and, with the creation of conditions, also the suffering even to the Palestinian people, is in my opinion the only way to guarantee that peace is established and, at the same time, that two states can live together in security and in mutual recognition,” Mr. Guterres said. He said that Israel’s settlement activity represented a major obstacle to the implementation of the two-state solution although there are other obstacles….
Minister says Israel may cut UN funding over settlement blacklist
Times of Israel 31 Aug by Jacob Magid — Gilad Erdan’s warning comes hours after Nikki Haley said US would hold up funds to Human Rights Council if it publishes list of companies operating over the Green Line — …Israel has raged against the proposed roster, calling it part of an effort to boycott the Jewish state. The US has also objected, with ambassador Nikki Haley reportedly threatening to cut funding to the UNHRC over the list. “This is the time to make it clear to the UN that if a blacklist is published of companies operating in Judea and Samaria, Israel will completely cease its financing to the UN and significantly reduce the entry of its representatives to Israel,” Erdan wrote in a series of tweets, referring to the West Bank by its biblical names. “Any body that participates in promoting a boycott against Israeli citizens must understand that.” The minister later tweeted in English on the matter, but diluted his threat to saying that Israel “must reexamine all funding and cooperation with the UN.”
Israel-Jordan relations remain frozen as Jordan refuses re-entry of Israeli ambassador
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Aug – The Jordanian government is reportedly refusing to allow the return of the Israeli ambassador to the country, more than a month after an Israeli embassy security guard shot and killed two Jordanian citizens, Israeli news website Ynet reported on Thursday. Additionally, Ynet reported that relations between Israel and Jordan have remained frozen and no visas are being issued, meaning that “thousands of Jordanians and Palestinians living in Jordan who cannot enter Israel through the Allenby crossing” and “163 passports of Jordanian citizens waiting to receive a visa to Israel have been held in a safe of the Israeli embassy in Jordan.” Staff members of the Israeli embassy to Jordan, including the security guard who Ynet identified as Ziv Moyan — who killed Jordanian citizens Muhammad Zakariya al-Jawawdeh, 17, and Bashar Hamarneh in what Jordanian media and officials said was a professional dispute — had returned to Israel in late July, just days after high tensions following the shooting incident.
According to Jordanian media, the Jordanian government had decided not to allow the Israeli ambassador to Jordan and the embassy staff to return to Amman until “gaining complete assurances” guaranteeing that Moyan would be prosecuted. Ynet reported that Jordan’s refusal to accept ambassador Einat Shlain’s return to Amman was due Shlain’s participation with Moyal and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a celebratory reception upon their return to Tel Aviv.
US says Iran shows ‘true colors’ by restoring Hamas ties
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 31 Aug – U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Thursday Iran had shown its “true colors” by restoring ties with Palestinian militant group Hamas and must be held to account by the international community. The new leader of Hamas in Gaza said on Monday that Tehran was again its biggest provider of money and arms after years of tension over the civil war in Syria. Hamas had angered Iran by refusing to support its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in the six-year-old civil war. Haley described the Hamas leader’s statement as a “stunning admission.” Iran is subject to an arms embargo – with exceptions granted only in cases when it has received U.N. Security Council approval for imports or exports. “Iran is showing its true colors. Iran must decide whether it wants to be a member of the community of nations that can be expected to take its international obligations seriously or whether it wants to be the leader of a jihadist terrorist movement. It cannot be both,” Haley said in a statement. ”It’s long past time for the international community to hold Iran to the same standard that all countries who actually value peace and security are held to,” she said. Neither Hamas nor Iran have disclosed the full scale of Tehran’s backing. But regional diplomats have said Iran’s financial aid for the Islamist movement was dramatically reduced in recent years and directed to the Qassam Brigades rather than to Hamas’ political institutions.
US court tosses Palestinian suit against businessmen supporting IDF, settlements
1 Sept by Andrew Friedman/TPS — A US court has thrown out a billion-dollar lawsuit aimed at slashing funding to Israeli charities and institutions in the West Bank, ruling these organizations comply with Treasury Department regulations for non-profit status and noting the attempt to block funding was a political question that is outside the jurisdiction of the courts. The suit, Al-Tamimi v. Adelson, charged 49 defendants– including philanthropist Sheldon Adelson, Texas Pastor John Hagee, media mogul Haim Saban, non-profits such as the Hebron Fund and corporate entities such as Bank Leumi, Motorola and other companies that provide services to the IDF — with violating both international law and US policy by supporting Israeli ventures in the West Bank. While not addressing the details of the case — accusations that financial support to Israeli projects in the West Bank violated American and international law by supporting the “genocide” of Palestinians — Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that the acts detailed in the suit involved “political questions” which were outside the purview of the judicial branch.
Lawmakers in France demand release of citizen held by Israel
EI 29 Aug by Ali Abunimah — Lawmakers and activists in France are demanding action from their government to free Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian-French human rights defender detained by Israel. On Tuesday, the Israeli military ordered Hamouri held without charge or trial for six months. The administrative detention order came after a judge in Jerusalem had ruled that he should be released to house arrest. Instead, Hamouri will stay in prison. Under Israel’s administrative detention system, a relic of British colonial rule, occupation forces can jail Palestinians indefinitely without ever charging them with an offense or presenting them with evidence. Hamouri, 32, was arrested from his home in occupied East Jerusalem last Wednesday. He is a field researcher with prisoners rights group Addameer. He had previously spent seven years in Israeli prisons but was freed in a prisoner exchange in 2011. “An example for us all” Israeli forces previously charged Hamouri in 2005, claiming he was part of a plot by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to kill Ovadia Yosef, a prominent Israeli rabbi who habitually incited genocidal levels of violence to “annihilate” Palestinians. Hamouri always maintained his innocence. He was held for three years in administrative detention, before accepting a plea deal from Israel’s military court in order to obtain a shorter sentence. Israel’s military court has a conviction rate for Palestinians of nearly 100 percent….
OPP staff sergeant serving in the West Bank
CDN 30 Aug by Trevor Terfloth — A detachment commander from the OPP is heeding a different call to service over the next year. Staff Sgt. Brad Coulbeck, of the Chatham-Kent OPP [Ontario Provincial Police], has been deployed to the Middle East as a mentor and advisor to the Palestinian Authority Security Forces. His deployment is part of Operation Proteus, a Canadian Forces mission in Israel and the West Bank, to support the ongoing peace process in the region. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” Coulbeck told The Daily News on Wednesday. “The opportunity came up and I was successful in getting it.” The mandate of the operation is to work with other Government of Canada personnel to develop the Palestinian Authority’s ability to provide a safe and secure environment for its citizens. Coulbeck, who has been overseas since July 1, is using his policing experience to offer training to students at the officers’ academy, as well as to their instructors. “Most of this mission is building capacity within in the West Bank,” he said. “We’re helping them build professionalism and build transparency, and increase their standards. “It’s for commissioned officers. The leaders of tomorrow, basically.”….
Testimonies from the censored Deir Yassin massacre: ‘They piled bodies and burned them’
Haaretz 16 July 2017 by Ofer Aderet — A young fellow tied to a tree and set on fire. A woman and an old man shot in back. Girls lined up against a wall and shot with a submachine gun. The testimonies collected by filmmaker Neta Shoshani about the massacre in Deir Yassin are difficult to process even 70 years after the fact — For two years now a document that makes for difficult reading has been lying in the archives of the association to commemorate the heritage of Lehi – the Fighters for the Freedom of Israel pre-state underground militia. It was written by a member of the underground about 70 years ago. Reading it could reopen a bleeding wound from the days of the War of Independence that to this day stirs a great deal of emotion in Israeli society.
“Last Friday together with Etzel” – the acronym for the National Military Organization, also known as the Irgun, another pre-state underground militia, led by Menachem Begin – “our movement carried out a tremendous operation to occupy the Arab village on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv road – Deir Yassin. I participated in this operation in the most active way,” wrote Yehuda Feder, whose nom de guerre in Lehi (also known as the Stern Gang) was “Giora.” Further along in the letter, he describes in detail his part in the massacre that took place there. “This was the first time in my life that at my hands and before my eyes Arabs fell. In the village I killed an armed Arab man and two Arab girls of 16 or 17 who were helping the Arab who was shooting. I stood them against a wall and blasted them with two rounds from the Tommy gun,” he wrote, describing how he carried out the execution of the girls with a submachine gun…
This letter is one of the historical documents revealed in a new documentary film entitled “Born in Deir Yassin” by director Neta Shoshani, who devoted the past several years to comprehensive historical research on the Deir Yassin massacre, one of the constitutive incidents of the War of Independence, which has remained a blot on Israel to this day….