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Israel stops issuing one-year visas to foreigners married to Palestinians

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Residency / Restriction of movement

Israel makes it increasingly difficult for Palestinians’ foreign spouses to stay in West Bank
Haaretz 10 Sept by Amira Hass — Ever more frequent demands by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank are forcing these women to leave and reenter the territories. It’s to urge the families to emigrate, critics say —  …In recent months, Eva and other citizens of foreign countries who are married to Palestinian residents of the West Bank have noticed that Israel has been putting more limits on their ability to stay put. Another woman, Dora, says that after years of being issued visas (officially called “visitor permits”) that were valid for a year, suddenly, with no explanation, she received a visa that was only good for a few weeks. Other women, who not long ago received visas valid for six or seven months, have recently been given visas valid for just over two weeks and which must be renewed over and over. When they went to the Civil Administration offices, Ben-Haim led them to conclude that the arrangement of issuing year-long visas has been halted.  Besides the inconvenience and uncertainty the new policy entails, it’s also expensive: Each application and new visa cost 480 shekels ($137), with the payment divided between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. For some couples, the financial burden is too much. And on top of it, some foreign spouses of Palestinians, people with children, have recently traveled abroad to renew their visa only to be blocked by the authorities from reentering. The more stringent policy came unannounced and without any explanation. The new rules and prohibitions, which are being presented verbally to the foreign spouses at the border crossings, at the Civil Administration or via clerks at the Palestinian Interior Ministry, are not uniform or taken from any written document. The visa’s duration changes from person to person, without any clear criteria … Jerusalem attorneys Leora Bechor and Yotam Ben-Hillel represent many foreign spouses of Palestinians … Bechor says: “Israel has apparently decided that the Palestinians don’t have the right to family life. First of all, the spouses of Palestinians aren’t allowed to obtain legal status in the territories via family reunification. And now on top of that, they’ve decided also to block the only path that still lets these couples live together in the territories – long-term, renewable visitor permits.” Bechor says Israel is creating a situation in which spouses who want to keep living together will be forced to leave the West Bank. “In this way, Israel is ensuring the expulsion of many Palestinians,” she says. “All the excuses used by the Civil Administration for not extending the visitor permits are just further proof that Israel is losing its mind over demographics and counting every single Palestinian who lives between the Jordan River and the sea.”

Around the clock opening hours at bridge crossing with Jordan to end
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Sept – The around-the-clock opening hours at al-Karameh/King Hussein/Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan will end on Sunday, the director of the crossings in the Palestinian Authority, Nathmi Muhanna, said on Thursday. He said the bridge will operate for 24 hours on Sunday but will shut down at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, after which the crossing will open from 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night every day of the week except Friday and Saturday when it will operate until 10:30 in the morning. The 24-hour schedule was started in June for a temporary trial period, but it is expected to resume with the start of the new year … The crossing is the only exit way for the three million Palestinians who live in the West Bank. Palestinians have been demanding keeping the crossing, which is under Israeli and Jordanian control, open around the clock during the entire year to overcome crowding and long waiting hours at the crossing, particularly in the summer time and during holidays.

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Thousands attend funeral of 22-year-old slain Palestinian Raed al-Salih
[with photos] BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Thousands of Palestinians participated in a funeral on Saturday for 22-year-old Raed al-Salhi from al-Duheisha refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, a day after Israeli authorities returned his body. Al-Salhi died in an Israeli hospital last week, succumbing to multiple gunshot injuries sustained during an Israeli detention raid in the camp a month ago. The funeral procession set off from Beit Jala Governmental hospital, with thousands of mourners marching behind al-Salhi’s body, carried by friends and family members. A song by famous Syrian singer Samih Choukeir, called “The brother has returned,” was playing on loudspeakers during the funeral procession. Mourners shouted chants calling for retaliation for Israeli violence against Palestinians, and urged Palestinian parties to come together for national unity. Some participants fired gunshots into the air and waved flags representing various Palestinian political factions. When al-Salhi’s body arrived at al-Duheisha refugee camp, mourners placed his remains at the camp’s boys school to allow friends and family members to bid him a final farewell. A funeral prayer was carried out at the school yard, before mourners carried al-Salhi’s body to the Martyrs’ Cemetery — where Palestinians killed by Israeli forces are buried — in the nearby village of Artas.
Al-Salhi was shot multiple times in the chest at close range, puncturing his liver, during a predawn military raid on Aug. 9, when he was left bleeding out for an hour and a half before being transferred for treatment at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, where he fell into a coma. He succumbed to his wounds almost a month later. Israeli authorities then withheld al-Salhi’s body for six days, before returning it to his family on Friday.
“The occupation came to assassinate my son, not to detain him,” al-Salhi’s bereaved mother told Ma‘an during the funeral, adding that Sept. 9, the day of the funeral, coincided with al-Salhi’s birthday. “Here, we are celebrating his birthday again, but in a different way this time, since we are carrying him to his final resting place,” she said. “I congratulate him on his birthday and for dying a martyr,” she added. Every now and then during the funeral, al-Salhi’s crying mother could be seen whispering into the ear of her son’s lifeless body, “congratulations, Raed, for this martyrdom.”
A general strike was also called in Bethlehem on Saturday until 3 p.m. in order to mourn the killing of al-Salhi, who was a popular and loved resident of al-Duheisha camp….

17-year-old slain Palestinian laid to rest near Tulkarem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Hundreds of Palestinians joined a funeral procession for 17-year-old Qutayba Ziad Zahran on Friday, 20 days after Israeli forces shot the minor to death for attempting a stabbing attack on soldiers at Israel’s Zaatara checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank. Israeli authorities delivered Zahran’s body to Israel’s 104 checkpoint in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem earlier Friday morning, and it was transferred to the Thabet Thabet Governmental hospital. Zahran’s funeral started with a vehicular procession from Thabit Thabit hospital to his hometown in Illar village northeast of Tulkarem. Palestinian security officers escorted the funeral until it reached the Shweika suburb in the city’s northern outskirts. After the body arrived in Illar, it was taken to the Zahran’s home for a final farewell. Mourners then carried the body to the village’s boys school to perform the funeral prayer, before taking Zahran’s remains to the “Martyrs’ Cemetery” in southern Illar, where he was laid to rest. Mourners shouted slogans calling for retaliation against atrocities committed by Israeli forces.
According to Palestinian NGO al-Haq, witnesses confirmed at the time of Zahran’s killing that Israeli soldiers continued to shoot the teenager even when he was incapacitated on the ground …
The day after the attempted attack, some 50 Israeli soldiers raided Zahran’s family home in the Illar village when his entire family was interrogated, including the children in the house, according to a testimony provided to al-Haq by Zahran’s father. After interrogating the family members about Zahran and his social network, the soldiers detained Zahran’s brother Tariq, 30, and confiscated his phone, the father said. As of Sept. 7, when al-Haq’s statement was released, Tariq continued to be held in Israeli custody.  Like most Palestinian families whose relatives are injured or killed by Israeli forces, Zahran’s father said that neither Israeli nor Palestinian authorities officially notified the family of his son’s death, and that they had heard through the local news and Facebook….

Settlers occupying Hebron home attack Palestinian woman with stones
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — A Palestinian woman was moderately injured and hospitalized Saturday evening after Israeli settlers occupying her home in Hebron’s Old City in the occupied West Bank attacked her with stones. Hazem Abu Rajab told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers, who forcibly took over parts of the Abu Rajab family home in July and have been living there ever since, hurled stones at his 55-year-old mother while she was on the stairs, on the ground floor of three-story building. She was evacuated to Hebron’s governmental hospital for treatment, suffering from a cut on her face. An Israeli police spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the attack.
The state of Israel ordered the 15 settlers families living in the Abu Rajab house to evacuate last month, however, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered last week to delay the evacuation based on an appeal submitted by the settlers.

Teenager narrates how Israeli settlers attempted to lynch him in West Bank fields
NABLUS (WAFA) 7 Sept by Zahran Ma’ali — Even though Osama Jamil Daghlas is only 16 years old, this did not prevent a group of 20 grown up Israeli settlers from attempting to lynch him. He survived only after the settlers thought that he was dead and left him alone. Speaking about his nightmarish ordeal from the day before from his hospital bed in Nablus, where he is getting treatment for multiple injuries to the head, the stomach, and the upper and lower parts of his body as well as back pain, Daghlas said he was playing with his cousin Salah in the open fields near his village, Burqa, north of Nablus when a group of 20 settlers attacked them. He said they were scared and ran away but the setters caught up with him while Salah was able to get away. “The settlers first threw rocks at me and one hit me in the head and I fell to ground unconscious,” he said. “But this was not enough for them. After that they started to kick me and beat me up all over my body. Then they dragged me across the field for about one kilometer heading to their settlement at the top of the hill. My clothes were all torn and when we got on top of the hill, they pushed me and let me roll down the hill toward the valley,” said Daghlas who was still in pain from the assault. When Daghlas attempted to get up and walk back to his village, which was only 200 meters away from where he was, the settlers threw stun grenades at him. He fell and his head hit a rock. Daghlas does not remember what happened after that but found himself in the hospital when he woke up again … Head of the emergency unit at Rafidya hospital in Nablus, Abdul Karim Hashash, said Daghlas was brought to hospital on Wednesday afternoon suffering from multiple injuries to the head, belly and the limbs. He was unconscious before his arrival to hospital. He also had cuts on his back and lower and upper parts of  his body….

Settlers chop down olive trees in Nablus-district village
NABLUS (WAFA) 8 Sept – Israeli settlers Friday chopped down dozens of olive trees belonging to the Palestinian village of As-Sawiya, south of Nablus city, said a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said a number of Israeli settlers from the nearby Rachalim settlement overnight chopped down a total of 43 olive trees using chainsaws in al-Wad area, north of As-Sawiya village. The chopped olive trees reportedly belong to Juma’h Fathallah, a resident of the village. Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities….

Israeli police assault protesters, detain 5 during demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Sept — Israeli police detained at least five protesters, including two Palestinian minors, on Friday during a nonviolent protest outside of the Shamasna family home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which was taken over by Israeli settlers on Tuesday, while a mother was injured when she attempted to prevent the arrest of her 14-year-old son.
Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli police had assaulted and pushed Palestinian protesters during a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, after Palestinians performed Friday prayers outside the Shamasna family home of 53 years in an act of nonviolent protest against the eviction. The family was expelled from the home during a widely condemned eviction after Israeli settlers claimed ownership over the property. Israeli forces detained Mutaz Mahmoud al-Sau, 14, and his brother Muhammad, 12, during the protest. When Mutaz was being detained, his mother attempted to prevent the arrest by hugging and holding on to him. Mahmoud, the boys’ father, told Ma‘an that his wife had sustained bruises in the back of her head from Israeli police pushing her away. She was taken to a hospital for treatment…
Witnesses told Ma‘an that a foreign activist had sustained an injury in the head after Israeli forces pushed him during the protest.  Salih Thiab, a local activist, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained him and two foreign solidarity activists minutes after the demonstration kicked off. He added that he was released hours later after being interrogated on suspicions of violating the law. Thiab was also banned from the western part of Sheikh Jarrah for two weeks. The two foreign activists, Thiab said, remained in Israeli custody after being accused of “attacking Israeli police officers and settlers.” Local activists noted that weekly demonstrations would be organized every Friday to protest the settler takeover of the Shamasna home and other settler-driven evictions underway in the neighborhood.

Israeli forces raid Abu Dis, fire tear gas at Palestinian schoolchildren
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 Sept — Israeli forces stormed the town of Abu Dis in the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem on Sunday morning and fired tear gas at university students and young schoolchildren at al-Quds University. Hani Halabiya, a spokesman of the Popular Resistance Committees in the town, told Ma‘an that several university students as well as schoolchildren that were also at the campus suffered from tear gas inhalation as soldiers “haphazardly” showered the area with tear gas.
Al-Quds University, along with other Palestinian universities, has been subjected to numerous Israeli military raids in the past. Six al-Quds University students were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes there in April….

Israeli forces invade Hebron’s commercial center on Friday
[with photos] HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 10 Sept by ISM al-Khalil Team — On Friday, 8th of September, large amounts  of Israeli soldiers went into the H1 area of occupied Hebron, supposedly under full Palestinian control. The army  used teargas and stun grenades  at one of the main junctions in downtown Hebron, effecting the accessibility of the Manara sqaure area for Palestinian citizens. After Friday noon-prayer, the normal small scale protests took place by young Palestinians where ten soldiers came out of the H2 area monitoring the protesters in the street. Following this, the protesters backed away and discontinued their protesting. About fifteen minutes later, 40 soldiers invaded the area throwing sound grenades within the Old City and moving up into the main central hub of Hebron, in an area supposedly under full Palestinian control, in two military vehicles. Some rocks were thrown at the soldiers by a few Palestinian youth, which was immediately met with unreasonable force by soldiers throwing stun grenades and several tear gas canisters in an area with uninvolved civilians. Many Palestinians were forced to rapidly drive away in their cars in order to escape the suffocating effects of teargas used by the israeli forces in a civilian neighborhood.  These included young children and families, and additionally many shop owners had to evacuate their shops due to the amount of tear gas clouds. The direction of the wind blew the tear gas back towards the soldiers who were throwing it, indicating that this disruption was not thoroughly planned, and many of the soldiers were not experienced enough to handle tear gas in the first place. Consequently, the soldiers were forced back past Shuhada checkpoint and into the H2-area under full Israeli military control….

Israeli police detain Palestinian minor in Hebron over alleged knife possession
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Israeli police detained a Palestinian near the Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Wednesday for allegedly being in possession of a knife. Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that a 16-year-old Palestinian from the Hebron area was detained by an Israeli border police officer for allegedly having a knife. She added that the Palestinian minor was detained and transferred to interrogations with Israeli authorities. An Israeli police press spokesperson noted that the knife was allegedly found in the unidentified Palestinian’s clothes and was “seized at the scene before any attack took place.” Scores of Palestinians have been detained in the past two years for alleged possession of knives since a wave of unrest began in October 2015….

Israel detains 20 Palestinians during overnight raids in West Bank, East Jerusalem
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained at least 20 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem during overnight raids between Wednesday and Thursday. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that 14 Palestinians were detained in the West Bank. However, she did not have further details on the locations of the detentions. Hebrew-language media reported that 13 of these Palestinians were detained for rock-throwing, and were transferred to detention centers to undergo interrogations with Israeli authorities.
According to Palestinian news agency Wafa, a Palestinian was detained in the village of Burqin in the northern Jenin district, sparking clashes in the village.  Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in the Qalqiliya district during raids in several villages, according to Wafa.  In the central West Bank, Wafa reported that three Palestinians were detained in the Ramallah district.
Israeli sources said that an M-16 was confiscated during a raid in the town of Abu Dis in the Jerusalem district, while another gun was found in the Ramallah district.  Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces had detained a Palestinian identified as Rami Badr Halabiya in Abu Dis. During the raid on Abu Dis, clashes had erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces. The Palestinian Red Crescent said that at least 10 Palestinians suffered from tear gas inhalation during the clashes, while another Palestinian suffered from burns. All of the injured were treated on the scene, according to the Red Crescent.
Wafa reported that Israeli forces also detained five Palestinians, including a minor, in al-Eizariya in the Jerusalem district. Meanwhile, in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police detained three Palestinian in the Old City and near the neighborhood of Silwan, according to Wafa. Five other Palestinians were also reportedly detained during raids in other areas of East Jerusalem.


Foreign ministry slams Israel’s decision to close Jerusalem’s Golden Gate
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 10 Sept – The Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs condemned on Sunday the decision of the Israeli public prosecutor to shut down the Golden Gate, one of the gates of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem. The ministry said Israeli authorities are gradually altering the historical status quo at al-Aqsa Mosque so that “they could absorb any potential response [from the Palestinians and Muslims]”. It said the decision to shut down the gate could lead to disastrous consequences in the region, a matter which requires a “strong reaction from the Islamic Cooperation Organization”. The Ministry called on all competent international agencies and organizations, on top of which the United Nations, to live up to their responsibility and protect this Islamic holy site.

Palestinian woman teacher’s detention extended, another starts to serve time
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 Sept – The detention of Khadija Khweis, a Palestinian teacher from Jerusalem, was extended on Thursday a day after her arrest, while another teacher, Sahar Natsheh, turned herself in to serve time in prison, according to WAFA correspondent. Khweis and Natsheh are known outspoken defenders of Al-Aqsa Mosque against Israeli attempts to take it over. The Israeli General Security Services arrested Khweis and held her for interrogation due to her pro-Aqsa activities. Natsheh turned herself in to the prison administration in Ramleh to serve three months in jail following a court ruling. She has been kept under house arrest. Both women were banned by Israeli police from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque due to their activities.


Israeli soldiers open fire at farmers, abduct a patient, in the Gaza Strip
IMEMC 11 Sept — Israeli soldiers fired many rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian farmers in their lands in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the besieged Gaza Strip, and abducted a patient at Beit Hanoun (Erez) border terminal. The soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence from southern Gaza, fired many live rounds at Palestinian farmers, forcing them out of their lands. Media sources in Khan Younis said the farmers fled their lands in fear of further Israeli escalation.
In related news, the soldiers abducted a patient, identified as Fadel Abu Hasseera, 27, as he was trying to cross Erez terminal, in northern Gaza, for medical treatment. The Palestinian received a permit from the Israeli authorities, but the soldiers abducted him after he arrived at Erez on his way to a hospital.

WHO: Israeli delays or denies 2 in every 5 Gaza patients access to health care abroad
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Sept — Israeli authorities delayed or denied two out of every five patients in the Gaza Strip access to medical care outside of the besieged coastal enclave over the month of July, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday.
During that period, two Palestinians — a five-year-old boy and a 22-year-old man — died while waiting to receive permission to leave the blockaded territory for treatment. Yousef Zourub, a 22-year-old man with Gaucher’s disease, had severe case of pneumonia and missed several appointments at Makassed Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem after his application for Israeli exit permit was delayed. Following his application for the hospital appointment on July 16, Israeli General Security Services requested that Zourub appear for security interrogation at Israel’s Erez border crossing on that day. However, he died at the European Gaza Hospital on the day of the appointment.
In its monthly report on the referral of Gaza patients, the WHO said that 42.6 percent of patients saw their permits either delayed or denied — 45 out of the total 1,847 applications were denied, while 742 were delayed with no response from Israel by the time of the patient’s hospital appointment. Among those delayed were 153 minors and 89 people over 60 years old. Meanwhile, the majority of permits for patients companions were either delayed or denied in June, with just 47.7 percent of the 2,013 applicants getting approval to accompany their loved ones to the hospital….

Hamas chief heads to Egypt in sign of Gaza’s improving ties
GAZA CITY (AP) 9 Sept — The Hamas militant group says its top leader is heading to Cairo to discuss renewed cooperation with Egyptian authorities. Saturday marks the first time Egypt has allowed Ismail Haniyeh to leave the Gaza Strip since he was elected the Palestinian group’s chief in May. A Hamas statement said Haniyeh and other leaders will discuss “boosting” recent easing of the blockade Egypt imposes on Gaza along with Israel. Egypt has long accused Hamas of aiding Islamic insurgency in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula. In recent months, Egypt has sent fuel to help reduce Gaza’s power crisis and promised to open the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s main gateway to the outside world. Hamas has signaled its willingness by building a buffer zone along the Gaza-Sinai border to prevent movement of extremist militants and weapons.

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for return on Hajj pilgrims to Gaza Strip
GAZA (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Egyptian authorities are expected to open the Rafah crossing between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt on Friday to permit the crossing of Palestinians returning from the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. A Palestinian committee said on Friday that 500 Palestinian pilgrims will arrive in Cairo on Thursday night, and will return to Gaza through the Rafah crossing on Friday. The committee added that the crossing would also be opened from Monday until Thursday next week to permit 3,000 Palestinian pilgrims to return home to the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian side has not informed the committee whether humanitarian cases would be permitted to travel during the openings at these times.

Qassem Brigades: Cement wall will not stop resistance’s tunnels
MEMO 8 Sept — The cement wall that the Israeli occupation forces have started to build around the Gaza Strip to prevent the resistance’s tunnels will not restrict the resistance’s ability,” the Izz ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement. “The solutions and experiences by Israel over the past years have amounted to nothing in the face of the resistance’s tunnels,” it added. “The occupation is still chasing a delusional mirage,” referring to Israel’s latest announcement that it will build an over and underground cement wall with equipment to detect tunnels. The wall’s effectiveness was questioned with the Brigades saying that the announcement is a media stunt from Israel to reassure the masses who feel unsafe. The Israeli occupation forces have begun the construction of a cement wall along the border with Gaza a few weeks ago. It is expected to take a few months to complete. However, many believe that Israel will not be able to complete its construction due to its high cost, according to Israeli commentators….

Red Cross chief spurned in attempt to visit captive Israelis
JERUSALEM (AP) 7 Sept —  The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross says Hamas would not allow him access to two Israeli civilians believed to be held by the Islamic militant group in Gaza. Peter Maurer told reporters Thursday that his organization wants access “to all those detained” in conflict zones it visits. Despite raising the issue, he said he was unable to visit the captive Israelis while in Gaza, where he met with leaders to discuss the strip’s blockade, prisoners held by Israel, and other humanitarian issues. Hamas, also believed to be holding the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in a 2014 war, wants Israel to first free 54 Palestinian prisoners re-arrested after release in a 2011 prisoner swap.

Gaza residents call on UNRWA to improve services for refugees
MEMO 7 Sept — Palestinians in Gaza have demonstrated in front of the UNRWA headquarters in the besieged territory to call on the agency to improve its services for refugees, Anadolu has reported. The protest was organised by the Joint Committee for Palestinian Refugees.The Committee includes representatives from the nationalist and Islamic Palestinian factions, in addition to the refugees’ committees of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Parents’ Council. They explained that the recruitment of teachers and other service professionals by UNRWA does not keep pace with the growing refugee population. “UNRWA has to bear its responsibility towards all the refugees and offer them all of the services that they need,” insisted Mahmoud Khalaf, a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who took part in the demonstration. Among the refugees’ requirements, he pointed out, is humanitarian aid as well as more teachers. “This is why UNRWA was established in 1949.” Although the agency has 349 vacancies in Gaza, added Khalaf, it has only filled 250 of the positions.

Photos: Gazans come out in solidarity with Rohingya
MEMO — Gazans attend a demonstration in support of the persecuted Rohingya people, on September 10, 2017

Gaza: ‘It’s not a war of guns, but a war on minds’
GAZA STRIP (Al Jazeera) 9 Sept by Mersiha Gadzo — Israeli siege is damaging the mental health of Palestinians, with rights groups documenting a rise in suicide attempts — As Rezeq Abu Setta, 39, climbed the antenna tower of a 68-metre-high building last year, he was sure that jumping off was the solution to his problems. But once at the top, he realised that his family would be the only ones to suffer in the end. After lingering for seven hours on the antenna tower, contemplating whether to jump, he decided to climb back down. “I lost control; I was out of my mind and under pressure,” Abu Setta told Al Jazeera from his home in Khan Younis. “I suddenly decided to climb straight to the top without thinking about what I was about to do. But once at the top, I started to think of my kids.” In January 2011, Abu Setta suddenly found out that his salary as a Palestinian Authority security guard had been cut for reasons that were unclear. For five years, he tried to get his salary back, but received only empty promises in return. This was just one of the challenges Abu Setta had been grappling with: He had struggled with work-related injuries on several occasions, his home was destroyed twice during Israeli offensives on Gaza, his father was killed, and his mother was imprisoned in an Israeli jail for eight years…
Suicides have always been a rare occurrence in Palestinian society, amounting to about one suicide a year at most, but health officials say it has become an increasingly prevalent phenomenon in Gaza today. At least 95 people tried to commit suicide in the Gaza Strip in the first quarter of 2016, a nearly 40 percent increase from previous years, according to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. In recent years, there have been many cases or attempts of self-immolation by youth in both Gaza and the occupied West Bank. According to Akram Nafi, a psychiatrist at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, the way people are committing suicide has also changed. “Usually, people who wish to commit suicide choose to do so around midnight, and they make a secret plan because they just want to end their lives in peace. But these people are making a show and they use a very painful way to do so; most of them are under severe pressure,” Nafi told Al Jazeera. It is a way for them to say “no” to the crushing unemployment and ongoing blockade of Gaza, which makes them stressed, anxious and feeling hopeless, Nafi explained. “The suicides aren’t due to psychological disorders; these kinds of people [who have been attempting suicide] believe that there’s no hope for anyone to help them….

Suicide and a lost generation: Gaza youth are dying before they can live
+972 blog 7 Sept by Qamar Taha — Tragic news spread among youth in Gaza last week: Mohanned Younis, a young writer, just 22 years old, took his own life. Younis, who had graduated from a pharmacology program, wrote short stories. Some of his stories won prizes, and one was most recently nominated for the A.M. Qattan Foundation literary prize. He had tried on numerous occasions to leave the Gaza Strip in order to advance his writing career, to fulfill his dreams. In much of his writing, he touched on the depressing reality in Gaza, which he described as unbearable and not survivable — a feeling which is apparently shared by many other youth in Gaza. According to the Facebook page of “We Are Not Numbers,” which encourages youth in Gaza to tell their stories, Younis is just the latest suicide among youth in Gaza. When the unemployment rate for people under 30 stands at 60 percent; when the possibility of leaving Gaza to study elsewhere, to develop oneself, and certainly just to travel, has been reduced to almost zero; when the lack of electricity makes the most basic daily tasks unthinkably difficult; when there is a military attack, destruction and killing every few years; and when the prospects of hope and opportunity appear further and slimmer than ever — tragic outcomes are almost unavoidable. News of Younis’s death was joined by another piece of tragic news this week: illustrator Moath al-Haj, 30, was found dead in his Gaza home. Al-Haj, who was orphaned at a young age, was well known among young, educated Palestinians for his sharp and expressive illustrations, in which he used clean lines to demonstrate the difficulties of his life and the situation in Gaza, primarily among the youth. His death led to impassioned discussions on social networks and many people attributed his death to the heartbreak of his life circumstances….

Palestine artist gives voice to unrecognized villages
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 6 Sept by Ahmed el-Komi — Six children sit amid the leafless branches of a tree in an arid, barren  landscape, a small weary-looking shed in the distance. The image, a photograph by Mohamed Badarne, is part of “Unrecognized Games,” a series featuring children from the 45 unrecognized villages in Israel’s Negev Desert, where more than 75,000 Bedouin live. Badarne told Al-Monitor that he wants to pose one key question through his work on the Bedouin: “Why is Israel destroying Negev villages?” Answering his own question, he replied, “Israel wants to eliminate the Palestinian presence from the pre-1948 territories.” The term “unrecognized village” stems from Israel’s refusal to recognize Bedouin ownership of the land on which they have settled in the Negev, where they have had a presence since the seventh century, well before Israel’s establishment. As the Bedouin lack deeds or documentation of ownership, Israel refuses to provide their settlements with public services — that is, water, electricity, waste disposal and education and health facilities. In addition, the Bedouins’ homes are under the constant threat of demolition, because Israel considers them to have been illegally built. For instance, on Aug. 31, Israeli authorities used bulldozers to destroy containers used for storage as well as olive trees in several villages … Life in the Negev, given the absence of public services and the state’s destruction of personal property, is insecure and tough, but the children Badarne has photographed have nonetheless managed to turn their surroundings into a playground: They climb trees; they play with the remains of broken or discarded objects; they run around on the sandy stretches of land and amuse themselves in front of a broken television set.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Judaization / Settlements

‘Challenge 5 School’ inaugurated iin Jubbet al-Dhib, rebuilt after Israeli demolition
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Sept  — Palestinian Minister of Education Sabri Saydam inaugurated a school in the village of Jubbet al-Dhib in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem Sunday morning, after the school was dismantled by Israeli forces and rebuilt by Palestinians. Israeli forces seized mobile classrooms in the isolated village last month, the day before the first day of school. Activists and ministry employees rebuilt five classrooms overnight Friday. Israeli forces then stormed the village Saturday evening, surrounded the construction site, and attacked activists with tear gas, stun grenades, and bullets, sparking fears that Israeli authorities would destroy the school once again. A spokesperson for the Israeli Civil Administration told Ma’an that “work tools were confiscated” as a result of the raid, but that for now, the structures — deemed ‘illegal’ by Israel — have remained standing. The newly rebuilt school has been named “Challenge 5 School,” because it was the fifth school to be constructed by the ministry in areas threatened by Israeli settlement construction, according to the education ministry’s Bethlehem office and the Palestinian Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, which supervised Saturday morning’s inauguration.
Head of the committee Walid Assaf attended the inauguration along with the Governor of Bethlehem Jibrin al-Bakri and representatives of local and European organizations. “We will access our right to education and freedom by any means necessary,” Assaf said in a speech during the inauguration. “When the occupation disassembled the school, we decided to rebuild it immediately. Our battle was one of survival and steadfastness, so we rebuilt and fully prepared a school of five classrooms in less than 24 hours,” he said….

A southern Israeli village’s fate: Bedouin out, Jews in
Haaretz 8 Sept by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Eight months ago, Yakub Abu al-Kiyan was killed by police during a protest against the demolition of Bedouin houses to make way for Jewish ones; his widow and 10 kids are living in a tent next to the rubble of their home — Wearing black, she emerges from her tent, a beautiful, smiling woman whose face is etched with the lines of life’s ordeals. Raba Abu al-Kiyan, the widow of Yakub – the teacher who was shot to death on January 18 by the Israel Police, who in a snap decision concluded that he was trying to run them over – lives in a tent next to the ruins of her home in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev   For eight months – through winter, spring, summer and now with the onset of autumn – the bereaved family has called this tent home. The heaps of rubble nearby have lain untouched since that fateful, early January morning, the morning of the killing and destruction in Umm al-Hiran. The ruins of the parents’ house, the children’s house, the animal pen – all are just as they were. People don’t clear away the rubble in Umm al-Hiran, because they understand that in any event they’re living on borrowed time here. On July 18, the bulldozers returned and started to prepare the ground for the religious-Jewish community of Hiran, which is to be built on the ruins of the Bedouin village. The work is going on just steps away from the tent where Raba and her children live. They probably won’t be able to stay here much longer … A pall of despair seems to have descended on Umm al-Hiran. No one is expanding his house, no one is renovating or fixing anything – neglect is rampant. The mounds of ruins have become street furniture, the meager plantings have wilted, there’s no reason to cultivate anything. The generators, the black water containers, the satellite dishes and the solar panels – all are now signs of transience here, scattered about on the ground, after dozens of years of habitation. Only the access road to the community, formerly scarred and pot-holed, was miraculously repaired and repaved recently. After all, it’s going to serve Jewish residents soon….

Security forces confiscate vehicles and work tools in community of Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar
B’Tselem 10 Sept — Today, Sunday 10 Sept. 2017, a military jeep arrived in the morning in the agricultural areas to the west of the Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley. The forces confiscated two commercial vehicles and a truck. The vehicles were taken from three families who are employed by the landowners in the area as agricultural workers. A few days ago, on 6 September 2017, Civil Administration forces came to the same community and confiscated a tractor and a welding machine that was being used at the time by a resident to repair the community’s water pipe. The forces also confiscated a bus used for transporting agricultural workers to farms in the area. All the confiscations were undertaken on the pretext if presence in a “firing zone,” without issuing confiscation orders ….

Israeli forces deliver demolition notices for homes in Qalquiliya-area village
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 8 Sept — Israel’s civil administration delivered 13 demolition notices to several families in the village of Jit in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya on Thursday, as a resident told Ma‘an the move was an attempt to “intimidate” the village. The orders stated that the families had until the end of the month to present appeals against the demolition orders. Omar Yamin, a member of the village council, told Ma‘an that some of the homes threatened with demolitions are near the Kedumim settlement in the north and near the Gilad settlement toward the south. The village council is expected to challenge the demolition notices, he said, adding that the homes were not yet approved by the Israeli civil administration and the village has been working to obtain this approval in order to prevent demolitions in the future. Yamin told Ma‘an that it was “unlikely” that the homes would actually be demolished by Israel, and that he instead saw the move as political and an attempt by Israeli authorities to “intimidate” the residents. Yamin added that Israel’s civil administration had previously delivered demolition notices to homes in the village, but the demolitions were halted after being challenged by lawyers. If these demolitions are carried out, at least 60 Palestinians would become homeless, Yamin added….

New app to crack down on illegal Palestinian West Bank construction
Ynet 6 Sept by Elisha Ben Kimon — Samaria Regional Council launches new communal watchdog app enabling settlers to report instances of illegal Palestinian construction of haphazard or permanent structures: ‘We see illegal building of almost every type. Sometimes we are shocked by the audacity,’ says council head Yossi Dagan — …The issue of buildings and structures lacking government approval has increasingly come to the fore in Israeli discourse following a court-ordered evacuation of Amona earlier this year. The residents also complained about what they described as hostile takeovers of areas within the municipal boundaries of the council. Yoav Hagar, a resident of Nofim in the West Bank, has already used the application to notify users of illegal construction. The new communal watchdog, named after the council, was launched after residents complained that Palestinians were building haphazard illegal structures throughout the area which, they claim, have resulted in security hazards on several occasions. “Three days ago on my way to the community of Revava, I noticed a few temporary structures next to the community. I travel on the same road every day and suddenly these structures pop up. I went on the application and I reported it,” said Hagar. “I don’t know for certain that they are illegal but this way the information is transferred to the council and they are supposed to check it.”,7340,L-5012997,00.html

Israel to debate expanding settlement in east Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AFP) 10 Sept — Israeli authorities in Jerusalem on Sunday deferred for three days a debate on building permits that would create the largest Israeli settlement inside a Palestinian neighbourhood, city councilors said. The council’s planning and construction committee had been set to examine issuing permits for a settlement in the occupied east Jerusalem Palestinian neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber, committee members told AFP. They said the matter was now on the agenda for a Wednesday meeting, without giving reasons for the postponement. Settlement watchdog Peace Now said it was because of a scheduling conflict concerning a lawyer for opponents to the scheme.
The permits, if granted, would allow for expansion of the Nof Zion settlement to add 176 housing units to the 91 existing units. Plans for the new units have already been approved and issuing building permits is the last major bureaucratic step. Peace Now and other NGOs say the approvals would make Nof Zion the largest Israeli settlement inside any Palestinian neighbourhood. Most settlements, particularly in the occupied West Bank, are located outside of Palestinian residential areas. “Within east Jerusalem, it’s a very serious development,” Peace Now spokeswoman Anat Ben Nun told AFP. “It’s indicative of a trend that we’re seeing of settlement expansion inside Palestinian neighbourhoods in east Jerusalem.” … Settlement watchdogs and Palestinians accuse far-right Israeli groups of pushing for settlements in east Jerusalem to ensure the city can never be divided.

Israeli MK launches plan to pay Palestinians to emigrate, annex West Bank
MEMO 6 Sept — An Israeli parliamentarian is urging the government to annex the entire West Bank and pay Palestinians – on both sides of the Green Line – to emigrate. Member of Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, of coalition party Jewish Home, is launching the plan this week ahead of his National Union faction’s upcoming conference where he hopes it will be adopted. The right-wing MK is urging the Israeli government to formally annex the entire West Bank, end the Palestinian Authority, and boost settlement construction. As for those Palestinians in the West Bank who decline the chance to emigrate, Smotrich says they will “enjoy a much better life” than the citizens of “Arab countries”, but they will not be allowed to vote in the Knesset elections. Only after a “period of 30 years” will they be eligible for the right to vote – but after their “attitudes” have been examined, and on condition of first serving in the Israeli military. Jewish Home is headed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and is an amalgamation of various hard right-wing nationalist factions and parties.

Palestinians call for ouster of Greek Orthodox patriarch
AP and Sue Surkes 9 Sept — Palestinian Christians protested against the Greek Orthodox patriarch of the Holy Land on Saturday, demanding the resignation of Theophilos III for allegedly selling church land to Israelis. Some 200 demonstrators rallied Saturday outside the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem’s Old City. Some raised banners reading “Theophilos is unworthy.” The church is one of the largest real estate owners in the Holy Land. It is dominated by Greek clergy while the flock is overwhelmingly Palestinian. Activists have presented documents they say show the patriarch sold land in Jerusalem and elsewhere in sweetheart deals. They demand that the church open its books and that the patriarch resign. Last month, about 300 Palestinian Christians and lay groups filed a complaint against Theophilos with the Palestinian Authority’s attorney general, accusing him of “selling land to the enemy.”
The land sale deals have also caused consternation among many Israelis, who have raised concerns of the fate of the homeowners on large tracts of land in Jerusalem sold by the church.  On Wednesday, the chairman of the KKL-JNF Jewish National Fund launched a blistering attack on the group of anonymous investors who bought the prime Jerusalem real estate from the church….

Jerusalem church leaders denounce Israeli efforts to ‘weaken Christian presence’
The New Arab 5 Sept — The heads of churches in Jerusalem on Monday criticised what they say is a breach of the religious status quo in the city, as a real estate war between the Orthodox Church and the Israeli state continues to escalate. Last month an Israeli court upheld the 2004 sale of two hotels near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City between the Greek Orthodox Church and Israeli settler organisation Ateret Cohanim, a group which works to create a Jewish majority in Jerusalem through the purchase of Palestinian properties. The church has been fighting the property deal in court for the past decade, arguing it was conducted illegally and the properties should be returned to the church. A recent draft law in the Knesset to transfer church land sold to private citizens to the Israeli state has also caused consternation among church officials. The bill has yet to be passed but could damage future church property deals. The heads of the Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Ethiopian, Armenian, Greek Catholic, Syrian and other churches denounced both decisions in a rare joint statement on Monday. “We see in these actions a systematic attempt to undermine the integrity of the Holy City of Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and to weaken the Christian presence”, the statement said, according to Haaretz. “We affirm in the clearest possible terms that a vital, vibrant Christian community is an essential element in the make-up of our diverse society, and threats to the Christian community can only increase the troubling tensions that have emerged in these turbulent times”….

How Bedouin women were exploited to ‘Judaize’ the Negev at NY Fashion Week
+972 mag 6 Sept by Samah Salaime — An organization that settles Jews in the Negev, and with a central role in the story of displacement at Umm al-Hiran, enlists a famous Israeli designer to team up with Bedouin women for a NY Fashion Week fundraiser. The problem — nobody told the Bedouin women what they were up to — Israeli designer Aviad Arik Herman, who made headlines earlier this year for designing Culture Minister Miri Regev’s famous “united Jerusalem” dress, entered into a blossoming “partnership” with Bedouin women culminating with a dress on display at New York Fashion Week this week, according to an article in Hebrew-language news site Ynet. The story, it turns out, is not as heartwarming as one might believe. According to the article, the Or Movement enlisted Arik Herman to present an embroidered dress, designed by him and produced by the women of Laqiya. The Or Movement’s purpose is to settle the Negev and Galilee with Jews, and is behind the core “seed” community of Hiran, a Jewish-only town slated to be built on the ruins of an unrecognized Bedouin village called Umm al-Hiran. So how did a group of women from unrecognized Bedouin villages, who are fighting to stop the demolition of their homes, come to cooperate with an initiative working to displace Beduoin just like them? Asma al-Saneh, head of the The Association for the Improvement of Women’s Status, Lakia, the organization that runs “Desert Embroidery,” told me the Bedouin women had no idea in what they were taking part. “We never thought we would fall into such a deceitful trap. We never made headlines for our good work, and now this ruins our reputation.”….

Israeli army holds training near Palestinian community, terrifying residents
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 7 Sept – Israeli army units held training on Wednesday night near residential tents in Hammamat al-Maleh in the northern Jordan Valley causing panic and terrifying children, according to al-Maleh’s mayor, Aref Daraghme. He told WAFA that the training was so close to the tents where Palestinian residents of the village live to a point that children and women were kept awake all night fearing of what could happen. He said this was not the first time the army holds training in areas very close to residences.

Punitive Demolitions

Opinion: Ending punitive demolitions / Jessica Montell
JPost 7 Sept — Jessica Montell is the incoming executive director of HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual.– If your son didn’t come home from school and you heard he was arrested, whom can you call? If you turn 16 and discover that your parents never registered you in their national ID card, leaving you with no legal status, who will help you sort out this mess? If you are on your way to university abroad and are denied exit from the West Bank, how will you get to your studies? The cases cited above come from some of the hundreds of people who turn to HaMoked each year: Palestinians from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, people caught up in a bureaucracy over which they have no control, many of whom have nowhere else to turn. None of these cases was mentioned in the stormy Knesset session this week, in which HaMoked was accused of “aiding terrorists.” MKs were outraged that HaMoked petitions against demolition of homes when a family member perpetrated a deadly attack against Israelis. HaMoked is proud to be the lead organization contesting these demolitions, which are a blatant collective punishment of innocent people. Yes, their son or father or brother committed horrible crimes, but every legal system in the world agrees that you cannot be punished for the crimes of your relatives, no matter how despicable they are. This is a natural law principle that goes back to the Bible: “The child will not be punished for the sins of the parent, and the parent will not be punished for the sins of the child. The righteous person will be rewarded for their own righteous behavior, and wicked punished for their own wickedness.” (Ezekiel 18:20)….

Other news

‘I was arrested for asking the PA to stop intimidating journalists’
[with video] Activestills 10 Sept by Oren Ziv — Amro, a Palestinian activist known for opposing settlements in the West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for criticizing its recent arrests of journalists. Upon his release, Amro called on Mahmoud Abbas to revoke or revise a new law that’s been used to target journalists and activists —  A Palestinian Authority court on Sunday released prominent activist Issa Amro on bail following his arrest last week for criticizing the PA’s detention and intimidation of journalists. A host of international organizations and lawmakers had condemned the Palestinian Authority for arresting Amro and called for his release over the past week. Amro was received Sunday afternoon by around 50 fellow activists and supporters outside the Hebron court and later at the headquarters of Youth Against Settlements, a local anti-occupation group he co-founded and runs. Upon his release, Amro said he will not stop his work fighting the occupation and settlements, and defending Palestinian rights. “This detention will not stop me from resisting the occupation — or the freedom of speech of the Palestinian people,” Amro said. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently signed an “Electronic Crimes” decree, effectively curtailing what little free speech existed for Palestinians under Palestinian law, and which was believed to target online dissent against the PA, particularly on social media. The new law was roundly criticized by rights groups in Palestine and around the world. Israel also regularly arrests Palestinians for posts on social media. Amro called directly on Abbas to revise the new law so that it “respects freedom of speech and freedom of expression for all journalists and all Palestinians.”….

Abbas stops allocations for Prisoners Club
MEMO 10 Sept — The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has suspended the allocations of leading human rights body, the Prisoners Club; no details have been given for the decision. Palestinian sources close to the Prisoners Club confirmed to Quds Press News Agency the suspension of all the allocations of the institution without formally informing officials. However, when they consulted the authorities about the failure to obtain financial allocations, which include lawyers’ fees, headquarters costs, and staff salaries, it turned out that the decision was taken by President Abbas. The sources stressed that the Prisoner Club members are seeking solutions and started a dialogue with all parties to persuade the president to reconsider his decision “which affects the national institution that has existed for 25 years, working to defend the rights of detainees, and support the prisoners in Israeli jails.” Quds Press reported that the Prisoner Club’s attitude is not to address the issue through the media; instead, they aim to exhaust all channels of communication with the Fatah Central Committee and the Executive Committee of the PLO in order to reverse the decision. During his recent meeting with Abbas, US President Donald Trump upheld the Israeli view that the salaries of prisoners and martyrs were tantamount to “support for terrorism.” Although Palestinian officials oppose the decision to cut the salaries of martyrs and prisoners, many question the ability of the PA to resist US pressure….

PA forces arrest Palestinian man over hosting ultra-nationalist Israeli MK for Eid
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 10 Sept — Palestinian intelligence forces arrested a Palestinian man on Sunday from Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank, after the man hosted the ultra-nationalist Israeli parliament member Yehuda Glick in his home during the recent Eid al-Adha holiday. Sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s General Intelligence agency told Ma‘an that Muhammad Sabir Jabir from Hebron was detained over hosting Glick. It remained unclear what Jabir was being charged with. Meanwhile, members of Jabir’s extended family published a statement on Facebook saying that they “disassociated” themselves from Muhammad after he hosted the right-wing politician, who is an outspoken proponent for allowing Jewish prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, where he regularly visits. Prior to being instated in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, Glick had commonly taken to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound with ultra-nationalist Israelis to perform rituals and prayers at the site, a practice Palestinians say is an attempt to challenge long-standing international agreements regarding the holy site.
Glick had posted photos on his Facebook on Sept. 3, showing him celebrat[ing] the Muslim holiday [with] the immediate family of Muhammad Jabir in Hebron, writing: “Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha) at home of my friend Muhammad Jabir in Hebron. God willing we will all live here in peace. Happy Eid.” Glick wrote on his Facebook in Hebrew. He also wrote in Arabic “Happy Eid al-Adha Muhammad Jabir.”

Illiteracy rate in Palestine among lowest in the world
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Sept – Illiteracy rate in Palestine is among the lowest in the world and stood at 3.1 percent in 2016, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a report published Thursday. Marking the International Literacy Day which coincides on September 8, PCBS president Ula Awad said that illiteracy rate in Palestine dropped from 13.9 percent in 1997 to 3.1 percent in 2016, which means about 90,000 persons over 15 years of age are classified as illiterate in 2016. When broken down by gender, illiteracy rate among males dropped from 7.8 percent in 1997 to 1.4 percent in 2016, while for females it fell from 20.3 percent to 4.8 percent … For the same year, the rate was 13.8 percent (about 750.1 million illiterate) in the world among the same age group: for males. 10.2 percent (277.2 million illiterate) compared to 17.3 percent for females (472.9 million illiterate). This, said Awad, makes Palestine one of the lowest in the world in illiteracy rate. Based on statistics, more than half of the Palestinian illiterates in 2016 were elderly, with around 54 percent of illiterate persons are aged 65 years and over, while the lowest rate is among persons aged 15 to 29 years or 30 to 44 years….

Kamel  el Basha wins Best Actor award for ‘The Insult’ by Ziad Doueiri
Blog Baladi 10 Sept by Najib — The Insult by Ziad Doueiri clinched its first international award as Kamel el Basha, who plays the Palestinian refugee (Yasser), won Best Actor Award – Coppa Volpi (Volpi Cup) at the Venice 2017 festival. “The Insult” is expected to be Lebanon’s entry for the 2018 Oscars.

Win over Bhutan: Palestine leads Asian Cup competition
IMEMC/Agencies 11 Sept — The Palestinian national football team beat Bhutan 2-0 in the Asian Cup qualifier to head the four-country group that also includes Oman and the Maldives. The Asian Cup final will take place in the UAE in January of 2019. The win raised Palestine’s FIFA ranking to 93, having been ranked 138th in March. “We want to move beyond a mere regional and continental presence to… the international arena,” Susan Shalabi, vice president of the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) said, according to Days of Palestine. The PFA’s insistence that players from Gaza participate paid off, as Gazan defender Abdel Latif Bahari’s double-kick goal in the final minutes of the qualifier sealed Palestine’s victory.

Palestinians raise money to send to Houston hurricane relief
IMEMC 10 Sept — After a Category 4 Hurricane, Hurricane Harvey, devastated the city of Houston with severe flooding, people around the world have offered support. And Palestinians are no exception. On September 2nd, a Palestinian non-profit coalition based in Ramallah launched a campaign to raise aid money for the people of Houston, and hundreds of Palestinians have already signed on to support. This humanitarian campaign comes in the midst of a severe economic crisis for the Palestinian people, who, despite the shortages and hardships they themselves are facing, have managed to raise a substantial amount to send to the victims of the hurricane in the US. The fundraising campaign was organized by the American Federation of Ramallah, Palestine (AFRP) as a symbol of compassion and support from the Palestinian and Arab-American communities. Dr. Hanna Hanania, the head of the Federation, stated that, “the campaign does not differentiate between the members of the American community in Houston, but rather seeks to help everyone based on the values and culture of the Palestinians who were raised on helping others in their homelands and in the diaspora.”….

Israel campaigns against Palestine joining UN tourism body
MEMO 8 Sept — Israel is attempting to thwart a Palestinian bid to join the United Nation’s World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), arguing that the “State of Palestine” does not exist, according to the Jerusalem Post. The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Ministry of Tourism applied for membership into the organisation last year, and the issue is on the meeting agenda of the UNWTO General Assembly in China, which begins on Monday and runs through Saturday. The UNWTO is based in Madrid, and describes itself as “responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism”. Israel has endeavoured to block the move by appealing to the outgoing WTO Secretary-General, Jordanian diplomat Taleb Rifai, and China where the conference is being held. Tel Aviv has also involved the US, which has reportedly asked PA President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from engaging in international organisations until the US releases its updated peace plan, warning that to act otherwise could damage their bilateral relations. “Israel has taken all diplomatic measures to block the request,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “We are not expecting any negative impact on Israel or its continued activity in the organisation – the expected damage will be to the organisation itself.” If the bid is successful, it would be the second UN organisation, after UNESCO, to which the Palestinians have full membership….

Palestine pushes Arab League to block Israeli bid at UN Security Council
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 11 Sept — The Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt and permanent envoy to the Cairo-based Arab League Jamal Shubaki said on Sunday that the Arab League Council approved a Palestinian proposal to create a committee aimed at countering Israel’s attempts to be elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), Arabic media reported on Sunday. According to reports, Shubaki said the committee will consist of the president of the Arab League Summit, president of the Arab Leagues ministerial council, the state of Palestine, the Arab League’s secretary-general, and Egypt as the current Arab non-permanent member state of the UN Security Council.Earlier on Sunday, Shubaki himself submitted the proposal at a closed-door meeting of permanent envoys of member states at the Arab League’s headquarters in Egypt. The representative of Djibouti presided over the meeting as they are the current rotational president of the Arab League Council. In a speech before submitting his proposal, Shubaki highlighted that Israel’s illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem increased by 85 percent in 2017 compared to in 2016, which saw the passing of UNSC Resolution 2334 against settlement expansion. He also highlighted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been shuttling between neighboring countries “trying to recruit more and more of our friends around the world from East Asia to Latin America and Africa” to support the Israeli bid at the UNSC….

EU must be a part of US Middle East peace push, Ireland says
TALLINN (Reuters) 8 Sept by Robin Emmott — Israelis and Palestinians will face more unrest over the next year without a revival of a long-fractured Middle East peace process that the European Union must be part of, Ireland’s foreign minister said on Friday. Simon Coveney, who met Israeli and Palestinian leaders less than a month after taking up his post in June, is leading the charge to involve the EU in a fresh attempt at peace talks and overcome divisions that have weakened the bloc’s influence. Speaking to EU foreign ministers at a meeting on Middle East policy in Tallinn on Thursday, Coveney said the bloc had a duty to make its voice heard in any new U.S. initiative as the Palestinians’ biggest aid donor and Israel’s top trade partner. “My concern is that it will be a much more difficult political challenge in a year’s time or in two years’ time,” Coveney told Reuters. “If you look at cycles of violence in Gaza, for example, without intervention and new initiatives in my view, we are heading there again,” he said, describing the Israel-Palestinian situation as an “open sore” that could erupt at any time. Coveney said EU governments had to pull together and keep the focus on a two-state solution….

West Bank case against CRH thrown out by court
Independent (Ireland) 7 Sept by John Mulligan — A $34bn (€28bn) US lawsuit launched last year by Palestinian activists against dozens of companies including Ireland’s CRH, has been dismissed by a Washington DC court. The activists had tried to sue about 40 defendants for alleged “profiteering” related to the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The companies sued ranged from Hewlett-Packard, Volvo and Motorola, to security firm G4S. Last year, and prior to the lawsuit being launched, CRH sold its 25pc stake in Israel’s only cement firm, Mashav, ending a focus of huge controversy for the Irish company – Ireland’s biggest. Mashav is the holding company for a firm called Nesher, whose cement has ultimately been used to make huge concrete slabs that were used to construct the wall dividing the West Bank from Israel … In March last year, more than two dozen plaintiffs – mostly individuals but also some Palestinian village councils – filed the lawsuit in Washington DC. The lawsuit claimed that Israel’s separation wall with Palestine, “numerous checkpoint concrete barriers, the concrete foundations in all West Bank settlements, and Israeli infrastructure in the West Bank were all built using cement purchased from Nesher”. The plaintiffs alleged that Nesher knew the cement it produced would be used for “aggressive settlement expansion and thus ethnic cleansing of the local Palestinian population”. In determining the estimated damages sought in the case, the plaintiffs argued through their lawyers that many of the defendant firms had “pillaged” Palestinian resources. “Since none of these defendants had received licensing agreements from the legitimate property owners to exploit the resources owned on that property and have no recorded deeds which formally transferred ownership to them, they have committed the war crime of pillage for approximately 30 years,” lawyers claimed. The Washington DC court has dismissed the lawsuit, saying it lacked jurisdiction over the matters raised in it.

Israeli jets break sound barrier in south Lebanon, causing damage
MEMO 10 Sept — Israeli jets flew low over the city of Saida in southern Lebanon on Sunday causing sonic booms that broke windows and shook buildings for the first time in years, security sources and residents said. Israeli warplanes regularly enter Lebanese airspace, the Lebanese military says, but rarely fly so low. The Israeli military gave no immediate comment. The sonic booms also caused panic in Saida, residents said. Tension has risen between Lebanon’s Shia group Hezbollah and Israel, which last fought a war in 2006. (listserv) (archive)


American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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2 Responses

  1. JosephA on September 12, 2017, 9:17 pm

    This visa restriction seems criminal.

  2. Marnie on September 13, 2017, 6:52 am

    Money, money, money..

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