Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Video: Israelis back killing, transfer of Palestinians
Al Jazeera 4 Oct — A new video has shown strong anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian sentiment among Israelis in Jerusalem, with residents providing extreme solutions to the country’s conflict, such as killing all Palestinians and transferring them to other Arab countries. “I would carpet bomb them – it’s the only way to deal with it,” one Israeli said in the video by the TeleSUR television network, released on Sunday. Another young lady said, “We need to kill Arabs,” while one man proposed that Israel kick all Arabs out. The interviews were conducted on Zion Street in Jerusalem. Many of those interviewed by TeleSUR were American Jews who had immigrated to Israel. “I think that Islam is a very bad disease, not just for Israel, but for all around the world. We can see it. They think we all have to be Islam; if you’re not Islam, they will kill you,” one man responded. A younger man from the right-wing organisation Lehava, which works to prevent interaction between Jews and Palestinians, said: “Jews are a special nation – God gave it to the Jews. We don’t want Jews to get mixed up with a different nation.”
In a study by the US-based Pew Research Center in 2016, almost of half of Israel’s Jewish citizens expressed their support for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. For the statement “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel”, 48 percent said they agreed or strongly agreed. Some 79 percent of Israeli Jews said they deserved preferential treatment in Israel. Israeli politicians have also been complicit in fuelling hatred of Palestinians. In July, an Israeli legislator, Oren Hazan, said he would “execute” a Palestinian assailant’s family as revenge for an operation that killed three Israelis in an illegal West Bank settlement. In response to the comments, Mustafa Barghouti, former Palestinian information minister, told Al Jazeera in an earlier article that such comments were “very dangerous” and exposed “how deeply ingrained racism” has become in Israel….
Israeli forces assault father of Palestinian prisoner during violent detention
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — The Palestinian Committee Prisoners’ Affairs said on Wednesday that Israeli forces assaulted a Palestinian man when Israeli forces raided his house to detain his 22-year-old son three days ago. Israeli soldiers broke in the house during a raid on Oct. 1 to detain Usama al-Rajabi, and beat his father until his shoulder was dislocated after they searched and ransacked the home. Usama is currently held at Israel’s Etzion detention center south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
Separately, a number of underage prisoners told a lawyer from the committee that they have been tortured, beaten, and assaulted during their detention and interrogation in Israeli detention centers. Hiba Ighbariya, the lawyer, identified the children who the testimonies as 16-year-old Wael Naim from Misliya near Jenin and 17-year-old Usayd Saleh from Tubas.
Undercover soldiers assault an elderly Palestinian man near Jerusalem
IMEMC 5 Oct — Several undercover Israeli soldiers attacked, on Wednesday, an elderly Palestinian man from Beit Surik town, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses said the undercover soldiers attacked Mustafa Afalqa, causing many cuts and bruises to his head and face, and other parts of his body. The Palestinian was assaulted near the home of Nimir Mahmoud al-Jamal, 37, who was killed on September 26th, after opening fire on a group of Israeli Border Police officers and armed security guards, killing three and wounding a fourth at the main entrance of Har Hadar illegal Israeli colony. After the undercover officers assaulted the elderly Palestinian man, regular army units invaded Beit Surik, and withdrew along with the undercover officers, a short time later.
11-year-old Palestinian shot in the head with rubber[-coated steel] bullet during raid in Shu‘fat
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — Three Palestinians, including an 11-year-old boy, were injured Monday evening when Israeli forces raided Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, sparking violent clashes. The Palestinian Red Crescent said that the child was evacuated in a moderate condition to Israel’s Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem after Israeli forces shot him in the forehead with a rubber-coated steel bullet. A man in his 60s and another resident who was not identified further were also treated on the scene after they were shot with rubber bullets. Several others suffered from severe tear gas inhalation. Spokesman for the Fatah movement in Shu‘fat Thaer Fasfous said that Israeli forces had stormed the camp through its main entrance in large numbers and deployed heavily in the refugee camp’s streets, causing clashes to erupt between local youth and Israeli troops.
Israeli forces detain 23 Palestinians, 2 journalists, in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Oct — At least 23 Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces during overnight raids in the occupied West Bank between Sunday and Monday, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that 23 Palestinians were detained during raids, without providing and details as to which villages and towns the Palestinians were detained from. Meanwhile, official Palestinian Authority (PA) Wafa news agency reported that Israeli forces detained 19 Palestinians, including two journalists and a minor, citing the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
Wafa reported that Palestinian journalist Alaa al-Titi was detained in from his home in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, located in the Hebron district in the southern occupied West Bank. Local sources confirmed al-Titi’s detention to Ma‘an. Locals also told Ma‘an that a “youth” identified as Osama Adnan al-Rajabi was detained from the Hebron district.
Another journalist, identified by Wafa as Amir Abu Arram, was detained from the central West Bank district, along with three other Palestinians, including a 15-year-old. Locals confirmed Abu Arram’s detention to Ma‘an, saying that he was detained from his home in the Ramallah-area town of Bir Zeit.
Additionally, Wafa cited PPS as saying that Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from the Bethlehem district, four from the Nablus area, two from Jenin refugee camp and one from the Jericho area. Locals in the Nablus district told Ma‘an that Ayman Darwish, Malik Asayra, Arqam Moatasem Hanini, and Muhammad Khaled Amer were detained from the area.
Israeli forces detained 522 Palestinians, including 130 minors and 16 women, over the course of the month of August, according to a joint report released Palestinian institutions focusing on prisoners’ rights. The total number of Palestinians in Israeli prisons reached 6,300 prisoners, the report said, 64 of them women. Among them are 10 girls under the age of 18 and 300 underage boys, 450 administrative detainees imprisoned without charge or trial, and 12 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian parliament.
Israeli forces detain 6 Palestinians, seize thousands of shekels in West Bank
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — Israeli forces carried out multiple search and detention raids before dawn Wednesday across the occupied West Bank, confiscating tens of thousands of shekels and detaining at least six Palestinians.
Locals and Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided a number of areas of the southernmost Hebron district. In the town of Yatta south of Hebron city Israeli forces detained brothers Khalid and Fadel Muhammad Rumi. Muhammad Moussa Abu Allan and Anas Awaissa were detained from al-Dhahiriya village in the southwestern part of the district. Muhammad Ayyad Awad, a local activist in Beit Ummar north of Hebron city, said that several Palestinians suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation during clashes that erupted in town following a military raid there. Awad said that Israeli soldiers confiscated tens thousand [?] shekels from the home of Beit Ummar resident Ibrahim Abed al-Hamid Abu Maria and 1,540 shekels (approximately $400) from Maher Ibrahim Sabarneh’s house.Both Abu Maria and Sabarneh were delivered summonses to meet with the Israeli Civil Administration for interrogations. Israeli forces also confiscated a surveillance camera from the house of Beit Ummar resident Ali Ayyad Awad. Israeli soldiers raided houses of Mirshed Muhammad Awad, Rashid Ahmad Awad, Issa Ali Sleibi, Muhammad Issa Abed al-Hamid al-Zaaqiq, and the house of the family of slain Palestinian Omar Arafat Issa Zaaqiq, 19, who was killed by Israeli forces in 2015 after he injured six Israeli soldiers in a car-ramming attack. Residents were held inside rooms while Israeli soldiers searched their houses. Israeli soldiers also raided a house belonging to Hisham Hmeidan al-Sharabati and delivered him a summons to meet with the Israeli intelligence. Several Molotov cocktails were thrown at Israeli patrols in Beit Ummar, though no injuries or damages were reported. The Israeli army said in a statement that four weapons were found during raids in Beit Ummar, as well as in the town of Qabatiya in the northernmost West Bank district of Jenin. The statement added that Israeli police and army forces seized thousands of shekels from the two towns.
In the Jerusalem area, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians, one from the ‘Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem and one from the town of Hizma in the West Bank, Wafa news agency reported. Earlier on Tuesday evening, Israeli police detained a Palestinian minor from the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, Wafa added.
‘Israeli police stormed Al-Aqsa mosque, beat 100 worshipers,’ complaint says
+972 Blog 2 Oct by Yael Marom — After Israeli authorities removed controversial metal detectors from Al-Aqsa, Israeli police entered its main mosque, beat worshipers and medics, frogmarched over 100 detainees through the Old City and stuffed them into a city bus, according to a complaint filed by 10 of those arrested — Ten Palestinians recently filed a complaint with Israeli Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department, Israel’s equivalent of an Internal Affairs unit, demanding it launch a criminal investigation against officers who brutally attacked Muslim worshipers inside a mosque at Al-Aqsa two months ago…
The worshipers say there were around 120 people at al-Qabli Mosque at the edge of al-Aqsa compound that night. They claim they did not hear the police’s call to evacuate, and certainly did not barricade themselves inside the building. At approximately 10:30 p.m., as they were praying, the mosque lights suddenly went out, and hundreds of police officers, wearing helmets and carrying flashlights and cameras, stormed in and tossed stun grenades among the worshipers. The violence caused panic among the worshipers, who according to the Internal Affairs complaint, said they ran toward the police officers out of fear. The police responded with batons and fists, and audibly encouraged each other to “fuck them up.” Among those who filed the Internal Affairs complaint are three medics who were inside the mosque that night. According to their complaints, they too were physically attacked by police while they were treating a worshiper who lost consciousness after being shot in the head with a police-issue sponge-tipped munition. The three say that a commanding officer named Shlomi told the other officers to strip them of their medic uniforms and take their official medic identification cards….
17 years after October 2000 killings, Israeli police still kill Arab citizens with impunity
Adalah 3 Oct — Israeli police killing of 13 Palestinian protesters in 2000 was motivated by racism; in 2017, Justice Ministry PID continues to whitewash investigations of police killings of Arab citizens — Hassan Jabareen, founder and general director of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, issued a statement today (3 October 2017) drawing a direct connection between the Israeli police killings of 13 Palestinians in October 2000 and the ongoing police killings of Arab citizens in Israel today.
In October 2000, Israeli police and special police sniper units killed 13 unarmed Palestinians (12 citizens of Israel and one Gaza resident) and wounded hundreds more when Palestinian citizens of Israel staged mass demonstrations throughout the country to protest Israel’s oppressive policies against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory at the beginning of the Second Intifada. The dead and wounded were hit by live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets (“rubber bullets”), and tear gas fired by Israeli police officers. Israeli Jewish citizens also attacked Palestinian citizens of Israel, their property, and their holy sites in early October 2000. About 660 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested in connection with these events, and hundreds, including scores of minors, were indicted and detained without bond until the end of trial … However, not a single Israeli police officer or official has been indicted for the killings….
Watchtower as a neighbor in ‘Arroub refugee camp
BETHLEHEM (DCI-Palestine) 2 Oct — Hadeel Janazra, 13, lives right next to the site where a Palestinian teen was shot dead last spring. Israeli forces shot the teen directly in the heart, killing him on the spot. She is from ‘Arroub refugee camp, where the concept of safe space is a non sequitur. An Israeli military watchtower stands opposite the camp’s main entrance. It was this watchtower Israeli authorities alleged that the killed teen, Murad Abu Ghazi, 17, threw molotov cocktails toward during clashes. Israeli soldiers fired live bullets, killing Murad and injuring a second teen, Saif. With her home’s location on the main road and a direct line of vision to the military tower, violent eruptions are routine for Hadeel. There is a yard outside her house, a rarity in the densely populated southern West Bank camp between Bethlehem and Hebron. In it, she plays badminton with her cousins, rides her bicycle, and regularly witnesses confrontations with the Israeli military. “I feel threatened when I see soldiers near the house because they could come in and harass us, or fire teargas and sound bombs at the house,” Hadeel said. Indoors, she is not much better off. “Sometimes the army stops at the entrance to our house. They have entered the home several times to search for youths,” Hadeel told DCIP, recounting when soldiers turned her roof into a temporary military post for several hours. She continues down her list, a somber inventory of alarming events and encounters. “I once saw a child getting arrested at the entrance to the camp,” Hadeel said, gesturing a short distance away, to one of Arroub’s main entrances. “Soldiers caught him in the morning when we were going to school. He was carrying his schoolbag but they beat him and accused him of throwing stones.”….
Prisoners / Court decisions
Israeli police conceal from detainees social media posts that led to their arrests
HAIFA (WAFA) 4 Oct — Israeli law enforcement agencies are not revealing to detainees which of their social media posts led to the issuance of a warrant for their arrest and their subsequent detention, a press release said on Wednesday. This practice is being employed disproportionally against Palestinian citizens of Israel and seriously impairs their ability to defend themselves, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, said in the release. Adalah sent a letter on September 11 calling on Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State Attorney Shai Nitzan to order Israeli police to disclose to suspects and their lawyers during pre-trial detention hearings the content of the social media posts that allegedly constitute a criminal offense, such as incitement and other crimes of expression. Adalah Attorney Fady Khoury wrote in the letter that this policy severely harms suspects’ rights. “This problematic practice essentially turns an initial arrest into a full-fledged administrative detention. It is not just that the evidentiary materials collected by police are kept from detainees and their lawyers, but that the [social media] content for which the arrest was carried out is left undefined,” he wrote. “Just as it would be unthinkable to arrest someone suspected of theft without informing them or their lawyer during the pre-trial detention stage what they are believed to have stolen … and just as one cannot be arrested on suspicion of murder while the identity of the victim is left undisclosed until after an indictment is filed, so it is also in the case of an individual arrested on suspicion of committing a crime of expression involving a publication: there is a duty to inform suspects and their lawyers of the content of the expression, i.e. the ‘publication,’ on which the arrest warrant is based.” Adalah’s letter included numerous examples of arrests of Palestinian citizens of Israel carried out for alleged crimes of expression, during the course of which the statements that formed the very grounds for the arrests were kept classified.
Life terms for Palestinian who killed Israeli policeman
AFP 2 Oct — A Palestinian accused of killing a senior Israeli policeman and wounding his wife and nine-year-old child was sentenced on Monday to two life terms in prison, the military announced. Ziad Awad, who appeared before a military court in the West Bank, was found guilty of intentionally causing the death of Baruch Mizrahi by shooting at his car on April 14, 2014 near Hebron. The policeman’s wife was wounded, and their child and another minor were also hit, a statement from the military said. Awad was also sentenced to pay compensation of 275,000 shekels ($77,000, €65,500). He was also found guilty of involvement in seven other attacks targeting Israeli civilians, some of whom were injured, the army added without further details. The court also sentenced Awad’s son Izz al-Din to 20 years’ jail and to pay 325,000 shekels for helping his father plan and carry out the attack.
Israel issues administrative detention orders against 18 Palestinians
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 2 Oct – Israeli authorities issued in the period between September 26 and 29 at total of 18 administrative detention orders against Palestinians, including one woman, placing them in jail without charge or trial, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said on Monday. The woman, Sabah Faroun, a mother of four, has had her administrative detention order renewed for three months for the fifth time in a row, said the PPS. She was first detained on June 19, 2016. Eight detainees received administrative detention orders for the first time or were re-arrested and placed in administrative detention after being released from jail.
Administrative detention ‘worst of all possible worlds’
Al Jazeera 3 Oct by Dalia Hatuqa — At first glance, a legislator, a circus performer and an NGO worker might not appear to have much in common. But all three Palestinians are former or current political prisoners who have been subjected to an obscure legal procedure called administrative detention, which allows Israel to imprison people without charge or trial for an indefinite amount of time. Israeli authorities have been using this procedure for more than half a century, basing it on secret evidence. The Palestinian Prisoners Society, a detainee support group, noted a sharp rise in administrative detentions in August, with more Palestinians held without trial than during any other month this year. The rise, to 84 detentions, came amid increased tensions in the occupied West Bank after the stabbing of three Israeli settlers by a Palestinian on July 21. As of September, there were 449 administrative detainees being held in prisons inside Israel, almost all of them Palestinian, according to data provided to rights group Hamoked by the Israel Prison Service. “Administrative detention is the worst of all possible worlds because all the evidence is secret,” Sari Bashi, the Israel/Palestine advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, told Al Jazeera. “We would expect administrative detention to be the rarest as opposed to being standard practice. There are about 500 people in administrative detention. That’s not an exceptional number.”….
Palestinian family faces imminent displacement by Israeli punitive demolition
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Oct — A Palestinian family faces imminent displacement after the Israeli army ordered that their home in the village of Beit Surik in the occupied West Bank be punitively demolished. Nimr Jamal, a 37-year-old father of four, was shot dead last week after he shot and killed an Israeli border police officer and two Israeli security guards at the illegal Israeli settlement Har Adar, adjacent to Beit Surik. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that the “pre-demolition notice” delivered during an overnight raid before dawn on Tuesday said the family would have to evacuate within 72 hours or submit an appeal before the demolition. Appeals against punitive demolitions are rarely successful, even in cases in which the relatives of actual or alleged attackers have not been charged with any wrongdoing. Israeli intelligence has reportedly said that Jamal was left with his four children after his wife fled to Jordan following significant personal and family problems including domestic violence, according to Israeli media.
Following the attack, Beit Surik and a cluster of neighboring West Bank villages northwest of Jerusalem were placed under a strict military siege, which entered its eighth day on Tuesday and was denounced as an act of collective punishment on some 40,000 innocent Palestinians by human rights group B’Tselem.
Fatah, Hamas to head to Cairo next week to continue reconciliation talks
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — A Fatah and Hamas delegation is preparing to head to Cairo next Tuesday to hold meetings in favor of applying the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo in May 2011, member of Fatah’s revolutionary council Fayiz Abu Aita said Wednesday. The Fatah delegation is scheduled to leave for Cairo on Tuesday, which will come one week after the consensus government started taking over its responsibilities in the Gaza Strip. Abu Aita said that there are “obstacles” that could obstruct reaching understandings between the two movements, but that they are “all solvable and could be dealt with patiently and wisely.” He reiterated that all issues that have arisen since Hamas took control of Gaza a decade ago — such as the administration of the border crossings with Israel and Egypt, unpaid salaries to public employees, and the territory’s dire electricity crisis — would be discussed and resolved in Cairo.
Abu Aita’s statement came a day after the National Consensus Government convened for the first time in three years in Gaza City, as officials arrived from Ramallah to begin Egyptian-mediated efforts to reactivate the unity government to rule both the West Bank and Gaza. Fatah, which leads the government, was driven out of the territory in 2007 after a lost election and civil war with rival Hamas. Despite multiple attempts over the years aimed at reconciling the groups, Palestinian leadership has repeatedly failed to follow through on promises of reconciliation and holding of long-overdue elections, as both movements have frequently blamed each other for numerous political failures.
President Abbas: Hezbollah example will not be acceptable
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 3 Oct – President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that he will not accept to see the Hezbollah example applied in the Palestinian areas. “I will not accept or copy or reproduce the Hezbollah example in Lebanon,” he told an Egyptian TV station. “Everything must be in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.” Abbas was referring to the Hamas militias and weapons, which is expected to be a point of contention in the reconciliation talks that are expected to kick off in Cairo in the coming days. Hezbollah has its own militias in Lebanon and at the same time is part of the Lebanese government. Abbas believes in one authority, one government and one weapon, which should be only in the hands of the official Palestinian security forces.
The Palestinian president also said that his forces will be in charge of the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and Israel, its two bordering countries. “The Palestinian National Authority will be in charge of the crossings,” he said, explaining that the crossings, the ministries and security should be in the hands of the Palestinian Authority if the reconciliation efforts are to succeed.
“If the government is unable to carry out its duties and obstacles are placed in its way, then everything will stop,” he said in a different interview for another Egyptian TV station, explaining however that “we are not going to look for mistakes or be put in the corner of either take it or leave it and everything is then over. Rather, we are going to take every opportunity and do our best because this is unity, national unity, which dear to all of us.”
The latest: Israel sets terms for Hamas-Fatah deal
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 3 Oct — The Latest on Palestinian efforts to reconcile Hamas, and Fatah, which have been fiercely divided since the Islamic militant group drove President Mahmoud Abbas’ party from Gaza a decade ago. (all times local):
4:20 p.m. Israel’s prime minister says his country will not accept a reconciliation deal between rival Palestinian factions that puts Israel at risk. Benjamin Netanyahu says the attempt at reconciliation between the Islamic militant Hamas and the Western-backed Fatah must involve recognizing Israel, disbanding Hamas’ military wing and cutting ties with Hamas’ patron Iran. At a meeting of his Likud party on Tuesday, Netanyahu said: “We are not prepared to accept bogus reconciliations” in which the Palestinians reconcile “at the expense of our existence.” The two factions have launched their most ambitious attempt yet at mending a 10-year rift. Israel has held peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, but considers Hamas a terrorist group.
4:15 p.m. Hamas’ supreme leader says his group will not give up its weapons, a vow that is sure to complicate reconciliation talks with the rival Fatah movement. In an interview with Egypt’s private On TV, Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday that his group has “the right to possess weapons and resist the occupation with all forms of resistance.” The fate of Hamas’ large arsenal of rockets, mortar shells and automatic weapons is a major sticking point in the reconciliation talks that began on Monday.
Mohammed Dahlan speaks about Palestinian unity and his back-room role
GAZA (Reuters) 4 Oct by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Mohammad Dahlan, who played a key backroom role in a major new effort for Palestinian unity, has said a two-state peace agreement with Israel was impossible and healing wounds from a civil war that split Palestine was now a priority. Once one of the fiercest foes of Hamas, the Islamist group that seized the Gaza Strip in a civil war in 2007, Dahlan, a member of the rival mainstream Fatah party, spoke to Reuters after a unity cabinet held its first meeting in the enclave in three years. “The internal Palestinian situation is more sacred, is more important and is more useful now than the so-called negotiation,” the veteran politician said of talks with Israel that collapsed in 2014 over issues such as Israeli settlement-building in occupied territory and Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.
A former peace negotiator with Israel who speaks Hebrew and who was born in a refugee camp, Dahlan, 56, noted Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas captured in a 1967 war and which Palestinians seek along with Gaza for a future state.“There is a complete Judaisation of the West Bank, not only of Jerusalem. It has become impossible for the two-state solution to be implemented, therefore, there is no political horizon,” he said in the rare interview….
Panel: Is a real Palestinian reconciliation finally possible?
Al Jazeera Inside Story 24:40 3 Oct — The Palestinian government has made its first trip back to the Gaza Strip after a decade in exile. Fatah, which leads the government, was driven out of the territory in 2007 after a lost election and civil war with rival Hamas. Rami Hamdallah, the Palestinian prime minister, was welcomed by large crowds and celebrations in Gaza City on Monday. Hamas shut down its self-declared government in Gaza last month to pave the way for the reconciliation. Both groups are trying to reactivate a unity government to rule both Gaza and the West Bank. Hamdallah says it is crucial for the Middle East peace process. So, can the rift between Fatah and Hamas be bridged? And how is the peacemaking attempt being seen elsewhere in the region?
Presenter: Elizabeth Puranam
Guests: Ghazi Hamad – senior Hamas official; Mustafa Barghouti – secretary-general, Palestinian National Initiative; Ian Black – visiting senior fellow, Middle East Centre, London School of Economics
Hamas invites Russia to play role in Palestinian affairs
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 4 Oct by Moath al-Amoudi — Hamas describes its recent visit to Russia as productive, and it certainly covered a lot of ground. A delegation of the movement’s leaders went to Russia to keep Moscow in the loop on Palestinian-Israeli problems and the Palestinian quest for statehood, to discuss the Palestinian reconciliation and to enlist Russia to pressure the international Quartet to lift the siege imposed on Gaza and provide humanitarian aid … Speaking with Al-Monitor, Mousa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, said, “Our relations with regional and international countries and actors are witnessing an unprecedented openness amid cooperation on several levels.” He also pointed out that Hamas and Russia are no strangers, and their cooperation is “not a recent thing.” Russia has maintained positive ties with Hamas since the movement won the 2006 legislative elections in the Gaza Strip. A delegation of the movement’s leaders led by the former head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, visited Russia that year….
Bitter divorce? If you’re in Gaza, call Um Rashid
EI 25 Sept by Rami Almeghari — The Gharibs had a problem. Their son, Rami, 24, was under arrest after a bitter divorce saw a local court demand he pay his ex-wife a monthly allowance he could not afford. The only way out for the family, from the Jabaliya refugee camp, was to seek mediation between themselves and their erstwhile in-laws. For help, the Gharibs turned to Um Rashid. “For over three months and with the intervention of various local men of reconciliation, we were not able to bridge our differences. That was until Um Rashid showed up,” Mahdi Gharib, Rami’s eldest brother, told The Electronic Intifada. Calling her the mukhtara (the feminine form of the masculine mukhtar, or family chief), Mahdi detailed the standoff that Um Rashid – at the suggestion of the police – helped resolve. “When I contacted the mukhtara, she promptly intervened with Rami’s ex-mother-in-law,” said Mahdi. “In less than one day, the mother-in-law agreed to the divorce, after they agreed that my brother would give back jewelry that had been given as dowry and spend a certain amount of money on their 2-year-old son every month.” Um Rashid, also known as Ulfat Anbar, is one of a small number of women in the occupied Gaza Strip who are acting as mediators in family disputes, a role that has typically fallen to men. Though their role is controversial, a dramatic increase in the number of divorces, and subsequently of women fending for themselves, is necessitating a deviation from customary methods of mediation….
Test tube babies in a conflict zone: dealing with infertility in Gaza
GAZA CITY (The Guardian) 4 Oct by Miriam Berger — The Gaza Strip was a month into this summer’s suffocating electricity crisis when Thair Salah Mortaja became a father for the first time. He had spent thousands of dollars to overcome infertility – first paying for drugs, then a futile operation, and finally for costly in vitro fertilisation (IVF) – but the struggle for parenthood did not end there. His wife, Fatima, went into labour when she was just seven months pregnant, partly because of poor prenatal care. Their doctor wanted to get her to a specialist in Nablus, but the hard-to-procure permit to exit blockaded Gaza into Israel and proceed to the West Bank city didn’t come through. After a tense labour, she gave birth prematurely to triplets (multiple births are common with IVF). But the intensive baby care unit at Gaza’s largest hospital, Shifa, was already over capacity. So they waited hours until an incubator became available. The doctors decided to put the son and one daughter together in the incubator, run by generators amid the power shortages. The third child remained on oxygen in a little bed beside her siblings. The overstressed intensive care unit frequently makes such arrangements for IVF twins and triplets, a doctor explained. The war-torn and impoverished coastal enclave – which the UN has declared “unlivable” – is a surprising place to find widespread access to IVF treatment. But it is accepted by Palestinians in Gaza, for whom having children is a source of social respect, national strength and religious duty – feelings only heightened by the death and destruction around them … Mortaja didn’t have any political connections to pay for IVF treatment. In the five years since his marriage, he has spent about $10,000 on hospital visits, operations and IVF. They have sold Fatima’s gold dowry and got into debt with friends and family….
Gaza’s beloved gold market glitters with history
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 2 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal — Gaza’s historic gold market Suq al-Qaysarriya remains an essential stop for brides-to-be, but fewer Gazans can afford its treasures every day — “Gold not bought from Suq al-Qaysariyya market does not sparkle as it should,” Safa Shteiwi told Al-Monitor as she went from shop to shop among the arches of the historical market to buy herself a ring. Suq al-Qaysariyya, the “Gold Market” in Gaza City’s old quarter, is the largest gold and silver trade complex in Gaza. Shteiwi said, “I could have bought the ring from any gold shop near my house in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, but I decided to drive to Suq al-Qaysariyya to visit this venue of Palestinian heritage and history.” The market’s establishment is the subject of speculation and various traditional tales. Locals say the structure was built during the Roman rule of the Gaza Strip in 63 B.C. and served as a stable for the army’s horses before it became a popular market. However, the director of archaeology at the Ministry of Tourism and Archaeology in Gaza, Hiam al-Bitar, told Al-Monitor, “The market was built during the rule of the Mamluks in Gaza in A.D. 1250, but it was inspired by the markets of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, and that’s why it is called Suq al-Qaysariyya,” Arabic for Caesar Market … According to Palestinian customs, brides allocate a third of their trousseau, averaging about $4,500, to buy the gold wedding accessories that make up their savings for the future….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Netanyahu throws support behind bill that would annex 19 illegal settlements
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 4 Oct — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged his support for the so-called Greater Jerusalem bill, which is tantamount to the annexation of 19 illegal settlements in the Jerusalem area, including Maaleh Adumim, where between 125,000 and 150,000 Israeli settlers live. Maale Adumim is the third largest settlement in population size, encompassing a large swath of land deep inside the occupied West Bank’s Jerusalem district. Many Israelis consider it an Israeli suburban city of Jerusalem, despite it being located on occupied Palestinian territory in contravention of international law. “Maaleh Adumim will always be part of Israel and in addition I support the Greater Jerusalem bill,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying during a visit to the illegal settlement Tuesday. “I am also weighing placing Maaleh Adumim within the boundaries of Greater Jerusalem within the context of the Greater Jerusalem bill,” he said. The legislation was authored by Likud minister Yisrael Katz who is reportedly expected to bring the bill to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation in the upcoming Knesset session. It would place 19 settlements, including those of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc and Givat Zeev within Israel’s municipal boundaries for Jerusalem. The Israeli state annexed occupied East Jerusalem in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.
According to The Jerusalem Post, the bill would allow the settlers to retain their autonomy but afford them voting rights in the city’s mayoral race. It would meanwhile create “independent municipalities” for some 100,000 Palestinian citizens or residents of Israel who live within Israel’s Jerusalem municipality borders, but are located on the other side of Israel’s illegal separation wall. These neighborhoods, which have been referred to as a “no man’s land,” have not received proper municipal services since the wall’s construction. While most residents hold Jerusalem residency status and continue to pay taxes to the Israeli government, they are left severely neglected by Israeli authorities, as their neighborhoods are now located on the “West Bank side” of the separation barrier. Residents now must pass through congested Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach Jerusalem, while these neighborhoods face increasing problems from an absence of sewage infrastructure and other basic services traditionally provided by the Jerusalem municipality, including waste collection services, healthcare, and education assistance.
“We will intensify the momentum to develop Maaleh Adumim. We will build thousands of housing units here. We will add the necessary industrial areas and the expansion necessary to enable the accelerated development of this place. This place will be part of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu continued in his remarks.
The Israeli premier further stated that he would advance plans for 4,000 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank after the Jewish holidays.
Israel destroys Bedouin village for the 119th time
Al Jazeera 3 Oct by Farah Najjar — Israeli forces have destroyed a village in the country’s southern Negev region for the 119th time. Residents of al-Araqib village said that armed forces and riot police stormed into the village with bulldozers at 7:15am on Tuesday, razing its remaining buildings to the ground. “They stormed in and destroyed everything, every single building, every single home,” village leader Siyah al-Touri told Al Jazeera. The village, home to around 220 people, was first demolished on July 27, 2010. Since then, displaced residents have sought help from local activists to rebuild. “We’re now living in makeshift homes, thanks to the state’s racist and criminal policies,” al-Touri said. “They want to forcibly move us and do not comprehend that we are citizens of the state. They don’t recognise us, and if they did, they would have granted us our rights.” Israeli authorities regularly carry out demolition orders in the Negev, arguing that these villages lack building permits, but residents say it is impossible to obtain a permit to build legally. Al-Araqib is one of some 40 “unrecognised” Bedouin villages in southern Israel that are under existential threat. “No matter what, we will remain on our ancestors’ lands,” al-Touri said. “Our cemetery has been here since 1914, and we have six water wells that we aren’t even allowed to drink from.” The last time al-Araqib underwent a demolition order was on September 14. Demolition orders against the village are executed on a monthly basis. An estimated 200,000 Bedouins live in Israel, centred mainly in the country’s southern region. They are often denied state services, including water, electricity and educational facilities.
With requests for building permits rejected, Jordan Valley residents live in uncertainty
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 4 Oct by Al-Hareth al-Hossni — Palestinian residents of the northern Jordan Valley are today living in uncertainty after the Israeli Supreme Court has rejected their petition to get building permits for their homes, which means the residences and habitats they have been living in could be demolished at any time. The Israeli military, which rules in the occupied Jordan Valley, a rich area of the West Bank bordering Jordan to the east, refuses to grant Palestinians in the Jordan Valley permits to build or to develop their lands, forcing them to build homes or set up mere tents for shelter without permit. The residents sought recourse from the Supreme Court after their requests for building permits were rejected by the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, an arm of the military government. But even this did not bring them the serenity of life in their own homes they have been seeking for decades. A total of 27 families living in three locales – Humsa, Khillet Makhoul and Farisieh – are currently under threat of losing their homes and livestock sheds following the Supreme Court’s rejection of their appeal. “We live in total uncertainty today,” said Salah Daraghmeh, a resident of Farisieh. “They want to demolish our homes to kick us out of this area to that they can take it over and build settlements.” “Our days and nights have become one,” said Yousef Bsharat, one of those who appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against the demolition. “We are awaiting the arrival of the bulldozers at any time.” Bsharat said they had lived a similar experience in 2013 and were left without shelter for two months. He said the military seized on Tuesday building material he had brought to build a new home for him and his family….
Israeli forces to demolish home in Bethlehem village
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 3 Oct – Israeli forces Tuesday notified a Palestinian resident of al-Walajeh village, to the west of Bethlehem in the West Bank, of their intention to demolish his house and ordered a halt on the construction of another house, under the pretext of construction without a permit. Witnesses told WAFA that Israeli forces notified Ali Abuttin, a resident of the village, that they will demolish his house for being constructed without an Israeli permit. The forces also ordered Ibrahim Nayroukh, another resident of al-Walajeh, to stop the construction of his house, due to the lack of an Israeli construction permit. Israeli rarely issues construction permits to Palestinians in Area C of the occupied West Bank, under complete Israeli control, forcing many of them to embark on building without obtaining an Israeli permit.
Army photographs homes, a graveyard, and a spring in Bethlehem
IMEMC 3 Oct — Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, the al-Walaja village, west of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, photographed homes and a building, a graveyard and a water spring. Ibrahim Awadallah, an activist from al-Walaja, said dozens of soldiers, accompanied by employees of the Civil Administration Office of the Israeli military, invaded the town, especially Ein Jweiza and al-Hadafa area, and the local graveyard. He added that the soldiers photographed three homes, owned by Mahmoud Mohammad Awadallah, Emad Faraj and Ibrahim Nairoukh, in addition to a structure owned by Hamed Shweiki. Awadallah also stated that the soldiers photographed the town’s graveyard, and a local spring. Al-Walaja has been subject to frequent invasions, and witnessed demolition of homes and walls, in addition to the dozens of demolition orders the military issued and handed to many families under the pretext of being built without permits.
Israeli forces reportedly deny Palestinian farmers access to their land
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 1 Oct — Israeli forces Sunday prevented Palestinian farmers in the town of ‘Azzun, to the east of Qalqilya in the northern occupied West Bank, from accessing their farms to pick up olives, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. The farmers told Wafa that their after they approached their farms, which are located near the Israeli illegal settlement of Maale Shomron, Israeli forces and settlement guards ordered them to leave the area and not return until mid-October because of Jewish holidays. Wafa noted that similar incidents have occurred in the area over the past month.
How Israeli settlers turn archaeological sites into political tools
Al-Monitor 3 Oct by Akiva Eldar — The Israeli left made no bones about its glee over the empty bleachers at the Sept. 27 jubilee celebration of the liberation of Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley and Golan Heights organized by the settlers in the occupied West Bank. The left views the photos of the empty seats as proof of the settlers’ failure to occupy the hearts and minds of the general Israeli public. The leftists argue that not only did the billions poured by successive Israeli governments into the settlements for 50 years lure fewer than 5% of Israelis to live there — about 400,000 according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics — the vast majority avoided the wasteful “liberation festival.” Yet the pleasure taken by the left in the seeming failure of the settlers and their patrons is somewhat pathetic. Granted, the right-wing concept of a return to the land of the forefathers has not created a major demographic shift of Israelis moving to the settlements. Nonetheless, the notion has ingrained itself in the minds of broad swathes of the Israeli public and of tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. It happens daily in Jerusalem’s Old City and throughout the West Bank. This occupation is alive and very well, for example, at the site of Biyar Aqueduct that lies within walking distance of the failed jubilee ceremony in the Etzion settlement bloc that was organized by Culture Minister Miri Regev. Every year, some 100,000 women, children and men visit the Biyar Aqueduct that was built some 2,000 years ago to supply water to Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple. The aqueduct epitomizes the importance of the entire area as the source of life for Jewish Jerusalem in its golden age … “The Biyar Aqueduct is an example of a ‘tourism settlement’ — creating a tourist site on ancient relics and marketing the place as an Israeli heritage site,” archaeologist Yonathan Mizrachi told Al-Monitor. Mizrachi heads the Emek Shaveh center that seeks to prevent the use of ancient relics as a tool in national conflict or a value justifying harm to weak groups. Such use is made by the operators of the City of David site below the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, on the land of the Palestinian village of Silwan. Almost every Israeli high school student and soldier is brought to visit the site, becoming an advocate of an Israeli presence there. Silwan’s Muslim past and the link of its residents to the place is presented as random and negligible, if at all….
Israel bans children from playing in Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Oct — Israeli occupation authorities have prohibiting Muslim children from playing in the courtyards surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque. A report by the Israeli TV Channel 7 said that orders were issued to police units at Al-Aqsa in occupied Jerusalem not to allow children to play with balls in the courtyards. It also reported, according to Days of Palestine, that the Israeli Supreme Court issued an order banning Jerusalemite children from playing in Al-Aqsa courtyards. The order was issued after complaints filed, about a month ago, by settlers who stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and claimed to have seen children playing football around the schools. According to the Supreme Court ruling, “ball games on Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque] are prohibited as it violates its sanctity.” According to the Israeli police, the order is aimed primarily at the areas adjacent to the Islamic schools located in the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Jewish organisations have demanded that such practices be banned and that those found doing so be prosecuted or at least have their balls confiscated. They claim that playing football “is a violation of the law regarding holy areas. The maximum punishment for this is seven years of imprisonment.”
Palestinian refugees — Egypt
Generations of uncertainty
Electronic Intifada 28 Sept — Ahmad, a young merchant living in the Egyptian city of El-Arish, was nursing a recent heartbreak. Less than a month ago, he asked for an Egyptian woman’s hand in marriage. He was rejected, he said, because he is a Palestinian carrying a refugee travel document. Yet his family have resided in Egypt for the better part of a century. Ahmad’s family is originally from al-Maghar in central Palestine. They were forced out when the village was ethnically cleansed by Zionist forces in May 1948, the month the state of Israel was declared. The family were among the estimated 11,600 Palestinians who fled to Egypt that year. There the authorities issued them refugee travel documents but not citizenship. Unlike refugees who ended up in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, Palestinians who fled to Egypt did not have access to relief services from UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, as Egypt prevented it from operating in the country. -Vulnerable- Ahmad and his family have to renew their travel documents every three years. Their tenuous status leaves them feeling vulnerable. “We face many problems,” Ahmad told The Electronic Intifada. “We are discriminated against when we have to present [our documents] to the Egyptian police or army on the road, and we are made to feel like settlers in Egypt with no rights.” Their refugee status makes it difficult to travel outside the country. Ahmad said that he and his family members have been prevented from performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, and thus fulfilling their religious duty … That is not the only limitation borne from their refugee status. “We are barred from owning property on Egyptian soil,” Ahmad said. “We have sidestepped this problem by registering our property under the names of relatives who hold Egyptian nationality, or reliable friends.” But even when Ahmad wanted to set up natural gas service at his apartment, he said, “I had to register it under the name of one of our relatives who holds Egyptian citizenship.” Subsequent waves of mass displacement of Palestinians by Israel have swelled the number of refugees in Egypt over the years. There were some 160,000 Palestinian refugees residing in the country as of 2014….
BDS / Activism
Top Irish chef pulls out of Israeli propaganda tour
EI 3 Oct by Ali Abunimah — A world-renowned Irish chef has pulled out of the Round Tables, an Israeli-government sponsored propaganda initiative that uses international culinary stars to whitewash Israel’s blood-soaked image. According to the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, JP McMahon, owner of the Michelin-starred Galway restaurant Aniar, has pulled out of the tour. The Irish activist group said it had seen an email from a representative of McMahon responding to a query from a member of the public. The email said McMahon “was invited to attend however due to other work commitments we have had to decline.” McMahon and the other dozen chefs invited to Israel from around the world did not respond to requests for comment from The Electronic Intifada. While the email from his representative did not refer to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) on Israel, the Irish activist group attributed McMahon’s withdrawal to the campaign urging chefs not to take part. “McMahon realized what a culinary disaster it would have been to associate his good name and renowned restaurant with the poisonously distasteful ‘Brand Israel’ campaign cooked up by the Israeli state,” the group said. “Palestinian civil society has called for a boycott of the apartheid Israeli state, including a cultural boycott,” Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign chair Fatin Al Tamimi said. “For us Palestinians, food is an inherent part of our culture and connection to the land, and it is sickening to see other international chefs allow themselves to be used to make Israeli apartheid more palatable.” Earlier this year, a report published by a UN agency found that Israel practices apartheid against the entire Palestinian people and urged governments to support the boycott campaign. Meanwhile, Israel lobby organizations have complained about a growing “silent boycott,” where groups, individuals and companies stay away from Israel without giving a reason, either because of their support for Palestinian rights, or simply to “avoid unnecessary problems and criticisms.”….
Fifth UN agency in Jordan drops G4S
EI 4 Oct by Tamara Nasser — UN Women in Jordan has dropped its contract with G4S. Four other UN agencies in Jordan have already ended their relationships with the security company under pressure from a campaign led by Jordan BDS, a group that supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement. Jordan BDS commended UN Women for taking “a principled step in line with its core values of promoting human rights and human dignity.” G4S is the largest security firm in the world and has been the focus of a global campaign because of its involvement in Israeli military occupation and human rights violations. The firm operates in Israeli prisons where Palestinians are held without charge or trial, and provides equipment and services to Israeli military checkpoints and settlements. Two years ago, Palestinians launched the #UNDropG4S campaign urging the UN to end more than $20 million dollars in contracts with the company … The UN development program UNDP is now the only UN agency in Jordan that still has contracts with G4S.
IDF jails conscientious objector for 30 days over her refusal to enlist
+972 blog 3 Oct by Yael Marom — The Israeli army sentenced conscientious objector Noa Gur Golan to her fourth stint in military prison on Monday, this time for a period of 30 days, over her refusal to serve in the IDF. By the end of her latest term, she will have served a total of 104 days behind bars. Gur Golan, 19, from Netanya, has appeared three times before the army’s conscientious objectors committee, which has repeatedly rejected her claim that she is a pacifist who refuses to serve in any army. Gur Golan published the following status on her personal Facebook page just prior to her latest appearance before the committee: “…I will go back for the fourth time, because even when the barbed wires look threatening, and they remind me that I am in prison, I know I did the right thing. I know that if I was given the privilege and the strength to say no, I know that I was given a responsibility, and I will fulfill it.” Two additional conscientious objectors are set to appear at the IDF induction center in Tel Hashomer, where they will declare their refusal to serve in the IDF and are expected to be sent back to military prison. One of them is Hadas Tal, 18, from Kibbutz Yifat, who has served a total of 50 days for refusing to serve in the occupied territories and take part in the occupation….
Palestine in Pictures: September 2017
Electronic Intifada 3 October
Erekat: Palestina fulfills its obligations despite Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 4 Oct – Palestine continues to fulfill all of its obligations under signed agreements with Israel despite the latter’s refusal to recognize Palestinian rights, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Wednesday. “Twenty-nine years ago, the Palestine National Council recognized Israel’s existence on 78% percent of our historic homeland, and in 1993 the Palestine Liberation Organization reaffirmed its recognition of the State of Israel,” he said in a statement. “This historic compromise is an evidence of our commitment to achieving a genuine and lasting peace with Israel on the basis of ending its belligerent military occupation to establish our independent, sovereign and contiguous state on the internationally-recognized 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. Erekat stressed that even though Palestine continues to fulfill all of its obligations under signed agreements, Israel, on the other hand, continues to deny Palestinian rights, mainly the right to self-determination, and Palestine’s right to exist while continuing to consolidate its settlement enterprise by building more settlements and by transferring its own population to occupied Palestinian lands. “Evidently, Israel’s commitment to turning its occupation into annexation renders the two-state solution impossible and perpetuates the systematic denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.
Israel seals off West Bank and Gaza as Sukkot begins
Al Jazeera 4 Oct by Farah Najjar — Israeli authorities have sealed off the occupied West Bank and the already besieged Gaza Strip for 11 days, as Jewish celebrations for the Sukkot holiday commence. At midnight on Tuesday, all crossings to the West Bank and Gaza Strip were closed off to some four million Palestinians in the territories. Many of those affected by the move hold Israeli work permits and cross over to go to their jobs daily. Banned from entering Israel, they now stand to lose their livelihood for the next 10 days. But Kamal Haddad, a local official in Beit Iksa, a village northwest of Jerusalem, told Al Jazeera that workers in the area have already been denied entry into Israel and settlement construction sites for several days. “They [Israeli soldiers] roam around settlement construction sites in the West Bank and if they see anyone there, they immediately send them back to their villages,” he said. Al-Haq, a human rights NGO based in Ramallah, said that the closure is considered illegal under international humanitarian law and may constitute a war crime. “The closure does not only prohibit Palestinians from entering Israel. Instead, it also denies them access to occupied East Jerusalem, and sets obstacles and hinders Palestinians’ movement within the West Bank,” Maha Abdullah, a legal researcher at Al-Haq, told Al Jazeera….
Palestinians show off their grapes
JENIN, West Bank (Al-Monitor) 2 Oct by Ibrahim Abdelhadi — “There are regular grapes, then there are Jenin grapes,” boasts the slogan for Jenin’s first grape festival, reflecting this West Bank province’s desire to create awareness of Palestine’s second best-known product after olives. The festival, which was organized by the Local Economic Development platform at the end of August in Jenin province, northern West Bank, aimed to introduce new varieties of Palestinian grapes that could enter the European markets and compete with other grape varieties globally. The festival also showed the history and current developments in grape cultivation in the Palestinian territories in general and Jenin in particular through products and workshops. We are trying hard to encourage farmers to plant different kinds of grapes in the Palestinian territories,” Fathi Abu Ayyash, the director of the Fruit and Grapes Council, told Al-Monitor, “We want to increase and improve the production of the existing grapes, especially between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15 when it is the high season for grapes.” Abu Ayyash said, “There are 10,000 grape farmers in the West Bank; 63,640 dunams [15,725 acres] of land are used for grape production, and we produce around 55,000 tons of grapes annually, including 27,000 tons produced in Hebron alone and 2,000 tons in Jenin.”
Jordan excludes Palestinians from foreign investor concessions
Al-Monitor 4 Oct by Adnan Abu Amer — Jordan reportedly excluded Palestinian investors from the West Bank from investing inside the kingdom, which some analysts link to the talks about finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, namely by creating a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation — An official Jordanian source said Sept. 23 that his government excludes Palestinian businessmen living in the West Bank from economic concessions recently granted to foreign investors in terms of streamlining investment procedures and reducing the time of obtaining the necessary approvals, without explaining the reason for this exception….
Fatal shooting casts long shadow over Israel-Jordan ties
[with photo] AMMAN, Jordan (AP) 4 Oct – Zakariya al-Jawawdeh often visits the grave of his 16-year-old son Mohammed, watering plants and reciting a prayer. His trips to the cemetery, just a few steps from his home in Jordan’s capital of Amman, also stoke frustration that his son’s killer, an Israeli Embassy security guard, has not been held accountable. The furniture store owner’s grievances are entangled in one of the most toxic diplomatic crises since Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, only Israel’s second with an Arab country. The relationship – typically low-key, but strategically important – has been “hit hard” on all levels by the July 23 shooting, next to the Israeli Embassy complex in Jordan in which the Israeli guard also killed his middle-aged Jordanian landlord, said a Jordanian official. Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which says the guard acted in self-defense after the teen attacked him with a screw driver, declined comment on potential damage to the relationship. Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said Israel will share the eventual results of an ongoing investigation with Jordan, but would not describe the type of inquiry under way. Even during the current crisis, core elements of the relationship remain in place….