Restriction of movement / Residency
For some Palestinians in love, this slum is the only place to live
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 9 Nov by Miriam Berger — Kafr Aqab is no one’s dream destination: the overcrowded neighborhood separated from adjacent East Jerusalem by Israel’s barrier in the occupied West Bank is notorious for rutted roads, drugs and violence. But for Palestinians in marriages in which one partner comes from the West Bank and the other from territory Israel had declared to be part of the Israeli state, the slum is a haven where they can live legally together. When 23-year-old Yacout Alqam, a resident of East Jerusalem, first met her fiancé, she loved that he was “very kind. Very free. Everything.” There was just one catch: “The problem of identification cards,” said Alqam, the wide smile on her small frame fading. Hailing from East Jerusalem, Alqam carries an Israeli-issued Jerusalem residency card, which provides her many benefits but not actual citizenship. Israel annexed the area after the 1967 Middle East war in a move not recognized internationally. Her fiance, Adham Abu Lateefa, 23, is a Palestinian from the West Bank, territory also captured by Israel in 1967 but where the Palestinian Authority administers limited self-rule. Holding a West Bank identification card, Lateefa cannot, under Israeli rules, live in East Jerusalem. Alqam cannot live in the West Bank without risking the loss of her residency permit, as she must prove she resides in Jerusalem to keep it. So along with what residents describe as apartments full of other “mixed” couples, he and Alqam see a solution in a sort of twilight zone, in Kafr Aqab. Since its inhabitants pay Jerusalem municipal taxes, Alqam can live in Kafr Aqab and still be considered an East Jerusalem resident. And because Israel’s barrier and a military checkpoint separate Kafr Aqab from the city, her fiance can reside there, even with his West Bank identification card….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Army injures a child, abducts a young man, near Ramallah
IMEMC 9 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday evening, the village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, shot and injured one child and abducted a young man. Media sources said the soldiers fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, and gas bombs at many youngsters who protested the invasion. They added that one child was shot with rubber-coated bullets in the lower part of his body, and was moved to a nearby hospital. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted a young man, and took him to an unknown destination. The incidents took place after several army jeeps invaded Nabi Saleh and attacked dozens of Palestinians commemorating the thirteenth anniversary of the death of late President Yasser Arafat.
In related news, the soldiers closed a military roadblock near Ya‘bad town, southwest of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, for more than four hours, reportedly after local youths hurled stones at them. The soldiers then detained two children while walking nearby, and held them for several hours.
Israeli settler attacks, injures teenager in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 11 Nov — A Palestinian teenager Saturday sustained bruises after being attacked by an Israeli settler in central Hebron city, said security and medical sources. Sources told WAFA a settler attacked a 15-year-old boy with the butt of his rifle, causing him bruises throughout his body. He was taken to hospital for medical treatment. According to B’Tselem, an Israeli human right center, As the occupying force, Israel must protect the Palestinians in the West Bank. However, the Israeli authorities neglect to fulfill this responsibility and do not do enough to prevent Israeli civilians from attacking Palestinians, their property and their lands.
Israeli soldiers prevent Hebron schools from commemorating late President Arafat
IMEMC 9 Nov — Dozens of Israeli soldiers, Thursday, surrounded many schools in the Old City of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and prevented students and staffers from entering them, in an attempt to stop planned commemorations of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. Aref Jaber, a local human rights activist, said dozens of soldiers surrounded a school near Keryat Arba’ illegal colony, before preventing students, their families and teachers from entering it. He added that the Palestinians eventually managed to enter the school, despite the extensive military deployment. The soldiers also surrounded the al-Hajiriya School, and Hebron Elementary School, in the southern area of Hebron city, prevented the students from entering them, and fired many gas bombs, causing many Palestinians, mainly children, to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians, brother and sister, in predawn raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians during predawn raids on Thursday in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources. In the northern West Bank district of Jenin, locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the Qabatiya town, where they detained four Palestinians identified as Mustafa al-Hamadi Zakarneh, Mahmoud Ali Jabr Zakarneh, Ahmad Sati Abu al-Rub and Jawad al-Qazaha Kamil. In the Tulkarem district, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians. Locals identified them to Ma’an as Bassel al-Bleidi from the Tulkarem refugee camp, and Sheikh Muhammad al-Uleimi from Tulkarem City. Meanwhile, a Palestinian brother and sister were detained from the town of Hizma in the central West Bank Jerusalem district. The brother was identified by locals as Suleiman Khattab al-Khatib, while the name of his sister remained unknown
In the southern West Bank, Israeli forces raided the ‘Aida refugee camp in northern Bethlehem and detained a Palestinian identified as Khader Abu Rafia. Israeli forces raided Beit Ummar in the northern Hebron district, where they searched and ransacked several homes, according to local activist Muhammad Awad. Awad told Ma’an that Israeli forces also raided a bakery in the town, held workers inside and searched their ID cards. Clashes erupted in the town during the raid, with soldiers firing stun grenades, tear gas, live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets at locals. No detentions were reported.
Army invades Hebron, nearby towns, in southern West Bank
IMEMC 12 Nov — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Sunday, several neighborhoods in Hebron city, and nearby towns, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, and violently searched many homes Media sources said the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in Hebron city, briefly closed several roads, and harassed many Palestinians. They added that the soldiers also invaded the home of Na‘im Abdul-Hamid Masalma, violently searched it, and claimed that they located a weapon. In addition, the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, before breaking into homes and ransacking them, in addition to using military dogs in the search. Owners of some of the invaded homes have been identified as Ammar Kassab Abu Dayya, Hussein Mahmoud at-Teet, and Mohammad Mahmoud at-Teet. The army also invaded the towns of ath-Thaheriyya and as-Sammoa‘, south of Hebron.
In related news, the soldiers invaded Teqoua‘ town, east of Bethlehem, and fired several live rounds, gas bombs and concussion, causing many children to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. In occupied East Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted, on Saturday evening and Sunday at dawn, seven Palestinians, including five children, between the ages of 12 and 15, from Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and in the Old City. In Bethlehem governorate, the army abducted four Palestinians, after the soldiers invaded and searched many homes, in addition to breaking into homes near Jenin, in the northern West Bank, and summoning four Palestinians for interrogation.
A cheerful car ride, a final selfie. Then shots fired by Israeli troops
Haaretz 11 Nov by Amira Hass — The Palestinian village of Deir Ballut didn’t lose anyone in the first two intifadas, until one young resident tried taking his sister to her driving test — ...“I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, give me medicine,” Tamimi heard him murmuring when he got closer. A woman standing next to the young man was shouting and shouting. Her name is Latifa Musa. She is 33, from the village of Deir Ballut. A few minutes earlier she’d been sitting in the front seat, alongside the driver, her younger brother Mohammed, 26. This was on Tuesday, October 31, at about quarter to nine in the morning. They joked the entire ride from their village, and listened to favorite music. Latifa recorded a video of the two of them as “Salamat Salamat” played in the background. Before the two of them headed to Ramallah, Mohammed had driven some other family members to their olive grove, for the olive harvest. They had taken a picture with everyone smiling. Latifa had a driving test in Ramallah. Mohammad was supposed to pick up his truck-driving license, having recently passed the test. It meant a new start in life, hope for a steady income – which is why he was in such a good mood…. [This is a ‘.premium’ article, so behind Haaretz’s paywall. Some such articles can be found in listservs, and this one is in a message from the New Profile group, because of its importance]
Opinion: On the margins of the murder / Amira Hass
Haaretz 12 Nov — Mohammed Musa would not have been shot while giving his sister a ride if it weren’t for the soldiers sent to guard an illegal outpost —1. Shortly after the funeral of Mohammed Musa of Deir Ballut, people suspected that Israel had stolen his organs. This suspicion added to the suffering of the family, whose son and daughter, Mohammed and Latifa Musa, were shot by an Israeli soldier on October 31 (“A cheerful car ride, a final selfie,” November 11). Those who saw the body of the murdered young man while it was still in the Palestinian ambulance were shocked. “Why is he cut and sewn up from head to crotch?” asked one boy. “Why are his eyelids stuck?” asked an adult. “Why didn’t the family receive a medical report?” someone complained. She also wondered why the army transferred the body on November 3 “back to back” to a Palestinian ambulance at the checkpoint at the village entrance, and didn’t allow it to be delivered earlier to a Palestinian hospital. And so everyone reached the mistaken conclusion that organs had been stolen. The family opposed an autopsy. Attorney Mohammed Mahmoud of the Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Commission, who represented them in a hearing in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, told Haaretz that he personally favored the autopsy, and that the Palestinians of all people should support autopsies of those killed by Israel Defense Forces fire. Mahmoud told Haaretz that Judge Shaul Gabay Richter had expressed regret about the family’s opposition, and said that the circumstances must be thoroughly investigated, because Musa was apparently shot in the back. He ruled that the conditions that require an autopsy were present here. In other words, Mahmoud explained, a man possibly died as a result of a crime. A Palestinian pathologist and a Palestinian lawyer were present at the autopsy, and it was videotaped. And this is how it works, said Mahmoud…
3. And another thing that was only implied in the article for lack of space: The soldiers (or soldier) who shot at Musa’s car are posted there in order to guard another illegal outpost, which is confidently developing into another neighborhood of the illegal settlement Halamish. For that purpose, there is a checkpoint at the entrance to the highway, which is the only direct connection for the village of Nabi Saleh to the village of Beitillu and other villages to the south….
A Palestinian’s lost boyhood: jailed, isolated and shot by Israeli police
Haaretz 9 Nov by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Here’s a brief history of the life of Majed Mustafa, the 16-year-old son of a construction worker from Jerusalem’s ‘Isawiyah neighborhood, which abuts Mount Scopus: two convictions; half a year in prison; 14 months under house arrest far from his home; a fairly serious gunshot wound inflicted by the police; surgery and hospitalization, including removal of the spleen; severance from his school and friends. And in less than another two months, after he recovers from his injuries, he is slated to return to prison. He’ll never complete his education, he’s missed three years of school: He left in the eighth grade to enter prison, and never returned; today, his friends are in the 11th grade. He also lost any contact with most of those friends during the years in which he was cut off from his home. And all because of stone throwing. This is the lost boyhood of Majed Mustafa, a Palestinian youth in East Jerusalem, not in the Gaza Strip and not in the West Bank. He’s lying now on the sofa in his parents’ living room, his face pale, recovering from the splenectomy he underwent after the police shot him in the hip with what was either a rubber-coated bullet or a sponge grenade. His boyhood came to an end on July 18, 2015; that was the day his life went into free fall, and it hasn’t yet resumed its trajectory. On that night, police officers came to his home in the heart of Isawiyah, wrested him from bed and arrested him. He was 14 at the time. He was taken to interrogation room No. 4 – infamous among Palestinians – at the police station in the Russian Compound in downtown Jerusalem….
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Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian prisoner declared innocent in hotel bombing case
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) 9 Nov — A Palestinian prisoner was exonerated by an Israeli court on Thursday from charges against him alleging that he carried out a bombing at an Israeli hotel in 2015. According to Lawyer Yousif Nasasra of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoner’s Affairs, Jerusalemite Khalil al-Nimr, 23, was detained on November 30th, 2015 over accusations of carrying out an explosion that targeted the Rio Hotel in the southern Israeli city of Eilat. According to a statement from Nasasra, al-Nimr was proved innocent on Thursday after several court sessions.The 23-year-old is set to be released during the coming few days, unless an Israeli military prosecution appeals the court’s order.
Palestinian organizer Hassan Karajah released after 16 months in prison without charge or trial (Video)
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Nov — Hassan Karajah, Palestinian youth activist and organizer, was released after nearly a year and half held without charge or trial under administrative detention late on Thursday night, 9 November. He was supposed to be released in the afternoon, but his release was delayed for hours; his family and friends waited for over six hours as the weather grew dark and cold outside the gates of the Ofer prison in order to welcome him. He immediately went to his family home in Saffa village, where he was received by hundreds of friends and family members. He was seized on 12 July 2016 at the Beit Ur al-Foqha checkpoint near Ramallah and four days later ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. He was welcomed by, among others, his twin baby girls, Sarai and Kinza, born several months after he was imprisoned; he and his wife, Thameena Husary, had been married for only six months when he was arrested. She was barred from visiting him for over two more months after. Karajah is a prominent Palestinian leftist and a community leader and youth organizer. He is a trainer at the Handala cultural center in Saffa and director of its annual arts and cultural festival in the village. He is well known for his work in a number of civil society organizations, including the Stop the Wall Campaign and the Partnership for Development Project, and his advocacy for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel….
Palestinian journalist Mohammad al-Qeeq released from Israeli prison
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Nov — Palestinian journalist Mohammad al-Qeeq was released from Israeli prison after ten months jailed on Wednesday, 8 November. Al-Qeeq, 35, was seized by occupation forces in January 2017 as he returned home from a protest against the Israeli detention of the bodies of Palestinians killed by occupation forces. Al-Qeeq became nationally and internationally known after his 94-day hunger strike against his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial, in 2015, in order to win his freedom. When he was once again seized by occupation forces in January he was ordered again to administrative detention; he immediately launched an open hunger strike. After 33 days on strike, he ended his strike with an agreement to dramatically reduce his administrative detention period. Only days before he was to be released, in March 2017, the Israeli occupation cancelled the administrative detention order and instead charged him in military court with “incitement” for speaking out about the issue of Palestinians’ bodies being held hostage by the Israeli occupation….
Tens of thousands commemorate Arafat in Hamas-run Gaza
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 11 Nov by Sakher Abou El Oun — Tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered in Gaza on Saturday to commemorate the death of veteran leader Yasser Arafat in the first such memorial in the Hamas-run territory since 2007. The anniversary event was billed as a show of national unity after the Islamists of Hamas struck a reconciliation agreement last month with the rival Fatah movement founded and led by Arafat until his death in 2004 … Tens of thousands of people from across the Gaza Strip poured into Saraya Square in Gaza City from early morning, hours before the keynote speeches were due to be delivered. Organisers said more than 100,000 people were in attendance. Participants waved Palestinian flags and placards calling for unity, as well as pictures of both Arafat and Abbas. In a pre-recorded speech broadcast on large screens, Abbas, who has not visited Gaza since his allies were thrown out by Hamas in 2007, hailed his predecessor’s legacy….
Palestinian reconciliation spells cheaper prices for Gaza consumers
GAZA (Reuters) 9 Nov by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Gaza’s merchants and consumers are reaping early rewards from reconciliation moves by the enclave’s dominant Hamas Islamists and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA) … Since Hamas ceded Gaza’s border crossings with Israel – the main gateway for commercial imports – to the Authority on Nov 1 under an Egyptian-brokered unity deal, many prices in the territory have dropped. The main reason for the decrease: the Authority has canceled surcharges, sometimes as high as 25 percent, that Hamas collected in cash from merchants in Gaza. Businesses, in turn, have passed on some of those savings to customers: a 2017 Kia Picanto compact car, for example, now sells for $20,000 instead of $22,500, and a kilo of beef costs 40 shekels ($11), down from 50 ($15). And this week, the PA, which takes its own tax in an arrangement agreed with Israel, allowed the import of cigarettes costing eight shekels a pack compared with the usual 21 shekels for other brands, through Israel’s Kerem Shalom commercial crossing for the first time. Cigarettes used to come in only via smuggling tunnels under the Egyptian border but the PA is seeking understandings with Hamas and Cairo to choke off that channel….
Opinion: Endless waiting, suffocating heat, filthy prison cells and blackmail: what Palestinians face when they leave Gaza / Muhammad Shehada
Haaretz 11 Nov — The Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, may now control Gaza’s borders, but Palestinians fear little will change the appalling exit ordeal, where the corrupt, abusive border bullies are Egyptian. This is my experience — Last week, the Palestinian Authority assumed control from Hamas over the border crossings of the Gaza Strip, bringing the promised return of free movement in and out for Palestinians one step closer. Gaza has been isolated by a blockade on both its Israeli and Egyptian borders for 11 years. The joy was short-lived. The PA announced they’d abide by the agreement struck in 2005 between Israel and the PA, giving them, along with the Egyptians, the right to deny entry/departure for people crossing through Gaza’s only gate to the world, the Rafah border crossing. Most Palestinians are dreading a rerun of the pre-Palestinian unity government “blacklists and blackmail” era, in which Egypt had a starring role. Over the last 11 years, Rafah has operated as an appalling gray zone of physical intimidation and bureaucratic bullying. But it also provided fertile ground for many parasitic beneficiaries who thrived on travelers’ desperation. Palestinians expect those beneficiaries to desperately try to perpetuate the existing situation. A year ago, I was one of those travelers, and experienced the reality of Rafah’s sadistic limbo….
Book review: Donald Macintyre shares story of how life still goes on in Gaza amid the shellings
The National 11 Nov by Damien McElroy — British journalist Donald Macintyre chronicles his work in Gaza, documenting its citizens’ terrible experiences, but also their fortitude, amid accounts of politics and failed diplomacy — … A former British political correspondent, Macintyre abruptly changed direction late in his career to spend more than a decade living in Jerusalem. He has now produced a loving, if at times angry, chronicle of his work in Gaza over those years. As the title Gaza Preparing for Dawn suggests, Macintyre finds great resilience among the besieged. A passage of the book is enlivened by the artist Maha Al Daya and her husband Ayman Eissa. She refuses to succumb to the temptation of incorporating war and conflict in her work. Instead, her land and seascapes chronicle an ever-changing city and its coast. Then there are the teenagers who marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare by staging King Lear in the Nuseirat refugee camp in faultless English … In Gaza Preparing for Dawn, the wars against the enclave are vividly described but its most acute moments are the personal stories that Macintyre unearths. There is the euphoria among residents of Khan Yunis in September 2005, when they were able to run along the beach that only a day earlier had been forbidden territory. Barely a year later there is panic among Fatah as Mohammed Dahlan realises the political runes are wrong and seeks in vain to postpone the vote so that the establishment can regroup. As the last Gazans are barred from earning a living in Israel, a practice that dated back to the 1960s, one man tearfully tells Macintyre of his anguish as his son asked for spending money….
A life worth living?
EI 9 Nov by Hamza Abu Eltarabesh — On Tuesday, 29 August, Mohannad Younis swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and ended his life. He was only 22 and seemed to have much going for him. A budding author, he had recently completed a series of short stories and just put the finishing touches on a stage play – Escape. Mohannad was only two months from finishing a postgraduate degree in pharmacy at Al-Azhar University, and was planning to propose to a fellow student at the faculty of medicine. His suicide, therefore, came as a shock to those who knew him and loved him. I know. I was his friend. I mourn him. I miss him. And I am angry at what he did.
But Mohannad’s decision to take his life is less unusual that it might once have been in Gaza, where tradition and religion frown upon suicide. In fact, 2016 saw a spike in the number of suicides and suicide attempts in the Gaza Strip, one that has authorities so worried, Gaza’s Ministry of Health decided to cancel fees for anyone needing treatment after a failed suicide attempt and offer free counseling. According to Gaza’s police department, where such numbers are registered, there were 17 suicides in Gaza in 2016 and 80 attempts. It’s not a lot compared to Gaza’s two million-strong population, but it marked a significant increase from 2015, when there were just five recorded suicides and 35 attempts.
Trapped Psychologists don’t have to reach far for an explanation. “People are trapped in all areas of life,” said Muhammad Abu al-Sabah, a psychologist with the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and neuroscientist who also runs a private clinic. Abu Al-Sabah was referring to the blockade on Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt. “People’s aspirations to travel, work and study abroad have been shattered. There are no job opportunities and no prospects for a better life.”….
Opinion: Western aid to Palestinians in Gaza is numbing them into passivity / Marilyn Garson
Haaretz 10 Nov — In Gaza, in the name of aid and the relief of suffering, our Western governments have made deadening, anomalous choices. While we seek an end to the occupation, we also own the broken international aid response to the Palestinians who are living under occupation. It is insufficient for donors or agencies to protest when their activities are obstructed. We must also challenge the nature of the activities themselves. Even IDF Major General Yoav Mordechai, co-ordinator of Israel’s activities in the Occupied Territories through COGAT, urges Gaza’s economic development. One needn’t be a humanitarian to see that, while Israel is emphatically not secured by the immiseration of Gazans, it may be imperiled by their despair. Of course, the blockade itself is the first anomaly of Gaza, and the immediate cause of Gazans’ suffering. That our Western governments tolerate the blockade wall – having dismantled so many other restraints of movement and trade – is the second anomaly. The composition of our aid to the people behind that wall is the third: we bankroll the maintenance of the blockade regime….
Video: Fighting to show the truth in Gaza
EI 11 Nov — “I want to change my perspective, go and see different places in the world,” says Ezz Zanoun, a Palestinian photographer in Gaza. “But global politics is really despicable and racist. … My visa applications always get rejected.” In 2006, Ezz witnessed his brother Mohammad, a photographer, get hit by an Israeli missile that exploded 10 meters from him. Mohammad was severely injured, but eventually recovered. The incident motivated Ezz to pick up the camera and start taking pictures. He photographs Israeli assaults on Gaza, but also daily life, hardship and beauty in the Strip. “Although we are tied up and besieged, and every day I’m personally affected by the siege,” Ezz says, “we keep fighting to tell people the truth.” While he is grounded in Gaza, Ezz adds, “My pictures get to travel around the world every day.” Video by ActiveStills.
PHOTOS: Hundreds take part in reconciliation marathon in Gaza
MEMO 11 Nov — Hundreds of men and women took part in a reconciliation marathon organised by the Palestine Athletic Federation (PAF) in Gaza on Friday, MEMO’s correspondent in the enclave has reported. The race involved runners, cyclists and paralympic athletes in a celebration of the reconciliation between the Palestinian political factions, sending what was described as a “message of hope” to the world. The event was marred, however, when a crane collapsed onto participants and onlookers. Palestinian medical sources said that 23 people were wounded, one of them seriously. Most were treated on the spot, though, or were able to leave hospital immediately after receiving first aid.
Chassidic-owned video company live-streams wedding from Gaza to Israel and back
Yeshiva World 9 Nov — The video company C-Live, who films events and live-streams them on the internet, has opened up a new chapter in its event filming portfolio: streaming events from the Gaza Strip to Israel and vice-versa. The company that that has so far made its mainstay by filming the funerals of Chassidish Rebbes in Israel and broadcasting them to Chassidim around the world, as well as the more common celebratory events such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvos, has turned opened a new chapter that so far has not been done by other companies. The company, which is owned by a Chassidish Avreich in Ashdod, filmed a wedding that was taking place in Gaza and had it streamed by family members of the newlyweds who live in Ramla. They simultaneously filmed the celebration of the family in Ramla and showed it at the wedding hall in Gaza. “There are families who live in Israel, mainly Arab families, who have members of their close family stuck on the other side of the border,” explained one of the company’s directors to Israeli media outlet Charedim 10. “For example, a mother lives in Lod, but the rest of her family lives in Gaza. Tonight the wedding was taking place in Gaza and the mother hasn’t seen the child who lives in Gaza for 20 years.”….
First pineapple farm opens in Gaza
AFP 10 Nov — Pineapples are being harvested in the Gaza Strip for the first time as part of efforts to help the impoverished Palestinian territory work towards food self-sufficiency. The fruit, for domestic sale, is grown in a 1,000 square meter greenhouse in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis as part of a project sponsored by the Dutch government. Two hundred and fifty plants have so far reached maturity with up to 4,000 expected to bear fruit throughout this harvest. The goal is to develop new crops to help Gazan farmers achieve self-sufficiency, Jadba added. “The Gaza Strip suffers fundamentally from salty water, which has encouraged the union to grow pineapples as they don’t need much water,” he added, referring to the agricultural union….
Video: First pineapple farm opens in Gaza
AFP 10 Nov — Pineapples are being harvested in the Gaza Strip for the first time as part of efforts to help the impoverished Palestinian territory work towards food self-sufficiency.
Israel issues rare warning to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza: You’re playing with fire
Haaretz 12 Nov by Yaniv Kubovich — The Israeli army warned the commanders of Islamic Jihad in a video over the weekend that any attempt to attack Israel in retaliation to Israel’s destruction last month of a tunnel the militant organization dug from the Gaza Strip to Israel would be met with great force. Fourteen people were killed in the tunnel’s collapse, most of them Islamic Jihad operatives.
“Two weeks ago, Israel blew up a terror tunnel inside sovereign Israeli territory,” said the Arabic-language video posted by the army’s coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. “We’re aware of the plot that Palestinian Islamic Jihad is concocting against Israel. “It is playing with fire on the backs of residents of the Gaza Strip, and at the expense of the internal Palestinian reconciliation and the entire region,” the clip continued … “Just to be clear, Israel will respond forcefully and resolutely to any Islamic Jihad reaction whatsoever — not just against Jihad, but also against Hamas,” the video concluded. “We advise Islamic Jihad’s leadership in Damascus to exercise caution and keep things under control. Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s headquarters in Damascus and the organization’s leaders, Ramadan Shalah and Ziad Nakhala, you had better take things into your own hands quickly, because you’re the ones who will bear the responsibility.” The clip was posted in the wake of an intelligence assessment that concluded though Islamic Jihad is under pressure from within the Gaza Strip, and especially from Hamas, to refrain from retaliating for the tunnel’s destruction, the organization has not abandoned its intention to perpetrate a revenge attack. Senior defense officials believe that Islamic Jihad is planning a revenge attack. They claim that despite pressure on the group to refrain from responding, so as not to disrupt the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, it will not be able to let that pass. In an effort to keep civilians out of harm’s way, the army has barred Israeli farmers from working land near the Gaza border ever since the tunnel was destroyed….
Gaza declared closed military zone
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Nov — Israeli occupation authorities announced, on Wednesday, that the area near the border of the Gaza Strip is now a “closed military zone.” — Israeli settlers living in the periphery of the Gaza Strip are now forbidden from approaching or entering this area at all. Even military patrols were stopped. The decision was taken because Israel is afraid of surprise attacks by Palestinians following its bombing of a tunnel which killed 12 Palestinians on 30 October. Immediately after the bombing, Israel declared the area to be a closed military zone, but, on 5 November, that decision was rescinded, according to Days of Palestine. No details have been given about why the Commander of Southern District in the Israeli Army, Major General Eyal Zamir, has announced that the area is again a closed military zone.
Israel trains for ‘tunnel war’
MEMO 11 Nov — Following Israel’s bombing of a resistance tunnel at the end of the last month, in which it killed 12 Palestinians, its troops have started to train for a “tunnel war”, Arabs48.com reported on Friday. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) expects the Palestinian response to the killings to develop into a full-scale war that would include an Israeli ground operation, Israel’s news website Wallah has said. If this happens, then “tunnel attacks” would be involved. The IDF expects the underground barrier being built along the border with Gaza to be completed within two years. It is intended to undermine Palestinian resistance attacks against Israeli military targets through the tunnels. According to the Israeli website, if a war starts before the barrier is completed, Israel faces two “dangerous” scenarios: to encounter the danger of attack through cross-border tunnels, or see the defence tunnels used by the Palestinian resistance to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Wallah reported a senior commander in the IDF’s southern brigade saying that the tunnels underneath Gaza “are the biggest danger” for which the IDF has to train….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Apartheid
Israel to evacuate 200 Palestinians in Jordan Valley for settlement expansion
JORDAN VALLEY (Ma‘an) 10 Nov — Israeli authorities are reportedly planning to evacuate some 200 Palestinians from their homes and agricultural lands in the Jordan Valley area of the northern occupied West Bank, according to local sources. Member of the Jordan Valley municipal council Mahdi Daraghmeh told Ma‘an on Friday that Israeli forces delivered demolition and evacuation notices to 30 Palestinian families in the Ein al-Hilweh and Umm al-Jamal villages in the northern Jordan Valley on Thursday, Nov. 9th. The notices, which Daraghmeh said were dated Nov. 1st, gave the residents eight days — until Nov. 9th — to evacuate some 60 homes and structures voluntarily. Residents are expecting Israeli forces to arrive to the area to demolish the structures any time now, Daraghmeh said. He added that the notices were signed by an Israeli army chief in the West Bank, and that the notices mentioned that the lands would be used for illegal Israeli settlement construction. Earlier on Thursday, reports emerged on plans announced by the Israeli Minister of Housing to increase settlement construction in the Jordan Valley and double the number of settlers residing the area from 6,000 to 12,000.
Palestinian demolishes own home in Jerusalem to avoid Israeli fines
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 12 Nov — A Palestinian from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan was forced to destroy his own home on Saturday in order to avoid incurring a demolition fee from Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, which was set to carry out the demolition. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Abd al-Ghani Dweik, a resident of the al-Bustan area of Silwan, said that the Israeli municipality issued a demolition order against his house, along with a demolition fee of 80,000 shekels ($22,741). Four people were residing in the home, which was built two years ago. A spokesman of a Silwan-based committee formed to fight demolitions, Fakhri Abu Diab, previously told Ma‘an that all 100 residential structures in the al-Bustan area are slated for demolition, and that the 1,570 residents of the area have exhausted all legal options.
The residents of al-Bustan have been embroiled in a decades-long battle that began in the 1970s after the Israeli government embarked on a plan to build a national park in the area, with the city’s master plan defining the area as an open space where construction was prohibited,according to Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Due to the designation, residents have long faced great difficulties contending with demolition orders issued against the homes that were built there without permits — mostly in the 1980s — due to the increasing population in Silwan….
European conference on settlement activity declares Israel ‘apartheid regime’
Palestine Chronicle 10 Nov — Representatives from 24 European countries, including parliamentarians, legal experts, journalists, and activists, met in Brussels earlier this week in the first European conference on Israeli settlement activity, agreeing on a declaration that accuses Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” in the West Bank. According to a press release, the agreement was named the Brussels Declaration, and agreed on the following stipulations: 1. Israel, the occupying power of the Palestinian territories since 1967 continues its policy of confiscating and judaizing Palestinian land and building settlements over it. These settlements have turned, with the passage of time, into an incubator for settler’s “terrorist organizations” such as Hiiltop Youth, Paying the Price and Revenge.
2. With this premeditated policy of settlement expansion, it is, therefore, inappropriate to talk about dismantling political or security settlements, but rather, see this movement as a structure colonial policy that was able to colonize a large part of the West Bank, not less than 60 percent of its size. This policy has, in fact, established an Apartheid regime, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which determines in its article 8 that the settlements are a war crime, and the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice issued on 9 July 2004 regarding the Apartheid Wall, which was qualified as a serious violation of international law and UN resolutions, especially Security Council resolution 2334 (2016)….
Israeli forces seize tractor belonging to Palestinian in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (WAFA) 11 Nov — Israeli forces Saturday seized a tractor belonging to a Palestinian and prevented him from reclaiming his land near Khirbet Tana, a locale in central Jordan Valley, said a local activist. Aref Daraghmeh, who monitors settlement activities in the Jordan Valley, told WAFA Israeli forces seized the tractor while the farmer was working on reclaiming his agricultural land located near the said locale. The farmer was identified as Basim Mlitat. Khirbet Tana is a community of around 250 people. It is located in Area C of the West Bank, which makes up more than 60 per cent of the area of the West Bank but is under full Israeli military control. Surrounded by two major Israeli settlements, Itamar and Mikhora, the village faced four demolition raids last year when 150 structures were destroyed displacing 214 people. The village lacks basic infrastructure mainly because Israel does not allow Palestinian development of any kind in Area C. Roads are unpaved and in ruins. There are no water or sewage lines and no electricity grid. The residents use solar panels to generate electricity provided as part of European humanitarian aid, which also usually get destroyed or seized by the Israeli army.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Christian leaders urge Congress to reject Israel Anti-Boycott Act
EI 9 Nov by Tamara Nassar — Dozens of American faith-based organizations have endorsed a call to defend the First Amendment rights of Americans who want to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian rights. Three Christian denominations – the Alliance of Baptists, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ – are lead signatories of the call, which was published as an advertisement in The Kansas City Star this week. “As faith leaders, we have long used the nonviolent instruments of boycott and divestment in our work for justice and peace,” the faith groups say. “These economic measures have proven to be powerful tools for social change, from strengthening labor rights for farm workers to ending apartheid in South Africa.” Congress is currently considering the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, a bill that could impose prison and heavy fines on organizations or their personnel that participate in a boycott of Israel or its settlements called for by an international organization….
Anti-occupation US Jewish students fight Israeli plans to demolish Palestinian villages
Haaretz 13 Nov by Judy Maltz — An organization of American Jewish students opposed to the Israeli occupation kicked off a campaign Sunday aimed at pressuring the Israeli government into ending the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank. The campaign was launched by J Street U, the student arm of J Street, which describes itself as a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” organization. Hoping to mobilize support for their effort, J Street U activists plan in the coming weeks to meet with American elected officials and leaders of the American Jewish community, as well as with students on campuses across the United States.
“There is not a lot of hope for a two-state solution these days, but there are steps Israel is taking, which make it even less likely,” Zoe Goldblum, a Stanford University senior and the president of J Street U’s national student board, said in a telephone conversation with Haaretz. “We feel it is our responsibility to assume leadership and preserve the possibility of a two-state solution,” she said, referring to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. The demolitions, she claimed, were part of a policy of “creeping annexation,” which allowed Israeli settlements to consolidate and expand at the expense of Palestinian villages … As part of the new campaign, each of J Street U’s six regional offices in the United States will adopt a Palestinian village under threat of demolition and advocate on its behalf. All the villages are in Area C — the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control. Three are east of Jerusalem and the others are south of the city. In addition to Sussia, which is the best known of the six, the campaign is also focusing on the villages of Jabal al Baba, Um al Khair, Abu Nuwar, Khan al Ahmar and Jubbet ad-Dhib….
Why I got arrested at the ADL
+972 Blog 10 Nov by Talia Baurer — Jewish Voice for Peace activists are arrested protesting ADL exchange programs that bring together American law enforcement with Israeli military and police, a swapping of ‘worst practices’ that strengthens the repression of communities of color in both places — ...On November 8th, the anniversary of the election of a man who embodies abuse, I got arrested at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offices in New York City. As a white person and as a Jew, I was arrested for asking the ADL to stop running exchange programs between U.S. police and Israeli military. Instead of simply accepting our petition signed by over 20,000 people and listening to the stories we had to share of the harms of their programs, the ADL called in 30 cops to arrest me and six of my fellow organizers. The ADL runs exchange programs that bring together American law enforcement with Israeli military and police to exchange tactics, strategies, and ideology….
PCHR weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory (2-8 November 2017)
PCHR-Gaza 9 Nov — 2 Palestinian civilians were wounded in the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces continued to target the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea. 3 fishermen, including 2 brothers, were wounded and then arrested. Their boat was confiscated while another boat sustained damage. Israeli forces conducted 68 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 7 similar incursions in Jerusalem. 67 civilians, including 4 children and 7 women, were arrested. 13 of them, including 3 children and 6 women, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs. Israeli forces continue to target the border areas in the Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported. Israeli authorities continue to make a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli forces raided “Zahwet al-Quds” Kindergarten and School in Beit Hanina neighbourhood and confiscated its contents. Israeli forces continue settlement activities in the West Bank Israeli forces demolished 3 houses in al- Jiftlik area, north of Jericho, rendering 34 persons, including 18 children, homeless. Israeli forces demolished an under-construction agricultural room in Froush Beit Dajen village, east of Nablus. A settler attacked a Palestinian civilian from Tubas in the Northern Valley. Israeli forces turned the West Bank into cantons and continued to impose the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip for the 10th year Dozens of temporary checkpoints were established in the West Bank and others were re-established to obstruct the movement of Palestinian civilians. 6 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children, were arrested at the checkpoints in the West Bank. A Palestinian civilian was arrested at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Checkpoint in the northern Gaza Strip.
Palestinian elected as rapporteur of UNESCO Cultural Committee
Palestine Chronicle 11 Nov — Palestine’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Mounir Anastas, has won the election for the post of Rapporteur for the organization’s Cultural Committee, Quds Press has reported. The result was announced on Thursday. An Italian official has been elected as President of the Committee, with representatives of Venezuela, Albania, the Philippines and Zambia taking positions as members. During its meeting, the Committee agreed unanimously, without the need for a vote, on a resolution to maintain the cultural heritage of Jerusalem’s Old City. The resolution called for an interactive monitoring delegation to be sent to the Old City in order to evaluate the situation and carry out a work plan and prepare advice on the measures needed to be taken in cooperation with all interested parties. Members of the committee expressed their concern about official procrastination over the implementation of UNESCO’s executive council decisions regarding Jerusalem’s Old City, which is still under Israeli occupation.
Two Chilean medical missions return to the West Bank
NABLUS/TULKAREM (PNN) 9 Nov — This week, The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) is hosting two volunteer medical delegations coming from Chile, in coordination with the Palestinian Ministry of Health to carry out two volunteer humanitarian missions in Nablus and Tulkarem hospitals, as part of the PCRF’s ongoing effort to improve the health system in Palestine. Three volunteer doctors from Chile are providing expert orthopedic care for patients at Rafidia Hospital in the town of Nablus. The team has volunteered for the PCRF in the past and includes surgeons Dr. Lautaro Campos and Dr. Mauricio Vergara and anesthesiologist Dr. Karen Marquez. In Tulkarem, a three-member team from Chile are providing free dental surgery for special needs children in Thabet Thabet Governmental Hospital. The team includes dental surgeons Dr. Macarena Morales Hamamé and Dr. Maria Soledad Hamame Diban and anesthesiologist Dr. Manuel Alejandro Cid Nova.
Israeli violations of Palestinian media freedoms in October highest for 2017
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) 9 Nov –The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored 28 violations against media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territory during October, 27 of which were carried out by Israeli forces, according to a statement released by the group on Wednesday. According to the group, the number of violations committed by Israeli forces increased from 22 in September to 27 during October, all of which were “serious attacks.” The statement added that the violations in October constituted the most serious of all violations of media freedoms in the territory recorded since the beginning of 2017.
Israeli violations of media freedoms in October included storming 10 offices and headquarters of Pal Media, Trans Media and Ramsat media companies in the cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, “confiscating their property and turning 94 journalists and employees working in these institutions jobless,” MADA said. “Not only did these companies lose their work… but they have also endured heavy losses of equipment as a result of the destruction and confiscation of property,” MADA said, adding that these media companies used to provide at least 15 local, Arab and foreign TV channels with media services. The Israeli occupation forces arrested four Palestinian journalists during October, two of whom were working for Trans Media, and were arrested during the raid on the company’s offices.
Palestinian government violations continued to decline, dropping from four violations in September to one single violation during October, MADA said. The October violation occurred when the government summoned and interrogated a journalist in the West Bank.
Hamas: PA’s security coordination with Israel greatest threat to unity
MEMO 10 Nov — Security coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel will harm the Palestinian national interests and negatively affect the chances of promoting a national reconciliation, Hamas said yesterday. In an official statement, the movement’s spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, stressed that “Hamas is surprised by the PA in the West Bank’s resumption of security coordination and cooperation with the Zionist enemy, which is the equivalent of the greatest danger to the Palestinian people, its unity and its legitimate rights including the right to resist the occupation.” “The PA’s security coordination distorts the reputation of the Palestinian people, its struggles and history,” he added. Barhoum called on the Palestinian people to pressure the PA to stop what he described as actions “that harm the national interest”.
Mexico to abstain from voting for Palestine
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Nov — Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Figari Casso has contacted Israel’s ambassador to Mexico, Yoni Peled, and told him that Mexico has decided to change its voting strategy in all the upcoming voting procedures related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and will turn from voting in favor of Palestine to abstaining from doing so, or by voting for Israel, the Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. There are 10 out of 20 pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli resolutions which are proposed annually at the UN, on the eve of November 29, according to the PNN. In the past, Mexico belonged to the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and therefore voted as the movement, against Israel. Since April, Israel has observed a consistent change in Mexico’s voting patterns … Netanyahu’s successful visit to Mexico last September, and the Israeli Aid delegation sent there during its earthquake, has reportedly helped to warm relations between the two countries.
US and EU threaten to suspend PA security aid
MEMO 11 Nov — Israeli sources have claimed that US and EU officials have threatened to partially boycott aid for the Palestinian Authority if resistance groups became part of its security services in Gaza, Quds Press has reported. Details of the threats were passed to PA Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, as well as to the heads of the other PA security agencies in Ramallah. The threats emerged following reports about Palestinian efforts to partially merge the PA security services in the West Bank and those run by Hamas in the Gaza Strip as part of the reconciliation deal reached between Islamic Resistance Movement and Fatah in Cairo on 12 October. The Americans and Europeans made their displeasure known despite the fact that it is near impossible to merge the Fatah-run security agencies in the West Bank and those in the Gaza Strip, the sources explained. The EU has invested tens of millions of Euros in training and supplying arms to the PA. The US also trains and pays for the security services in the West Bank led by the PA and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas, which play what Abbas has called a “sacred” role in security coordination with the Israeli occupation forces. Incredibly, the cash-strapped PA has an estimated 70,000 security personnel in the occupied West Bank alone, whose job is to protect Israel rather than Palestinian citizens.
Congressional hearing on Jerusalem shuts out Palestinians
EI 11 Nov by Michael F. Brown — Palestinians need not apply. The subcommittee on national security in the US House of Representatives hosted five witnesses on Wednesday to address the bombshell issue of moving the US embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But not one of the witnesses was a Palestinian or spoke for Palestinian rights and interests. The hearing indicates that conservative members of Congress are intent on upping the pressure on Donald Trump to relocate the embassy. Initiation of the move could come as soon as 1 December when the president will once again have to decide whether to sign a waiver delaying such a move for another six months. Four of the witnesses were well-known figures on the far right: John Bolton, a neoconservative who promoted the invasion of Iraq as a member of the George W. Bush administration; Dore Gold, a close ally of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who was until a year ago director general of the Israeli foreign ministry; Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America; and Eugene Kontorovich, a law professor at Northwestern University who has in recent years resided in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, all of which are illegal under international law. Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, suggested that the list looked like one you’d find cooked up at the satirical news site The Onion.