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No Exit: 16,000 Palestinians who have applied to leave Gaza are waiting to hear from Israel

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Israel extends processing time for exit visas from Gaza, with 16 thousand requests pending
Haaretz 9 Nov by Amira Hass — Israeli bureaucracy stymies Gazans striving to get out — …Back in May, Israeli Liaison Office officials told the Palestinian civil affairs committee in Gaza that aside from urgent cases, the processing time for exit-permit applications would grow from 24 working days to between 50 and 70 (regardless of whether the answer was positive or negative). Working days don’t include Fridays, Saturdays or Jewish holidays. This was another step in a trend toward greater restrictions on Gazans’ freedom of movement that first became evident in late 2015. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories published the new rules only five months later, in October. And the maximum time for processing an application proved even longer than Palestinian officials had originally been told: 23 working days for requests to leave for nonurgent medical care; 50 days for visiting sick relatives in the West Bank or Israel or attending weddings, work meetings, conferences and embassy or consulate appointments; and 70 days for studying, doing a medical residency, trading in Israel or going abroad. But to attend funerals in Israel, answers were promised immediatelyOver the past year, some 16,000 applications to leave Gaza have piled up at the Israeli Liaison Office and still await a reply. That’s what COGAT told the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement in response to a freedom-of-information request. COGAT didn’t tell either Gisha or Haaretz how long ago these applications were filed. But the Palestinian civil affairs committee said 14,000 of the applications it has passed on to Israel since the start of the year have yet to receive a response. These include 3,052 applications by people over 60, 5,533 by merchants (including 400 over age 60) and 3,372 by people seeking to pass through Israel en route to Jordan (including 383 people over 60 and 315 students).

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel

Israeli kindergarten raid terrifies Palestinian kids
OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM (Al Jazeera) 7 Nov by Jacklynn Ashly — Teachers and parents have decried a raid on a school by Israeli forces that resulted in the arrests of the school’s deputy principal and three teachers. Israeli police entered the Zahwa al-Quds kindergarten and primary school in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina on Monday and made the arrests because staff refused to follow Israel’s education standard, according to school staff. “Israel is attempting to force our school to adopt the Israeli education curriculum,” Ziad al-Shamali, head of the school’s parent committee, told Al Jazeera on Tuesday. “We are refusing this. So they decided to raid our school and scare our children.” Local teacher Ola Nini told Al Jazeera several unarmed and plain-clothed Israeli police officers and officials from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality entered the school during the first class of the morning. Zahwa al-Quds is a private school with about 90 students between the ages of three and nine. Officers searched all the classrooms and demanded the identity cards of each teacher, Nini said, adding they then wrote down their names and made photocopies of their IDs. Shamali said the officers also confiscated phones and deleted footage of the incident on the school’s surveillance cameras. The students were so frightened that at least one child urinated on herself, Nini added. “The officers began to question the students about the books they were reading and took pictures of the books,” Nini explained. ….

Students protest closure of their school with sit-in
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 7 Nov – Students and their families on Tuesday held a sit-in at Zahwat al-Quds school in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina to protest the Israeli municipality’s closure of their school the day before. Israeli police raided the school and detained its principal and three teachers before ordering the school shut down two months into the school year. The students were told to look for another school to attend. Students, parents and activists participated in the sit-in called for to condemn the raid, the detention of the faculty members and the Israeli municipality’s decision to shut it down. The school had a permit to operate by the Muslim Awqaf department, but the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem, which is using financial enticement and coercion to enforce Israeli curriculum on the Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem, refused to recognize it. East Jerusalem has private schools, semi-private ones such as the ones run by the Muslim Awqaf, schools run by the United Nations mainly in refugee camps and public schools run by the municipality and the Israeli Ministry of Education. Most Palestinian families prefer to send their children to private schools, which use the Palestinian curriculum, to avoid subjecting their sons to the controversial Israeli curriculum that changes content of school books to suit Israeli rule over the occupied city.


Israeli settlers assault Palestinian farmers, injure 3 in Nablus area
[with photos] NABLUS (Ma‘an) 9 Nov — Three Palestinians were injured on Wednesday morning after Israeli settlers assaulted a group of farmers picking olives in the ‘Urif village in the Nablus district of the northern occupied West Bank. Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers from the nearby Yitzhar settlement attacked and assaulted several Palestinian farmers. Daghlas identified the injured as Taysir Mahmoud Salah, 47, his wife Itaf Salah and his sister Faida Salah with wounds.The three were transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment.
According to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ), since the state of Israel confiscated land from Urif and other Palestinian villages to establish the illegal Yithzar settlement in the 1980s, “attacks and violence perpetrated by settlers has had a profoundly negative impact on Palestinian residents and their property,” stressing that Yitzhar “poses a daily threat to residents of the neighboring Palestinian villages.”….

Israeli colonist rams child with his car near Salfit
IMEMC 8 Nov — An Israeli colonist rammed, on Wednesday evening, a Palestinian child with his car, near Salfit in central West Bank, and fled the scene. Medical sources said the child, identified as Yamen Mustafa Soufi, 8, from Hares village, suffered moderate but stable wounds, and was moved to an Israeli hospital. The child and his family were returning home after picking their olive trees, and was struck by the Israeli car near Hares Junction. The Israeli colonist fled the scene directly after ramming the child, and did not even slow down.

Israeli soldiers assault, take ‘selfie’ with injured Palestinian detainees
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Nov — Two Palestinian prisoners, including one teenager, gave testimonies to the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, detailing the abuse and harassment they faced at the hands of Israeli forces during their arrests. The committee released a statement on Monday saying that Israeli forces raided the home of brothers Tariq Baajeh, 26, and Ahmad Baajeh, 19, in the Qalqiliya-area town of Jayyus in the northern occupied West Bank around midnight on Sunday. According to the brothers’ testimonies, soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded the brothers before transferring them to a military zone near Qalqiliya in a military jeep. “The Baajeh brothers were assaulted and insulted the entire time they were held at the military zone,” the statement said, adding that after the soldiers beat up the brothers, soldier took a “selfie” with the injured brothers “in order to provoke them.” The brothers were then transferred to the Huwwara detention center near Nablus, and then to the Megiddo prison north of the West Bank, where they were strip searched.

Israeli police assault Palestinian driver in Negev
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Nov — Israeli occupation forces attacked, on Monday evening, a Palestinian driver at the central bus station in Beersheba, Negev. According to local Al Ray sources, the driver worked for the transport company “Metropoline” and was transferred to Soroka Hospital, to complete treatment after being brutally assaulted by police. On Tuesday morning, bus drivers, around 120 drivers, gathered at the site of the attack, and announced a strike in protest of the attack on their colleague. “The strike of the drivers is totally unacceptable to us, and it can have many consequences,” the company’s management said. “We are conducting a detailed investigation into the attack, in order to identify its causes,” the company added.

Two East Jerusalem residents arrested for working for PA security system
JPost 8 Nov by Udi Shaham — The Jerusalem Police arrested on Wednesday two east Jerusalem residents who were allegedly working for the Palestinian Authority security system. The two residents of the Old City of Jerusalem and Sur Bahr were arrested in a joint operation of the Israel Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency). They were later brought for questioning at the Police Central Unit headquarters in the capital. According to the Implementation of the Interim Agreement Law (1994) regarding Israel’s relations with the PA, it is prohibited for Israeli residents or citizens to serve in the PA’s armed forces, and the punishment for breaking this law is up to five years in prison. A spokeswoman of the Jerusalem Police told The Jerusalem Post that the two were “operating against residents of east Jerusalem,” but could not go into details regarding their activity. However, she stressed that police found documents and evidence that tied the suspects to the their activities. “An Israeli resident can be an official in the Palestinian Authority, such as in its Education Ministry, [but] he cannot work for the Palestinian security system, it is against the law,” she said.

West Bank man indicted for attempted truck-ramming attack
Times of Israel 6 Nov by Stuart Winer —  Central District prosecutors on Monday filed an indictment against a West Bank resident who allegedly stole a truck in Israel with the intention of carrying out a ramming attack against Israeli soldiers. His plan was foiled when police chased the truck through traffic until it was eventually brought to a halt. Mohammed Safran, 40, from Ramallah, was formally accused of preparing to commit murder and a terror act, endangering lives on a public thoroughfare, stealing a vehicle, illegally entering Israel, driving without a license, and other offenses, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Israeli forces detain 22 Palestinians, including two women
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 Nov – Israeli forces on Monday detained 22 Palestinians including two women during wide scale raids in several areas in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).  It said in a statement that Israeli forces detained four Palestinians from the Hebron district in the south of the West Bank, including a woman.
According to Adel Halayqeh, soldiers raided his house in the town of al-Shyoukh, northeast of Hebron, in the early morning hours while they were asleep and forced their way into the house after blowing up the front door causing panic and fear among his family.
He said the soldiers searched the house for three hours while keeping the family apart in separate rooms, seized two cellular phones, money and a briefcase with documents before detaining his ill wife, Dalal, 50, and her brother Ali Mashni, 25.
The army also detained five Palestinians from the district of Tulkarm, four from the Bethlehem area, two from Ramallah area, one from the district of Qalaqilya. three from Jenin area and two from Jericho, including a 16-year-old.
Meanwhile, Israeli police detained Huda Odeh in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, after raiding her home. Odeh is wife of Mohammad Odeh, who is serving nine life terms plus 40 years in Israeli prison since 2002.

Israeli forces detain 11 Palestinians,  60-year-old man, during overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Nov — Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinians from districts across the occupied West Bank during overnight raids between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS said in a statement on Wednesday that Israeli forces detained six Palestinians from the Ramallah and al-Bireh district in the central West Bank. The detainees were identified as Bajes Nakhleh, Amir Abu Sbeih from the al-Jalazun refugee camp, Ubaida Hussein Abu Alia, and Majed al-Beisi Abu Alia from the al-Mughayyar town, Ahmad Saleh Awajneh from Kafr Malek and Muhammad Nafez Baraawi from Umm al-Sharayet. In the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, Israeli forces also detained Issa al-Urouj, 21, after raiding and searching his home. According to PPS, Israeli forces confiscated some 100 Jordanian dinars ($140) from al-Urouj’s house. Meanwhile, south of Bethlehem in the Hebron district, PPS said three Palestinians were detained, identifying them as Jibril Jiawi, 31, Jihad Abdullah al-Ajluni, 18, and Khalid Mahmoud Sarahneh, 60. In the northern West Bank, a Palestinian identified as Majd Khalid Tambuz, 20, was detained while passing through a flying checkpoint between Nablus and Tulkarem. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that nine Palestinians were detained overnight.
According to prisoners’ rights group Addameer, 6,198 Palestinians were detained by Israel as of October. The group has estimated that some 40 percent of Palestinian men will be detained by Israel at some point in their lives.

Israel-Palestine Timeline
Last updated 6 Nov —  Below is a list, in reverse chronological order, of Israelis and Palestinians killed by someone from the other side since the Second Intifada began in 2000.* Click on the names for more details, photos and sources. This website records each person killed, and aims to remind us all that every single death is the end of a life, devastating and terrifying to parents, children, siblings, friends, neighbors, witnesses and even entire communities. A neighbor or friend murdered is a loss that doesn’t go away.

Prisoners / Court actions

Son of Palestinian prisoner dies from cancer separated from his father
Samidoun 7 Nov — Majd al-Tahhan, 19, the son of imprisoned Palestinian Rajab al-Tahhan, died on Tuesday evening, 7 November, in the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem of complications from leukemia. He had been kept from his father most of his life due to Israeli imprisonment, and even during his critical illness, was finally able to spend less than 30 minutes – closer to 10 minutes – with his father only weeks ago after numerous legal filings and his father’s threat of a hunger strike.

Sperm smugglers
Al Jazeera 8 Nov 47:45 video — Filmmaker: Muhammad Mustafa al-Sawaf How Palestinians serving long sentences in Israeli jails enable their wives to conceive in their absence using IVF — …The prisoners understand the confrontation and challenge between them and the jailer. So they try to come up with every possible way to break the barrier, get their sperm samples out, to defeat the jailer and reproduce… even when they’re in prison.” But by the time the birth of babies conceived with smuggled sperm peaked in 2015, the Israeli authorities clamped down, tightening visitation rights and making it more difficult for prisoners to smuggle their sperm. To make matters more difficult, Israel has denied identification documents or legal status of any kind to babies born from smuggled sperm. Babies born this way are also denied visitation rights to their imprisoned fathers. “We applied for baby Asaad to visit his father in prison,” explains Asaad Abu Salah, the toddler’s grandfather, himself a former prisoner. “We talked with the Red Cross. They said this child is illegitimate and unrecognised by the Israeli occupation and prisons authority… these children are illegitimate and will not have ID cards. If the occupation continues, these children will not be registered in Gaza’s civil records and will be banned from travelling. They will remain without any documents to prove their identities. They’re unrecognised by the authorities, as if they don’t exist.”…

Activist, journalist Bushra al-Tawil sixth Palestinian woman currently imprisoned in administrative detention
Samidoun 7 Nov — Bushra al-Tawil, journalist, former Palestinian prisoner and prisoners’ rights activist seized at her family home on 1 November, was ordered on 7 November to six months in administrative detention without charge or trial. She joins five other Palestinian women and over 450 men imprisoned without charge or trial under so-called administrative detention orders, which are indefinitely renewable and based on “secret evidence” to which both the prisoner nor their lawyers are denied access. Palestinians have spent years at a time jailed under administrative detention. The other women held without charge or trial under administrative detention are Khadija Ruba‘i, Afnan Abu Haniyeh, Ihsan Dababseh, Sabah Faraoun and Palestinian Legislative Council member and prominent Palestinian leftist national leader, Khalida Jarrar.

Campaign to free Palestinian leader launched in Turkey
Al Jazeera 6 Nov by Zena Tahhan — The Qatar-based International Union of Muslim Scholars has launched a campaign in solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian political leader Raed Salah. The campaign, launched on Monday, is being led by activists in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey to call for his release and an end to oppressive Israeli policies in Jerusalem. As part of the launch, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a prominent religious leader in the region, will be giving a speech in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Monday evening. The acts of solidarity include sit-in protests, conferences, and an awareness campaign on social media under the banner “We are all the Sheikh of al-Aqsa” (#كلنا_شيخ_الأقصى)….
“Since the last uprising in Jerusalem … the Zionist occupation has been targeting Palestinians, banning them from entry to al-Aqsa and arresting them. Things are happening every day in Jerusalem and no one is paying attention to it,” Abu Jarad told Al Jazeera from Istanbul. “Sheikh Raed Salah is the icon of al-Aqsa. Until now, they [Israel] has not found a clear accusation or charge against him – they merely want to shut him down,” said Abu Jarad, adding that Salah’s arrest is not just a Palestinian issue, but an Islamic one as well … The political and religious leader was arrested from his home on August 15 in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm on charges of “inciting violence” and supporting a banned organisation. The Israeli justice ministry accused Salah of issuing “expressions of praise, sympathy or encouragement for an act of terrorism” at a funeral for two Palestinians who carried out an attack against Israeli forces at al-Aqsa Mosque compound on July 14. But Salah has denied the charges, saying that his sermons are centered on Quranic verses and the Israeli occupation, in line with the fundamentals of free speech meant to be protected by Israel, which says it is a democratic state….

Judge in Be’er Sheva case dismisses key footage
Ynet 8 Nov by Ilana Curiel — Failing to provide explanation, judge presiding over trial of four people who beat to death an innocent foreign worker after mistaking him for a terrorist in the city’s central bus station announces footage of attack won’t be considered; defense attorneys point to illegality of how evidence was obtained by police….,7340,L-5040491,00.html


Palestinian dies from wounds he suffered in 1992
IMEMC 8 Nov — Medical sources in northern Gaza have reported that a Palestinian man died, on Tuesday evening, from complications resulting from gunshot wounds that led to quadriplegia, after Israeli soldiers shot him in 1992. The sources identified the Palestinian as Atef al-Maqousi, 37, from Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza. Following his serious injury in 1992, and the resulting quadriplegia, the Palestinian suffered ongoing infections, and repeated complications, that eventually led to his death.

Israel condemned for using bodies as ‘bargaining chips’
Al Jazeera 6 Nov by Jaclynn Ashly — Human rights groups have condemned Israel’s decision to withhold the bodies of five Islamic Jihad members who were killed in an Israeli attack on a tunnel dug under the Gaza-Israel border last week. Israeli authorities announced on Sunday that the army had uncovered the bodies of the five men – identified by Islamic Jihad as Alaa Abu Ghorab, Shadi al-Hamri, Bader Musabah, Ahmad al-Sabakhi and Mohammad al-Buhaisi – who were missing since last week, when Israel blew up a tunnel on the Gaza-Israel border, killing 12 Palestinians. Initially the five were believed to still be alive. However, rescue teams in Gaza were prevented by the Israeli army from carrying out a search campaign until advances were made for the return of missing Israelis held by Hamas – most notably Israeli soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who are believed to have been killed during Israel’s offensive on the besieged enclave in 2014. After Islamic Jihad declared that the missing five were dead, Israel discovered their bodies and announced that their remains would be withheld from the families.
Rights groups Adalah and the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights released a joint statement on Sunday night, saying that the families of the Islamic Jihad members still “maintain their right to demand the return of the bodies of their relatives for burial”. Israel’s policy of holding bodies “contradicts the principles of international law,” the groups stated. “Bodies of individuals who are killed during situations of conflict must be returned to their families for burial with dignity”. ‘Collective punishment’ According to Palestinian human rights group al-Haq, Israel has held more than 161 slain Palestinians from their families since 2015, nine of whom continue to be held. After the confiscation of the remains of the Islamic Jihad members, this number has increased to 14. In addition, hundreds of Palestinians are believed to be buried in Israel’s “cemetery of numbers” – graves in Israel marked only by numbers….


Senior Hamas leader says faction no longer responsible for Gaza residents
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Nov — Senior Hamas official Mousa abu-Marzook said, on Monday, that his movement is no longer responsible for the residents of the Gaza Strip. He called for the Palestinian factions to put pressure on the Government of National Accord to carry out its duty and fulfil its responsibilities in the besieged enclave. Abu-Marzook said, according to Days of Palestine, that Hamas had smoothly and unconditionally handed over the territory in the hope that the leader of the rival Fateh movement, President Mahmoud Abbas, can afford to provide what Gaza’s Palestinian population need. “Only then,” he stressed, “will we be able to say with credibility that we have put the internal division behind us forever.” Insisting that “the enemy does not know anything except resistance,” the Hamas official added that Israeli aggression must be deterred. “Whenever they give a promise, a group of them violate it,” he explained….

Gaza receives first major PA medicine shipment after eight months
JPost 9 Nov by Adam Rasgon — For the first time in eight months, the PA sent a major shipment of government- subsidized medications to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Many Gazans rely on such medicines. “Twenty-two trucks of medications were dispatched to Gaza,” Palestinian Authority Health Ministry spokesman Osama al-Najjar told The Jerusalem Post. “This is our first major shipment of medications since February.” The PA’s last major shipment of medicine to Gaza, which included 27 trucks, took place on February 28.  According to Najjar, since February, the PA has sent only two trucks of medicine on three separate occasions – in March, May and July. A diplomatic source, familiar with the health sector in Gaza, told the Post that the small territory has been suffering from major shortages of medications. “Gaza has been dealing with shortages in a number of medications,” he said. “This shipment is very important and will lessen the shortages.” According to the source, the total value of the medicines sent to Gaza on Wednesday is $2.2 million. It is not clear what motivated the PA to resume its major shipments of medicine to Gaza.However, another diplomatic source told the Post in June that the PA stopped its shipments of medicine to Gaza as a part of President Mahmoud Abbas’s punitive measures against Hamas’s leadership in the territory. Starting in April, Abbas cut several PA budgets allocated to Gaza, to pressure Hamas to give up control of the territory….

Video: Olive harvest in Gaza
EI 7 Nov 3:02 — “The season is fun and joyful and brings people together,” says Samaher Abu Jame of the annual olive harvest. “Everyone participates in the olive picking, it’s a group effort,” says the woman, whose family has an olive orchard in southern Khan Younis. In addition to playing a significant social and cultural role, the autumn olive harvest is a cornerstone of the Palestinian economy. An estimated 100,000 Palestinian families depend on the annual olive harvest for their livelihoods. Olive production has significantly dropped in Gaza after decades of occupation and successive Israeli military assaults. Despite olives being one of Gaza’s main crops, 500 tons of olive products are imported to the territory every year, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture. Israel’s blockade restricts Palestinians in Gaza from exporting olives abroad, so local producers cannot sell to a wider market. Despite the challenges, 23,000 tons of olives were harvested in Gaza this year, according to the ministry. Video by Ruwaida Amer for The Electronic Intifada.

Gaza traders, consumers welcome end of double taxation
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 8 Nov by Hana Salah — The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced Nov. 1 that it had officially taken over crossings into and out of Gaza within the framework of implementing the reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas on Oct. 12 in Cairo. On the same day, Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh said in a press statement, “The consensus government has decided to cancel illegal taxes in Gaza, and the government will collect only the taxes imposed by Palestinian law.” By “illegal taxes,” Sheikh meant those that Hamas had imposed on goods entering Gaza when it controlled the territory. Residents in Gaza have been subjected to double taxation since 2014: taxes on imported goods levied by the PA before they cross into Gaza plus taxes imposed by the Hamas government on the goods. After the failure to sign a reconciliation agreement with Fatah in 2014, Hamas imposed new fees on imported goods, services and public shareholding companies in the guise of a National Solidarity Tax, in a bid to cover the budget deficit resulting from the PA’s refusal to cover government expenses and ongoing international economic pressure. Goods coming through the smuggling tunnels from Egypt were also subject to Hamas-imposed taxes….

Power crisis threatens livelihoods of Gaza farmers
EI 7 Nov by Isra Saleh el-Namey — Samih Abu Qaida is worried that he will have to give up his job. The 45-year-old has been farming since his early teens and has never encountered difficulties so severe as those of recent months. Power shortages in Gaza mean he cannot work the pumps needed to irrigate crops.Our job cannot be done without electricity,” he said. Alternative fuel for his machinery is “scarce and unaffordable,” Abu Qaida, who lives in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, added. The extra costs involved have reduced his income and made it increasingly difficult to provide for his 11-strong family. This year’s harvest was very poor for another Gaza farmer, Raed Abu Kameel. The few tomatoes he was able to sell were of low quality, with the result that he could only charge a small price when they went to market. He was unable to water his crops during hot weather. Abu Kameel is 56 and had hoped that his children would also become farmers. Yet only one of his six sons has done so. “Because of these conditions, agriculture is now unattractive to the younger generations,” he said. “This is tragic. We have the right soil and temperature here to grow fruit and vegetables. But the political conditions have a terrible effect on every aspect of our lives.”
Food production plummets —
Thousands of families in Gaza rely on agriculture to make ends meet. Challenging under any circumstances, food production has plummeted in Gaza since the current power crisis began during April. The United Nations monitoring agency OCHA has reported that many farmers have ceased irrigating completely and abandoned cropped land in order to graze cattle. OCHA stated in September that 30,000 out of 80,000 dunams planted with seasonal vegetable crops were at serious risk because they had not been properly irrigated (a dunam is 1,000 square meters). Majid Abu Rish, another farmer in Khan Younis, is among those who has tried to change his activities. He used to plant onions, tomatoes and potatoes. This year, he has switched to rearing cattle. The money he has made “can barely cover my costs,” he said….

Gaza factions say UNRWA changes to curriculum undermine Palestinian national identity
GAZA (WAFA) 7 Nov – Gaza’s national and Islamic factions said on Tuesday that they will not agree to changes in school textbooks introduced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine refugees that undercut the Palestinian national identity. They said UNRWA has introduced new terms that weaken the students’ understanding of the Palestinian identity and culture. They called on UNRWA not to introduce anything in the schools it runs that would influence the student’s relationship to his land, identity and culture. The factions said UNRWA should not meddle with the school curriculum of the host country and should teach it in its schools without any changes.

‘Gaza Tourist’ journeys through heritage and lives
Al-Monitor 7 Nov by Tamam Mohsen — A backpack, camera, tent, bicycle and social media platforms are all the equipment Abd al-Rahim al-Zraiee needs to reveal hidden gems in Gaza that even local residents might not know. The young Palestinian is known on social media as the Gaza Tourist. Through his travels — which are posted to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter — Zraiee documents the territory’s history and seeks out its beauty. Zraaie set out on his first tour about a year ago, exploring his own hometown, Deir al-Balah, a historical city in central Gaza. “What motivated me to start this initiative is my wanderlust and passion for discovering new places, meeting new people and understanding different cultures, traditions and rituals,” Zraaie told Al-Monitor. “I started traveling around Gaza and documenting my tours through photos and short comments. I focused on dusting off our archaeological sites and presenting Gaza’s beauty, which still remains despite the wars and crises it has experienced.” Zraaie said he also wanted to learn more about Palestinian heritage, from archaeological sites to history to local traditions. “I wanted to show the world the sublime beauty and history of Gaza,” he said. He therefore created the Facebook page Gaza Tourist. With time, and a few trips, it has become a gallery of photographs, videos and stories.

High-tech shipping container Portal links Harvard students, Gaza youth
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Boston Globe) 6 Nov by Jeremy C. Fox — In a cozy space on Harvard’s campus, a small group of students sat down Sunday morning facing another cluster of young people and chatted about TV, music, and sports. Their conversation was casual, even ordinary. It hardly mattered that the groups were roughly 5,500 miles apart.On one side of the conversation were five members of the Middle East Refugee Service Initiative, a student organization at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government that connects Arabic-speaking students with newly resettled refugees in Greater Boston. On the other, young people in Gaza City, a Palestinian metropolis. Introducing themselves in English, the students in Cambridge learned that all but one of the Palestinians were 21. Rosi Greenberg, a Kennedy School student from Philadelphia, responded with a common Arabic expression meaning “May you live a long time.” When the Palestinians realized that the Harvard students spoke Arabic, “all of a sudden, they were like, ‘Whoa!’ ” Greenberg said. “There was kind of a spark, and a joy.” From there, the conversation continued mostly in Arabic, as they discussed popular American exports such as “Game of Thrones.” “They were more up to speed on shows than some of us were,” said Ziad Reslan, 31, a Kennedy School student from Lebanon …  As the Harvard students and the Palestinians ended their conversation Sunday morning, they made plans to connect on social media and stood to take selfies with the new friends projected on the wall behind them. Afterward, they recalled the Palestinians’ warmth. “They made us comfortable,” Reslan said, “not the other way around.” “They were very welcoming,” Quarantello added. “I felt like I was walking into their living room.”

In Gaza one new baby is born every 10 minutes
MEMO 6 Nov — Official statistics released on Sunday showed that 5,058 new babies were born in Gaza in October, with an average of 163 babies per day or six babies per hour, Al-Resalah newspaper reported. The statistics showed an increase by 541 new births since September, during which 4,517 new babies were born in the Gaza Strip. According to the statistics, 51 per cent of the new babies were males and 49 per cent of them were females, 2,549 males and 2,509 females. Meanwhile, the Palestinian interior ministry registered 242 deaths during the same month, 121 females and 121 males. 2016 statistics showed that the population growth rate in Gaza is 2.39 per cent, with a birth rate of 32.3/1,000 and death rate of 3.2/1,000.

Punitive demolitions

Israeli soldiers to detonate family home of slain Palestinian who killed three soldiers
IMEMC 9 Nov — The Israeli authorities decided to detonate the home of a Palestinian who was killed,after shooting to death three Israeli soldiers nearly two months ago, at the entrance of Har Adar illegal Israeli colony, which is built on [land] illegally seized from the Palestinian village of Beit Surik, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem, where [the] attacker was from. Ahmad Omar al-Jamal, the head of Beit Surik Local Council, said that the lawyer representing the family of Nimir Mahmoud al-Jamal phoned him,on Wednesday at night and informed him about the Israeli decision to wire and detonate the al-Jamal family home on November 14th. The Israeli authorities demanded the five families living in the building to evacuate it, ahead of the scheduled demolition. Al-Jamal said the Israeli decision is another illegal act of collective punishment against five families, including many children, adding that Israel is exacting vengeance against the surviving family members, especially since the soldiers repeatedly invaded and ransacked their residences, causing excessive damage to the furniture and belongings. It is worth mentioning that Nimir al-Jamal was killed on Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at the entrance of Har Adar settlement, after killing three Israeli soldiers.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Adalah: Proposed ‘Jerusalem and its Daughters’ law violates international humanitarian law
HAIFA (WAFA) 8 Nov — Adalah–The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has sent a letter to senior Israeli political and legal figures demanding they oppose the proposed “Jerusalem and its Daughters” law, which would annex a ring of West Bank settlements to Israel’s Jerusalem municipality and impose Israeli civil law in these occupied territories, according to a press release issued on Wednesday. The letter, sent on 29 October to Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation and to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, seeks their opposition to the bill. The expansion in Jerusalem’s jurisdictional territory is intended to include areas that are now under the jurisdiction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including the municipalities of Beitar Illit, Ma’ale Adumim, the Givat Ze’ev Local Council, the Gush Etzion Regional Council, and the Efrat Local Council. In her letter, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara stressed that the bill violates international humanitarian law: This “large-scale confiscation of property belonging to a protected population is a gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This bill allows the seizure of occupied territory, a change in the designation of this land, and the establishment of new facts on the ground which alter the laws that apply to these areas. It would cut off these areas from the rest of the West Bank, violate the right of Palestinian residents to make full use of their land, and freedom of movement and access for Palestinian residents.” Adalah’s letter emphasized that the proposed law seeks to install the Israeli civilian legislature as the sovereign power in the occupied West Bank:….

Israel approves 240 east Jerusalem settler homes: official
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Nov by Jonah Mandel — Israeli authorities on Wednesday approved building permits for 240 new homes in settlement neighbourhoods in Jerusalem’s eastern sector, Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman told AFP. A city planning committee approved 90 units in Gilo and another 150 in Ramat Shlomo, Turjeman said, the latest in a series of moves to enhance Jewish presence in the contested Israeli-annexed Palestinian sector of the city. Turjeman noted the committee also approved 44 units for Palestinians in their neighbourhood of Beit Hanina. The Ramat Shlomo units are part of plans announced in 2010 to build 1,600 settler homes in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in east Jerusalem … Wednesday’s approvals were granted weeks after the same committee voted on an expansion creating the largest Israeli settlement within a Palestinian neighbourhood in the city.

Israeli PM pledges West Bank bypass roads for settlers
JERUSALEM (AP) 6 Nov by Aron Heller — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged 200 million shekels ($57 million) Monday to build safe bypass roads for Jewish West Bank settlers, in a move that looks to satisfy a key constituent but anger Palestinians who consider it a further encroachment upon their hoped-for future state. Facing bereaved families of those killed in Palestinian attacks in the West Bank at parliament, Netanyahu assured them the government was committed to improving the roads, as well as the lighting and cellular coverage there to help prevent such attacks. “We have a clear commitment to solve or help solve the problem of the bypass roads in Judea and Samaria,” he said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name. “I come now from a meeting with the finance minister and we decided together to immediately allocate 200 million shekels to paving roads… We’re not just talking, we’re doing. Our actions are consistent, systematic and determined.” “We have a clear commitment to solve or help solve the problem of the bypass roads in Judea and Samaria,” he said, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name. “I come now from a meeting with the finance minister and we decided together to immediately allocate 200 million shekels to paving roads… We’re not just talking, we’re doing. Our actions are consistent, systematic and determined.” .He said he planned to budget another 600 million shekels ($170 million) for further improvements. West Bank settlers have been demanding the improved infrastructure for some time, protesting outside Netanyahu’s residence against what they called a cavalier approach to their safety…

Israeli colonists destroy sections of irrigation line in Northern Plains
IMEMC 7 Nov —  A group of extremist Israeli colonists attacked, Monday, a Palestinian irrigation pipeline in Ein as-Sakout area, in the West Bank’s Northern Plains, and stole approximately 400 meters of it. The colonists attacked the irrigation line at noon, in the area located close to the Jordan River, and stole approximately 400 [meters] of it. The total length of the irrigation pipeline is approximately 7500 meters, and was installed by the Palestinian Agricultural Relief to help the farmers. The attack just came one day after the colonists destroyed another section of the same line with bulldozers, before loading them onto trucks, and stole them. The fertile area is considered the fruit basket of the West Bank, but is subject to constant Israeli violations, including Israel’s repeated shutdown of water heading to the Palestinian lands, an issue that pushes the farmers to buy water from the Israeli side at a heavy price tag.

Agricultural group urges support for farmers in Sakout area in Jordan Valley
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Nov – The Union of Agricultural Work Committee (UAWC) called on Tuesday to support Palestinian farmers in Sakout village in the northern Jordan Valley after settlers had forced a farmer to leave his land and sabotaged a water pipe built to irrigate crops. They said in a statement that Israeli settlers protected by the army attacked Zamel Daraghmeh and his family while they were working on their land planting it with vegetables and forced them to leave it. The settlers also sabotaged a water pipe he had built to help the area farmers reclaim their land and irrigate their crops. UAWC said the Palestinian farmers in Sakout, whom the army had not allowed to reach their land since 1967, were able to win a court order allowing them to work on their land after they proved ownership. The order affected 3500 dunums of land out of a total of 5600 dunums. It said the settlers were not happy to see the Palestinian farmers return to their land and plant it will all kinds of crops and therefore they attacked them and forced them to leave their land, as was the case with Daraghmeh….

Two residential buildings demolished in Jordan Valley village
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Nov — Israeli forces, on Tuesday, demolished two Palestinian-owned buildings in the village of al-Jiftlik, in the Jordan Valley, under the pretext they were built without a permit. Owner of one of the buildings, Ahmad Bani Odeh, told WAFA that he had requested an Israeli construction permit two years ago, but his request was rejected. He said that he received an order last month, to appear at the Israeli military office, but that it did not result in getting the building permit, and he was surprised when a bulldozer and forces came this morning to demolish his building. The second building belonged to Khalil Jahalin, another resident of the same village, whose building was demolished for the same reason.

Israel to clear mines from over 15 acres to expand West Bank settlement
JPost 6 Nov by Anna Ahronheim — The Defense Ministry has started clearing mines from land adjacent to the Karnei Shomron Regional Council in order to significantly expand the community, The Jerusalem Post learned on Monday. The mine removal was started at the beginning of November and will take an estimated two months to complete. More than 2,200 mines are expected to be discovered in the work area that covers some 80 dunams, or about 20 acres. The mine clearance work will be carried out by 4MDefense, which won the tender from the Defense Ministry. Once the area has been cleared, it will allow for approximately 1,200 homes to be built in the Ramat Gilad neighborhood, greatly expanding Karnei Shomron, in the northwestern West Bank, which is home to about 35,000 people. The move was led by Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman in cooperation with Defense Ministry Director General Col. Udi Adam. “Building in Judea and Samaria is not a dirty word, it is our duty to the citizens of the state,” Ben-Dahan said. “I am glad that we have brought the heavy vehicles into the field and have prepared them for the construction of thousands of housing units for a million Jews who will live in Judea and Samaria in the future… ‘  While there are some 33,000 dunams (8,150 acres) of known minefields, there are still another 90,000 dunams (22,240 acres) throughout the country suspected of being littered with mines, mainly in open fields in the Golan, the Arava Desert and along Israel’s borders.

Other news

Palestinians resume security ties with Israel, eye Gaza enforcement
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) 8 Nov by Miriam Berger, Ali Sawafta — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s administration said on Wednesday it had resumed security coordination with Israel in the occupied West Bank, frozen in July, and sought sole security control of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas Islamist forces dominate. The remarks, by the Palestinian police chief, left open the question of how Abbas might bring his former rivals in Hamas to heel given their refusal to disarm as demanded by Israel and the United States. An Egyptian-brokered reconciliation deal last month formally restored Abbas’s administrative control of Gaza after a 10-year schism with Hamas, though the details of implementation have yet to be worked out fully … Under interim peace deals with Israel, Abbas’ Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank. Abbas halted security coordination with Israel on July 21, demanding it remove metal detectors it had installed outside a Jerusalem compound housing Al-Aqsa mosque in response to the killing of two of its police guards by gunmen holed up there…

PA official claims 7 terror attacks foiled by Palestinian forces
Ynet 7 Nov by Elior Levy — Palestinian security official tells Ynet his forces foiled planned stabbings, shootings and bombings against Israelis in the West Bank; eager to prevent Hamas from exploiting reconciliation deal as means to dig in inside West Bank, official outlines crackdown on terrorists, including arrest of 46 Hamas affiliates and dozens more hailing from other terror groups.,7340,L-5039777,00.html

Hamas must disarm under unity deal: Palestinian police chief
RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) 8 Nov — The head of the Palestinian police said Wednesday that Hamas must disarm to allow a landmark reconciliation deal signed last month with rivals Fatah to succeed. Hazem Atallah’s comments came as cracks began to show in the Palestinian reconciliation deal mediated by Egypt over the issue of security control of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is due to retake control of the Gaza Strip, currently still run by Islamist movement Hamas, by December 1. “We are talking about one authority, one law, one gun,” Atallah told journalists in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, echoing a line from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. Asked whether he could allow Hamas’s armed wing to maintain their weapons while being in charge of police in Gaza, he said: “No way”. “It is impossible. How can I do security when there are all these rockets and guns and whatever? Is this possible? It doesn’t work. Otherwise how can I be in charge? Who is going to be standing and saying ‘I am the chief of police, I am in charge,’ if I am not controlling everything?” He said the 8,000-9,000 Palestinian police who worked in Gaza before Hamas took over in 2007 would return to their posts, rejecting the idea of merging with the existing Hamas-led police….

Palestinian Authority showing Dahlan-era officers the door
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 7 Nov by Ahmad Abu Amer — The success of the internal Palestinian reconciliation hinges in large part on how the parties involved handle their highly sensitive security issues. For years — since their violent split in 2007 — security has posed the biggest stumbling block for both the Fatah and Hamas rival political parties and has hampered all Arab and regional efforts toward their reunification. The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank has always refused to allow Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip to merge with its own.
Another security-related issue recently came up, namely what to do with those officers affiliated with Fatah’s Reformist Current, which was headed by dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. These officers represent a large part of the Preventive Security Service, also known as the Palestinian Preventive Security (PPS), founded by Dahlan in 1994 by order of late President Yasser Arafat. Over the years, the PA has cut the salaries of hundreds of these officers in both Gaza and the West Bank and forced many into early retirement in the wake of the dispute that broke out in 2010 between Dahlan and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. A senior PA security official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that PA security has formed committees in the Gaza Strip to investigate all the officers under age 45 who plan to remain within the ranks of the security services, particularly those affiliated with Dahlan’s faction, to either dismiss them or force them into early retirement. The first investigation, he said, showed there are between 1,500 and 2,000 Dahlan-affiliated officers in Gaza, mostly working in the PPS, and a few in the General Intelligence Service….

Palestinian official condemns British minister Israel talks
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Nov — A senior Palestinian official on Wednesday condemned a British minister’s unauthorised meetings in Israel as “scandalous”, urging Prime Minister Theresa May to take action. British International Development Secretary Priti Patel was summoned back from a trip to Africa on Wednesday to meet with May, with speculation she would be fired. Patel had apologised Monday for holding 12 separate meetings — including with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — during a family holiday to Israel in August, without notifying the Foreign Office or Downing Street in advance. Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi condemned the visit, accusing Israel of seeking to turn ministers in foreign government into “advocates” through illegitimate means. “I think it is scandalous and that leads me to question how many more cases, not just in Britain but other places, have not been exposed,” Ashrawi told AFP … During her meetings, Patel discussed the possibility of British aid being used to support medical assistance for Syrian refugees arriving in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Downing Street said. Reports suggest however that she had not explained to May that this involved supplying funding to the Israeli army, which has facilitated the treatment of wounded refugees in Israeli hospitals.

Palestinians to mark Arafat death anniversary with events, rallies
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Nov – Palestinians are planning a number of events and rallies in the West  Bank and Gaza Strip  to mark the 13th anniversary for the death of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a senior Fatah official said on Tuesday. Mahmoud Aloul, deputy head of President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, told Voice of Palestine radio that the commemoration activities will start on Thursday with an event at the Arafat’s mausoleum in Ramallah. However, the main anniversary commemoration activity will be held in Gaza on Saturday, the day Arafat died 13 years ago at a Paris hospital where he was rushed following deterioration on his health after being under Israeli military siege at his Ramallah headquarters for months. The Gaza rally, made possible after the recent reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, is going to be held at the Saraya grounds….

Palestinian soccer officials get court date for FIFA case
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) 6 Nov — The Palestinian challenge about how FIFA handled its complaint against the Israeli soccer federation will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport this month. CAS says its panel will hear the Palestine Football Association’s appeal on Nov. 27. A verdict is expected weeks later. The court date was announced 10 days after FIFA President Gianni Infantino said his organization would not intervene after years of attempted mediation between its two member federations. The Palestinians’ appeal to CAS followed Infantino steering the soccer body’s annual congress in May to delay debate on a FIFA-appointed task force’s report. It could have stopped West Bank settlement clubs from playing in the Israeli league. FIFA rules prohibit federations from holding games on another member’s territory without permission.–sow.html

Israel lobby lawsuit against San Francisco State University collapses
EI 9 Nov by Nora Barrows-Friedman — A federal judge in San Francisco said on Wednesday that he will dismiss a frivolous lawsuit against professor Rabab Abdulhadi and her employer, San Francisco State University. They were both accused of fostering a hostile environment for Jewish students based on Palestine advocacy and criticism of Israel’s policies. This is a major victory for US academics and students who are facing a legal assault from pro-Israel groups to punish and censor advocacy for Palestinian rights.  The lawsuit, filed in June, was prepared by The Lawfare Project, a group that describes itself as “the legal arm of the pro-Israel community.”…. (listserv)


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

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3 Responses

  1. JWalters on November 9, 2017, 2:40 pm

    They would be 16,000 eye-witnesses to Israeli crimes.

  2. Kay24 on November 10, 2017, 6:50 am

    Democracy is allowing people to be free, and able to come and go as they please. Israel has boxed in the Palestinian people, steals from them, collectively punishes them, kills them, and many Israel have used terms like “bombing them back to the stone age”, “concentration camps”, and attacks on Gaza are met with glee, as Israelis watch the people of Gaza being killed picnicking on top of hills. The nations that keep arming and supporting this rogue state, are enablers, and are equally guilty of international crimes.

    • Misterioso on November 10, 2017, 10:17 am

      Brings to mind the phrase “mowing the lawn” used by Israel’s leaders to describe its repeated monstrous and murderous attacks against essentially defenseless Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip as well as the words of Dov Weisglass, PM Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser:

      “‘The significance of the [then proposed] disengagement plan [implemented in 2005] is the freezing of the peace process,’ Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Ha’aretz. ‘And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda….’ Weisglass, who was one of the initiators of the disengagement plan, was speaking in an interview with Ha’aretz for the Friday Magazine. ‘The disengagement is actually formaldehyde,’ he said. ‘It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.’” (Top PM Aide: Gaza Plan Aims to Freeze the Peace Process, Ha’aretz, October 6, 2004)

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