Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli settlers open fire on Palestinian farmers, killing 1, injuring another
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Nov — A Palestinian farmer was shot dead by Israeli settlers on Thursday while he was working on his land near the village of Qusra, to the south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, according to local sources. An official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers from the illegal Yash Kod settlement outpost raided Palestinian lands near Qusra and [other reports said the settlers were from Migdalim and Yitzhar] attacked a farmer, Mahmoud Ahmad Zaal Odeh, 48, as he was working the land. According to locals, Odeh attempted to prevent the settlers from entering his land, at which point, the settlers opened fire on him, shooting him in the chest. He succumbed to his wounds shortly after he was shot. Another Palestinian identified as Fayez Fathi Hasan, 47, was injured in the leg by the settlers’ fire. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained Odeh’s son and took him to the Huwwara military base nearby, and have not yet returned Odeh’s body to his family. Shortly after the deadly attack, Israeli forces raided and surrounded the village to protect the settlers, preventing all Palestinian movement in the area. An Israeli army spokesperson told a completely different account of the events to Ma‘an….
Hours after illegal colonists killed one Palestinian, Israeli soldiers injure many Palestinians, one seriously; colonists attack ambulance
IMEMC 30 Nov — Dozens of Israeli colonists and soldiers invaded, on Thursday at night, the village of Qusra, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, before the army shot and seriously wounded one Palestinian, and injured many others, while the colonists smashed the front shield and one of the windows of a Palestinian ambulance, wounding the driver in his eye. Media sources in Nablus said the colonists infiltrated into the eastern neighborhood of Qusra, and attacked many Palestinians, leading to clashes. They added that dozens of soldiers also invaded the village, and fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, before evacuating the colonists from the area. Ahmad Jibril, the spokesperson of the Red Crescent Society in Nablus, said the colonists smashed the front shield and one of the windows of one of its ambulances, wounding the driver in his eye.Jibril added that Red Crescent medics also moved one Palestinian, who was shot with a live round in his pelvis, to a hospital in Nablus, adding that the man is in a critical condition.
The soldiers also invaded ‘Aseera al-Qibliyya nearby town, and clashed with many Palestinians, before firing live rounds, gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at them.
The Red Crescent identified the injuries among the Palestinians as:
* Two were shot with live rounds in the pelvis, and the leg, and were moved to Rafidia hospital.
* Two were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets, and received treatment by the medics.
* Two were assaulted and beaten by soldiers and colonists.
* Ambulance driver was wounded in his eye.
* Scores of Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli soldier stabbed to death in Negev
IMEMC/Agencies 1 Dec — An Israeli soldier was found lying unconscious, bleeding from stab wounds, outside of a mall in the city of Arad, located on the border of the Negev desert and the West Bank. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was declared dead on the scene. “When we arrived to the scene a young man in his twenties was found lying unconscious without a pulse, and was not breathing, with stab wounds to his upper body,” said a spokesman of Magen David Adom emergency responders, according to Haaretz. Checkpoints have been set up on Route 31 and at the city’s entrance, as Israeli authorities search for any possible suspects who might have fled the area. According to Israeli news sources, Israeli Police speculated that the murder was by a Palestinian, but no actual proof of a terror attack has been produced. Ynet quoted Arad Mayor Nissan Ben-Hemo as saying, “The working assumption is that this was a terror attack, but it still has yet to be determined unequivocally.” More info on the incident as it surfaces.
Army abducts two Palestinian shepherds in Northern Plains
IMEMC 29 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday evening, two Palestinian shepherds in Ein al-Hilwa and as-Sakout areas, in the Northern Plains of the occupied West Bank, for bringing their cattle to a distance of 2 kilometers away from Shidmot illegal colony. The soldiers attacked the two shepherds and abducted them, before moving them to an unknown destination. It is worth mentioning that Israel prevents the Palestinians from planting their lands in the Sakout Meadow, allegedly for being close to the border with Jordan. In addition, the Israeli police imposed a 250 Shekels fine on a farmer in the Sakout Meadow, for driving his tractor in that area. Furthermore, the soldiers abducted four Palestinians; one of them is a mother of five, including two toddlers, after a group of illegal Israeli colonists invaded Palestinian lands, east of Yatta town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and assaulted many Palestinians. Also on Tuesday evening, the soldiers abducted, on Tuesday evening, two young Palestinian men in Hebron and one in Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers abduct two Palestinians in Bethlehem
IMEMC 30 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, two young Palestinian men in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, after invading their homes and violently searching them. The Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said many army jeeps invaded Wadi Ma‘ali area, in the center of the city, before the soldiers abducted Ahmad Jamal al-Hreimi, 20. It added that the soldiers also invaded Jabal al-Mawaleh area, in the city, and abducted Salah Awwad Jawareesh, 20. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers abducted Jawareesh to pressure his brother, Mohammad, to turn himself in to the army.
Soldiers dig in Palestinian graveyard in Kafr ‘Aqab
IMEMC 27 Nov — Israeli soldiers invaded, Monday, a Palestinian graveyard in Kafr ‘Aqab town, north of occupied East Jerusalem, and surrounded a graveyard before starting digging work in the cemetery and some of its graves. Media sources in the town said dozens of soldiers surrounded and isolated the graveyard, before sending bulldozers and digging machines into it. They added that the army prevented the Palestinians, and media outlets, from entering the graveyard, or its surrounded areas.
Israel intends to demolish six residential towers of approximately 140 apartments, in Kafr Aqab; most of the apartments are already inhabited by dozens of families, who are still fighting legal battles in Israeli courts, but the army is now rushing to demolish them, before the appeals are ruled on by Israeli courts.
Israel arrests Palestinians over population count
Al Jazeera 22 Nov by Ibrahim Husseini — Israeli police have arrested several Palestinians, including members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas‘ political party, Fatah, and accused them of carrying out a population census in occupied East Jerusalem. Muhammad Mahmoud, a lawyer representing some of the detainees, told Al Jazeera that five Fatah members, including Hatem Abdel Qader, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council for the Jerusalem district, were arrested and had their detention subsequently extended because of their “illegal work with the PA [Palestinian Authority]”. An Israeli judge extended the detention of Aseel Hasoneh, Issam Khatib and Musab Abbas to November 27, Mahmoud said. Hatem Abdel Qader and Arafat Musa were given house arrest for five days and ordered to pay a $570 bail … Khalil Tufakgi, a Palestinian expert on the Oslo Accords, said that, in accordance with the Interim Agreement, PA activity is not allowed in East Jerusalem. The Interim Agreement between the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), commonly known as the Oslo II Accord, created, in 1995, Areas A, B and C in the West Bank …
Activity denied — The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) is currently conducting a population census and is believed to have included East Jerusalem in the count. According to some reports, a few individuals were seen in East Jerusalem with a questionnaire related to a population census. Through a spokesperson, the PCBS denied operating in East Jerusalem, contradicting the Israeli police statement. Speaking to Al Jazeera, Louay Shehadeh said: “We have been preparing to conduct a population census in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since June, but we have been operating only in the suburbs like Abu Dis, al-Ram and Ezariya.” He said the “Israeli detentions targeted Fatah members and had nothing to do with the population census”.
Israeli police detain two Palestinians in Tel Aviv
IMEMC 30 Nov — The Israeli police detained, on Wednesday evening, two Palestinians in the Central Station in Tel Aviv, allegedly for locating sharp objects with them. The two have been identified as Omar Kamel Ja‘bari, 28, and Bassem Jamal Ja‘bari, 25. Both are from al-Yamoun town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin. They were both cuffed and blindfolded, before being moved to an interrogation facility in the city.
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct 21 Palestinians including children in West Bank’
IMEMC 17 Nov — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, Monday, 21 Palestinians, including children, in the occupied West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem, during extensive military invasions and searches of homes. The PPS office in Bethlehem said the soldiers invaded homes in al-Khader town, south of the city, and abducted four children, identified as Ahmad Mahmoud Saleh, 13, Yazan Abdul-Rahim al-Masri, 13, Mohammad Mahmoud Mousa, 15, and Mohammad Saud Sbeih, 15. In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Bilal Ali al-‘Anani, 24, Yousef Jamal al-Ashqar, 25, Islam Lafah and Jaber Ahmad Mizhir. In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Dia’ Sarahna, 23, Rezeq Rajoub and his son Ahmad Rajoub. In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Nidal Abu Farha and Mahmoud Omar Abu Farha. In Nablus, also in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Ahmad ‘Ayed Qitt, 21, and Abdul-Hafith Ramzi Yousef, 17. Another Palestinian, identified as Mohammad Yousef al-Barri, 20, was abducted by the soldiers in Tulkarem, in northern West Bank. In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Mohammad Arafat Abu al-Hamam, Arafat Abu al-Hamam, his sons, Amer and Shadi, in addition to Mohammad Abdul-Mon’em al-A’war, 19, from Abu Tayeh neighborhood in Silwan. The soldiers later released Arafat and his sons Shadi and Amer, and decided to send Mohammad Abdul-Mon’em al-A’war and Mohammad Arafat Abu al-Hamam to court next Sunday.
Israeli forces detain 23 Palestinians, 2 teenagers, in predawn raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Nov — Israeli forces carried out predawn raids across the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, detaining 23 Palestinians, according to the Israeli army. The army said in a statement that the detainees were detained “for security reasons,” and also claimed that during a raid on a toy store in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, soldiers allegedly found 15 weapons.
While the army did not provide the identities of the detainees or the locations from which they were arrested, locals in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem told Ma‘an that three Palestinians were detained. Locals said that Israeli forces carried out search and detention raids in Bethlehem city, where they assaulted and detained a Palestinian identified as Muhammad Fayez al-Dibs. In the Bethlehem-area Husan village, Israeli forces detained two teenagers identified as Ismail Hasan Hamamreh, 19, and Yazan Khalid Badr Shusheh, 19, after raiding and searching their homes. Israeli forces also raided the al-‘Arroub refugee camp in the northern Hebron district and detained a former prisoner identified as Said Thib Hajajreh, and two “children,” identified as Ammar Muhammad Mahmoud Jawabreh and Ibrahim Ahmad Jawabreh.
According to United Nations documentation, Israeli forces conducted 147 search and arrest operations across the West Bank between November 7 and November 20. Meanwhile, Addameer recorded 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.
Court actions / Prisoners
Israel sentences 3 Palestinians to life in prison for 2016 shooting attack
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an)29 Nov — The Israeli central court of Tel Aviv issued four life sentences with an additional 60 years of prison, and a 2,572,000 shekel ($734,563) fine against three Palestinians accused of carrying out a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv in June 2016 that left four Israelis dead and several others injured. Lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Khalid Mahajna said in a statement that Khalid Muhammad Makhamreh, 22, Muhammad Ahmad Makhamreh, 22, and Younis Ayesh Zein, 23, were sentenced on four murder charges and 41 attempted murders. Khalid and Muhammad, who are cousins from the southern West Bank Hebron-area town of Yatta, carried out the attack at the bust Sarona Market in Tel Aviv last summer. Zein, meanwhile, was arrested for helping to plan the attack. According to the PPS statement, one of the Israeli judges decided to rule Zain innocent of the murders and murder attempts as he “did not actually and directly take part in the attack.” However, the majority of the judges decided to hand him the same sentence as the Makhamrehs. Mahajna said that he would be presenting an appeal to the court for Zein, based on the ruling of the one judge who declared him innocent.
Israeli soldiers attack detainees in Ramon Prison
IMEMC 27 Nov — On Monday, undercover soldiers of the Israeli Prison Authority attacked several Palestinian detainees in various sections in Ramon prison, causing many to suffer cuts and bruises, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS said the soldiers assaulted the detainees in their rooms, before they were moved to the prison clinic, for treatment. One of the detainees has been identified as Firas Khalilia, from Jaba‘ town, south of the southern West Bank city of Jenin. The detainees voiced an appeal to legal and human rights groups to intervene, and end the ongoing assaults and violations against them, and their families.
Israel to demolish home of Palestinian prisoner in Qabatiya
JENIN (WAFA) 30 Nov — Israeli forces notified the family of Mohammad Ziad Abu al-Rob, a prisoner in Israeli jails, about their intention to demolish their home as a punitive measure for their son’s alleged killing of an Israeli settler in early October. Ziad Abu al-Rob, Mohammad’s father, said Israeli authorities informed his son’s attorney that the family ought to leave their home prior to its demolition by the Israeli authorities. The father said, prior to this notification the supreme Israeli court rejected a plea submitted by the attorney against the intended demolition. Abu al-Rob was convicted by an Israeli court of murdering an Israeli settler in the Arab town of Kafr Qasem, in central Israel, in early October. To be noted, Israel resorts to punitively demolish the family homes of Palestinians – as means of deterrence – who are accused of being involved in attacks against Israelis, a policy that Israel does not use against Israeli settlers who are involved in fatal attacks against Palestinians. B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, says: “The people who bear the brunt of the [punitive] demolitions are relatives – including women, the elderly, and children – whom Israel does not suspect of involvement in any offense.” “In the vast majority of cases, the person whose actions prompted the demolition was not even living in the house at the time of the demolition,” adds the group….
Watch: 50 years of closure in Gaza
EI 27 Nov by Maureen Clare Murphy — Israel’s siege and consecutive military assaults have wrought unprecedented and acute hardship and suffering on Gaza’s two million Palestinian residents over the past decade. But the closure of Gaza is an Israeli policy that dates back to the beginning of the occupation in 1967, as a new documentary by Al Mezan, a Gaza-based Palestinian human rights group, makes clear. The highly informative 40-minute film, titled Closure, can be watched at the top of this page. It can be understood by both English and Arabic-language audiences. Israel first imposed closure on Gaza and the West Bank in 1967, declaring them closed military zones and prohibiting exit and entry of Palestinians from the territories. Residents who happened to be outside the territories at the time, whether for business, study or otherwise, were prevented from returning home….
Israel carries out Gaza strikes after mortar fire
AFP 30 Nov — Israel’s military carried out a series of strikes on the Gaza Strip on Thursday after mortar rounds from the Palestinian enclave were fired at its soldiers, in a significant flare-up of violence. Hamas authorities reported three Palestinians wounded and taken to hospital, providing no further details on their conditions. No Israelis were reported hurt. The violence came a month after Israel blew up an Islamic Jihad tunnel stretching from the Gaza Strip into its territory, resulting in the deaths of at least 12 Palestinian militants. There have been warnings that Islamic Jihad would respond to the destruction of the tunnel … Israel’s army said it had hit six military targets after the mortar fire, including four near the border fence in the north of the strip and two others in the “central Gaza Strip”. The operation involved tanks and Israeli aircraft. AFP journalists reported seeing three strikes in the Gaza City area. Palestinian security sources said four Islamic Jihad military bases were struck in different parts of Gaza, as well as at least one Hamas lookout point … Islamic Jihad said none of its fighters were among the wounded. Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus said between 10 and 12 mortar rounds were fired at its forces and positions near the northeastern part of the Gaza Strip before it responded with strikes. There were no Israeli casualties and “only very light damage,” he told journalists. Conricus signalled that Islamic Jihad was responsible for the mortar fire, but declined to say clearly. If confirmed, they would be the first strikes by the Hamas-allied group from Gaza since the last war in 2014, sources close to Islamic Jihad said. Repeating Israel’s longstanding policy, Conricus said it held Hamas responsible for all such activity from the Gaza Strip….
Three Palestinians injured after Israeli planes spray farmlands with toxins in Gaza
IMEMC 30 Nov — Israeli army planes sprayed, Wednesday, Palestinian farmland in the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, with toxins and chemicals, wounding three Palestinians. Medical sources in Gaza said the Palestinians suffered chemical burns, severe shortening of breath, and various types of allergies after being exposed to the Israeli toxins, while working on their lands, near the border area, in the eastern part of the coastal region. They added that a special committee was formed to take samples of the toxins which were sprayed by the Israeli planes, to conduct the needed lab analysis.
Mourning ritual in Gaza for Al-Rawdah martyrs
CAIRO (Egypt Today) 26 Nov — The National Powers in the Gaza Strip held a mourning ritual on Sunday at the Unknown Soldier’s Square, Gaza city, for expressing their condolences to the 305 martyrs of the recent Al-Rawdah incident. Nearly 305 worshipers were killed when unidentified militants attacked a crowded mosque during Friday prayers in the North Sinai, which included 30 children; it took nearly 5 hours to bury them in their final resting place. Journalists who participated in the mourning raised signs denouncing the terrorist attack as well as photos of the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas abou-Mazen. In a statement given by the Palestinian News Agency, Chairman of the Palestinian Syndicate of Journalists Tahseen el-Astal condemned the massacre, underscoring that “Palestine is standing side by side with Egypt and its people in facing terrorism and anyone tries to affect the Egyptian National security.”
Egyptian forces shoot, injure 2 Palestinians attempting to cross border from Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Nov — Two Palestinians were shot and injured by Egyptian forces on Monday night while attempting to cross from Gaza into Egyptian territory in the northern Sinai Peninsula. Palestinian security and medical sources told Ma‘an that that four Palestinians were attempting to cross into the Sinai when Egyptian security forces opened fire at them, injuring two of them in the legs .Gaza security forces arrested the four, transferred the two injured to a medical center, and transferred the other two for questioning.
PA employees blocked from resuming work at Gaza ministries
GAZA CITY (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 29 Nov by Sakher Abou El Oun — Palestinian Authority employees were prevented from returning to work at a number of ministries in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, a union said, in another sign of tension ahead of a reconciliation deadline. The UN envoy for the Middle East peace process meanwhile held meetings in the Gaza Strip as part of efforts to urge Hamas and rivals Fatah to follow through on their landmark reconciliation accord mediated by Egypt. Islamist movement Hamas is scheduled to hand back control of Gaza, including all ministries, to the Palestinian Authority by Friday, a decade after seizing it in a 2007 near civil war. The Hamas-run union for public employees said it had instructed its delegates to block former employees from returning to work at the ministries, saying their return came in a “random manner” and aimed at “creating great problems”. Witnesses said dozens of former employees were prevented from going back to work at the finance, health and education ministries among others. After the 2007 power shift, the Palestinian Authority continued to pay around 60,000 staff in Gaza, despite the vast majority not working. Hamas has hired around 50,000 civil servants to replace them in the past decade, and the future of those staff is a key sticking point. In a statement the union said that the ban on returning employees would continue until a decision regarding the current Hamas employees was agreed. Control of some ministries has already been transferred.
– ‘Dangerous step’ – On Tuesday, Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah called on PA employees to return to their former jobs, with Hamas criticising the move. The reconciliation agreement signed last month between both sides stipulates they have until February to find a solution for the Gaza employees, which could include merging the two civil services. A spokesman for Hamdallah’s government said in a statement that blocking the employees was a “dangerous step” that threatened the reconciliation agreement….
Gaza handover delay sparks Palestinian unity deal doubts
AFP 30 Nov — Palestinian rival factions have delayed the handover of power in the Gaza Strip by at least 10 days, stoking fears Thursday that a landmark deal to end their decade-long feud may be set to fail. Fatah and Hamas announced the delay late Wednesday after sharp disagreements derailed a plan to return civil power in the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority by Friday … A range of complex issues remain to be resolved, including security control of the Gaza Strip and the fate of two separate civil administrations. Previous attempts at reconciliation between Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement, based in the occupied West Bank, and his Islamist rivals from Hamas have previously failed. The two factions have not publicly presented a plan for how they will resolve remaining issues before the new December 10 deadline under the Egyptian-brokered accord. Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian Authority minister, said he doubted a true handover could occur by the target date, though partial progress may allow the factions to keep the accord alive. “This decision (to delay) was taken under pressure from the Egyptian delegation,” he said. “The Egyptian delegation wants success, so they suggested 10 days and promised to continue their presence there and to put pressure on the two sides. I personally doubt that they can solve all those issues quickly.”
Wednesday’s late-night announcement followed a day of turbulence related to the reconciliation deal signed in Cairo on October 12. Fatah’s top negotiator, Azzam al-Ahmad, told AFP on Wednesday that Hamas was “not committed to the agreement it signed in Cairo.” “Until this moment, the problems and obstacles from Hamas are still there and are increasing.” In response, senior Hamas official Bassem Naim accused Fatah of “manoeuvres” to avoid going through with the deal. Hamas also accuses Abbas of violating the spirit of the agreement by so far refusing to lift punitive measures, including a cut in electricity payments for Gaza….
Hamas vows it won’t disarm, threatens West Bank expansion
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 27 Nov by Fares Akram — The Palestinian militant group Hamas vowed Monday to expand its military activities against Israel into the West Bank, underscoring the challenges ahead as the organization began reconciliation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party … To restore control of Gaza and secure its authority, Fatah demands Hamas neutralize its weapon arsenal, which the Islamic group used to eject Fatah and to fight three wars against Israel, in 2008, 2012 and 2014. “These weapons will not be touched. It’s not for debate or talk,” Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, told reporters in Gaza. Going further, he added “These weapons will clearly move to the West Bank to battle the (Israeli) occupation there. It’s our right to fight the occupation until it ends.” Hamas decries the Palestinian Authority’s security cooperation with Israel in the West Bank. Fatah in turn accuses Hamas of hindering the Palestinian government’s work in Gaza….
The Gaza street that never sleeps
GAZA STRIP 15 Nov by Amjad Ayman — As the sun sets in Gaza, a blanket of darkness starts to cover most of the Gaza Strip, except for one main road that continues to buzz with life and light: Al-Rasheed street. Al-Rasheed stretches along the coast from the north to the south of Gaza with restaurants, cafes and street vendors scattered across the sidewalk, selling everything from falafel sandwiches, ice cream, hot drinks and fresh juice. With constant power cuts that can last for around 20 hours, Gaza is usually pitch black at night. There are no street lights and there is no electricity in most homes. The only glimpses of light emanate from car headlights as they drive through the streets. For this reason, many residents like 27-year-old Mohamed Abu Zeid flock to Al-Rasheed street to get away from the darkness. Every night he walks onto the street holding chairs, a teapot, and his shisha pipe – a habit of his for almost two years now. Abu Zeid lives in a rented house in Gaza’s Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood with 10 family members including his mother, father and siblings. Abu Zeid’s father is a retired employee responsible for the family household and paying rent. Their previous larger house was bombed in the 2014 Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip that left over 2,200 people dead. “I have no job. I received a six-month temporary employment since I graduated [from university]. Our home is very cramped compared to our old bombed house that was big….
Photos: Floods in Gaza
MEMO 27 Nov by Mohammed Asad — Dozens of homes and shops flooded and many roads in Gaza City were blocked yesterday night due to heavy rainfall in the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses reported that the areas most affected by the heavy rainfall were Al-Shuja‘iyya, Al-Zaytoun, Al-Tuffah, Sheikh Radwan, and Muftaraq Al-Sahaba, as rain water flooded homes and shops in these areas and dragged many cars away. The emergency department in the Gaza governorate urged citizens not to litter in order to prevent rubbish from being swept away by the rainwater and blocking sewers. Civil Defence teams rushed to rescue citizens from homes that were flooded. They also used hoses to pump rainwater out of houses. The water level in the streets decreased after midnight, when the rain stopped, and municipality workers continued to pump water towards the sea and large pools.
Dying Gaza girl appeals for help
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) 28 Nov by Mohammed Majid & Qais Abu Samra — Lying sick in her bed, Anaam al-Attar, a 12-year-old Palestinian girl from the Gaza Strip, is awaiting for help to save her life. Al-Attar suffers from renal thrombosis, a rare kind of kidney failure, since she was a year-and-a-half old. Her family has sought a kidney transplant surgery, but Palestinian laws stipulate that the donor must be a first-degree relative. None of her family members matches with the girl’s kidney type. “We need to travel abroad urgently for a kidney transplant surgery from a foreign donor before it is too late,” Salwa al-Attar, the girl’s mother, said. speaking to Anadolu Agency at the family’s house in the northern city of Beit Lahia, Salwa said her child’s condition considerably deteriorated two months ago. She said her child has been sent to hospitals inside Israel in a desperate attempt to treat her. “They failed to treat her. My child is now bed-ridden in Gaza. “We appeal to President Mahmoud Abbas to intervene urgently to save our child’s life and send her abroad for a life-saving surgery,” the helpless mother says, fighting back her tears. Al-Attar’s case has triggered public media campaigns in the Gaza Strip for saving the Palestinian child’s life. The Palestinian Health Ministry says that it is ready to cover the costs of al-Attar’s kidney transplant surgery. “The problem is that there is no first-degree kidney donor,” ministry spokesman Osama al-Naggar told Anadolu Agency. The spokesman argues that Palestinian laws ban human organ purchases. “In case there is a second-degree donor, there will be complicated legal procedures to allow the transplant surgery,” he said….
Israel bars Swiss diplomats from Gaza after Hamas talks
AFP 29 Nov — Israel will refuse Swiss diplomats access to the Gaza Strip until further notice after recent meetings were held with Hamas leaders, an Israeli official said Wednesday. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman issued the order to prevent the diplomats from travelling to the Palestinian enclave from Israeli territory, the official said on condition of anonymity. The order will remain in place “until clarifications occur,” said the official, without providing further details. Israel controls all access into Gaza apart from the strip’s sole crossing with Egypt. On Tuesday, Switzerland’s envoy to the Palestinian Authority, Julien Thoni, met Hamas’s chief in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar. At least one other recent meeting was also held with Hamas leaders.
Hamas, the Islamist movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip for a decade, is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and European Union. It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008. Switzerland however has contacts with Hamas in order to maintain dialogue with all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of its peace and human rights efforts. Israel’s army radio reported that the decision to bar them from Gaza was taken due to the public nature of the meetings, with Hamas posting photos on its website.
Israel eases restrictions on US-bound Gazan travelers
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 29 Nov by Fares Akram — Israel on Wednesday launched a program to provide shuttle service for Gazans who need to travel to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem — an operation that could ease one of the many restrictions it places on Palestinians who want to exit the blockaded territory. Israel allows only a small number of Gazans to travel through Israel — mostly for medical care or other humanitarian grounds. It cites security considerations for the tight restrictions. In recent months, it has barred Gazans from entering Israel for visa interviews at the U.S. Consulate after some applicants fled into hiding in Israel or the West Bank to seek work. The restrictions have prevented several hundred people from applying at the Consulate for visas to travel or study in the U.S.About 100 Palestinians were allowed Wednesday to cross into Israel and board two buses bound for Jerusalem. They were accompanied by officials from the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, an office that coordinates cross-border movement with the Israelis.
Ahmed Ouda, who went to the interview with his wife and teenage son, came home disappointed. Hoping to visit his brother, a U.S. citizen who lives in California, Ouda said the entire family, including younger children who remained behind in Gaza, were turned down for visas after his interview. “We spent 12 hours, mostly without access to water and services, and we were rejected at the end,” he said. “It’s an exhausting process; thank God my young children did not need to come and experience it.” Mohammed al-Maqadma, spokesman for the civil affairs committee, said Israel is expected to run similar shuttles in the future, though no schedule has been set. “It could be two days a month, one day every two months,” he said. “I think this is part of the Israeli policies that we don’t know their goals.” Wednesday’s pilot program suffered a setback on its first day, however, with the apparent disappearance of two Gazans. Travelers on the shuttle said one man fled into a taxi at the border crossing, while a second person did not return on the bus. The travelers requested anonymity, fearing trouble with Israeli authorities. Cogat, the Israeli defense agency that coordinates cross-border movement, said Wednesday’s shuttle came after months of work with both the American Consulate and Palestinian officials. It said the program, meant to balance the needs of Palestinian civilians with Israeli security concerns, would continue….[long article]
Finding Hamas tunnel near Gaza building, Israel threatened attack – but didn’t say when
Haaretz 27 Nov by Yaniv Kubovich — Army can’t issue vague, open warnings to civilians, it has to be specific about time and place of impending attacks, says lawyer — After Islamist militants dug a tunnel near a building in Gaza, its residents were informed that the Israeli army was planning on demolishing it. However, the residents say, the army never told them when it was planning to attack the tunnel – which they claim is a violation of international law. In August, Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, warned on an Arabic-language Facebook page that the army had found two “terror tunnels”, one passing beneath a mosque and one that went next to the apartment building in the Gaza town of Beit Lahia. He warned that Israeli army forces could attack the tunnel shafts and the surrounding buildings, and that civilian lives could be at risk. Two days after the Facebook post, some of the building’s residents received phone calls from a person identified only as “Israeli army intelligence,” repeating the message. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been building tunnels under Gaza for years. They are used for either smuggling in supplies from Egypt or burrowed towards the Israeli border in hopes of using them to attack Israelis. Now one of the building’s residents, Mahmoud Hamoud Mohammed Hamed, is arguing that the IDF’s conduct violates international law. His lawyer, Muna Haddad of the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, argues that the Facebook post cannot serve, or be considered as, fair warning to a civilian population. In effect, the army isn’t threatening Hamas, she claims, but civilians. Hamed lives in the building with his family, wrote Haddad, and since August the family has been living in fear for their lives, concerned that at any time the army could attack. “Following the threat, some family members left the home and moved in with relatives. Others can’t afford alternative housing and live under the threat of attack. My client doesn’t know anything about tunnels beneath him,” Haddad said.…
Made for the West Bank, IDF brigade prepares for future fighting in Gaza
CAMP TEBETZ (Times of Israel) 30 Nov by Judah Ari Gross — Ordinarily based in the West Bank, the Kfir Infantry Brigade is now preparing to fight in a new area, one it’s had only scant experience with: the Gaza Strip. The brigade, whose name literally means “young lion,” was formed in late 2005 within the Israel Defense Forces’ Central Command, specifically to fight Palestinian terrorism in the West Bank. Now, the unit is being trained to fight in Gaza with the understanding that it may have to operate there as well in future conflicts, said Cpt. Sofar Ganem, a company commander in the brigade’s 90th Battalion. The unit, known for its camouflage beret, did not fight in the 2014 Gaza war, also called Operation Protective Edge, or in the smaller 2012 campaign, Operation Pillar of Defense. However, some members of the Kfir Brigade have fought in the Strip. The unit’s Haruv Battalion took part in the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead. During the fighting, one officer, company commander Maj. Roi Rosner, was killed by a Hamas operative who fired an anti-tank missile at him. But the unit has mostly been focused on the West Bank. For a time, each of its battalions was dedicated to one particular Palestinian city. But now that is changing. Preparing for future combat in the Strip has meant, among other things, developing a platoon specifically trained in underground warfare….
ICC prosecutor reaffirms she won’t open Gaza flotilla probe
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) 30 Nov by Mike Corder — The International Criminal Court prosecutor said Thursday she is standing by her previous decision not to open a full-scale investigation into the storming by Israeli forces of an aid flotilla heading to Gaza in 2010. Fatou Bensouda in November 2014 declined a request by the Indian Ocean island nation of Comoros to investigate the May 31, 2010, storming of a vessel in the flotilla, which was sailing under a Comoros flag. She said war crimes may have been committed on the Mavi Marmara ship, where eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several other pro-Palestinian activists were wounded by Israeli commandos, but the case wasn’t serious enough to merit an ICC probe. The ICC was set up as a court of last resort intended to prosecute senior leaders allegedly responsible for grave crimes including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when national courts prove unable or unwilling to take on such cases. ICC judges told her to reconsider, but Bensouda said Thursday that after carefully reviewing more than 5,000 pages of documents and statements from more than 300 passengers on the Mavi Marmara she has reaffirmed her decision to close her preliminary investigation….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Entire Bedouin community to be evicted in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Nov –The Bedouin community in al-Baba Mountain, in the town of Al-Eizariya, occupied East Jerusalem, stands steadfast in face of Israeli plans which aim to evict them. According to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, not even the children are willing to wave their rights, repeating that al-Baba Mountain is “our land and we will still here.” The Bedouin resident Khaled al-Basha, 45, said that they were shocked with the Israeli decision to evict the community as a whole. Al-Basha described the decision as unjust and merciless….
Israel raids three Palestinian villages where hundreds are slated to be expelled from their homes
Haaretz 30 Nov by Amira Hass — In the wee hours of Wednesday morning Israeli soldiers raided three West Bank communities that the government has earmarked for forced relocation: Palestinian shepherding communities Ein al-Hilweh and Umm Jamal in the north of the Jordan Valley, and the Bedouin community Khan al-Ahmar. According to reports that reached the human rights organization Machsom Watch, the raids took place at about three in the morning. Army jeeps with some 50 soldiers deployed among the tents and huts at Ein al-Hilweh and Umm Jamal. They collected the identification cards of the residents and held two of the residents for questioning in a jeep for about two hours. The ID cards were also returned after a couple of hours. The communities had received orders signed by General Roni Numa three weeks ago, giving them eight days to evacuate all their belongings. The orders were only delivered on November 9, despite being signed on November 1. They were not delivered in person, but placed on the side of the road. A map accompanying them indicates that the orders apply to about 300 people. Although the Israeli Civilian Administration in the West Bank has clarified that the orders don’t refer to people, only to their property, the residents do not understand how they can continue living without structures, paddocks and animals. Their opposition is represented by advocate Tawfeq Jabarin. The raid sparked a panic among the residents, some of whom hastened to usher their flocks away, fearing the animals would be taken, Machsom Watch was told….
Israeli plan to set up new settlement city in West Bank
MEMO 30 Nov — Israeli occupation authorities are planning to set up a new large settlement city on the western borders of the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reports reported on Wednesday. According to Quds Press, the Israeli news website 0404 revealed that a special committee was assigned by the Israeli interior ministry six months ago to prepare for the plan. The committee offered its recommendations on Wednesday, the Israeli site said, noting that the committee recommended bringing a number of settlements together to create a large settlement city applicable for expansion. According to the news website, the settlements in question are Oranit, south of Qalqilia, Sheari Tikva, in the east, Etz Efraim, in the villages of Qalqilia and Elkana in the west of Salfit. Bringing these settlements together means including all the areas between them, where it had previously been impossible to construct. Practically, this means expanding these settlements, the Israeli website commented, noting that up to $30m will be invested in the development of the new ‘city’. As part of the recommendation, the committee said that these settlements cost much money as each one of them has its own municipal council, but when brought together, they would constitute only one council and thus cutting the costs. This plan, the website said, was proposed several years ago and each time it was postponed; if approved, it would be the first settlement city in 20 years. Quds Press said that the Israeli website referred to the settlement of Ariel, in the south of Nablus, as the last settlement city, which includes a university, culture centre and mall. Tzipi Hotovely, the deputy Israeli foreign minister, said that uniting the four settlements and turning them into one city is a “needed right step,” noting it is a clear message to the whole world that settlements are expanding.
Israel approves hiking trail through occupied West Bank, Golan
New Arab/AFP 27 Nov –The Israeli government on Sunday agreed to fund the creation of a hiking trail that goes through the occupied West Bank and Golan Heights, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed the decision, which he hailed as “imperative in terms of tourism potential”. Israel occupied the West Bank and seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967, in moves that have never been recognised by the international community. “The new route will pass through the Old City of Jerusalem or Shilo (north of the West Bank), places full of Jewish history,” said Levin. Following the cabinet’s funding approval, a committee made up of various ministries must now submit proposals for the project whose budget is 10 million shekels ($2.8 million). The existing hiking route known as the “Israel Trail”, which was inaugurated in 1995, was ranked by National Geographic magazine as one of the world’s top 20 hikes in 2012.
Israeli settlers scuffle with police at West Bank outpost demolition
NETIV HAAVOT, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 30 Nov — Jewish settlers scuffled with Israeli police in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the demolition of a building at a rogue settlement outpost. AFP journalists said hundreds of young settlers at Netiv Haavot, in the Etzion settlement block, barricaded themselves in a carpentry workshop and resisted orders to leave peacefully. They set fire to vehicle tires festooned with barbed wire to try to block access to the building but riot police and border police broke through and carried the protesters away. “Security forces completed the demolition of the illegal structure,” an army statement said. There were no reports of arrests or injuries. Several homes at the outpost, a satellite of Elazar settlement, are also to be demolished by court order, but residents have until March 2018 before the ruling is implemented.
The court accepted Palestinian claims that they were built on private Palestinian land and must be vacated….
Israeli attorney general seeks to save buildings in West Bank outpost from destruction
Haaretz 29 Nov by Yotam Berger — As a March demolition deadline approaches against 15 buildings in Netiv Ha’avot, an outpost of the West Bank settlement of Elazar, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is considering the issue of building permits that would spare portions of six of the buildings. [see photo] Nine of the structures subject to the demolition order issued by the High Court of Justice were built on privately owned Palestinian land, but six are mostly on state-owned land. The portions of these buildings that are on Palestinian land would still have to be demolished. Residents of Netiv Ha’avot had asked the High Court to waive the demolition orders entirely for the six buildings. The court refused, saying it deemed them illegal construction. In issuing the order, however, then-Supreme Court President Justice Miriam Naor, left open the possibility that temporary construction permits could be issued that would spare the portions of the six structures that are on state land. It is that prospect that Mendelblit is now considering in consultation with other relevant government officials. A decision on the matter is expected shortly, Justice Ministry sources said.
Israel to legalize sewage plant near West Bank settlement built on Palestinian land
Haaretz 30 Nov by Yotam Berger — High Court rapped council heads for issuing illegal building permits, but state may now issue permits retroactively — The state is trying to retroactively legalize a sewage treatment facility near the settlement of Ofra that was built illegally on private Palestinian land. The latest effort to legalize the plant may get a boost from a recent legal opinion issued by Attorney Genral Avichai Mendelblit allowing the expropriation of private Palestinian land for infrastructure that would serve only Israelis. The sewage facility was built without permits and two chairmen of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council were fined after they admitted that they had advanced its construction through a land grab. A legal opinion of the Judea and Samaria legal adviser could allow for the expropriation of the land. Steps to advance the plan are to be discussed at a meeting of a subcommittee of the The Civil Administration Planning Committee, set to convene on December 6. A security source familiar with the details explained that the plan is at an advanced stage and is expected to be approved. The land would then need to be formally expropriated and building permits issued retroactively.…
Solidarity / BDS
Africa solidarity is a ‘pillar of Palestinian struggle’
Al Jazeera 30 Nov — Senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk has praised African states for the solidarity they have shown Palestinians in their fight against Israeli occupation. In an opinion piece he wrote for South Africa’s Mail and Guardian newspaper, Abu Marzouk called on African states and political parties to reject attempts to normalise relations with Israel. The deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau said Africans and Palestinians were brought together by a shared history of fighting colonial powers. “The Palestinian people now look to South Africa and Africa for support in our struggle against settler colonialism and apartheid,” he wrote. “African and Palestinian liberation movements have long stood in mutual solidarity for self-determination, while Israel has consistently supported colonial and neo-colonial powers on the continent.” Israel was a close ally of South Africa under apartheid rule, and the two countries cooperated in developing the other’s nuclear weapons programme. South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has held historically close ties to Palestinian groups, whose struggle they saw mirrored in their own. The party is set debate a recommendation to downgrade ties with Israel over its treat of Palestinians. In recent years, Israel has increased its efforts to make diplomatic inroads into the country by working alongside African states on issues such as agricultural development and security….
Haaretz editorial: The walls of paper protecting the occupation
30 Nov — Draft law imposing prison sentences on boycott activists seeks to block criticism, instead of fixing the faults that are the reason for critique — The draft law that would make promoting the boycott of Israel or of Israeli products a criminal offense carrying a minimum prison sentence of seven years must be rejected out of hand. The bill, which was submitted by Likud MK Anat Berko and Kulanu MKs Yifat Shasha-Biton and Tali Ploskov and supported also by David Bitan and David Amsalem (Likud), must be seen as another bid by the ruling party to block all domestic or foreign criticism of Israeli policy in the territories, settlement-building and the very existence of the occupation. The preamble of the bill states: “In light of the fact that there are individuals who make common cause with enemies of the state and boycotts against it, causing harm to the state’s image, it is proposed that the offense be broadened to include acts that can hurt Israel’s interests or Israel’s relations with a state, organization or institution.” This expands the definition of the existing offense in the penal code, which applies to anyone who damages Israel’s relations with other states and institutions. The sponsors are convinced that Israel’s foreign relations are determined by the volume of criticism of its policies, rather than the reality created by these policies. Thus, if the state could only gag the opponents of its policies with draconian punishments, countries and international organizations would accept the occupation and the grave violation of human rights as the “natural order.” This is a blatantly immoral bill, tainted with cowardice and hypocrisy: After all, Israel cannot imprison banks, retail chains, corporations and academic institutions that boycott settlement goods. Israel is building a paper wall of draft laws in which it seeks to wrap the occupation and defend itself from countries’ partial boycott of the settlements. This bill joins an amendment to the boycott law, passed in preliminary reading last week, allowing Israelis to sue anyone calling for a boycott of Israel or the settlements and receive up to 500,000 shekels (around $142,000), without having to prove precise damages….
Watch: Thank God It’s Friday
EI 28 Nov by Ali Abunimah — In October, Jan Beddegenoodts pulled his documentary Thank God It’s Friday out of the One World film festival in the Slovak capital Bratislava. The Belgian director told The Electronic Intifada he withdrew from the festival “out of respect for the request from the people from Nabi Saleh.” The Nabi Saleh Popular Committee thanked Beddegenoodts for joining “many other filmmakers and artists of good conscience who stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and self-determination and our call for equal human rights for all and who refuse to lend their names to whitewashing Israel’s crimes against our people.” Beddegenoodts decided instead to make this film available to everyone: you can watch the whole documentary online at the top of this page. Israeli embassy sponsorship Nabi Saleh is the occupied West Bank village where the 2013 documentary was filmed. The villagers had asked Beddegenoodts not to show his film in Bratislava because the festival was sponsored by the Israeli embassy. … Each week villagers confront heavily armed Israeli soldiers guarding the Halamish settlement built on land stolen from Nabi Saleh. Thank God It’s Friday does not focus on those confrontations as much as it bears witness to the daily lives of people in the village. Its emotional punch comes from the parents of Mustafa, who recount the final, fateful Friday when Israel killed their son….
Video: Palestinian Solidarity Day: 70 years since partition
Al Jazeera 29 Nov — The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is being observed across the world. The day marks 70 years after the UN adopted a resolution partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states – a year later Israel was founded displacing millions of Palestinians. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from Jabal al-Baba, the Occupied West Bank
DC think tank launches tool exploring West Bank land swap scenarios
WASHINGTON (Times of Israel) 30 Nov by Eric Cortellessa — Former Mideast peace negotiator David Makovsky of the Washington Institute says satellite imagery shows a two-state solution is still possible with land swaps — Marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations vote to partition the British Mandate of Palestine into two states — one Jewish, one Arab — a Washington policy institute launched an interactive website Wednesday that assesses the various proposals to make the two-state vision into a reality. Settlements and Solutions, which was developed by David Makovsky, a former US peace negotiator who heads the Program on Middle East Peace at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, aims to answer the question of whether a two-state solution is still possible….
Palestinian doctors successfully remove brain tumour in Hebron
MEMO 30 Nov — Palestinian neurologist Imad Talahmeh and his team in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron successful removed on Tuesday a brain tumour from a 24-year-old Palestinian patient from Gaza Strip, Quds Net News reported. About the seven-hour-surgery, the neurologist said he had removed a large two-part tumour, noting that one of the two parts was dry and sticking to the central veins for the brain, making the surgery “complicated and difficult.” He said that he and his team did their best in order not to cause any negative consequences for the patient, noting that this kind of tumour occurs in less than 1 per cent of humans and carrying out such surgery in a third world country is a “miracle.” The doctor said that medical services in Palestine are developed and doctors keep up with the latest developments to the extent that they became equal to doctors in developed countries who use the most developed medical equipment. For their part, the family of the patient Khalid Abu-Anza from Gaza thanked the doctor and his team for the success of the surgery that saved the life of their son.
An Israeli woman traveled to the West Bank so she could be sure she’d have a boy
PRI 29 Nov by Shaina Shealy — Faten, 30, lives in a big house perched on a hill in the Arab-Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm, about 12 miles northwest of Jenin. She has three young daughters — on this spring day, they are all dressed in matching black pants and lacy maroon tops. Her youngest, who is 4, scoots around the kitchen in a toy car. Faten, who asked me not to use her real name to protect her privacy, is pregnant. Again. Early in her last pregnancy, Faten went to her doctor for an ultrasound … And [the doctor] said you have a third queen coming! … Faten says the next few months were the most difficult of her life. Even though the pregnancy was a healthy one, people in her Arab Israeli community treated her as if she had experienced a loss. “I decided during the pregnancy that I would not go through this again,” she says. Faten made the decision to make sure her next baby would be a boy. Each year, thousands of Palestinians travel through Israeli checkpoints for medical procedures in Israel. But the traffic doesn’t usually go the other way. Faten decided to go in the opposition direction, traveling to the West Bank to visit a state-of-the-art clinic in Nablus, the Razan Center for Infertility. The doctors there use a technique called preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The procedure is often used for early diagnosis of genetic mutations, but it can also be used to determine the sex of a fertilized egg before it’s implanted via in vitro fertilization … As an Israeli citizen, Faten is covered by universal healthcare, which includes fertility treatments for two children for women up to the age of 45. Israel has one of the highest rates of IVF in the world. But IVF for sex selection is highly regulated, influenced by Jewish religious law. Couples are only eligible for sex selection for physical and mental health reasons, or if the couple has had four children from their relationship and does not have a child of the other sex … In the West Bank however, sex selection is largely unregulated … I spoke with Faten and her family in the spring. In September, Faten gave birth to her fourth child. It’s a boy.
US senators urge Netanyahu not to demolish Palestinian villages
MEMO 30 Nov — Ten US senators have written to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him not to demolish Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The letter, initiated by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., states: “we have long championed a two-state solution as a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. “Yet, your government’s efforts to forcibly evict entire Palestinian communities and expand settlements throughout the West Bank not only directly imperil a two-state solution, but we believe also endanger Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy”. JTA notes that nine of the signatories are Democrats and four of them Jewish. The Israeli authorities have declared their intention of demolishing Susiya, a Palestinian village near Hebron, and Khan al-Ahmar, a village east of Jerusalem.The other Jewish senators to sign the letter are Al Franken of Minnesota and Brian Schatz of Hawaii. Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Tom Carper of Delaware, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon also signed. Liberal Zionist pressure group J Street welcomed the letter “as a sign that top lawmakers are increasingly speaking out about alarming actions by the Israeli government that undermine the two-state solution and endanger Israel’s future as a democratic homeland for the Jewish people”.
In Israel, tourists chase a soldier’s life
GUSH ETZION INDUSTRIAL ZONE, The West Bank (US News) 27 Nov by Sara Toth Stub — At a law enforcement training facility in the hills of the West Bank, more than 200 visiting Norwegians do pushups as Israel Defense Forces reserve Col. Sharon Gat counts aloud and tells them what to expect for the rest of the day … These tourists from a church group spent the previous day at Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center and after they finish being soldiers for a few hours here at the Caliber 3 Israeli Counter Terror and Security Academy, their tour bus will take them to visit the revered Western Wall in Jerusalem. Caliber 3 and other similar places allow tourists to experience military life, which in a country with compulsory service for most citizens is part of the local culture. With dozens of wars, military conflicts and security threats over the years, including the ongoing tensions with the Palestinians, Israel is often associated abroad with its armed forces … Although there hasn’t been any large public criticism of these programs, some groups have said they are problematic because they claim they are not political and do not mention Palestinians. “You cannot just delete the context out of the situation,” says Anat Ben Nun, director of development and external relations at Peace Now, an Israeli nongovernmental organization that pushes for the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. “These boot camps really perpetuate a specific narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with good guys and bad guys, and don’t mention the occupation. Besides, the conflict is not a game, people are dying and getting hurt.”….
German university cancels talk of Israeli critic following ‘ultimatum’
MEMO 30 Nov — An “ultimatum” presented by pro-Israeli lobby groups to organisers of a talk on the occupation of Palestine forced a German university to cancel an event by a prominent Israeli human rights activist.Israeli peace activist and founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), Jeff Halper, was booked for a talk on Monday at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg and the city’s adult-education Folk School. However a threatening open letter sent by the Young Forum of the German-Israeli Association, which is funded by the Israeli lobby in Germany, forced the university to cancel the event. Halper, who was a Noble Peace Prize Nominee in 2006, announced the cancellation of his talk on Facebook and confirmed that the Folk School had refused to budge despite intimidation. He revealed details of the threatening letter sent to the university. In it the Young Forum of the German-Israeli Association warned the venues that if they didn’t cancel the talk by noon of Thursday last week, “[you] will suffer the consequences”. The University Institute said Halper gave in and cancelled the event but Folk School refused. Halper delivered his presentation on “how Israel is exporting the occupation to other countries” and shared a clip from the video in which a pro-Israeli heckler can be seen disrupting the event….
Palestinian hijacker Leila Khaled barred entry to Italy from Amman
ROME (Haaretz) 29 Nov by Davide Lerner — Renowned Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine militant Leila Khaled was stopped by Italian border police in Rome after she disembarked a flight from Amman, according to Italian press reports. She was expected in the Italian capital as well as in the southern city of Naples to give talks on the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the PFLP, but was sent back to Amman. Italy’s Department of Public Security issued a statement insisting that the stopping of Khaled was a purely administrative act, not a political decision. “The Jordanian citizen arrived to Rome from Amman without a valid Schengen visa [allowing passage through European borders], and was sent back in compliance with national and international Schengen regulations,” the statement read. Khaled’s arrival had already sparked controversy in Italy, as she took part in the hijacking of airlines in 1969 and 1970. “Why should we welcome a militant who became famous hijacking planes to destroy the State of Israel, in other words a terrorist who is still proud for what she did,” wrote prominent pro-Israeli columnist Pierluigi Battista in “Corriere Della Sera,” Italy’s largest daily. He endorsed the Italian Jewish communities’ vocal protest against the arrival of the Palestinian militant, who has become an icon of Palestinian armed resistance against Israel. Now that Khaled’s entry to Italy has been blocked by Fiumicino Airport border security, pro-Palestinian organizations are voicing their outrage. Napoli Direzione Opposta (Naples Opposite Direction), the association that was due to host Khaled at the event in Naples, wrote on its Facebook page that “this episode shows how Italian institutions are submissive to the Zionist lobby and the Mossad.”….
Urgent: Dr. Hatem Bazian under attack; we need your help!
WASHINGTON DC(AMPalestine) 28 Nov — UC Berkeley Professor and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) Chairman, Dr. Hatem Bazian, is under attack for inadvertently retweeting an offensive meme earlier this year. He has recently been targeted by zealous pro-Israel groups calling for his immediate dismissal from the university. This vicious campaign comes despite the fact that Dr. Bazian acknowledged the mistake—having not realized the full content of the image as it appeared on his phone—and immediately deleted the post once it was brought to his attention. Dr. Bazian has since issued an apology on his social media accounts for unintentionally sharing the distasteful image, believing it contrary to the values and principles he upholds, and to his longstanding efforts to combat racism in all its forms—including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia … Throughout his life, Dr. Bazian has called for open discussion, fair debate, and mutual understanding. Dr. Bazian has further dedicated his life to countering racism and oppression domestically and internationally including leading the fight in defense of Affirmative Action and the Anti-Apartheid movement to name a few … TAKE ACTION: AMP calls on all people of conscience to urgently contact the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office in support of Dr. Hatem Bazian and to urge the university not to buckle to pro-Israel organizations’ pressure. Tell the university to stand by Dr. Bazian and to not suppress a critical Palestinian-Muslim voice and leading researcher on the subject of Islamophobia, based on an honest mistake.
Trump weighs recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital: officials
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 30 Nov by Steve Holland, Matt Spetalnik — President Donald Trump is considering recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that could upend decades of American policy and ratchet up Middle East tensions, but is expected to again delay his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy there, U.S. officials said on Thursday … Trump is likely to continue his predecessors’ policy of signing a six-month waiver overriding a 1995 law requiring that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the officials said. But among the options under consideration is for Trump to order his aides to develop a longer-term plan for the embassy’s relocation to make clear his intent to do so eventually, according to one of the officials….