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Settler who killed Palestinian farmer in occupied village remains free

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Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Palestinian farmer killed by Israeli settlers laid to rest in Nablus-area village
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — Thousands of Palestinians marched on Saturday in the funeral of Mahmoud Odeh, the 48-year-old Palestinian farmer who was shot and killed by Israeli settlers on Thursday in the Qusra village, south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank. Mourners carried Odeh’s body throughout the village following prayers in the local school, to the village cemetery where he was buried. Representatives of various Palestinian factions and institutions took part in the funeral. Mourners waved Palestinians flags and repeated slogans condemning Israeli settlers’ attacks and promising a response to their “crimes.”….

Settlement council honors Odeh’s killer
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Dec — Shomron regional council head Yossi Dagan, in the north of the West Bank, decided to honor the murderer of Mahmoud Odeh, who died in Qasra village, south of Nablus, last Thursday. Al Ray reports that, according to “04” news site, Dagan said, “He deserved all kind of respect and appreciation as he defended his friends when the Palestinian farmers attack them in Qasra village.” He called for supporting settlers in “their fair battle” with Palestinians. The Israel settler is still free; he was interrogated for awhile and, then, Israeli police released him. Odeh was killed and several others were injured when Israeli settlers attacked Qasra village and the citizens tried to confront them. Violent clashed erupted after this, as Israeli forces opened gunfire and launched tear gas bombs toward Palestinian citizens.

Deadly Qusra clash exacerbates secular-religious divide at West Bank settlement
Times of Israel 2 Dec by Jacob Magid — Some Migdalim residents say community is being taken over by a group of ‘religious extremists’ who try to provoke their Palestinian neighbors — The deadly clash Thursday between a group of West Bank settlers on a bar mitzvah hike and Palestinians from the nearby village of Qusra has exposed a deep divide in the Migdalim settlement between its original secular residents and a new group they call “religious extremists.” The main culprit, the secular critics charge, is the man who was acting as the leader and armed guard of the hike, who, according to the IDF’s initial investigation, opened fire and killed a Palestinian man after the Palestinians began throwing stones at them. Police are currently investigating him and a second escort on suspicion of negligent manslaughter; Defense Minister Liberman said Friday that the Palestinians were trying to “lynch” the Jewish group, and that the shots were fired in “self-defense.” Lawyers for the two men have denounced the police investigation as “outrageous.” In a Facebook post published on a page titled “Saving Migdalim” — a group that has identified itself as the secular founders of the settlement that “live in peace with our Arab neighbors” — blasted the parent escort as part of a larger group of “religious extremists” that recently moved to their community without permission and without going through the normal vetting process. “We fly the flag of tolerance, equality and reciprocity. This is how we have been and will continue to be in the future and we condemn the attempt to transform Migdalim from a peace-seeking community to one of warmongers,” they wrote on Facebook … The secular residents charged the organizers of the hike with being deliberately provocative with their Palestinian neighbors. The author of the Facebook post pointed to fresh clashes later Thursday when a number of religious Migdalim residents, along with a group of youth from Yitzhar, attempted to enter Qusra, allegedly to further provoke the Palestinians there….

Army injures 59 Palestinians in Qusra, near Nablus
IMEMC 2 Dec — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, Friday, at least 59 Palestinians, including three with rubber-coated steel bullets, in Qusra village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, after the soldiers assaulted dozens of residents holding prayers in the area where an Israeli colonist murdered a Palestinian Thursday. The Israeli attack led to clashes that lasted until late evening hours, while the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. Ahmad Jibreel, the head of the Emergency Department at the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC) in Nablus, said PRC medics provided treatment to 55 Palestinians who suffered cuts and bruises, and the severe effects of teargas inhalation. He added that the medics also transferred three additional Palestinians to Rafidia hospital after the soldiers shot them with rubber-coated steel bullets.
The Israeli army assaulted the Palestinians who held Friday prayers in Ras an-Nakhel area where resident Mahmoud Odeh, 46, was murdered, Thursday, by Israeli colonists, who attacked the villagers picking their olive trees. Emad Jamil, a member of Qusra Local Council, said clashes also took place at the eastern entrance of the town, and the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades. It is worth mentioning that dozens of extremist Israeli colonists gathered at the main entrance of the town, and attempted to invade it, while the soldiers continued to attack the Palestinian protesters and open fire at them, instead of removing the assailants.

Army injures four Palestinians in Kafr Qaddoum
IMEMC 1 Dec — Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, the weekly procession in Kafr Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and injured four Palestinians. Morad Eshteiwi, the media coordinator of the Popular Committee in Kafr Qaddoum, said the soldiers fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades at the Palestinians and internationals who marched in the town. Many youngsters then hurled stones at the soldiers, who fired more gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated  steel bullets. He added that the wind also carried the gas into the village, wounding four Palestinians, who suffered the severe effects of teargas inhalation. Eshteiwi stated that the procession this week also comes to denounce the fatal assault which was carried out by a group of fanatic Israeli colonists who attacked many Palestinian farmers near the northern West Bank, on Thursday afternoon, and shot one, identified as Mahmoud Za’al Odeh, 46, with live rounds in the upper part of his body, leaving him dead, and wounding another Palestinian.

Israeli forces suppress protest in Hebron-area village
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians in a village in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron after Israeli forces suppressed a protest in the area. Palestinians in the village of Khirbet Qalqas, located in the southern Hebron district, took to the streets of the village to stage a demonstration after Friday prayers. The villagers had performed prayers on the street, at the entrance of the village that has been closed off by Israeli forces for 18 years, in protest of the closure. Clashes reportedly erupted shortly after, with locals adding that Israeli soldiers briefly detained a cameraman for Palestine TV.

Palestinians tear down Israeli iron gate in protest of separation wall
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 2 Dec — A group of Palestinian youths allegedly managed to bring down an iron gate that was set up by Israeli forces as part of Israel’s illegal separation wall, running through the village of ‘Anata in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. Spokesperson of the Fatah movement in the nearby Shu‘fat refugee camp in occupied East Jerusalem, Thaer Fasfous, told Ma‘an that several youths used hand tools to bring down the gate on Friday as an act of protest against Israel’s separation wall. Fasfous pointed out that the gate is located in the middle of the separation wall that runs through ‘Anata, and separates it from the nearby illegal settlement of Pisgat Zeev.Fasfous said that as the youth were taking down the gate, an Israeli army patrol raided the village, sparking clashes between soldiers and youths. Israeli forces fired stun grenades, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets at locals.Dozens suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation while one youth was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet….

Israeli soldiers abduct a shepherd in Northern Plains
IMEMC 3 Dec — Israeli soldiers abducted, Sunday, a Palestinian shepherd in grazing lands, in the Northern Plains of the Jordan Valley, in the occupied West Bank. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers attacked shepherds in the area close to Maskiot illegal colony, and abducted one of them. They added that the Palestinian has been identified as Mohannad Awad, and was taken to an unknown destination.
On Friday, extremist Israeli colonists attacked many shepherds, and forced them out of grazing lands, in the Northern Plains.

Soldiers invade homes near Qalqiliya and Bethlehem
IMEMC 1 Dec — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday at dawn, the towns of ‘Azzoun and Kafr Thulth, east of Qalqiliya, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The army also invaded many homes in Bethlehem governorate, and summoned several Palestinians for interrogation. Media sources in Qalqilia said the invasions were simultaneously carried out after midnight, after the soldiers surrounded the two towns. They added that the soldiers broke into and ransacked several homes, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards. The soldiers also invaded several stores in ‘Azzoun, especially in the al-Mothallath and ash-Shameyya neighborhoods.
In Bethlehem, the soldiers invaded ‘Aida refugee camp, north of the city, and summoned Mohammad Nasser Badawna, 19, for interrogation. The soldiers also summoned for interrogation Moath Nader Jawareesh, 24, from Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem, Moath Abdul-Jabbar Abu Tarboush, 35, from the al-‘Azza refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, and Hasan Ahmad Nuwwara, 31, from Hindaza [southeast of Bethlehem], after invading and searching their homes.

Army invades two schools near Bethlehem, detains local council head and workers near Hebron
IMEMC 4 Dec — Israeli soldiers invaded, Sunday, two schools in the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, after firing gas bombs and concussion grenades at them. In  Hebron, the soldiers detained a Local Council head, two council members, and workers…
Ahmad Salah, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies in al-Khader, said the soldiers invaded two schools, one for girls and one for boys, causing anxiety attacks among several students. He added that the soldiers later withdrew from the two schools, and harassed several children heading back home, leading to clashes. The army fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades; no injuries were reported. Salah also stated that the soldiers chased many schoolchildren in the al-Baloa’ area, in the center of the town, and briefly detained them.
On Sunday evening, the soldiers briefly detained Mohammad Ribhi Rib‘ie, the head of Tiwani Village council, east of Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, in addition to council members Mahmoud al-Hamamra and Ismael al-‘Amour, and several workers who were conducting maintenance work to rehabilitate a road linking Tiwani with nearby communities.

VIDEO: Bethlehem Museum decorates olive tree to reflect city’s suffering under Israeli occupation
IMEMC/Agencies 3 Dec — In a ceremony attended by a group of Palestinians and Internationals, under the  initiative of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), as part of Bethlehem Heart of Christmas, Bethlehem Museum celebrated the lighting of its Christmas tree which was decorated with gas bombs and live bullets fired by the Israeli occupation army on Palestinian citizens. The tree was decorated with dozens of teargas canisters and stun grenades which were painted with Christmas decorations, while the child of the cave was placed in a suitcase surrounded by barbed wire and walls to express the suffering of the city and its people under Israeli military occupation. Palestinians seek to confirm, by this tree, that they are turning Israeli tools of killing into tools of life, to assure that they want peace, justice and freedom. Khader Handal, ICT Officer at HCEF, said that the idea originated with Bethlehem Museum, and that they began working on it together, to send a message to all peoples, all over the world, that the olive tree is still a symbol of peace. The symbolic tree, which is regularly uprooted by Israeli settlers and soldiers, is therefore decorated to hold many meanings for the Palestinian people. The citizens of Bethlehem and other communities who attended the lighting of the museum tree expressed their happiness with the idea, as it delivers the Palestinian reality in synchronicity with the glorious Christmas holidays which carry on the human message that Jesus Christ symbolizes. At the end of every year, when the world celebrates Christmas, Palestinians wish to remind the world that they have been under occupation for 70 years, with the hope that someone will help them to end it, and live in dignity and freedom.


Settlers’ unpermitted access to Dome of the Rock yard provocative move, says Waqf
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 3 Dec – Israeli settlers Sunday entered the yard of the Dome of the Rock despite having no permission, in a move that was described as provocative by the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem. Firas Dibs, Waqf media official told WAFA that it was an intentional and planned move by the Israeli police to disregard the instructions of Al-Aqsa guards, who tried to prevent the settlers from climbing the steps up to the yard of the Dome of the Rock. He said Israeli settlers’ groups entered Al-Aqsa compound early morning under Israeli police heavy protection, creating a tense atmosphere as some Muslim worshipers gathered in study groups in Al-Aqsa mosque.

Israeli soldiers abduct four guards of Al-Aqsa Mosque
IMEMC 4 Dec — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, four guards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem, and took them to several detention and interrogation centers. The soldiers abducted Luay Abu Sa‘ad, while [he was] trying to enter the mosque through Bab al-Asbat (Gate of The Tribes). In addition, the soldiers abducted Ahmad Abu Alia, Fadi Abu Meizer , and Qassem Kamal from the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and summoned Zeinat Abu Sbeih for interrogation. It is worth mentioning that Zeinat works as a guard in the women’s section of the Mosque.
Firas ad-Dibs, the Media Coordinator of the Islamic Waqf and Endowment Department, said the abducted four guards were among many Palestinians who intercepted Israeli fanatics who invaded the Dome of the Rock mosque Sunday, accompanied by many senior military officers, and conducted provocative acts. It is worth mentioning that the army later released Ahmad Abu Ali, Qassem Kamal and Fadi Abu Meizer, and threatened severe punishments if they intercept the settlers again. The fourth guard, Luay Abu Sa‘ad, was remanded for further interrogation

Punitive demolition

Israeli forces demolish home of Palestinian allegedly involved in killing of settler
[includes short video, photos] JENIN (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Israeli forces punitively demolished the home of a Palestinian prisoner on Friday at dawn, in the Jenin-area Qabatiya town in the northern occupied West Bank. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided the eastern part of Qabatiya and imposed a strict closure in the area surrounding Muhammad Abu al-Rub’s home before demolishing it. Al-Rub was arrested in October after allegedly being involved in the stabbing of an Israeli settler in the nearby town of Kafr Qasim. Reports at the time said the Palestinian suspects were working at a construction site in Kafr Qasim, and stabbed the settler — their employer — over a monetary dispute. Israeli forces delivered a demolition notice to the al-Rub family in late October, telling the family to evacuate or appeal the decision. Sources told Ma‘an that the family tried to appeal the decision in an Israeli court, but their appeal was rejected.
Sources told Ma‘an that clashes erupted during the demolition between Palestinians in and Israeli soldiers who fired stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at locals. One youth was reportedly injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the back, while a child suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation. Both were transferred to the Jenin Governmental Hospital for treatment….


Israeli soldiers abduct the head of the legal department of the detainees committee
IMEMC 4 Dec — The Palestinian Detainees Committee has reported that Israeli soldiers have abducted, on Monday at dawn, the head of its Legal Department, Lawyer Eyad Misk, after storming and searching his home in Kafr ‘Aqab town, in occupied East Jerusalem. In a press release, the committee said that Misk was taken to Petah Tikva interrogation center, without informing him of the reasons behind his detention. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers have abducted, overnight at least 20 Palestinians, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem. Among the abducted Palestinians are the head of al-Meethaq Institution for Human Rights, lawyer Firas Sabah, and lawyer Khaled Zabarqa.

Former hunger striker under administrative detention ordered into isolation
IMEMC/Agencies 2 Dec — Palestinian prisoner and former long-term hunger striker Ayman al-Tabeesh, 37, imprisoned without charge or trial by the Israeli occupation, has been ordered into isolation on the pretext of being a “security threat.” Al-Tabeesh, from the village of Dura near al-Khalil, has been imprisoned since 2 August 2016 with no charges and no trial on the basis of so-called “secret evidence.” He has spent nearly 13 years in total in Israeli prisons through multiple re-arrests and has engaged in two long-term hunger strikes to demand his freedom. On Wednesday, 29 November, he was transferred from the Ofer prison to the Ohli Kedar isolation cells. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society emphasized that the Israeli occupation intelligence has a policy of isolation and unilaterally isolates many prisoners each year under the pretext of “secret evidence,” the same type of secret file that is used to jail al-Tabeesh. He is one of over 450 Palestinians jailed under administrative detention orders and 6,200 total Palestinian prisoners. In some cases, isolation orders are extended for years without any meaningful reason given to the detained person or their lawyer.
There are currently two Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike. Ali Barghouthi is on hunger strike for the fourth day; he launched his strike on 28 November in protest of the delay in medical treatment at the Ashkelon prison clinic. Barghouthi has been prescribed to receive a heart test and a CT scan, but the prison clinic has been delaying for over two months …
He joins the ongoing hunger strike of Salah al-Khawaja of the village of Ni‘lin in Ramallah, who has been refusing food for 19 days consecutively in protest of his administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. He launched his hunger strike in protest of the renewal of his administrative detention order only one day before his scheduled release….

Closures / Restriction of movement

Dispute halts flow of Palestinian workers
Globes 3 Dec by Yuval Azulai — All crossings with the Gaza Strip, Judea, and Samaria are closed preventing entry to Israel of 70,000 Palestinians. Workers at the Ministry of Defense Crossing Points Authority yesterday announced that they would escalate their sanctions, following the breakdown in negotiations between them and the Ministry of Finance over improvement of their employment terms and recognition of them as employees of the Ministry of Defense. Starting today, the workers plan to close all of the pedestrian border crossings with the Gaza Strip, Judea, and Samaria, thereby preventing the entry to Israel of 70,000 Palestinians. At the same time, all crossings for goods, including the Kerem Shalom and Erez border crossings with the Gaza Strip, which were closed on Thursday, will continue to be closed until further notice. Passage will be allowed only in humanitarian cases….


Israeli soldiers injure a teen in northern Gaza
IMEMC 1 Dec — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, Friday, a Palestinian teenage boy, east of Jabalia town, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said the teen, 16 years of age, was shot with a live round in his leg, and was moved to the Indonesian Hospital, in a moderate condition. The incident took place after Israeli soldiers, stationed across the border fence, opened fire at Palestinian protesters marching on their land, near the border fence. Following the attack, many youngsters hurled stones at the military jeeps, behind the fence, and the soldiers fired additional rounds, gas bombs and concussion grenades.

Israeli forces open fire at Gaza farmers
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 1 Dec — Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers [Thursday?] in the central Gaza Strip, according to locals. Sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stationed along the border between Gaza and Israel fired at Palestinian farmers working their lands east of the al-Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza. Meanwhile, in the Beit Lahiya area of the northern coastal enclave, Israeli forces opened fire on agricultural lands. No injuries were reported in either incident.

Israeli navy detains five fishermen, injures one, in northern Gaza
IMEMC 3 Dec — Israeli navy ships attacked, on Sunday evening, a Palestinian fishing boat in the Sudaniyya Sea, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The Navy fired many live rounds at the fishing boat, wounding one fisherman. They then seized the boat and detained five fishermen. The attack took place in Palestinian territorial waters, less than 2.5 nautical miles from the shore. Amjad Sharafi, secretary-general of the Gaza Fishermen Union, said in a statement that the Israeli navy illegally attacked a fishing boat owned by Khamis Abu Sadeq, and confiscated it. The detained fishermen have been identified as Sami Nabil Abu Sadeq, Mohammad Ahmad Sadeq, Sayyed Nasser Halabi, Ayman Ahmad Tolba, and his brother Ehab. The wounded fisherman, Mohammad Bakr, said the navy also fired many live rounds, destroying the motor and causing serious damage to the boat, in addition to wounding him in the abdomen. He added that the navy ordered the fishermen to jump in the water, one by one. They ordered us to strip, and jump in the water,” Mohammad said, “I told them I had been injured, so one of them ordered me to raise my hands in the air while lying down, and he removed my clothes, then had us all jump in the water.” All of them were abducted and interrogated, and were released later, but their damaged boat was confiscated and towed to Ashdod Port. The boat’s owner said the navy had destroyed his only source of livelihood, and confiscated it. “Even if they return the boat to me, it’s already been destroyed,” he added, “This boat provided livelihood to twelve Palestinians.”
Yamen al-Madhoun, of the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said that this year alone, the navy has killed one fisherman, abducted ten others, and wounded four, in addition to confiscating three boats. It is worth mentioning that in the last ten years, the navy has killed five fishermen, wounded 107 others, and abducted 547 fishermen, and confiscated 181 boats.

The dream job
NRC 1 Dec by Kristine Grønhaug —  We have all had a bad dream. But what’s a night terror ? “That’s when you think you’re going to die,” says Professor Jon-Håkon Schultz. He led the development of Norwegian Refugee Council’s (NRC) work for children with trauma. He has just returned from one of his many trips to Gaza in Palestine, where he works with NRC to help children suffering from trauma do better in school — known as the Better Learning Programme … In 2012, NRC and Schultz started their work in Gaza. It didn’t take long before they saw positive results. NRC’s Better Learning Programme is now up and running in 130 state schools and 250 schools run by the UN. The children they help usually have five nights of night terrors every week. On the bright side, he says, they usually occur in the morning –the last stage of the sleeping cycle. But the children are still sleep deprived and find it difficult to concentrate in class. “I mean, we’ve all been there. You miss two hours of sleep one night and you’re in a whirl all day.” He laughs and continues: “But this usually occurs over a long time.” On average, the children have night terrors for over three years, he explains. Over 70 per cent of the students have not told their teacher about their night terrors. Even parents are often unaware of what their children are going through. Still, most of them know that their children are having trouble sleeping. The breathing exercises have proved successful: almost 70 per cent of the children now rarely have night terrors or even better, they’re completely gone. Schultz tells us that they also train parents, teachers and school psychologists … Although the war in Gaza was declared over in 2014, many children relive it every time they have a nightmare or night terror. “For these children, the war is not over,” he says.

Gazans mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities
MEMO 3 Dec —  Dozens of Palestinians staged a rally in the Gaza Strip on Sunday to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. “We are here to draw attention to the rights and demands of people with disabilities in Gaza,” Amjad al-Shawa, chairman of the Palestinian Non-governmental Organisations Network, told participants. Participants, who gathered outside the cabinet premises in Gaza City, waved banners calling on the government to fulfill the needs of disabled people in the enclave. “People with disabilities are the most vulnerable people in Gaza and are paying the heaviest price for the Israeli blockade on the strip,” al-Shawa said. There are around 27,000 people with disabilities in Gaza and the West Bank, according to official Palestinian figures. The UN General Assembly proclaimed December 3 as the International Day of Disabled Persons in 1992.

Ireland pledges an additional half a million euro to Gaza refugeesfunding-3728875-Dec2017/
The Journal 1 Dec — IRELAND HAS PLEDGED an additional half a million euro to help Palestinian refugees in Gaza. The funding, which will provide urgently needed food, shelter and social services for 1.3 million Palestinians, was announced by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney and Minister of State for International Development and the Diaspora Ciarán Cannon. The additional funding will be channelled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and will help support UNRWA’s its work in providing humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees living in Gaza. Ireland’s total funding to the Palestinian people in 2017 will amount to some €11 million. Announcing the additional Irish funding, the Tánaiste said: Following ten years of economic blockade, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is increasingly fragile. The majority of its population are dependent on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs and almost half a million refugees live in extreme poverty. “Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA and I commend the vital work being undertaken by the Agency to meet the basic and emergency needs of Palestine refugees, not only in Gaza, but in its other fields of operation across the Middle East.”….

Opinion: How wars are now won and lost on social media / Larry Getlen
NY Post 2 Dec — Late at night on July 28, 2014, 16-year-old Farah Baker should have been asleep. Instead, the Gaza resident was cowering in fear as flares exploded around her, while sharing her terror in a flurry of tweets. “Flares in the sky all the time,” she tweeted, along with a photo showing a streak of light. “I AM CRYING AND CAN’T STAND BOMBS SOUND! I’M ABOUT TO LOSE SENSE OF HEARING!” went another. Later, she tweeted, “I can’t stop crying. I might die tonight.” That missive got over 15,000 retweets, some from journalists around the world. Thanks to her prolific Twitter feed, Baker became an “influencer,” as her experience of the Israeli bombing of Gaza spread, enticing the media with her story and gaining followers to the Palestinian cause. As British journalist David Patrikarakos shares in his new book, “War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century,” (Basic Books), out now, platforms like Facebook and Twitter have transformed the nature of propaganda and even war itself …
Caught in the Israel-Hamas war of 2014, Baker tweeted photos, videos and tales of her life in English, so people in other countries could understand what the Palestinian experienced firsthand. As the violence grew, so did her number of followers. “She became an increasingly popular source of information coming out of Gaza — as far removed from the centralized and highly bureaucratic newsrooms of The Guardian or The Wall Street Journal as it is possible to be,” Patrikarakos writes. “In just a matter of weeks, Farah said, her followers jumped from 800 to around 200,000.” (Still active, she currently has 180,000 –[Farah_Gazan]) Baker excelled at making her tweets personal…..


Hundreds of elected officials in the Spanish state endorse BDS for Palestinian rights
IMEMC/Agencies 4 Dec — This week, on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, more than 350 elected officials across the Spanish state published an open-letter in support of Palestinian human rights. They denounced Israel’s institutionalized racism and discrimination as “apartheid” and expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as the only viable instrument for achieving a just and lasting peace for the Palestinian people. These public officials include mayors, city councillors, members of congress, presidents of regional parliaments and members of the European Parliament. The full list of signatories is available here.
To date, the Spanish parliament has affirmed that the right to advocate for Palestinian rights through BDS is protected under freedom of speech and association. The Barcelona City Council voted to end complicity in Israel’s violations of international law, and more than 80 public institutions across the Spanish state declared themselves “Apartheid Free Zones,” committed to upholding human rights and refusing complicity in Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people….

Other news

WATCH: Bethlehem lights its Christmas tree in festive celebration
Reuters 3 Dec — Thousands of people gathered outside Bethlehem’s Church of Nativity on Saturday for the traditional lighting of a giant Christmas tree and colourful fireworks marking the beginning of the festive season. Bethlehem revered as the birthplace of Jesus attracts thousands of tourists and Christian pilgrims in the festive Christmas time and the city authorities make the lighting of the tree into one of the most memorable celebrations of the year.  Earlier on Saturday Bethlehem welcomed the Custodian of the Holy Land on his arrival in Bethlehem to mark the beginning of the festive season of Advent, when millions of Christians around the world start their preparations for Christmas.

Palestine, China sign agreement on free trade
RAMALLAH (WAFA)30 Nov – Palestine and China signed on Thursday a memorandum of understanding on free trade between the two countries during a ceremony held at the Prime Minister’s office in Ramallah. Minister of National Economy, Abeer Odeh, and deputy Chinese Minister of Commerce, Wang Shouwen, signed the memorandum of understanding on free trade in the presence of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and China’s ambassador to Palestine, Chen Xingzhong. Prior to this, Hamdallah received the deputy Chinese Minister of Commerce at his office and discussed with him ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries. Hamdallah praised China’s continuous support for Palestine and pointed out the importance of China’s participation in the industrial zone, which will be built in Tarqumiya, in Hebron district. He said this will contribute to reinforcing the national economy and to the creation of jobs in Palestine….

France to recognize Palestine [doing so] as part of European Union
PARIS (WAFA) 3 Dec – Ambassador of Palestine to France Salman Al-Harfi Sunday said the French government has expressed desire to recognize Palestine, but [doing so] as part of the European Union. He told WAFA in a phone call that France wants to recognize a state of Palestine, but with other European countries taking part, because it will safeguard the peace process. “The Palestinian leadership aspires for France to recognize a state of Palestine, assume its role in the Middle East and form the backbone of the supportive European position,” he added. Al-Harfi expressed said France is pushing for a European recognition in a time where the US is pressuring the European community not to recognize a state of Palestine on the borders of 1967.

Video: Will the US move its embassy to Jerusalem?
Al Jazeera Inside Story 3 Dec with Mustafa Barghouti – secretary-general, Palestinian National Initiative; Daniel Levy – president of US-Middle East Project; Hussein Ibish – senior resident scholar, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington — For some it has a red line, for others it could ignite violence across the region. So why is the US government considering moving its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? Arab leaders have been very vocal about their opposition to such a move; some have even accused US President Donald Trump of “playing with fire”; others have said it will fuel “extremism”. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has previously warned the White House against moving the embassy. In 1995, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the US Congress passed legislation on moving the embassy. It was supposed to happen by May 31, 1999. But there was a provision in the law that allowed the president to sign a waiver every six months – in the name of national security. Every president since 1998 has done so, including Trump himself back in June. Putting the embassy in Jerusalem is controversial because the eastern part of the city is Palestinian territory being illegally occupied by Israel. So, what message is the Trump administration sending with this plan to relocate the embassy?

Jared Kushner says Trump still undecided on Israel’s capital
CBS/AP 3 Dec — President Donald Trump has not yet decided whether to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital or whether to proceed immediately in moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. That’s according to his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who says Mr. Trump is still weighing his options. “The president is going to make his decision and he’s still looking at a lot of different facts and when he makes his decision he’ll be the one to want to tell you, not me. He’ll makes sure he does that at the right time,” Kushner said on Sunday at the Saban Forum in Washington, D.C. The deadline to submit the administration’s report to Congress on the Embassy’s location and waiver is Monday … U.S. diplomatic posts have been put on alert due to heightened security concerns in the Middle East due to the fact that Mr. Trump was actively considering the move, CBS News’ Margaret Brennan reported last week. The security alert was given because Mr. Trump is leaning toward this decision but has not made a final call. Three U.S. officials confirmed the security alert was sent out Wednesday to U.S. posts in Muslim countries as a precautionary matter.  Shortly before Kushner spoke Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would jeopardize the White House’s Mideast peace efforts … One U.S. official said an option being considered — and favored by many Arab states — is to also recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Up to this point, the Trump administration has not committed to a two-state solution….

Arab League chief warns Trump Jerusalem move could fuel violence
AFP 3 Dec — The Arab League chief said on Sunday a decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would boost fanaticism and violence, and not serve the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East peace envoy Jared Kushner told the Saban Forum on Sunday the president is close to a decision on whether to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “It is unfortunate that some are insisting on carrying out this step without any regard to the dangers it carries to the stability of the Middle East and the whole world,” Ahmed Abul Gheit, head of the Arab League, told reporters in Cairo on Sunday. Abul Gheit said the Arab League is closely following the issue and is in contact with the Palestinian authorities and Arab states to coordinate the Arab position if Trump takes the step. Trump must decide on Monday whether to sign a legal waiver that would delay plans to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for another six months. Every US president has done this since 1995, judging the time not ripe for such a move, and Trump is expected to begrudgingly do so for a second time this week.

Jordan begins diplomatic offensive ahead of Trump move on Jerusalem
AMMAN (Reuters) 3 Dec by Suleiman Al-Khalidi — Jordan has begun consultations on convening an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation before an expected move this week by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a senior Jordanian source said. A senior U.S. administration official said on Friday that Trump was likely to make the controversial declaration in a speech on Wednesday. Recognising Jerusalem would upend decades of American policy and possibly inflame tensions in the Middle East. Jordan, the current president of the Arab summit, would invite members of the two bodies to convene if the recognition is extended, to “discuss ways of dealing with the consequences of such a decision that raised alarm and concern”, the senior Jordanian diplomatic source told Reuters….

Hamas threatens ‘new intifada’ over US moves on Jerusalem
France 24/AFP 3 Dec — The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which controls Gaza called Saturday for a new “intifada” if Washington recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel or moves its embassy to the disputed city. Reports in Washington have suggested US President Donald Trump may on Monday fulfil a campaign pledge on the American embassy, which like all other foreign missions is currently located in the coastal city of Tel Aviv. “We warn against such a move and call on the Palestinian people to revive the intifada if these unjust decisions on Jerusalem are adopted,” Hamas said in a statement. Any decision to move its embassy there would be “a flagrant attack on the city by the American administration” and give Israel “a cover for continuing its crime of Judaising the city and emptying it of Palestinians,” it said.

Palestinians: Giro d;Italia ‘complicit’ in Israeli occupation
JERUSALEM (AFP) 2 Dec — The Palestinians accused the organisers of the Giro d’Italia cycle race Friday of being “complicit in Israel’s military occupation” by starting the 2018 race from Jerusalem. “By organising such an event, Giro d’Italia is being complicit in Israel’s military occupation and its egregious violations of international law, conventions and consensus,” Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, said in a statement. “We urge Giro d’Italia to stop placating Israel at the expense of our fundamental human rights and freedoms and to move the race outside of Israel.” The 101st Giro d’Italia is to begin in Jerusalem on May 4, 2018, the first time one of cycling’s three major races has started outside Europe. But organisers have come up against local political sensitivities, the status of Jerusalem being one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state. Israel seized east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, in moves never recognised by the international community.
On Thursday, the organisers of the race removed references to it starting in west Jerusalem and replaced it with simply Jerusalem after Israel threatened to withdraw its sponsorship. “Giro d’Italia is assuaging Israel by presenting Jerusalem as a unified city under Israel’s sovereignty,” Ashrawi said. (listserv)


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

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