Violence / Detentions — West Bank /Jerusalem
Elderly Palestinian woman dies of heart attack during Israeli raid on her home
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — A 60-year-old Palestinian woman suffered a fatal heart attack overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday when Israeli army soldiers raided her home in the village of al-Zubeidat, north of Jericho in the northeastern occupied West Bank. Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that Hamda Zubeidat, 60, suffered a heart attack after Israeli soldiers threw a stun grenade at her house during a raid on the town. Despite efforts to revive her, Wafa reported, Zubeidat died shortly after. “The soldiers raided the village after midnight, causing panic and fear among residents, throwing stun grenades at homes,” Wafa reported, adding that “no reason was given for the raid.”
Palestinian teen shot, critically injured by Israeli forces over alleged stabbing attempt
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — A Palestinian teen was shot and critically injured on Tuesday by Israeli forces in the central occupied West Bank district of Salfit, near the illegal Ariel settlement. Conflicting reports emerged on Tuesday, with Palestinian sources saying the teenager, identified as 15-year-old Hamed al-Masri, was shot during clashes, while Israeli media and army sources reported that he was shot for attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that al-Masri, a resident of Salfit, was shot and injured during clashes that erupted near the Ariel settlement. He was reportedly treated on the scene by Israeli medics, detained by Israeli forces, and then taken to an Israeli hospital for treatment where his injuries were reported as critical. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the shooting to Ma‘an, saying that the boy was attempting to carry out a stabbing attempt near the Ariel settlement.
Second version by Army:
Child critically injured by soldiers remains in a coma, says group
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 13 Dec – Hamid Masri, 14, who was shot and critically injured by Israeli soldiers on Tuesday after they suspected him of trying to attack them is in a coma at an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Wednesday. Soldiers opened fire at Masri near the West Bank city of Salfit and seriously wounded him. The army initially said that Masri attempted to stab soldiers, prompting them to shoot him.
However, the army later changed its version and said that Masri was not in a possession of a knife as first claimed and that the soldiers suspected that he was going to attack them and therefore shot him. Masri was taken to an Israeli hospital, where he underwent surgery but remains in critical condition, said the Prisoner’s Society.
Over 60 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces in northern West Bank
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — An estimated 68 Palestinians were injured in the northern occupied West Bank during clashes that erupted on Thursday between Palestinians and Israeli forces over the US President’s announcement last week recognizing Jerusalem — half of which is occupied in violation of international law — as Israel’s capital. Protests against President Trump’s decision have been ongoing across the occupied Palestinian territory, and on Thursday, protests in the Burin and al-Naqoura villages of Nablus and on the campus of Khadouri University in western Tulkarem turned into violent clashes.
Head of the ambulance and emergency department of the Palestinian Red Crescent in Tulkarem, Raed Yassin, told Ma‘an that Red Crescent teams treated 41 injuries at the Khadouri University. Thirty-two people were treated for severe tear gas inhalation, two people were treated for rubber-coated steel bullet-related injuries, while seven people were treated for bruises and other injuries.
In the Nablus-area village of Burin, Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that clashes erupted after 10 Israeli settlers from the illegal Givat Runim settlement outpost “attacked Palestinians and homes in the eastern area of the village.” Locals responded by throwing rocks at the settlers, at which time Israeli forces — who came to escort the settlers — began firing tear gas and stun grenades at locals. In the al-Naqoura village in western Nablus, clashes erupted with Israeli forces following a march protesting the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Medical sources told Ma‘an that several Palestinian youths suffered from severe tear-gas inhalation. In Nablus city, following a march organized by local youth, clashes broke out with Israeli forces. Head of the ambulance and emergency department in Nablus, Ahmad Jibril, said that 27 tear-gas suffocation cases were treated, including Minister Walid Assaf, who was hit by a tear-gas bomb. Clashes also erupted in Deir Sharaf in eastern Nablus and at the Huwwara checkpoint in southern Nablus.
VIDEO: Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinian girls at gunpoint from ambulance
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 Dec – In a video that has gone viral on social media, Israeli forces on Wednesday violently detained two Palestinians — who locals reported were teenage girls — from inside a Palestinian ambulance in the Hebron district of the southern occupied West Bank. The video shows a group of armed Israeli soldiers stopping a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance at gunpoint in the town of Halhul. The soldiers attempt to pull people at the back of the ambulance out onto the street, and after verbal and physical confrontations, the soldiers jumped into the ambulance and pulled out two Palestinians. A witness told Ma‘an that he saw Israeli soldiers forcing two teenage girls out of the ambulance at gunpoint. He added that Israeli female soldiers handcuffed the girls and detained them. The identities of the girls remained unknown.
PRCS denies the Israeli allegations against its medical teams
PRCS 12 Dec — PRCS strongly denies the allegations made by Israeli army spokesman (Arabic desk) Avichai Adraee on his Facebook page. Spokesman Adraee has posted footage which he claims shows a Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulance “transporting a number of troublemakers” during clashes that took place on Monday December 11, 2017 at the northern entrance to Al-Bireh, thus violating the Society’ humanitarian mission. The footage posted by spokesman Adraee shows a masked girl as she leaves a PRCS’ ambulance alongside two other girls. The girl, who had been injured during the clashes, had received First Aid inside the ambulance as her injuries were not serious enough to warrant hospital admission. PRCS’ teams have treated tens of casualties in the field and inside the Society’s ambulances. According to PRCS’ records, more than 1279 casualties have so far been treated in the field by its teams. PRCS affirms that it abides and shall always abide by its fundamental principles in general, and the principles of neutrality and impartiality in particular. PRCS affirms that it has done nothing but discharge its humanitarian mission and provide treatment to those who need it.
Detainees’ Committee: ‘Israeli soldiers abducted 300 Palestinians in one week’
IMEMC 14 Dec — The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported that Israeli soldiers have abducted more than 300 Palestinians in one week, since the American President made his illegal recognition of occupied Jerusalem as the unified capital of Israel, and to move the Consulate from Tel Aviv to the occupied city. The Committee said the detainees have been subject to excessive use of force and violence by the soldiers, in addition to torture and bad treatment during the interrogation and detention. It added that many of the abducted Palestinians suffered injuries, including moderate and serious wounds, prior to their abduction, and some of them were moved to hospitals. Furthermore, the committee stated that most of the abducted Palestinians are children, between the ages of 12 and 17, facing ongoing violations and bad conditions. Most of the abducted Palestinians are from occupied Jerusalem, as the soldiers and police officers have detained 95, including 44 children and three women, while some of them were assaulted with clubs and batons, leading to various injuries. One of the abducted Palestinians is a young woman, identified as Asma’ Wreidat, who was shot in her right leg, and was later moved to Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, where she is also held by the soldiers. Another Palestinian, identified as Mousa Jamil al-Qadamani, from Jerusalem, was shot in his pelvis, and is currently at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center, while Hamed al-Masri, from Salfit, was shot in his face, and was moved to Beilinson Medical Center.
In addition, lawyer Hussein Sheikh said all the Palestinians who were moved to Etzion military base, south of Bethlehem, were beaten by the soldiers, leading to various cuts and bruises, and were never provided any sort of medical treatment. Lawyer Luay Ekka said the soldiers have transferred 48 detained Palestinian children to Ofer prison, near Ramallah, and that most of them were beaten by the arresting soldiers and officers. One of them, identified as Mo’awiya Sufian Mojahed, 17, from Hebron, was kicked and clubbed by the soldiers in his legs, while the soldiers also stomped on his legs, before moving him first to Etzion, where he was forced to stand for several hours. Another detainee, identified as Mahmoud Dababsa, from Hebron, was beaten by the soldiers, especially on his arms and head, and was not provided any medical treatment.
Israeli forces detain 15 Palestinians in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 13 Dec – Israeli forces detained on Wednesday at least 15 Palestinians during raids in occupied East Jerusalem. Israeli police raided the neighborhood of al-‘Issawiya and detained 11 Palestinians after raiding their homes. Police also detained two children from al-Tur neighborhood, in addition to two others from the town of Abu Dis, to the east of Jerusalem.
The detentions came following a nightlong of clashes across the city that saw dozens of Palestinians suffocate as a result of Israeli police’s use of teargas. The protests, ongoing for six days, came as a result of US President Donald Trump’s decision last week in which he recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israeli police also reportedly used rubber-coated steel rounds to disperse the protesters, but there were no reports of casualties.
Undercover Israeli forces injure 2 Palestinians, detain 5, in Ramallah clashes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Israeli special forces disguised as Palestinian protesters arrested five Palestinian youths, including a young woman and two injured young men, during clashes near the illegal Beit El settlement in the central West Bank district of Ramallah. Witnesses told Ma‘an that a group of undercover Israeli forces, known as ‘mustaaribeen’ in Arabic, infiltrated crowds of protesters and journalists when they took out their guns and “attacked the youths,” assaulting, shooting and injuring two of them before detaining five. Israeli forces sprayed skunk water and fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and tear gas protesters in the area, which has become a flashpoint of confrontations since protests broke out last week in the wake of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. According to witnesses, uniformed Israeli soldiers provided cover for the special forces by opening live fire in the air while undercover forces detained the youths.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian in Jerusalem for alleged knife possession
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Israeli forces reportedly detained a Palestinian “youth” on Wednesday in Jerusalem over alleged knife possession, according to local sources. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stopped and searched a young Palestinian man, whose identity remained unknown, and allegedly found a knife in his possession. The Palestinian was detained from the entrance of the central bus station on Jaffa Street in West Jerusalem and taken to an unknown location.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian teen in Hebron for alleged knife possession
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 12 Dec — Israeli soldiers detained a Palestinian teen on Tuesday near the Ibrahimi mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, for allegedly being in possession of a knife. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces detained a 17-year-old boy while at a military checkpoint at the entrance of the mosque after soldiers claimed the boy had a knife. The teen was reportedly transferred to Israeli intelligence for interrogation.
Israeli forces have detained scores of Palestinians, many of the minors, for allegedly being in possession of knives following a spate of alleged and actual small-scale knife attacks by Palestinians that surged in the fall of 2015. Hebron in particular grew as the epicenter of upheaval, with a number of Palestinians having been shot while being detained at military checkpoints in the area.
Eyewitnesses have also said in a number of cases that Israeli security forces planted knives on slain or imprisoned Palestinians to claim that they were acting in self-defense during a stabbing attack.
IDF seizes ‘incitement materials’ at West Bank universities
Times of Israel 14 Dec by Jacob Magid — The IDF seized what it described as “incitement materials” in a broad operation throughout the West Bank overnight Wednesday-Thursday. In raids that came on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the Hamas terror group’s founding, Israeli forces targeted Al Quds University in the village of Abu Dis, Birzeit University near Ramallah and a printing press in Hebron, the army said in a statement. In the framework of the operation, posters, flags, and materials inciting terror were confiscated,” the army added. The IDF did not specify what the materials said. In separate overnight raids throughout the West Bank, Israeli forces arrested eight Palestinians suspected of involvement in terror activity.
Court actions / Prisoners
Israel court says illegal to keep dead Palestinian assailants
JERUSALEM (AFP) 14 Dec — Israel’s supreme court ruled Thursday that it was illegal not to return the bodies of dead Palestinian assailants to their families unless an exchange was agreed. Current legislation does not authorise the refusal to return the bodies, the court said, following a motion filed by families of nine Palestinians. However, the Jewish state’s highest court granted the government six months to pass a law allowing it to keep hold of the corpses, otherwise the bodies would have to be handed over. The government announced last year that it would not return the bodies unless the Palestinians agreed to an exchange for the remains of two Israeli soldiers believed to have been killed in a 2014 war in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated last month that Israel would use the bodies of Palestinian militants killed in a Gaza tunnel explosion as part of a deal to receive those of two Israeli soldiers. On Thursday, Netanyahu described the court’s ruling as “very problematic”. “Hamas must not be offered free gifts, and I will convene a meeting on Sunday… in order to find a concrete and legal solution to keep putting pressure on Hamas,” he said on his official Facebook page.
Israel drops claims that Palestinian attacker had ISIS ties, bid to ban family from Jerusalem stopped
Haaretz 14 Dec by Amira Hass — After Israel dropped its claim that relatives of a Palestinian who killed four soldiers in a truck ramming attack in Jerusalem in January were members of the Islamic State group, an administrative judge has ordered a rehearing of Interior Ministry proceedings to strip them of their stay permits and resident status meaning that they would have to leave Jerusalem. In a ruling issued this week, Judge Ilan Halbaga granted an appeal filed by the Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual on the grounds that an earlier Interior Ministry proceeding stripping the relatives of Fadi Qunbar, who carried out the attack at the Armon Hanatziv promenade, had been improperly conducted. Qunbar, who was shot and killed in the course of his attack, lived in the nearby East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukkaber. Several days after the attack, Interior Minister Arye Dery announced that he intended to strip relatives of Qunbar of their right to remain in Israel. The relatives have lived for many years in East Jerusalem, as spouses or children of permanent residents who applied for family reunification … The 12 relatives included a 10-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy, Qunbar’s niece and nephew. In addition, Qunbar’s mother was served a notice revoking her Israeli residency status on allegations of bigamy. She has been living in Jerusalem for 30 years and had established the right to Israeli residency based on marriage …
This suit is part of several measures the state has taken against the Qunbar family and should not be seen as a separate move. It is part of the state’s collective punishment of Palestinian attackers’ families. The collective punishment of Palestinians consisted so far of sealing off and demolishing houses and evicting families. Now the state is adding damages suits against the families to the repertoire. The measures against Qunbar’s family are part of this policy.
‘Beaten’ Palestinian boy in viral photo to face charges
Al Jazeera 12 Dec by Farah Najjar — A 16-year-old Palestinian boy, shown in a photo that has been roundly condemned as symbolising the Israeli army’s use of excessive force, has been accused of throwing stones at a group of armed Israeli soldiers. An image of Fawzi al-Junaidi, blindfolded and surrounded by more than 20 Israeli occupation forces, was widely denounced as it was shared on social media earlier this week. The scene pictures al-Junaidi looking disoriented, wearing a grey shirt and ripped jeans as dozens of soldiers crowd around him carrying guns and wearing protective gear, including helmets and knee pads. The teenager, who denies throwing stones, was arrested on Thursday amid ongoing protests across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip over a US decision on December 6 to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In six days, at least 16 other Palestinians have been arrested for protesting. At least four have been killed in the violence since the US declaration, and more than 700 injured.
‘He was beaten with a rifle’ — Al-Junaidi also denies accusations of “participating in protests”. Witnesses have claimed they saw al-Junaidi throwing stones. “He said he was fearful and was running away when tear gas canisters were being thrown,” his lawyer, Farah Bayadsi, told Al Jazeera. “Fawzi said he was beaten with a rifle and he showed up with bruises all over his neck, chest and back.” She said that the child would face formal charges in front of an Israeli military court on Wednesday, following an initial hearing on Monday … According to Bayadsi, the judge was stunned at the excessive force that al-Junaidi was subjected to – most apparent in the manner in which he was transferred to prison.
‘He was not protesting’ — Due to his father’s leg injury and his mother’s terminal illness, al-Junaidi had been the main provider for his family of nine. His uncle Rashad said that he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. “He left his house to buy some groceries….
Marwan Barghouthi ordered to solitary confinement after statement on Intifada
Samidoun 12 Dec — Marwan Barghouthi, member of the Fateh central committee and a prominent Palestinian national leader, was transferred by Israeli prison officials into solitary confinement at Hadarim prison, reported the campaign for his release on Tuesday, 12 December 2017. The campaign said that “this decision to isolate him comes to prevent him from communicating with his people in the homeland and diaspora at a time when Palestine and the capitals and cities of the world are protesting widely against the decision of U.S. president Donald Trump to declare his country’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli occupation state. This decision to isolate is a form of retaliation for a statement issued by Marwan Barghouthi on the anniversary of the great popular intifada a few days ago.”….
Israel intercepts Gaza rocket, retaliates with tank fire
JERUSALEM (AP) 11 Dec by Ilan Ben Zion — The Israeli military said it intercepted a rocket launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip late Monday, a few hours after Israel bombed Hamas military positions in retaliation for rocket fire earlier in the evening. The military said in a statement that the Iron Dome missile defense system shot down a rocket fired at Israel from the Palestinian territory. No injuries or damage were reported in Israel. Shortly afterward, an Israeli tank responded by bombarding a Hamas military position in the northern Gaza Strip, the military said. No injuries were reported. Earlier, Israeli planes and tanks shelled the coastal territory after militants fired a rocket toward southern Israel, in what was the latest in a series of cross-border exchanges that have left at least four Palestinians dead since Friday.
2 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 12 Dec — Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting a motorcycle in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday afternoon. Local and medical sources confirmed that two Palestinians were killed in the airstrike in the Umm al-Nasr village in the Beit Lahiya district of northern Gaza. Sources from the Islamic Jihad movement identified the two as Hussein Ghazi Nasrallah and Mustafa al-Sultan, members of the engineering unit of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the movement.
Sources added that their bodies were taken to the Indonesian Hospital in Jabaliya … Nasrallah and al-Sultan were the [fifth and] sixth Palestinians to have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza over the past week.
On Saturday, two members of Hamas’ military wing had been killed in an airstrike, while two Palestinian civilians had been killed by Israeli forces on Friday during clashes along the border.
‘Mishandled explosives’ kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza
Al Jazeera 12 Dec — At least two Palestinians have died in an explosion in Gaza, which Palestinian group Islamic Jihad now says was caused by the men mishandling explosives. Local news media identified the two people killed on Tuesday as members of al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad. The Associated Press news agency quoted Islamic Jihad as saying that the explosion was an accident. Earlier in the day, the Palestinian health ministry and local news media blamed the deaths on an Israeli air raid. However, a spokesperson for the Israeli army denied the reports, telling Al Jazeera it did not carry out any attack in the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday….
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said the two Palestinian youths were killed on a motorcycle near the town of Beit Lahya in the northern Gaza Strip. The men were killed instantly while dozens of passers-by were also injured by the explosion, WAFA said. In a statement cited by AFP news agency later on Tuesday that made no mention of an Israeli attack, Islamic Jihad identified the dead men as Hussein Ghazi Nasrallah, 25, and Mustafa al-Sultan, 29, and said they were part of the group’s engineering unit.
3 Palestinians injured in Israeli airstrike targeting Hamas military site
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 13 Dec — Israeli air forces conducted airstrikes targeting alleged Hamas military sites in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday before dawn, injuring three Palestinians. Locals told Ma‘an that three Palestinians were injured after an Israeli airstrike hit two training sites for the Izz al-din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement. One of the sites was reportedly a naval site. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the airstrikes to Ma‘an, while Israeli media reported that the airstrikes were in response to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel on Tuesday.
Israel conducts several airstrikes across Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 Dec — Israeli air forces conducted airstrikes targeting several sites in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday around dawn, according to local sources. Locals told Ma‘an that the airstrikes targeted at least five sites across the coastal enclave. Airstrikes hit sites in northwestern and southern Gaza City, as well as near the Deir al-Balah beach in the central Gaza Strip. Another site in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, while forces targeted another in western Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported…
Israeli forces have launched several airstrikes on the Gaza Strip over the past week, allegedly targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad military posts in response to rocket fire coming from Gaza into Israel. Four Palestinian fighters have been killed in airstrikes over the past week, while no Israeli injuries have been reported.
Army injures 25 Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 15 Dec — Medical sources have reported that Israeli soldiers shot 25 Palestinians after the army, stationed across the border fence, attacked dozens of Palestinian protesters in several parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. The sources said that the soldiers shot five young men with live fire; two of them in the eastern part of Jabalia, in northern Gaza, and were moved to the Indonesian Hospital in nearby Beit Lahia, suffering moderate wounds. The soldiers also shot one Palestinian with live fire, north of Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, causing moderate wounds. In addition, the soldiers shot two young men east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, before they were rushed to Abu Yousef an-Najjar Hospital. At least twenty other Palestinians suffered burns or the severe effects of teargas inhalation, and received the needed treatment by local medics.
Hamas marks 30-year anniversary with Gaza rally
[with video] Al Jazeera 14 Dec — As the struggle for a Palestinian state continues, Hamas, one of the main Palestinian factions, is marking the 30th anniversary of its founding with celebrations in the Gaza Strip. Thousands of Palestinian men, women and children, brandishing Hamas’ green flags or sporting green scarves, gathered on Thursday at the al-Katiba Square in Gaza City. Born out of the first Palestinian uprising, or Intifada, in 1987, Hamas was created in response to Israel’s illegal occupation of West Bank and the Gaza strip. Its founder and spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, was a hero to many Palestinians who were frustrated with the lack of results from the peace process. Almost blind and a quadriplegic, Yassin was blamed by Israel for a series of suicide bombings and rocket attacks on Israeli targets. In 2004, Israel killed Yassin with a missile attack near his home in Gaza. A month later another missile killed his successor, Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi. Next came Khaled Meshaal, a survivor of a botched Israeli poisoning attempt in 1997.
Election victory – Under Meshaal, Hamas capitalised on its popularity and scored a surprise victory in the 2006 Palestinian elections. That heightened tensions with Fatah, the main faction within the Palestinian Authority. Violent confrontations followed in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas set up a rival government. But faced with international condemnation they struggled to govern effectively, Ahmed Youssef, a former Hamas official, told Al Jazeera….
Artists boost Gaza’s morale with music, comedy
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — This year’s Sea and Freedom Festival, an annual gathering organized by the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music since 2015, gave Gazan artists the opportunity to perform traditional music of the region for a large audience. The final performance of the festival took place Dec. 7, following four days of performances that started Nov. 23, at the Red Crescent Cinema in Gaza City’s western Tel al-Hawa district. “The main goal of the festival was to give artists in Gaza the chance to show off their work to the Palestinian public, which is keen to hear music,” Ismail Daoud, a well-known Palestinian musician and professor at the conservatory, told Al-Monitor. “The Edward Said Conservatory is the only institution organizing regular music festivals in the Gaza Strip.”Five veteran Palestinian musicians performed at the festival on the first day: Daoud, Ziyad al-Qusbughli, Abdul Fattah Najili, Hassan Yunes and Sami al-Susi. They played songs by famous Arab artists Umm Kulthum, Abduel Halim Hafez, Mohammad Abdul Wahab and Wadih El Safi in front of a large crowd. More than 300 people were present at the Red Crescent Cinema and organizers had to bring extra chairs….
Feijoa fruit makes its debut in Gaza
GAZA CITY 11 Dec by Rasha Abou Jalal — After eight years of experimenting, Gazan farmer Massoud al-Zane last month succeeded in growing feijoa, an egg-shaped fruit with a cream-colored flesh and a jelly-like center, for the first time in Palestine … Zane said he obtained feijoa seeds from the Ministry of Agriculture in 2009, when they were distributed to some farmers. The farmers were to experiment with the seeds in various Gaza locations in different types of soil and at varying levels of water and soil salinity. Planting also depended on the availability of manure and chloride, which help the plant grow. Zane, who followed in his father’s footsteps as a farmer, said the warm weather in Gaza suits the growth of the tree, as it can endure high temperatures, cold spells and high water salinity. The tree is seldom infected with pests, so farmers do not have to use pesticides and can earn a higher profit as a result….
Gaza fishing zone decreased to six nautical miles
IMEMC/Agencies 13 Dec — The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has condemned an Israeli decision to once again decrease the fishing area to 6 nautical miles, off the area from the Gaza Valley to Rafah City in the south. According to the Israeli decision, Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip are banned from sailing and fishing freely, and denied access to the areas where fish breed. Nizar ‘Ayash, Head of the General Union of Fishing Workers in the Gaza Strip, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that, on Monday, 11 December, 2017, the Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian Civil Affairs Authority of decreasing the fishing area to 6 nautical miles from the Gaza Valley to Rafah City in the south. The decision was set to enter into force at 15:00 on Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, restricting fishermen and their movement in the Gaza waters. It should be mentioned that Israeli authorities previously allowed the Palestinian fishermen to sail up to 9 nautical miles in the above-mentioned area on 03 May, 2017….
Israel shuts down Gaza crossings, strikes posts in Gaza following rocket attack
GAZA (WAFA) 14 Dec – Israel said on Thursday that it has decided to shut down Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossing for people and Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) crossing for goods, which come as a collective punishment following days of rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel. Israeli warplanes had earlier attacked posts in the Gaza Strip causing damage but no injuries, according to reports from Gaza. Armed groups in Gaza fired over the past few days rockets into Israel without causing any damage or injuries. However, after every attack, Israel strikes posts in Gaza … Israeli military officials warned Gazans of dire consequences if the rockets, fired most likely by extremist groups in response to last week’s US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, would continue to fall on Israel.
Former residents of evacuated West Bank outpost to be housed on private Palestinian land
Haaretz 14 Dec by Yotam Berger — Jewish settlers who were evicted in February from the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona because it was on Palestinian land are now being moved to mobile homes on a land that was previously expropriated from individual Palestinian owners for public users. The plot of land is situated near the West Bank settlement of Ofra. However, Haaretz has learned that no public buildings have ever been constructed on this land. Some of the trailer homes were installed several weeks before Amona was forcibly evacuated, but Amona’s residents said they had no intention to relocate to them and work on installing the trailers there was then halted … Now, however, the Mateh Binyamin regional council, the local government in the area, has resumed work at what had been privately owned Palestinian land, and this week laborers were seen at the site, where several additional trailers have now been installed. The new trailers fill all of the lots that had previously been fitted with infrastructure. Civil Administration maps indicate that some of the trailers have indeed been placed on land that had been expropriated for public purposes but no public buildings have ever been built there. In addition, trailer homes that were installed there were placed on land that did not coincide entirely with the area that was expropriated, and installed there without permits of any kind….
Netanyahu agrees to exclude settlements from economic deal with European Union
Haaretz 14 Dec by Noa Landau — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given approval in principle to a cooperation agreement with the European Union that contains a provision excluding the settlements. Netanyahu approved the wording of a cabinet resolution on the subject this week. If no ministers object to the resolution by January 1, it will be approved automatically. If so, Israel will effectively have consented to EU funding that is contingent on a boycott of the settlements. The resolution has now been signed by all the relevant government offices, including those of Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi), two of the most vocal settlement supporters in the government. The agreement, known by the acronym ENI CBC Med (which stands for “cross-border cooperation in the Mediterranean”), awards tens of millions of euros in funding to ventures that entail cooperation with the 14 Mediterranean Basin countries that aren’t EU members. These include Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian Authority … In line with EU policy, the project includes a provision stating explicitly that it doesn’t apply in areas outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. This means companies or organizations located in West Bank settlements, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights will not be able to participate or receive funding. About a year ago, Haaretz reported that Israel’s participation in another EU project – Creative Europe, which focuses on culture and media – was torpedoed at the last moment by Culture Minister Miri Regev because it contained a similar territorial provision.
EU research collaboration with Israeli police in tatters after Belgian university exit
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Dec — The prestigious Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has announced its withdrawal from a controversial EU-funded research cooperation project with the Israeli police and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security. The Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium has announced its withdrawal from a controversial EU-funded research cooperation project with the Israeli police and the Israeli Ministry of Public Security. The decision comes as EU Foreign Ministers meet this morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is struggling to contain Israel’s growing international isolation as a result of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. For months, advocates for human rights — Palestinian and European civil society, academics, artists and MEPs — have been questioning the research project for common prisoner interrogation techniques with two Israeli entities that are complicit in the torture of Palestinian prisoners, including children, in violation of international law. LAW TRAIN, as the project is known, is financed by the European Union under the framework of Horizon2020, the Union’s research fund … The withdrawal of the Catholic University of Leuven from LAW TRAIN follows the Portuguese Justice Ministry’s withdrawal of support in response to pressure back in July 2016, in a move that was seen as a major boost in the campaign to stop the project. This latest decision puts in question the continuation of the controversial project….
Other news, analysis
Palestinian factions miss unity deadline
GAZA CITY (AFP) 12 Dec — Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas have missed a major deadline in their reconciliation bid by failing to transfer power in the Gaza Strip, with the rivals on Monday trading accusations of blame. US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has further complicated an already difficult attempt to transfer power in Gaza from Hamas back to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, have seen protests and clashes each day since Trump’s declaration on Wednesday. Sunday had been the deadline for the handover, a decade after Hamas seized power in the Palestinian enclave in a near civil war with president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah, based in the occupied West Bank. An Egyptian-brokered agreement in early October originally set a Dec.1 deadline for full transfer of power back to the PA, which is dominated by Fagah, though that was later pushed back to Dec.10. In Gaza, the situation was essentially unchanged despite the deadline, with Hamas police still patrolling the streets, while crippling electricity shortages endured. Hamas claimed on Saturday it had handed over control of all government ministries, but Fatah’s top negotiator later said “obstacles” remained.
Abbas says UN should replace US as Mideast mediator
ISTANBUL (AP) 13 Dec by Karin Laub & Zeynep Bilginsoy — Breaking with years of courting the U.S., Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Wednesday for the United Nations to replace Washington as a Mideast mediator and suggested he might not cooperate with the Trump administration’s much-anticipated effort to hammer out an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. At a summit in Turkey, Arab and Muslim leaders “rejected and condemned” President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — the trigger for Abbas’ sharp policy pivot — but stopped short of backing his more combative approach toward Washington. A possible Palestinian refusal to engage with the U.S. and growing backlash against Trump’s shift on Jerusalem, including from Arab allies, cast new doubt over the administration’s already seemingly remote chances of brokering a deal and succeeding where its predecessors have failed. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday the administration would continue to work on a Mideast plan that it believes will benefit Israelis and Palestinians. Referring to Abbas, she said that the “type of rhetoric that we heard has prevented peace in the past, and it’s not necessarily surprising that those types of things would be said.” In shunning the U.S., Abbas would find himself in uncharted territory. He does not have an immediate practical alternative to more than two decades of U.S.-led negotiations on the terms of Palestinian statehood…. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/islamic-nations-seek-response-trumps-move-jerusalem-51758285
VIDEO: Palestinian leaders face growing criticism over US Jerusalem move
Palestinian anger at the US decision on Jerusalem has not only been directed at Washington. Palestinian leaders are also facing growing criticism from their own people, frustrated after decades of living under Israeli occupation. Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from the Occupied West Bank.
Bethlehem mayor responds to Israeli report on Christmas
IMEMC/Agencies 12 Dec — The mayor of Bethlehem, lawyer Anton Salman, on Monday, made comments about an Israeli report which portrayed Bethlehem city as if it were simply celebrating Christmas and separating itself from the Palestinian struggle, and the ongoing political situation, while there are protests and clashes currently ongoing in all Palestinian cities, against Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. “Israeli attempts to create false illusions about the unity of the Palestinian people through promoting deceptive videos will be futile,” Salman told PNN in an exclusive interview. He added that the content and timing of the video and interviews were manipulated, where the report showed that there have been celebrations and tree-lighting, following the Trump declaration on 6 December, while the actual date of lighting the tree was over a week ago, on 2 December 2017. Meanwhile, the interview was filmed on 28 November. The report was published on 8 December, two days after the start of the protests and the Trump declaration, and 10 days after the interview was recorded. Salman added that, as a sign of protest, the tree lights were turned off for three days, following the decision, since it offends all Palestinians, including Christian Palestinians. Salman said the Bethlehem municipality would file a lawsuit, in the Palestinian and Israeli courts, against the Israeli channel and its crew, as well as take measures to prevent Israeli journalists from entering Bethlehem because of the abuse and falsification it takes to the media….
Trump’s Jerusalem move reignites Palestinian cause
Al Jazeera 13 Dec by Saba Aziz — US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy to the city from Tel Aviv has reignited the Palestinian cause, according to analysts. … The status of Jerusalem has long remained a sensitive topic and one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Trump’s decision has “touched the nerve of the Arab people and the backbone of the international law”, said Salman Abu Sitta, chairman of the Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad. “The declaration has ignited the people’s feelings about Palestine and Jerusalem as its symbol, but it also exposed those who ran into the despicable position of the so-called normalisation,” he told Al Jazeera, speaking from Kuwait …
‘Huge early Christmas gift’ With the issue of Israel and Palestine on the back burner of diplomacy in recent years, Trump’s decision comes as “a godsend” for the people of Jerusalem, explained Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist and columnist. “Donald Trump gave Jerusalemites and Palestinians a huge early Christmas gift,” he told Al Jazeera. “The 300,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem who have been political orphans received more attention than they could have dreamed of,” he added … Ghada Karmi, a British-Palestinian author and research fellow at Exeter University’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, said the move has given Israel “free license to take over the whole of Jerusalem”, but has also brought the Palestinian struggle into the spotlight again. “It’s had a very unending consequence,” she told Al Jazeera from London. “It’s indeed returned the issue of the Palestinians and of Jerusalem onto the world stage.” Karmi added: “It faces the official Arab position with a real question: how do they want to proceed from now on? They have to start thinking again.”….
EU tells Netanyahu it rejects Trump’s Jerusalem move
BRUSSELS/CAIRO (Reuters) 11 Dec by Robin Emmott, John Davison — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his case to Europe to ask allies to join the United States in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but met a firm rebuff from EU foreign ministers who saw the move as a blow against the peace process … The Trump administration says it remains committed to the peace process and its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status. It says any credible future peace deal will place the Israeli capital in Jerusalem, and ditching old policies is needed to revive a peace process frozen since 2014. But even Israel’s closest European allies have rejected that logic and say recognising Israel’s capital unilaterally risks inflaming violence and further wrecking the chance for peace. After a breakfast meeting between Netanyahu and EU foreign ministers, Sweden’s top diplomat said no European at the closed-door meeting had voiced support for Trump’s decision, and no country was likely to follow the United States in announcing plans to move its embassy….
OIC leaders declare East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital
Al Jazeera 14 Dec — The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, rejected the US stance as “dangerous” and called on the international community to follow in its footsteps. At a summit held in Turkey a week after US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the group of Muslim leaders on Wednesday called on all countries to “recognise the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital”. In a statement, the OIC added that the 57-member group remains committed to a “just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution”. It also called on the UN to “end the Israeli occupation” of Palestine and declared Trump’s administration liable for “all the consequences of not retracting from this illegal decision”. “[We] consider that this dangerous declaration, which aims to change the legal status of the [city], is null and void and lacks any legitimacy,” the group said. Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst, said the summit in Istanbul highlighted that Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims continue to be committed to peace. “Now, Muslim countries in addition to a whole lot of others that are allied with the Palestinian cause will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,” he said. “And those Islamic countries are ready to sever relations to punish any one country that follows in the footsteps of the United States in recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”….
Jordan pilot announced ‘Jerusalem, capital of Palestine’ during flyover
Times of Israel 14 Dec — As his plane hovered over Israeli airspace, a Royal Jordanian pilot informed passengers of an imminent flyover of “Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine,” according to a YouTube recording that has since gone viral. The geography lesson — given both in Arabic and English — on flight RJ216 from Amman to New York came the week after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. After welcoming the passengers on board, pilot Yousef Dajah took the opportunity to express his views on the US president’s decision while sharing the flight’s itinerary. “Our initial route for today out of Queen Alia [Airport] turns to the territory of Palestine,” Dajah began. “Also northern of Jerusalem — which is the capital city of Palestine — and then [to] west coast of Palestine,” he continued in broken English. In addition to being cheered by passengers on the Boeing 787, the recording was shared widely by Arab social media accounts. “It made me proud to see that there still are such people with the guts to say something like this,” a fellow crew member on the flight, Jamil Khalsa, told the official Petra News Agency. However, a spokesman for Royal Jordanian told the Ynet news site that he represents “a commercial company that does not engage in politics.”
India’s deafening silence after Trump’s Jerusalem shift
Al Jazeera 12 Dec by Zeenat Saberin –India’s two-sentence response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last week elicited mixed reactions after New Delhi for decades strongly backed the Palestinian cause. The static statement to a dynamic situation was described by some as muted, others as pragmatic, and still others alleging it imbibes the anti-Muslim right-wing consensus of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “India’s position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country,” Raveesh Kumar, spokesman of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said last Thursday. But critics say this was deliberately vague and India should have posited a more vigorous reaction, considering the serious and retrograde effect of US President Donald Trump‘s Jerusalem announcement. “A more robust response would be to state India’s position upfront. In any case, it would call for a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state,” Manoj Joshi, senior analyst at the Observer Research Foundation, told Al Jazeera. In previous decades – with the centrist Congress Party in power – solidarity with Palestine was an integral part of India’s foreign policy. Nivedita Menon, a professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said the government’s lone comment has clearly reversed India’s stance on Palestine. “It is not surprising that India will now not say anything against Israel as there is a very close bond being built between the two….
VIDEO: Trump’s Jerusalem move: Obstacles for US embassy plans
14 Dec — President Trump’s decision to relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is without precedent, but the plan is not new. During the Reagan administration, a piece of West Jerusalem was leased to the American government and may become the new location of the US embassy to Israel. However, several Palestinian families say the land in West Jerusalem is theirs, they have the documents to prove it and they still hope they will get it back. The international community does not recognise the contested city as Israel’s capital. Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher reports from West Jerusalem.
MADA: 26 media freedoms violations during November
IMEMC/Agencies 14 Dec — November 2017 witnessed a number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine, almost identical to those recorded in the previous few months. In September and October, a total of 26 and 28 violations against media freedoms were monitored by MADA, 26 attacks last November. The Israeli occupation carried out 16 attacks, while Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip committed a total of 10 violations, PNN reports.
Israeli violations — The Israeli occupation has committed a total of 16 attacks against media freedoms during last November, some of which fall under serious violations. The most prominent of these is the decision by an Israeli military court to imprison the broadcasters of the “Sanabel” radio from the city of Hebron: Muntasir Abdel-Karim Nassar, Nidal Amro were sentenced to 22 months in prison and a fine of 5,000 NIS and Mr. Omran was sentenced to 16 months. The decision came after months of detention, when Sanabel was raided on August 31, 2016, and its equipment was confiscated under the reason of “receiving money from Hamas”….
Analysis: Arab citizens want to integrate into Israel but refuse to be a trampled minority / Jack Khoury
Haaretz 11 Dec — People on the right must understand that the country’s Arabs are comfortable with their Israeli citizenship but still cherish their national connection to the Palestinians — Plenty of right-wing leaders and spokespeople, including Knesset members and ministers, enjoy lashing out at the Arab community and its representatives every time there’s a diplomatic crisis between Israel and the Palestinians. Such tensions can erupt if there’s a terror attack by Israeli Arabs, if violent protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem slide over the Green Line, or if an Israeli military operation in Gaza provokes responses from the Arab community. People on the right – especially in the media and on social media – launch wild attacks in which every Arab citizen becomes a suspect and his loyalty to the state is in doubt. The town from which an assailant emerges, or a town where there are clashes or where Arabs block roads, becomes a marked town, and calls to boycott it are not far behind … Whether Israelis like it or not, most Arabs in Israel don’t deny their national identity, but also most don’t deny their Israeli citizenship. All quality opinion polls in recent years have shown that Arab citizens of Israel seek to further integrate into Israeli society and its institutions but aren’t willing to forever be a minority that’s discriminated against. The strong desire to integrate and develop is also consistent with the desire to achieve a diplomatic agreement that will assure the Palestinians self-determination and an end to the occupation. The expectation that Arab citizens of Israel will be completely indifferent to the suffering of their Palestinian brethren in Gaza or the West Bank is inhumane; no one would think to demand that Israeli Jews or the government not identify with the Jewish victims of anti-Semitism anywhere around the world….