Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces kill 1 Palestinian in search of suspected killer of Israeli settler
[with photos] JENIN (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Israeli forces killed one Palestinian overnight between Wednesday and Thursday during a raid on the northern occupied West Bank Jenin refugee camp, that was meant to capture or kill the suspect in last week’s shooting of an Israeli settler near Nablus
The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the slain Palestinian as Ahmad Ismail Jarrar, 31, contrary to Israeli reports that his cousin, Ahmad Nasser Jarrar — allegedly responsible for the settler’s death — was killed. Sources told Ma‘an that Ahmad Nasser Jarrar evaded capture during the raid, after reportedly shooting and injuring two Israeli soldiers. Two other Palestinians, whose identities remained unknown, were detained in the raid.
Israeli forces also punitively demolished three homes belonging to members of the Jarrar family. Locals identified the homeowners as Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, Ali Khalid Jarrar and Ismail Nasser Jarrar. Sources told Ma‘an that Israeli forces declared Jenin a closed military zone until the end of the raid, during which more than 120 Israeli military vehicles entered the area …
Ahmad Nasser Jarrar’s mother told Ma‘an that Israeli forces raided their house at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday and demanded them to leave the house saying that it would be demolished. “I saw a body on the floor while leaving the house but I could not identify it and I cannot confirm that it was my son’s,” she told Ma‘an. The Palestinian Ministry of Health later confirmed the body that she saw was that of Ahmad Ismail Jarrar. She added that Israeli forces asked her where her son was before they shelled the house and demolished it.
Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that six Palestinians were injured during clashes with Israeli forces including a critical injury that was sent into the operation room at the Jenin Governmental Hospital. Sources added that five were injured, three with live fire, and were identified as Mutaz Walid Mansour, 21, Qassem Muhammad Tayyarin, 23, Musallam Salameh, 19, while Sari Abu al-Wafa suffered tear-gas inhalation and Majdi Adnan was hit with bullet shrapnel in the face.
Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, whose whereabouts remain unknown, is the son of Nasser Jarrar, a leader of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, who was killed in Jenin refugee camp during the First Intifada in 2002.
Ahmad Ismail Jarrar was the fifth Palestinian to have been killed by Israeli forces this year.
After Palestinian teen is killed by IDF, troops deface his death notice with stars of David
Haaretz 19 Jan by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Here’s what soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces scrawled on a mourning notice for 16-year-old Musab Tamimi, who was killed by a sniper’s shot to the throat: “Son of a bitch, slut, dead.” For good measure, they drew a Star of David. Two days after they killed the teen, IDF troops again invaded his village, Deir Nizam, north of Ramallah. In a late-night raid, they arrested four young residents and left behind as a souvenir the memorial notice they violated. Neatly folded, the notice is now in the possession of the bereaved father, Firas Tamimi. An expression of pain crosses his face when he shows it to us. He was the one who carried his bleeding son two weeks ago to the car and rushed him to a hospital, where the teen was pronounced dead … The Israeli media reported that Musab was shot and killed because he’d been armed with a rifle. Osama, his brother, who had been by his side, denies that Musab was holding a rifle or anything else. Says Firas: “If he had a rifle, why didn’t the army take it? Even if we talk and talk about what happened, the Israelis will not be convinced. They will continue to claim that Musab was holding a rifle.” This week, before our visit to Deir Nizam, a villager was summoned for a talk with “Captain Malek” from the Shin Bet security service. Through him, Firas relates, the agent conveyed a message to Musab’s family not to talk to the media and to ensure quiet in the village.
Three Palestinians, including child, shot and injured in Nablus-area clashes
NABLUS (WAFA) 19 Jan – Three Palestinians, including a child, Friday were shot and injured with rubber-coated steel bullets during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village, south of Nablus, in the northern West Bank, said WAFA correspondent. A six-year-old child was struck in the eye with a rubber-coated bullet. Two other Palestinians were shot and injured. Their medical condition remains unknown until the moment. Forces further attacked residents’ homes with tear gas.
Israeli army quells peaceful rally east of Qalqilia, three injuries reported
QALQILIA (WAFA) 19 Jan – At least three Palestinians were injured on Friday as Israeli forces violently quelled the weekly and peaceful anti-settlement demonstration in the village of Kufr Qaddoum to the east of Qalqilia, said a local activist. Coordinator of the popular resistance committee in the village of Kufr Qaddoum, Murab Shtawi, said Israeli forces used force to suppress demonstrators, who also rallied to protest Israel’s closure of the main road that connects the village of Kufr Qaddoum with the city of Nablus since 2003. Forces used rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades against demonstrators, injuring three in their lower extremities. They were all treated at the scene….
Israeli forces block main entrance of Hizma town in occupied Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 19 Jan – Israeli forces Friday blocked the main entrance to the town of Hizma to the northeast of occupied Jerusalem with concrete blocks following a late night military raid into the town, said local sources. Israeli forces raided Hizma town on Thursday evening and prevented residents from entering or leaving it. Forces reportedly forced residents to close their shops, under the pretext of a stone throwing attack against an Israeli bus driving near the town. Clashes reportedly erupted between the town residents and soldiers, who fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas canisters, and stun grenades toward the former. No injuries or arrests were reported.
Soldier accused of inciting ‘price tag’ attacks
Ynet 16 Jan by Yoav Zitun — An IDF soldier was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of distributing pamphlets calling for revenge for last week’s terror attack that claimed the life of Havat Gilad resident Raziel Shevah. The pamphlets were found on the soldier’s base and Military Police have opened an investigation. The pamphlets sought to recruit a likeminded group to “restore national pride” and carry out ‘price tag’ attacks in response to the murder near Havat Gilad. “Revenge for the spilling of the holy blood of Rabbi Raziel Shevah,” the pamphlets said. A military spokesman said the “IDF considers this a grave matter and condemns any act of violence and incitement of this kind. Any such act will be treated with seriousness and the Military Police will take appropriate measures.”
Israeli settlers puncture tires, spray racist graffiti on Palestinian vehicles
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 17 Jan — Israeli settlers damaged and vandalized Palestinian vehicles in a Jerusalem-area village in the central occupied West Bank, in what locals are calling a “price tag attack.” Locals in the village of Beit Iksa told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers from the illegal Ramot settlement, which is built on lands of Beit Iksa, punctured the tires of several vehicles and spray painted “racist slogans” on them. The attack, according to locals, took place before dawn on Wednesday in the Aqbat Zayid and al-Burj areas near the village.
Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israelis committing violent acts against Palestinians. Better known as “price tag” attacks, extremis Israeli settlers use violent acts of retribution on Palestinians and their property to demonstrate their opposition to Israeli restrictions on settlements and their outposts in the occupied West Bank. In March 2017, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years….
Israeli settlers break into school in Bethlehem district
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 17 Jan – Israeli settlers Wednesday broke into a school in the village of Beit Ta‘mir, east of Bethlehem, and damaged some of its contents, said local government sources. According to Hasan Briejeh, representative of the separation wall and settlements committee, Israeli settlers broke into the Challenge 5 School and broke a door and tore a tent inside the school. He said the families prevented the settlers from inflecting more damage to the school and chased them away. The school, which was rebuilt in September 2017, has been named “Challenge 5 School,” because it was the fifth school to be constructed by the ministry in areas threatened by Israeli settlement construction and expansion.
Attempted car-ramming lightly wounds soldier in Jordan Valley
Ynet 19 Jan — An IDF soldier was lightly wounded Friday morning after a a driver in a Palestinian vehicle attempted a car-ramming attack at Qasr el Yahud in the Jordan Valley near a baptism site. The driver, who was arrested and taken in for questioning, attempted to ram his way into the site after being refused entry by IDF forces. The soldier was treated by medics at the scene. Footage of the incident [below] shows the attacker driving on the road before suddenly veering to the right in an attempt to run over two soldiers. The stormy winds and heavy rains didn’t stop 1,500 worshipers from making their way to the site southeast of Jericho to participate in the Christian Epiphany ceremony for celebrate the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. During the month of January, thousands of Christians flock to the baptism site which is protected by IDF units who frisk everyone who enters. The Palestinian approached in his vehicle the search point set up by the IDF where he was delayed by the soldiers while he demanded to be granted entry. Following a charged dispute that erupted with the soldiers, he proceeded in his vehicle without paying heed to the instructions.
Palestinians arrested outside West Bank settlement with gun, ammo
Times of Israel 15 Jan by Judah Ari Grossman — Police arrested three Palestinians Monday outside the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim after finding an automatic weapon and ammunition in their possession. Officers stopped the suspects’ vehicle, which had no license plates, near the settlement on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The driver and two passengers were questioned and the vehicle was searched, whereupon police found an automatic weapon, magazines for an anti-tank Carl Gustav rifle and other ammunition. The three suspects, from the village of Ubeidiya, were arrested and being questioned by security officials. Hours later, a group of soldiers arrested a Palestinian man suspected of opening fire at a highway in the northern West Bank, near the Alfei Menashe settlement, the army said. “After the arrest, the weapon and ammunition were found on the suspect,” the military said in a statement.
Israeli soldiers detain woman for alleged knife possession in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 19 Jan – Israeli forces Friday detained a Palestinian woman in the old city of Hebron, for her alleged possession of a knife, said security sources. Sources told WAFA soldiers detained a 32-year-old woman after searching her at the entrance of al-Ibrahimi mosque, in the old city of Hebron.
21 Palestinians detained in overnight raids
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — Israeli forces detained 21 Palestinians from across the occupied West Bank in overnight raids between Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
PPS said in a statement that Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians from the Ramallah and al-Bireh district in the central West Bank. They were identified as Ahmad Ahed Awwad, Rafat Anwar Awwad, Walid Zuheir Taha, Nazih Hamed, Muhammad Fares Hamed, Usayd Hamdan and Ahmad Fares al-Khatib.
Six Palestinians were detained from Jerusalem, and identified by PPS as Ahmad Dahbour, 15, Alaa Ajluni, 14, Muhammad Basem Hijazi, 14, Muhammad Tuffaha, 19, Hamzeh Hisham Abu Abseh and Muhammad Hasan Hilweh.
Israeli forces also detained two Palestinians from the Hebron district in the southern West Bank. They were identified as Abdullah Ubeido and Muhammad Ibrahim al-Fakhouri.
Also in the southern West Bank, Israeli forces detained Mohammad Khader Moussa Salameh and his brother Bilal from the al-Saff Street in Bethlehem City.
Meanwhile in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces detained Ahmad Qunbu and Salah Jaradat from Jenin, Ahmad Jamal Qawwas, 26, from Qalqiliya and Ahmad Rayeq Zakarneh from Jericho.
These are the Palestinian children Israel killed in 2017
[with photos] EI 10 Jan by Maureen Clare Murphy — Fourteen Palestinian boys and girls under the age of 18 were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the year. There were 21 fewer children killed than in 2016, which was the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank in the past decade. In addition to those 14 shot and killed during 2017, a child died of wounds sustained in an Israeli drone strike years earlier. Another was killed by Israeli ordnance while grazing livestock. A baby living in temporary shelter, his family homeless as a result of Israeli bombing, died of cold exposure. Palestinian children also died because they were unable to secure permits to leave via the Israeli-controlled Erez checkpoint for medical treatment unavailable in the besieged Gaza Strip. Emergency room doctors were unable to resuscitate a seriously ill 9-year-old girl in the West Bank after Israeli soldiers denied her family passage at a checkpoint; a trip that normally would take 15 minutes took her family 90 minutes after they were forced to detour and go through a different checkpoint….
Awqaf staff protest Israeli order to halt maintenance work at Al-Aqsa
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 17 Jan – Staff of the Jordan-run Islamic Awqaf department Wednesday organized a protest against Israeli interference in Al-Aqsa Mosque’s maintenance work, of which they are in charge. Sheikh Omar Kiswani, head of Masjid Al-Aqsa said during the protest that the decision is unfair and pointless. He said this is the duty and the right of the Islamic Awqaf to maintain the mosque and anything else is considered a violation. Israeli police Tuesday prevented staff of the Awqaf from conducting routine maintenance works at al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. Feras Debes, a media coordinator of the Islamic Awqaf, said an Israeli police officer forced his way into the construction office and informed staff there that all maintenance works at the holy compound are banned until further notice. The police officer also informed them that the Awqaf deputy director of construction projects Taha Awidah will be detained if employees conduct maintenance works at the site. The police gave no reason for this order.
Prisoners / Court actions
Why won’t Israel treat imprisoned woman with severe burns?
EI 18 Jan by Tamara Nassar — Israel is subjecting a victim of severe burns to medical neglect in one of its prisons. Israa Jaabis, 32, was at Israel’s high court on 11 January to appeal her 11-year sentence, citing her dire health situation. Sixty percent of her body is covered in burns and she has lost eight fingers. Jaabis needs multiple surgeries, suffers intense pain in her hands and feet and cannot and cannot care for herself, she says in a message from HaSharon prison given to the solidarity group Samidoun by her sister. “Since I was arrested, the administration here has always procrastinated,” Jaabis says. “They say that the operation will happen each month, but nothing happens and my situation worsens every day.” “Every day I look in the mirror and I feel silent and my soul is shattered,” Jaabis states. “I need treatment to face this painful reality.” The psychological impact of her severe physical health problems has caused her to almost stop eating and she says Israeli prison authorities are threatening to deny her visits from her 9-year-old son.
Jaabis, from occupied East Jerusalem, sustained severe burns and other injuries after a cooking gas canister she was transporting caused a fire in her car in October 2015. She was then accused of attempting to detonate the car when she was hundreds of meters from an Israeli checkpoint. “The situation was treated as a ‘terror attack’ rather than a medical emergency by the occupation forces on the scene,” according to Samidoun. Her family vehemently denies the claim. They say Jaabis was moving to a new apartment in East Jerusalem and had been transferring furniture for days, including the gas canister when it exploded….
Israeli court sentences youngest detainee to four months
IMEMC 17 Jan — On Monday, the Ofer Israeli military court, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, sentenced a Palestinian girl, only thirteen years of age, to four months in prison, and 25000 Shekels fine. The child was abducted along with her sister, on January 13, 2018, while walking near the Ibrahimi Mosque, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. Her sister also had a court session, Monday, but the judge delayed the deliberations in her case.
Israeli fugitive in killing of Palestinian extradited from Brazil
Ynet 17 Jan by Tova Tzimuki — More than a decade after he fled Israel, Yehoshua Elitzur was extradited Wednesday by Brazil to Israel where he is facing charges for the 2004 killing of a Palestinian. Elitzur, a Jewish convert from Germany living on a West Bank hilltop, was convicted of killing Sael Jabara al-Shatiya, a Palestinian from the village of Salem in the northern West Bank in 2004. Elitzur was driving towards the settlement of Alon Moreh when al-Shatiya was heading in the opposite direction with seven passengers. According to the indictment, when Elitzur noticed the van he decided to stop the driver by stopping his car in the middle of the road before alighting from his vehicle carrying a fully-loaded M-16 rifle. Standing in the middle of the road, he instructed the van driver to stop. When the driver refused to obey his command and continued driving, Elitzur approached it and threatened al-Shatiya by pointing his weapon at him at close range. The indictment claims that due to the road conditions the car could not stop, and al-Shatiya continued driving, turning right toward the shoulders of the road with the intention of stopping there. Elitzur then shot at him once, and the bullet penetrated the car window and killed al-Shatiya … Elitzur was convicted of murder in September of 2005, but he fled the country before sentencing….
Doctors without borders says detention of minors leave mental health consequences
PARIS (WAFA) 19 Jan – Ashraf, a 17-year-old Palestinian youth from ‘Arroub refugee camp, to the north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, was released from Israeli jail after spending one and a half years there. Ashraf suffered from worry and anxiety about how he could continue his life following a long period far away from his previous, normal life and a separation from his friends and school. In fact, he started socializing less and less with his friends in order to avoid talking about the painful experience of arrest. He felt very discouraged after the imprisonment. Ashraf was a case the Paris-based international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) discussed in a study on the mental health consequences that minors can experience when they are detained and after being released from prison….
Israeli court indefinitely extends detention of Ahed Tamimi and her mother
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 Jan — An Israeli military court on Wednesday ordered 16-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed al-Tamimi to remain in custody indefinitely, until she faces trial for a number of charges relating to a video of her slapping and kicking an Israeli soldier. The teenager was arrested on December 19, days after the video of her confrontation with the soldiers — who were raiding her hometown of Nabi Saleh in the central occupied West Bank, and had shot her 14-year-old cousin in the face moments before the video was filmed — went viral on social media.
Now, nearly a month later, al-Tamimi has had her detention extended several times until on Wednesday, Israel’s Ofer military court refused her lawyers’ request for bail. During the hearing, the judge reportedly said that they could not grant the teenager bail because she was “too dangerous.” The court also ruled to indefinitely extend the detention of Ahed’s mother, Nariman, who was detained a day after her daughter. Nariman is being charged with “incitement” for livestreaming the video. Ahed is being charged on 12 counts, including assaulting an Israeli soldier, interfering with a soldier’s duties, and two past instances of stone throwing — which can carry up to 10 years in Israeli prison.
Since Ahed and Nariman’s arrest, Ahed’s cousin Nour was arrested — she was recently released — her aunt was detained, and recently one of her cousins was detained in an overnight raid. Earlier this month, Ahed’s distant cousin Musaab al-Tamimi, from Nabi Saleh’s sister village of Deir Nitham, was shot and killed by Israeli forces. The Tamimi family of Nabi Saleh is well known internationally for their activism against the Israeli occupation, which maintains a heavy, near-constant presence in their village.
Ahed Tamimi is famous across Palestine and the Arab world for videos of her, since her childhood, defiantly resisting Israeli soldiers who clash with Palestinians in her village nearly every week. Two years ago, her family made headlines when an Israeli soldier violently attempted to arrest her younger brother, who had one arm in a cast at the time. Ahed and her mother manager to pull the soldier of her brother and free him.
Since her arrest, Ahed has become the subject of dozens of solidarity campaigns across the world demanding her release from Israeli prison, and an end to Israeli detention of Palestinian children.
Opinion: Ahed Tamimi is the Palestinian Rosa Parks / David A. Love
Al Jazeera 15 Jan –t is possible for a single person to engage in an act of resistance against oppression and change the world. A 16-year-old Palestinian girl named Ahed Tamimi is such an individual. On December 19, in a simple yet profound act of defiance against the occupation, she slapped Israeli soldiers who had entered the yard of her house. Just hours earlier members of the Israeli armed forces had shot her teenage cousin Mohammed in the face with a rubber-coated bullet. The young boy was placed in a medically induced coma as doctors operated on him to remove the bullet fragments embedded in his skull. Much like American civil rights icon Rosa Parks – who was arrested six decades ago by breaking the law for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man – Tamimi has become the face of a nonviolent movement against injustice.
Ahed Tamimi is from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, where Israelis have confiscate the villagers’ water source and land and built settlements. The village of 600 has regularly protested these encroachments, and the Israeli army has shot, maimed and killed Ahed’s family members. The Israeli authorities arrested Ahed, and an Israeli military court indicted her, with prosecutors portraying her as a terrorist. She could remain in prison until the end of her trial, and, if convicted, she could serve up to 10 years in prison. Ahed’s mother, Nariman faces five charges, including incitement for posting the incident on Facebook. Israeli military tribunals have a conviction rate nearing 100 percent.
The real crime this 16-year-old Palestinian girl committed was resisting a hostile and racist military occupation and its human rights violations, and having the temerity to challenge the toxic masculinity of the Israeli military. This has made her the target of ridicule, with Israelis giving her the nickname “Shirley Temper”, and chalking up the incident to “Pallywood” (Palestinian “propaganda” discrediting Israel). there have been accusations that the Palestinians such as Ahed stage hoax incidents wearing “American clothes” to garner support among Americans and other Western audiences.…
Testimonies of 2 soldiers assaulted by Ahed Tamimi revealed
Ynet 15 Jan by Elisha Ben Kimon — A month after Ahed Tamimi and her cousin assaulted 2 IDF soldiers during Nabi Salih riots, soldiers’ accounts to CID made public; company commander did not initially ascribe much importance to incident, citing preoccupation with riots; on Tamimi and her cousin not being arrested, he said ‘it could have led to bad result.’
After Jenin raid, Israeli army leaves behind devastation, both physical and psychological
JENIN (WAFA) 18 Jan by Mohammad Najim — At about 11:00 pm (Jerusalem time) on a cold Wednesday night, Palestinian residents of Wad Burqin neighborhood in Jenin, north of the occupied West Bank, were awakened at the sound of gunfire. It was soon clear that a large Israeli military force has surrounded a number of Jarrar family buildings and opened heavy gunfire at the houses to force a member identified as Ahmad Nasr Jarrar, 26, to come out. According to Ahmad’s mother after all this melee ended on Thursday morning, her son had actually left the house about 30 minutes before the army arrived in the area. Yet, the army opened fire at the house when Ahmad failed to come out, even though he might not have been in the house. Some neighbors even reported heavy exchange of gunfire in the area. Army units used loudspeakers to call on the family to leave their house, and soon after Ahmad Nasr’s mother, her younger son, Mohammad, and her daughter were out in the cold the army asked them to remove their coats. “They asked me to take off my coat,” said Ahmad’s mother as she narrated to reporters the horrifying moments she and her family had to live through at night. “Then, the soldiers started to beat my son Mohammad as they yelled at him asking, ‘Where is your brother, Ahmad.’ I told the soldiers Ahmad had left the house half an hour ago, but they said ‘you are a liar’,’’ she said. She said the soldiers then asked her daughter to get back to the house and to open all of the windows and doors before their bulldozers approached the house and started to demolish it together with the house of her elder son, Sohaib. “If it was my house then I would say, fine,” she said. “But what did my son Sohaib do for his house to be demolished, too,” she said angrily. As a matter of fact, after the army had completed its mission and left the neighborhood in the morning hours, the residents were shocked to find out that three buildings for the Jarrar family had been demolished and a fourth was badly damaged….
One generation later, another war crime
EI 19 Jan by Maureen Clare Murphy — An overnight military operation between Wednesday night and Thursday morning in Jenin, a city in the northern occupied West Bank, was not the first time Israel committed a war crime while pursuing a member of the Jarrar family. More than 15 years ago, Israeli soldiers used a Palestinian civilian as a human shield when they raided the hideout of Hamas military leader Nasser Jarrar, the father of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, who Israel claims to have killed during this week’s lethal operation. Both the Palestinian civilian, shot by Jarrar, who believed him to be an Israeli soldier, and the wanted fighter were killed during the 14 August 2002 incident in the West Bank town of Tubas. The slain civilian was Nidal Abu Muheisen, 19. Abu Muheisen happens to be the nephew of Ali Daraghmeh, a field researcher with the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. “Daraghmeh, who was present at the scene, said that his nephew was taken by the soldiers and was forced to go to Jarrar’s house at gunpoint,” B’Tselem stated at the time. Israel made frequent use of Palestinian civilians as human shields during the second intifada, during which time Abu Muheisen and Nasser Jarrar were killed. Known as the “neighbor procedure,” Palestinians living near targeted homes would be forced to “knock on doors, check suspicious objects, and to walk in front of soldiers as the occupation army surrounds its targets,” according to the rights group Adalah. Israeli forces have repeatedly used Palestinian children as human shields during invasions of Gaza. Using civilians as human shields is a war crime under international law…
-Construction equipment used in lethal raid- Instead of using a human shield during this week’s raid, Israel’s military brought with them heavy construction and earth-moving equipment when they invaded Jenin … Under the pressure cooker procedure, Palestinians who refuse to surrender themselves are killed when construction equipment and other weaponry is progressively used to destroy the building on top of them. Witnesses told media that Israeli forces destroyed the Jenin home in which Palestinians had barricaded themselves….
Clashes erupt along Gaza borders, injuries reported
GAZA (WAFA) 19 Jan – At least two Palestinians were shot and injured with live bullets and others suffocated during clashes that erupted Friday in multiple locations along Gaza borders, said sources. Israeli forces stationed at military watchtowers along Gaza borders opened live fire at a group of Palestinian youth when they approached the border fence to the east of Jabalia town, north of the Strip, shooting and injuring one in the foot. He was transferred to hospital where his condition was described as moderate. Several youths suffocated after inhaling tear gas fired at them by the soldiers. Another youth sustained a similar injury and several others suffocated during similar clashes that broke out with Israeli Soldiers stationed at watchtowers in Nahal Oz military base, east of Gaza city. His medical condition was described as moderate. Similar clashes were also witnessed to the east of Khan Younis and Rafah cities, south of the Strip, as well as to the east of al-Bureij refugee camp, in central Gaza.
For the seventh Friday in a row, Palestinians have been protesting against the US declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. Sixteen Palestinians have been shot dead by the Israeli army in clashes that began after the US declaration on Jerusalem.
Abbas lifts Gaza tax exemption, threatening further economic woes
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 16 Jan by Moath al-Amoudi — President Mahmoud Abbas issued a presidential decree dated Jan. 3 to reinstate the collection of taxes on the Gaza Strip. This decree abolished two previous decrees — one issued in 2007 and another from 2017 — exempting all citizens in the governorates of the Gaza Strip from paying taxes and fees. Article 3 of Abbas’ freshly issued decree states that the decree shall be submitted to the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah and put to a vote in order to be endorsed at a future session. The taxes to be reimposed in the Gaza Strip include the 17% Value Added Tax (VAT) on imports, the 20% income tax imposed on companies, the income tax on citizens, and other local taxes and levies such as the property tax and the tax on cigarettes. This is in addition to the increase in customs duty. When Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah exempted Palestinians in Gaza from paying taxes on government transactions, income tax and VAT to limit local revenues to the Hamas-led government in Gaza. Now, after the PA took administrative control of the Gaza Strip under the Palestinian reconciliation agreement, the abolition of the tax exemption would increase its revenues to balance its expenses. All taxes paid by the Palestinian citizens will be transferred to the consensus government. The PA relies on local taxes as a source of funding of its expenses, including income tax, VAT and property tax. The proceeds collected from these taxes account for 25% of the PA’s total revenues and are estimated at $1.1 billion annually. In a related context, Palestinian economists agreed that the decision to reapply taxes will worsen the economic situation in Gaza amid a total collapse of the economic system. Raising fiscal revenues in light of a severe unemployment crisis will push the political and economic situation toward a precipice….
Israel puts tunnel dug under Gaza border on display
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 18 Jan — The Israeli military brought journalists on Thursday to film a 2 km (1.25 mile) tunnel dug by militants from the Gaza Strip to Israel, saying it was putting the construction on display to show the continuing threat it faces from the territory. The Islamic Jihad militant group has claimed responsibility for building the tunnel, saying its aim was to use it to attack Israel in the next armed confrontation. Twelve Gaza militants, most of them from Islamic Jihad, were killed in the destruction of the tunnel and in rescue efforts when Israel destroyed the underground passage on October 30. The tunnel, around the height and width of an upright person, was lined with concrete slabs. It was discovered about 120 meters inside Israel near Kissufim, about six meters below ground, as tunnelers burrowed towards the surface looking to build an exit, the Israeli military said. “The tunnel that we see here is one of three tunnels that have been destroyed over the last two months,” Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, said. “The threat has not passed and the terror from Hamas has not passed.”
Israali army infiltrates Gaza borders, raze lands near Khan Younis
KHAN YOUNIS (WAFA) 17 Jan – Israeli military units infiltrated on Wednesday the Gaza border to the east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip and razed agricultural land, according to WAFA correspondent. He said several military vehicles and a bulldozer infiltrated the border and went about 100 meters inside Gaza where they razed agricultural lands belonging to Palestinian residents of al-Qarara village. Soldiers opened heavy fire in the air as the bulldozers razed land and put dirt barriers in the targeted area. Infiltration of Israeli forces of Gaza’s border is regular. Farmers are prevented from accessing their lands if located within 300 meters from the border between Gaza and Israel, which Israel has unilaterally declared as a buffer zone off to Palestinians.
Six miles out: A day in the life of Gaza fishermen (video)
Mondoweiss We Are Not Numbers 18 Jan — Approximately 3,500 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip depend on fishing to make a living, supporting families of often eight or more people each. Under the Oslo accords signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1993, Gaza Palestinians are supposed to be allowed to fish 20 nautical miles out from the coast. However, Israel rarely permits them to sail more than 3-9 miles out—far from where the bigger fish swim. As a result, 95 percent of Gaza fishers and their families live under the poverty line. In addition, many risk their lives and their boats every time they sail out any distance, due to almost daily attacks by the Israeli navy—with the most recent one on Jan. 9, when five Gaza fishermen were detained and their two boats confiscated.
The video above is dedicated to Mohammed al-Hissi, 33, who was shot and killed by the Israeli navy a year ago this month. One of al-Hissi’s two brothers, Nael (dressed in a black shirt in the video, saying “They’ll take the sea from us”), took a We Are Not Numbers team out on a night-time fishing run to show the youths first-hand both the joys and the risks of the profession. It’s a longer video (11 minutes), but you will see Israeli aggression up close and personal.
Food vouchers in Gaza: bringing relief and feeding minds
Relief Web 17 Jan — …Sanyora dropped out of school when she was 11 because her family was too poor to afford education for all of their seven children. Now, as a single mother without any qualifications or work experience, finding a job is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The unemployment rate in Gaza reached a record high of 46.6 percent in 2017 and 50 percent among women. Since her divorce, Sanyora has remained entirely dependent on external assistance and has enlisted in multiple national social assistance programmes … Sanyora used to receive in-kind food from WFP; she would collect her entitlements, including 200 kilograms (kg) of wheat flour, 16 kg of pulses, 8 litres of oil and 3 kg of salt at one of the warehouses managed by the Ministry of Social Development, WFP’s implementing partner. Her brother would come along to help her carry and transport the heavy bags home and she would buy other food items on credit from a few grocery stores, such as vegetables and rice, to be able to meet her children’s needs. To date, her food debts have grown to reach 3000 NIS (750 euros). “The rations were simply just not enough and I was penniless…” However, in December 2016 WFP began offering Sanyora the choice to collect her food in local shops through an electronic food voucher, thanks to the support from the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department. “It was a gift from God. All the expensive food items that I bought on credit were now free. I now spend much less money on complementary food.”….
Women start filling up tanks at Gaza gas station
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 18 Jan by Amjad Yaghi — A gas station owned by Labib al-Helou and Sons in Gaza City announced Jan. 3 that it is looking to employ women, with the job announcement stating that applicants should be “presentable” and “good-looking.” A job ad addressing a woman’s looks would be considered inappropriate in many countries, but in the Gaza Strip, where youth unemployment in 2016 reached 58% according to the World Bank, many women are happy to take the job, despite the criticism they would face for working at a gas station. The gas station’s announcement on websites and social media platforms sparked criticism, reflecting the belief of the patriarchal Gaza society that women are more suited for office jobs, teaching or the medical profession, rather than male-dominated fields. One of the owners of the gas station, Ahmad al-Helou, told Al-Monitor that he faced criticism from people who believe employing women in this field is a form of exploitation. Rejecting any kind of exploitation, Helou explained that by offering jobs to women, stereotypes on women’s labor can be changed, particularly given the economic difficulties and low employment rates. According to Helou, the development aims to break the monopoly of male employees working at gas stations and to give women a chance to work in this field. He underlined that women elevate the quality of work, as he saw in many factories managed by his relatives….
Video: Building a theater audience in Gaza
EI 16 Jan Video by Ruwaida Amer & Sanad Abu Latifa — Palestine’s Theater was founded in 2011 by director Edrees Taleb in Gaza City. The troupe brings together 25 actors from all over the Strip, to rehearse and perform plays for the public. There is no dedicated playhouse in Gaza, so the troupe rehearses and performs at the Said al-Mishal Establishment for Culture and Sciences in Gaza City. The troupe faced obstacles in starting the group and generating interest in their plays. Actress Hanan Madi said that not all families are encouraging, “but once they understand it and realize it’s reasonable, they no longer object.” The project wasn’t successful from the outset, according to Taleb. “But after I insisted that people attend, my audience grew. They come, pay tickets and try to enjoy a comedic performance to try to take their minds off of life in the Gaza Strip, from electricity cuts to other things.”
Palestinians see Gaza peace dividend pass them by
GAZA (Reuters) 16 Jan by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Life began to look up for Gaza’s Palestinians when reconciliation between its Hamas Islamist rulers and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in October brought a drop in crippling prices. Three months on, discount stickers still adorn goods from clothes to cars but few of the two million people in the enclave blockaded by Israel are buying. Although Hamas handed administrative control to the Western-backed PA, which lifted tax surcharges Hamas had imposed on businesses, making room for the price cuts, the rival leaderships are still arguing. The result is that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads the PA, has not reversed a 30 percent wage cut he imposed in April on 60,000 civil servants who stayed on the PA’s payroll when the authority lost control of Gaza to Hamas in 2007. Many of those employees are now mired in debt to banks for loans they took out to get by. The salary reductions “deprived the Gaza market of $160 million in the past eight months”, said Maher al-Tabbaa, an official with the Chamber of Commerce. For individuals, the consequences are stark. In a Gaza pharmacy this week, Umm Ahmed considered which medicines on the prescription she had been given for her son she could afford. “Even in my dreams I never thought we would live through such misery,” she said as she chose two painkillers and left more expensive antibiotics in the drug store. Tabbaa said any economic improvement in Gaza was largely dependent on Israel lifting the tight border restrictions it imposed after Hamas took power, a view that echoes World Bank reports over the years….
Gaza Ministry of Health: Stern austerity measures introduced to confront fuel crisis
IMEMC/Agencies 17 Jan — The Ministry of Health in Gaza commenced on Monday morning implementing a series of tough austerity measures, to face the shortage of fuel and electricity within its facilities. Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra stated that the ministry has introduced a series of stern measures to confront the shortage of fuel and electricity, and will spare no effort to prolong its health services provided to Gazans….
Palestinian family shoots dead relative suspected of spying for Israel
Ynet 19 Jan by Reuters, Elior Levy & Yoav Zitun — A Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip said on Friday it had killed a relative they said had helped Israel track down and kill three senior Hamas militants, including one of the man’s own kinsmen. In a statement, the family of Ahmed Barhoum said it had shot him in the city of Rafah after they were told by Hamas that he had provided information to Israel. This, the statement said, guided an Israeli air strike during the 2014 Gaza war that targeted the Hamas militants. “In light of our religious and moral commitment we have executed the collaborator Ahmed Barhoum after he was handed over by the resistance factions,” the statement said. The family said they had listened to their relative’s confession and saw the evidence against him. The Barhoums are one of Rafah’s largest families and well known for their closeness to Palestinian militant groups at odds with Israel. Hamas, the Islamist movement that dominates the small, impoverished enclave, issued a statement praising the Barhoum family’s action as illustrating “its nobleness and deep affiliation with the (anti-Israel) resistance”….
Analysis: Rogue Islamist militants in Gaza aim to stir the pot — but Israel knows Hamas runs the show / Zvi Bar’el
Haaretz 17 Jan — The Salafi groups in the Strip can’t agree on a common leadership, but their strength lies in their ability to challenge Hamas by firing rockets at Israel — Early this month, an Islamic State affiliate in Sinai released a gruesome video of a former Hamas member executing Hamas man Musa Abu Zamat. The judge of the Wilayat Sanai group, named as Abu Kazem al-Maqdisi, condemned Zamat for transferring weapons to Hamas. The video identifies the executioner as Mohammed al-Dajani, a former member of Hamas’ military wing. Hamas didn’t react to the video. Dajani’s family issued a statement denouncing the killing as contrary to Islamic law and calling it a despicable murder. Hamas is expected to retaliate, leading to further action by the ultraconservative Salafi groups. The radical organizations in Gaza have come a long way from Hamas’ takeover of the Strip in 2007 to the current score-settling. The term rogue organizations that Israel uses to describe groups sometimes called ISIS Sinai and sometimes Salafi groups refers mainly to a few large organizations, not all of them affiliated to the Islamic State. The term indicates that Israel sees Hamas as the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, responsible for security and preserving the cease-fire that followed the 2014 war. Israel also sees Hamas as responsible for Gaza’s civilian apparatus, so by calling anyone who doesn’t obey Hamas a rogue, a rebel against Gaza’s ruling authority, Israel is almost awarding Hamas legitimate status.
The tension among these radical groups led to violent clashes among them even before some swore allegiance to the Islamic State in 2014. They are believed to have been formed in the 70s by Palestinian students returning from Saudi Arabia, where they were educated and guided by radical Islamic clerics who encouraged them to join the Salafis. The Salafis are divided into three factions, one that largely sticks to trying to understand the real faith and strives to live as Islam’s founding fathers did. This faction shuns political or military activity and condemns religious leaders who do otherwise….
The fear I learned during Cast Lead has never left me / Muhammad Shehada
EI 18 Jan — The morning of 27 December 2008 was as any other. My 14-year-old self put on a worn pale-blue school uniform, prepared my heavy bag and ran – late as usual – to catch the bus. On the short ride to our UNRWA school, I was chatting to my younger brother Salah, who was 9 at the time, about the cake we’d enjoyed the day before for our older brother Mahmoud’s birthday. Just as we walked out of the bus the earth literally shook beneath my feet. Unbelievably loud explosions drowned out the screams and cries of those around me. My heart skipped several beats and all I really remember during the confusion was pulling my brother into the bus and down to the floor and holding on to him tightly. I didn’t know it then, but at that moment – 10 minutes before our usual school assembly and 30 minutes ahead of the Saturday noon start for lessons – Israel had struck dozens of targets around the Gaza Strip in 100 near-simultaneous airstrikes. At least four were in the vicinity of the school. Children poured out of the school, a human deluge of panicking students and teachers. Our bus driver ordered us back into the bus and tried to rush us all home. But traffic jams paralyzed the unpaved streets and people ran in all different directions. No one knew where to seek refuge as giant black clouds of smoke smothered the city and obscured the horizon….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Defense Ministry planning to legalize 70 outposts
JPost 16 Jan by Jeremy Sharon — The Defense Ministry is working on a plan to legalize 70 unauthorized outposts in the West Bank, it was revealed on Tuesday night. Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan discussed the plan in a Bayit Yehudi faction meeting at the Knesset earlier this week, a video of which was leaked to Channel 2 News. During his briefing to party colleagues, Ben-Dahan said that a ministerial team of four or five people had been established six months ago to identify outposts that could be legalized and to rank them by how difficult such legalization would be. The deputy minister said that approximately 70 such outposts had been identified, noting that some of them could be legalized relatively easily. Ben-Dahan gave as an example the Asael outpost in Judea, close to the Green Line, which he said would be easy to authorize. He explained that after the Rabin government took office in 1992, it passed a resolution blocking both construction in and authorization of unauthorized outposts, and that if this resolution was simply overturned, many outposts could be easily authorized.
Outposts are unauthorized communities which settler activists manage to establish without governmental permission, using prefabricated houses and other structures, and basic utilities such as electricity and water that are not connected to the national networks. Many of these outposts are in far-flung areas of the West Bank and are populated by ideological hardcore members of the settler movement. According to Peace Now, there are 97 unauthorized outposts around the West Bank….
New Israeli settlement outposts in Jordan Valley used to displace Palestinians
MEMO 19 Jan — Israeli settlement outposts established in late 2016 in the northern Jordan Valley, part of the occupied West Bank, are being used to displace Palestinians, according to B’Tselem. In one case, settlers first established an outpost “on a plot of land privately owned by Palestinians”, before subsequently moving “the outpost’s structures to a nearby hilltop, to a plot of land that had been registered as government property even before the Israeli occupation”. According to B’Tselem, “Israel appropriates this state land, meant to serve the local population’s needs, and uses it exclusively for Israeli purposes”. The fact that the settlement outpost was relocated to a plot designated as state land, the NGO added, “suggests the move was coordinated with the Israeli authorities”. The second new outpost was built eight kilometres south of the first, and by spring 2017, Israeli activists “documented a water main connecting the settlement outpost to the [nearby] Israeli military base” … According to B’Tselem, “the settlement outposts themselves are built on just a few hectares of land, but their footprint far exceeds their actual area, and they serve as the basis for an Israeli takeover of hundreds of hectares of land”….
Report that Belgium will pay 3 years of UNRWA aid up front is incorrect
EI 19 Jan by Ali Abunimah — Belgium got a lot of positive press when media reported that it was boosting its funding to support Palestinian refugees, in light of the Trump administration’s cut in US aid to UNRWA. But it turns out this was misreported. Belgium is not planning to pay three years’ worth of contributions immediately. And the new money it is pledging over the next three years amounts to an increase of just more than one percent. So UNRWA’s financial crisis, the worst in its history, is far from over – and with new cuts by the US just announced, it appears to be getting worse.
-Belgian confusion- On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that “Belgium has stepped in to help out the UN agency assisting Palestinian refugees with an immediate disbursement of $23 million [19 million euros] after the Trump administration suspended $65 million in aid for the international organization.” AP added: “The 19 million euros is Belgium’s allocation for three years but because of the group’s immediate need, [Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander] De Croo’s office said it will be ‘disbursed immediately.’” But this is not actually true, as a careful read of the Belgian government’s own announcement shows. It states, with emphasis added: “In response to the call of UNRWA’s commissioner-general, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo has decided to allocate 19 million euros over the next three years to UNRWA, the United Nations agency which provides humanitarian help to Palestinian refugees.” The statement adds: “Considering the financial difficulties which UNRWA currently faces, the Belgian annual contribution will be disbursed immediately.” What it does not say is that the whole 19 million euros will be paid up front, only this year’s portion – just over six million euros. UNRWA confirms this….
US won’t pay $45 million pledged for Palestinian food aid for now
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 18 Jan — The United States will not provide $45 million in food aid for Palestinians that it pledged last month as part of the West Bank/Gaza Emergency Appeal led by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the U.S. State Department said on Thursday. The State Department had said on Tuesday that Washington would withhold a separate $65 million it had planned to pay the U.N. agency that serves the Palestinians, saying UNRWA needed to make unspecified reforms. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert denied the withholding of the $65 million was to punish Palestinians, who have been sharply critical of Trump’s announcement last month that he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. In a Dec. 15 letter to UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, State Department Comptroller Eric Hembree had pledged $45 million to the West Bank/Gaza Emergency Appeal … The United States had made clear to UNRWA that the $45 million was a pledge aimed at helping the agency with “forecasting,” but it was not a guarantee, Nauert told reporters at a regular State Department briefing. “At this time, we will not be providing that, but that does not mean – I want to make it clear – that does not mean that it will not be provided in the future,” Nauert said. She repeated the U.S. view that UNRWA needs reform, saying there are a lot more refugees in the program than previously, and that “money coming in from other countries needs to increase as well to continue paying for all those refugees.”….
US funding hold will hurt UN effort to help Palestinian refugees: Russia’s Lavrov
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 19 Jan — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a U.N. news conference on Friday that the U.S. decision to withhold funds for a U.N. agency that assists Palestinians would seriously undermine efforts to meet the needs of refugees. “This decision … undermines in a serious way the efforts to satisfy the needs of Palestinian refugees in the region,” Lavrov said through a translator. “We’ll consult all stakeholders and we’ll see what we can do.” The United States said this week it had decided to pay the U.N. Relief and Works Agency $60 million but was putting a hold on another $65 million it had been expected to offer.
Other news / Opinion
Foreign minister calls on ICC prosecutor to exercise her statutory authority without delay
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 20 Jan — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Malki Friday called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, to exercise her statutory authority, without delay, to prevent the continuation and perpetuation of crimes against the Palestinian people. On the three-year anniversary of the opening of the preliminary examination in the situation in Palestine, Malki dispatched a letter to Bensouda pointing her attention to the recent escalation of violence by Israeli occupation forces in their implementation of unlawful colonial policies and practices in the past month, including the unlawful killing of 16 Palestinians and the injury of approximately 3000 and detention of 720, including 184 children. In particular, the letter provided details of the case of the unlawful arrest, transfer and detention of 16 year-old girl Ahed Tamimi….
Opinion: Abbas is right. Why does Israel keep saying he’s wrong? / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 19 Jan — The jolly choir is shrieking again: Mahmoud Abbas. You have to see the responses to his speech to understand the extent to which Israel is speaking with one horrifically uniform voice, the extent to which there is no more left and right, no real argument and no ideological pluralism – only a blind, deafening nationalistic snarl. From Nadav Eyal (“a wacky, despicable speech”) to Ben Dror Yemini (“delusional ideology”), they all competed for who will attack Abbas more. Nobody faced up to what he said. After all, he swore at Donald Trump, the champion of refined rhetoric, “may your house be demolished,” and the Israelis with their sensitive ears were oh so appalled. And he said colonialism, and the self-victimizing Israelis yelled: “anti-Semitism.” Nobody said what was incorrect in his speech and what was anti-Semitic about it. Except perhaps for “the Dutch fleet that brought Jews here,” Abbas spoke the truth. It’s hard to swallow. Israel chose to shriek. It always does when it has no answers. Abbas said the Oslo agreement was over. Indeed, what is left of it, some 20 years after the final-status agreement was due to be signed? Israel did everything it could to sabotage it. Every soldier who invades A territories every night and every prisoner left in prison from before the Oslo agreement is a violation of it. The current government and its supporters objected to Oslo, so now they’re offended when Abbas says it’s over? Abbas told the truth …
But the main shock happened when Abbas touched the rawest Israeli nerves and classified Zionism as part of the colonial project. What is incorrect here? When a sinking colonial power promises a country it isn’t ruling yet to a nation whose absolute majority doesn’t live in it, while ignoring the nation that does – what is it if not colonialism? When more than half the country is promised to less than a tenth of its residents, what is it if not a terrible injustice? It’s hard to hear, but it” the truth. The Balfour Declaration cannot be read differently …
Abbas is far from being the perfect statesman. He’s not a democrat. He’s unpopular, perhaps corrupt, certainly pathetic in his insistence on the dead two-state solution. But he’s the most peace-seeking, non-violent Palestinian statesman imaginable. This is why he is so dangerous to Israel.
The Shin Bet’s secret activity in Israel’s Arab schools
Ynet 18 Jan by Guy Lieberman & Lior Eilati — Confidential documents obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth reveal how Israel’s internal security service operated in the Arab sector for years, in cooperation with the Education Ministry, to remove teachers and principals and thwart the appointments of educators considered hostile to the State of Israel; in many cases, the disqualified teachers were unaware of the real reason for their dismissal … Other obtained testimonies point to attempts to work against Arab educators who weren’t even directly suspected of hostility towards the state, but had a family member who was hostile—making them guilty of “indirect disqualification,” as the Shin Bet termed it….
West Bank schools going solar
IMEMC/Agencies 16 Jan — An estimated 500 West Bank schools are soon going to get their electric power from solar cells. According to WAFA, the Ministry of Education and the Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) signed, on Tuesday, an agreement to install solar cells on roofs of 500 public schools to generate 35 MW of electricity. The project, worth $35 million and funded by the PIF, the investment arm of the Palestinian Authority, will take four years to complete. Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah attended the signing ceremony and said the agreement is part of government efforts to invest in renewable energy in many institutions. PIF director Mohammad Mustafa said that this project is the first in the region in this volume and investment value and an important step in the Light Palestine project launched by the PIF….
Palestine goes up five places in the FIFA world ranking list, takes 75th spot
ZURICH (WAFA) 18 Jan – Palestine moved up five places in the FIFA World Ranking list published on Thursday to occupy the 75th place. FIFA congratulated the Palestinian national football team in a tweet saying it was “their best ever position.” Palestine also took the seventh position in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) listing. The Palestinian U23 Olympic team has advanced to the quarter finals in the AFC U23 championship currently being played in China. Palestine is now close to very strong teams such as Ecuador, which is going to play in World Cup in June 2018, and China, which played in the World Cup, and surpassed South Africa, one the strongest teams in Africa. Germany continued to occupy the first place in the FIFA World Ranking, followed by Brazil, then Portugal, Argentina and Belgium in the number 5 position. Tunis is the best Arab team occupying number 24 on the list, then Egypt number 30, Morocco 39, Algeria 57 and Saudi Arabia 65. Israel dropped one position to take the 99th spot on the World Ranking list.
Palestine’s U23 football team leaves AFC championship following defeat by Qatar
CHANGZHOU, China (WAFA) 20 Jan – Palestine’s Olympic U23 football team left the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 quarter-finals championship after losing 2-3 to Qatar in the game played on Friday at Changzhou Olympic Sports Center. Palestine, ranked seven in the AFC U23 Championship, advanced to the quarter-finals after an impressive win of 5 goals to 1 over Thailand on Tuesday. Palestine lost only one game in the AFC U23 championship group games against Japan, the current AFC U23 champion, which scored only one goal against Palestine, and drew 1-1 in another game against North Korea. Qatar scored two goals in the first half of the game against nothing for Palestine. It then scored its third goal early in the second half….
Israeli writers urge government to nix plan for mass deportation of Africans
Ynet 18 Jan by Elad Zeret & Elisha Ben Kimon — Public statement signed by some of the country’s top authors argue Israel doesn’t have a refugee problem like Europe, as the number of asylum seekers in the country is less than 0.5%; ‘Jews must not persecute and banish refugees, the State of Israel must not cause this humanitarian disaster,’ they write; group of religious-Zionist rabbis also call to stop deportation. Thirty-five of Israel’s top authors and poets have signed a public statement urging the government to nix the plan for the mass deportation of African refugees. Among the signatories are Israel Prize recipients Amos Oz and A. B. Yehoshua, as well as David Grossman, Orly Castel-Bloom, Meir Shalev, Etgar Keret, Zeruya Shalev and Agi Mishol. “We call on you to stop the expulsion of the asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan, men and women who carry on their bodies and souls the horrendous scars from their escape and from the torture camps in Sinai, and children who were born in Israel—all are asking only one thing: To live,” the authors’ statement said … “The expulsion of asylum seekers is expected to begin right before Holocaust Remembrance Day. We call on you to act morally, and with the humanity and compassion befitting the Jewish people, and stop the expulsions of the refugees to the hell from which they escaped,” the writers pleaded….
Exclusive: Trump denies US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem within a year
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 17 Jan — President Donald Trump denied on Wednesday that the planned relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would take place within a year, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected the controversial move to happen by then … U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last month the embassy move was “probably no earlier than three years out, and that’s pretty ambitious,” a timeframe that administration officials have attributed to the logistics of finding and securing a site as well as arranging housing for diplomats … Netanyahu, according to Israeli reporters traveling with him on a trip to India, said on Wednesday: “My solid assessment is that it will go much faster than you think – within a year from now.” Asked about Netanyahu’s comment, Trump told Reuters in an interview that was not the case. ”By the end of the year? We’re talking about different scenarios – I mean obviously that would be on a temporary basis. We’re not really looking at that. That’s no.“….
Opinion: For Mike Pence, backing Israel’s occupation is a matter of faith
Haaretz 19 Jan by Zaha Hassan — In Mike Pence’s eagerness to be the evangelicals’ messiah, he’s happy to boost the occupation, kill the idea of two states and bully the Palestinians, and frame it all as divinely ordained — “Ahlan wa sahlan” is how Palestinians greet a guest. But these words of welcome will not be directed at Vice President Mike Pence, when he tours occupied Arab East Jerusalem’s holy sites next week. He is unwelcome. The image of him standing adoringly by as President Donald Trump declared a rapidly expanding and amorphous Jerusalem the capital of Israel is still fresh on every Palestinian’s mind. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, between December 6th, the date of the recognition announcement, and December 31st, 2017, Israeli occupation forces killed 14 Palestinians and injured over 3,600 others, by gas inhalation, rubber-coated bullets and live fire. Those protests and demonstrations show no signs of abating. But where Pence stands has never been in doubt. On the campaign trail, he marketed himself as a champion of the rights of Middle Eastern Christians in their struggle against violent extremism. At the same time, he appeared in ads aimed at U.S. citizens living in Israel and its illegal settlements, promising them that “Israel’s fight is our fight, Israel’s cause is our cause.” Where does that leave the Muslims and Christians of Palestine who since 1948 have been systematically driven from their homes and property? Is Israel’s fight to ethnically cleanse them from the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, also the Trump-Pence fight? Is Israel’s cause – to confiscate their land – also the Trump-Pence cause? Apparently, Israel’s brand of violent extremism is not only unproblematic to Mike Pence, it is divinely ordained….
Palestinian community leader detained by US immigration agency
IMEMC/Agencies 17 Jan — Amer Adi, a Palestinian American small business owner and a community leader in Youngstown, Ohio, has been targeted relentlessly for decades by US immigration agencies on the basis of false allegations of a “sham marriage.” After a decade of legal and political struggle, he was forced to a “voluntary” deportation to Amman, Jordan, despite his 30-year marriage to a U.S. citizen and four U.S. citizen daughters. However, due to community pressure and the involvement of Adi’s member of Congress – Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio – he was granted a last-minute stay of deportation, allowing Amer to stay in the country. January 6 was declared “Amer Othman Adi Day” in Youngstown and the Palestinian community and supporters of justice packed the Arab American Community Center for a celebration on that day. On 16 January, Amer Adi was suddenly seized and detained by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) when he reported for a scheduled meeting at the immigration office in Cleveland. He is currently being held in detention and has launched a hunger strike to demand his freedom. “Adi is originally from Beit Safafa, a town in occupied East Jerusalem. In 1948, his family fled the Zionist militias of a fledgling Israeli state, becoming refugees during the Nakba. In 1979 at the age of nineteen, Adi left Jordan for the United States on a visa,” Mondoweiss noted….
Hezbollah accuses Israel of Sidon bombing
BEIRUT (Reuters) 19 Jan — The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah accused Israel on Friday of a bomb attack that wounded a member of the Palestinian group Hamas in the Lebanese city of Sidon, calling it an act of aggression. The Israeli military said it does not comment on foreign reports. The bomb blast injured the man on Sunday, destroying his car as he was about to get in. “The bomb that targeted a Hamas member in Sidon is a dangerous beginning and it is not possible to be silent about it,” said Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah military and political movement. In a televised address, he said “all indications” pointed to Israel. Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz had told Army Radio earlier this week that “if Israel had been involved, it would not have ended with a lightly wounded”. Israel fought war with Iran-backed, Shi‘ite Hezbollah in 2006. The month-long conflict killed about 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers. There has been no major confrontation since.
Jordan says Israel apologizes for deaths of two Jordanians at embassy
AMMAN (Reuters) 18 Jan by Suleiman Al-Khalidi — Jordan said on Thursday that Israel had formally apologized for the deaths of two of its citizens killed by an Israeli security guard last July in an incident that soured ties and led to the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman, state media said. Government spokesman Mohammad al Momani was quoted by state news agency Petra as saying the Israeli foreign ministry had sent a memorandum expressing “deep regrets and apologies” over the incident at the embassy and pledging to take legal action in the case. Jordan had said it would not allow Israel to reopen its embassy in Amman until it launched legal proceedings against the security guard. The Israeli prime minister’s office said on Thursday that the embassy in Amman would resume full operations immediately. The handling of the shooting had tested ties between Israel and Jordan, one of only two Arab states that have a peace treaty with Israel. The two have a long history of close security ties … Israel has now pledged to “implement and follow up legal measures” in the case and also take action in the shooting of an unarmed Jordanian judge by an Israeli soldier in an incident in 2014, Momani said. Israel would pay compensation to the three families, he said….