UN claims Palestinians and Bedouin at risk of forced transfer in West Bank
JPost 4 Feb by Tovah Lazaroff — The United Nations warned that Palestinians and Beduin in Area C were at risk of forced transfer by Israel after the IDF demolished two illegally built elementary school classrooms in the West Bank Beduin community of Abu Nuwar just outside of Jerusalem. Israel must “immediately cease all practices that are directly or indirectly generating a risk of forcible transfer for Palestinians in various parts of the West Bank, including the destruction of schools and related property,” Roberto Valent, the UN’s acting humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said. “Abu Nuwar is one of the most vulnerable communities in need of humanitarian assistance in the occupied West Bank,” he said. Sunday’s demolition marked the sixth IDF demolition or confiscation in Abu Nuwar in the last two years, Valent said. “A combination of Israeli policies and practices – including demolitions and restricted access to basic services, such as education – have created a coercive environment that violates the human rights of residents,” Valent added. The two modular classrooms that housed 25 third and fourth grade pupils were built in September with funds from the European Union. Another building at the school services 72 pupils in kindergarten, first and second grades. Tensions run high between Israel and the EU over its funding of illegal Palestinian and Beduin modular structures in Area C of the West Bank….
School could be out forever for these Bedouin kids in the West Bank
Haaretz 6 Feb by Amira Hass — Israel wants to demolish the school in Al Muntar, with alternatives located too far away for the children to attend. Residents believe they face expulsion because of expansion plans for an adjacent settlement — First- to sixth-graders from the Bedouin community of Al Muntar have received a three-week reprieve. During this time, they’ll be able to study without fear that bulldozers could show up at any moment and raze their West Bank school to the ground, turning it into a pile of bricks and timber. The reprieve – an interim injunction that freezes demolition orders previously issued by the Civil Administration – was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Uzi Vogelman last Wednesday, less than 24 hours before the demolition was scheduled to take place. What will happen after these three weeks elapse? Everything is in the hands of Allah, says Umm Ayish, a 55-year-old grandmother whose children and grandchildren dropped out of school because the only institutions were sited several hours away on foot or by donkey, accessible only via slippery and steep paths. In addition to Allah, the fate of the school also lies in the hands of the High Court of Justice, the Civil Administration and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. Will they be persuaded that even the children of this Bedouin community in the Judean Desert are entitled to regular studies under reasonable conditions – without reaching school tired after an early wake-up call and a long journey on steep paths; and without having to return home after dark with no power to generate the light by which they might do homework?….
Israel demolishes another EU-funded school
Electronic Intifada 6 Feb by Tamara Nassar — Israeli occupation forces demolished two school buildings in the Abu Nuwwar community on 4 February, located in the so-called E1 area of the occupied West Bank, east of Jerusalem. The destruction leaves more than 25 children in the third and fourth grades without a place to learn.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces kill Palestinian during manhunt for alleged killer of settler
JENIN (Ma‘an) 4 Feb — Israeli forces on Saturday killed a Palestinian teenager during a raid in the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin, reportedly as part of the ongoing manhunt for the Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli settler last month. Medical sources told Ma‘an that Ahmed Samir Abu ‘Obeid, 19,was shot with a live bullet in the head during a raid in the Wadi Burqin neighborhood, and was taken to Jenin Hospital in critical condition on Saturday evening. He was later pronounced dead.
Violent confrontations broke out between dozens of young Palestinian men and Israeli forces as they raided Wadi Burqin, firing live and rubber-coated steel bullets, according to locals. Locals told Ma‘an that at least eight Palestinians were injured and four were arrested during the raid. The official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that Israeli forces were searching for Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, who has been the target in an Israeli manhunt since a shooting attack that left an Israeli settler dead near Nablus. Jarrar’s cousin Ahmad Ismail Jarrar was killed during an Israeli raid on Wadi Bruqin last month.
Obeid is the ninth Palestinian to be killed by Israeli forces this year.
Palestinian prime suspect in rabbi’s murder shot dead: Shin Bet
AFP 6 Feb — A Palestinian man wanted over the murder last month of a rabbi near a Jewish settlement in the West Bank has been killed, Israel’s Shin Bet security service said Tuesday. Ahmad [Nasser] Jarrar was killed in the northern West Bank town of Yamoun where he had been hiding, the agency said, describing him as an “active” participant in the January 9 murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevah. “During the attempted arrest, the terrorist came out of a building where he was hiding armed. Security forces fired in his direction, an M-16 assault rifle and a bag containing explosives were found near his body,” the agency said in its statement. Ahmad Jarrar, the man accused of orchestrating the rabbi’s murder, is the son of Nasser Jarrar, a Hamas commander killed by Israeli forces during the second intifada, the mass uprising by Palestinians against Israeli occupation between 2000-2005. Raziel Shevah, a 35-year-old rabbi, was shot dead near Havat Gilad, the wildcat Jewish settlement outpost he lived in near the West Bank city of Nablus, on January 9. Israeli forces have been hunting for the assailants since then, with roadblocks and checkpoints set up following the murder. Two Palestinians [Ahmad Ismail Jarrar and Ahmed Samer Abu ‘Obeid] have been killed during earlier raids which Israeli security services said were launched to find Shevah’s killers.
Ahmad Jarrar: The handsome fighter
[with photo] JENIN (PIC – Hamas site) 6 Feb — At the age of 24, Ahmad Nasr Jarrar, who is a resident of Burqin town in Jenin, has become a source of inspiration for a new generation of Palestinian youths. Images of two young people who represent different forms of resistance against the occupation have recently emerged in the Palestinian society. The first is for Ahed al-Tamimi: a beautiful girl slapping an Israeli soldier, while the second is for Ahmad Jarrar: a handsome young man alone facing an entire army.
–A model– Israeli affairs expert Mu’awiya Mousa said that the biggest fear in the Israeli intelligence and security circles is the establishment of a model that inspires others. That’s why the Israeli occupation seeks to eradicate such phenomena by all possible means. Hundreds of Palestinian youths in Burqin now chant Jarrar’s name, call for following his path and engage in violent clashes with Israeli occupation forces on a daily basis during their campaigns in search for the Palestinian fighter. Jarrar has never been a boastful person. After leading the operation in which an Israeli settler was killed near Nablus, he returned to his work selling curtains, cloth and cars to customers as usual. No-one expected Jarrar to be the same brave fighter who confused the Israeli occupation.
–An orphan– Ahmad grew up an orphan along with his sister and two brothers after the Israeli occupation forces had assassinated his father Nasr Jarrar, the leader in Hamas’s armed wing al-Qassam Brigades. Like father like son. Ahmad survived several assassination attempts. Coincidentally, the first assassination attempts that targeted Ahmad and his father were carried out in the same place. After 17 years Ahmad grew up from a child taking his first steps to his father’s successor.
–Frenzied campaigns– In addition to the three failed assassination attempts against Ahmad Jarrar, not a single night has recently passed in Jenin peacefully without fierce break-ins and arrest campaigns targeting almost whoever shook hands with Ahmad one day. Although everyone knows that Ahmad may be killed, injured or arrested at any moment, no-one can deny that the message Ahmad was trying to deliver has been well-received and that a wall of silence has been broken down forever in the West Bank.
(Ahmad was killed by Israeli special forces on Monday night 5/2/2018 only few days after this report was prepared.)
Hamas mourns death of Ahmad Jarrar
JENIN (PIC – Hamas site) 6 Feb — The Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, mourned the death of the Palestinian fighter Ahmad [Nasr] Jarrar who was killed at dawn Tuesday in an armed clash with the Israeli occupation forces in al-Yamun town west of Jenin. Hamas said in a statement that Jarrar refused to surrender, followed the path of his father and fought until the last breath, adding that Jarrar will forever be a hero in the eyes of his people. Hamas called on the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank to escalate Intifada against the Israeli occupation and retaliate for the assassination of Jarrar. The Movement concluded its statement by saying that the Palestinian resistance will remain unbreakable and that thousands of Palestinians like Ahmad Jarrar are willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their land and people.
Israeli settler killed in West Bank stabbing attack
Al Jazeera 5 Feb — An Israeli settler has been stabbed and killed in a knife attack outside an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. The attack in the district of Salfit on Monday afternoon, on the main road near the Ariel settlement, was reportedly carried out by a Palestinian man who fled the scene, according to Israeli media. Israeli security forces chased the man who drove away in a vehicle but later left the car and ran away from an army vehicle chasing him. He was still at large late on Monday. Israel‘s Magen David Adom ambulance service said on its Twitter account the settler was a 30-year-old man with a stab wound to his upper body. He later died in a hospital. Israeli media identified him as Itamar Ben Gal, 29, a rabbi from the illegal settlement of Har Bracha. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “bring to justice” the Palestinian man. “I put my trust in the security forces who do the hardest work against these disgraceful attacks,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of a Likud party meeting, the Times of Israel reported. Israeli forces have dispersed to nearby towns in search of the attacker. Bethlehem-based Maan News agency said settlers in the area began throwing rocks at Palestinian vehicles passing by…. [According to Haaretz, the attacker has been identified as Ais Abed El-Hakim, 19, an ‘Israeli Arab’, or Palestinian citizen of Israel]
Israeli enters Abu Dis and is attacked, his vehicle torched
Ynet 2 Feb by Elior Levy et al. — 59-year-old Tel Aviv resident enters Palestinian town near Ma’ale Adumim by mistake; Palestinian security forces defend him and liaise with IDF forces to coordinate his extraction; 200 Palestinians riot and torch his vehicle when they learned of his presence there; Israeli security forces extricate man, who was lightly wounded in incident.
Israeli soldiers assault Palestinian parents as they try to stop arrest of their son
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — Israeli forces on Sunday reportedly assaulted a Palestinian family in the southern West Bank city of Hebron during an attempt to detain their son, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa reported that soldiers stationed at the entrance of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City attempted to arrest Muhammad al-Muhtaseb, 27, when al-Muhtaseb’s father and mother intervened. Israeli soldiers then reportedly assaulted the parents, causing the mother to be sent to the hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, clashes erupted between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians near the Tariq Bin Ziad school, also in the Old City of Hebron, Wafa reported. Soldiers fired stun grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets at Palestinians.
Israeli forces detain Palestinian journalist after assaulting him and his brother
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian journalist on Monday after assaulting him and his brother in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, according to Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency. Wafa reported that Israeli forces raided the home of Ahmad ‘Arabeed, 28, a journalist who works for al-Hurriyah radio in Ramallah. Israeli forces reportedly assaulted ‘Arabeed and one of his brothers during the raid. Wafa added that soldiers held the family in one room and seized their cellular phones during the raid. ‘Arabeed was taken to an unknown location.
Israeli soldiers abduct 21 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 5 Feb — The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, Monday, 21 Palestinians, including children, during extensive and violent searches of homes, in several parts of the occupied West Bank.
The Committee stated that the soldiers abducted four Palestinians, including two siblings, identified as Fadi and Moneeb Ghneimat, in addition to Nader ‘Oweidat and Saif Abu Zeina, in Hebron governorate in southern West Bank.
The soldiers also abducted Mohammad Jamal Sayyed, 32, from Kafr Ra‘i town, west of Jenin, in northern West Bank.
In Bethlehem, the soldiers abducted three children, identified as Amir Morad Taqatqa, 14, Amer Khaled Taqatqa, 15, and Ali Hamza Deeriyya, 15.
In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted a reporter, identified as Ahmad Majdi al-‘Arabid, who works for the al-Hurriya Radio, in Ramallah, and assaulted his brother, Amjad, also a reporter, after invading their homes. The soldiers forced the family in one room and took away their mobile phones while violently searching the properties.
In addition, the soldiers abducted a child, identified as Mohammed Iyad Burnat, 14, from his home in Bil‘in village, west of the Ramallah. His father, Iyad Burnat, a known nonviolent activist against the Israeli Annexation Wall and Colonies, said the soldiers invaded his home, and abducted his son. It is worth mentioning that Iyad is currently in Istanbul,Turkey, where his other son, Majd, is hospitalized for further specialized treatment from wounds, he suffered three years ago, after an Israeli soldier shot him in the leg, causing nerve damage.
In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted Samer Mojahed, who works at the Manuscript Department of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He was forced out of the mosque compound before the soldiers moved him to an interrogation facility….
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers abduct eighteen Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 6 Feb — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight until early morning hours, Tuesday, eighteen Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The PPS said that the soldiers broke into and ransacked many homes in various communities in the West Bank, and interrogated several Palestinians, before abducting eighteen. It also stated that the soldiers have abducted 71 Palestinians in the northern West Bank governorate of Jenin, in the last twenty days, since the army started extensive invasions to locate Ahmad Nassr Jarrar, 22, who was assassinated by the army on Tuesday before dawn. The soldiers attacked the detainees with clubs and batons, and used K-9 units in searching the homes and many residents.
Dozens of soldiers also invaded ‘Aseeda and the ath-Thaher areas, in Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and carried out extensive searches of homes, and lands.
Israeli soldiers abduct Palestinian minutes after his release from prison
IMEMC 5 Feb — Israeli soldiers abducted, Sunday, a young Palestinian man from occupied Jerusalem, minutes after his release from prison. Handala Center for Detainees said the soldiers abducted Mohammad Kamel Oleyyan, who served a prison sentence of three years and four months. It added that Oleyyan was taken prisoner by the soldiers just minutes after his release from Ramon prison, in the Negev Desert, and was moved to the al-Maskobiyya detention and interrogation center, west of Jerusalem. The detainee, who was imprisoned for membership with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PSLP) was unable to see his family after his release. It is worth mentioning that the soldiers invaded, earlier Sunday, Oleyyan’s family home in the al-‘Isawiya town, in Jerusalem, and violently searched it, causing property damage. [Note that he is another blond. Must be ‘Pallywood’ too….]
Israeli colonialist settlers injure several Palestinians near Nablus
IMEMC 6 Feb — Palestinian medical sources have reported, Monday, that many residents have been injured, after groups of illegal colonialist Israeli settlers hurled stones at their cars, near Huwwara military roadblock, south of Nablus, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. The sources stated that the Palestinians suffered various cuts and bruises, after the assailants hurled stones at them, and their cars, and received treatment by medics at the scene.
In related news, several colonist settlers, from Bracha illegal colony, burnt tires and rolled them towards Palestinian homes in Burin village, south of Nablus….
11 days after being hit by stone in face, police close case
Ynet 2 Feb by Ahiya Raved — Shani Zanu suffered facial wounds when bus she was traveling on was stoned while passing by Arab towns in Wadi Ara after Trump Jerusalem recognition; only 11 days later, police close investigation for lack of progress; Shani is appealing, demanding all resources be used to apprehend assailant….
Right-wing activists arrested after scuffle with police near West Bank outpost
Haaretz 31 Jan by Yotam Berger — Five right-wing activists were arrested near the illegal outpost of Havat Maon in the southern West Bank on Wednesday on suspicion that they assaulted police officers. Some of those arrested are said to be minors. The five were arrested when security forces evacuated a temporary structure built without a permit in the outpost. The Border Police said that after security forces arrived, around 20 right-wing demonstrators gathered at the entrance to the shack to protest its demolition. During the evacuation, a number of the protesters attacked police officers, hitting or pushing them as well as throwing rocks. No injuries were reported as a result of the assault … The nonprofit organization Honenu, which provides legal aid to Jewish soldiers and civilians in the West Bank, said the policemen used excessive force during the arrests. Those arrested have yet to meet with their lawyers. Settlers in the area reported that one of those arrested was injured in the face and others were beaten and bruised.
Prisoners / Court actions
Trial again postponed for Palestinian teen in viral ‘slap video’h
JERUSALEM (AFP) 4 Feb — The military trial of a Palestinian teenager charged after a viral video showed her hitting two Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank has been delayed until February 13, officials said Sunday. Ahed Tamimi, 17, had been due to stand trial on January 31 along with her mother Nariman before the case was postponed until February 6. It is now set for February 13, her lawyer and the Israeli military said. Both Ahed Tamimi and her mother have been ordered to be held in custody throughout their trial. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has criticised Israeli authorities’ actions in the case, while the European Union has expressed concern over Israel’s detention of minors, including Ahed Tamimi. Ahed Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of her arrest, has been hailed as a hero by Palestinians who see her as bravely standing up to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank … Nour Tamimi, 20, has also been charged and freed on bail. Her next court date has also been set for February 13, according to the Tamimis’ lawyer Gaby Lasky….
Sheikh Khader Adnan’s trial postponed
JENIN (PIC) 5 Feb — Salem military court postponed on Monday the trial of the prominent Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan to February 28, rights group reported .Al-Mujahat al-Quds Foundation said that his trial was postponed to allow his lawyer to examine his case file. Sheikh Adnan, a father of six children, was detained 11 times, most recently on December 12, 2017 when Israeli forces violently stormed his house and attacked his family members. He earlier waged a 66-day hunger strike in 2012 in protest against his illegal administrative detention and another strike for 56 days in 2014 in protest against his re-arrest.
WHO official: Without supplements, Gaza to run out of fuel within ten days
JPost 5 Feb by Adam Rasgon — Fuel for hospitals and medical clinics in the Gaza Strip will run out within the next 10 days if no arrangements are made to replenish its supply, according to Mahmoud Daher, director of the World Health Organization’s offices in the coastal enclave. “Without fuel for the backup generators, there will be a major crisis in the medical institutions,” Daher told The Jerusalem Post in a phone call on Monday. He said in such a scenario, dialysis and life-support machines will come to a halt, doctors will be unable to perform surgery, and x-ray and other critical medical equipment will be put of service. Gaza suffers from severely inadequate electricity infrastructure, with most of the Strip currently receiving intervals of six hours of power followed by 12-hour blackouts. There are approximately 14 hospitals and dozens of medical clinics in Gaza. During blackouts, hospitals and medical clinics rely on backup generators to maintain operations. In the past couple of weeks, the Beit Hanoun Hospital and the Durra Hospital in northern Gaza as well as three medical clinics have closed their doors. According to Daher, the hospitals and clinics were shuttered to ration the remaining fuel in Gaza. “Rationing the supply may give us a little more time, but it is no solution,” he said.
When Gazan medical facilities last faced a fuel shortage in mid-2017, the UN made some $3m. in emergency funding available for purchasing additional supplies. Three million dollars covers approximately six months of fuel costs for backup generators. However, the UN has not yet said if it will again bail out medical institutions in Gaza. A spokesman for the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace process did not respond to phone calls. Daher said the main short-term solution is for some party to come forward with funding for additional fuel. Palestinian Authority Health Ministry Spokesman Osama Najjar also did not respond to phone calls.
IDF sounds alarm on Gaza
Al-Monitor 5 Feb by Ben Caspit — The winds of war buffeting the Gaza Strip increased on the morning of Feb. 4 when Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff, made an appearance at the weekly Cabinet meeting. Eizenkot warned that Gaza is on the verge of collapse and susceptible to a severe humanitarian crisis. Any further deterioration would likely lead to a military confrontation between Israel and Hamas this year, although neither side is interested in war. Eizenkot added that significant steps by Israel are required to avert Gaza’s collapse. The next day, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz accused Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and his people of “running around the world to raise money for Hamas.” Katz has floated the idea of creating an import-export terminal and entry-exit point off Gaza to lessen dependence on Israel. In recent years, he has preached in favor of Israel’s total separation from Gaza and imposing responsibility for it on Hamas, Egypt and the rest of the world. Liberman’s policy of keeping Gaza afloat, Katz charges, perpetuates Hamas’ rule over the territory and dependence on Israel. As is often the case in the Middle East, these statements conceal drama under the surface….
‘There’s no humanitarian crisis’ in Gaza, Israeli defense minister says, contradicting army chief
Haaretz 5 Feb by Jonathan Lis — No rehabilitation of Gaza without demilitarization, Lieberman says, despite warnings from defense officials — Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman addressed the situation in Gaza on Monday, saying there was no humanitarian crisis in the Strip, a claim that contradicts those voiced by the Israeli army only one day ago. “The economic state is complicated and must be dealt with, but there’s no humanitarian crisis,” Lieberman told members of his Yisrael Beiteinu party. This statement stands in stark contrast with the Israeli security system assessment, and contradicts statements made recently by Israel Defense Forces chief, who warned the Israeli government on Sunday that the Gaza Strip is in the midst of a severe humanitarian crisis. According to Lieberman, “Since yesterday, we are witnessing an outpour of information, and mainly misinformation, into all the media outlets regarding the Gaza Strip we have no intention of initiating military action in Gaza, and it’s good that Hamas leadership is panicking.” Lieberman added that “as long as there’s no progress regarding the [Israeli] captives and missing persons, we can’t move forward with all sorts of initiatives for [helping] the Strip. As far as its rehabilitation, it can only be on one condition – demilitarization [of Gaza].”….
Why Gaza needs UNRWA
MEE 4 Feb by Muhammad Shehada — I studied in UNRWA schools, as my father did before me. Without the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, I would have drowned in a swamp of illiteracy and despair, never leaving the refugee camp that my father had to grow into. But today, with UNRWA facing an existential threat, I fear that my younger siblings are destined to endure more suffering. In November 1948, my grandfather was uprooted from his village of Hamama and expelled to al-Shaati refugee camp in the beleaguered Gaza Strip. His farm was taken away, his house was demolished, and he was given only a small, wretched shanty in which to shelter his family of nine. Told that these arrangements were temporary, he endured unspeakable tribulations, all the while carrying his old house keys around his neck. Since the 1948 Nakba, the expulsion of his and other Palestinian families from their homes, UNRWA has been like oxygen for Palestinian refugees, aiming to ease the agony of an oppressed population. The agency has worked to alleviate their extreme poverty while also developing future generations through hundreds of free elementary and vocational training schools and health centres … Amid Israel’s campaign to defund and delegitimise NGOs working in Palestine, UNRWA is one of the few institutions left capable of reaching the poorest families in Gaza, where 80 percent of the population is dependent on subsistence aid. Each year, tens of thousands of young people compete fiercely for a handful of vacancies with UNRWA. Yet all of this is about to be destroyed. The opportunities that I enjoyed are being undermined by growing political pressure to defund the agency. Schools now have to operate in two or even three shifts a day, and many risk being shut down … UNRWA means life to more than two-thirds of Gaza’s population of two million. Its education, healthcare, employment and aid programmes help millions of dispossessed and displaced refugees to find their feet. If UNRWA disappears, the majority of Gaza’s population will have nothing to hope for and nothing to lose….
Four Gazans carrying knives, grenade arrested crossing border
Ynet 1 Feb — Four Palestinians are caught by IDF forces trying to infiltrate through the Gaza border into Israel, found carrying knives, grenade; security establishment is looking into whether they were planning a terror attack or purposefully tried to get arrested to avoid Gaza’s deteriorating economic situation….
Israeli planes hit Hamas in Gaza after rocket fire
JERUSALEM (AFP) 3 Feb — Israeli aircraft hit a Hamas compound in the southern Gaza Strip on Saturday, after Palestinians there fired a rocket into the Jewish state, the Israeli army said. “In response to the projectile fired at southern Israel…fighter jets struck a Hamas compound composed of two military structures,” the army statement said. There were no reports of casualties on either side.
It was the second exchange in 24 hours, after the air force hit a Hamas position in Gaza early Friday in response to a rocket being fired from the Palestinian enclave the night before. Such rockets are usually fired not by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the territory, but by fringe radical groups. Israel holds Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008, responsible for any fire coming from Gaza.
Gaza youth debate political, social issues
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 5 Feb by Rasha Abou Jalal — In an effort to combat intolerance and promote dialogue, independent civil society organizations in the Gaza Strip are organizing youth debates for Palestinian youth and university students. The debates, where each youth team presents opposing viewpoints on a specific political, social or economic hypothesis suggested by the organizing party, are judged by a panel of jurists composed of civil servants, lawyers, writers or academics … Abdel Rahman explained that debate is still a novel idea in Palestinian society, where partisan fanaticism prevails among numerous Palestinian political parties and their supporters. The youth often adopt the ideas of the party they are affiliated with without questioning or discussing them, which prevents them from considering the merits of other points of view or even tolerating them. She noted that the debates also aim at addressing several negative patterns of behaviors among the Palestinians, such as blindly believing things without verifying them, the lack of respect of alternative opinions and interrupting the other party repeatedly without giving them an opportunity to express their point of view….
Gaza’s religious ministry launches Khotaba, the Yelp for Islamic preachers
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 30 Jan by Amjad Yaghi — As of this year, Gazans have been able to go online before heading to the mosque and find out where their favorite Islamic preacher will be leading Friday prayers. The Ministry of Religious Affairs enabled them to do so when it launched the platform Khotaba, which in Arabic means “preachers,” on Jan. 2. The website also allows users to assess the performance of every preacher in the Gaza Strip and post feedback on his sermons. Preachers are evaluated using a system of one to five stars: unacceptable (one star), acceptable (two stars), good (three stars), very good (four stars) and excellent (five stars) … Farhat said, “The program — aimed at improving preachers’ performance — allows the Ministry of Religious Affairs to get an idea about each preacher and how the public is receiving the weekly religious sermons. When a preacher gets more than one negative feedback at more than one mosque, the ministry will form a special committee to follow up on the evaluation.” A ministry committee has already investigated the performance of several preachers, who then had to take courses in Shari‘a and the Islamic faith to improve their sermons. “The program motivates preachers to improve their Friday sermons by interacting with worshippers, narrating religious events, using proper Arabic and refraining from talking about politics,” Farhat added. “When a preacher fails to deliver a strong, convincing sermon and gets negative feedback on the website, the ministry will surely let him go. We will not keep any unqualified preacher.”….
Urban agriculture spreads in Gaza
RAFAH, Gaze Strip (Al-Monitor) 31 Jan by Hana Salah — On the roof of the Zahrat al-Madaen School for Girls, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) runs a project to collect rainwater and channel it into underground barrels. The water is then pumped to irrigate gardens that the union is developing at the school. The project is part of an initiative to raise awareness among youth about using rainwater and public spaces for agricultural production. UAWC launched the initiative in December at four schools in Rafah run by the UN Relief and Works Agency. Rafah, along with the rest of Gaza, faces shortages in potable and irrigation water. According to the union, collecting rainwater on rooftops is a fitting idea and a key element in helping alleviate the water crisis. The major components needed are collecting elements, storage units (underground barrels) and pumps to move water from storage units to gardens through pipelines designated for different usages … Urban agriculture aims to produce crops and raise animals in small spaces — like empty stretches of land, backyards and balconies — in cities. Peri-urban agriculture includes semi-commercial and commercial farms close to towns. Both urban and peri-urban agriculture can contribute significantly to family food security, especially in times of food shortages and other crises….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Opinion: Israel just created a new type of terrorism / Amira Hass
Haaretz 30 Jan — Consistency requires that during their trip to Brussels this week, Israeli envoys present EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini with a summons for questioning at Ma’aleh Adumim police station on suspicion of terrorist activity. With one hand the Israeli representatives, by way of their Palestinian subcontractor, will receive a fat check from the EU to compensate for Donald Trump’s axe blow to funding for the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA. (See under: “The cut to PA funding undermines security coordination.”) With the other hand they will hand over the summons for questioning on suspicion of terrorism and aid to terrorism. Because of Auschwitz, or because of the scientific-defense ties with Israel, the European representatives will accept the summons with a smile. “We always knew the Jews had a highly developed sense of humor,” they’ll say. But they’re wrong. This is no joke. It’s preparation for another expulsion. On the Knesset website there appears a new category of terrorism, “construction terror.” Those convicted in advance include the PA, the Bedouin and the European Union. The prosecutor, judge and executor is MK Moti Yogev of Habayit Hayehudi, who is also the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s subcommittee on expelling Palestinians, also known as the subcommittee for civilian and security affairs in Judea and Samaria. He has declared that Palestinian construction in the West Bank is “terrorism” when it takes place in the area that Israeli cunning has turned into another rock of our existence – Area C, in which every tent, animal pen and water pipe needs an Israeli building permit, which is never granted. Anyone wanting to house the young couple in a room of their own, or replace a worn out, leaking tent, or build a preschool classroom is forced to violate the master’s laws….
Israeli bulldozers destroy Palestinian water pipeline in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY (Ma‘an) 5 Feb — Israeli bulldozers destroyed water lines supplying tens of acres of land in the northern Jordan Valley on Monday morning. Local activist Aref Daraghmeh told Ma‘an that Israeli bulldozers destroyed a water pipeline belonging to a Palestinian identified as Bassem Faqha. The line feeds some 150 dunams (37 acres) of land planted with watermelons.
The Jordan Valley forms a third of the occupied West Bank, with 88 percent of its land classified as Area C — under full Israeli military control. Demolitions of Palestinian infrastructure and residences occur frequently in Area C, with the Jordan Valley’s Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to such policies….
Israel legalizes outpost after settler shot dead
Al Jazeera 4 Feb — The Israeli government has officially recognised the illegal settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in response to the death of an Israeli settler who was shot in the area. On Sunday, members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved the motion. The move to retroactively authorise the outpost will grant it the necessary building permits and access to the state’s budget. “Today, the government will provide for the status of Havat Gilad in order to facilitate orderly life there,” Netanyahu said, in reference to the deadly shooting that took place outside the outpost near the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. Raziel Shevah, 35, was shot dead from a passing vehicle as he drove near his home in the unauthorised settlement last month. The anti-settlement group Peace Now called the effort to legalise the outpost a “cynical exploitation of the murder”.
Since last month’s incident, the Israeli army has carried out a number of raids in Palestinian villages near the city, as it searches for Ahmad [Nasser] Jarrar, a 22-year-old Palestinian who is wanted for his alleged role in the killing. His cousin of [almost] the same name [Ahmad Ismail Jarrar] was killed on January 18 after a 10-hour military operation, in what Palestinians believe was a case of mistaken identity….
Meeting Israelis for the first time, Palestinians ask: How do you feel living in our homes?
AMMAN (Haaretz) 3 Feb by Gideon Levy — Conversations with Palestinians who can never go home again, forays to deserted tourist sites in Amman and a visit to a refugee camp. A quick trip to Jordan — In her spacious apartment in the western part of this city, artist Tamam al-Akhal longs for her home in the Old City of Jaffa. The widow of the unofficial Palestinian national painter Ismail Shammout, she has turned her home into a shrine in his memory. Paintings by both artists adorn every wall and are also stacked up in her atelier, in one of the rooms of the house. Most of the works depict the Nakba and the occupation, realistic pictures of deeply engaged national art, bold and jolting. A maid serves hot sachlav, and in minutes, Akhal is talking about the house in Jaffa, which she was forced to leave in 1948 with her parents, via a rickety boat to Beirut, and to which she was not allowed to return. She was 12 at the time. Her whole life and work since then have played out under the shadow of that trauma. A stranger will not be able to comprehend this. An Israeli won’t accept it, and will almost certainly not show compassion, sympathy, responsibility or guilt. Living in Jordan and longing for Zion; in the East while her heart is in the West. Akhal will not forget nor forgive the Israeli artist who, in 1997, refused to allow her to enter the house that had once been her family’s home, and had subsequently become the Israeli’s….
Palestine in pictures: January 2018
The Electronic Intifada 2 February
How the internet punishes Palestinians
Al Jazeera 2 Feb by Ylenia Gostoli — As governments across the globe increasingly use the internet to crack down on dissent, manipulate information and control access, the idea of the web as a space of democracy and freedom has all but withered. In the past two years, Palestinians launched several campaigns accusing tech companies of discrimination and bias, with hashtags such as #FBCensorsPalestine and #PayPalForPalestine going viral. Multinational tech companies such as Google, Facebook and PayPal have also been accused of complicity in rights violations for controlling how knowledge and services are provided, and who can access them …
–PayPal for Palestine– Online payment platform PayPal is widely used to conduct monetary transactions between clients and service providers using the online freelance marketplace Saed signed up for. But PayPal, which operates in 202 countries including war-torn Yemen, doesn’t offer its services to Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank – while making them available to Israeli settlers living in the same territory and using the same currency. This prompted Palestinian entrepreneurs and businessmen to start a campaign in 2016 asking the company to roll out its services to Palestinians and reverse the “discriminatory situation”, under the hashtag #PayPalForPalestine. Forty-three Palestinian tech companies and startups signed an open letter addressed to PayPal’s CEO Daniel Schulman, which never received an official response … A spokesperson for PayPal told Al Jazeera that “while we do not have anything to announce in the immediate future, we continuously work to develop strategic partnerships”. The spokesperson did not specify whether negotiations are ongoing to introduce the service to the Palestinian market. Last week, the company became once again the subject of a controversy after it closed the account of a Palestine solidarity organisation based in France over its alleged support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement….
PayPal blocks activists for Palestine in France
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Feb — PayPal, already facing pressure for its refusal to provide services to Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, appears to be going a step further in its anti-Palestinian efforts. Last week it abruptly shut down the account of a major Palestine solidarity group in France without providing an explanation. In taking this action, the global payment and money transfer firm appears to be caving in to pressure from Israel and its lobby groups. Association France Palestine Solidarité said in a statement on Saturday that it had just been informed of the “unexpected blocking” of its PayPal account, adding that several pro-Israeli websites had been crowing about the news. AFPS said that on 26 January it received “a very succinct email from PayPal informing us of the closure of our account ‘because of the nature of our activities.’” According to AFPS, this action came “without giving a reason and without contractually stipulated notice, despite the fact that our activities have been identical for years and we have never had a problem with our account.” Notably, AFPS is one of 20 human rights organizations placed on a blacklist by Israeli authorities earlier this month, barring its members from entering any Israeli-controlled territory. The group says it is demanding an explanation from PayPal and could take legal action.
—Israel lobby operation— The closing of the French group’s PayPal account does appear to be a continuation of Israel’s efforts to crack down on supporters of Palestinian rights. As intense propaganda efforts have failed to stem the growth of support for Palestinian rights in Europe and around the world, Israel has turned increasingly to censorship, repression and lawfare. Notably, Gerald Steinberg, the head of the right-wing Israeli group NGO Monitor that harasses and smears human rights and activist groups, boasted on Twitter that his organization’s “research” about AFPS was cited in a Jerusalem Post article celebrating the shutdown of the PayPal account….
PLO vows ‘to start disengaging from Israel’
Al Jazeera 4 Feb –The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has said it is taking a series of measures to begin “disengaging” from Israel, including seeking action against the latter at the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC). After a long meeting on Saturday evening, the executive committee of the PLO said it had asked the Palestinian government to “begin devising plans to disengage from the Israeli occupation authorities at the political, security, economic and administrative levels …” According to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, the executive committee also decided to form a higher committee to implement decisions such as the suspension of the PLO’s recognition of Israel. The PLO – an umbrella of major Palestinian political parties – has been under pressure to change its strategy towards Israel in recent weeks.
Palestinian wiretap scandal raises ire, but no action so far
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 1 Feb by Ahmad Abu Amer — Lawyers and civil rights advocates are calling for the government to investigate allegations that Palestinian security services are tapping phones and surveilling some citizens and prominent figures. The accusations sparked outrage, especially as they are supported by leaked documents that include transcripts and photographs.
A Palestinian security officer leaked the documents after leaving his job in the Preventive Security Service (PSS), which is affiliated with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank. He included in the documents a letter of apology asserting that he is exposing the activity as repentance for the wiretapping operations. Several Palestinian media outlets reported Jan. 10 on the leaked materials, which appear to show that Palestinian leaders in the Gaza Strip were put under surveillance after their phones were tapped. The most prominent recorded phone conversations were between Hamas officials and Egyptian intelligence following the recent Palestinian reconciliation talks. The documents include intelligence reports about phone conversations between top Hamas leaders, such as Khaled Meshaal and Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, as well as other prominent leaders. The documents reportedly show that security services tapped the phones of members of the Palestinian Bar Association who had organized protests Nov. 9 in response to the violent arrest of lawyer Mohammad Hussein the previous day while he was inside a court in Nablus. There are also reports that officials taped conversations of supporters of dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan. Al-Haq, a nongovernmental organization for human rights, on Jan. 20 called on the Palestinian attorney general to investigate the alleged wiretapping, bring perpetrators to justice and compensate those who were affected….
Abbas’ government sued over alleged CIA-backed wiretapping
RAMALLAH (AP) 6 Feb by Mohammed Daraghmeh — A former Palestinian intelligence chief and the head of the West Bank bar association are suing the Palestinian Authority after a purported whistleblower alleged they were targeted, along with other allies and rivals of President Mahmoud Abbas, in a large-scale CIA-backed wiretapping operation. Allegations of continued intelligence-sharing with the United States could prove embarrassing for Abbas, at a time of growing political tensions with Washington. A 37-page anonymous document, purportedly written by a disgruntled former member of the Palestinian electronic surveillance team, says his unit monitored the phones of thousands of Palestinians. Bar association chief Jawad Obeidat said Monday that transcripts of his phone conversations, as published in the document, are accurate. A spokesman for the security services dismissed the widely shared document as “nonsense.” The CIA declined comment.
Palestinian police arrest 12 teens for smoking hookah
Times of Israel 2 Feb by Khaled Abu Toameh — Palestinian Authority policemen on Thursday caught 12 Palestinian teenagers while they were smoking hookahs in a Ramallah coffee shop. The move came as part of the PA’s new policy of enforcing a ban on selling cigarettes and the hookah [or shisha] to minors under the age of 18. The owner of the coffee shop, who was not identified, was taken into custody, PA police spokesman Luai Zreikat said. Zreikat said the policemen, acting on a tip, had raided the coffee shop where the schoolchildren were smoking the water pipes. The teens were later referred to the relevant authorities, while the owner of the business was detained for questioning. The police spokesman called on Palestinian parents to increase supervision over their children and make sure they arrive at school after leaving their homes in the morning. He also warned restaurant and coffee shop owners against offering the hookah to minors under the age of 18. Over the past few years, hookah smoking has become extremely popular in many Palestinian restaurants and coffee shops in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Many of the businesses do not hesitate to offer water pipes to minors.
Palestinians pay homage to poet Fadwa Tuqan
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 2 Feb by Aziza Nofal — Palestinians are commemorating the centenary of their great poet Fadwa Tuqan, a fighter for her country and her rights as a woman — For many Palestinians, Fadwa Tuqan is more than a poet: She is the symbol of Palestinian resistance and pride. She is the embodiment of the spiritual strength of Palestine despite the losses they have suffered. Tuqan, born in 1897 in Nablus, West Bank, lived through the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948, the 1967 war and the first intifada of 1987. Her involvement in the national struggle strengthened her writing, making her one of the most famous female poets in Palestine and the Arab world. In one of her best-known poems, “Longing,” she expressed her sense of loss and anger in a style that Israeli Gen. Moshe Dayan described as capable of creating 10 resistance fighters with a single poem: “Time’s out and I’m home alone with the shadow I cast/ Gone is the law of the universe, scattered by frivolous fate/ Nothing to hold down my things/ My possessions have flown, they belong to others.” The celebrated poet was born in a prominent but traditional family, where Palestinian customs prevented her from continuing her education after the fifth grade. So she studied at home, along with her brother, the well-known poet Ibrahim Tuqan….
Cancer the second cause of death in Palestine in 2016
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 4 Feb – Cancer was the second main cause of death in Palestine during 2016, said the Ministry of Health in a special report on the World Cancer Day. It said cancer was the second cause of death in 2016 accounting for 14% of the total deaths, after cardiovascular diseases which account for 30.6% of all causes of death. Palestine also witnessed a noticeable increase in cancer cases from 1073 cases in 2000 to 2536 in 2016 in the West Bank alone, and 59.1% of these cases appeared among the youth age group between 15 and 64 years, the ministry said. Meanwhile, 35.7% of cancer cases were among the elderly above 65 years, while 5.2% of such cases prevailed among children below the age of 15….
Love of Korean pop links UK teenagers with Palestinian refugees
LONDON (Reuters) 5 Feb by Lin Taylor — The sugary pop songs of South Korean groups BTS, EXO and BlackPink might be sung in Korean but it has not stopped Palestinian refugee teenager Tasnim from being an avid fan from her home in war-torn Syria. To Tasnim’s surprise, it is a love shared by students at London’s Connaught School for Girls with whom her school in Damascus holds Skype calls as part of a project to connect refugee students in the Middle East with European and U.S. pupils. “My favorite kind of music is K-pop music, Korean music,” exclaimed Tasnim during a recent video call, sitting alongside classmates from two schools in the Syrian capital run by aid agency United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA)….
UN chiefs warn of ‘one-state reality’ in Middle East
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 5 Feb — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Monday that recent developments in the Middle East could create “an irreversible one-state reality” that would bury the two-state solution of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
“Negative trends on the ground have the potential to create an irreversible one-state reality that is incompatible with realizing the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians,” Guterres told a UN meeting of a committee on Palestinian rights … Israel’s ongoing construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, violent attacks and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza are dimming prospects for a long-term peace, said the UN chief.
“There is no Plan B,” Guterres told the meeting. “A two-state solution is the only way to achieve the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and secure a sustainable solution to the conflict.”….
Jordanian king sees no Mideast peace without US role
WASHINGTON (AFP) 5 Feb — King Abdullah II of Jordan said in an interview aired on Sunday that the United States remains essential to any hope of a peaceful solution between Israel and the Palestinians, despite widespread criticism of the new US stance on Jerusalem. “We cannot have a peace process or a peace solution without the role of the United States,” the monarch said on the CNN programme Fareed Zakaria GPS, in an interview taped at the recent economic summit in Davos, Switzerland. He said this was true even after President Donald Trump decided to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv – where nearly every other country has its embassy. In December, Jordan called Trump’s move “a violation of decisions of international law and the United Nations charter,” and Abdullah reiterated his concerns to Vice President Mike Pence who visited the Middle East last month. Abdullah noted on Sunday that Trump’s decision had “created a backlash” by leaving Palestinians feeling “that there isn’t an honest broker.” But, he added, “I’d like to reserve judgment, because we’re still waiting for the Americans to come out with their (peace) plan.”….
Israel carrying out secret airstrike campaign in Sinai to help Egypt – report
Times of Israel 3 Feb — Israeli drones, fighter jets, and helicopter gunships have carried out more than 100 airstrikes against Islamic State-affiliated terrorists in the Sinai, in a bid to help Egypt deal with the jihadist insurgency in the peninsula, the New York Times reported Saturday. Israel, alarmed at the threat across the border, agreed to take action with the blessing of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, as Egypt struggled to deal with the violent uprising that has killed hundreds of Egyptian security forces and civilians, the report said. “Once enemies in three wars, then antagonists in an uneasy peace, Egypt and Israel are now secret allies in a covert war against a common foe,” said the paper. While security coordination between Jerusalem and Cairo is known to be close, the ties are still unpopular in Egypt, despite nearly three decades of peace. In order to keep the cooperation quiet, the Israeli aircraft are often unmarked and sometimes use indirect routes in a bid to cover up the origin of the strikes, the report said. The report said Sissi had kept the Israeli strikes secret, only letting a small group of military and intelligence officials in on the cooperation, and has kept northern Sinai a closed military area, barring reporters from the region….
For an Israeli lawyer fighting for Palestinian rights, winning is a double-edged sword
Haaretz 28 Jan by David B. Green — Michael Sfard talks to Haaretz about his new book, his optimistic outlook on ending the occupation and the disturbing trends he sees in Israeli society — Michael Sfard likes to say that “The Wall and the Gate” was born on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway. The human rights attorney’s new book, which is subtitled “Israel, Palestine, and the Legal Battle for Human Rights” (Metropolitan/Holt Books; 526 pages; $35), deals with the history of Israeli litigation on behalf of the Palestinians over a half-century of occupation. For about half of that time, Sfard has been one of the key players in this drama, representing Palestinian individuals and communities in challenging the expropriation and theft of their lands, attempted deportations, Israeli torture and administrative detention of “terror” suspects … For a long time Sfard had been aware of a dissonance between his goal of attaining relief for individual Palestinian clients and his desire to force a change in Israeli policies. A telling example is his most dramatic legal victory, when in 2007 the High Court rejected the state’s claim that the route of one segment of the security barrier erected during the second intifada had been based solely on security considerations. Instead, it accepted Sfard’s argument that the authorities had allowed the desire to include more West Bank land for settlements within the Israeli side of the wall to prevail, even to the detriment of security-military needs …
Sfard quickly recognized the double-edged nature of such victories. Yes, the damage wrought by the fence on individual Palestinian communities was lessened, but it came at the expense of the court giving its legal imprimatur to the barrier as a whole …
Two weeks ago, The New York Times published an excerpt from the book, in which former Israel Air Force commander David Ivri described how, in its attempt to assassinate Yasser Arafat, Israel came very close to shooting down a plane carrying his brother, Fathi Arafat, in October 1982….
Brainwashing and cross-dressing: Israel’s assassination program laid bare in shocking detail
Haaretz 5 Feb by David B. Green — “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations” by Ronen Bergman (translated from Hebrew by Ronnie Hope), Random House, 784 pp, $35. Ronen Bergman’s riveting history of Israel’s use of targeted killings reveals for the first time many operations carried out in the name of national security. Some may inspire the reader while others will sicken … Call him “insistent” (or maybe obsessive), but Bergman’s documentation is neither pretentious nor overblown. Rather, it provides essential sourcing for hundreds of episodes from the history of Israel’s intelligence and security services. They range from the pre-state era, when Zionist operatives targeted British officials and Arab marauders in Palestine, and Nazi murderers in Europe, to recent hits on Hamas and Hezbollah terror masters and a series of sudden deaths of otherwise healthy Iranian nuclear engineers. Some of these tales could easily strain credulity – not just because the stories themselves read as if drawn from spy fiction, but also because it’s hard to believe so many of them are being reported here for the first time and in a single volume. However, a perusal of Bergman’s notes informs us that most of the operations described in the book – many of them assassinations – were revealed to him in personal interviews (with more than 1,000 sources, many identified here only by code names) or by way of documents that made their way into his hands. If all of this makes “Rise and Kill First” sound academic or technical, it is anything but. Anyone who enjoys thrillers will revel in its reading (Ronnie Hope’s translation from the Hebrew goes down easy), even as he or she will be compelled to consider the troubling issues it raises.