Media Analysis

In a first, Church of the Holy Sepulchre closes to protest Israeli bill targeting Christian lands

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Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization

Video: Christianity’s holiest site closed in protest
25 Feb — Church leaders in Occupied East Jerusalem have closed the holiest site in Christianity, in response to what they call discrimination by the Israeli government. Leaders of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – believed to be the crucifixion and resurrection site of Jesus Christ – are angry at proposed tax plans for church-owned properties. Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reports from East Jerusalem.

Jordan calls on Israel to ‘immediately’ reverse its decisions on churches in Jerusalem
JORDAN (WAFA) 25 Feb – Jordan Sunday condemned the Israeli occupation authorities’ decisions against Jerusalem churches and properties in violation of international law, demanding Israel to immediately reverse its decisions. Jordan’s government spokesperson Mohammad Al-Momani reiterated Jordan’s absolute rejection of Israeli authorities’ systematic measures to change the historical and legal status quo in East Jerusalem’s holy sites, including Islamic and Christian property and endowments. The government spokesperson noted that these measures violate international and humanitarian laws and arrangements of the historical situation that has been existing for many years in this regard, stressing that Churches are always exempt from paying these taxes to the existing civil authorities in the city….

Israel bans tourism and education ministers from an event in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 26 Feb – Israeli authorities Monday banned Minister of Tourism Rola Ma’ay’a and Minister of Education Sabri Saidam from attending an event in the old city of Jerusalem, according to a Tourism Ministry official. Jiries Qumsieh, director of Ma’ay’a office, told WAFA that the two ministers were set to participate in a launch for rehabilitation of a school in the Old City when the Israeli Internal Security minister issued an order banning them from reaching the site. Israeli police closed entrances to the old city in order to prevent the two ministers and Jerusalem’s Fatah secretary from reaching the school. The two ministries said in a joint statement that “the Israeli hysteria will not stop them from carrying out their duties toward Jerusalem, and that such unfair practices are a proof of the occupation attempt to undermine official presence in Jerusalem as a prelude to end the Palestinian national presence there.”

Hundreds of Jewish settlers buried on private Palestinian lands, new research finds
Haaretz 25 Feb by Uri Blau — Israeli NGO says many settlement cemeteries are purposely being built hundreds of meters from nearest homes. ‘Time for left-wing organizations to stop hounding settlers even after death,’ responds Yesha Council — Over 40 percent of the graves in West Bank settlements have been dug on privately owned Palestinian land, according to new research by a left-wing Israeli NGO. The comprehensive study claims that some 600 graves, situated in or near 10 settlements, are built on Palestinian land, including land that has been expropriated for public use or taken by Israel for what it describes as security needs.
The research was undertaken by Dror Etkes from Kerem Navot, a nongovernmental organization concerned with Israeli settlement and the state’s land policies beyond the Green Line (Israel’s pre-1967 borders) … Until the mid-1980s, there were only two Jewish cemeteries in the West Bank – and these were both built on land purchased by Jews prior to 1948 (in Hebron and Kfar Etzion). However, Etkes says his mapping project – using aerial photography from different times, most recently June 2017 – shows that there are now 32 Jewish cemeteries containing at least two graves, scattered around the West Bank….

Israeli settlers build new illegal outpost in Jordan Valley – the third one in 18 months
[with map] Haaretz 25 Feb by Amira Hass — Head of nearby Palestinian village says the settlers flew drones over their flocks, scaring the sheep and causing them to return to their pens — Late last week a few Israelis and a large herd of cows settled into an abandoned military base in the northern part of the Jordan Valley, according to Sami Tsadeq, head of the village of Al Aqabah, which lies just west of the abandoned base. He told Haaretz he believes these people are part of one family. They arrived on Wednesday, and on Thursday they built a fence to keep in their herd. Activists of the Machsom Watch NGO toured the area on Saturday and met a couple who were camping there in their tent. They said they had come to help the settlers. Two dogs were on guard. A protest rally of Palestinians and Israelis on Sunday morning was dispersed with tear gas, fired by soldiers. Tsadeq informed attorney Netta Amar-Shiff that on Thursday he reported the outpost to the Palestinian Civilian Affairs Committee and that the (Israeli) District Coordination and Liaison (DCL) Office had promised that the Israelis would be evacuated forthwith. On Saturday night the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said they knew nothing about the outpost and that this would be investigated on Sunday. Tsadeq told attorney Amar-Shiff that he was informed that the DCL had told the Palestinian committee that it would work to dislodge the Israeli settlers, but that no date had been set for removing them….

Israeli settlers take over 120 dunums near Nablus
NABLUS (WAFA) 25 Feb – Illegal Israeli settlers on Sunday took over 120 dunums of land near the village of Jalud, to the south of Nablus in the northern West Bank, according to local sources. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West bank, said that setters from the illegal “Adi Ad” settlement took over 80 dunums of agricultural land belonging to Palestinians from Jalud and embarked on planting it with crops The settlers also confiscated other 40 dunums of land near the village, and proceeded to plough it and plant it with wheat and grapes. They also as set up greenhouses there, according to Daghlas.

New Israeli education law angers Palestinians
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 25 Feb by Rasha Abou Jalal — Palestinians believe that recent legislation from the Knesset that applies Israeli education law to academic institutions in settlements in the West Bank is a step closer to annexation….


Israeli navy kills a teenage fisherman, injures two others
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Feb — The Israeli navy shot dead, on Sunday evening, a Palestinian fishermen and wounded two others while they were fishing off the Gaza coast, Palestinian and Israeli sources said. Head of Syndicate of Palestinian Fishermen Nizar Ayyash said that the three fishermen were aboard a fishing boat, on their way back to the port, when the Israeli gunboats opened fire at them. “All of them were directly targeted,” he said, noting that all of them, including the one who was killed, were abducted by the navy. While he did not know the reason why the Israeli naval forces had opened fire on the men, Ayyash stressed that they did not cross the fishing limit defined by the Israeli occupation. Update: Medical Sources identified the slain fisherman as Ismael Saleh Abu Ryala, 18, from Shati’ refugee camp, west of Gaza city. The wounded fishermen have been identified as Mahmoud Adel Aby Ryala, 18, and ‘Aahed Hasan Abu ‘Ali, 26, who were both abducted by the navy. The navy fired a barrage of live fire at their boat, wounding the three, and later said one of them died from his wounds. Other fishermen who were nearby managed to tow the boat back to shore. Protesting the constant, and in many cases deadly, Israeli violations against the fishermen in Palestinian waters, the Palestinian Fishermen Syndicate has suspended all fishing activities in Gaza waters for two days.

Israeli navy detains two Palestinian fishermen off Gaza shore
GAZA (WAFA) 24 Feb – Israeli navy unit Saturday detained two Palestinian fishermen in the sea of al-Sudaniya, northwest of the Gaza Strip, according to WAFA correspondent. He said that Israeli navy boats opened fire toward Palestinian fishermen and their boats, which were sailing about four nautical miles into the sea. The navy forced two fishermen to take off their clothes and go in the water on a very cold day before detaining them and their boat. The two fishermen and their boat were taken to the Israeli port of Asdod, north of Gaza.

Israeli soldiers abduct two young men in southern Gaza
IMEMC 25 Feb — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Saturday evening, two young Palestinian men, near the border fence east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and fired many live rounds and flares in the area. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, shot the two men, on Palestinian lands near the fence. They added that the soldiers abducted the two wounded young men, who were on Palestinian agricultural lands, and took them to an unknown destination. The soldiers also fired many live rounds into Palestinian farmlands in the area, in addition to firing dozens of flares.

More than 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza have died from Israeli blockade
Al Jazeera 25 Feb — Gaza Strip’s 12-year land, air and naval blockade has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 Palestinians — The Gaza Strip’s collective of charitable organisations said more than 1,000 Palestinians have died as a result of the ongoing Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave. The coordinator of the organisations, Ahmad al-Kurd, also said on Sunday that five premature babies born in the past few days died because of a lack of available medical treatment. “Out of the 1,000 or so victims of the blockade, 450 died as a result of the collapse of the health situation in Gaza, such as the lack of medical supplies and the crisis of medical referrals for outside treatment.” Gazans continue to face a desperate situation because of the blockade with water and electricity shortages, as well as a lack of medicines and doctors unable to perform surgeries. Kurd said the use of alternative electricity by residents of the Gaza Strip since 2006 has caused the deaths of 100 people. “The use of candles, firewood or generators has resulted in house fires that claimed the lives of children and adults alike,” he said. Furthermore, the number of workers who were killed in the fields of agriculture, fishing and commercial tunnels has reached 350. One fisherman was killed on Sunday after the Israeli navy fired at his boat. Two other fishermen were wounded … According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), all Israeli attacks on Palestinian fishermen have taken place within the six nautical miles zone….

Making ends meet on Gaza’s streets
EI 23 Feb by Amjad Ayman Yaghi — One morning in late January, Nabil al-Duhadar, 45, got up before 6 for dawn prayers and then immediately set to work. Al-Duhadar is a street vendor who sells turmos – a lupin bean snack often sold in market stalls. The snack takes preparation: the beans are soaked over 24 hours before being cooked for a couple of hours and then seasoned with salt and cumin and drizzled with lemon. It’s cheap, healthy and portable and an ideal product for street vendors for whom mobility is important. Mobility allows al-Duhadar the luxury of chasing his custom. And on this particular January morning, the custom was there to be chased. A demonstration had been called to protest the US decision to cut funding for the UN’s Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, that caters to the needs for Palestinian refugees.
A bitter irony— Al-Duhadar used be a metal worker. But the Israeli-imposed blockade on Gaza, now in its 11th year, put paid to such work, since much metal is listed on Israel’s extensive “dual-use” products that are banned from entry. And while he sees the irony that demonstrations against the very siege and sanctions that cost him his livelihood are now seen as business opportunities, he has to pay rent of $150 every month. All other considerations are a luxury. “This harsh situation leaves me no choice. I have to support my family.”…
–Child vendors– The trade has also attracted the very young. Worsening economic conditions have resulted in alarming levels of child labor….

Gaza’s hospital cleaners become poverty-stricken pawns in politicised crisis
The New Arab 22 Feb by Rami Almeghani — Garbage is found everywhere at the Al-Shifa hospital compound in Gaza City, including in the kidney dialysis department. No fewer than 174 cleaning staff have walked out on strike, having not been paid for the past five months. The workers walked out on February 4, insisting they should be paid by a private-sector cleaning company. The Al-Shifa hospital is the largest and oldest government-run hospital in Gaza and many of these cleaners have been staff here for years. “I have been working here for the past 18 years and this time seems the worst for me and many other fellow workers,” one striking worker told The New Arab. “Over the past five months, my seven children and husband have not had a staple meal on the table. We have been forced to sell out our sofa and refrigerator in order to be able to get by. “I only get 700 shekels [$200] a month, which is already inadequate when it was paid,” said Enaam Taweel, just outside the operating theatre she cleaned until two weeks ago. As she continued to shed her tears, Enaam said her husband, who has some health complications, has been jobless and that she is the only provider for the seven children, the youngest of whom is seven-year-old Mohammad … Meanwhile, small groups of volunteers, sent by local mosques or large Gaza families, have come over to clean the hospital. However, garbage is still clearly seen, throughout the various departments….

Gaza on 4 hours of power a day after sole electric firm shuts down
Haaretz 22 Feb by Jack Khoury — The electric company in the Gaza Strip will shut down the only power plant in Gaza because of a lack of diesel fuel to run the plant, the company announced on Thursday evening. Until the electricity generating plant is put back to work, the only source of electricity in the Gaza Strip will be that supplied by Israel. The amount of electricity Israel can provide to Gaza is enough for four hours of power – followed by 16 hours of blackout a day. The Gaza electric company said the reason for the lack of fuel is the closure of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt. Egypt has closed the crossing because of the security situation in the northern Sinai Peninsula due to the murderous attacks on Egyptian forces and civilians by affiliates of ISIS and other extremist Islamic groups in the Sinai. Egypt says such attacks make it difficult for it to provide fuel. Last month, Israel renewed supplying 120 megawatts of electricity to Gaza every day, as it had done until the middle of 2017. This electricity allowed an additional two hours of power every day for Gaza residents, for a total of six hours a day….

One woman tackles two of Gaza’s toughest challenges
We Are Not Numbers by Karama Fadel — Two of the Gaza Strip’s most pressing challenges are a blockade-induced shortage of both electricity and building materials. And, in this conservative, patriarchal society, it’s a young, female engineer who is tackling both. Majd al-Mashharawi, a 24-year-old recent graduate in civil engineering, first figured out how to turn ash and rubble – of which Gaza has a lot – into a material she calls “Green Cake” that can replace cement. Now, she is turning her attention to renewable energy technologies, starting with a solar kit named SunBox. Currently in the pilot phase, SunBox is, she says, the first off-the-grid solar kit in Gaza….

Egyptian mediators in Gaza press Palestinians to reconcile
GAZA CITY (AP) 25 Feb — A team of Egyptian officials is in the Gaza Strip to renew efforts to push for reconciliation between the rival Fatah and Gaza factions. Two Egyptian intelligence officials and a diplomat arrived in Gaza on Sunday, along with several government ministers from the Fatah-led Palestinian Cabinet in the West Bank … A delegation of Hamas leaders has been in Egypt since Feb. 9 in what is believed to be a stepped up Egyptian pressure campaign on the group.

Palestinian gov’t officials in Gaza to push reconciliation
RAMALLAH (Xinhua) 25 Feb — Palestinian government officials arrive in Gaza Strip Sunday to “follow up and push reconciliation steps,” according to a statement by the government spokesperson. Government Spokesperson Yousef Al-Mahmoud said in an emailed press statement that the delegation will be working on “following up the works of the ministries and the governmental operations in order to enhance the steps towards achieving national reconciliation.” He added that the government weekly meeting will be held jointly between Gaza and the West Bank next Tuesday, stressing the government’s commitment to national unity “especially in this current phase where challenges faced by the Palestinian cause are of utmost danger.” Al-Mahmoud said that the decision by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah to provide 20,000 jobs and a number of vital projects as soon as the government is allowed to take over its duties over tax collection, the internal security (police and civil defense), border crossings, the judiciary and the veteran public sector employees….

Small press brings e-books to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 22 Feb by Joumana Imad — Gaza’s first e-publishing house, Khota Books, sells both e-books and hard copies on its website from the comfort of readers’ homes. The publishing house was established by two young Gazans in August 2016 and offers both traditional and self-publishing. It initially published only local writers, but as of January 2018, it’s acquiring reprint rights to works by international writers such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Mahmoud Madi, founder and executive director of the publishing house, told Al-Monitor, “My colleague and I have noticed that young people are not interested in reading books and no longer visit public libraries, which results in a loss of our culture and heritage. Neither did we have any [electronic] publishing houses here in Gaza to promote books written by local authors.”….

What it’s like to be gay in Gaza: Meeting Israelis on dating apps, evading Hamas and plotting escape
Haaretz 21 Feb by Liza Rozovsky — On his avatar on an instant message app, Jamil looks like a happy young man, with glasses and a trendy haircut. But Jamil (not his real name) says he lives in a state of constant fear, and his most cherished dream is to leave his homeland and break free from his family. The 21-year-old student from the Gaza Strip is gay and lives a double life: an open one, as a diligent student, the youngest child in his family, busy helping his elderly parents with everyday tasks (shopping, making sure the electrical generator works and there’s water in the house) – and a secret one, a large chunk of which is spent on dating apps and fake accounts on social networks … In modern Palestinian society, homosexuality is highly stigmatized and condemned. M., a Palestinian psychologist living and working in Germany, who spoke with Haaretz on condition that he remain anonymous, says that the society’s negative attitude toward homosexuality is not necessarily connected to Islam itself, but rather to the culture and the notion of masculinity. “Islam obviously plays a role,” says M., “but even people who are totally secular reject homosexuality.”  …  Unlike the West Bank, where homosexuality is not officially prohibited by law, in Gaza, a law left over from the era of the British Mandate prohibiting homosexual acts is still formally in place. But the social taboo, which subjects active gays to persecution by both their families and the authorities, is more significant than the legal ban….

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Autopsy performed on Palestinian who died in Israeli custody refutes Israeli claims
RAMALLAH, February 23, 2018 (WAFA) – An autopsy performed on the body of Yasin Omar Saradeeh,who was pronounced dead shortly after Israeli forces detained him on Thursday morning following clashes in Jericho, revealed that Saradeeh died from a live bullet shot by Israeli forces at point-blank range into his lower abdomen, the Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission said in a statement on Friday. The autopsy revealed that the bullet entered Saradeeh’s lower abdomen, causing an internal bleeding and the rupture of the artery and the vein before exiting from his back, which refutes Israeli claims that he died as a result of tear gas inhalation. The Israeli army informed Saradeeh’s family of his death while in detention, claiming he suffered convulsions after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli army during confrontations. The autopsy also revealed fractures in the pelvic area and traces of bruises in the head, chest, neck and shoulders. The autopsy was carried out in Israel’s Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, and attended by Palestinian pathologist Rayyan al-Ali after Israel agreed to his participation.

Prisoners Commission petitions Israeli military for release of Saradeeh’s body
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 24 Feb — The Prisoners Commission has petitioned the Israeli military prosecution to release the body of Yasin Saradeeh, who was killed by Israeli forces on Thursday, in order for his family to bury him, Issa Qaraqe, head of the commission, said on Saturday. Saradeeh, 33, from Jericho, was killed when shot by Israeli soldiers from point-blank range in the lower abdomen, according to an autopsy carried out on him at the Israeli forensic center on Friday. He was also severely beaten and suffered fractures and bruises on his head and body. Qaraqe told Voice of Palestine radio that if the Israeli military delays turning over Saradeeh’s body to his family, then they will appeal to Israeli High Court.

Soldiers shoot child with gas bomb in the head near Ramallah
IMEMC 23 Feb — Israeli soldiers shot, on Thursday evening, a Palestinian child with a gas bomb in the head, in Deir Nitham village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Medical sources said the child, identified as Saleh Mahmoud Tamimi, is only 10 years of age … They added that the soldiers invaded the town and fired dozens of gas bombs at homes at homes in the town, after the army assaulted dozens of protesters. The child suffered moderate wounds, and was rushed to the Istishari Hospital, in Ramallah. It is worth mentioning that Deir Nitham is subject to daily Israeli military invasions, violent searches of homes, and constant abductions.

UPDATE: Four Palestinians shot, injured in Nablus-area clashes
NABLUS (WAFA) 23 Feb – Several Palestinians Friday were shot and injured and others suffocated during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces in three different locations in the West Bank district of Nablus, said medical sources. Director of the Red Crescent’s Emergency Department in Nablus Ahmad Jibril said clashes broke out between Palestinians and Israeli army forces at Huwwara military checkpoint and at Nablus’ towns of Beita [or Baita] and Salem. Forces used live ammunition, rubber-baton rounds, and tear gas canisters against Palestinian residents during the clashes. A Palestinian was struck with a live bullet in the abdomen, while another sustained shrapnel injuries in the neck during Salem town clashes. A Palestinian was also shot and injured by a live bullet in the thigh, and another was struck with a Tutu explosive bullet during the clashes that broke out at Huwwara checkpoint. Others were reportedly treated at the scene for rubber-coated steel bullet wounds. A number others were treated for tear gas exposure.
Meanwhile, a massive fire engulfed the central vegetable market in Beita town at the time of the clashes. Reasons behind the fire are still unknown. The mayor of Beita said losses resulting from the massive fire are estimated at one and a half million shekels (NIS).

Over 1,000 Palestinians protest across West Bank, Gaza border; 20 reported injured
Haaretz 23 Feb by Jack Khoury & Yaniv Kubovich — Palestine Red Crescent says 18 wounded in clashes with Israeli forces in West Bank, two wounded on Gaza border — Thousands of Palestinians protested Friday afternoon in 14 different locations across the West Bank. Hundreds also demonstrated in five different locations near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip. The Palestine Red Crescent reported that 18 protesters were wounded in clashes with military forces in the West Bank, including one protester who was hit by gunfire, seven who were shot by rubber bullets, and ten who were wounded by inhaling teargas….

Israeli forces shut down Jerusalem restaurant, arrest two
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 24 Feb – Israeli police and intelligence shut down a restaurant in Zahra Street in occupied East Jerusalem and arrested two Palestinians who were in the restaurant, including the owner, on Saturday evening, according to local sources. WAFA correspondent said Israeli intelligence and police officers raided the restaurant and arrested its owner, Zuhair Izheiman, and prevented a dinner party for Palestinian journalists which was supposed to take place in the restaurant on Saturday night. The intelligence and police officers ordered the journalists who were present at the restaurant to leave and also arrested one of them, identified as x

Israel detains 28 Palestinians in West Bank and Jerusalem, including minors
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 22 Feb — Israeli military and security forces detained on Wednesday evening and early Thursday 28 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS). It said Israeli security forces raided a number of homes in Ramallah and al-Bireh and detained three Palestinians, one of them is 17 years old.
In the northern governorates, Israeli forces raided Tulkarm, Jenin and Salfit and detained 12 Palestinians, including two brothers, and brutally beat brothers of a detainee.
Israeli forces also detained two Palestinians from the southern governorate of Bethlehem.
PPS added that two brothers were detained from ‘Issawiya, an East Jerusalem neighborhood, three others from Jerusalem’s Old City and another one from Silwan neighborhood. Five minors aged 13-15 from the Shu‘fat refugee camp in Jerusalem were also detained.

Zionist occupying forces abduct six Palestinians in West Bank
ABNA 24 Feb — Israeli occupied soldiers abducted, on Friday at dawn, six Palestinians, including a child in addition to the father and the wife of a political prisoner, in several parts of the occupied West Bank. In occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the soldiers searched a few homes, interrogated Palestinians, and abducted Mohammad Shalabi.
Many army jeeps also invaded the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and abducted the wife and the father of a political prisoner, identified as Abdul-Mon’em Salah. Ahmad Salah, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in al-Khader, said the soldiers abducted Abdul-Mon’em’s wife, Niven Salah, in her thirties, and his father Mohammad Omran Salah, 67, after invading and violently searching their homes. It is worth mentioning that Abdul-Mon’em was abducted by the soldiers more than two years ago and is still held without charges.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Deir Istiya town, east of Salfit, searched homes and abducted a young man, identified as Sharaf Daoud ‘Obeid. In Qalqilia city, in northern West Bank, the soldiers searched homes and abducted a child, identified as Mohammad Ma’zouz Daoud, 13. In addition, the soldiers invaded Beit Ummar town, north of the southern West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron), especially the al-Ein al-Jalda areas, searched and ransacked many homes, and abducted Issa Hashem Bahar, 20. The soldiers also invaded many neighborhoods in Al-Khalil (Hebron) city, and searched a home, owned by Amer Ribhi al-‘Oweiwi, in the Salaam Street.

Israeli forces detain seven Palestinians, including minors, in West Bank
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Feb – Israeli forces Sunday detained seven Palestinians, including minors and a Turkish citizen, in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS said in a statement that soldiers detained 25-year-old Hilal Qamar, a Turkish citizen who also holds French citizenship and studies in Najah National University, after raiding a dormitory in the city of Tulkarm where he is currently living. Israeli army further detained four others, including two 15-year-old Palestinians, from Qalqilia city, in northwestern West Bank. Two Palestinians, including a 16-year-old, from Bethlehem, were also detained by Israeli forces.

Israel detains 10 members of Nabi Saleh’s Tamimi family, mostly minors
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 26 Feb – Israeli forces Monday detained 10 members of the extended Tamimi family during wide-scale raid and inspection operations in the village of Nabi Saleh, northwest of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian security sources. They told WAFA that the forces raided the village early in the morning and carried out a raid operation, detaining up to 10 members of the Tamimi family, mostly minors, including 15-year-old Mohammad Tamimi, who was previously severely injured when shot in the face by Israeli forces in December and remains in serious condition and awaiting a new operation in March. His 17-year-old brother, Tamim, was also arrested. In addition to Mohammad and Tamim, four other detainees ranging in age between 14 and 17 years, one 19 and the rest between 21 and 29 years. The village of Nabi Saleh has been the target of Israeli intensified raid and arrest operations ever since Ahed Tamimi, 17, was detained for confronting Israeli soldiers who had forced their way into her family home.

Israeli forces detain sixth grader in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 25 Feb – Israeli forces Sunday detained a Palestinian sixth grader in the town of al-Khader, south of Bethlehem, said a local activist. Ahmad Salah, Coordinator of the Popular Anti-Wall and Settlement Committee in al-Khader, said Israeli soldiers detained 12-year-old Yousif Ghnaim, after chasing him as he left Said Al-Ass elementary school in the town. Forces reportedly intercepted students while they were on their way home from school and fired tear gas canisters and stun grenades towards them, spurring clashes with locals. No injuries were reported.

Palestinian protesters throw eggs at US politicians visiting Ramallah
PressTV 23 Feb — Palestinian demonstrators have pelted a group of US politicians visiting the occupied West Bank with eggs to show their anger at Washington’s hostile policies against their nation and in favor of the Israeli regime — On Thursday, dozens of Palestinians gathered outside a research and polling center near Ramallah, where an American delegation, including New York City Council members and civil society groups, was visiting. “America is the head of the snake” and “Americans are not welcome in Palestine,” the protesters chanted as they tried to force their way into the offices of the center. Others chanted, “Jerusalem (al-Quds) is the capital of Palestine.” Upon leaving the venue, the visitors were pelted with eggs and vegetables by the crowd of protesters, who also chased their bus. The delegation had to be evacuated from the city by Palestinian police forces. The demonstrators were waving Palestinian flags and holding anti-American signs that read, “The US is part of the problem, not the solution.” Other banners called for the removal of Israeli settlements from occupied territories and used the slogan “#HandsOffJerusalem.”

Prisoners / Court actions

Palestinian mother and daughter Rusaila and Sara Shamasneh to be released today
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Feb — Palestinian mother and daughter Rusaila Shamasneh, 48, and Sara Shamasneh, 14, will be released  on Sunday, 25 February, from Israeli occupation prisons. The Shamasneh women are the mother and sister, respectively, of Mohammed Shamasneh, 23, who was killed by Israeli occupation forces in 2016. They were seized from their home in Qatana in occupied Jerusalem by occupation forces who raided their home on 31 January. During their detention, Rusaila Shamasneh conducted a hunger strike for 17 days against her forcible separation from her young daughter until she and Sara were sentenced to 40 days in prison on Monday, 20 February. Both Shamasneh and Sara were accused of “incitement” for their statements at the funeral of their son and brother over two years ago; Rusaila was also accused of firing a gun into the air. Mohammed participated in an armed resistance operation in which he seized a gun of an Israeli occupation soldier. Sara was only 12 years old at the time. Nevertheless, over two years later, occupation forces invaded their home and seized mother and daughter….

Ahed Tamimi: father speaks of his pride as Palestinian activist prepares for trial
The Conversation 22 Feb by Emma Heywood — … While I was in the West Bank, I repeatedly encountered certain themes about the trial. All the Palestinians I spoke to deeply respect and admire the Tamimis, but many worry that Ahed’s high-profile case is detracting from other ongoing ones, of which there is no shortage. Tamimi is the tip of the iceberg. According to the prisoner human rights association Addemeer, there are more than 450 children in Israeli prisons, a figure which has doubled in the past three years. Tamimi’s age is not exceptional, and nor is her treatment. Western media must be careful not to focus on fragmented aspects of the occupation, be it the wall, the checkpoints, certain arrests, and be distracted from looking at the occupation as a whole. But as Bassem sees it, if Ahed is the one to bring the occupation to the fore, then so be it … Bassem agrees he torments himself that his daughter is losing her childhood, and is taking responsibility for something her generation should not be responsible for. But to him, normalising the conflict is not an option. He is more than aware that he and his family are taking on a heavy burden in representing occupied Palestine. He is in constant demand for interviews from journalists. Raising awareness of the cause, particularly internationally, is effectively his main occupation and not one he takes lightly. He speaks with pride of being a Fatah member and refuses to hear ill of those in charge….

Paralyzed detainee holds hunger strike
IMEMC 26 Feb — Shireen Iraqi, a lawyer with the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, stated that detainee Amir As‘ad, 35, who is paralyzed and imprisoned by Israel, started a hunger strike twelve days ago, protesting bad treatment and being held in an inaccessible section in Galboa’ prison. Iraqi said the detainee, from Kafr Kanna town in the Galilee, cannot move around without his wheelchair, but was placed in an inaccessible section in Galboa’ prison, in addition to being constantly harassed by the soldiers. The detainee told Iraqi that the only section in the prison is Section 1, as the shower and toilet rooms have wider doors, but the administration is refusing to move him there … It is worth mentioning that As‘ad was abducted in 2012 and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison but spent the past six years in the Ramla prison clinic, before he was moved to Galboa’ prison. The Committee stated that the demands of the detainee are simple and basic human rights, as he is only asking to be placed in an accessible facility until he is released this coming June.


Israel to place West Bank, Gaza under strict siege
IMEMC 26 Feb — The Israeli Authorities have announced, on Sunday evening, that the military will be placing the entire West Bank, and the Gaza Strip under a very strict siege for four days during the Purim Jewish feast. The occupied Palestinian territory will be completely closed and isolated starting on Tuesday night at midnight until Saturday night at midnight. Israel will be closing all border terminals, including for those who carry permits, except for urgent cases, including medical. Workers, and patients who have appointments in Israeli clinics, will not be allowed into the country.

Israeli forces close only entrance to Jerusalem village
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 25 Feb – Israeli forces on Sunday shut down the only entrance to to the village of Beit Iksa, to the northwest of Jerusalem, isolating it from its vicinity and preventing people from going in or out.  Witnesses told WAFA that Israeli forces closed Beit Iksa checkpoint and blocked the road, creating a traffic jam, without giving a reason for the closure. Located six kilometers northwest of Jerusalem and populated by 2000 people, Beit Iksa is totally isolated from its Palestinian surroundings by the separation wall to force its residents to leave the village in order to use its area for settlement expansion.



Victory for BDS movement: Honda moves motor GP with Joe Roberts from Israeli settlement
telesur 22 Feb — After international pressure from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, Honda has decided to move a motorcycle racing show from an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Honda’s distributor in Israel had launched plans to hold the MotoGP event on a race track partially built inside of a “live firing zone” near the Petzael Israeli settlement. The BDS movement and other Japanese human rights organizations wrote an open letter to Honda asking to them reconsider the Israeli chapter’s decision to carry out the event at such a controversial site where the violation of the human rights continues to take place and warned them that they could face an international boycott. “The announcement from Honda that the motor race it sponsors will no longer take place in an illegal Israeli settlement shows the BDS movement’s growing impact on international corporations that are complicit in Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization, and apartheid,” Jamal Juma, a member of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), told The Electronic Intifada. Honda Israel has decided to relocate the event to Arad, a city in southern Naqab within the internationally accepted Israeli borders. The BDS movement thinks the decision is not enough since Arad is a city involved in many human rights violations that incite racism against African immigrants…. html

Other news

24 years since Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in Hebron
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Feb — Hebron marks, on Sunday, 24 years since the Ibrahimi mosque massacre took place, when an Israeli settler opened fire at Muslims observing the dawn prayers on a Ramadan morning, killing 29 worshippers and injuring 150 others before he was caught and killed by the crowds. The settler, an American-Israeli physician identified as Barouch Goldstein, who resided in the ultra-fanatic Kiryat Arba settlement in Hebron, walked into the mosque as a large number of Muslim Ramadan worshippers, mainly elderly, were praying and opened fire at random from his Israeli army-issued machine gun leading to the large number of deaths and injuries. To make matters worse, Israeli soldiers, who were in the vicinity of the mosque, closed the doors to the mosque and prevented the worshippers from running for their lives. They also prevented people from outside to enter it to help in evacuating the dead and wounded. Later, related violence raised the number of Palestinians killed on that day to 50, in Hebron alone, and to 60, adding those killed in confrontations that broke out elsewhere in the West Bank, against Israeli occupation forces.
WAFA additionally reports that, immediately following the massacre, Israel decided to punish the victims by closing down the old town of Hebron, where the Ibrahimi mosque is located, for six months. An all-Israeli committee was formed to probe the massacre, instead of punishing the settlers, to divide the mosque between Muslims and Jews, and to close down several commercial streets, most famously Shuhada Street, which remains closed for Palestinians until today. Army checkpoints were also set up to restrict the movement of Palestinians, while Israeli settlers continued to move freely and without any restrictions. The new facts on the ground created after the massacre to punish the victims are still in place until today.

US to open Jerusalem embassy in May 2018
Al Jazeera 23 Feb — Announcement labelled ‘provocation to Arabs’ as May 15 marks Nakba Day and the mass displacement of Palestinians — The US State Department has said the new US embassy in Jerusalem will open in May 2018, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence. The state department called the move a “historic step” in a statement issued on Friday. The announcement means the relocation comes much faster than expected. US Vice President Mike Pence in late January said the controversial embassy would open in 2019. The US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem prompted deadly protests in Palestine and solidarity rallies across the world. For Palestinians, May 15 marks Nakba Day, or the “catastrophe”, when they commemorate the mass displacement of Palestinians to make way for the state of Israel. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians, out of a population of 1.9 million, were expelled from or fled their homes in Palestine. A senior Palestinian official told news agency AFP the announcement was “a provocation to Arabs” and a “blatant violation of international law”. Saeb Erekat, Palestine Liberation Organization secretary-general, said the result would be “the destruction of the two-state option”. Israel Katz, Israeli intelligence minister, thanked Trump for the announcement.”There is no greater gift than that! The most just and correct move. Thanks friend!” Katz said in a tweet.  Israel proclaimed its independence on May 14, 1948. Reporting from Washington, DC, Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan said that it is still unclear where the new embassy will be located….

Palestinians angry at reports of early US embassy move to Jerusalem
RAMALLAH, West Bank/GAZA (Reuters) 23 Feb by Ali Sawafta & Nidal al-Mighrabi — Palestinians reacted on Friday with anger to reports that the United States will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem within months, saying this could destroy the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Clashes erupted in Gaza and the occupied West Bank earlier on Friday in a weekly protest against U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on Jerusalem, which has also angered Arab political and religious leaders across the region and dismayed European allies … Twenty-five Palestinians were wounded by Israeli army gunfire during clashes along the fence with Israel in Gaza on Friday, a Gaza health ministry spokesman said. Protesters threw stones at the Israeli troops. Palestinian health officials said at least 20 Palestinians, most of them in Gaza, have been killed in protests against Trump’s decision since the Dec. 6 announcement.

US weighs Sheldon Adelson offer to fund Jerusalem embassy
WASHINGTON (AP) 23 Feb by Josh Lederman — The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press. Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the officials said. The discussions are occurring as the administration plans a ribbon-cutting for a scaled-down, temporary embassy that will open in May — more than a year ahead of schedule. In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical Christian and American Jewish communities, too. One official said Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and staunch Israel supporter, had offered to pay the difference between the total cost — expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars — and what the administration is able to raise. Under any circumstance, letting private citizens cover the costs of an official government building would mark a significant departure from historical practice. In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump’s politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson’s longstanding affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics….

Palestinian president says he is in good health after tests
JERUSALEM (AP) 23 Feb — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he has undergone medical tests while in the United States and that he is in good health. Speaking on Palestine TV late Thursday night Abbas said “it was a good opportunity to be here to do some medical tests.” He says: “thank God all the results are positive and reassuring.” He did not elaborate. Abbas was in the U.S. where he spoke at the United Nations Security Council. The 82-year-old is a heavy smoker and appeared tired during his speech and breathed slowly. Abbas was supposed to travel from the U.S. to Venezuela. He is expected back in Ramallah on Saturday. An Abbas aide speaking anonymously in line with protocol said Abbas had been treated in a hospital in Baltimore. He called the tests “routine.”

Fans of Jerusalem club fed up with racism form new outfit
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 22 Feb by Ori Lewis — A group of Jerusalem soccer supporters who were fed up with the behaviour of their fellow fans have turned their backs on the club they followed and set up a friendlier, more tolerant outfit. Around 4,000 fans who were previously loyal to Beitar Jerusalem, one of Israel’s biggest and best supported clubs, have broken away to follow Betar Nordia, which was formed by a small group of them four years ago. Beitar Jerusalem are a bastion of Israel’s political right-wing and a group of their supporters known as “La Familia” has been openly hostile and violent towards fellow fans. Israel’s Arab minority has been the main object of their hatred. While Beitar’s players have worked to deliver success on the pitch, the club’s “La Familia” supporters have often frustrated those efforts through their misconduct. The club has faced disciplinary action, including fines and points deductions, and even had to play matches behind closed doors for offences including fan violence, the use of flares, pitch invasions and racist chanting. Unlike almost all other Israeli soccer clubs, Beitar have never employed an Arab player. Nordia, who have adopted the same yellow and black strip and the same team emblem, have a completely opposite attitude and have fielded four Arab players since they were founded and even have Arab fans. Team captain Tzion Zaken, a former Beitar player, said the Nordia setup was unique because of its drive against racism and violence….

Barqa Museum in Nablus collects Palestinian heritage
NABLUS, West Bank (Al-Monitor) 20 Feb by Ibrahim Abdelhadi — A family of collectors from Nablus has single-handedly created a museum of more than 5,000 pieces that reflect Palestinian heritage since the Canaanite period — The History Museum of Palestine, or the Barqa Museum as city residents call it, houses everyday items once used by Palestinians, such as old coins, pottery and manuscripts that date back to Canaanite, Roman, Byzantine, Greek, Islamic, Mamluk and Ottoman eras. It also houses a library that includes over 1,200 books on the ancient civilizations of Palestine….

Palestinian traditional soap makers in West Bank struggle to survive against vanishing
Xinhua 25 Feb — The traditional soap making factories that once flourished in West Bank’s Nablus over a hundred years ago are now fighting for surviving against vanishing. In 1980, the handcraft of soap making was active with 40 factories, but now in 2018, only two are operational. Owner of an ancient soap factory in Nablus Maher Shak’aa told Xinhua he refuses to change his profession, which he inherited from his grandparents over 120 years ago. Shak’aa uses his traditional tools to produce the soap, in spite of the retract in this profession due to the usage of modern tools and chemicals in production to replace organic olive oil.  He explained that this profession “is no longer feasible as a business, but we maintain it because of its history and heritage that was passed down to us from our grandparents, and we won’t change the original way it is made.” Shak’aa and his team still use every component in the historic way of soap production, except for the gasoline that is replaced with diesel due to its scarcity….

Palestinian novel dominates the International Arabic Prize for Fiction 2018
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 22 Feb – Since the inception of the International Arabic Prize for Fiction in 2007, the Palestinian pen and literature continue to flourish and compete year after year to prove their added value. The Palestinian novel has managed to make it to the shortlist every year except 2011. While novels written by Palestinian authors were shortlisted each year, only in 2016 did a Palestinian novel claim the prize: “Destinies: Concerto of the Holocaust and the Nakba” by Rabai al-Madhoun. This year in the eleventh edition of the prize, a Palestinian dominance is observed and praised. Four novels written by Palestinian authors were included in the longlist and the shortlist, making it the best year for Palestinian literature. The works are “The Second War of the Dog” by Ibrahim Nasrallah, “Heir of the Tombstones” by Walid Shurafa, “Christina” by Atef Abu Saif and “Ali, the Story of an Honourable Man” by Hussein Yassin. The four novels were selected from a pool of 124 Arabic novels written by authors from 14 different Arab countries…. (listserv)