Palestinian dies from serious wounds suffered on March 30
IMEMC 9 Apr — Palestinian medical sources have reported, on Monday morning, that a man who was shot by Israeli army fire on March 30th, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, has succumbed to his wounds. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, identified the Palestinian as Marwan Odah Qdeih, 45, from Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. He added that his death brings the number of Palestinians who were killed by the Israeli military since the “Great Return March” on March 30th, to thirty Palestinians, (excluding a farmer who was killed on his land that morning), while at least 2860 have been injured, including dozens who suffered serious wounds … On Friday, April 6, one of Marwan’s relatives, identified as Osama Khamis Qdeih, 38, was among seven Palestinians, including one child, who were killed by Israeli forces during protests at the Gaza-Israel border.
B’Tselem under investigation for urging Israel soldiers not to kill Gaza protesters
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Apr — Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has asked Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate rights group B’Tselem for asking Israeli soldiers not to kill Gaza protesters. In a tweet, Liberman urged the state to “probe the heads of B’Tselem for incitement to disobedience after their call for soldiers to refuse orders in defending the border.” “This subversive and impermanent organisation, together with those who hate Israel and the international media who are trying to delegitimize our soldiers who are acting in a legal and moral manner in a complicated situation,” he says. “We will put an end to this.” B’Tselem hit back at Lieberman, stressing that live fire to disperse demonstrators is illegal under Israeli law. In a statement, the human rights group said that the order violates Section 110 of Israel’s penal code, and Lieberman’s efforts to have the group investigated are without merit. “The defense minister is the one inciting to break the law, and it’s good that the attorney general will now have the opportunity to officially determine this,” B’Tselem says, according to Days of Palestine.
Two children, journalist among Israel’s latest Gaza victims
EI 6 Apr by Maureen Clare Murphy — Nine Palestinians were killed on Friday as Israel ignored calls for restraint in its use of force against unarmed protesters in Gaza for the second week in a row. Journalist Yaser Murtaja, shot while wearing a vest marking him as a member of the press, was among those killed: Two of those killed were children under the age of 18: Hussein Muhammad Adnan Madi, 13, shot in the stomach with live fire east of Gaza City, and Alaa al-Din Yahya Ismail al-Zamli, 15, fatally wounded east of Rafah. Also in Rafah, Israeli soldiers shot at the head of Muhammad Said Mousa al-Haj Saleh, 33, killing him. In Khan Younis, also in Gaza’s south, Usama Khamis Musallam Qudeih, 29, died after he was shot in the head by soldiers. In central Gaza east of Deir al-Balah, two Palestinians died after they were shot in the head by soldiers: Ibrahim Ziyad Salameh al-Ar, 20, and Sudqi Talib Muhammad Abu Ateiweh, 45. Both men were from Nuseirat refugee camp. Hamza Abd al-Al, 20, was also shot and killed in the eastern boundary of central Gaza. In northern Gaza, Majdi Ramadan Mousa Shbat, 38, died after he was shot in the neck with live fire. An eighth victim, Thaer Muhammad Rabaa, 30, died on Friday from injuries he sustained during the first day of the Great March of Return protest in northern Gaza, on 30 March.
Three of those killed since 30 March were children, including 17-year-old [not 22 as media reported] Ibrahim Abu Shaar, whose age was confirmed by Defense for Children International Palestine on Friday …
In an effort to prevent a repeat of last Friday’s high casualties, Palestinians had attempted to obscure the vision of Israeli snipers by burning tires as a smokescreen: Palestinian outlets circulated “before and after” images claiming to show, on the right, snipers positioned on a hill before tires were burned and, on the left, an evacuated post after they were set on fire: Israeli journalists reported that the military deployed giant fans and “the most powerful fire truck available in Israel, usually stationed in the oil refineries”: Photos from the protests circulated on social media show Palestinians improvising methods to protect themselves from tear gas fired by soldiers:
Despite these efforts, more than 1,300 Palestinians were injured – around 30 of them critically – by Israeli forces in Gaza on Friday. Nearly 500 were injured by live fire, the Gaza health ministry stated…. [Long, detailed article with many photos, tweets, videos, well worth reading]
Slain Palestinian journalist’s media org vows to hold Israel accountable for ‘this heinous crime’
Mondoweiss 9 Apr — Last Friday, Palestinian filmmaker Yaser Abdul Rahman Murtaja was killed by an Israeli sniper near the border fence wearing a PRESS flak jacket, and today the Norwegian Refugee Council– which had reached an agreement for Murtaja to shoot video for them — linked to Murtaja’s latest footage of the “Great March of Return” protests. It is posted here, and is a ravishing demonstration of Murtaja’s powers as a filmmaker. “He was killed doing his job: recording his people’s right to protest for their human rights,” says Karl Schembri of the Norwegian Refugee Council. Murtaja was a co-founder of Ain Media of Gaza, which today expressed “its gratitude to all the media professionals, journalists, civil and international organisations” who have publicized the case and stated that it will not let the killing pass:… Murtaja’s latest footage tells a story. We see Palestinians gathering at the protest tents, making food on outdoor fires, and perhaps most touching, the scene inside the journalists’ tent, in which Palestinian journalists and photographers go about the humdrum activities of chronicling the march. The footage also documents the firing of tires by protesters, and Israeli shootings. Many injured men are shown being carried back through long grass to the blue medical tent, where doctors get to work trying to save them. Palestinian flags are everywhere. Murtaja evidently shot much of his film by drone. Though it is clear that he also needed to be close to the action….
Norwegian Refugee Council says Gaza journalist killed while working on story on children
OSLO (WAFA) 9 Apr — The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said on Monday that Yasser Murtaja, a Gaza journalist, was killed by Israeli army gunfire while working on a story on the life of Gazans and particularly the impact of violence on Gaza children. NRC expressed its outrage at the killing of 30 Palestinian civilians and the injury of thousands of others in Gaza by the Israeli military in the last two weeks of protests at the Gaza border, describing the deadly force used by the Israeli military against the civilians as “a gross violation of their protection under humanitarian and human rights law.” It also called for holding those responsible accountable for their actions. NRC said in a statement that it had contracted Murtaja, 30, to document the impact of the long conflict on Gaza refugees and violence on Gaza’s children. “Murtaja had agreed to document for NRC the bitter prolonged struggle faced by Palestinian refugees in Gaza. The work was planned to start the day after he was killed,” it said … The stories that NRC and Murtaja were supposed to work on focus on the impact of the persistent violence experienced by children in Gaza on their mental health and wellbeing. In Gaza, around 300,000 children are already assessed to be in need of critical psychosocial intervention due to the distress caused by more than a decade of blockade and conflict….
Special IDF investigator to probe Gaza border deaths
Ynet 8 Apr by Elior Levy, Matan Tzuri & Yoav Zitun – -Head of the Operations Directorate’s Instruction and Doctrine Division, IDF Brigadier General Motti Baruch, will head a panel tasked with examining and investigating the events on the Gaza Strip border during the past two weeks, in which a total of 30 Palestinians were killed, it was announced Sunday. The investigation will examine the army’s response to the border protests and mainly focus on several incidents deemed to be worthy of an inquiry, such as the death of journalist Yaser Murtaja, who was reportedly shot by Israeli soldiers while wearing a navy-blue protective vest marked ‘PRESS’ in bold capital letters. Murtaja’s death sparked a public uproar in Gaza, as Palestinian officials claimed he was shot despite standing some 100 meters from the border fence. “The IDF does not intentionally fire on journalists,” The IDF responded. “The circumstances in which journalists were hit, allegedly by IDF fire, are unknown to us and are being examined.” The panel’s investigation will be similar in nature to other probes the IDF carried out, such as ones that examined abnormal incidents that took place during Operation Protective Edge, and the 2015 death of a UNIFIL peacekeeper in crossfire between Israel and Lebanon. IDF officials stressed that the panel was formed to help IDF soldiers avoid prosecution in the International Criminal Court at The Hague and should not be interpreted to mean that their actions were in some way unwarranted. “The investigation will work to back the troops,” emphasized an IDF officer….
Israel refuses permits for two wounded Palestinians to transfer hospitals
10 Apr by Celine Hagbard — Two seriously wounded Palestinians who were shot by Israeli forces on March 30th at the Land Day protests are in imminent danger of losing their legs, and have requested transfer to a specialty hospital in Ramallah. But Israeli authorities have denied their applications for permits to travel. According to the Wafa News Agency, Shifa hospital does not have the required medical tools to save their legs, it referred both men to Al Istishari Arab Hospital in Ramallah on April 1 and submitted a request to the Israeli military authorities, who control Palestinians’ movement, to allow the two patients to exit Gaza. A transfer application to Ramallah was submitted to the Israeli military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) that same day. However, COGAT did not respond, and two human rights organizations, Adalah and Al Mezan sent an urgent letter on April 4 requesting authorization for their immediate passage from Gaza to Ramallah. On April 5, Adalah was informed that COGAT refused the patients’ requests. The two men — Yousef Karnaz, 20, and Mohammad Al-‘Ajouri, 17, both from Gaza, were wounded when Israeli troops fired on them during the March 30 Land Day protests at the Gaza border with Israel. Adalah (The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel), along with the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday demanding that Israel allow the two seriously wounded young men leave the Gaza Strip. According to Wafa, Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher wrote in the Supreme Court petition that “there is no substantive justification for rejecting the request of the two petitioners, who are both confined to the ICU in critical condition. The rejection of their request is an expression of indifference to the amputation of their legs.” Adalah and Al Mezan stressed that because Israel controls the Gaza border crossings, it is responsible for allowing wounded patients to leave Gaza for transfer to the Ramallah hospital … Hospitals in Gaza are struggling to deal with upwards of 1,990 wounded by Israeli snipers, live ammunition, tear gas from drones, among other kinds of excessive force. Doctors report they are running out of medicine and supplies to treat patients….
Army injures six Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 10 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot, Monday, six Palestinians, including a medic, in addition to causing dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, in border areas in several parts of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian medical sources said Israeli army sharpshooters shot two young men, in Khuza‘a village, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. They added that the soldiers also shot a medic with live fire while he was providing treatment to Palestinians who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. The medic, identified as Emad al-Buheisi, was shot with a live round in his leg. In addition, the soldiers targeted a procession of Palestinian journalists protesting the escalating Israeli violations against them during their coverage of the ongoing processions, which led to many injuries and the death of their colleague Yasser Mortaja. Furthermore, the soldiers fire live rounds and dozens of gas bombs at protesters near Malka junction, southeast of the Zeitoun neighborhood, in Gaza city.
Palestinians injured in clashes in Gaza’s Khan Younis city
KHAN YOUNIS (WAFA) 8 Apr – Two Palestinians Sunday were shot and injured with live ammuntion during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces near the border fence with Israel, to the east of the city of Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, according to medical sources. Sources said two Palestinians were shot in the foot by Israeli soldiers and transferred to a hospital in Gaza, where their medical condition was described as moderate.
PHOTOS: Smoke clears and photographer captures moment of protest
Reuters Updated 9 Apr — Sometimes photographers know they have something special in the fraction of a second between seeing it happen and capturing it through their lens. Mid-afternoon on a scorching hot Friday near the Gaza-Israel border east of Gaza City was one such moment for Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem, with the smell of burning rubber in his nostrils, and the constant fear of bullets and tear gas in his mind….
IDF probing video showing soldier cheering as sniper hits Palestinian
Ynet 9 Apr by Yoav Zitun — A video [below] making the rounds on WhatsApp on Monday evening purports to show an IDF sniper shooting a Palestinian who came near the Gaza border fence. It is unclear where on the Gaza border or when the video was filmed, and the IDF has yet to confirm its authenticity. The video, which was filmed through the lenses of a rifle’s sights or binoculars, shows several Palestinians close to the border fence. A commander is heard instructing the sniper, telling him “When he comes out, you get him. Do you have a bullet in the barrel? Are you on him?” After the sniper responds in the affirmative, the commander tells him “Go.” The sniper tells the commander that he cannot shoot, because the barbed-wire near the fence was in the way. Several moments later, the commander speaks again, this time telling the sniper to hold fire after he spots a child. Later two snipers are heard discussing who was on which Palestinian, following which a single shot is heard and one Palestinian is seen falling to the ground, with dozens of others immediately converging on him. “Wow, what a video! YES! Son of a b****,” one of the soldiers is heard exclaiming. Another is heard commenting that “Someone was hit in the head.” At first glance, it appears the video was filmed by a soldier who wasn’t shooting, but was alongside the snipers who were. One soldier is heard whispering the cameraman “Film it, film it,” with the filming soldier commenting “what a legendary video.” The video’s release comes after more than a week of daily protests by Palestinians at the Gaza-Israel border in which 30 Gazans have been shot dead. The IDF said the clip might have been filmed months ago. In a tweeted statement, the IDF said: “With regard to the video of the soldiers at the Gaza Strip border – it was probably an event that occurred a number of months ago. The event will be investigated and examined thoroughly.” Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List of Arab parties, said it was “a clip that terrifies the soul, rejoicing over the taking of a life and what appears to be the execution of someone who endangered no one”. He called for the shooter to be put on trial….
Agricultural lands shelled by Israeli artillery
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Apr — Israeli artillery, Sunday, shelled Palestinian agricultural land in the Juhr Ad-Dik area, southeast of Gaza city. No casualties were reported, said WAFA sources. Israeli artillery stationed along Gaza borders with Israel, to the southeast of Gaza city, fired six missiles targeting agricultural land to the east of Juhr ad-Deek. The Israeli army claimed that the shelling came in response to machine gun fire from the Gaza Strip, against Israeli forces stationed near the concrete barrier along the borders to the east.
Israeli navy targets Gaza fishermen
GAZA (WAFA) 9 Apr — The Israeli navy on Monday opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and their boats off the Gaza shore, according to witnesses. Fishermen told WAFA that Israeli navy boats opened fire more than once at fishermen who were sailing off the northern Gaza shores. No injuries were reported but the fishermen were forced to change location to avoid being hit.
Israeli jets target Gaza position after alleged ‘infiltration attempt’
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 9 Apr — Israeli fighter jets targeted a Hamas “military target” in northern Gaza on Monday in response to Palestinians allegedly “infiltrating the border and laying bombs” the previous day, Tel Aviv said. Palestinian security sources in Gaza said the Israeli strikes hit a base in Jabalia belonging to Ezzedine Al Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, and farmland near Beit Lahiya, causing damages but no injuries….
ICC says Israel, Hamas acts on Gaza border may be war crimes
JERUSALEM (AP) 9 Apr by Ilan Ben Zion — The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court raised concerns Sunday that Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes during a current flare-up of violence in the Gaza Strip. In a statement, Fatou Bensouda’s office expressed “grave concern” over the shootings of Palestinians by Israeli troops during mass protests along Gaza’s border with Israel. Her office said that Israel’s “violence against civilians — in a situation such as one prevailing in Gaza” may constitute war crimes. But in an apparent reference to Gaza’s Hamas rulers, she also said “the use of civilian presence for the purpose of shielding military activities” could also be a war crime. Bensouda is already in the midst of a “preliminary examination” of possible war crimes, launched in the wake of a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. That is the first step toward a formal war crimes investigation. “While a preliminary examination is not an investigation, any new alleged crime committed in the context of the situation in Palestine may be subjected to my office’s scrutiny,” she said. “This applies to the events of the past weeks and to any future incident.” … Israel says the protests are a smoke screen for attacks on its troops and attempts to breach the border fence … But witness accounts and amateur videos have shown some demonstrators appeared to be unarmed or far from the fence when they were shot. The European Union and United Nations have called for an independent investigation into the incidents….
Opinion: The Israel Massacre Forces [IMF?] / Gideon Levy
IMEMC 6 Apr – from Haaretz 1 Apr — The death counter ticked away wildly. One death every 30 minutes. Again. Another one. One more. Israel was busy preparing for the seder night. TV stations continued broadcasting their nonsense. It’s not hard to imagine what would have happened if a settler had been stabbed – on-site broadcasts, throw open the studios. But in Gaza the Israel Defense Forces continued to massacre mercilessly, with a horrific rhythm, as Israel celebrated Passover. If there was any concern, it was because soldiers couldn’t celebrate the seder. By nightfall the body count had reached at least 15, all of them by live fire, with more than 750 wounded. Tanks and sharpshooters against unarmed civilians. That’s called a massacre. There’s no other word for it. Comic relief was provided by the army spokesman, who announced in the evening: “A shooting attack was foiled. Two terrorists approached the fence and fired at our soldiers.” This came after the 12th Palestinian fatality and who knows how many wounded. Sharpshooters fired at hundreds of civilians but two Palestinians who dared return fire at the soldiers who were massacring them are “terrorists,” their actions labeled “terror attacks” and their sentence – death. The lack of self-awareness has never sunk to such depths in the IDF. As usual, the media lent its appalling support….
What’s next for Palestinian protests in Gaza: Burning Israeli flags
Haaretz 8 Apr by Jack Khoury — Organizers say each weekend protest will be tied to a specific action with the goal of drawing international attention — The next protests near the border fence with Gaza, scheduled for this coming Friday, will see demonstrators burning Israeli flags, organizers said Sunday. The success of the latest protests on Friday, dubbed the “Friday of Tires” because of widespread tire-burning, led organizers to decide on taking specific actions each weekend in order to draw international attention, they added. Large Israeli flags, and possibly also American flags, will be prepared for burning near the fence on the coming Friday, according to the organizers. Reports from the Gaza Strip also said incendiary devices were being prepared, but the organizers say they reject their use, emphasizing that the protests are non-violent and that firebombs are not in the spirit of the protests. “Israel is trying in every way possible to tie the march to Hamas and it would very convenient for it if the activities cross the line into violence by the Palestinians, so we will not allow this,” one of the organizers told Haaretz….
Meanwhile, Palestinian organizations and pro-Palestinian groups in Europe told the Hamas-affiliated website Arsala over the weekend that preparations were being made for a flotilla to the Gaza Strip. Hafiz al Karmi, chairman of the Palestine Forum in Britain, said the flotilla, in which a number of ships will take part, will sail in June at the end of the month of Ramadan and that preparations are underway.
Opinion: Marching in Gaza, my brother risks death – to feel free / Muhammad Shehada
Haaretz 9 Apr — My teenage brother risks snipers and tear gas at the marches near the Israeli border. But, like all Gazans, he feels he’s dying a slow death anyway — My asthmatic younger brother, Salah 18, is scheduled for an urgent eye operation in Egypt, without which he might permanently lose the sight in his right eye. He’s also been awarded a scholarship to study in Algeria, and has been fighting to get out of the Gaza Strip to take up his place for nearly two years, without success. His life is being entirely stolen from him by Israel’s blockade, yet his future stares back at him just a footstep away, from behind the giant concrete walls that seal Gaza. He’s in a race against time not to lose his sight, his mind, and his life as well. Almost every day, my brother shows up for the Gaza “Great Return March,” although my mother has desperately tried almost everything to stop him from running bare-chested towards his death. The border protests are the only place where it feels that he’s at least doing something about his own slow death, even if only to scream at the top of his lungs, telling the world “We are here!” It’s the only place where he and all of my friends in Gaza can catch a breath of freedom, despite the stinging tear gas, even if it’s just for a moment….
The Gazan activist whose post sparked the March of Return
Ynet 6 Apr by Elior Levy — Several months ago, a Gaza political activist wondered what would happen if thousands of Gazans crossed the border into Israel unarmed and attempted to return to their ancestral homes. His post ballooned into the “Great March of Return” campaign, which the IDF says has been co-opted by Hamas, and Friday’s tire burning protest. The activist, 34-year-old Gaza resident Ahmed Abu Artima, is now one of the campaign’s leaders. On its first day, tent encampment were erected on the strip’s border with Israel and 18 Palestinians were killed in widespread conflagrations … . Many ascribe the protest’s impetus to Abu Artima’s Facebook post, which quickly went viral and galvanized locals into action. The post wondered what might happen should thousands of Gazans, many of them refugees or the descendants thereof, attempted to cross the border unarmed to return to their ancestral homes. The idea quickly became reality, and Abu Artima wished to stress the fact that protesters danced the Arab dabke folk dance in the tent encampments, as well as played soccer and even held weddings. “We’re aiming to create a new culture,” he said in an interview with The Guardian from Gaza. Protesters burned thousands of tires on the Gaza border Friday as part of the “Friday of Tires.” Abu Artima, for his part, cautioned against the use of such methods, saying they will only exacerbate tensions. Contradicting Israel’s claims about the guiding hand behind the protest, Abu Artima disavowed any affiliation with Hamas and said he wished to see Israelis and Palestinians living in a single country as citizens with equal rights….
UN rights experts call for independent investigation of Israel’s response to Palestinian protests in Gaza
GENEVA (WAFA) 7 Apr – United Nations human rights experts condemned on Friday Israel’s killing of at least 19 Palestinian protesters near the Gaza fence in the last two weeks and injuring hundreds others and urged international community to ensure accountability through independent and impartial investigation into the Israeli response. A statement by the experts said, “We echo the call by the UN Secretary-General for an independent and transparent investigation into the Gaza incidents, with a view to holding accountable those responsible. We also call on leaders on both sides to do all in their power to prevent further injuries and loss of life.” The experts expressed deep concern at reports that Israel’s Minister of Defense stated that there will not be any inquiry into Israel’s actions. “International law sets strict prohibitions on the use of force by law enforcement officials,” said the human rights experts. “The Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials require they refrain from using lethal force on demonstrators unless strictly unavoidable in order to protect their own or others’ lives; their safety must be in actual danger,” the experts said. “There is no available evidence to suggest that the lives of heavily armed security forces were threatened,” they added. “Israel has ignored repeated demands by the international community to credibly investigate and prosecute substantial allegations of wrongful killings by its security forces,” they said….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Palestinian dies of wounds sustained last Tuesday
IMEMC 8 Apr — A Palestinian man who was shot and seriously wounded by Israeli soldiers on April 2nd near Tulkarem died of his wounds on Sunday. Mohammad Sobhi Anbar was shot in front of the military roadblock east of Tulkarem last Monday April 2nd, and was taken to the Mayer Israeli Medical Center. He remained in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit until Sunday, when he died of his wounds. While he was in a coma, an Israeli military court held a hearing and made a ruling against Anbar, claiming that he was planning to attack Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint, despite a complete lack of evidence for that claim. His brother Khalil Anbar said that the Israeli Army informed the family of his death, and added that he was shot in the abdomen, pelvis and the legs, and one of his legs had to be amputated during surgery. He said his brother underwent several surgeries in the days since he was shot. Updated from: Israeli soldiers seriouly injure a Palestinian man at a roadblock near Tulkarem.
Israeli army jeep rams a Palestinian teen in Hebron
IMEMC 9 Apr — Medical sources have reported that Israeli soldiers chased, on Sunday evening, a Palestinian teenage boy while riding his bicycle near the Tiwani village, east of Yatta, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and rammed him with their jeep. Rateb Jabour, the coordinator of the Popular and National Committees against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in the southern part of the West Bank, said the military jeep chased the teen, Qussai Mousa Abed-Rabbo, 17, while he was riding his bicycle, and rammed him with their jeep. He added that the teen suffered various fractures, cuts and bruises, while the soldiers who rammed him just drove away, leaving him on the side of the road. Palestinian medics of the Red Crescent Society rushed to the scene, and provided the teen with the urgently needed treatment, before moving him to Yatta governmental hospital. His wounds were described as moderate.
Family of suspected car thief shot by soldiers alleges ‘murder in cold blood’
Ynet 5 Apr by Hassan Shaalan — The family of Iyad Azbarka of Qalansawe, who was shot and killed Tuesday [3 Apr] by IDF soldiers in the West Bank’s Giti Avisar intersection, said the young man was “murdered in cold blood after a field trial. He did not pose a risk to anyone’s life.” Azbarka, 27, was killed after crashing into a bus stop driving what turned out to be a stolen vehicle. Soldiers said that due to the crash’s impact they thought it was a terrorist attack, prompting them to shoot at the suspected terrorist. “Iyad was shot with six bullets,” said Musa Azbarka, the deceased’s uncle. “Two of them hit his head.” Iyad’s uncle further claimed that the family—all “law-abiding academics”, he claimed—was not presented with any proof to corroborate the soldiers’ claims. “We don’t even know whether the vehicle was truly stolen. He didn’t even have a driver’s license. Why didn’t they shoot him in the leg if he posed no risk? And supposing he did steal a car, should all car thieves be killed?” he accused. “Iyad opened a clothing store in Tayibe and was planning to marry soon,” his uncle added, clarifying that the “family intends to sue the state until all of the soldiers are prosecuted.” He concluded by saying his nephew did not receive medical attention on the scene, but was “simply left there to die.”
The incident took place Tuesday morning, when Azbarka crashed into a bus stop in a car suspected to be stolen due to having Israeli license plates. He was blocked by the concrete poles surrounding the bus stop, which are intended to protect Israelis from attempted car attacks. The combat soldiers from the Kfir Brigade present at the scene who shot Azbarka said in an initial inquiry that they felt their lives were in danger and that the accident was a terror attack, saying they only later discovered the incident’s criminal undertones. Nevertheless, the reason for the soldiers shooting Azbarka after he disembarked from the vehicle and began attempting to flee the scene will be questioned….
1,500 march in Sakhnin in solidarity with Gaza
Ynet 7 Apr by Hassan Shaalan — Some 1,500 people, including Arab members of Knesset, participated in a protest march in Sakhnin on Saturday in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. Marchers were waving Palestinian flags and calling out “Gaza residents are heroes,” “Oh martyr, rest and we will continue the struggle.” Arab journalists and MKs held up the photo of Yaser Murtaja, a Palestinian journalist killed during the clashes on the Gaza border on Friday, which also claimed the lives of eight others. “Hurting six journalists, wounding them with gunfire and killing Murtaja while he’s taking photos away from the fence, indicates decisions and orders that were manifestly illegal,” said journalist Wadi Ouadah from Kafr Kanna. He called on Israeli journalists “to raise their voice in protest of the harm done to their Palestinian colleagues, while they were identifiable as journalists.” Abed Masarwa from Wadi Ara said what’s happening to the Gaza residents “is called genocide. They’re being eliminated like cockroaches. Like there is no value for civilians there. But they have a right to live. This government continues making it hard on Gaza and its residents and causes their situation to deteriorate.” He vowed that “We, the Arabs of 1948, will not stand idly by. Leave Gaza, stay away from it. The Arabs in such situations are like a ticking bomb that could blow up in the face of such a fascist government.” The demonstration was organized by High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.
21 Palestinians injured in clashes near Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 6 Apr – At least 21 Palestinians were injured, one of them by gunfire, during clashes with Israeli forces in the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, on Friday evening, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRC). PRC said one Palestinian was injured by gunfire, five others by rubber-coated steel rounds, three others sustained burns, and 12 others suffocated from teargas inhalation during the clashes in Abu Dis.
Police: Palestinian tries to stab Israeli at West Bank gas station, is shot
Times of Israel 8 Apr by Judah Ari Gross — A Palestinian man suspected of trying to stab an Israeli at a West Bank gas station was shot in the head by an armed civilian bystander on Sunday, police said. According to police, the suspect ran after the Israeli man while holding a screwdriver as a weapon outside a gas station in the West Bank’s Mishor Adumim industrial area, near the Ma’ale Adumim settlement. A civilian who was driving by the area saw the suspect running after the man with the weapon in his hand and opened fire, police said. He was shot in the head, according to medical officials. The Palestinian suspect was taken to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in critical condition, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service. There were no other injuries reported, MDA said.
Updated: Israeli soldiers abduct 15 Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 9 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, fifteen Palestinians, including two women and a former government Minister, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank. In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers invaded Budrus village, west of the city, searched homes and abducted a woman, identified as Ibtisam Abdul-Hamid. The soldiers interrogated the woman and her family, during very violent searches of their home, causing excessive damage. Several Palestinians also scuffled with the soldiers while trying to stop their violent searches, and field interrogations.
In Jenin, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Abdul-Jabbar Jarrar, 55, after storming his home in the city, and attacking him along with his family. The soldiers also detonated the main door leading to his home, before storming it. It is worth mentioning that Jarrar, a school teacher, is a former political prisoner who spent ten years in Israeli detention center. In addition, the soldiers invaded the home of former government minister, Wasfi Kabaha, and interrogated him and his son, Osama; both former political detainees who were recently released from prison. On his Facebook page, Kabaha said that the soldiers detained his family in one room, while searching and ransacking the property for more than one hour, causing excessive damage.
In Nablus, in northern West Bank, the soldiers also invaded and ransacked homes in the governorate, and abducted Awadallah Eshteyya, from Salem town, east of the city, and summoned his brother, Adam, for interrogation. The soldiers also abducted two former political prisoners, identified as Aseed Abdul-Jalil Eshteyya and Omran Khaled Eshteyya, from Salem, in addition to Wasim Haitham Ennab from his home in Nablus city.
Several army jeeps invaded Qalqilia city, and abducted Mahmoud As’ad Yassin, and former political prisoner Mahmoud Khadraj, after searching and ransacking their homes…
In Tulkarem, the soldiers invaded Shweika area, north of the city, searched homes and abducted Hammouda Forsan Na‘alwa.
On Sunday evening, the soldiers abducted two young men from Sielet al-Harithiyya town and Zabbouba village, in Jenin governorate.
Army abducts 28 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 8 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, from Saturday evening until Sunday at dawn, 28 Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli army issued a press release stating that its soldiers “arrested 28 wanted Palestinians,” and moved them to several detention and interrogation centers. In Bethlehem, the soldiers abducted Sufian Amer Ta’amra, 21, from his home in Beit Ta‘mar area, east of Bethlehem, after invading his family’s home and violently searching it….
On its part, the Detainees Center for Studies has reported that the soldiers abducted 550 Palestinians, including 105 children and twenty women, in March.
Prisoners / Court actions
Threats, innuendo in Israeli questioning of Palestinian teen
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 9 Apr by Karin Laub & Mohammed Daraghmeh — The family of prominent Palestinian protester Ahed Tamimi on Monday released excerpts from a video in which an Israeli interrogator threatens the then-16-year-old with the arrest of her relatives if she refuses to cooperate. The interrogator also comments on her body, fair skin and “eyes of an angel.” The interrogator, identified as an agent of the Israeli military intelligence branch, at times moves within centimeters (inches) of the teenager, who doesn’t respond and repeatedly asserts her right to remain silent. The Israeli military said a complaint of improper conduct on the part of the investigator, filed by Tamimi’s lawyer, has been handed to the Justice Ministry and is being “thoroughly examined.” Ahed’s father, Bassem, told reporters that the video is evidence of Israel’s failure to break his daughter. He portrayed Tamimi, who has become an icon to Palestinians, as a symbol of resistance to Israel’s 51-year-old military occupation. Her silence under pressure shows that “we are not victims, we are fighters for the cause of freedom of our people,” he said. A West Bank-based rights group said a majority of minors have reported being verbally abused, intimidated or humiliated in Israeli custody. Tamimi is serving an eight-month prison term — the result of a plea deal — for slapping and kicking two Israeli soldiers outside her West Bank home in mid-December … Her supporters see a brave girl who struck the soldiers in anger after having just learned that Israeli troops seriously wounded a 15-year-old cousin. In Israel, she is seen either as a naive youth manipulated by her elders or a threat to Israel’s military deterrence. The interrogation video was part of the case file handed to the defense after Tamimi was indicted, said Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, who helps coordinate her legal strategy….
VIDEO: Ahed Tamimi stands strong under Israeli interrogation
9 Apr ISM Palestine — Press Release: Ahed Tamimi stands strong in interrogation, facing threats and harassment – defying the occupation!
Video via FreeTheTamimis — most telling 2 minutes of 2-hour video. Captions in English
Transcript of Ahed Tamimi interrogation by Israeli military
[with 10-minute video] 9 Apr by Mondoweiss editors — On December 19, 2017, Ahed Tamimi who was 16 years old at the time was detained by Israel. The transcripts below are from excerpts of her interrogation which took place on December 26th at Shaar Binyamin Police Station. There were two interrogators present. One who is part of AMAN (Israeli military intelligence):….
Israel issues administrative detention orders against 33 Palestinians, including woman
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 9 Apr — Israeli military authorities issued administrative detention orders against 33 Palestinians in the period from March 25 until April 2, the Palestinian prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Monday. PPS attorney Mohammad Halabi said the Israeli authorities issued two-month administrative detention order against Khadeja Rabai, 30-year-old mother of five from Yatta, to the south of Hebron, pointing that she has been detained since October 10, 2017. Halabi added that 12 orders were issued against Palestinian detainees for the first time or against former detainees who were re-detained after they have been released and the rest has had their detention orders renewed.
Israel charges Palestinian gunman with killing Israeli in West Bank
JERUSALEM (Xinhua) 8 Apr — Israeli military charged on Sunday a Palestinian man with his involvement in a deadly shooting attack in the West Bank in January, which claimed the life of an Israeli rabbi. The indictment was issued to the Samaria Military Court in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. It charged Ahmed Qoneba, a 28-year-old resident of Jenin city in the northern West Bank, with intentional manslaughter (a criminal offense equivalent to murder) of Rabbi Raziel Shevach. On Jan. 9, Qoneba and his associate Ahmed Jarar shot and killed Shevach in the Israeli outpost of Khavat Gil’ad in the West Bank. Jarar was killed by security forces during the attempt to apprehend him on Feb. 6. Qoneba is charged also with involvement in “numerous attempts to carry out terror attacks against soldiers and Israeli civilians, and committing additional security offenses,” the army said in a statement. The deadly attack was part of a surge of Palestinian attacks in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in last December.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing
Israeli forces demolish school south of Hebron in West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 10 Apr — Israeli forces demolished Monday night Zanouta school to the south of Hebron, according to Palestinian Ministry of Education official. Mohammad Sami, Ministry of Education directorate in southern Hebron, told WAFA that Israeli forces demolished and dismantled Zanouta school in the Bedouin community to the east of Dahriyyeh, in the southern West Bank, which was recently inaugurated. The school, which comprises six classrooms, was built from cement blocks and metal plates and provides services for 43 students including 10 children in kindergarten. Minister of Education and Higher Education Sabri Saidam and Hebron Governor Kamil Hmeid inaugurated the school in March 25 along with other six schools built to provide education for children in communities endangered by Israeli military measures.
Israeli soldiers demolish a home near Ramallah
IMEME 10 Apr — Israeli soldiers demolished, Tuesday, an under-construction Palestinian home in Jibiya Village, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Media sources in Ramallah said several army jeeps and bulldozers invaded the village during early morning hours, and surrounded the property. They added that the soldiers then demolished the under-construction home of Hijazi Mahmoud, in the al-Qastal area, allegedly for being built without a permit from the “Civil Administration Office” run by the army in the occupied West Bank. It is worth mentioning that the home is in an area which is subject to frequent Israeli violations, especially since Israel intends to expand illegal colonies, built on Palestinian lands.
Farmers denied access to their land near Tulkarm
TULKARM (WAFA) 8 Apr – Israeli forces Sunday prevented farmers from reaching their lands on the Israeli side of the Segregation Barrier, north of the city of Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank, according to sources. Mohammad Abu Saa, head of municipality of Deir al-Ghusun, told WAFA that farmers were surprised when they were told by Israeli soldiers that they were not allowed to enter their lands and without any reasons. He added that the municipality reached out to the Palestinian Liaison Office, in charge of coordinating with the Israeli authorities in order to facilitate farmers’ access to their farms planted with olives and other vegetables.
A three-minute return to Jaffa – feature
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 1 Apr – For ten years now, the sons and grandsons of Abu Salah al-Ramli would arrive at their grandfather’s home in Jaffa, in occupied Palestine, hoping to get a chance to enter the home from which their antecedents were evicted in 1948, before it was forcefully taken over by Jewish newcomers. But the dwelling Jewish woman, who is of a Portuguese descent, would shut the door in front of them and forbid them from entering while scolding them in Hebrew … Haifa al-Ramli, a member of the family, told WAFA that one of Abu Salah’s granddaughters, Dina, was hardly able to enter the house. She, her husband and a relative asked a Palestinian neighbor living next to the house to ask the Jewish woman to let them in. She added, “At first the Jewish woman refused, saying the number was big and that she had no time. They [the grandsons] asked her to be allowed to enter in twos and for five minutes only. She strongly refused and said five minutes was too much.” Abu Salah’s granddaughter told the woman that her grandmother, her father and uncles had not stopped talking about the memories they had at the house. The woman was surprised and allowed them to enter, but for three minutes only! “My family made a small tour of the garden of the house. They found the warehouse room which my grandfather and grandmother had turned into a guest room. When they entered, there was a German Sheppard guard dog in the garden that did not howl or react to them. Ironically, there had been a dog of the same family and color at the house of my grandfather at the time of the exodus, and it remained at the house even after their expulsion. No one can guess the relationship between the two dogs and this strange coincidence,” Haifa said….
Israeli settlers spray racist slogans on road signs in the south of the West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 9 Apr – Israeli settlers Monday sprayed racist slogans on road signs in the south of the West Bank, according to a local activist. Rateb al-Jabour, popular committee coordinator in Yatta, south of Hebron, told WAFA that settlers sprayed racist slogans on traffic signs on bypass roads that lead to the illegal Israeli settlements of Shim’a and Otniel, which are built on lands belonging to Palestinians near the town of al-Samou‘. The settlers’ racist slogans included “death to Arabs,” “payback,” and “Arabs are dogs,” among others that included threats and calls on expelling Palestinians.
Ethiopian captive’s family attempts to stave off indifference
Ynet 9 Apr by Yishai Porat — After three and a half years in Hamas captivity in Gaza, and 9 days in a protest tent outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, Avera Mengistu’s family concedes race played a role in failing to secure his release, no government representatives speaking to them; ‘I’m not budging until Netanyahu comes to talk to us,’ says captive’s father. … “The protest has a color,” activist Bat-El Bidgilin said. “He’s not Gilad Shalit and he’s not ‘The child of us all.’ Shalit’s protest led to people changing their profile pictures and to class starting with talks about him.” “Avera, meanwhile, has been forgotten because the government is dormant. It’s like this is exclusively a struggle of the Ethiopian community, but this is an Israeli citizen we’re talking about here,” she accused….
Invitations sent out to members of the National Council
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Apr – Invitations have been sent out to 700 members of the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the parliament in exile, to attend the upcoming session scheduled for April 30 in Ramallah. PNC President Salim Zanoun told Voice of Palestine radio on Saturday that meeting will open with a statement by President Mahmoud Abbas. It agenda will include the intra-Palestinian reconciliation, the situation of the Palestinian refugees and the US decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The meeting will also discuss election of a new executive committee for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as well as including professionals from among university presidents, businessmen and economists to substitute them for the 80 members who died in the last 10 years since the previous PNC session was held. Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said they will boycott the meeting. The first two are anyhow not represented in PNC since they are not members in the PLO and therefore they were not invited to the meeting. However, Hamas affiliates in the Palestinian Legislative Council can attend in their capacity as elected lawmakers. The PFLP, which is one of the founding members of the PLO, said it will not attend the PNC meeting in a protest move.
Abbas says won’t return to Gaza unless Hamas cedes control
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 8 Apr — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says that unless he gets full control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, including the group’s weapons, he will “not be responsible for what goes on” there. Abbas’ comments late Sunday dealt another blow to months of U.S.-backed Egyptian efforts to negotiate a deal that would sideline the Islamic militant Hamas and enable Abbas’ self-rule government to return to Gaza … Abbas told leaders of his Fatah movement he has informed Egypt of his demands and is waiting to hear back.
PA employees in Gaza go unpaid
GAZA CITY (AFP) 9 Apr — The Palestinian Authority has paid salaries to its West Bank employees this month but not those in Gaza, officials said Monday, amid an ongoing split with the strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas. It was not immediately clear why the salaries had not been paid and if the delay was temporary, but it comes as relations between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Hamas are at rock bottom. Last month, PA president Mahmud Abbas accused Hamas of planning a failed assassination attempt on his prime minister, who was on a rare visit to Gaza. But protests since along the Gaza border that have led to clashes in which Israeli forces have killed 31 Palestinians have led to expressions of support for Gazans from Abbas. “Salaries were paid into banks in the West Bank and not in Gaza,” Arif Abu Jarad, head of the union representing PA employees in the Gaza Strip, told AFP. “There is a state of anger among staff in the strip,” he added, saying they were having emergency meetings against this “terrible crime”. A source in the finance ministry in Ramallah, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the salaries had been paid in the West Bank but not Gaza. He refused to give more details on the decision. Employees in Gaza waited in vain for salaries at banks, an AFP photographer said….
Zoabi at UN: ‘Millions of Palestinians should march on Jerusalem’
[with video] Ynet 8 Apr by Itamar Eichner — MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint List) called on the Palestinians in the West Bank to join the protests on the Gaza border during a press conference over the weekend at the United Nations headquarters in New York. “We need to go on popular marches to remind the world of the siege,” Zoabi said. “We need millions of Palestinians to march on Jerusalem. That is the aspiration. But we can’t do it, because the Israelis would kill them.” Zoabi also claimed that “Israel has turned from a racist country to a fascist one,” and demanded an investigation into the killing of protesters in Gaza border clashes. “Israel is not defending itself as it is claiming, the occupation and the siege are not an act of self defense, but rather one of terrorism,” she charged. The Arab MK dubbed the Gaza residents’ protests along the border with Israel “a march of peace,” saying it is a “peaceful act of popular struggle” and stressed it is the only way for the Palestinians to liberate themselves from the Israeli occupation … Zoabi added that she doesn’t see “what is violent about setting fire to a tire. Is burning a tire violence, while shooting at protesters not violence? Show me one Israeli who was hurt by these actions.” ….
Orthodox Christians hold ‘Holy Fire’ ceremony in Jerusalem
[with photos] AFP 7 Apr — Tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims gathered at Christianity’s holiest site in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday for the “Holy Fire” ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter. With candles in hand, at least seven thousand pilgrims filled the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The church is built on the site where according to Christian tradition Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Thousands more stood in the square outside to receive the flame, representing the resurrection of Christ, which passed from candle to candle and will be taken back to Orthodox churches worldwide. The ceremony is the holiest event for Orthodox Christianity. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the rest of the Old City that lie in east Jerusalem were occupied and later annexed by Israel following the Six Day War of 1967. The Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic denominations share custody of the church….
Palestinians condemn US stand on protests at Gaza border
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 7 Apr – Palestinians condemned on Saturday the United State stand on the protests at the Gaza border, putting the blame for the high death and injury toll among Palestinian civilians on the Palestinian side while exonerating Israel and its army from any responsibility. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that remarks by the US envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, on the situation in Gaza that resulted in the Israeli army killing of 29 Palestinian civilians in two weeks and injuring over 3000 people sounded as if the speaker is an Israeli army officer. It said that these remarks intentionally ignore the crimes of the Israeli occupation that caused the death and injury of hundreds of Palestinians and a blatant violation of international law and resolutions as well as the principles of the United Nations that guarantee the right to peaceful protests. Greenblatt had said in a tweet that the protesters should remain outside the 500-meter buffer zone Israel has created along its border but deep inside the Gaza Strip and should not approach the border fence in any way or any location. “We condemn leaders and protestors who call for violence or who send protesters – including children – to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed,” said the US official without making any reference to Israel’s sniper killing of Palestinian civilians, including children and journalists.
The ministry also condemned the US blocking of a statement by the United Nations Security Council on the Gaza events. The US had also blocked last week a similar Security Council statement and blocked a call by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for an independent investigation into Israel’s lethal response to peaceful protests by Gazans. It said the blind US support for the Israeli occupation covers up its constant massacre of the Palestinian people. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has also condemned the US position at the UN.
Arab-American group says nominee to US education post anti-Palestinian
WASHINGTON (WAFA) 9 Apr — The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said on Sunday that Kenneth Marcus, US President Donald Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), is a staunch anti-Palestinians. It urged its members to call and email their senators and demand they vote NO on Marcus’ nomination, expected next week. ADC said in a statement that Marcus, an opponent of academic freedom, has spent years aggressively trying to silence pro-Palestinian professors and students and censor criticism of Israeli policies on US college campuses. As head of the Brandeis Center, Marcus joined pro-Israel lobby groups to call on Congress to “end or mend” federal funding for Middle East Studies programs whose courses are critical of Israeli policies and American conduct in the region. It said that as an opponent of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, Marcus used litigious bullying to try to force professors to fall in line by filing a lawsuit against the American Studies Association after it endorsed BDS. Marcus also has proposed a broad definition of anti-Semitism that would include criticism of Israel and has implored the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate alleged “anti-Semitic incidents that masquerade as anti-Israelism” by pro-Palestinian voices on campus.
Harvard Hillel hosts seder to oppose Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza
The Crimson 9 Apr by Jonah S. Berger — Harvard Hillel hosted a Seder last week meant to publicly oppose Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza, though student organizers complained of some “censorship” from Hillel administrators. The Seder—a ceremonial service and meal that takes place at the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover—was run by student group Harvard College Progressive Jewish Alliance. The event was intended to honor what organizers called the Palestinian victims of the Israeli government’s policies. Noah R. Wagner ’18, who helped organize the Seder, said the holiday afforded an opportunity to address what can be a touchy subject for many Jews. Harvard Hillel is the only nationally affiliated college Hillel chapter to allow an anti-occupation seder this year, according to Helene Lovett ’19, another organizer. Swarthmore College’s chapter held a similar event, but their chapter disaffiliated from the national organization, Hillel International, in 2015 after objections to the chapter’s Israel-Palestine events … Participants in Thursday’s Seder have faced harsh criticism from some Jewish leaders. Adam Milstein, a prominent Israeli-American real estate developer and philanthropist, called attendees of the Seder “self hating Jews” in a tweet he posted in late March.
Football club shoots for tolerance in fractious Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Apr — For one Jerusalem football club, the goal of tolerance in a city often in the grip of conflict is still worth a shot. More than a decade after its formation, Jerusalem’s Hapoel Katamon football club is making a name for itself on the pitch but also for its approach and youth programmes to bring together Israelis and Palestinians. It is a fan-owned league club and has pursued programmes such as tournaments for Jewish and Arab youth with the help of philanthropic organisations. Arab and Jewish players also play for the team — unlike Jerusalem’s premier league club, Beitar Jerusalem, often in the news for the behaviour of violent anti-Arab supporters. Katamon club was set up in 2007 by football fans who wanted to enjoy the game in a different atmosphere, said co-founder and sporting director Shai Aharon … Katamon currently holds fourth place in the second league but is hoping for promotion….