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After Palestinians succumb to wounds, number of protesters killed Gaza rises to 41

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Deaf teenager is latest Palestinian to die of wounds sustained during Gaza protests
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — Two Palestinians, including a deaf teenager, succumbed to wounds sustained during the ongoing “Great March of Return” protests in the besieged Gaza Strip. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that 18-year-old Tahrir Mahmoud Wahba, who was deaf, died on Monday morning. The teenager was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces during protests on Friday April 6th in the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Younis, near the al-Awdeh refugee camp. IMEMC reports:  “My son cannot speak or hear, and I frequently tried to prevent him from protesting near the border area,” his mother said, “But he would get angry, and shake his head, refusing to stay home, and insisting on being part of the struggle.”
Late Sunday night, the ministry reported that a Palestinian “youth,” identified as Abdullah Muhammad al-Shamali [20], succumbed to wounds he sustained last Friday. Al-Shamali was a resident of the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah.
According to the Ministry of Health, the deaths of Wahba and al-Shamali brought the total death toll in Gaza since the “Great March of Return” began on March 30, to 41 Palestinians, including at least three minors and a journalist.

Photos: A look inside Gaza’s Artificial Limbs and Polio Center
Xinhua 23 Apr  —  Palestinian staff members prepare prosthetic legs at Gaza’s Artificial Limbs and Polio Center (ALPC) in Gaza City, on April 22, 2018. The ALPC was established in 1974 and operates with the technical support of the International Committee of the Red Cross. It’s the only center of its kind in the Gaza Strip which provides prosthetic and orthotic services. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)

Qassam fighter killed in tunnel accident in central Gaza
IMEMC 22 Apr — The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, has reported that one of its fighters was killed, Sunday, when a siege-busting tunnel collapsed on him near the border in Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. The Brigades identified the fighter as Tha’er Nayef az-Zare‘ey, 30, from Deir al-Balah. His corpse was located under the rubble and was moved to the Al-Aqsa Hospital.
It is worth mentioning that dozens of Palestinians have been killed while working in siege-busting tunnels across border areas in the besieged Gaza Strip, and hundreds have been injured. Some of them died in similar accidents, and many others were killed after the Israeli army bombarded the tunnels. Many Palestinians not affiliated with Hamas or any other armed resistance group in Gaza resort to working in the dangerous tunnels due to extremely high poverty and unemployment rates in the coastal region.

Army injures three Palestinians in southern Gaza
IMEMC 22 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot, Sunday, three young Palestinian men with live fire, east of Khan Younis, and Gaza city, after the army attacked nonviolent protesters in the two areas. Medical sources at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, said the soldiers shot two Palestinians with live fire east of Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis. The sources added that the two Palestinians suffered moderate wounds and are recovering from their surgeries. In addition, the soldiers opened fire at protesters in Malka Junction area, east of Gaza City, before shooting and moderately wounding a young man in his leg. Many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation, in addition to various cuts and bruises.

Israeli soldiers injure one Palestinian, abduct four teenagers, in central Gaza
IMEMC 23 Apr — Israeli soldiers shot, on Monday evening, one Palestinian east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and abducted four teenage boys east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza. Media sources said the soldiers, stationed across the border fence, east of Khuza‘a town, east of Khan Younis, shot a young man with live fire, before he was rushed by local medics to a Palestinian hospital. In related news, the soldiers abducted four teenage boys east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, reportedly after they crossed the border fence. It is worth mentioning that the army pushed more soldiers, and armored vehicles across the border fence.

VIDEO: Gazans gassed by Israel forces
Palestinian protesters who were gassed by Israeli forces in Gaza on 21 April [Their symptoms look odd for regular tear gas]

Minus one leg, but not giving up
GAZA (wearenotnumbers) 19 Apr by Karama Fadel — “Basketball is my favorite sport and sometimes I like to play football with my friends in our neighborhood. I am a fitness trainer too. But I don’t know if I will be ever able to play sports again!” Yousef al-Kurnz, a 20-year-old Gazan photojournalist, lost his left leg after being hit with an explosive bullet from an Israeli sniper while he was covering the Great Return March … “The first thing I did when I arrived was to put on the ‘press’ vest and slip my journalist ID card in my bag,” he recalls. “We were very careful not to go close to the security fence, just to be on the safe side.” However, that didn’t protect him. At approximately 14:15 (2:15 p.m.), when Yousef was photographing the protesters about 750 meters from the security “fence,” he was hit with a 16-millimeter bullet in his left leg, knocking him down with its force. When Yousef tried to stand up, the sniper fired a second bullet into his right leg. He could no longer stand. “I didn’t feel much pain when I was shot in my left leg; the Israeli used a silencer weapon and my friends didn’t even notice I was wounded,” he recalls. “But when the sniper shot my right leg, I felt my entire body trembling like electricity was running through it. I shouted, throwing down my camera.” Yousef was rushed by ambulance to the closest hospital, where he was admitted to intensive care. Despite the lack of sufficiently equipped medical facilities in Gaza, Yusouf was at first refused an Israeli permit to travel out through the Erez crossing. The Rafah crossing into Egypt was closed. After three days, his doctors decided they had no choice but to amputate his left leg….

Explosion kills Palestinian in Gaza
GAZA CITY (AA) 23 Apr by Nour Abu Aisha — A Palestinian was killed in an explosion in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, according to the health ministry.  Mohamed Nimr al-Magadmeh, 55, was killed in the explosion, ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement.  He said a child was also injured in the blast.  Meanwhile, the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, confirmed that Nimr was a group member. In a statement, the Brigades said Nimr was killed by a shell “fired by a suspicious party outside the national ranks”, without giving further details.  The Hamas-run Interior Ministry has yet to issue a statement on the explosion.

Khansaa Gaza
Al Jazeera 22 Apr by Maram Humaid — Nawal Abu Hajeela, 58, is known locally as Khansaa of Gaza after 7th century Arab poet who lost four sons in battle — Four framed pictures of four men hang on the wall in the middle of Nawal Abu Hajeela’s living room in the Shujayea neighbourhood in the Gaza Strip. Three are marked with the words “the heroic martyr” before their names. “Those are my sons who were killed,” Nawal, also known as Umm Iyad, told Al Jazeera. Her oldest son, Iyad, was 41 years old and father to four children when he died after a battle with cancer a year ago. Her three other sons were killed in attacks or armed operations against Israel. “This is Adham, 21, who was a member of the Qassam Brigades [the military wing of the Hamas movement] and was killed in an operation attack against Israeli soldiers in December 2004,” Umm Iyad said, pointing at his photo. “This is Ziad, 26, who was part of the Qassam’s night patrol and was killed in 2007 in an Israeli shelling. I was preparing for his engagement back then. “The biggest photograph is of Mohammed, 31, who was killed last week [April 12] in an Israeli shelling at the Gaza border … Umm Iyad has had a heavy load to bear from a young age. She was married at the age of 15 and had 10 sons and one daughter whom she largely raised alone …  Umm Iyad said she supported her sons Adham, Ziad and Mohammed on the path they chose “to resist against Israel” in spite of, as she admitted, the difficulty of reconciling her mother’s instinct with what the sacrifices she says her children had to make for their homeland….

The people behind Gaza’s statistics
EI 21 Apr by Sarah Algherbawi — In Jihad Abu Jamous’ family, he was seen as the lucky one. The 31-year-old, who gathered gravel to sell to workshops and construction workers for a few dollars a day, was from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. He escaped a hereditary condition that affects almost his whole family, leaving most of them blind or partially sighted. He also avoided the chronic ailments that his mother, the only other person in the family with good eyesight, suffers. But Jihad could not evade Israel’s snipers. On 30 March, Jihad went, along with thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, to protest for the Palestinian right of return near the boundary with Israel. He never made it back…
–His family’s eyes– In a time of tragedies, the killing of Jihad will be especially keenly felt. “Jihad helped me with everything,” said Zuheir Abu Jamous, 52, Jihad’s blind father who had felt his way slowly into the living room where he spoke to The Electronic Intifada. “He was my sight. He helped me in everything, from going to the bathroom to taking a shower to providing for me. I’m only a breathing body now: my soul died with him.” The family has Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, a rare genetic disorder that can affect whole families. In the Abu Jamous case, and unusually, all four of Jihad’s sisters are blind, while his two brothers are partially sighted. The disease normally affects young men worse. Jihad’s sisters are now left to contemplate the enormity of his absence. Yasmin, 30, called him the “family’s only eyes,” while younger sister Shaima, 17, has cut her hair since there is “no one left to care for it.” Diana, 22, suggested it would spell the end of her college studies – she is studying Islamic law at the University College of Applied Sciences – since she relied on Jihad to take and collect her. “I saw life through Jihad’s eyes. I never felt blind like I do now. Now, all I can see is black.”…
Following: the stories of three more bereaved families….

The meaning of ‘homeland’ to a Palestinian / Hanin Alyan Elholy
GAZA (wearenotnumbers) 17 Apr —  I don’t know how and when my love for my homeland began, but it is deeply rooted. If someone were to ask me the definition of unconditional love,I would answer with an example: Palestinians’ love for Palestine. The concept of “homeland” for me has always been connected to the image of a mother and who shows mercy, care and kindness. I do not know if humans are patriotic by nature, but I believe almost everyone feels a need to belong. Fadi Al-Naji, another member of We Are Not Numbers, writes: “For Palestinians, the notion of homeland occupies our minds. It is something we inherit from our fathers and grandfathers and it will be passed to our kids and grandkids. It cannot be erased, because it’s embedded like words inscribed on a rock.”…
Is there a stronger love than the love you feel for a land you cannot see or visit? As a refugee, I have not been allowed to visit my original city (Yibna, which was “cleansed” during the creation of Israel) but I am proud of and love it. In the video below, my grandmother, Um Ali, is shown participating in the Great Return March on March 30. She holds a sign saying “Yibna” and says, “I’m from Yibna and our land can’t be forgotten or left.” Then she begins singing along with the music in the background:”We will return to Jerusalem, even if it means millions of martyrs.” Another of my friends from We Are Not Numbers, Khuloud Suliman, writes, “My hometown is Al-Jiyya, which means ‘delightful place full of flowers and trees.’ It is very near here, just 20 km from Gaza City. When I get close to the northern border of Gaza, I can see the village. Yet I cannot go there. I am not allowed to touch the sand and smell the fragrance of citrus fruit, figs and grapes. I cannot walk in the valley that separated my village into two halves, and that filled with rain in winter. Can you imagine how I feel when this image comes to my mind? I feel hatred toward the Israeli occupation and the settlers who live in the land from which my ancestors were expelled. Every day, mum tells me about it and my yearning for the village begins to invade my heart. I do not have even one picture of my village, so I Googled its name, hoping to find some images. But, unfortunately, I found only pictures of the Israeli settlement that replaced it. When I see other countries where the residents live in peace and comfort, I think of the situation here and ask myself, “Will I even be alive when we can return to our cities? Will I ever be able to enjoy a homeland like everyone else?”….

VIDEO: Gaza’s Generation Y
Israel Social TV 23 Apr 8:45 — What does life look like for the youth of Gaza? What do they laugh about? Sing and write about? What do they dream of? Four young Palestinians from Gaza try and give an Israeli reporter a taste of what it means to walk in their shoes.

Geeking out in Gaza: Creating a Palestinian coding hub
VB 20 Apr by Bérénice Magistretti — Many in the tech world will point to Tel Aviv when asked which Middle Eastern city is thriving as a tech hub. The bustling Israeli metropolis has indeed developed an impressive entrepreneurial ecosystem over the past few years. But if you head south along the coast, you will find another little hub that is, in startup terms, beginning to scale: Gaza. Despite the tense cultural, political, and religious climate of the region, the Palestinian territory has managed to hustle its way into the tech world. One embodiment of this success is Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG), a coworking space and the first accelerator program in Gaza, which is operated by humanitarian agency Mercy Corps. GSG is currently holding its fifth hackathon, which ends tomorrow. Forty-five teams (about 120 people in total) have been testing their assumptions and building the first prototype for their platforms. Prizes will range from cash to a spot in accelerator programs (one winner will participate in AngelHack’s HACKcelerator, and about 30 teams will join GSG’s 16-week GeeXelerator)….

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

West Bank students attacked by Israeli forces
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Apr — A number of students, on Monday, suffered from suffocation due to inhaling tear gas fired at them by Israeli forces, near their school in al-Lubban, to the north of Nablus in the West Bank, according to Ghassan Dughlas, who monitors settlements’ activities in the northern West Bank. He said that Israeli soldiers fired tear gas and stun canisters toward the school, which resulted in suffocation cases. He said, according to WAFA, that Israeli forces target this school and students on an almost daily basis.
PNN additionally reported that a number of students were injured on Monday morning, during confrontations which occurred with Israeli occupation forces in the vicinity of Al-Quds University, in the town of Abu Dis. Soldiers prevented students from reaching the university, schools and the municipality by closing the university road in conjunction with the apartheid wall, which separates the town from Jerusalem. The university has announced that it has been suspended due to the closure of the West Bank. The University, in a statement, said that due to the conditions in the vicinity of the campus the campus, and the inability of buses and public transport to the campus, classes will be suspended.

Israeli soldiers injure dozens near Jerusalem
IMEMC 23 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday evening, Abu Dis town, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, causing scores of injuries, including some who were shot with live bullets. Media sources in Abu Dis said the soldiers attacked dozens of Palestinians who protested the invasion into the Schools Street, and around the Al-Quds University … The invasion was the second in less than 24 hours, after the soldiers invaded the town, and fired dozens of concussion grenades, gas bombs and live rounds at local youngsters, who hurled stones at them. Many Palestinians were injured, some with live rounds.
In related news, the soldiers abducted, on Monday evening, a young man, identified as Rashid Resheq, after invading and searching his home in the Old City of Jerusalem, and took him to an interrogation facility.

Child hurt by an Israeli army stun grenade
NABLUS (WAFA) 21 Apr – A 7-year-old child was injured on Saturday when an unexploded Israeli army stun grenade blow up while he was playing near his family home in the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya in the north of the West Bank, according to a local source. He told WAFA that children were playing in the vicinity of their homes when a stun grenade went off. He said the grenade was apparently fired by Israeli soldiers the day before during confrontations in the village but did not explode. He said the child suffered light injury.

Settlers attack two homes in Hebron
HEBRON (WAFA) 21 Apr – Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked with stones two homes belonging to the Jaber and Qfesheh families in the Old City neighborhood in Hebron, in southern West Bank, according to local sources. Aref Jaber, an anti-Israeli settlements activist, told WAFA that illegal Israeli settlers escorted by soldiers attacked with stones and raided the two homes, smashed some of their windows and terrorized their residents. The attacking settlers also shouted racist slogans at the residents and threatened to take over their homes through further violence and by force.

Updated: Israeli colonizers puncture tires, write racist graffiti in West Bank neighborhoods
IMEMC 23 Apr — A group of illegal Israeli colonizers invaded, on Monday at dawn, Beit Iksa village, surrounded by the Wall northwest of occupied Jerusalem, punctured tires of many Palestinian cars and wrote racist graffiti. Mohammad Abdul-Aziz Awadallah, a member of Beit Iksa Local Council, said the assailants carried their attack out in the southern part of the village. He added that the colonizers punctured tires of more than twenty Palestinian cars, and wrote racist graffiti, including “Price Tag” and “Death To Arabs.” Awadallah stated that the attack is not the first, especially since the village became surrounded by the Annexation Wall and several illegal colonies and called on the international community to intervene and stop these serious and escalating violations. Naim Gheith, also a member of the Local Council, said such attacks are frequent, especially since the colonizers previously burnt two cars owned by his sons, and attempted to torch the local mosque, but when they failed to do so, they wrote racist graffiti. In an earlier attack, the assailants punctured tires of ten cars, and wrote racist graffiti, he added. Beit Iksa, inhabited by 1800 Palestinians, is also subject to constant Israeli military invasions. Most of its residents had to leave due to the Wall and colonies; it is the only remaining Palestinian village west of Jerusalem.
Jewish settlers who are members of the outlawed terror group “Price Tag” attacked, for the second time on Monday, a Palestinian village, where they vandalized vehicles. Residents of the village of Ramoun, east of Ramallah, told WAFA that settlers broke into the village during the night and vandalized three cars, slashed their tires and wrote hate slogans. They said that residents noticed the settlers and chased them, forcing them to leave the area into the nearby valleys.

Palestinians ‘need popular units’ in face of settlers’ attacks in occupied West Bank
MEMO 23 Apr — Palestinian factions in the West Bank called on Sunday for the formation of “national units” to face the attacks by extremist Jewish settlers on villages and neighbourhoods across the occupied territory, Quds Press has reported. According to Isam Baker, the coordinator of the factions in Ramallah, this call comes after an increase in the number of settlers’ attacks on the Palestinians and their properties, including mosques, cemeteries and vehicles. The popular units, explained Baker, would work within the “spirit” of the first intifada and the village councils for their basic needs. Guarding the villages at night, the units would warn the people of any attacks by settlers. The factions, noted Baker, are calling for the reinforcement of national unity and plan to hold a protest in front of the Red Cross Headquarters on Tuesday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held under administrative detention by Israel. They also called for the Palestinians in the West Bank to take to the streets next Friday to match the Great March of Return demonstrations being staged in Gaza to reinforce the right of return.

Israeli soldiers damage, close print shop in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Apr — Israeli forces, on Sunday morning, have attacked and closed down a print shop in Beit Anan village, northwest of Jerusalem, under the pretext of printing “inciting materials”, PNN reports. According to the owner of the print shop, Israeli soldiers invaded the area at 6:00 AM, where they partially demolished the building, seized  printers and computers worth tens of thousands of shekels. In addition, the soldiers served the owner with an order to close the print shop and stop their work, as of today.

Israeli soldiers abduct 20 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 22 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, Sunday, twenty Palestinians, including children, in several parts of the occupied West Bank, during extensive and violent military invasions and searches of homes. On Sunday evening, the soldiers invaded ‘Azzoun town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, and abducted Yousef Zahran Sweidan, 23, while he was walking in the downtown area. The soldiers also were heavily deployed near the main entrance of the town, in addition to Kafr Laqif nearby village, east of Qalqilia, and installed a military roadblock on the main road between ‘Azzoun town and Ezbet at-Tabeeb village, east of Qalqilia. Furthermore, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said the soldiers abducted a child, identified as Ezz Mohammad Shamasna, 14, from Jayyous town, northeast of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, only four days after abducting his father, who was taken prisoner after shielding his son with his body to prevent the soldiers from beating him up, when the military broke into the family home. The child managed to escape from the soldiers, who abducted his father.
The soldiers also abducted nineteen other Palestinians in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The army claims that many of the abducted Palestinians are “affiliated with Hamas”, and added that the soldiers confiscated a car that was “carrying a large sum of cash,” in addition to “closing a print-shop, in Ramallah, for printing incitement materials.” Sixteen of the abducted Palestinians have been identified as:….

Updated: Israeli soldiers abduct 23 Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 23 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, at least twenty-three Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, including nine who were abducted in Jerusalem. The Jenin office of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), in northern West Bank, said the soldiers stormed and ransacked many homes in the governorate, and abducted five Palestinians, including two siblings who are also former political prisoners. It said the soldiers abducted Ahmad Mohammad Sa‘adi, his brother, Noureddin, in addition to Firas Hani al-Ghoul, Mohammad Bani Ghorra and Mahmoud Ali Sa‘adi.
In Qalqilia, also in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted two young men, in their twenties, from their homes in the city. Media sources said the soldiers assaulted and injured Mohammad Zoheir Eshteiwi and Mahmoud Abu Tayyim, before abducting them.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Qarawat Bani Hassan town, west of Salfit in northwestern West Bank, and abducted Adnan Mer‘ey, 21, after storming his home and searching it.
In Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, the soldiers invaded Halhoul town, north of the city, searched many homes and abducted Mamdouh Hasan Abu Asba, 25. Mohammad Adnan al-Baba, Ali Sobhi al-Baba, 30, and his brother Mahmoud. The soldiers also abducted Mohammad Taiseer al-Badawi from his home in the al-‘Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, and Haitham Mreish, from his home in Hebron city. In addition, the soldiers invaded the towns of Ethna, Halhoul, Doura and Yatta, and many neighborhoods in Hebron city, before installing roadblocks, stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.
In occupied Jerusalem, dozens of soldiers invaded the al-‘Isawiya town and Shu‘fat refuge camp, also searched many homes and abducted nine Palestinians …
On Monday morning, the soldiers invaded the Schools Street and the areas around the al-Quds University in Abu Dis town, southeast of Jerusalem, and injured several Palestinians with live fire and rubber-coated steel bullets, in addition to causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, after the locals protested the invasion.

Israeli soldiers abduct Bethlehem University’s dean of students
IMEMC 24 Apr — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, the Dean of Students of Bethlehem University from his home in the Saff Street, in the center of Bethlehem city. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) said the soldiers stormed and ransacked the home of Mahmud Mohammad Hammad, 47, and abducted him. It added that the soldiers also invaded Beit Sahour city, Hindaza and Janata area, east of the city, and searched several homes.
In related news, the soldiers invaded the al-Basateen Street, in the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and demolished the family home of detainee Ahmad al-Qonba’.

Israeli lawmaker: Ahed Tamimi ‘should have gotten a bullet’
Haaretz 22 Apr — Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager famed for slapping an Israeli soldier on camera, should have been shot, at least in the knee, Deputy Knesset Speaker Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) wrote on Twitter Saturday. “In my opinion, she should have gotten a bullet, at least in the kneecap,” he wrote. “That would have put her under house arrest for the rest of her life.” He was responding to journalist Yinon Magal, who had reposted the footage of Tamimi slapping the soldier along with the text, “I’m watching this clip again and am so glad that Tamimi is still in jail. Sometimes, it’s good that the mills of justice grind slowly.” … MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) responded angrily to Smotrich’s tweet. “You should be ashamed of yourself! Should the hilltop youth from Samaria who threw stones at IDF soldiers last week also have been shot?” she wrote on Twitter, referring to violent settlers in the northern West Bank. “Oh, I forgot – the law is different for enemies …” “I don’t accept your excuses and explanations,” she added. “You’re a thug and an inciter.”….  UPDATE (April 23, 2018): Twitter temporarily suspended Israeli lawmaker who said Palestinian teen should’ve been shot

Birzeit: How Palestinian students became the next generation of resistance
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (MEE) 22 Apr by Mustafa Abu Sneineh & Chloé Benoist — It sits atop a hill north of Ramallah, its white buildings and pine trees catching the spring-time light. Students sit on benches, their chatter ringing out between the libraries and observatory. For much of the time, life at Birzeit University is like many educational institutes in the Middle East, as the near-14,000 students walk between classes or mill about talking. But during the past four decades, one of Palestine’s most prominent seats of learning has become a focus for resistance for many living in the West Bank. Its stature has not gone unnoticed by the Israeli authorities. In March, a unit of five Israeli secret operatives disguised as TV journalists and Palestinian students entered Birzeit to abduct Omar Kiswani, the head of the university’s student council. Kiswani was asked by one of the Mistaravim – as the undercover operatives are known – to be interviewed, on camera, in front of the campus’s council building. But then, according to witnesses, he was pinned to the ground by his assailants, who produced firearms from their backpacks, aimed their weapons at students to keep them at bay and fired into the air. Two students and a university employee were wounded in the incident, according to university staff who spoke to Middle East Eye. Waleed Sayej, a Birzeit security guard, told the media that once the Mistaravim had detained Kiswani, Israeli soldiers entered the campus from its western gate to support the operation … The arrest of Kiswani, while alarming for those on campus, was not unusual for Birzeit, the second-largest university in the West Bank and a centre of Palestinian cultural, political and academic life. Sundus Hammad is a coordinator at the Right to Education Campaign at Birzeit, a movement launched in 1988 to raise awareness of how the Israeli occupation has barred access to education for Palestinians….

Restriction of movement / Residency

Israel deports Palestinian mom to West Bank, cutting her off from her Jerusalem family
Haaretz 18 Apr by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — “Can I come with you?” the boy asked us, his eyes pleading. Until then, he’d been sitting between us, his face frozen and embittered, but now he suddenly sprang to life. We had just told his father that we planned to go from their home to the Al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah, to meet with the boy’s mother. Three weeks ago, early in the morning, Border Police troops arrived at the home of the Abid family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiyah, woke up the occupants and took the mother, Ibtisam, and the father, Vasim, to a police station. A few hours later, the police brought Ibtisam to one of the checkpoints that separate Jerusalem from the West Bank and expelled her to the territories. That marked the end of almost 17 years in which Ibtisam lived in East Jerusalem together in a home with Jerusalem-born Vasim and their three children, Nayef, 14, Mohammed, 13, and Emira, 12. Her husband and children all have Israeli ID numbers, having been born in Jerusalem (the children are listed on their father’s blue ID card), and they legally reside in Israel, but Israel never agreed to grant Ibtisam residency status, because she was born in the West Bank. Following unsuccessful attempts by the Shin Bet security service to recruit her husband as an informant, the authorities decided to deport the wife and mother to the West Bank, leaving her husband and three children stunned and at a complete loss. This week the two boys didn’t go to school, because their mother didn’t wake them up as usual. Emira, who is in the refugee camp with her mother, also missed school, because her school is in Isawiyah….

Israeli-Palestinian lawmaker petitions Supreme Court against ban on travel
HAIFA (WAFA) 23 Apr — Yousef Jabareen, an Israeli-Palestinian lawmaker from the Joint List and Adalah–The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on Sunday against a decision by the Ethics Committee of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to prevent Jabareen from participating in a series of lectures in the United States sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). JVP is a US-based non-governmental organization that defines itself as a “diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights.” At the end of 2017, JVP had 250,000 email supporters; 13,500 members; 75 chapters across the US; 500,000 social media followers; and an annual budget of over $2 million. On 13 March, the Knesset House Committee approved a new amendment to the Code of Ethics that gives the ethics committee the power to forbid a Knesset member from traveling overseas if funding for the trip is provided by a body that knowingly publishes a call to boycott the State of Israel or participates in such a boycott, according to an Adalah press release….

The Assassination of Dr. Fadi al-Batsh

Video: Mossad blamed for Palestinian scholar’s murder in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR/GAZA 21 Apr – Al Jazeera

Palestinian energy scientist Fadi al-Batsh – Who he is and why he was assassinated
GAZA (PIC) 22 Apr — Fadi Mohammed al-Batsh, 35 years old, was born in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip. He was killed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the hands of unknown gunmen at dawn Saturday 21/4/2018 and is survived by his wife and three children. He has been living in Malaysia for many years. He had obtained his BAs and MAs degrees in electrical engineering from the Islamic University of Gaza in late 2009. Al-Batsh received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, in 2015. His research was entitled “Raising the efficiency of power transmission networks using power electronics technology.” He was a university professor in electrical engineering, specializing in power electronics, at the University of Kuala Lumpur. Al-Batsh was assassinated by two unknown gunmen who fired several bullets at him hitting his head and body when he was attempting to head for dawn prayer in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. His family pointed fingers at the Israeli Mossad. During his academic career, al-Batsh had published 18 journal articles in international journals and conferences. He participated in an international conference in Japan. He also took part at international research conferences in Britain, Finland, Spain and Saudi Arabia, as well as in local conferences in Malaysia. Al-Batsh received many prestigious scientific awards, including the 2016 Malaysian Khazanah Award, the highest award given in Malaysia. He was given this award for his scientific and academic excellence and achievement of a number of inventions, and he was the first Palestinian to win the Khazanah scholarship and the first Arab scholar to win the Best Researcher Award. At the time, al-Batsh said, “I wanted to convey a message to the world that Palestinians are insistent to be creative and nothing could stop them.” He pointed out that the Khazanah Scholarship was “reserved for Malaysian students only, before the government agreed to include Palestinian students and I was the first Palestinian and Arab to win it.”…

Israel denies Mossad killed Palestinian engineer in Malaysia
MEE/Agencies 22 Apr — Avigdor Lieberman says that Fadi al-Batash was killed as part of an internal Palestinian dispute — Israel’s defence minister on Sunday denied claims that Mossad, the Israeli spy agency, had assassinated a Palestinian scientist who was shot dead in Malaysia. Two men on a motorcycle fired 10 shots at Fadi al-Batash, an engineering lecturer, in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, killing him on the spot, the city’s police chief, Mazlan Lazim said. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Mossad had been behind past attempts to kill Palestinian scientists, and the attack on Batash “follows this sequence”. The group also released a statement on Saturday confirming that Batash was a member of the militant group, which controls the besieged Gaza Strip. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it was likely that Batash was killed as part of an internal Palestinian dispute. “We heard about it in the news. The terrorist organisations blame every assassination on Israel – we’re used to that,” Lieberman told Israel Radio. “The man was no saint, and he didn’t deal with improving infrastructure in Gaza – he was involved in improving rockets’ accuracy … We constantly see a settling of accounts between various factions in the terrorist organisations, and I suppose that is what happened in this case.”….

Malaysia issues sketches of Al-Batsh’s killers
MEMO 23 Apr — Malaysian police today released e-fits of two suspects in the assassination of Palestinian academic Fadi Al-Batsh. “This drawing is based on an eyewitness statement on the day of the incident,” Malaysian Police Inspector-General Mohammad Fawzi Harun told a news conference today. “Based on this drawing, one of the suspects is believed to be from the Middle East or Europe,” he said, adding that “they are two bearded men who are 180 centimetres tall.” Malaysia’s deputy Prime Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said suspects involved in the assassination  are believed to be “foreign agents” with links to an international spy agency, according to Bernama, a state-run news agency. Malaysia’s police chief Mazlam Lazim added: “We are investigating all angles. I have to investigate very carefully and deeply.” “This is an international issue,” he said.

Video: Family of slain Palestinian wants to bury him back home in Gaza
The Star Online 22 Apr — Father: Please don’t prevent me from seeing my beloved son and bury him far away from me and his mother.

Another day, another Mossad assassination / Richard Silverstein
Tikkun Olam 21 Apr — Richard Silverstein reflects on the assassination of Gazan electrical engineer Fadi al Batsh in Malaysia: the only information available is Israeli; the incident resembles the assassination of Mohammed al Zoary last year. These extrajudicial killings beg the question: why does Israel kill academics and then protest academic boycott? His answer: An Israeli professor “would never see the equivalence between him or herself and a dead Palestinian professor.” —  Yesterday, Israel’s Mossad assassinated Fadi al Batsh (English language report), a Palestinian Senior Lecturer in the Electrical Engineering Section, British Malaysian Institute, University of Kuala Lumpur (UniKL). He was originally from Gaza and earned his PhD in 2009 at the same institution. His school bio describes research interests: ” He is the author and co-author of more than 25 publications in an international journals and proceedings in the area of Power Systems and Power Electronics. His research interests include FACTS devices, power converters, power quality, microgrid and renewable energy.”
Israeli media are calling him an “engineer” which is Israeli security- speak for a weapons maker. In actuality, he was professor at a major Malaysian university. Two Israeli assassins on a motorbike shot ten bullets, four of which struck him on the head and body, killing him instantly. He was making his way to the local mosque for early morning prayer. Imagine if a Palestinian militant assassinated an Israeli nuclear engineer as he emerged from prayer at a synagogue. The uproar would be immense and geshrei of anti-Semitism would be deafening. But apparently, Muslim prayer means nothing while Jewish prayer means everything…
A knowledgeable Israeli source likened this murder to that of Mohammed al Zoari, another Palestinian researcher accused of being a drone engineer who was, among other things, purportedly researching use of underwater drones. A Mossad hit team assassinated al Zoari in Tunis last year.  The statement by the source and Israel’s Channel 10 news report confirm that al Batsh as well was murdered by the Mossad. Keep in mind that these claims regarding the activities of the victims are one-sided and only offer the view of the Israeli intelligence apparatus which murdered him.
This begs the question: if the Mossad murders Palestinian academics with impunity, why is there any argument against the academic boycott of Israeli universities? It seems to me that it’s perfectly legitimate to argue that as long as Israel’s government assassins target the world’s academics, that Israeli educational institutions should be in BDS’ cross-hairs….

Prisoners / Court actions

Nearly 500 Palestinians jailed without charge or trial continue boycott of Israeli courts for 68 days
Samidoun 23 Apr — Nearly 500 Palestinian prisoners held without charge or trial under administrative detention orders are continuing their boycott of Israeli courts for the 68th day as of 23 April. They launched their boycott on 15 February, refusing to participate in the hearings that serve as a rubber stamp of the orders for their imprisonment without charge or trial that come from the Israeli military and security forces. Maher Harb of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Committee in Nablus said that they are considering escalating steps in their struggle, up to and potentially including an open hunger strike. Administrative detention orders are indefinitely renewable and are issued in one to six month periods at a time. The detainees are demanding an end to the practice of administrative detention, which dates from the period of the British colonial mandate in Palestine before being adopted as a tool of Zionist colonization. Palestinians can be jailed for years at a time without charge or trial; Ibrahim al-Arouj, 34, just had his administrative detention renewed for the eighth time, ordering him arbitrarily imprisoned for another three months.
Several Palestinian prisoners, including one held in administrative detention, are also engaged in hunger strikes; Sami Janazra, held without charge or trial, has been on hunger strike for 28 days….

Abeer Abu Khdeir released after two-month sentence in Israeli prison
Samidoun 23 Apr — Palestinian activist Abeer Abu Khdeir was released after serving nearly two months in Israeli occupation prison on 20 April. Abu Khdeir, 43, was sentenced on 2 March to two months in Israeli prison on charges that dated back seven years to when she and her daughters resisted invading Israeli forces’ attempt to detain her son Anan in 2011. Anan was 14 years old at the time. Abu Khdeir is a leading organizer in Jerusalem and an activist with the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees. Throughout her detention, she was held in isolation and Israeli occupation forces refused to transfer her to be with the other Palestinian women political prisoners. She was also reportedly denied books and was subject to ongoing verbal abuse from guards. She is the wife of Nasser Abu Khdeir, a fellow leading Jerusalemite Palestinian organizer, currently serving a 16-month sentence in Israeli prison.  He has spent over 15 years in Israeli prison through repeated jailings.
Her case went on for years until she was sentenced to two months; several days were deducted from her sentence due to the time she and her daughters spent imprisoned upon their original arrest in 2011. She has been detained on multiple occasions by occupation forces and beaten by occupation forces while participating in protests in Jerusalem; she has been active on the international and Arab levels as well in defending Jerusalem and organizing Palestinian women to confront occupation.

Palestinian teen Abdul-Khalik Burnat sentenced to 19 months in Israeli prisons
Samidoun 23 Apr — Palestinian teen Abdul-Khalik Burnat, 18, the son of well-known activist Iyad Burnat, was sentenced to 19 months in Israeli military court on Sunday, 22 April. He and several friends had been charged with throwing stones and causing damage to the Israeli apartheid wall cutting through Palestinian land in the West Bank. Abdul-Khalik was arrested at the age of 17; like most child prisoners of the Israeli occupation, he was accused of throwing stones. There are currently 350 Palestinian children held in Israeli occupation prisons. To some extent, this number understates the problem; many arrested Palestinian children go through lengthy court hearings and their sentencing hearings take place after they reach the age of 18. Palestinian children face the same types of military court hearings as adults with the same conviction rate of 99.74 percent; every year, 500 to 700 Palestinian children are brought before military courts.
As a senior in high school, Abdul-Khalik had been focused on completing his secondary education before he was seized by occupation forces; he was planning to apply to universities abroad for next year’s studies. Instead, his educational plans have been delayed by occupation forces and imprisonment. He has already been held for 133 days, since 10 December, when he as his friends were seized by occupation forces. The boys were beaten and kicked by occupation forces after being seized at gunpoint as they returned home from a pizzeria. In addition, he was also ordered to pay 18,000 NIS ($5,100 USD) as “restitution” for the “damage” the teens allegedly caused by throwing stones at the Wall. In addition, he was ordered to a six-month suspended sentence that will persist for a three year period. The Burnat family and Abdul-Khalik in particular have been repeatedly attacked by occupation forces. He was shot in the back of the head in January 2017 and then arrested two months later as his recovery continued. Their village of Bil‘in has been targeted by colonial forces on an ongoing basis,

Militant Jewish extremist charged with assault and avoiding court
Haaretz 16 Apr by Yotam Berger — Three years after far-right activist Baruch Marzel was charged with assaulting a Palestinian, the court case has stalled — in part because Marzel has simply not shown up for hearings. On February 16, 2015 the Israel Police filed an indictment against Marzel for attacking Palestinian Issa Amru in Amru’s home in Hebron. The indictment described an incident that had taken place two years earlier, in February 2013. According to the indictment, Marzel entered Amru’s courtyard in Hebron on his way to prayers. For a reason unknown to the plaintiff, Marzel entered Amru’s courtyard. When he and some guests who were drinking tea with him asked Marzel to leave, Marzel punched Amru in the face and later kicked him in the leg twice. Marzel was accused of criminal trespassing and assault. But five years later, the legal proceeding hasn’t progressed. Marzel repeatedly refrained from reporting to court sessions, which were repeatedly postponed.

Punitive demolition

Israeli forces demolish prisoner’s home in Jenin
JENIN (WAFA) 24 Apr – Israeli forces Tuesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house using dynamite in the city of Jenin, according to sources. The house belonged to [the brother of] Ahmad Jamal al-Qumbaa, a prisoner in Israeli jails. Qumbaa’s father, Jamal, told WAFA that Israeli forces blew up the house damaging four nearby houses. He added that the forces were accompanied by a bulldozer and experts who attempted to blew up the house and failed the first time, then put more explosives inside of it and blew it up. Clashes also broke out between youths and Israeli forces during the army raid of Jenin. The soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at the Palestinian youths causing one injury from a rubber bullet and several cases of suffocation from tear gas inhalation.
Members of the Qumbaa’ family had left their house almost 10 days ago after the Israeli court issued a decision to be demolished. The family was handed the demolition notice three months ago and they tried to appeal three times and failed. The house does not belong to al-Qumbaa’s father but rather his brother. Qumbaa was charged with driving the car that was used by Ahmad Jarrar to carry the attack against a settler near Nablus in January.    VIDEO of the demolition here

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

Israeli bulldozers raze land, uproot trees in East Jerusalem in spite of legal battle
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 23 Apr – Israeli bulldozers Monday razed lands belonging to residents from the village of Sur Baher, to the southeast of occupied Jerusalem, in spite of ongoing legal battle between its Palestinian owners and the Israeli authority, according to one of the landowners. Ahmad Nimr, a landowner, said that bulldozers uprooted olive trees planted on 56 dunums of farming land, adding that the trees and land belong to four local families and that the land has been planted for over 100 years with 500 olive trees, which landowners cultivate and harvest every year. He said landowners tried to explain to the Israeli forces that sealed off the area before the bulldozers proceeded to destroy the land and uproot the trees that there was a legal case regarding the land in Israeli courts that has not been settled yet and that there is a court order barring any work on the land for two months until a decision is made regarding its future….

Video: Israel control of Palestinian water supply hits farmers
21 Apr — Between illegal settlements, military encroachments and a rigged project approval process, Israel is crushing Palestinian agriculture by denying access to water and things are getting worse. Israel has controlled water supplies in the occupied West Bank since seizing the territory during the 1967 war. Palestinians have long complained about not getting their agreed share and now rights groups believe Israel is deliberately limiting the water supply to farmers in an attempt to force them out. Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford reports from the occupied West Bank.

Wadi Qana: From a Palestinian valley to an Israeli park
Salfit (PIC) 16 Apr — The scene of dozens of Israeli settlers invading Wadi Qana, an agricultural valley west of Deir Istiya town in Salfit, under the protection of Israeli soldiers has become familiar during Jewish holidays. Over the past week, Palestinian farmers of Deir Istiya have repeatedly complained of the large number of settlers who regularly storm the valley and sometimes expel farmers from their lands by force to enjoy their picnics. They have also complained of the harassment they face by the Israeli occupation authorities who prevent them from properly taking care of their citrus trees.
— Repeated violations — 
Palestinian farmer Ahmad Mansour said that settlers’ picnics are not the only thing that adversely affects farmlands in Wadi Qana. “We are facing many challenges because of the scarcity of water. Most of the valley’s water is supplied to eight illegal (Jewish) settlements nearby,” he explained. While the Israeli occupation authorities allow settlers to enter Wadi Qana and picnic wherever they want in its farmlands, they ban any restorations that would facilitate the trips of Palestinian vacationers there, mayor of Deir Istiya Said Zidan said. Zidan pointed out that Israel considers Wadi Qana a natural reserve and Israeli soldiers regularly secure and organize settler trips to the valley. He affirmed that most of Wadi Qana’s farms, stretching over 10,000 dunums of land, are owned by Palestinian farmers from Deir Istiya.
– Fertile valley —  Anti-settlement researcher Khaled Ma’ali said that Wadi Qana has many natural springs and dense forest areas, adding that it is one of the most fertile lands in Salfit and Palestine. Ma’ali noted that Israel prevents its investment by Palestinians on the ground that it is a natural reserve, while there are eight illegally built Israeli settlements slowly expanding at the expense of its farmlands away from the media eyes. He stressed that cracking down on Palestinian vacationers in Wadi Qana or on farmers while they are working in their lands violates the international humanitarian law which prohibits harming civilians and their livelihoods or restricting their way of life

Israeli army to displace five families during military training in northern plains
IMEMC 23 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday at night, Hamsa al-Foqa Bedouin village in the West Bank’s Northern Plains and handed five families military orders informing them of intentions to hold live fire training in their area, and ordering them to leave on scheduled dates. The soldiers ordered the families of Yasser, Abdullah, Adel and Taiseer Abu Kabbash, to leave their homes and dwellings on Tuesday, April 24th, May 1st and May 10th, from six in the morning until twelve in the afternoon. It is worth mentioning that the army frequently displaces families in the area, and various parts of the Jordan Valley in addition to certain parts of the occupied West Bank, to hold live fire military drills. Last month, the soldiers displaced two Palestinian Bedouin families from their homes in Khirbat Ibzeeq village, northeast of Tubas, in northeastern West Bank. In January of this year, the soldiers shot a Palestinian child with a live round in the head, during “military training” near Tubas. In many incidents, Palestinian families are ordered to leave their communities during the military drills, and later return after the army is done with its live-fire  training, including the use of explosives, which are sometimes left behind, leading to casualties, including fatalities.

Other news

Popular Front says it opposes convening alternate meeting for PNC
RAMALLAH 23 Apr  – The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one of founders of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Monday that it categorically rejects attempts by some groups and factions to convene an alternate meeting from the Palestinian National Council (PNC), the top Palestinian decision-making body and the parliament in exile that is scheduled to convene in Ramallah on April 30, or to form a parallel framework for the PLO. Member of the PFLP political bureau, Zahir al-Shashti, told the official Voice of Palestine radio that his organization is fully committed to the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people and will not leave it or any of its institutions. The leftist PFLP had to explain its position after it decided to boycott the upcoming PNC meeting, mainly because it will be held in Ramallah, which it says allows Israel to decide who can or cannot attend the meeting since its military controls the  borders to the Palestinian areas. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, two Islamist groups who are not members in the PLO, have also said they will boycott the meeting because of the venue and what they said was Fatah dominance over it. They proposed forming an alternate meeting for the PNC to be attended by the opposing factions and suggested the creation of an umbrella organization that may eventually replace the PLO….

Palestinians file complaint to UN over Israel violation of anti-racism convention
MEMO 23 Apr — Palestinians have filed a complaint to the UN against Israel for numerous violations including breaches of its obligations under international anti-racism treaty. The move, which is likely to trigger a lengthy and high-profile investigation by world bodies monitoring racism and discrimination, was handed to the UN  by the Palestinian ambassador to the international organisation, Ibrahim Khraishi, to the body that monitors the implementation of the UN convention against racism. In the 350-page document seen by the Guardian, which accuses Israel of establishing an apartheid regime, Palestinians say that Israel is implementing policies that have “the common aim of displacing and replacing the Palestinian people for the purpose of maintaining a colonial occupation”. Palestinians list a number of Israeli violations in the occupied territories and accuse Israel of seeking to maintain “a Jewish demographic majority in the entirety of historic Palestine”. “Not only is the purpose of the settlement regime discriminatory in itself, it is further maintained by a system of discriminatory measures, severely depriving Palestinians of their fundamental rights,” the report says….

World Bank warns of ‘worrying’ outlook for Palestinian economy in West Bank, Gaza
MEMO 19 Apr — The World Bank has warned of a “worrying” outlook for the Palestinian economy in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, in its latest update published this week. In “Palestine’s Economic Outlook – April 2018”, the World Bank reports that GDP in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is expected to decrease by 2.5 per cent in 2018 from 2.7 per cent in 2017. Assuming the “persistence of the Israeli restrictions” on freedom of movement, land usage and so on, as well as “the internal divide” between the West Bank and Gaza”, the World Bank says real GDP growth of the Palestinian economy is projected to decline to 2.3 per cent “over the next two years”. According to the World Bank, unemployment in the oPt “continued to be high” at 27 per cent in 2017, reaching 44 per cent in the Gaza Strip, compared to 18 per cent in the West Bank….

Excavations start on Palestine’s oldest monastery
Al-Monitor 15 Apr by Huda Baroud — The Palestinian government and international organizations started a major excavation to restore St. Hilarion Monastery, locally known as Tell Umm Amer, in the central Gaza Strip, Palestine’s oldest and largest Christian monument. The project, which started in January and is expected to take up to two years, is supervised and funded by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund. Partners of the project include French nongovernmental organization Premiere Urgence Internationale (PUI) as well as the University of Palestine, the Islamic University of Gaza and the French Biblical and Archaeological School in Jerusalem. The project also includes the restoration of a Byzantine church in Jabaliya in the Gaza Strip. The monastery’s founding text, which was discovered in excavations supervised by the Palestinian Authority in 1994, reveals that the St. Hilarion Monastery was the first Christian landmark in Palestine….

Late singer Rim Banna’s posthumous album to be released this week
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 21 Apr – A new posthumous album by the late Palestinian singer Rim Banna is set to be released this week through digital music platforms, according to her record label. The album, titled “Voice of Resistance,” consists of 15 new songs that Banna managed to complete recording by January 2018 despite her illness and weak vocal cords. According to the record label, Banna said that she wanted this album to be powerful and defiant, neither sad nor melancholic, a creative act of resistance in the face of injustice and occupation in all their forms, a powerful statement celebrating her and her people’s struggle against all foes and woes, always with a sign of victory and a smile of hope … The album is scheduled for release by the KKV record label across all digital music platforms on April 20th (including iTunes, Spotify etc.) … Banna passed away in Nazareth, her hometown, on March 24

Listen: The West Bank’s first dog shelter
BBC News 17 Apr — On nearly every street in the occupied West Bank you see stray dogs wandering about, or scrapping, or lounging in the sun. From time to time they’re hit by cars, or abused by humans. There are vets in the West Bank, but many of the surgeries are poorly equipped and anyway they’re more geared up for treating farm animals than pets. But one Palestinian woman, Diana Babish, has made it her mission to look after them. Our reporter Yolande Knell went to meet her.

Germany not to move embassy to Jerusalem, says Merkel
IMEMC 24 Apr — German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued a public statement assuring that the country will not relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Her comments were made during an interview with Israeli TV on Sunday, maintaining Germany’s official rejection of a unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “We have to work for the two-state solution, and, according to that, the status of Jerusalem should be clarified.” Merkel said. Chancellor Merkel argues that status, in-line with Bundestag policy, can only be established in the framework of a multilateral peace agreement….

EU calls for investigation into killing of peaceful Palestinian demonstrators on Gaza border
IMEMC/Agencies 22 Apr — The European Union (EU) has called for the opening of a full investigation regarding the killing of Palestinian demonstrators by Israeli forces along the Gaza Strip’s borders, on Friday. The EU mentioned, in a press release, that the soldiers used live bullets intensively, leading to the death of 4 demonstrators, including a child, while hundreds have been wounded. High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mujerini, called to end the escalation in the Palestinian territories and to provide an explanation for the violent incidents against Palestinians demonstrators which led to the deaths of some of them. The EU urged the Israeli army to stop using the lethal force against the unarmed Palestinian demonstrators, adding that the priority, now, is to avoid another escalation of violence that will lead to more loss of life.

Why the PA can’t — and won’t — stop paying prisoners’ families / Yoni Mendel
+972 Blog 22 Apr — Israel’s demand that the PA stop paying the families of Palestinian prisoners is part of an intentional strategy to block any progress towards resolving the conflict. The problem is that it’s working —  The Israeli demand that the Palestinian Authority stop paying the families of prisoners in Israeli jails has spread like wildfire over the past year. It has become part of Israel’s hasbara arsenal, heard again and again, mainly whenever Israel fears that the international community — or, worse, the United States — intends to present a peace plan. In those cases, the demand appears to come from everywhere: from Israeli decision-makers and pundits, academics and online comments sections. Thus, it has become a slogan — hollow, yet effective.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put the issue of PA payment to prisoners’ families at the center of his speech during the AIPAC Policy Conference last month. “I have a message for Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas],” Netanyahu said. “Stop paying terrorists.” …  By pushing the demand that the PA stop the payments to prisoners’ families, Israel is trying to achieve several goals simultaneously: to portray the PA as a supporter of terror, to shift the blame for the ongoing conflict away from Israel, and to stymie any attempt to renew peace negotiations. The strategy is smart and effective in that the Israeli public — and perhaps the current American administration — largely views the demand as legitimate …
The PA’s approach to the issue of Palestinian prisoners should be compared to that of any other movement actively fighting for its independence. One could even compare it to the approach of the Zionist movement’s leadership to Jewish prisoners jailed by the British for attacking British soldiers or Arab militias during the Mandate period. In other words, a national liberation movement cannot abandon its fighters imprisoned by the occupying power for crimes committed as part of the national liberation struggle … If the PA were to announce an end to financial support to prisoners’ families, it would lose its legitimacy and cease to exist.

Trump asked Netanyahu if he ‘really cares about peace’, report says
WASHINGTON (Haaretz) 23 Apr by Amir Tibon — President Donald Trump asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call last year if he “really cares about peace,” according to a report published Sunday on the Axios website. The report didn’t specify when the phone call took place exactly, but it stated that a number of Trump’s advisers were “shocked” by the president’s question. According to the report, Trump raised the question after learning through news reports that Netanyahu was planning additional building in the settlements. “Trump thought Bibi [Netanyahu] was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians,” reporter Jonathan Swan wrote, “so, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace.” The White House didn’t deny the report, but instead explained that Trump and Netanyahu have a strong and positive relationship…
The Trump administration publicly distanced itself from Netanyahu on one single occasion earlier this year, when it put out a statement denying Netanyahu’s claims that he was discussing settlements annexation with the administration. Apart from that, it has not criticized Israel for building in the West Bank and has given Israel total public backing in light of recent events on the Gaza border. (listserv)


American; political science major, M.A.; former ISM volunteer in the West Bank

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