In video — Palestinian child forced to climb her way home
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — An Israeli activist and spokesperson of the Breaking the Silence Non-Governmental Organization, Achiya Schats, captured on video the moment a Palestinian child was forced to climb an Israeli military fence to be able to go home in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Schatz shared the video on his Twitter account captioning it in Hebrew with what translates to “a girl tries to go home, just like yours, except that she was born in Hebron.” The caption also reads that the girl’s house was recently blockaded by a fence and that Israeli forces locked the gate leading to her home, which forces Palestinian residents to climb the fence. “Don’t worry, it’s not because we’ve made them less than humans, it’s about security.”
Israel cancels policy preventing Gaza patients’ access to treatment
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — The Israeli Supreme Court allowed the travel of five ill Palestinian women from the Gaza Strip via Israel for medical treatment that is unavailable in the besieged strip. The court’s ruling, on Sunday, came after it accepted a petition submitted by the humanitarian organizations of Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Al Mezan, Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights Israel a month ago on behalf of seven critically ill women from the Gaza Strip who are in need of urgent medical treatment at Palestinians hospitals in East Jerusalem. A statement by Gisha said that the court “also ruled that the Israeli Security Cabinet’s 2017 decision to deny Gaza patients access to medical treatment as a means of leverage over Hamas was ineffective and illegal.” The statement pointed out that the judgment included that “the value of life at its most elementary and cardinal sense is at stake. Denying available medical treatment from a person [who is critically ill and without access to treatment], or significantly and sweepingly limiting access to it without individual examination, in circumstances where there is no feasible option of obtaining treatment abroad, means putting the person in real danger.”
Israel had denied the women’s applications for exit permits on the grounds that they were “first-degree relatives of Hamas members.” Israel then argued before the High Court that the patients’ refusals reflected a decision made by Israel’s Security Cabinet in January 2017 which orders “several operative measures to serve as leverage over Hamas with respect to returning captured and missing persons;” it also confirmed that the patients themselves did not pose any threat to Israel’s security. “After the petition was filed, Israel admitted that it had mistakenly identified two of the seven patients as ‘relatives of Hamas members’ and would allow them to reach medical treatment, which had already been greatly delayed. One of the two petitioners is in such a grave condition that she has opted to forgo the bureaucratic process of re-submitting her application for an exit permit from Israel.”….
Egypt to ease travel for Palestinians at Rafah crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — The Egyptian authorities announced, on Tuesday, that decisions were made to ease the movement of Palestinians through the Rafah crossing at the borders with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, within the next 48 hours. The Palestinian embassy in Cairo said that Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi gave instructions to all parties concerned to ease the travel of Palestinians through the Rafah crossing into the besieged Gaza Strip and vice versa. Sources confirmed that the ease of travel is in order to ensure the Palestinians’ safety and ease their suffering. Al-Sisi requested plans, programs and mechanisms that would speed up Palestinians’ traveling from Egypt within 48 hours. The Egyptian authorities reopened the Rafah crossing allowing passage in both directions for hundreds of Palestinians in Egyptian cities to return to Gaza, while about 20,000 Palestinians are signed up on waiting lists, awaiting departure from the besieged Gaza Strip to the rest of the world.
Recently, Palestinians have complained about the excessive security measures at the Rafah crossing, noting that traveling from Cairo to Gaza takes up to four days, while from Gaza to Cairo takes two days. The standard time to travel between these two destinations is an estimate of six hours.
Erez crossing reopens after 8 days of closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — The Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun) between Israel and the northern besieged Gaza Strip was reopened on Monday following eight days of closure, upon order by the Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. The Israeli authorities announced the reopening of the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun) for humanitarian cases and Palestinian merchants who has received entry permits, in addition to foreigners and diplomats. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, Lieberman’s decision to reopen the crossing was based on the recent calm along the Gaza borders. The Erez crossing was closed for the last eight days due to an organized sea march, made up of 40 boats, in attempt to break the siege of Gaza, as well as the continuing of “The Great March of Return” protests, during which 171 Palestinians have been killed and over 18,000 injured by Israeli forces. The Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun) is the only operating crossing used for the movement of people between Israel and the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank. The crossing is under full Israeli control. Although the crossing was designed to deal with the passage of about 20,000 individuals per day, it was reported that there are no more than 20 to 30 individuals crossing per day, most of whom are foreign passport holders.
UNRWA agrees temporary deal to end Gaza worker’s protest
MEMO 30 Aug by Mohammed Asad — UNRWA employees who were to be forced into retirement or see their contracts come to an end this month can continue working in September under the terms of a deal agreed between labour unions and the UN body … UNRWA has faced protests for over a month since it announced its to dismiss 13 per cent of its emergency programme workers, move 57 per cent on to part-time contracts, and the rest on to temporary contracts which end later this year means job insecurity. Around 1,000 employees working in emergency programmes are threatened with dismissal by the end of this year….
Video — Cracking the code: Young Palestinians take hold of their future at Gaza’s tech hub
Gaza/Ramallah (The Independent) 29 Aug by Bel Trew — Suffering from one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, Gaza-based software firms have launched coding academies across the Palestinian Territories to help create jobs.
In video: Fires break out in Israeli communities near Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Several fires broke out on Monday near an Israeli community surrounding the besieged Gaza Strip, at least one of them was a result of incendiary balloons launched by Palestinians from Gaza. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, Palestinians launched dozens of incendiary balloons from Gaza towards Israeli communities surrounding the Strip. Four fires broke out in various areas near the Israeli kibbutz of Saad and at least one of the fires was caused due to the launch of incendiary balloons. Israeli forces are currently investigating the causes of the outbreak of the rest of the fires. Additionally, residents from the Israeli communities surrounding Gaza were quick to link the launch of incendiary balloons to the recent decision of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s decision to reopen the Erez crossing (Beit Hanoun), claiming that the reopening was a victory for the Hamas movement.
In July, it was reported that about 6,000 dunams (1482.6 acres) of agricultural produce as well as thousands of dunams of open fields were burned due to about 678 fires caused by incendiary kites and balloons flown from inside the Gaza Strip. Palestinians in Gaza view the incendiary kites as a form of protest against Israel’s nearly 12-year blockade of Gaza and for Palestinian refugees right of return to their homes and lands which are now known as Israel.
Long before they flew in protest, kites were Palestinian filmmakers’ symbol of freedom
[behind paywall] Haaretz 27 Aug by Nurit Gertz & George Khleifi — Incendiary kites and balloons have been hitting the Gaza border as harbingers of destruction, but prior to being a weapon, they flew in Palestinian films as instruments of dreams and imagination — During the past two decades, Palestinian cameras have spent a lot of time in the sky with the kites, the balloons and the birds, almost more than they have spent on the ground. Director Elia Suleiman explains: “It is possible to control my movements, my deeds and my time, but it’s impossible to control my imagination. I can be stopped on the ground, but the sky is open. There, me and my camera are free.” … The Palestinian cinema has told various stories about the lives of Palestinians, but the main story woven through the works like a scarlet thread is this tale of the kites, the balloons and the birds that fly into the sky accompanied by the camera….
Gaza Ministry of Health: No response from donors on fuel
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Aug — A spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Qedra, said that there has been no response from donors to provide fuel for the facilities of the Ministry. The Ministry has previously issued warnings regarding a shortage of fuel, which threatens the provision of health services to citizens. During the past years of siege, the Ministry’s facilities in Gaza have experienced several crises due to the shortage of fuel, causing the closure of a number of health facilities and the provision of services.
Israeli bulldozers raze lands in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — Several Israeli military vehicles raided the eastern borders of Gaza City in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that six Israeli military vehicles entered dozens of meters into lands southeast of return camps in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of the city and began to raze and level the lands as Israeli drones flew overhead. No shootings were reported.
Israeli forces open fire near Gaza return camps
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 31 Aug — Israeli forces opened fire on Friday morning towards the return camps alongside the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli military watchtowers east of Khan Younis district, in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at a number of Palestinians who were near the security border fence. No injuries were reported from the shooting. Hundreds of Palestinians took to the Gaza borders on Friday, preparing to participate in the 23rd Friday of “The Great March of Return” which started on March 30th.
Lacking therapeutic milk, children with PKU face fate
IMEMC/Agencies 28 Aug — The acute shortage of some types of therapeutic milk in Gaza hospitals is leaving infants threatened by a genetic defect that is known to cause mental disability, the Palestinian Ministry of Health warned on Monday … According to the Mayo Clinic, Phenylketonuria (fen-ul-key-toe-NU-ree-uh), also called PKU, is a rare inherited disorder that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body. PKU is caused by a defect in the gene that helps create the enzyme needed to break down phenylalanine. It noted that about 107 children suffering mental retardation and psychological disorders, including 22 children under one year, are prone to mental disability due to the lack of the therapeutic milk for PKU. Infants infected with PKU are diagnosed early after being born; they are banned from consuming animal foods. The ministry explained, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency, that the lack of milk causes complications to the sick children, beginning with a gradual decrease in IQ until they reach a state of mental disability. It said that the therapeutic milk for the children under the age of one year is now unavailable in its stores or hospitals, with the available amount just sufficient for three weeks…
Statistics Bureau: Almost 1.9 million people living in Gaza; about 2/3 are refugees
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Aug — Almost 1.9 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, making almost 40% of the total Palestinian population in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, and two thirds of them are refugees, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said, on Wednesday. Introducing the Population, Housing and Establishments Census 2017, PCBS President Ola Awad told a press conference, in Gaza, that the total population of the Gaza Strip was 1,899,291, which is 39.7% of the total number of people in the state of Palestine. She said, according to WAFA, that males make up 50.7% of the total and females 49.3%. Awad also said that the total refugee population in Gaza amounts to 1,239,112, or 65.2 percent of the total.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israeli court recognises settlement on privately owned Palestinian land
MEE/Agencies 28 Aug — An Israeli court has for the first time recognised as legal a settlement established on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, court officials said on Tuesday. The settlement of Mitzpe Carmit, close to Ramallah, was established in the late 1990s on land owned by Palestinians who had title deeds recognised by the Israeli authorities. The owners had appealed to the Israeli courts to have the settlers evicted from their land. But the Jerusalem district court found the settlement was legal as it had been created with the consent of the Israeli authorities and that the settlers had settled there “in good faith” – without knowing the land was privately owned. “The District Court today clearly stated that whoever settled [the land] with the state’s approval and in good faith, would not be evacuated. The injustice done in the evacuations of the Amona and Netiv Ha’avot [outposts] should not be repeated,” said Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Today, the settlement close to Ramallah is home to several dozen families. The ruling may still be appealed, but if that fails, it may serve as a precedent for the legal recognition of settlements established without permission from the Israeli authorities or occupying land privately owned by Palestinians … Settlers on public radio welcomed the ruling, which was slammed by campaign groups and left-wing politicians. The ruling shows “the property rights of Palestinians aren’t equal to those of Jews and that the government is no longer obliged to respect private property,” said MP Michal Rozin, a member of the left-wing opposition party Meretz….
New Israeli settlement outpost in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — A new illegal Israeli settlement outpost was set up, on Thursday, on Palestinian-owned lands belonging to the residents of the Qaryut village, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. A Palestinian official who monitors settlement activist in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Daghlas, said that the residents of Qaryut were shocked to find out on Thursday morning that Israeli settlers set up a new settlement outpost on their lands. Daghlas said that Israeli settlers set up five caravans, which were stocked up with water and other supplies, in addition to construction material in preparation to set up more caravans. Daghlas confirmed that the land is private Palestinian-owned land and is located between the two illegal Israeli settlements of Eli and Shilo. Earlier this week, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that if Israeli settlers built a settlement on private Palestinian land with “good intentions” then it should not be removed. Therefore, allowing more Palestinian lands to be seized by Israeli settlers as they see fit….
Bedouin family left homeless as Israel continues Negev demolitions
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — Israeli bulldozers escorted by heavily armed Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian home, on Thursday, in the unrecognized village of al-Zarnouq in the Negev area of southern Israel. According to local sources, large numbers of Israeli forces raided the al-Zarnouq village and began to demolish the house under the pretext that it was built without an Israeli building permit. Sources confirmed that Israeli forces demolished a 130-square-meter home, belonging to Akef Abu Quwaider, who lived in it along with his family for more than five years. Residents of the village told Ma‘an that the “Israeli authorities refuse to grant us permits to build our homes and to live our lives. Israel works hard to remove us from our land.” In addition, the Israeli authorities had previously notified Abu Quwaider several times to the demolition and repeatedly threatened him in attempts to force him to demolish his own home, however, he refused. The Israeli government has plans to evacuate thousands of residents from al-Zarnouq to the recognized village of Rahat in order to build over the land for new housing for non-Bedouin Israeli citizens….
In video — Israeli forces ransack Nablus print shop, confiscate equipment
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Dozens of Israeli forces raided and ransacked a Palestinian print shop on predawn Monday near the Balata refugee camp in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. Locals said that Israeli forces raided the al-Manahil print shop and confiscated print equipment before closing down the shop on Monday. Sources added that some 18 Israeli military vehicles entered the refugee camp and demolished the gates of and the interior content of the print shop. The shop belonged to Palestinian resident, Ghassan Thuqan, who was previously detained by Israeli forces last year, along with his two sons. Sources mentioned that Israeli forces closed down the shop under the pretext that the structure was allegedly being used for “terrorist operations.” It is noteworthy that the print shop was fully licensed and legal; the owner had not received a prior notice that his business was suspected of wrongdoing by Israeli forces. No detentions or injuries were reported from the raid.
Israeli settlers attempt to seize land in Sheikh Jarrah
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Members of the Custodian of Absentees’ Property Department along with Israeli settlers attempted to seize a piece of land in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, on Monday. Hashem Badr, member of a local committee, said that members of the Israeli Custodian of Absentees’ Property department, under armed protection of Israeli forces, stormed the western part of Sheikh Jarrah and attempted to seize a piece of Palestinian-owned land. Badr confirmed that the land belongs to Palestinian resident, Abed al-Razzaq al-Sheikh; the land measures about 50 square meters and is located directly in front of his house. He added that Israeli bulldozers entered the neighborhood and began to raze the land and uproot several planted trees, while Israeli forces surrounded the area and prevented access to it. Badr stressed that the Custodian of Absentees’ Property attempted to claim ownership of the property and attempted to carry out the seizure without an official decision from the Israeli court.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem / Israel
Israeli forces use excessive violence toward Silwan residents
[with videos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — Israeli forces injured at least eight Palestinians, including three pregnant women, and detained three others from the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, while demolishing a printing house, on Wednesday. Local eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that a large number of Israeli forces and police escorting staff members of the Jerusalem Municipality stormed the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Israeli forces surrounded the printing house before bulldozers began the demolition under the pretext that it was built without the nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli building permit. The demolished printing house belonged to Palestinian resident, Omar Siyam, who confirmed that the facility was established over 15 years ago … Clashes erupted following the demolition, during which Israeli forces assaulted several Palestinian residents, among whom were girls, women, and elderly, by beating and pushing them. The center added that Israeli forces showered residents with sound and tear-gas bombs, in addition to firing live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets….
Israeli soldiers assault a handcuffed man in Jerusalem
IMEMC 31 Aug — Israeli soldiers attacked and injured, Thursday, a Palestinian man after cuffing and detaining him near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinian Nitham Abu Ramouz, 37, was detained by the soldiers near the Gate of the Tribes as he was heading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He was cuffed and blindfolded before the soldiers assaulted him, especially on his face and head, while moving him al-Qashla nearby detention and interrogation center. The assault left the Palestinian bleeding from the face and head, and the Police later decided to move him to Hadassah hospital, after he suffered cuts and bruises, especially around his left eye, and received eight stitches. Hours later, Abu Ramouz was released after being ordered to return, Friday, for interrogation.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian youth in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Israeli forces shot and severely injured a Palestinian youth during clashes that erupted after hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus predawn Tuesday to perform religious rituals at Joseph’s Tomb. A Ma‘an reporter said that hundreds of Israeli settlers raided Nablus under heavy military protection, sparking violent clashes with dozens of local Palestinian youths. Sources added that Israeli forces shot live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs towards Palestinian youths to disperse them. A representative of the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma‘an that Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian youth with three live bullets during clashes. The youth, who was not yet identified, was immediately transferred to the Rafidiya Governmental Hospital near Nablus to receive necessary medical treatment. Reports confirmed that the youth was in moderate to serious condition.
Soldiers injure Minister Waleed Assaf along with four other Palestinians
IMEMC 31 Aug — Israeli soldiers attacked, Thursday, dozens of nonviolent Palestinian protesters near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and shot a government minister with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his ear, in addition to wounding four other Palestinians. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said the soldiers shot Minister Walid Assaf, the head of the National Commission against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his ear. The PRCS added that the soldiers also assaulted many Palestinians, wounding four of them, during a nonviolent procession against an Israeli military order illegally confiscating privately owned lands in Ras Karkar village, northwest of Ramallah. They were also protesting the illegal bulldozing and uprooting of the lands when the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force. Two of the wounded Palestinians were rushed to hospitals in Ramallah for further treatment.
Israeli soldier Elor Azaria says ‘no regrets’ about executing wounded Palestinian
New Arab 29 Aug — A former Israeli soldier who fatally shot a wounded Palestinian attacker [Abdul Fattah al-Sharif] who was lying on the ground says he “has no regrets” in his first interview since leaving prison three months ago. Elor Azaria told the Hebrew-language daily Israel Hayom on Wednesday that if he could relive the March 2016 incident in the West Bank city of Hebron, “I would act exactly the same, because that’s how I needed to act.” Azaria served two-thirds of a 14-month reduced sentence after being convicted of manslaughter. The combat medic was filmed shooting a wounded, incapacitated Palestinian attacker in the head at point blank range. Israel’s military pushed for his prosecution, saying Azaria violated its ethics….
Three Arabs beaten nearly to death as nationalism sweeps Israel
Al-Monitor 27 Aug by Shlomi Eldar — Had Yair Elalouf not intervened when a group of young men was beating three Arab Israelis with clubs and chains, the Aug. 23 attack on the Kiryat Haim beach could have ended in murder on the grounds of nationality. “I saw a group of young [Jewish] Russians beating [the Arabs] with clubs and chains. They had jumped three people there, who were already unconscious on the ground, covered with blood,” Elalouf told Ynet. “One of them asked me for help, said they were going to kill them. I went there, I got the young guys away from there and called the police. I did what I thought was right, to help them.” According to Elalouf, none of the 70 or 80 other people on the beach did anything.
The three victims are residents of the Arab Israeli town of Shfaram. One is a doctor at Tel Aviv’s Suraski Medical Center, another a nurse at the Sheba Medical Center. The three sustained bruises and cuts and were taken to Rambam Hospital in the nearby city of Haifa. They told police that a group of young Jewish men had asked them if they were Arabs, then came back with clubs, chains and knives and beat them. Deeply humiliated, the three victims of the brutal beating asked police and the media to refrain from naming them and showing their faces. The cousin of the nurse told Al-Monitor that his relative cares for Jews and Arabs at the hospital where he works regardless of their religion or race and is dedicated to his work. The three friends do not want to be pitied and therefore asked to remain anonymous, he added, also on condition of anonymity. In addition to the physical pain, said the cousin, the three were deeply hurt by the hateful reactions that followed reports about the event. “This is disgraceful. What is this? There was glee over what had been done to them,” said the cousin. Nonetheless, he added, “Among the cursing there were also reactions that moved us, of Israelis who claimed they were ashamed.”… This time, the violence cannot be attributed to rockets fired at Israeli communities from Gaza, nor Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis. This time, it appears to be the result of a climate created by the leaders of the political right, among them Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, that marginalizes and vilifies Israel’s 21% Arab minority.
After slaying, Arabs blame apathetic police in Israel
Al-Monitor 22 Aug by Rasha Abou Jalal — Protests continue in the Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye in northern Israel, with citizens accusing Israeli police of neglecting their duty to protect citizens there. Demonstrations began Aug. 11 when one or more unidentified assailants killed local businessman Ahmad Athamneh, 40, and wounded another man. Since Athamneh’s shooting, residents demonstrated for the third time Aug. 17 in front of a mosque to protest the prevalence of crime in their city. The protesters demanded that the Israeli police do their job: Arrest the perpetrators and fight violence in the Arab community. The demonstrations are part of a series of activities approved by the city government at its Aug. 17 emergency meeting. During the meeting, attended by community and city committee members, participants declared a general strike on the same day, with all of the city’s shops, banks and post offices closing their doors. After the meeting, the city issued a statement: “The activities to counter the scourge of violence will continue to take place, as several escalatory steps will be taken against criminality and the security services’ failure in our Arab community.” The measures include holding weekly mass protests in front of the city police station until the perpetrators are identified….
Israeli settlers puncture, vandalize vehicles in Palestinian village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Israeli settlers punctured and vandalized about 15 Palestinian-owned vehicles on predawn Monday in the Sinjil village in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. Locals said that Israeli settlers stormed the village, punctured the tires of 15 vehicles and spray-painted racist, anti-Arab slogans on walls and several vehicles. The slogans included threats against residents, some slogans read “Jews will not be silent,” referring to the continued incursions of Israeli settlers into Palestinian towns and villages. Despite Israeli settlers repeatedly carrying out raids, assaulting Palestinians and vandalizing vehicles, none of them was detained or even taken in for interrogation by Israeli forces.
One night’s arrests:
Israeli forces detain 25 Palestinians, including two minors
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — Israeli forces detained at least 25 Palestinians, including a teen and a child, during predawn raids in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed that Israeli forces detained five Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron. The detainees were identified as Khdeir Younis Awad, 12, Abdullah Bassam al-Tit, 16, Muhammad Issa Bahr, 19, Mussab Radwan al-Khalil, 23, and Taher Asafra.
In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, three Palestinians were detained and identified by PPS as Seif Shreim, Muhammad Adel al-Zir and Sharif Taleb al-Zir.
In the Silwan neighborhood of the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, Israeli forces assaulted and detained two Palestinians; they were identified as Izz Samrin and Tareq Ruwadi.
In the central West Bank district of Ramallah and al-Bireh, four Palestinians were detained; they were identified as Tamer Subhi al-Hajj, Muhammad Safi, Mahmoud Abu Rabie and Ahmad Muhammad al-Bayed….
Israel delivers demolition notice to home of Palestinians prisoners
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — Israeli forces ordered the evacuation of the Abu Hmeid family from their home in the al-‘Amaari refugee camp, in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, predawn Sunday, in preparation to demolish the structure. Umm Nasser Abu Hmeid, mother of four Palestinian prisoners, a fifth Palestinian accused of killing an Israeli soldier and another who was killed by Israeli forces in 2002, said that Israeli forces delivered her a demolition notice to her home on Sunday. Umm Nasser Abu Hmeid pointed out that the demolition notice included that the first and fourth floor of her four-story home will be demolished. The notice also added that the family are given two days to evacuate the premises. Sources confirmed that Israeli forces later took measurements of the home in preparation to demolish it, although the home was previously demolished in 1994, while another home that belongs to the Abu Hmeid family was also demolished in 2003….
In video — Israeli punitively demolishes home of killed Palestinian
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 28 Aug — Israeli forces demolished the family home of killed 17-year-old Palestinian, Muhammad Tareq Ibrahim Dar Youssef, in the Kobar village, in the central occupied West Bank Ramallah district, on predawn Tuesday. Locals said that dozens of Israeli forces, along with 20 military vehicles and a large bulldozer, stormed the Kobar village, demolished the Dar Youssef family home, razed and leveled it to the ground. Sources added that a drone was seen flying overhead while Israeli forces carried out the demolition. Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents of the village following the demolition. Additionally, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs along with sound canisters towards residents. The demolition comes under Israel’s collective punishment policy for the actions of the family’s 17-year-old killed son, who carried out a stabbing attack in July in the illegal Israeli Adam settlement, in which one Israeli settler was killed and two others suffered light to moderate injuries.
Prisoners / Court actions
Palestinian activist assaulted by Israel forces awarded compensation
MEMO 30 Aug — A Palestinian activist beaten with rifle butts by Israeli occupation forces while he was filming a protest has been awarded compensation by the government. The settlement reached this week with a military prosecutor will see Amir Bitan, who was assaulted in 2016 while filming Palestinians targeted by illegal settlers while tending to their orchards, receive 10,000 shekels ($2,766) in compensation. Soldiers beat Bitan, from Jerusalem, with rifle butts, fired rubber bullets at him and pepper-sprayed him by the illegal outpost Al-Khima in the northern Jordan Valley. The November 2016 incident was filmed by video. Soldiers also threw stun grenades; one is reported to have exploded near Bitan as he photographed the scene, as protesters began to evacuate the area. Bitan had been filming a Palestinian protest next to the outpost, which has yet to be torn down despite a demolition order, Haaretz reported. The November 2016 incident is said to have gone unchecked for about six months despite a complaint submitted by Bitan’s attorney to the military prosecutor. It was only after a suit was filed for damages against the state in the Jerusalem District Court that Israel finally begin to review the incident, initiating an investigation in September 2017, nearly a year later after it occurred. Pro-Palestinian activists are regularly assaulted by Israeli forces….
Waed Tamimi, Ahed Tamimi’s older brother, sentenced to 14 months in Israeli prison
Samidoun 26 Aug — Palestinian youth activist Waed Tamimi, 21, the older brother of Ahed Tamimi and part of the grassroots anti-colonial indigenous land defense and resistance movement in the village of Nabi Saleh, was sentenced to 14 months in Israeli prison on 23 August 2018. In addition to the 14-month sentence, he was fined 7,000 NIS ($1,929 USD) and ordered to a five-year “suspended sentence.” Suspended sentences are frequently used as a means of intimidating activists by threatening them with lengthy prison terms if they resume their political and community activities. Tamimi was seized on 10 May 2018 while his sister and mother, Nariman, were serving 8-month sentences in HaSharon prison in the well-known case in which his sister slapped a heavily armed Israeli occupation forces. Israeli occupation forces invaded the family home, accusing him of throwing stones at occupation forces and wounding one of them, an armed member of the Border Patrol. Stone-throwing charges are some of those most frequently pursued against Palestinian young people, especially children and minors under the age of 18. The penalties for stone-throwing can range up to years in prison. Many members of the Tamimi family have been targeted for arrest, interrogation and imprisonment, especially following the arrest of Nariman and Ahed. The international spotlight that has focused on Waed’s younger sister has also been accompanied by ongoing military raids on the village, surrounded by the illegal colonial settlement of Halamish. Nabi Saleh’s popular anti-colonial resistance to defend its land has continued despite the arrests, and Ahed’s arrest brought new attention to the people of the village’s ongoing struggle….
Israeli military reimposes sentence on former prisoner from Occupied Palestine ’48
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Aug — Palestinian former prisoners continue to face harsh persecution, as former prisoner Mohammed Zayed, released in the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange agreement (the so-called “Shalit deal”), became the latest person to have his former sentence reimposed, seven years after his liberation. Zayed, 58, is a leader of the Abnaa el-Balad movement in occupied Palestine ’48. While he is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, his treatment makes clear the status of Palestinians in ’48 – colonized, occupied and subjected to a racist system. When Zayed was released in 2011, he had already spent 19 years of his 35-year sentence in Israeli jails. Like his fellow released prisoners, he was forced to sign terms of release. On Monday, 27 August, he was ordered to spend the remaining 16 years of his sentence behind bars. Louay Khatib, an Abnaa el-Balad representative, told Quds News that Zayed was arrested a short time ago on an unrelated matter not considered a “security” or political issue. He was sentenced to eight months in prison for this unrelated case, not referred to in the conditions of his release … He denounced this latest reimposed sentence against a Palestinian prisoner, demanding that “the Egyptian guarantor of the agreement must stand up to its responsibilities in this case. It is not reasonable that any conviction requires the reimposition of the former sentence.” Khatib also said that Zayed was told that he would not be housed with his fellow Palestinian prisoners but with criminal prisoners. Zayed, from the occupied city of Lyd in Palestine ’48, has a number of chronic diseases including diabetes and dyskinesia as well as suffering from a “difficult” psychological and social situation, according to Quds News.
Israel releases 16-year-old Palestinian
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — The Israeli authorities released a Palestinian teen from Jerusalem City, in the central West Bank, after he finished his 6-month prison sentence, late Wednesday. A Ma‘an reporter said that Israel released Bilal Khalil Muhammad Ghatit, 16, from the Sheikh Jarrah, who was detained on April 5, 2017. Bilal was transferred to house arrest on May 17, 2017 under which he had spent an entire year before being re-detained by Israeli forces on June 24, 2018 and then released on Wednesday night from the Meggido jail.
Restoration work resumes at Al-Aqsa after Israeli ban
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — Restoration work had resumed on Thursday in restoring the [Fountain of] Qassem Basha landmark inside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, after the Israeli authorities ordered the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) department to stop restoration. According to Firas al-Dibs, head of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Islamic Endowment, following pressure from Jordan, the official custodian over Muslim holy places in Jerusalem and the Endowment department, Israel canceled the ban against four Waqf staff members. The four staff members were banned for two weeks from entering the mosque after being released from detention due to them doing repairs inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The Israeli authorities also allowed recommencement of the restoration work, which al-Dibs said was an important step to preserve Islamic heritage at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Nikki Haley: Palestinian right of return should be off the table
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Aug — US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley questioned UN statistics on the number of Palestinian refugees and ruled out the right of return, in the latest move by the Trump administration to challenge how aid is given to the Palestinians. In comments on Tuesday to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a research institute in Washington that often sympathizes with Israel, Haley agreed with a source that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was exaggerating the numbers of Palestinian refugees. She suggested that the Trump administration would consider officially rejecting the Palestinian claim that all refugees who were displaced between 1947 and 1948 and their descendants should be allowed to return to modern day Israel after a final peace agreement. “You’re looking at the fact that, yes, there’s an endless number of refugees that continue to get assistance,” Haley said, adding that the Trump White House would not restore its previous funding levels unless the body made dramatic changes. “We will be a donor if [UNRWA] reforms what it does … if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering them,” she said, adding that “the Palestinians continue to bash America” and yet “they have their hand out wanting UNRWA money.” The United States earlier this year cut its aid to UNRWA to $60 million after pledging $350 million a year. “If we actually change the number of refugees to an exact number, we will reconsider our partnership,” Haley said….
Erekat: ‘No one can remove refugees from the negotiations table’
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said on Thursday that no one can remove the files of Jerusalem, refugees and settlements from any future negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. Erekat’s statement came during his separate meetings with foreign lawmakers and diplomats at his Jericho office; his statement referred to United States President Donald Trump’s announcement of a suspension of funding to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the rejection of the right of return for Palestinian refugees. The Secretary General said that that Trump administration’s attempts, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, to liquidate the Palestinian cause through their dictates will not succeed and are doomed to failure.
US media: Trump to fully stop UNRWA funding
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Aug — US President Donald Trump has decided to stop funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), months after the agency scaled back its financial support, US magazine Foreign Policy said on Tuesday, according to the PNN. The US magazine quoted unnamed sources saying that Trump’s decision was taken during a meeting in early August between Trump, his adviser Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The magazine said that the US administration had informed regional governments in the past few weeks of the decision. The US State Department refused to comment on the meeting, but said that “US policy toward UNRWA is under constant internal assessment and discussion.” The United States provides about $350 million annually to the UNRWA, more than any other country, representing more than a quarter of the organisation’s annual budget of $1.2 billion. Last Friday, UN Commissioner-General Pierre Cranebel said the US decision earlier this year to cut UNRWA’s budget was “to punish the Palestinians for criticizing Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” The United Nations agency is already suffering from a financial crisis following Washington’s freezing of $300 million of its aid this year. The United Nations says UNRWA needs $217 million, warning that the agency may have to cut its programs sharply, including food and medical aid. UNRWA was established by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 to provide assistance and protection to Palestine refugees in its five areas of operation: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
UPDATE: US to suspend UNRWA budget in West Bank
IMEMC/Agencies 27 Aug — US President Donald Trump’s administration is to take substantial steps against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in general, and against refugees in the West Bank in particular, Hebrew channel 2 revealed on Saturday. According to the channel, the US is to take several measures against the UNRWA field office in the West Bank, including the suspension of its budget in the West Bank, and a ban on the transfer of funds from other states to the UNRWA. It reported that the US intends to recognize just one tenth of Palestinian refugees — in other words, a half a million refugees — instead of more than 5 million recognized refugees in various countries. This policy intends to waive the Palestinian right of return. Next September, the US administration is to take the first action in implementing the policy by recognizing just the ancestral population as refugees; but, their descendants will not be recognized.
The second step, according to Al Ray Palestinian media agency is to remove the UNRWA as an international aid agency for Palestine refugees, and to include it in the policy of refugees worldwide. The United States will also ask Israel to reconsider the UNRWA’s mandate in the West Bank, to ensure that Arab countries are unable to transfer financial aid to the agency instead of US aid. The channel revealed that Israel considers the US step a historical one, after announcing occupied Jerusalem as a capital of Israel. By waiving Palestinians’ right of return and announcing Jerusalem as the capital will create a new reality on the ground.
Jordan to lead fundraising for UN Palestinian agency after US cuts
AMMAN (Reuters) 30 Aug by Suleiman Al-Khalidi — Jordan said on Thursday it would lead a campaign to raise funds for the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees, to help it survive after the United States cut its funding. Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said a meeting next month in New York on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly would mobilize support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to continue core education and health services. “Any shortage in funding will drive hundreds of thousands towards deprivation and despair,” Safadi, whose country has 2.2 million U.N. registered Palestinian refugees, said in Amman after meeting Pierre Krahenbuhl, the UNRWA head. Jordan will call for an Arab League meeting to lobby for donors to cover the $200 million shortfall needed to shore up UNRWA, Safadi said….
Japan to donate $5.4 million to UNRWA
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 27 Aug — The government of Japan have announced plans to provide emergency assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), amid growing concerns about the agency’s financial crisis. UNRWA currently faces a budget deficit of $270 million, which would force the agency to suspend its activities by the end of September, as it could cause serious consequences regarding the humanitarian situation and will negatively affect the stability of the region. UNRWA confirmed that the Japanese government announced it would provide assistance to the agency by the end of the week, in the amount of $5.4 million, which will be officially signed during a signing ceremony on Tuesday morning. Japan has long been considered a valued donor to UNRWA. Since 1973, Japan has been a member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, which advises and assists the UNRWA Commissioner-General in carrying out the agency’s mandate. In 2017, Japan has contributed a total of $43.3 million in aid. These funds will be immediately utilized to provide food aid to about one million Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Germany to boost funds for Palestinians after US cut
BERLIN (Reuters) 31 Aug — The German government has pledged to significantly increase its funding for the U.N. agency that supports Palestinian refugees after the United States cut its aid. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the funding crisis for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) was fueling uncertainty. “The loss of this organisation could unleash an uncontrollable chain reaction,” he said. Germany had already provided 81 million euros ($94 million) in aid for UNWRA this year, he said, and was preparing to increase its contribution. He gave no figure. “We are currently preparing to provide an additional amount of significant funds,” Maas said in a letter to European Union foreign ministers that was seen by Reuters. Maas said it was clear that the added German funds would not cover a $217 million deficit left by the U.S. withdrawal, and urged the European Union and other states to work towards “a sustainable finance basis for the organisation”.
Other news, opinion
Abbas agrees to demilitarized state for peace
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 29 Aug — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told a delegation of Israeli academics that he is committed to achieving peace through a demilitarized state and agreed that security would be maintained by police forces and not military. Abbas’s statement came during a visit by a delegation of Israeli academics at his office in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, on Tuesday. Abbas stressed “I want a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders without an army. I want policemen with sticks, not weapons. Instead of airplanes and tanks, setting up schools and hospitals, as well as allocating budgets and resources to social institutions is a priority.” He discussed the important role the Palestinian youth can play in peace making, noting that the right of the future generations to live in peace and away from hatred, violence and occupation. The meeting was organized by the Committee to Communicate with the Israeli Society, a department in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), headed by Muhammad Madani. Additionally, Israeli Member of the Knesset Tzipi Livni, Leader of the Opposition, posted on her Twitter account confirming that Abbas did agree to a demilitarized state during negotiations.
Abbas to announce alternative plan to ‘Deal of the Century’
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Aug — The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Riyad Malki, said on Thursday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly next month, will announce the Palestinians’ categorical rejection of American-Israeli plans aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, through the so-called “Deal of the Century.” During an interview with the official Voice of Palestine radio, Riyad Malki, said that Abbas will reiterate that the alternative to the United States-Israeli plan is the peace plan he presented last February to the UN Security Council. Abbas had called for an international peace conference to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with a multilateral mechanism for implementation as an alternative to American mediation. This followed after the Palestinians declared the United States unfit to be the mediator in the peace process after it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced plans to reject the Palestinians’ right of return, in order to get it off the negotiations table. Malki said that “the Palestinian leadership will take steps to mobilize support for the president’s speech.” He stressed that the leadership will face the US administration and its plans to liquidate the Palestinian issue through two strategies, first being political and diplomatic in the UN and second being the legal path, which has the power to be implemented and the US cannot veto….
PA denies TV report Abbas suffering memory loss limiting work day to 2 hours
Times of Israel 29 Aug — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s health has deteriorated rapidly lately, an Israeli report said Wednesday, prompting swift pushback from the Palestinian leader’s office. Citing unnamed officials close to the PA chief, Channel 10 news reported that Abbas has suffered significant memory lapses in recent months and struggles to remember names and faces — including those of close associates. Furthermore, Abbas has experienced disorientation and a general feeling of weakness, the report said, and has significantly reduced his work load, only showing up at his office for two hours a day. He has a doctor on hand at his Ramallah headquarters, and the doctor checks him at least once a day, the report also claimed.
An official in Abbas’s office swiftly denied the report. “The president has been coming to work regularly. He has been coming to work for four hours in the morning and early afternoon and then again in the evening for five hours,” the official told The Times of Israel. The official said Abbas had been ill when he spent 10 days hospitalized in the spring, but was re-energized when he traveled to Moscow for the World Cup finals. “He fell ill in May. But since just before he went to Russia to meet President Putin in June, his health has improved tremendously. It has been business as usual in recent weeks,” the official said. Belying the report, Abbas has appeared to keep up a regular public schedule in recent days, meeting a Bosnian leader Wednesday and a group of Israeli academics on Tuesday….
US aid cut to Palestinians hits NGOs hard
Al Jazeera 25 Aug by Arwa Ibrahim & Maram Humaid — For Nermin Saydam, a 35-year-old Palestinian NGO worker, the United States’ decision to cut $200m of economic aid to the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip is devastating. “I never expected this to happen to me,” the mother of two, who works as a project manager with the Gaza Envision 2020 USAID programme, said on Saturday. For many NGO workers, the announcement on Friday that President Donald Trump had ordered the State Department to “redirect” the funding to unspecified “high-priority projects elsewhere” means no more work nor income. According to Saydam, Gaza Envision 2020 is expected to close down by the end of August as one of several US-funded aid and development programmes that will be affected by the cut in US aid. As a result, Saydam, who took out a large loan to buy a flat a few months before she signed a five-year contract with the project, faces being thousands of dollars in debt. “Now that I have no more income, I’m facing a serious catastrophe,” she added, explaining that she will no longer be able to pay her monthly installments of $550 to the bank….
Outrage as fight over Israel’s nationality law reached UN
Al-Monitor 29 Aug by Mazal Mualem — Knesset members from Israel’s Joint List are asking the United Nations to condemn Israel over its new and controversial nationality law. Hadashot TV news reported Aug. 27 that the Arab Knesset members, Yousef Jabareen and Aida Touma-Suleiman, are working in conjunction with the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour to get the General Assembly to condemn Israel this September. They want the international body to declare that the nationality law passed in July is reminiscent of apartheid-era legislation in South Africa. In an interview the next day, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin called the move “treason” and said he hopes and expects the judicial system “to finally put them on trial for the most severe offense in the law book.” As a trained jurist, Levin certainly knows that these Knesset members will not be indicted for their actions. He is fully aware that they already enjoy parliamentary immunity. As such, his statement raises a question: By exactly what legal standards has he determined that what they did constitutes treason? … The Arab Knesset members were elected to represent Israeli Arabs, who constitute some 20% of Israel’s population. They are the ones who stand to suffer most from the discriminatory nationality law, with its clauses that assault the principle of equality. The appeal by the lawmakers to the UN is part of a legitimate struggle that they are waging against a law that they deem harmful. It is the direct progression of a series of events that included ripping the proposed law to shreds in the Knesset plenum after it was approved and the Aug. 11 mass demonstration in Tel Aviv….
Mobile Palestinian police unit begins work in Area C
Al-Monitor 30 Aug by Rasha Abou Jalal — Palestinian police are creating new community ties and beefing up security in the West Bank by deploying the force’s first mobile station to Area C. “This station aims to reach communities that are too far from police stations in the cities in Area C,” Jabir Tamizi, the mobile unit’s director, told Al-Monitor. “These villages and towns do not have any Palestinian police stations because they fall under Israeli control by virtue of the 1993 Oslo Accord.” The station is entering these areas in coordination with Israel, he noted. Tamizi explained that citizens in Area C must resort to Palestinian police stations in Area A and Area B under Palestinian Authority (PA) control, while police coordinate with Israeli authorities to obtain access for limited hours to Area C to conduct investigations and arrest fugitives….
Back to school for Palestinian children in Gaza City and West Bank — in pictures
The National 29 Aug — It’s the first day of the new term for Palestinians attending UNRWA-run schools.
Over 1.3 million students begin school year in Palestine
IMEMC/Agencies 29 Aug — About 1,300,000 Palestinian students, on Wednesday morning, went to their schools throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the start of the new school year. Some of these students will be studying in schools run by the Palestinian Ministry of Education in Qatar, Romania and Bulgaria, opened to serve children of the Palestinian community in these countries. Another 830,000 students will be studying in public schools and around 100,000 in schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The total number of schools in Palestine is estimated at 3,030, with 2,212 of them government-run, divided into 1,811 schools in the West Bank and 401 in Gaza, while there are 451 private schools, 389 of which are in the West Bank. According to Al Ray, UNRWA schools number at 377, while kindergartens amount to 1,945.
Traffic policewomen, a first for Bethlehem
Al-Monitor 17 Aug by Entsar Abu Jahal — Female police officers participated Aug. 5 for the first time in organizing traffic in the streets of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank alongside their male peers, to facilitate citizens’ movement. This move comes as part of a program the West Bank police had launched earlier this year to promote women’s participation in the traffic police force and help ease the workload of traffic policemen. Women’s participation in managing traffic on the streets of Bethlehem confirms Palestinian women’s ability to work and confront male social perspective undermining them and prohibiting them from taking positions that men monopolize. Maaram Abu Obeid, 22, a policewoman who joined the traffic police in Bethlehem, told Al-Monitor, “I graduated from the Faculty of Police Sciences and Law at Al-Istiqlal University in April, and I immediately started working at the police directorate in the governorate. I was later chosen to be part of the women’s traffic police force.”….
Ahed Tamimi and the power of Palestinian women / Ramzy Baroud
Al Jazeera 23 Aug — Lamia, Reem, Shaima and Dwlat are powerful Palestinian women just like Ahed, but their stories have been ignored — ...Ahed’s story garnered a disproportionate amount of attention from international media outlets which have otherwise often ignored the courage and suffering of numerous Palestinian girls and women living under Israeli military occupation and siege for many years. Recognising this fact, Ahed’s mother, Nariman said: “Frankly it is probably Ahed’s looks that prompted this worldwide solidarity, and that’s racist, by the way, because many Palestinian children are in Ahed’s position but weren’t treated in this way.” There is much truth to this assertion. When Palestinian women are not invisible in Western media coverage, they are seen as hapless victims of circumstances beyond their control – the military occupation of their land and the “backwardness” of their own patriarchal society. They are hardly seen as agents of change; at best, they are presented as trapped in a “conflict” in which they play no part. The invisibility of Arab, Muslim women in Western media is rooted in a long history of colonialism, rife with racist misconceptions and misrepresentations … What follows are the brief stories of four powerful women from Gaza who, despite their struggle and courage, remain invisible to the media….
Times of Israel 27 Aug by Naomi Chazan — 5 reasons most Israelis tread the path of ignorance when it comes to their neighbors in the West Bank and Gaza — For over 50 years, growing numbers of Israelis have willingly contracted a communicable disease: ignorance of the conditions prevailing in the territories under Israeli control since 1967. This severe myopia has spread even more in recent years, as the distress of the some five million Palestinians residing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (according to figures published by the IDF earlier this year) has grown exponentially. Very few Israelis take the trouble to learn the basic facts about conditions on the ground. Even less care. Most are simply not interested — content to continue to subsist in blissful ignorance. For them, the occupation (a discredited term considered to verge on heresy) is, at best, a remote affair which only touches on their lives when those under Israeli rule show signs of resistance….
Meet the Jewish Israelis studying Arabic as a form of political protest
[behind paywall] DRIJAT, Israel (Haaretz) 30 Aug by Judy Maltz — “Delicious.” That’s an easy one. “Yes please, I would like some more.” Also pretty simple. But now the ruddy kibbutznik is struggling. He wants to tell his hosts at this Arab village in southern Israel that if they keep feeding him like this, they’ll have to roll him out the door by the end of the week. Saying that in their language is somewhat more challenging … After a few tries, his hosts finally get what he’s saying. The looks of confusion give way to laughter. Patting his belly, the kibbutznik laughs along with them, clearly pleased with his progress. “I’ve tried to learn Arabic a bunch of times,” says Swiss-born Martin Sessler, a member of Kibbutz Magen on the Gaza border. “If I haven’t made much progress until now, it’s not for lack of trying. My biggest problem is the Arabs I know in this country. Every time I trying speaking with them in their language, they just laugh at me and move straight into Hebrew.” Which is why he decided to try something different. Sessler, 71, is one of a dozen Jewish Israelis participating in a unique crash course in Arabic. Rather than spend their entire day in the classroom, these students are being put up in the homes of Arab families. They sleep under the same roof, eat their meals together, share the same bathroom and, at the end of each day, schmooze on the porch together, relishing the cool desert air. The idea is not only to immerse themselves in the Arabic language but also in Arabic culture….
Aljazeera documentary shows pro-Israeli lobby groups organizing fake protests
MEMO 30 Aug — Leaked excerpts from a censored Aljazeera documentary, released this week, have offered a glimpse into the workings of pro-Israeli lobby groups in the US. Short clips of the documentary said to be four 50-minute episodes long, reveal a number of prominent pro-Israeli conservative think tanks spearheading a fierce campaign against pro-Palestinian activists. In the clips released by Electronic Intifada, students can be seen boasting about receiving $50,000 dollars “plus benefits” for taking part in fake grassroots protests against pro-Palestinian activists. One of the students described their presence at the demonstration as “astroturfing” – a term used to describe fake political activism, which pretends to be grassroots-based. The same students are later seen holding “pro-Israel” signs at the demonstration. An expert interviewed in the documentary explained the common tactic used by pro-Israeli groups as taking corporate money and “manufacturing the image of a grassroot movement… by basically paying people to appear as activists” … While the full documentary has been censored for now, those who have seen the entire documentary during a private viewing have concluded that details uncovered by the Aljazeera journalist show examples of possible illegal Israeli spying on US citizens and the lobby’s fear of a changing political mood.