Israel proposes Gaza cancer patients be treated in West Bank, where treatment is unavailable
Haaretz 8 Aug by Amira Hass — The procedures needed by six women in Gaza are not done in the West Bank, but only in East Jerusalem, where Israel won’t let them go — The state is willing to allow six women cancer patients to leave the Gaza Strip for the West Bank for treatment that is not available in the West Bank, or to go abroad for treatment they cannot afford. However, it will not allow the women, who are severely ill, to go to either of two Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem which can treat them. The state prosecutor’s office informed the NGO Gisha of its decision in a letter, referring to a High Court of Justice petition seeking to overturn the ban on seven women patients leaving the Gaza Strip because they are first degree relatives of Hamas members … The criterion of family relationship to a Hamas member as an official reason to prevent patients leaving the Gaza Strip for treatment is relatively new. It was added in response to a demand by the family of Hadar Goldin, who was killed in the 2014 Gaza war and whose remains are still being held by Hamas. In January 2017 the security cabinet voted to cut the number of humanitarian exit permits to Hamas members and their relatives as one way of pressuring the organization to release two Israeli civilians who entered the Gaza Strip years ago and to return the bodies of the soldiers killed, Goldin and Shaul Oron.
[According to Business Insider, ‘radiation therapy for cancer and PET scanners are not allowed in the West Bank because Israeli security forces fear the radiation could be used to make a “dirty bomb.”‘]
11 wounded as 180 Gaza rockets launched at Israel; IDF pounds the Strip
[with videos] Haaretz 9 Aug by Yaniv Kubovich & Jack Khoury — IDF officer: ‘We are closing in on operation in Gaza’. Israel is approaching a battle in Gaza, the official said — The Israeli military said Thursday morning that it struck some 150 targets in Gaza in retaliation to a massive barrage of rockets that was fired at Israel overnight. Some 180 rockets were fired at Israel, the military said, with over 30 rockets intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Most of the rockets landed in open areas. The military started striking in the Strip overnight Wednesday after six rockets were fired from Gaza, landing in the southern Israeli town of Sderot and wounding 11 people. Nine Sderot residents were evacuated to a hospital; a woman was in serious condition, and 13 others were treated for shock trauma.
Gaza’s Health Ministry reported Thursday that three Palestinians were killed in the attacks, including a pregnant woman, 23, her 16-month-old toddler and a man, who was identified as 30-year-old Ali al-Ghandour. Ghandour is the son of one of the commanders of Hamas’ armed wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam. Six other people were wounded in the attack…
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold a security meeting with the defense ministry and chief of staff at 12:00 P.M. in Tel Aviv ahead of the security cabinet on Gaza set to convene at 4 P.M. “We don’t see the end of the escalation. We are closing in on operation in Gaza,” a senior IDF official said Thursday. Israel is approaching a battle in Gaza, the official said…
Meanwhile, Hamas spokesman Abed Lateef Kano warned Thursday morning that Israel’s attacks will not be tolerated: “The resistance forces are doing what they have to do as part of protecting the Palestinian people from Israeli aggression,” he said…
The Israeli army said strikes on Gaza were ongoing, and that the latest round hit over 20 Hamas military targets, including army training facilities, an area used by Hamas’ naval commandos, a weapons storage facility and a meeting point for senior group members in Khan Yunis….
Israeli missiles kill a Palestinian mother and her child in central Gaza
IMEMC 9 Aug — The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that Israeli army missiles have killed a pregnant Palestinian mother and her infant daughter, 18 months of age, in central Gaza. The mother was nine months pregnant. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, has confirmed that the soldiers killed a pregnant woman, identified as Enas Mohammad Abu Khammash, 23, and her child Bayan Abu Khammash, 18 months, in their home in al-Ja‘farawi area, in Gaza’s Central District. He added that the bombardment also caused moderate wounds to Enas’s husband, Mohammad Khammash.
Israeli army kills one Palestinian in northern Gaza
IMEMC 9 Aug — Israeli soldiers continued, on Wednesday night, the bombardment of several parts of the Gaza Strip, killing one man in northern Gaza, and wounding at least eight others. The Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed that Israeli soldiers killed Ali al-Ghandour, 30, in northern Gaza, and wounded at least two others, one seriously. The slain Palestinian, and the wounded, were moved to the Indonesian Hospital, in northern Gaza. The Palestinians who were attacked were in a car which was struck by a missile fired by an Israeli army drone. The Health Ministry added that Israeli missiles also mildly injured three Palestinians in Gaza city, before they were rushed to the Shifa Medical Center.
Israeli army bombards many areas in Gaza
[includes videos] IMEMC 8 Aug — The Israeli army fired, on Wednesday, several missiles into various areas of the Gaza Strip, including a building in the Sudaniyya area of northern Gaza, which was first struck by three missiles, followed by an additional six missiles, just minutes later. Furthermore, an Israeli army drone fired a missile into a farmland near Salaheddin Gate, along the border with Egypt, south of Rafah, in southern Gaza. Two missiles were also fired at a marine club, west of Gaza city, while Israeli tanks fired several missiles at an observation post for the al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, east of the Zeitoun neighborhood, east of Gaza city, in addition to a number of missiles fired into farmlands east of Abasan town, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza. The Israeli air force also fired a missile into an area where many Palestinians were picnicking, on the shore of Jabalia, in northern Gaza, causing damage but not injuries.
Furthermore, the Israeli air force fired missiles into areas near the Gaza Sea Port, west of Gaza city, causing serious damage. The soldiers also fired two missiles into a resistance-run center, in the location of the former Netzarim colony, in central Gaza. At least five more missiles were fired by the army into a Palestinian agricultural land, and a center run by the al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, west of Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza, and several missiles into another center in Rafah, in southern Gaza.
The Israeli army said it bombed several Hamas targets in Gaza, reportedly when six Israelis were injured in the Sderot settlement, in the Negev, “after eight shells were fired from Gaza. Israeli Ynet News said that one Israeli man, aged 23, was injured by shrapnel in his leg, and added that “two pregnant women in addition to a man, 42 years of age, were treated for shock,” before being moved to Barzilai Hospital. It alleged that Hamas fighters fired live rounds at “civil engineering equipment”, used as part of a “anti-tunnel barrier’” which is being built along the barrier with Gaza, causing damage, before the army fired a tank shell at a Hamas post. Hamas said its fighters fired shells into nearby army posts, in retaliation to Israeli bombardment of the coastal region, and added that it has no Interest in escalation. Hamas leaders said that they are holding talks with Egypt, to restore calm to the region, and to avoid a potentially serious military escalation. For its part, the Israeli army said it raised the alert level along the border with Gaza, after noticing that Hamas fighters were evacuated from their posts along the border, a move that Hamas said was meant to ensure their safety, and avoid further escalation, while the army considered it as part of preparation for potential escalation….
Israeli army kills two Palestinian fighters in Gaza
IMEMC 7 Aug — The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, issued a statement denouncing the Israeli assassination of two of its fighters, in northern Gaza, and holding Israel accountable for any future escalation. Al-Qassam said the two fighters, Ahmad Abdullah Morjan, 23, and Abdul-Hafeth Mohammad Seelawi, 23, were killed in an Israeli bombardment in northern Gaza. It stated that the two fighters were part of a military training in “Asqalan” center, one of its training locations in northern Gaza, and that many Palestinians, including political leaders of Hamas, were in attendance. Al-Qassam said that the training including the use of sniper fire, and explosives, and the fighters were practicing techniques when the Israeli army fired a shell at them, killing the two fighters. “Israel is coming up with false allegations to justify its serious crime,” Al-Qassam said, “We hold the occupation fully responsible for this attack.” The Israeli army said the two Palestinians “opened fire at Israeli soldiers,” and published a video of the two fighters reportedly firing at soldiers, while Hamas said the allegation has no basis, as the fighters were training, and firing [at] fixed targets.
Palestinian teen dies from serious wounds he suffered on March 30th
IMEMC 5 Aug — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that a teen died, Sunday, from serious wounds he suffered on the first day of the Great Return March procession, on March 30th, which also marks the Palestinian Land Day. The Health Ministry said the teen, identified as Ahmad Jihad al-Aydi, 17, from Gaza city, was seriously injured when an Israeli army sharpshooter shot him with a live round in the head, near the eastern border in central Gaza. Accompanied by his father, the teen was eventually transferred to a Palestinian hospital in Ramallah, on April 24th, but he remained in a critical condition until he succumbed to his wounds.
DCIP: Israeli forces are killing Palestinian children at record rates
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Aug — Four Palestinian children died from gunshot wounds between July 27 and August 5 after Israeli forces shot them during “March of Return” protests in the the Gaza Strip. These deaths put 2018 at a record-high for child fatalities, exceeding the number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in any single year within the past decade, outside of large-scale Israeli military offensives. Israel forces fatally shot three children, Muath Ziad Ibrahim al-Soury, 15, Moemen Fathi Yousef al-Hams, 16, and Majdi Ramzi Kamal al-Satri, 11, with live ammunition during the last two consecutive Fridays of “March of Return” protests. A fourth child, Ahmad Jihad Ahmad al-Aydi, 17, who was struck by Israeli live fire on March 30, died on August 5. “Israeli forces have operated with near complete impunity for so long that unlawful killings and other flagrant violations of international law have become the norm,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountablity Program director at Defense for Children International – Palestine. “Impunity combined with the rise in Israel’s use of live ammunition as a method of quelling demonstrators since 2014 means there is no legal mechanism that will halt this bloodshed.”….
VIDEO: Shot by soldier, neglected in Israeli hospital, Gaza youth is sent home for amputation
Mondoweiss 6 Aug by Akram Al-Wa‘ra — On June 27, at the Gaza fence, an Israeli sniper shot protester Adam Salem, 15, in the right leg. The Israelis then seized the resident of al-Shati refugee camp and carried him to the Israeli side, where he was operated on in Barzilai Medical Center, in Ashkelon. But Adam relates that doctors soon stopped visiting his room and the soldiers guarding his room abused him, till he was returned to Gaza on July 11 with a gangrenous wound. He tells his story in this video.
‘Well-being of two million’ in Gaza at stake as emergency fuel runs dry: UN humanitarian coordinator
UN News 8 Aug — To avert hospital closures and raw sewage overflowing onto the streets of Gaza, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator on Wednesday called on Israeli authorities to allow UN-purchased emergency fuel back across the border of the Palestinian enclave — “Restricting the entry of emergency fuel to Gaza is a dangerous practice, with grave consequences on the rights of people in Gaza,” Jamie McGoldrick, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine said in a statement. “The well-being of 2 million people, half of whom are children, is at stake. It is unacceptable that Palestinians in Gaza are repeatedly deprived of the most basic elements of a dignified life,” he added. In the context of tightened import and export restrictions, Israel has prohibited fuel into the Gaza Strip since 2 August – following an earlier restriction that lasted from 16–24 July. According to the Israeli authorities, the intensified measures were in response to the continuing launch of incendiary kites launched from Gaza into Israel, which have sparked multiple fires. Meanwhile, the fuel, which is being held up at the Israeli border, is urgently needed to power back-up generators which are in huge demand due to Gaza’s chronic energy crisis. To ensure that hospitals, water and sanitation services function properly over the next four days, the respective humanitarian partners have indicated that at least 60,000 litres of emergency fuel must be delivered as soon as possible, to some 46 facilities across the strip. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 40 of Gaza’s 132 water and sanitation facilities have enough fuel for between one and two days – leaving 1.2 million Palestinians at imminent risk of sewage overflow … Hospitals and other health services are reducing operations, with five hospitals in danger of closing, placing more than 2,000 patients who rely on electrical devices at highest risk….
Israeli navy attacks Palestinian fishing boats in northern Gaza
IMEMC 5 Aug — Israeli navy ships attacked, Sunday, several fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters along the coastal line in northern Gaza. The WAFA Palestinian News Agency said the navy fired many live rounds at the boats, and sprayed them with water cannons, forcing the fishermen back to shore. Earlier Sunday, the navy fired many live rounds at Palestinian fishing boats in central Gaza, also forcing the fishermen to sail back to shore, in fear of further Israeli violations. Last month, Israeli unilaterally decreased the fishing zone to the fishermen in Gaza from six to three nautical miles, also until further notice.
Israel begins work on Gaza sea barrier
9News 6 Aug — Israel’s defence minister has published a video of an “impenetrable” sea barrier Israel is building to prevent attacks from Gaza, the territory ruled by militant group Hamas. The barrier, expected to be completed by the end of the year, will consist of three layers that stretch out into the Mediterranean Sea from the southern Israeli community of Zikim. A first layer will sit below the water line, and will be topped with a heavy stone wall and barbed wire. An additional fence will surround the large and imposing sea blockade. Israel’s Defence Ministry described the barrier as “an impenetrable breakwater”. “This barrier is one-of-a kind in the world,” Defence chief Avigdor Lieberman told The Jerusalem Post. The barrier “will effectively block any possibility of entering Israel by sea. This further thwarts Hamas, which is now losing another strategic asset after investing huge sums in its development,” he said. Israel decided to erect a sea barrier in 2014, when several Hamas gunmen tried to enter Israel by sea but were shot dead by soldiers. The video of the sea barrier was posted to Lieberman’s Twitter account [accessible only to Lieberman’s Twitter followers] today (AEST), as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his Security Cabinet to discuss an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. As part of negotiations, several exiled Hamas leaders are in Gaza for consultations.
Rafah crossing allows passage in both directions
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — The administration of the Rafah crossing, between Egyptian and Palestinian borders, announced that the crossing would reopen allowing passage in both directions on Wednesday. The Rafah crossing administration said that Egypt decided to open the crossing in both directions after allowing it to be open one way only, to ease the travel of about 3,300 Muslim pilgrims through the crossing for al-Hajj to Mecca. The Ministry of Interior in Gaza announced the names of the passengers allowed to go through the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, requesting them to go to the Martyr Abu Youssef al-Najjar hall, located in Khan Younis, in preparation to transport them to the crossing.
In Gaza, fears of a new war stir old traumas
+972 mag 8 Aug by Amjad Yaghi — Still recovering from the last war, some still living in its rubble, Gazans mull the uncertainty of what comes next — ceasefire or more devastation. In recent months, Israel has almost completely blocked any construction materials entering into Gaza — …With the prospect of another war brewing, post-traumatic anxiety has intensified among Gazans, according to Fadel Ashour, a professor of psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine at Al-Azhar University. He said the trauma has built up over generations, and hundreds of patients have been visiting his clinic in recent months. “Sounds of reconnaissance aircraft as well as the spread of bad news create a state of instability. They activate the symptoms of the previous shock and fear of recurrence,” said Ashour. Ali Akram Abu Shanab, 21, from Shuja‘iyya, saw his grandmother and uncle die in the 2014 war. “We were in the family house with 17 people, most of them children, and my father decided to send us out in three groups, so that we could leave with the least human damage. When we left, the shelling increased,” Abu Shanab recalls. As he was escaping the bombing with his younger sister, he witnessed a house collapse and crush his grandmother and uncle. “I was shocked but continued to run away from the building and the bodies of my grandmother and uncle until I reached an ambulance, which took me to Shifa Hospital,” he recalled. Abu Shanab had difficulty completing his secondary education due to his PTSD but in July, he graduated with excellence from the University College of Applied Science. For people like Abu Shanab, who have found ways to persevere despite the trauma, the possibility of another war means potentially losing everything they’ve accomplished since….
China to provide $2.35 million for Gaza food program
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Aug — China signed an agreement with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) to provide $2.35 million to support to the Gaza food program for 2018. According to Chinese news outlet Xinhua, the agreement was signed by Guo Wei, the director of the Office of the People’s Republic of China to the State of Palestine, and Pierre Krahenbuhl, the UNRWA commissioner general. UNRWA called the agreement a generous support from the Chinese government amid the agency’s financial crisis after the United States cut its aid funds by over a half. Krahenbuhl said in a statement that China has given “great attention to the issue of Palestine and has always shown attention and solidarity for Palestine refugees throughout the region.” Guo restated China’s steady position in supporting Palestinians through various channels, and declared that “China would like to announce a grant of 100 million yuan ($14.64 million) in helping the economy development and improving living conditions of Palestinians.” The agreement also states that China will provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Palestinians and make further contributions to the UNRWA….
Germany contributes over €8 million to UNRWA’s food program
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — The government of Germany announced, on Wednesday, a contribution of an additional support of €8.4 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) food program in the besieged Gaza Strip. The German representative Office in Ramallah said in a statement that the €8.4 million contribution was provided to UNRWA’s food program in Gaza. The newly added contribution increases Germany’s total of funds for the food program to €16 million for 2018.
Feinstein, senators to Trump administration: restore aid to Palestinians in Gaza
WASHINGTON (Yubanet) 3 Aug — Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined with nine other senators today to call on the Trump administration to restore humanitarian support for Palestinians living in Gaza. President Trump is withholding more than $500 million in funding for Gaza. Full text of the letter follows: Dear Secretary Pompeo and Administrator Green: As the Administration considers its policy towards Gaza, we urge you to release funds for existing programs and projects that could immediately benefit Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip as well as restore U.S. support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). As you know, as a result of Congressional passage of the Taylor Force Act, none of these funds could be used to directly benefit the Palestinian Authority or Hamas, but instead must be used to help the people most in need in Gaza. While we are disappointed that the Administration has thus far been unable to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, we welcome any good faith effort to alleviate the suffering of innocent civilians in Gaza. To that end, we urge you to immediately release the more than $230 million in FY17 funding for economic and humanitarian aid that will expire by the end of the year…. Additionally, we urge the Administration to resume its support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which provides education, health care, food, and other critical assistance to meet the humanitarian needs of millions of Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian Territories and in neighboring countries….
Trump moving to strip Palestinians of refugee status: report
Al Jazeera 4 Aug — US president’s move to cut UN agency aid part of scheme to deny refugee rights to Palestinians, Foreign Policy reports — US President Donald Trump and his administration are making moves to strip millions of Palestinians of their refugee status, according to a US-based magazine report. As part of the initiative, the Republican president along with his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, have been trying to disrupt the UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, Foreign Policy (FP) magazine revealed in an article published on Friday. In a controversial move in January, the US government announced that it was withholding $65m of a planned $125m funding instalment to the relief agency, after Trump accused the Palestinians of being ungrateful for the millions of dollars in aid. Prior to the announcement, Kushner, in a leaked email obtained by FP, wrote: “It is important to have an honest and sincere effort to disrupt UNRWA.” “This [agency] perpetuates a status quo, is corrupt, inefficient and doesn’t help peace,” he reportedly wrote in an email dated January 11 and addressed to several senior US officials. Palestinian officials told FP that Kushner — tasked with reviving the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process — allegedly pressed Jordan to strip more than two million Palestinians of their refugee status, so the UNRWA would no longer have to operate there. The White House declined to comment on the record for FP’s story.
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli army disperses demonstration in occupied W. Bank
AGHWAR SHAMALIYAH, Palestine (AA) 6 Aug by Lubaba Thuqan — Israeli army troops on Monday forcibly dispersed a demonstration held to protest Tel Aviv’s monopolization of water resources in northern parts of the occupied West Bank. “Four Palestinians sustained minor injuries when Israeli forces aggressively dispersed demonstrators and journalists in the Aghwar Shamaliyah district of the West Bank village of Bardala,” Moataz Basharat, a local Palestinian official, told Anadolu Agency. According to Basharat, villagers staged the demonstration to protest a recent decision by the Israeli authorities to reduce the amount of water allotted for residents of the area. Most of Aghwar Shamaliyah’s roughly 10,000 Palestinian residents — who rely mainly on agriculture and livestock husbandry — must live in primitive homes due to strict Israeli building restrictions.
Israeli rights group: Settler vandalism routine in West Bank with full official backing
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 6 Aug – Israeli settlers’ vandalism in the occupied West Bank is routine and is done with full backing by the Israeli authorities, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said on Monday. “In just over two months, from the beginning of May to 7 July 2018, B’Tselem documented 10 instances in which settlers destroyed a total of more than 2,000 trees and grapevines and burned down a barley field and bales of hay,” it said in a new report titled “Settler Violence: Absence of Law Enforcement.” In some places, the settlers left behind them graffiti slogans in Hebrew, reading “No to farmer terrorism” and “”There’s not place we won’t reach”. Some of the farmers had already suffered settler violence in recent years, said B’Tselem. “While this high incidence of the assaults is unusual, the phenomenon itself has long since become routine in the West Bank. Settler violence and vandalism takes place with full backing by the Israeli authorities. Sometimes soldiers take part in the assault; at other times, they stand idly by. The police makes no substantial effort to investigate the incidents, nor takes measures to prevent them or stop them in real time,” it said. “Israel benefits from the repercussions, as settler violence has gradually dispossessed Palestinians of more and more areas in the West Bank, paving the way for a state takeover of land and resources….
Arson kite lands in West Bank settlement vineyard, causing fire but no damage
Times of Israel 6 Aug by Jacob Magid & TOI staff — A kite carrying incendiary materials landed Monday in an Israeli vineyard located in the West Bank, starting a small fire, which was quickly extinguished. The kite came down in the Tura winery, near Mount Gerizim in the northern West Bank, close to the Palestinian city of Nablus. There was no damage to the vineyard, the winery owners said. Security officials assessed that it was not the first time that Palestinians in the West Bank have tried to copy the method used by those in the Gaza Strip, Hadashot TV news reported. For the last four months, southern Israel has experienced hundreds of fires as a result of incendiary kites and balloons flown over the border from Gaza. Over 7,000 acres of land have been burned, causing millions of shekels in damages, according to Israeli officials. Recently, balloons have been found farther and farther from the Gaza Strip, including as far away as the southern city of Beersheba. Israel has struggled to counter the arson assaults, and has been stepping up airstrikes on Palestinians preparing to launch incendiaries, killing or injuring those involved.
Israeli carjacked in West Bank: ‘I thought they were going to kill me’
Ynet 5 Aug by Itay Blumenthal — Natan Said, 71, was stopped by two Palestinians who put a gun to his head and ordered him to take them to Qalqilya, where they left him and drove away with his car; Palestinian police ‘treated me very well. They brought me coffee and calmed me down.’ … Later he was informed his car had been found and he was taken to it. “The Palestinian police questioned me and accompanied me out of Qalqilya, where the Israeli police and the army were waiting for me, and they took me to be questioned at the Ariel police station,” he said. “I definitely thought they might kill me, but God be blessed I got out of it.”
Israel detains Turkish public broadcaster’s West Bank reporter
RAMALLAH (wire services) 6 Aug — Ibrahim al-Rantissi, a freelance journalist who also works for TRT Al Arabiya, the Turkish public broadcaster’s Arabic channel, became the sixth journalist detained by Israel in one week. His brother Fakhri told Anadolu Agency (AA) that al-Rantissi was detained by Israeli soldiers who stormed his residence in the town of Rantis in Ramallah yesterday. He said soldiers searched the house before detaining al-Rantissi. Israeli security forces apparently launched a crackdown targeting Palestinian journalists, and in the past week, rounded up five others. Four were freelance journalists for Lebanon-based Al-Quds TV, and all were arrested last Monday in Ramallah. On Aug. 1, a journalist for Quds Press news agency was arrested in his home in Nablus. Shortly after al-Rantissi’s detention, media outlets reported that Nader Baybars, a journalist from Palestine TV, was detained in his home in east Jerusalem. According to the Journalist Support Committee, a non-profit that monitors press freedoms, the number of Palestinian journalists held in Israeli prisons is 27, barring the arrests last week and yesterday, and two suffer from serious medical conditions. The committee also says Israel committed 90 counts of violations against Palestinian journalists last month, from injuring those covering protests on the Gaza-Israeli border to preventing journalists from doing their jobs….
Israeli forces detain 12 Palestinians, including woman, in West Bank
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Aug — Israeli forces detained at least 12 Palestinians, including a woman, throughout the occupied West Bank during predawn raids on Sunday. According to Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained three Palestinians in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem. They were identified as Fawzi Jalal Motawe, 18, Bahaa Muhammad Shakarna, and Fadi Fathal Najahra. In the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, PPS confirmed the detention of Suzan Ismail Abu Ghannam, who is the mother of killed Palestinian Muhammad Hassan Abu Ghannam. Prior to the detention, Israeli forces raided and searched Ghannam’s home and confiscated a large amount of her money. In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians. They were identified as Nadim Samir Farhat, Raed Muhammad Nader, Nadim Hosny al-Barghouthi. Among the seven detainees were four minors, who were identified as Hassan Samer Tanatra, Yaman Mustafaa Tanatra, Yazid Muhammad Tanatra, and Waed Tanatra. Following the detentions, clashes erupted among Israeli forces and Palestinian youths, in which a Palestinian was wounded. However, his identity remained unknown. In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, one Palestinian was detained and identified as Yasin Wirad al-Khatib.
In addition, Israeli forces detained at least 21 Palestinians within the past two days throughout the West Bank, mainly from Jerusalem. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,900 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 60 are female prisoners.
Updated: Army abducts ten Palestinians in the West Bank
IMEMC 7 Aug — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, at least ten Palestinians in several parts of the occupied West Bank, during extensive and violent searches of homes and property. The soldiers searched and ransacked at least seven homes in Hebron city, in the southern part of the West Bank, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, before abducting Jamal Ali ‘Aadi. Also in Hebron, the soldiers smashed the main door of a home belonging to former prisoner Mos’ab Monir Ekhlayyel, 22, and summoned him for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center.
The soldiers also invaded Teqoua‘ town, east of Bethlehem, and initiated extensive searches of homes and property …
The soldiers also invaded Qarawat Bani Hassan town, west of Salfit in northeastern West Bank, and abducted Eyad Ezzat ‘Aassi and Mo’men Mohammad Mer’ey.
In Nablus, in northern West Bank, the soldiers invaded the home of the imprisoned university teacher, Ghassan Thouqan, and abducted his son Bara’, in addition to detaining his other son, Baha’, for several hours, and confiscated the family car. It is worth mentioning that Ghassan and his son Moath were abducted by the soldiers nearly a month ago.
In related news, dozens of illegal colonialist settlers invaded a Palestinian hill overlooking Beit Dajan village, east of Nablus.
In addition, the army invaded many areas in Qalqilia, in northern West Bank, where the soldiers also used a surveillance drone in many neighborhoods, in addition to invading Salfit in northeastern West Bank.
VIDEO – Meet Ahed Tamimi, 17-year-old West Bank activist jailed for 9 months for slapping Israeli soldier
Democracy Now 6 Aug — Transcript: Last week, soon after she was released, Democracy Now!’s Nermeen Shaikh and I spoke with Ahed Tamimi from her home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. AMY GOODMAN: Ahed, welcome to Democracy Now! How does it feel to be free from jail? AHED TAMIMI: [translated] It’s an extremely wonderful feeling. I hope all prisoners, men and women, live to experience this joy. Of course, my joy is incomplete, because my brothers and sisters remain in prison. And I hope that they are liberated and feel the happiness that I feel today. AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the day you were released? Can you talk about that Sunday, where the Israeli military took you and your mother? AHED TAMIMI: [translated] I was released from prison at 5:30, and they took me to Rantees, but they told my parents that I would be released at the Jbara checkpoint. It’s about an hour between Rantees and Jbara. They kept playing with my parents, telling them here, then there, then there. They made my parents go everywhere At the end, they ended up dropping us off at the gateway to the village. NERMEEN SHAIKH: Can you explain, Ahed, what actually led to your arrest? AHED TAMIMI: [translated] They accused me of hitting a soldier. I had 12 charges brought up against me, but the main one was the charge of hitting a soldier in front of the door of my house. My goal wasn’t to hit him. I didn’t intend to hit him. He had shot my cousin in the head, and my cousin was going to die because of the injury. The soldier at the front of my house was shooting at children and young men in the street. I’m not the one that went to him. He’s the one that was at the front of my door….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel to legitimize central West Bank settlement outpost
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — Israel is legitimizing the illegal settlement outpost of Adei Ad, built on Palestinian lands of the Turmusayya, Mughayyir, Jalud and Qaryut villages southeast of the central and northern West Bank districts of Ramallah and Nablus. The Israeli Haaretz news outlet reported that the purpose of the expansion is to turn Adei Ad into a somewhat distant neighborhood in the illegal Amichai settlement. After the expansion, Amichai will be a large jurisdiction run by settlers in the heart of the West Bank. The news site added that since the settlement project comes between the central West Bank district of Ramallah and northern district of Nablus, the legitimization of the settlement outpost and the expansion of the nearby Amichai settlement will enable the Israeli authorities to take control over large areas of Palestinian lands in the center of the West Bank. The Amichai settlement was originally set up to resettle Israeli settlers who were evacuated from the Amona settlement outpost.
The Adei Ad settlement outpost, a few kilometers east of Amichai, was established on Palestinian land without licenses or the approval of the Israeli government. According to Haaretz, the Israeli Civil Administration intends to legalize a large area around Adei Ad, including the outpost itself, to nearly double the size of Amichai and to bring Adei Ad into its jurisdiction. The settlement plan was revealed after the Israeli Civil Administration responded to the Palestinian owners of the lands that the settlement was built on, and who had initiated a legal process and appealed the plan to expand the Amichai settlement….
Residents of Khan al-Ahmar not leaving village
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Aug — Residents of the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, declared on Wednesday that they would not agree to be transferred anywhere. Head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Committee against the Wall and Settlements, Minister Walid Assaf, told the PA-owned Voice of Palestine radio that the committee’s lawyers were informed of the residents’ decision, saying that lawyers would be delivering the residents’ response to the Israeli High Court. Khan al-Ahmar residents’ decision came in response to a proposal by the Israeli government, submitted to the court on Tuesday, that it is willing to move, resettle residents of the village in another area in the Jordan Valley if they agree to leave peacefully. Last week, the Israeli High Court had held a hearing session to discuss an appeal submitted by a Palestinian lawyer on behalf of the Khan al-Ahmar residents, against their displacement and the demolition of their village.
State is funding settler institute squatting illegally in Palestinian home
Times of Israel 6 Aug by Jacob Magid — The Culture Ministry has been funding an Israeli religious institute whose founders illegally took over a Palestinian home in the central West Bank and have continued to operate at the site under IDF protection for over 15 years. An investigation into the financials of the Mishpetei Eretz (“laws of the land”) institute revealed that it has received at least NIS 200,000 ($54,786) annually for the past three years from the Culture Ministry, and that, in total, the academy has enjoyed NIS 781,617 ($214,039) in government funding since 2015. That state funds came despite a 2013 Jerusalem District Court decision concluding that the compound housing the institute still belongs to its original Palestinian owners, and that the settler group claiming to have purchased the building had forged the necessary documents. While the IDF recognized the court’s decision, it did not try to remove the squatters. Instead, it built a fence around the compound with the stated goal of protecting its Israeli inhabitants. The Mishpetei Eretz institute was founded in 2000 by the Ofra settlement’s chief rabbi, Avi Gisser, who sought to establish a learning center, or kolel, where students could be certified to hand down religious rulings regarding questions of property and business law….
Israel approves plan to recycle its trash in the West Bank
TEL AVIV (Asharq Al Awsat) 7 Aug — The Israeli government has approved constructing a waste recycling facility in Maaleh Adumim area of the West Bank, southeast of Jerusalem. The Israeli government has earmarked a budget of $400 million for the landfill. Environmental organizations in Israel announced their objection to this project because it involves the burning of waste, citing at least 40 sites in the West Bank where garbage is frequently burned. However, a number of Israeli ministries support it, including the Ministry of the Environment. The project aims at disposing of Israeli waste by dumping them in the West Bank. Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit objected to the suggestion, speaking explicitly about waste recycling, dumping and incineration. Mandelblit said that such a project violates international law, so it has been amended to waste recycling at this stage.
Several Israeli forces suspect that the project will be an attempt to seize Palestinian land, not only to get rid of Israeli waste, at the expense of the environment and health of Palestinians.
Israeli bulldozers demolish Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israeli bulldozers demolished three rooms and other structures in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir in occupied East Jerusalem. Locals told Ma‘an that Israeli forces stormed the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood and surrounded several Palestinian structures. Sources added that the surrounded structures all belonged to the family of Abu Sukran. Israeli forces closed off the area, in order for the demolition to begin; the demolition was carried out on the pretext of building without an Israeli permit. Dirgham Abu Sukran said that Israeli bulldozers demolished three rooms and another three steel structures used for housing sheep. Abu Sukran added that the structures have been built since 2011 and have not received any prior notice concerning the demolition.
Meanwhile, in the same neighborhood, a Palestinian resident, Bassam Ubeidat, continued the process of demolishing his own home following a decision from the Israeli municipality. Shawkat Ubeidat, Bassam’s brother, explained that the demolition by Ubeidat himself continues due to a decision by the Israeli municipality to impose a fine of 60,000 shekels ($16,188) if the municipality carried out the demolition instead. Ubeidat also mentioned that the nearly demolished home was built already a year-and-a-half ago and was ready to be resided in.
Israeli forces demolish two apartments in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Aug — Israeli bulldozers demolished two Palestinian-owned apartments on Tuesday in the Shu‘fat neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. A Ma‘an reporter said that large numbers of Israeli forces and Israeli municipality staff stormed the neighborhood of Shu‘fat escorting Israeli bulldozers and surrounded the building in which the two apartments were located. Local sources told Ma‘an that the two apartments belonged to Suleiman and Samer al-Muhtaseb family and that Israeli forces demolished them on the pretext of being built without the nearly impossible-to-obtain Israeli building permit. Al-Muhtaseb family said that the Israeli municipality had not notified them prior to the demolition.
Israel razes, damages roads in ‘Issawiya
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) — Several crew members from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Nature Authority along with Israeli forces stormed and razed the eastern part of the ‘Issawiya neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, member of a local follow-up committee, said that Israeli bulldozers razed and damaged roads leading to Palestinian-owned agricultural lands and to some commercial establishments which financially support residents of Issawiya. Abu al-Hummus pointed out that the Ministry of Finance was in charge of the razing carried out in ‘Issawiya by Israeli bulldozers. He added that Israeli forces along with bulldozers carried out extensive demolitions in the area periodically. He stressed that the razing and leveling of Palestinian lands aims to gain control of the area to establish an illegal Israeli settlement project under the title of “national parks.”
Restriction of movement
I took the excruciating 10-mile journey through Israel’s most notorious military checkpoint that adds hours to the commute of 26,000 Palestinians
Business Insider 7 Aug by Harrison Jacobs — Imagine spending hours every day to commute a few miles to go to work, visit family, or receive medical treatment. That’s the reality for thousands of Palestinians. For the 2.8 million Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank, the main crossing point to enter East Jerusalem (and Israel, if they have the proper permits) is through the Qalandiya military checkpoint. Around 26,000 Palestinians pass through Qalandiya each day, on foot, by car, or by bus — about a third of all daily crossings in and out of the West Bank. While checks are sometimes quick, there are often lengthy lines that stretch on for hours as Palestinians, and others passing through, go through extensive security screenings and document checks. The checkpoint can be closed by Israel Defense Forces soldiers at any given time of any day with little explanation. For many Palestinians, the Qalandiya Checkpoint has become the most visible symbol of the 51-year-long Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. When tensions flare up, Qalandiya is a frequent site of clashes between protestors and rioters and IDF soldiers. It is both a tense place and a part of daily life no one can ignore….
IfNotNow co-founder Simone Zimmerman detained and questioned by Israeli authorities
NYMag 8 Aug by Abraham Riesman — Last month, we profiled one of the fastest-growing American Jewish organizations dedicated to combating Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, a group called IfNotNow. Yesterday, one of its co-founders, Simone Zimmerman, joined an exclusive but fast-growing club: Jews detained and questioned by Israeli authorities about their political beliefs. Zimmerman and a friend, both based in Israel on work visas, were traveling back from a weekend getaway in Egypt and were stopped at Taba Border Crossing, which straddles the line between the two countries. There, according to Zimmerman, she and her friend Abby Kirschbaum were held for roughly three and a half hours, had their phones inspected, and were asked a litany of queries about their opinions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, their involvement with human-rights groups, and their interactions with Palestinians, among other topics. “All of it was really centered around, ‘Why are you a Jew interested in Palestinians, and who are these Palestinians you know and what do you do with them?’” Zimmerman told me in a phone interview — her first with an American news outlet since the incident — from Tel Aviv, where she lives. “It felt like the main goal of the questioning was to be gathering information and mostly to scare the shit out of me and ask questions about my relationships with Palestinians.” ….
Prisoners / Court Actions
Mohammed al-Rimawi and father freed after 20-day hunger strike
Samidoun 8 Aug — Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Rimawi, 27, and his father, Nimer Rimawi, 54, from the village of Beit Rima, were released on the evening of Tuesday, 7 August after the younger Rimawi went through 20 days on hunger strike under intense interrogation. Rimawi launched his hunger strike as soon as he was seized by Israeli occupation forces on 19 July and was put under interrogation. During the strike, occupation forces then detained his father, Nimer. The detention of his father was used in an attempt to pressure the younger Mohammed to sign a “confession” and to end his hunger strike. Rimawi, who had previously spent three years in Israeli prison, was released only six months before his re-arrest. He resisted the various attempts to pressure him to confess or end his hunger strike, and successfully won his release. He was taken immediately to a hospital in Ramallah in order to receive medical treatment after a 20-day hunger strike.
Israeli soldier who killed Palestinian teen promoted
IMEMC/Agencies 7 Aug — An Israeli soldier who was filmed shooting and killing a fleeing Palestinian teenager, in 2015, has been promoted to the command of the Nahal Brigade. Colonel Yisrael Shomer shot Muhammed ali-Kosba after the seventeen-year-old from the Qalandiah refugee camp, in Jerusalem, had thrown a rock at Shomer’s vehicle, near the occupied West Bank village of A-Ram. According to Haaretz, an investigation found that Shomer had acted ‘according to the procedure for arresting a suspect – which, according to the Military Police, included firing a warning shot into the air followed by two bullets aimed at the teen’s legs.”
However, Iyad Hadad of B’Tselem human rights organization found that Kosba had three gunshot wounds, one in the face and two in the back. Despite this, the chief military prosecutor closed the case, deeming the officer to have acted appropriately.
Israeli running for mayor was convicted of killing Palestinian teen in 1989
Haaretz 9 Aug by Josh Breiner — Raz Sagi, who is running for mayor of the central Israeli town of Rosh Ha’ayin, was convicted of causing the death of a Palestinian teenager during the first intifada, while serving as a company commander. Sagi fired a plastic bullet into the back of the teen. The court determined that the boy posed no danger to the soldiers. Sagi was sentenced to three months’ community service within the military and he was not demoted. Two weeks after sentence was passed, Sagi was pardoned by then-Chief of Staff Dan Shomron. He was subsequently promoted to battalion commander in the Givati Brigade.
Palestinians jailed for trying to rob biblical archaeological site
Times of Israel 7 Aug by Michael Bachner — Three Palestinians were sent to 36 days in prison on Tuesday for damaging and attempting to rob a major archaeological site in the northern West Bank last month. The men, whose names haven’t been released, were arrested at 1:00 a.m. on July 18 at the location of the ancient town of Sebastia, which contains overlapping layers of history dating back nearly 3,000 years. They were caught by an inspector for the archaeology division of the Civil Administration, the Israeli body that oversees civilian affairs in the West Bank, while carrying digging equipment and a metal detector. The site, just outside the city of Nablus, was found vandalized, Hebrew-language media reported. A hilltop capital of biblical kings later ruled by Roman conquerors, crusaders, and Ottomans, Sebastia — also known nowadays as the Samaria National Park — is caught between conflicting Israeli and Palestinian jurisdictions, and the site has been largely neglected by both sides for the past two decades. Beyond the decay, unauthorized diggers and thieves have taken advantage of the lack of oversight to make off with priceless artifacts….
Israel, Hamas to agree on ceasefire by end of August, report says
Haaretz 8 Aug — Israel and Hamas are expected to sign a cease-fire agreement by the end of August, a Hamas official told the Turkish state news agency Anadolu. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the first stage of the deal would include a two-week trial. The deal would lift restrictions on the entry of goods into the Gaza Strip and at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the coastal enclave. According to the source, the cease-fire would last for at least five years, and include the release of Israeli citizens Avera Mengistu and Hisham Sayed, as well as the remains of soldiers 1st Lt. Hadar Goldin and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. The deal also reportedly calls for the establishment of a port in Gaza. Israeli restrictions on the Kerem Shalom border terminal, Gaza’s only functioning commercial crossing, would be eased following its recent closure. An Israeli official recently said that there will be no broad regularization without the return of captured Israeli civilians and soldiers’ bodies held in the Gaza Strip.
On Tuesday, Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh said that talks senior Hamas officials held in Gaza throughout the day with representatives from Egypt, Qatar and the UN revolved around “different means to lift the blockade” from the Gaza Strip and internal Palestinian reconciliation agreements. He added that the Hamas delegation would leave for Cairo in the coming days to discuss the issue with senior Egyptian intelligence officials.
Earlier this week, government sources from Ramallah told Haaretz that Israel and Egypt are advancing an outline for a plan to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza without the involvement of the Palestinian Authority….
Israel’s family separation law
+972 mag 6 Aug by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — Netanyahu reveals one of the motivations behind the ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’: to stop Palestinians from ‘exploiting’ family unification procedures to join their families in Israel — …Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained on Sunday exactly how the law harms an untold number of non-Jewish Israeli citizens, specifically, Palestinian citizens of Israel who are married to or who are immediate relatives of Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza. Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said:
“The Nation-State Law, first of all, entrenches the Law of Return. It raises it to another level and this law, of course, grants an automatic right to Jews, and only to them, to come here and receive citizenship. The Nation-State Law, for example, prevents the exploitation of the family reunification clause under which very, very many Palestinians have been absorbed into the country since the Oslo agreement, and this law helps prevent the continued uncontrolled entry into Israel of Palestinians. It could be that this law will also be able to assist us in blocking the future entry of labor migrants.”
In other words, one of Netanyahu’s primary motivations in passing the Jewish Nation-State Law was to prevent Palestinian families from living together. Family reunification is a procedure by which Israeli citizens can obtain residency and eventually citizenship for their immediate family who are not citizens … If your spouse is Palestinian, however, a demographic almost exclusively comprised of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, you are barred from bringing your family member into Israel and obtaining status for them as if they were Russian, Danish, Nigerian, Mexican, American, Egyptian, or virtually any other nationality. That ban was first put in place 15 years ago and justified as a security measure….
Tens of thousands of Druze protest for equality in Tel Aviv
+972 mag 5 Aug by Meron Rapoport — Demonstrators filled Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest the Jewish Nation-State Law and demand full equality. Will that be enough to pressure Netanyahu to backtrack? — Could it be that the “Israeli state” was born in Tel Aviv’s central square Saturday night? Perhaps it’s a bit early to say, but if there was one sentence that kept repeating itself at the Druze mass protest against the Jewish Nation-State Law, it was that “this law excludes us from Israeliness.” That’s what the anger was about, that was the affront. The Knesset last month passed a Basic Law, the closest thing to a constitutional amendment in Israel, declaring that Israel is the Jewish nation-state, that Jews alone have a right to national self-determination in it, and stripping Arabic of its status as an official language. The Druze community in Israel, one of the few non-Jewish groups in the country that serves in the army, was outraged. Serving army officers resigned, former generals spoke out, tens of thousands took to the streets.
In Rabin Square Saturday night, Rafik Halabi, the protest’s MC and the head of a large Druze local municipality in northern Israel, came on stage every 30 minutes or so to announce how many people were present. One hundred thousand, 150,000, 250,000. Other, more modest reports, spoke of 90,000 protesters. Either way, Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square was packed full of people in a way that we haven’t seen very often in recent years. It was particularly exceptional to see Tel Aviv’s central square full of Druze flags. There were also Israeli flags, but not as many. It was also incredible to hear Arabic being spoken so freely on stage, and even more so throughout the crowd. The succession of speakers was long: Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muafak Tarif, Brig.-Gen. Amal Assad, former head of the Shin Bet Yuval Diskin, former state attorney Moshe Lador, a former member of Knesset, and others. But the crowd only wanted to hear one word: equality….
Left-wing peace activist Uri Avnery hospitalized in critical condition
Haaretz 9 Aug by Ofer Aderet — Left-wing peace activist Uri Avnery has been hospitalized in very serious condition after suffering a stroke on Saturday and is said to be unconscious. Avnery, 94, has written opinion pieces on a regular basis for Haaretz. He is a former Knesset member and a founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement who worked as editor-in-chief of the Haolam Hazeh weekly. He has been an advocate for the past 70 years for the creation of a Palestinian state. Anat Saragusti, a journalist and human rights activist, who is close to the 94-year-old Avnery, posed a wry comment on Facebook late Wednesday in which she wrote of in part: “It can be assumed that he won’t write his weekly column this week He once told me half-kiddingly and half-seriously: ‘If you don’t receive my column on Friday, you should know that I died.’ So he hasn’t died, but he’s not conscious. In exactly another month, on September 10, he’ll be celebrating his 95 birthday, and an event is already being prepared in his honor at the Tzavta [Theater in Tel Aviv]. I was there today, hoping for the best, fingers crossed.” Avnery was the first Israeli to meet with PLO leader Yasser Arafat, in Lebanon in 1982. In the last article that Avnery wrote for Haaretz, which appeared in Hebrew on Tuesday, he was highly critical of the controversial nation-state law that the Knesset passed last month, and argued that the Israeli nation and not the Jewish nation has its home in Israel….
Mossad assassinated Syrian weapons chief, NYT reports
Haaretz 7 Aug — Israel is responsible for the car bombing assassination of a Syrian rocket scientist on Sunday, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The account in the report, given by an official from a Middle Eastern intelligence agency who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the highly classified nature of the operation, claims the car bombing near the northwestern Syrian city of Masyaf that killed Dr. Aziz Asber was executed by Israeli Mossad agents. Dr. Asber ran the northern bureau for research and science in Masyaf, where he was believed to be developing an underground weapons manufacturing facility with the help of the Iranians. The official, who said his agency was notified of the operation, alleged that this was the fourth time in the last three years Israel has covertly killed a weapons engineer on foreign soil.
In first, Iraq soccer team plays Palestinians in West Bank
AL-RAM, West Bank (AFP) 5 Aug — Iraq’s national soccer team played its first-ever match in the Palestinian territories on Saturday, beating the home side 3-0 in a friendly. Some 2,000 people attended the match in al-Ram near Jerusalem in the West Bank. Most teams in Arab countries — many of which do not recognize Israel — refuse to visit the Palestinian territories because Israel controls the West Bank’s borders and maintains a blockade on the Gaza Strip. Israel says the blockade is needed to keep terror groups from arming themselves. But Palestinian leaders have for years called on Arab countries to send sporting and cultural delegations to help ease their isolation, and some have obliged. The Palestinian Football Association called the match a victory even though its team was on the losing end. “We call on all Arab teams to follow Iraq’s lead and come to Palestine,” said Susan Shalaby, vice president of the Palestinian Football Association. One supporter at the match, Maria Qendah, said Iraq came “to say to Palestine you are not alone.” The Palestinian team, a FIFA member since 1998, in May drew 0-0 against Iraq in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
Fans hold up pictures of Saddam Hussein as Iraqi football team beats Palestine
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) 5 Aug by Nadia Riva – Fans held up pictures of Saddam Hussein in the West Bank on Saturday as Iraq managed to defeat the Palestinian national team 3-0 in a friendly international match. Saturday marked the Iraqi team’s first trip to the Palestinian territories, crossing from Jordan, where they played at the Faisal Husseini Stadium in Ram on the outskirts of Ramallah. The match drew out thousands of Palestinian fans who packed themselves into a stadium that rarely hosts live international matches. The friendly atmosphere saw the public raise Iraqi and Palestinian flags, as well as pictures of Iraq’s former regime leader, Saddam Hussein. “This meeting certainly proves the brotherhood and bond between the two Arab nations – Iraqi and Palestinian – and I feel our presence is more important than the result,” Iraqi national team coach Basim Qasim told a pre-match news conference. “We are carrying out our obligation to be here with our brothers here in Palestine,” he said. In the summer of 2009, the Palestinian team traveled to Baghdad to compete in a friendly match in the Iraqi national team’s first international home game since the fall of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003. For many Palestinians, Saddam Hussein was a supporter of their cause. In 2017, the West Bank’s Qalqilya district named a street and erected a memorial to the Iraqi dictator, who is otherwise known for ethnic cleansing and war campaigns in the region. Historically, Saddam’s Ba‘athist regime had close ties with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), and in February 1990, Saddam publicly threatened Israel….
‘There’s no Israeli cuisine’: ‘Fauda’ star takes local Arab food to Israeli TV
Haaretz (paywall) 7 Aug by Itay Stern — Salim Dau says the nation-state bill doesn’t ruffle him, but Jews trying to own his cuisine does — “I don’t get your question,” says Salim Dau, when I ask what he thinks about the additional funding for Israeli Arab cultural institutions that Culture Minister Miri Regev has approved during her tenure. I ask again, and he smiles and says: “You can ask me again and again, but I still won’t get your question.” Just hours after our conversation, Regev once again attacks Beit Hagefen, the Arab cultural center in Haifa whose theater Dau has been running for three years. This time the minister was incensed that the center had hosted a political event sponsored by Hadash – the far-left, Arab-Jewish party – about the new nation-state law. The event was ultimately held there despite the minister’s opposition. Still, Dau’s reaction to my question indicates that he’s unwilling to take part in the lopsided game Regev is trying to create, whereby she’ll agree to fund Arab cultural institutions in return for them behaving like loyal subjects … Dau’s current project is a new TV food show called “Salim’s Recipe” (“Hamatkon shel Salim”), produced by Makan, the Arabic division of the Kan public broadcaster. In each episode, Dau visits a different Israeli Arab town or village, and explores the local cuisine, learning about the typical ingredients used and how the dishes are prepared. The first episode was dedicated to Ba’ana, the Galilee village where he grew up. He learns to make pita filled with sumac and fried onion, and kebabs dripping with fat, and delights in some chewing gum-flavored ice cream that makes him feel like a child again. Dau brims with love and affection for the place and is greeted like a local superhero as he strolls the narrow alleyways….
Is Palestine prepared for a major earthquake?
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Al-Monitor) by Ahmad Melhem — A magnitude 4.6 earthquake hit the northern part of the Sea of Galilee on July 27, one of the strongest in a series of earthquakes in the northern West Bank in July. Palestinian officials fear that an earthquake with magnitude 6.5 or higher may cause extensive damage to buildings and even result in casualties given the lack of resources to confront such an incident. On July 19, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with members of the Supreme Council for Palestinian Civil Defense to discuss earthquake preparedness, and emergency field councils were formed in the West Bank.
In a conversation with Al-Monitor, Jalal Dabbeek, director of the Earth Sciences and Seismic Engineering Center at An-Najah University, reviewed the different scenarios of future earthquakes, the damage they may cause and the means to mitigate losses and mechanisms of an emergency response program. “Palestinians will be the most affected in any future earthquakes due to the lack of emergency response capabilities. Buildings in [the Palestinian territories] are not earthquake resistant, and [Israeli] occupation forces control the borders and crossings and would hamper the response process. Palestinians are thus subject to major damages and losses,” Dabbeek said. He noted that the most important factor determining the extent of the losses are the construction techniques used in the Palestinian territories. “Since Palestinian refugee camps are overcrowded with people living in primitively constructed buildings, the damage would be devastating in the event of an earthquake,” he said….
Palestinian teens reach finals of Silicon Valley app pitch
NABLUS, West Bank (AP) 5 Aug by Mohammed Daraghmeh — Four Palestinian high school friends are heading to California this week to pitch their mobile app about fire prevention to Silicon Valley’s tech leaders, after winning a slot in the finals of a worldwide competition among more than 19,000 teenage girls. For the 11th graders from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the ticket of admission to the World Pitch Summit signals a particularly dramatic leap. They come from middle class families that value education, but opportunities have been limited because of the omnipresent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, prevailing norms of patriarchy in their traditional society and typically underequipped schools with outdated teaching methods. “We are excited to travel in a plane for the first time in our lives, meet new people and see a new world,” said team member Wasan al-Sayed, 17. “We are excited to be in the most prestigious IT community in the world, Silicon Valley, where we can meet interesting people and see how the new world works.” Twelve teams made it to the finals of the “Technovation Challenge” in San Jose, California, presenting apps that tackle problems in their communities. The Palestinian teens compete in the senior division against teams from Egypt, the United States, Mexico, India and Spain, for scholarships of up to $15,000. The competition, now in its ninth year, is run by Iridescent, a global nonprofit offering opportunities to young people, especially girls, through technology….