Army kills a Palestinian teen, injures 210, in Gaza
IMEMC 7 Sept — The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that Israeli soldiers killed, Friday, a teenage boy, and injured at least 210 others, during the Great Return March processions, in several parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza said the soldiers killed Bilal Mustafa Khaffaja, 17, after shooting him with a live round in the chest, east of Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. He added that the soldiers also injured 210 Palestinians, including 45 with live fire, and added that 70 of the wounded were moved to several hospitals, while the rest received treatment in make-shift hospitals. Among the wounded are fifteen children. Media sources in Gaza said the soldiers, including sharpshooters, stationed on sand hills and fortified posts, fired dozens of live rounds, in addition to rubber-coated steel bullets and high-velocity gas bombs at the protesters, along the eastern part of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian dies from serious wounds he suffered in June
IMEMC 7 Sept — The Shifa Medical Center, west of Gaza city, has announced on Friday morning that a young man died from serious wounds he suffered when Israeli soldiers shot him on July 14th, 2018, during the Great Return March procession on Palestinian lands in northern Gaza. It said that Amjad Fayez Hamdouna, 19, from Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, was shot with live Israeli army fire in Abu Safiyya area, east of Jabalia, in the northern part of the coastal region. The Palestinian was rushed to the Indonesian Hospital, in Beit Lahia, and was later moved to the Shifa Medical Center due to the seriousness of his wounds. He underwent surgeries, and remained on life support at the Intensive Care Unit until he succumbed to his wounds. The Health Ministry in Gaza said Israeli soldiers have killed 174 Palestinians during the Great Return March processions, on Palestinian lands near the perimeter fence along the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, since March 30th, 2018.
Palestinian policeman killed in an accidental explosion in Gaza
IMEMC 6 Sept — A Palestinian policeman was killed, on Wednesday evening, in an accidental explosion at a police station in Gaza city. The Palestinian Interior Ministry has reported that Lieutenant Abdul-Rahim Abbas, 42, a member of the Explosives Unit, was killed while inspecting explosive materials. It added that the explosives detonated during the inspection killing the officer, but did not lead to further casualties. The accidental explosion also led to extensive property damage.
2 Palestinian children injured as Israeli ordnance explodes in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Two Palestinian children were injured as an unexploded Israeli ordnance blew up while the children were playing near it in eastern Gaza City in the central besieged Gaza Strip. The Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that the two injured girls were transferred to the al-Shifa Hospital in the city for treatment. Dr. Ayman al-Sahbani, head of the emergency department at the hospital, told Ma‘an that the girls are 4 and 5 years old and has sustained medium to light injuries as they were hit with shrapnel from the suspicious object that blew up. Unexploded ordnance left by Israeli airstrikes and assaults at the Gaza Strip is a major threat to Gazans.
Israeli airstrike injures 2 Palestinians in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Israeli warplanes targeted and injured two Palestinians in the northern besieged Gaza Strip on Friday. According to Ynet news outlet, Israeli warplanes fired at least one missile targeting a group of Palestinians, who identify themselves as the “incendiary kites unit,” after the unit was allegedly seen launching incendiary kites and balloons into southern Israel. Medical sources confirmed that two Palestinians were injured and were immediately transferred to the Beit Hanoun hospital. The identities of the two injured remained unknown. It is noteworthy that this airstrike, as well as the launch of incendiary objects is the first to have taken place in recent weeks….
Israeli fire wounds protesters near Gaza crossing
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) 4 Sept — The Health Ministry in Gaza says several Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire as they protested near the territory’s main personnel crossing with Israel. Israel’s military says Palestinians hurled rocks at the crossing and damaged infrastructure on Tuesday, prompting troops to respond with tear gas and live fire. Such protests are rare at Erez, the only terminal for travel into Israel or the West Bank from Gaza.
Israel partially reopens Erez crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — The Israeli authorities partially reopened the Erez (Beit Hanoun) crossing between Israel and the northern besieged Gaza Strip, on Thursday, following its closure a day before. Sources at the Palestinian liaison told Ma‘an that Israel allowed the passage of patients, journalists and several Palestinians from the West Bank who were visiting the Gaza Strip. The Israeli authorities had closed the crossing, on Wednesday, in response to protests that took place near the border crossing on Tuesday.
Gaza scholarship students plead for Rafah exit permit
Al Jazeera 4 Sept by Charlie Faulkner — A group of Palestinian students from Gaza has issued a desperate plea for help as they face the prospect of losing their scholarships in Europe due to a long waiting list for leaving the besieged enclave. The 14 students successfully obtained European visas to study at various universities in Hungary, but have not been able to receive exit permits to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. If the permits are not issued by the end of the week, they face the likelihood of joining the 56 percent of graduates who are currently unemployed in Gaza. Yussef, 25, who did not want his full name published, lives in Rafah, home to Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt. He has been offered the chance to pursue a master’s degree in biology at the University of Szeged but fears he will never make it there … Also anxiously awaiting his fate is Mohamed Alhayek, 24, who published the group’s plea for help on social media….
WHO supplies Gaza with crucial medication
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — Spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the besieged Gaza Strip said, on Friday, that the World Health Organization (WHO) began sending the first patch of psychological medications to the ministry in Gaza. Spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said that the lack of these psychological medications has caused serious health and social implications. Al-Qidra added that the first patch arriving includes seven types of crucial psychological medications. The second patch of medications is expected to arrive into the Gaza Strip next week.
11-year-old boy injured while playing soccer in the Gaza Strip takes his first steps in US
ABC News 6 Sept by Bopha Phorn — An 11-year-old boy, who was brought from Palestine after he was injured while playing soccer in the Gaza Strip, is learning to walk again. Abdulrahman Abood Nofal took his first steps Wednesday in Ohio, where he’s been receiving treatment since his injuries. “Yesterday, he was able to put the prosthetic on and take his first steps,” Abdulrahman’s host, Yousef Mousa, told ABC News. In April, Abdulrahman was playing soccer with his friends near the Gaza border when a protest took place. “The ball got near the border, and he went to grab it,” Mousa said. “On his way back, there was a lot of tear gas and two shots. One of those shots landed in his leg below the knee.”The leg was removed “because there was too much damage,” according to Mousa. Three weeks ago, Abdulrahman was brought to the U.S. to get better medical assistance with his injury, and Steve Sosebee, the founder of the charitable organization Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF) — which brings sick children from the Middle East to the U.S. for free medical treatment — was able to help the young boy….
Israeli forces open fire at Gazan fishermen, youths
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen, on Thursday morning, off the coast of the besieged Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli naval boats opened fire several times on Palestinian fishermen as they were working along the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. Fishermen were forced to sail back to shore in fear for their lives …
Meanwhile, local sources said that Israeli forces opened fire from a military post towards a group of Palestinian youths who approached the return camps in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood in eastern Gaza City. No injuries were reported in both incidents.
Families of Israeli civilians held in Gaza hold joint prayer, appeal to Hamas
Times of Israel 6 Sept by Raphael Ahren — Ethiopian-Jewish and Bedouin clergymen address Jerusalem event, stress that Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed suffer from mental illnesses — Marking the Jewish New Year, the families of two Israeli civilians held by Hamas in Gaza held a brief interfaith prayer ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday, calling on the terrorist organization to immediately release them. The father and brother of Avera Mengistu, who entered Gaza exactly four years ago, were joined by the father of Hisham al-Sayed, who has been held there since April 2015. Both men suffer from mental illnesses and crossed into the Hamas-held enclave unaware of the ramifications of their actions, their families members said. “On Rosh Hashana Jewish families gather together to celebrate the new year. But the Mengistu family cannot celebrated the new year in a complete manner, because their son is not with them,” said Kes Samai Aliyas, the family’s spiritual guide. “Avera and Hisham are civilians. They are not soldiers, they are not warriors. They entered Gaza unaware of their actions. Their release is a humanitarian matter,” he went on. Sheikh Ibrahim Hawagra, who is close to the al-Sayed family, only addressed the event very briefly. “Now it’s Rosh Hashana. Inshallah they will come out in peace. Shana tova,” he said, using the Hebrew term for the Jewish new year. Earlier this week, an Israeli army officer said for the first time that the military believes Mengistu and al-Sayed are alive … Hisham al-Sayed’s father Sha’aban criticized Hamas for using his son and Mengistu as political cards in their fight against Israel. His son had inadvertently entered Gaza twice before, but the terrorist group returned him to Israel after realizing his mental illness, he said….
UN urges immediate funding for emergency fuel to avoid catastrophe in Gaza
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 5 Sept – The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator to the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, Wednesday urged immediate funding for emergency fuel to Gaza to avoid catastrophic breakdown in essential services. A statement by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory said final stocks of emergency fuel will be delivered this week to critical facilities in the Gaza Strip, through the United Nations-Assisted Emergency Fuel Program. The Humanitarian Coordinator has written to the donor community requesting immediate support for the program, which provides life-saving emergency fuel to operate standby emergency power generators at critical health centers, and water and sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip. Funds donated thus far in 2018 have been depleted, it said….
Gaza flotilla boats to be auctioned off for terror victims
Arutz Sheva 4 Sept — Four ships that were confiscated a month and a half ago by the Navy on their way to the Gaza Strip will be sold, and the money to be paid in their sale will be divided between two families of terror victims, the Gavish and Weinstein families, the Jerusalem District Court ruled following a petition filed by the families against Hamas. According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, the court discussed the petition and heard the opinion of senior naval and intelligence officers, who unequivocally claimed that when any ships reach the Gaza Strip, they immediately pass on to Hamas. At the end of the hearing, the court decided that two of the ships, “Freedom” and “Karstein,” would be confiscated if they were caught by the navy. At the end of July, the navy took control of the flotilla and the ships were transferred to Ashdod port. In recent days, the court ruled that the ships would be auctioned and that the money received from them would be distributed between the two families. The Gavish family lost David and Rachel Gavish, residents of Elon Moreh, their son Avraham and Yitzchak Kanar, the father of Rachel Gavish. The attack occurred when a terrorist broke into the home of the Gavish family on the eve of the first day of Passover in 2002 and opened fire at the occupants. The Weinstein family lost its son, Adam, in a terrorist attack on the Jerusalem pedestrian walkway in 2001. In both cases, the court determined the direct connection between the perpetrators of the attacks and the Hamas organization.
Spanish government doubles aid to Gaza Strip
MADRID (ANSAMed) 4 Sept — The Spanish government will double its humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, following the United States’ decision to pull funds from UNRWA, the UN agency that allocates material assistance to five million Palestinians in the world. The announcement came from Spanish Foreign Minister José Borrell at a press conference in Madrid with his Palestinian counterpart Riyad Maliki. Borrell said it is a “symbolic gesture” because “our contribution, going from one million to two million, is still very far from what the United States brought”. Maliki said, “The United States have shown that they wish to be part of the problem, not the solution”….
PA rejects Qatari plan to pay for Gaza power plant
MEMO 4 Sept — Informed Western sources have revealed that the Palestinian Authority based in the occupied West Bank has rejected an offer by Qatar to pay for the sole electricity plant in the Gaza Strip for six months, Middle East Affairs said last week. According to the sources, PA President Mahmoud Abbas approved the offer in principle, but then rejected it amidst fears caused by the ongoing truce talks brokered by Qatar and the UN. Apparently the government in Doha also offered to pay the salaries of public sector workers recruited while Hamas governed in Gaza, but the PA rejected that as well. Trying to justify Abbas’s rejection, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, Ahmed Majdalani, claimed that the US is trying to fill the void with Hamas following the PA President’s distancing of himself from Washington. This, he alleged, is part of the “deal of the century”. “There is an exposed American attempt to implement the deal of the century in the Gaza Strip under the disguise of a humanitarian project and truce deals,” said the PLO official. According to members of the Fatah movement loyal to Mohamad Dahlan, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, however, the rejection of the Qatari offers is part of Abbas’s efforts to tighten the siege imposed on Gaza.
In Video – Israeli settlers perform religious rituals at Al-Aqsa
[3 videos] JERUSALEM (Ma’an) 6 Sept — Dozens of Israeli settlers held prayers, on Thursday, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, ahead of the Jewish new year. According to eyewitnesses, a large number of Israeli settlers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the heavy protection by Israeli forces; many began to perform religious prayers in the compound as Jewish holidays approach. Sources also mentioned that Israeli forces forced security guards of Al-Aqsa to keep distance from the Israeli settlers and to not interfere while they performed prayers. The standing rules of the compound state that non-Muslims can visit the holy site during regular visiting hours but are not allowed to perform any religious prayers. According to the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) department, Israeli settlers attempted to provoke Muslim worshipers as they publicly performed Jewish prayers.
Israeli MK Glick storms Al-Aqsa Mosque
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — Heavily armed Israeli forces escorted an ultra-Orthodox Israeli Knesset member, Yehuda Glick, as he entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, on Wednesday, through the Moroccans Gate. Firas al-Dibs, head of the Public Relations and Media Department at the Islamic Endowment, said that MK Glick stormed into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and “provocatively” toured the holy site’s premises. Sources reported that Glick had previously entered the compound in July. In July, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to lift the ban that would previously not allow Israeli Knesset members to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque once every three months, after incursions were banned since October 2015. Netanyahu allowed members of the Knesset, mostly right-wing extremists who support the demolishment of the Islamic site in order to build a Jewish temple instead, to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque once every three months.
Israeli court bans 5 Jerusalemites from Al-Aqsa
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — An Israeli court ruled, late Thursday, that five Jerusalemite youths from the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, are banned from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, the five Jerusalemite youths were detained earlier this week, after Israeli forces raided their homes in Silwan. The center confirmed that an Israeli court banned the youths from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and its premises for one consecutive month. The ruling was a precondition for their release from Israeli detention, however, the youths were also sentenced to pay a fine of 1,000 shekels ($280) each upon their release….
Sheikh Sabri calls for marking Muslim New Year at al-Aqsa Mosque
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 7 Sept — Head of the Supreme Islamic Council and the Al-Aqsa Mosque Preacher Sheikh Ikrima Sabri called on Friday for intensifying Palestinian presence at al-Aqsa Mosque next Tuesday which coincides with the Islamic New Year. Muslims must mark this holy occasion at al-Aqsa with reading Quran and listening to religious lectures, he said. Last year, al-Aqsa witnessed a significant escalation in Israeli break-ins and violations in the holy shrine under the protection of Israeli government and the support of Jewish associations, he continued. Sheikh Sabri concluded by urging Arab and Islamic states to unite their efforts for the protection of al-Aqsa Mosque and Islamic properties in the occupied Jerusalem especially in light of the growing Israeli danger.
Restrictions on movement
Israel imposes closure on West Bank, Gaza for Jewish holiday
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — The Israeli authorities declared closure on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip starting Saturday night for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, on Sunday. The Civil Administration department declared that a general closure would be imposed on the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip’s crossings starting Saturday night September 8th, until Tuesday night September 11th.
The closures come as Muslims prepare to celebrate the Muslim New Year, 1440 Hijra, on Tuesday, with worship and prayers planned at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.
Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes, accompanied by increased tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Israel bans Ahed Tamimi from traveling abroad
MEE 7 Sept — Ban comes two months after Ahed was released after serving an eight-month sentence for slapping an Israeli soldier — Israeli authorities banned Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian activist and campaigner who became a resistance icon, and her family from travelling abroad, her father said on Friday. Basim Tamimi told Anadolu Agency that he and his family had planned to travel to Europe via Jordan. But they were informed by Palestinian authorities that Israel had banned them from travelling abroad. They had planned to leave Friday morning, he said, adding the authorities did not provide a reason for the ban. They were due to participate in some events in which they would discuss the Palestinian resistance movement and the experience of being detained in Israel, Basim said. Ahed’s father told the Iranian-state Press TV that Israel barred his daughter’s trip for fear that she would foil the Israeli regime’s “schemes for the disintegration of the region by forging close relations with the enemies of Israel.”….
Prisoners / Court actions
Israel Shin Bet torture to be kept secret during Duma murder trial
MEMO 7 Sept — The methods of torture used by Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet to extract confessions will be kept secret during the ongoing court case against the Duma murderers. The Central District Court in Lod (Lydda) yesterday ruled that while the proceedings of the Duma murder trial will now be held in open court, future sessions in which Shin Bet officials testify about their methods of interrogation will remain closed to the public. The move came following a petition by Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth and Israeli attorney Tali Lieblich for the court to open its proceedings to the public. Prior to this appeal, the trial had been conducted in closed court “to prevent the exposure of Shin Bet methods and operations,” Haaretz reported. The interrogation methods used by Shin Bet were thrust into the spotlight in June after an Israeli court ruled that one of the confessions given by Amiram Ben-Uliel, the main suspect in the Duma murder case, was inadmissible as evidence because it was extracted under torture … Ben-Uliel, a 21-year-old extremist Israeli settler who lived in the illegal Adei Ad outpost, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, is suspected of murdering the Dawabsheh family in an arson attack in 2015. The Dawabshehs lived in Duma, a village not far from the Adei Ad outpost, until their home was hit by a Molotov cocktail. The attack killed Ali Saeed Dawabsheh, the family’s 18-month-old son, as well as his mother Riham and father Saad. The only survivor of the attack was five-year-old Ahmed. In January 2016, Ben-Uliel and a 16-year-old minor, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were indicted for carrying out the arson attack. Ben-Uliel is facing charges of three counts of murder, while the minor faced charges of conspiring to commit a murder…
Palestinian freed from prison after Israeli woman recants rape testimony
MEE 4 Sept Sadeq Ghayeb had spent eight months in prison until his Israeli girlfriend admitted that she was pressured to lie by a far-right group — A Palestinian man from the occupied West Bank was released from jail on Tuesday after an Israeli woman who accused him of raping and beating her recanted her testimony, saying a group that opposes relations between Israelis and Palestinians coerced her into making the claims. In an interview with Israeli Channel 10 TV, the Israeli woman, identified only as “S”, said that a representative of the right-wing Jewish organisation Hidabroot – which owns a number of commercial concerns, including a television network – threatened her with the loss of child visitation rights if she did not make the false accusations against her then-boyfriend, Sadeq Ghayeb. S, who had been separated from her Jewish husband for a year at the time, recalled the threats levelled against her and her two children … The woman also told Channel 10 that the Hidabroot activist pressured her to concoct additional accusations against Ghayeb: “Add more, add more, add more, add more. The more years [Ghayeb] stays [in jail], you’ll come to forget about him. You’ll continue on to a new life, you’ll return to the kids, you’ll return to the family.” The case against Ghayeb collapsed when S broke down on the witness stand in a Beersheba courtroom and confessed that she was pressured to lie, according to Tuesday’s report…
While romantic relationships between Jews and non-Jews are not forbidden by law, the state does not permit individuals registered as members of different religious groups to marry in Israel, and the government funds religious groups – known as anti-miscegenation organisations – that campaign to break up mixed families … The anti-miscegenation group Hidabroot describes itself as the “world’s largest Jewish TV Network,” with satellite broadcasts in six languages, saying it aims “to present the attractive face of Judaism” … Hidabroot also has a “department for captives in Arab villages” and runs telephone hotlines in Israel and the US for “reporting and assisting cases of intermarriage,” per the group’s website, where the group’s chief rabbi Zamir Cohen calls miscegenation “a type of quiet holocaust for the Jewish people,” according to its website.
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Bedouin village in West Bank to be razed, Israeli court rules
JERUSALEM (Irish Times) 5 Sept by Mark Weiss — The Israeli high court of justice has given the green light for the demolition of the West Bank Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, rejecting petitions filed by the residents in a case that has attracted significant international attention. The judges ruled that the buildings, close to the road between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, could be demolished next week. The high court expressed the hope that the eviction would be peaceful and without physical resistance. Ireland, along with other European states, has lobbied against Israeli plans to demolish the village, saying such a move would further undermine the viability of the two-state solution and prospects for a lasting peace….
Israel demolishes Palestinian-owned home in Negev
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — The Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian-owned home, on Thursday, in the Bedouin Hura village in the Negev region in southern Israel. Locals said that Israeli bulldozers and vehicles raided the village and demolished a Palestinian home belonging to local Muhammad Hussein al-Sayyid. Sources confirmed that the house is legal and is within the official construction plan. The Hura village was established in 1989 as a part of a solution offered by Israel to Bedouins in the Negev region who live in unrecognized villages.
Israeli court freezes settlement work in Ramallah-area lands
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — The Israeli High Court decided, on Thursday, to temporarily freeze settlement work in the Jabal al-Risan Palestinian lands in the Ras Karkar, Kafr Nimeh and Kharbatha villages west of the Ramallah and al-Bireh district. The court said that freeze was until the court issues a ruling in a lawsuit presented by owners of the confiscated lands on September 13th. The lawsuit was presented against Israeli army and Civil Defense officials. During the past week, three Palestinian photojournalists were injured by Israeli forces as soldiers opened fire towards them in Ras Karkar [albawaba: Sources identified them as Abbas Mumani working for the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Issam Rimawi for Anadolu Agency and a French photojournalist, whose identity remained unknown], while also a Palestinian minister was injured in the same village last week. Both incidents occurred as activists and residents of Ras Karkar and nearby villages attempted to prevent Israeli confiscation of Palestinian lands.
In Video – Israel demolishes Palestinian homes in ‘Anata
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — Israeli bulldozers demolished two Palestinian homes in the ‘Anata village northeast of the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening. Local witnesses told Ma‘an that a large number of Israeli forces stormed the village escorting staff members from the Jerusalem Municipality and several bulldozers, and surrounded the neighborhood in which the two homes are located. Witnesses added that Israeli forces broke into two Palestinian homes belonging to Saleh Fahidat and his mother, Rasmiya. Ziad Fahidat, Saleh’s cousin, said that prior to the demolition, Israeli forces and the Jerusalem Municipality staff removed some belongings from the two homes, while preventing residents from movement in the area. He confirmed that in total, six family members, including three children and an elderly, lived in the demolished homes. It is noteworthy that both of the demolished homes were built long before the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem. Ziad added that six months ago, the Israeli authorities had issued a decision to demolish the two homes, however, the Fahidat family submitted an appeal, providing ownership documents and maps, which proved the existence of these homes from dozens of years ago. Ziad said that following the appeal, the family had not received any prior notices and were not notified of the reason for the demolition. Activists from the ‘Anata village also confirmed that Israeli bulldozers demolished an agricultural steel structure belonging to local Nimr al-Jimzawi. The reason for the sudden demolition remained unknown.
Israel demolishes family home in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — Israeli bulldozers demolished a home, on Wednesday, in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem. Local witnesses informed Ma‘an that a large number of Israeli forces and staff from the Jerusalem Municipality raided Silwan and surrounded the house. Israeli forces prevented residents from reaching the home, while bulldozers began to demolish it under the pretext of being built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. Eyewitnesses confirmed that the demolished home belonged to Palestinian resident Ali Abu Sway, and was built five years ago. Abu Sway said that Israeli bulldozers demolished his home without giving him prior notice, noting that an Israeli court hearing session was scheduled to take place to consider the decision to postpone the demolition, on Wednesday….
Army demolishes another home in Occupied Jerusalem, abducts two Palestinians
[with video] IMEMC 6 Sept — Israeli soldiers demolished, on Wednesday evening, a Palestinian home in Beit Hanina neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, rendering the family homeless despite a pending appeal with an Israeli court. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said dozens of soldiers, and officers, invaded Beit Hanina, and forcibly removed the family, leading to scuffles, before demolishing the property. The demolished property is owned by Sana’ Farraj and her family of eight; it was built sixteen years ago. It added that the soldiers also abducted two young men during the invasion and destruction of the Palestinian home. Silwanic stated that the family has already paid high fines and fees, exceeding 250.000 Shekels, in addition to the costs of appeals in Israeli courts. It also said that the family headed to the court again, appealing against the final decision to demolish their property, and asking for postponing the destruction, but the officers went ahead and demolished it, without allowing them to remove all of their furniture and belongings.
Israel to approve new settlement units in Beit Hanina
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 4 Sept — Israeli Jerusalem Municipality’s Local Planning and Construction Committee is planning to construct some 150 new settlement housing units in the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina, in occupied East Jerusalem. According to Israel Hayom news outlet, Israeli Jerusalem municipal officials will meet on Wednesday to discuss a plan to construct 75 illegal Israeli settlement units in Beit Hanina neighborhood. Sources added that the construction plan will, for the first time, include a settlement expansion in Beit Hanina near the Ramat Shlomo illegal Israeli settlement. The Committee is expected to approve the plan, which will grant 45 days for the submission of any objections.
Film: The hundred million dollar home
[entire film here, 47:30] Al Jazeera World 5 Sept — Filmmaker: Resad Kulenovic — Located in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Abdulraouf Al-Mohtaseb’s ancestral home is a short distance from the site where both Muslims and Jews believe the ‘father of the faithful’, Abraham, to be buried. What Muslims call the Ibrahimi Mosque and Jews the Cave of the Patriarchs are built on a cave some 15 metres feet below ground and are where both faiths worship, albeit on different sides of a bulletproof wall. The Israeli army now maintains around-the-clock checkpoints and barricades that restrict Palestinian movement, separating Hebron’s 270,000 Palestinians from around 1,000 illegal Jewish settlers. This puts Hebron on the front line of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and makes the land and property surrounding the shared holy sites highly valued assets for both sides. As with generations of his family before him, Abdulraouf al-Mohtaseb has lived close to the Ibrahimi Mosque all his life, through the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars and subsequent Israeli occupation. But even he was surprised when potential buyers began offering him millions for his modest home and souvenir shop. He refused as a matter of principle as the bids gradually increased to a staggering $100m. Still, al-Mohtaseb refused, earning him the nickname ‘the crazy man’ by some of the bidders. In The Hundred Million Dollar Home, filmmaker Resad Kulenovic tells the story of life in Hebron today through the eyes of al-Mohtaseb and his son, Mohammed. Both firmly abide by the principle that their home is their heritage and must never be sold: “[Hebron] is beautiful despite all the suffering,” the father tells his son. “If people evicted every area they [the Israelis] besieged, it would be a disaster. We’re staying until God guides us to a solution. That’s our fate.” …
The film also includes the perspective of a former Israeli soldier who now works for “Breaking The Silence” which enables Israeli army personnel to recount their experiences and educate the Israeli public about conditions in the occupied territories; as well as a Jewish interfaith activist who emphasises the benefits of honouring the heritage of the three monotheistic religions, both for their similarities and their differences.
A witness to the Arabism of Jerusalem
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 18 Aug — Suwaiqat Aloun is one of the markets inside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem which stands in defiance of Judaization and the plans of the Israeli occupation, speaking of the Arabism of the occupied city. The Suwaiqat Aloun market is located in the Christian Quarter near Bab al-Khalil, where a road leads to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Buraq Wall. This market is characterized by the sale of antiques and replicas of ancient monuments that affirm the Arabism of the holy city … The name of the market is after the name of the mosque in which it is located, which dates back to the Ottoman period and was named after the family of Aloun from Jerusalem. It was formerly known as the Hamzah ibn Abd al-Muttalib mosque. It is located on the right side of the gate to Al-Aqsa Mosque, 75 meters away from it, to be exact … There are two successive entrances to the mosque. One could ascend to the first entrance through two external steps leading to another seven steps from inside, and then to a vestibule of not more than a meter wide and three meters long, while the second entrance leads to the prayer place. There is a muddy water tank to store water, and most architecture is made of arches, ending with a half-barrel base. Its surface is flat, topped by a tower with a loudspeaker. The mosque has a hollow prayer place decorated with small colored tiles. The tiles were recently renovated, and the floor and walls are up to a meter high. The mosque has a small, modest library and the five Muslim prayers are held there on daily basis. One of the merchants of Suwaiqat Aloun recalls how the Jordanian army in the Bab al-Khalil fortress was passing through the place and how citizens living in the Armenian Monastery used to come to the Suwaiqa to buy their needs….
The Shuqba Cave: Struggling to survive
RAMALLAH (PIC) 5 Sept — To the west of the northern West Bank city of Ramallah lies the Shuqba Cave, which is one of the historical landmarks that are still struggling to survive, despite the many explosions caused by the Israeli Natauf quarry. Israeli settlements encircle the mountains along the road leading to the city of Ramallah and the village of Shuqba, distorting the identity of the place at the expense of Palestinian lands. The presence of the Israeli separation wall on thousands of dunums of the village deprives the residents of their land and separates them from their Palestinian extension inside the Occupied Territories in 1948, which could be seen from the top of its foothills. According to historical studies, the cave dates back to the second phase of the Stone Age, during which the Natufians established their first civilization, which witnessed a shift in human life from fishing and consumption to agriculture and food production. Bilal Shalash, a resident of the village, says that the cave is estimated to be more than 10,000 years old. Following detection and investigation, it was revealed that agricultural raw materials were found in the old cave.
According to Shalash, the cave suffers from the presence of the Israeli Natauf quarry, in which explosives are used to break the rocks, which leads to cracks and collapses in the cave, in addition to the prevention of the occupation of any restoration in the cave including paving the roads leading to it, because it is located in Area C (under full Israeli control). [See Wikipedia for more info, and Google for images]
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli forces injure dozens, raid university in Abu Dis
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Sept — Dozens of Palestinians suffered tear-gas inhalation, on Wednesday morning, during clashes that erupted with Israeli forces surrounding the al-Quds University in the village of Abu Dis, in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. Local sources said that Israeli forces raided the Abu Dis village, fired tear-gas bombs and stun grenades towards Palestinians. Reports confirmed that dozens of Palestinian students at the al-Quds University suffered tear-gas inhalation due to the attack. Israeli forces sealed off the premises of the university along with the main street leading to it. Al-Quds University, along with other Palestinian universities, has been subjected to numerous Israeli military raids in the past.
Israeli settlers set ablaze Palestinian property in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 6 Sept — Israeli settlers set ablaze large amounts of construction wood, on predawn Thursday, on the outskirts of the Jalud village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus. Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said that Israeli settlers from Yesh Kodesh illegal settlement, built on the lands belonging to residents of Jalud, stormed the outskirts of the village and set ablaze large amounts of wood, used for construction purposes. Daghlas added that the damaged construction wood belonged to Palestinian resident Daoud Abed al-Issawi. Locals said that the attack by Israeli settlers came as part of a series of on-going attacks on Palestinian property in the Jalud village, in order to force out the residents and seize lands in the area.
Palestinians prevent Israeli settlers’ raid on Khan al-Ahmar
[photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — A group of Palestinians prevented a group of Israeli settlers from raiding the Khan al-Ahmar [‘Red Khan’] village east of occupied Jerusalem City, on Friday morning. Locals said that Israeli settlers attempted to raid the Bedouin village, threatened with demolition that is expected to take place in less than a week, to provoke residents and activists carrying out a sit-in at the village. Palestinian youths prevented Israeli settlers from raiding the village and forced them to leave back to the nearby main street. Israeli settlers were carrying Israeli flags and repeating racist slogans. Locals added that the settlers also called for expelling Palestinians of Bedouin areas east of Jerusalem in favor of increasing Israeli settlements in the area. Earlier this week, the Israeli High Court had rejected an appeal against the demolition of the village, and ordered the evacuation of its residents in preparation for its demolition within a week….
Israeli tear-gas bombs burn dozens of olive trees
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — A number of Palestinians suffered from tear-gas suffocation as Israeli forces suppressed weekly Friday protests in the villages of Bil‘in and Ni‘lin, in the Ramallah and al-Bireh district in the central occupied West Bank. According to local sources, Israeli forces showered Palestinian protesters and solidarity activists with tear-gas bombs, in attempt to suppress the Bil‘in and Ni‘lin weekly marches against Israeli settlement activities and the further expansion of the Israeli separation wall. Sources confirmed that several protesters suffered tear-gas suffocation. The tear-gas bombs set fire to dozens of acres of Palestinian agricultural lands, which were planted with olive trees in the Bil‘in village; large numbers of olive trees were burned. Bil‘in and Ni‘lin are two of the most active Palestinian villages in peaceful organized opposition against Israeli policies, as residents have protested every Friday for 12 consecutive years and have often been met with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades from Israeli forces.
Israeli soldiers injure one Palestinian, abduct three, in Bethlehem
IMEMC 6 Sept — Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, on Thursday at dawn, the Deheishe refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, shot one Palestinian and abducted two others, in addition to abducting another Palestinian in Marah Rabah village, also south of Bethlehem. Media sources in Deheishe said the soldiers invaded and violently searched homes in the refugee camp, before abducting Bassel Ibrahim Mizhir, 18, and Ziad al-Masri, 24. They added that several youngsters hurled stones and empty bottles at the invading armored military jeeps, while the soldiers fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs. One Palestinian was shot with a live round in his leg, and many others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Marah Rabah village, searched homes and abducted Zeid Ahmad Sheikh, 22, in addition to summoning his father for interrogation in Etzion military base and security center, south of Bethlehem.
Israeli forces detain seven Palestinians, injure another in West Bank raids
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 Sept – Israeli forces Thursday detained seven Palestinians, including a child, during a number of overnight raids across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS) … In Hebron district, forces stormed several homes and detained a Palestinian during a raid into Beit Ummar, a town to the north of Hebron. In Jerusalem district, a predawn raid was reported in Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, where a 14-year-old child was detained. In the northern West Bank, Israeli troops detained a Palestinian after breaking into his home in Kufr Ra‘i village, south of Jenin. Another raid was reported in Fahma town, southwest of Jenin, where soldiers fired concussion grenades at youths. No injuries were reported though. PPS added that another Palestinian was detained from Qalqiliya district.
Breaking the Silence leaders arrested at West Bank outpost
Times of Israel 31 Aug — A pair of Breaking the Silence officials along with a human rights attorney were detained by Border Police Friday when they arrived at the Mitzpeh Yair outpost in the southern West Bank for a tour of the area. Breaking the Silence CEO Avner Gvaryahu and communications director Achiya Schatz were detained together with attorney Michael Sfard and brought to a nearby police station before being released several hours later with no charges brought against them. A Border Police spokesperson said the three activists were detained for violating the military order. They were part of a group visiting Mitzpeh Yair on Friday after five left-wing activists were allegedly assaulted by a group of some 15 Jewish settlers near the illegal outpost last Saturday. According to a Facebook post by Ta‘ayush, a Jewish-Arab rights organization to which the activists belong, five of its members were hospitalized after being attacked with sticks and stones. Police said they were investigating the incident. Meretz Member of Knesset Mossi Raz, who took part in the Friday tour together with some 120 activists, accused the army of “taking orders from the settlers, land criminals who squatted at the site illegally… The IDF can’t act according to the wishes of the settlers,” he told the Maariv daily.
Border Police officers arrested for repeatedly robbing Palestinian drivers
Times of Israel 4 Sept — Two Border Police officers have been arrested for allegedly robbing Palestinian motorists, authorities told the Ynet news website Tuesday. The two are suspected of repeatedly abusing their power to pull over Palestinian vehicles on a road near the West Bank settlement of Adam, then taking money and other property from the motorists. The pair are suspected of engaging in the illegal activity for two months and pocketing over NIS 10,000 ($2,700). The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday extended their remand until Friday.
Solidarity / BDS
Opinion: BDS success stories / Gideon Levy
[behind paywall] Haaretz 5 Sept — More than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in undermining the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world — Gilad Erdan is a great success story of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, as is the Strategic Affairs Ministry that he heads. So is the anti-boycott law. Every human rights activist who is expelled from Israel or questioned at Ben-Gurion International Airport is a BDS success story. The European Broadcasting Union’s letter is another success of the global movement to boycott Israel. More than Lana Del Rey canceling her visit, more than SodaStream moving its factory from the West Bank to the Negev and more than the achievements of the economic, academic and cultural boycott, BDS has succeeded in a different area, effortlessly and perhaps unintentionally. It has undermined the greatest asset of Israeli public diplomacy: Israel’s liberal and democratic image in the world. It was the European Broadcasting Union, of all things, a nonpolitical organization, very far from BDS, that best described the extent of the damage to Israel: The organization compared Israel to Ukraine and Azerbaijan in the conditions it set for these countries to host the Eurovision Song Contest …
The main credit, of course, goes to the Israeli government, which in declaring war on BDS made a great contribution to the movement … the government is telling the world: Israel isn’t what you thought. Did you think for years that Israel was a liberal democracy? Did you close your eyes to the goings-on in its backyard? Did you think the occupation was separate from the state, that it could be maintained in a democracy, that it was surely temporary and would be over momentarily? That at least sovereign Israel is part of the West? Well, you were wrong … No democracy has a strategic affairs ministry that spies on critics of the state and its government worldwide and draws up blacklists of people who are banned from entry on account of their worldview or political activities. No democracy asks its guests for their opinions at its borders, as a condition for entry. No democracy searches its visitors’ computers and their lifestyles when they enter and leave….
BDS win: 15 artists cancel performances in Israel’s Meteor Festival
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 7 Sept — A wave of cancellations followed Lana Del Rey’s announcement about cancelling her performance at the Meteor Music Festival in northern Israel this weekend. Following efforts by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) and worldwide criticism, more than 15 music artists have cancelled their performances at the Meteor Festival in Israel, according to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) … The most recent cancellation was announced by British singer and actress Little Simz, who wrote “Palestinian and Israeli relations are far more complicated than I knew. I will not be appearing at Meteor Festival.”….
Signs calling Israel a ‘racist endeavour’ appear across London
MEE 6 Sept by Nadda Osman — A series of posters calling Israel a “racist endeavour” appeared across London on Wednesday following the UK Labour Party’s decision to adopt the International Holocaust Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism. The signs appeared a day after the Labour party accepted the IHRA definition in full, including all 11 of the examples of anti-Semitism listed. Social media users posted pictures of the signs, with some appearing in bus stops in iconic locations across London. The adoption of the IHRA came as Palestinian civil society groups raised concerns over the adoption of the controversial definition on anti-semitism by Labour. Pictures of the posters appeared on the social media accounts of the pro-Palestinian group London Palestine Action who have done similar stunts in the past. “We don’t stop speaking the truth,” the group said, adding that “Israel was created by ethnic cleansing, maintained by ethnic exclusion.”….
Other news and opinion
Trump admits Mideast peace tougher than he had thought
WASHINGTON (AFP) 6 Sept — President Donald Trump on Thursday admitted that bringing peace to the Middle East may be harder than he had thought, in comments to Jewish leaders marking the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Trump, who said in May 2017 that forging peace between Israel and the Palestinians would perhaps be “not as difficult as people have thought over the years,” said Thursday he might have been wrong. “All my life I’ve heard that’s the hardest deal to make, and I’m starting to believe that maybe it is,” he said in a conference call with Jewish faith leaders and the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, to mark the Jewish new year. “But I will say that if it can be delivered, we will deliver it,” he said, insisting that his team of regional envoys — led by his son-in-law Jared Kushner — “have made progress, believe it or not.”….
US cuts financial aid to Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 8 Sept – As part of its economic war on the Palestinians to get them to accept its terms for a peace deal with Israel, the United States said it will cancel $20 million in aid to Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Saturday. The US decision against the hospitals came only weeks after it announced that it will stop all $365 million in funds to the United Nations Palestine refugee agency, UNRWA, and another $200 million for economic and social projects for the Palestinians. Addressing a conference of Jewish leaders in the US on Thursday, President Donald Trump admitted that his goal is to use US funds to get the Palestinians to surrender to his terms … Most of the hospitals in East Jerusalem, such as the German Augusta Victoria, the French St. Joseph and the British St. John Ophthalmic Hospital, are charitable organizations and funded by Christian groups. They are the only specialized hospitals that serve the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
US vice president Pence pressures Paraguay over Jerusalem embassy move
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 6 Sept — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence urged Paraguay’s new president to stick to his predecessor’s decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Pence’s office said on Thursday after Asunción announced plans to shift the diplomatic mission back to Tel Aviv. Paraguay on Wednesday dealt a blow to Israeli’s quest for recognition of Jerusalem as its capital, which appeared to have gained some traction this year when the United States, followed by Guatemala and Paraguay, relocated embassies there. Most countries do not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire city….
Paraguay president calls Israel’s embassy move ‘exaggerated’
ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) 6 Sept — Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez on Thursday urged Israel to reconsider the closing of its embassy in Asunción, calling it an “exaggerated” response to the South American country’s decision to move its embassy back to Tel Aviv … “I regret Israel’s decision. The reaction of closing the embassy was a little exaggerated and we urge authorities to reconsider it,” Abdo Benitez said at a news conference in Itapúa, 273 miles (440 kilometers) south of Asunción. He said Paraguay would “stick to international law and the United Nations’ resolution that still considers it a territory in conflict” between Israel and the Palestinians….
Turkey to open Paraguay embassy after policy shift on Israeli capital
ASUNCION (Reuters) 6 Sept by Daniela Desantis — Turkey will open an embassy in Asunción, Paraguay, the South American country said on Thursday, a day after President Mario Abdo reversed the previous administration’s decision to move its diplomatic mission in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Turkey’s ambassador to Paraguay has been operating out of Buenos Aires. Turkey has a consulate in Asunción and another in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. By opening the embassy, Turkey is expressing support for Paraguay’s stance on Israel, Paraguay’s Foreign Minister Luis Castiglioni told reporters…..
Palestine to open embassy in Paraguay
IMEMC 6 Sept — Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has reported that President Mahmoud Abbas has instructed the ministry to immediately inaugurate the Palestinian Embassy in the capital of Paraguay, Asunción. Al-Maliki said that President Abbas issued a statement of gratitude to Paraguay after it rescinded its previous decision of opening its Embassy in occupied Jerusalem, and relocating it back to Tel Aviv….
Opinion: The Jerusalem embassy flop / Ravit Hecht
[behind paywall] Haaretz 7 Sept — Relocating embassies to Jerusalem violates a worldwide consensus, and what’s happening now proves that Trump’s exhibitionist move didn’t change that — The effort to leverage Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s greatest achievement – America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocation of its embassy to the city – is proving to be an ongoing flop. Only two small countries have so far imitated the United States by moving their embassies to Jerusalem, Guatemala and Paraguay, mainly in order to flatter U.S. President Donald Trump. And now that it has a new government, even tiny Paraguay has recanted and is moving its embassy back to Tel Aviv … For many years, there has been quiet international recognition of the fact that western Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, despite the ongoing conflict over the city between the two peoples. But this exists alongside a tacit assumption that ultimately, there will be no choice but to divide the city along the lines dictated by its demographic geography and reach a compromise over its holy sites under international auspices. A process of relocating embassies without achieving an agreement with the Palestinians is a plastic prosthesis, alien and foreign, which the Middle Eastern body will simply reject. An unnecessary insistence on this will not only fail to persuade the world of the necessity of its assimilation, but is likely to create a new golem that will turn against Israel the day after Trump leaves office….
Satellite imagery and the Palestine-Israel exception
Al-Shabaka Network 30 Aug by Zena Agha — In the United States and beyond, the rules that apply to the rest of the world have long applied differently to Palestine-Israel. In the US, this exceptionalism often manifests as censorship of Palestinian perspectives and operates on many different levels … Remarkably, this exceptionalism even extends to the quality of aerial photography and satellite imagery of Palestine-Israel. Bipartisan legislation passed by the US House of Representatives in 1997 limits the quality of aerial photography of Palestine-Israel available to the public through platforms such as Google Earth and Bing Maps. The Kyl-Bingaman Amendment (KBA) to the US National Defense Authorization Act restricts the availability of high-resolution satellite imagery by preventing satellite operators and retailers in the US from selling or disseminating images of Palestine-Israel at a resolution higher than that available on the non-US market. The result: limited access to clear aerial photography of Palestine-Israel. Large parts of the Middle East and North Africa are covered by very high-resolution imagery with an average resolution of around 0.5 meters (per pixel). Any object larger than this size is visible in some form on satellite images, including most archaeological sites across the Arab world. Images whose maximum resolution exceeds two meters are unclear. From an archaeological perspective, this prevents an accurate picture of the changing landscape. In contrast to the rest of the region, images of Palestine-Israel deliberately have the lowest resolution. This is due to the KBA, which cited Israeli national security concerns as for the reason for limiting the public provision of high resolution imagery of Palestine-Israel … Although the legislation was implemented under the pretense of protecting Israel’s national security, it is better characterized as an act of censorship. By deliberately blurring aerial images of Palestine-Israel, the KBA hinders the work of archaeologists, environmentalists, geographers, and humanitarians. It poses serious obstacles, not only for the preservation of cultural heritage, but also for holding Israel to account for land grabs, home demolitions, and settlement activity….
A sanctuary in peril
Electronic Intifada 30 Aug by Matthew Hatcher — …Mansour, or “Miss Lydia,” as her students know her, has been blind since the age of 2 sometime before the 1948 Nakba of which she still has vivid memories (she declined to divulge her exact age). She is the founder and director of the Peace Center for the Blind, a school and vocational center in the Shu‘afat neighborhood of East Jerusalem that caters to blind and visually impaired Palestinian girls and women and includes a boarding house for those from elsewhere in the West Bank. All the residents of the boarding house are girls and women and both staff and students live on the premises. During the school year, the house is home to nearly 20 students, all sharing a large dorm-style room … The Peace Center for the Blind was founded in 1983 with donations that Mansour and neighbors collected. With a total of $200, she managed to secure a location and pay for rent. The school – which is registered with both the Israeli and Palestinian ministries of education – serves to give blind girls an education, culminating in the tawjihi, the national exam that 12th grade students must pass under the Palestinian curriculum to graduate from secondary school. It also provides older women a chance to learn vocational skills such as stitching and loom weaving. Education is provided by qualified teachers and instructors and the school has Braille textbooks for its students … The school, however, has come up against hard times in the past few years. A major donor, that Mansour declined to identify, cut funding to the school and now faculty are having to find alternative ways to raise money for rent and other costs. For the past two years, the school has been operating on reserve funding. “I fear that we may soon have to close our doors if we cannot afford to fund the school next year. It is in God’s hands though, and if He is willing we will continue our mission,” Mansour said.
Palestine Taekwondo tournament postponed due to delay in Israeli permits for players
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 6 Sept – The Third Palestine Open International Taekwondo Tournament WTF G-1 that was supposed to open on Thursday in Ramallah was postponed until Friday after a delay in issuing of Israeli permits for the players, according to the organizers of the tournament, the Palestine Taekwondo Federation (PTF). They said that Israel has so far issued 200 permits for players out of 350 applications from several countries, explaining that players from the United States, Tunisia, Jordan, Croatia, Greece, Turkey and Libya have already arrived in Ramallah in preparation for the tournament. The PTF said the two-day international tournament was originally scheduled to kick off at the sports center in Birzeit University, near Ramallah, on Thursday but has been put off until Friday with the hope that permits will be issued for the remaining players. It will be immediately followed on Sunday by the Arab Taekwondo Junior Tournament. The Palestinians have regularly complained that Israeli restrictions hamper sport activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Maysoon Zayid to write, star in autobiographical comedy series in development at ABC
Variety 7 Sept by Joe Otterson — Comedian Maysoon Zayid is developing a comedy series inspired by her own life at ABC called “Can-Can,” Variety has learned. The single-camera project follows the life of a Muslim woman who has Cerebral Palsy (Zayid), as she struggles to find love, the right career, and discover who she is separate of her opinionated Muslim parents. ABC has given the project a script commitment with a penalty attached. Zayid will write and executive-produce in addition to starring. Joanna Quraishi will also write and executive-produce. “Will & Grace” star Sean Hayes will executive produce along with Todd Milliner via their Hazy Mills production banner. Universal Television, where Hazy Mills is under an overall deal, will produce. Zayid is an actress, comedian, and disability activist. She was born in New Jersey and is of Palestinian descent. In addition to her stand-up, she had a role in the Adam Sandler film “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” as well as “Stand Up: Muslim-American Comics Come of Age.” She is repped by WME.
Censored Israeli lobby film starts leaking
EI 5 Sept by Asa Winstanley — After The Electronic Intifada exclusively released the first excerpts from the censored Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby – USA last week, further details have emerged. At The Grayzone Project, journalist Max Blumenthal released more scenes from the film showing how right-wing Israel lobbyist Noah Pollak faked a grassroots protest against Students for Justice in Palestine’s national conference in 2016. In the undercover footage, a junior staffer from a right-wing think tank agrees that their protest is “astroturfing,” which he describes as “when you set up fake protests.” Another describes it as a “foot soldier activity” which “we’ve been forced to do” by managers. The first staffer complains that Pollak “did a really shitty job of getting me excited” for the protest. He summarizes that Pollak’s pitch amounted to: “Look, there are these jihadis who basically support suicide bombing, and they’re on a campus and you have to stop them.” “It’s a chance to shout at Arabs,” another of the group says. —“Provoke everyone”— The footage then shows Pollak’s recruits taunting Palestine solidarity activists on campus with claims they support “terrorists” and “baby killers.”….