France ends requirement to label goods from West Bank settlements

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French government suspends demand for West Bank product labeling
JTA 4 Oct — French authorities have reportedly suspended their insistence on special labeling for West Bank products following a lawsuit alleging that the practice is discriminatory. The France office of the NGO Amnesty International complained about the suspension in a statement Wednesday. “Instead of complying with the request to end imports [from the West Bank], the government has chosen to roll back and suspend the demand for labeling,” the human rights group wrote. Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reported on Tuesday about the suspension of the measure, which was adopted in 2016. That year, the French Economy Ministry’s General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Prevention published an advisory circular requiring retailers to use the word “colonies,” French for “settlements,” to specify goods originating in Israeli settlements in the Golan Heights, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967 … Earlier this year The Lawfare Project, a pro-Israel think tank, initiated a legal action challenging the labeling requirements on behalf of Psagot Winery LTD, an Israeli vineyard whose European distributors are subject to the labeling rules. In France, the legal action in May prompted the Council of State, which is the government’s legal adviser, to ask the European Court of Justice for its opinion on the legal status of labeling.

European soccer body said to bar Israel from broadcasting games to settlements
Times of Israel 8 Oct — Israel’s national broadcaster is on the verge of losing the rights to broadcast World Cup and Euro 2020 soccer games due to an impasse over transmission to Israelis living in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem, according to a Sunday report. The national broadcaster Kan reportedly bid €5 million ($5.8 million) for the rights to show Israel’s games in the early round of the two international soccer competitions, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The bidding was conducted by a US company, CAA11. The contract with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), however, states that Kan may only broadcast the matches inside the so-called Green Line, and not in what UEFA defined as “the Palestinian territories.” This condition would mean that Israeli citizens living in settlements or in East Jerusalem would be unable to watch the matches — a condition unacceptable to Kan, Yedioth reported. Sources in Kan told Yedioth that a Qatari company bought the rights to broadcast the matches in the Middle East and north Africa, which includes “the Palestinian territories.” Kan has reportedly been negotiating with the European soccer association for the best part of a year, but so far the two sides have not managed to reach an agreement. Kan, which had planned on showing the matches with Hebrew commentary on Channel 11 and with Arabic commentary on channel 33, offered to only broadcast the matches using Israeli cable and satellite technology, and to ensure that they are not available to those who are not residents of Israel.  This was how Kan broadcast the last World Cup to all Israeli citizens and residents in both Hebrew and Arabic. However, the bidding then was conducted by a European company. So far CAA11 has refused to budge….


3 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces at Gaza border; 376 wounded
IMEMC 5 Oct — Fares Hafeth Abdul-Aziz Sarsawi, 12, was shot by Israeli soldiers with a live round in the chest, east of Gaza city, while participating in the ‘March of Return’ protest on the Gaza-Israel border. Fares was one of three Palestinians who were killed at the protests that day [Friday], while 376 others were injured by live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets, concussion grenades and tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces. Among the injured were four journalists and three medics. Of those injured, 134 were hit by live gunfire, including 32 children and five women. Seven of the cases were described as critical.
Also killed by Israeli soldiers on the same day was Mahmoud Akram Abu Sam‘an, 23, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers who fired a live round in his chest, east of Gaza city.
The third Palestinian killed that day was Hussein Fathi al-Reqeb18, who was shot with a live round in the abdomen, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza.
A number of the wounded protesters had to be rushed to the hospital, while the rest were treated in field clinics …  In addition, the al-Mezan Center said the soldiers targeted journalists and medics, seriously wounding a medic identified as Mohammad Nidal Abu ‘Aassi, 27, with a live round in the chest, east of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, before he was rushed to the European Hospital. It added that the soldiers also shot a volunteer medic, identified as Tasneem Fathi Hammad, 20, with a gas bomb in her right leg, and volunteer medic Mohammad Samir Za‘anin, 30, with a gas bomb in his head, in Jabalia, in northern Gaza. The army also fired gas bombs at ambulances, causing damage to at least one ambulance, east of Gaza city.
In addition, the soldiers also shot a photojournalist, identified as Dua’ Farid Zo‘rob, 20, with a live round in her leg, east of Khan Younis, journalist Khaled Ramadan al-Aswad, 21, with a live round in his left leg, photojournalist Mohammad Hazem al-Masri, 20, with a gas bomb in his head, photojournalist Mousa Soheil Oleyyan, with bullet fragments in his arm, east of Jabalia in northern Gaza, and journalist Mohammad Emad Za‘noun, with rubber-coated steel bullets in his right leg, east of Gaza city.

Al-Qassam fighter succumbs to wounds in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 6 Oct — A Palestinian member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, succumbed on Saturday to wounds he had sustained days ago.  The Brigades said in a statement that a fighter, identified as Hamed Abed al-Khaliq al-Masri, 31, succumbed to wounds he had sustained during an accidental explosion that occurred on October 1st inside a training camp in Deir al-Balah in the central besieged Gaza Strip. The statement added that al-Masri had been in Intensive Care Unit of the Indonesian Hospital since the accident.

Al-Qassam fighter succumbs to wounds
IMEMC 8 Oct — A Palestinian member of the Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, succumbed to his wounds, on late Saturday. In a statement, al-Qassam said Hasan Na‘im Abdul-Hamid Salah, 31, was a member of the group, and “died from wounds he suffered several years ago.” It added that Salah was from Gaza city, but did not provide any details about the circumstances in which he was injured. A picture of Salah, released by his family, shows him sitting in a wheelchair as a result of his injury.

Israeli navy, soldiers, injure 29 Palestinians near Gaza shore
IMEMC 9 Oct — Israeli soldiers and the navy shot and injured, Monday, 29 Palestinians during a nonviolent flotilla procession from Gaza city shore towards the shore in northern Gaza, close to the Zikim Israeli controlled shore. Medical sources said the soldiers injured 29 Palestinians, including 11 with live fire, after the army fired a barrage of live rounds and gas bombs at the protesters in the fishing boats, and on the shore. Media sources in Gaza said the Palestinians sailed in 32 small fishing boats, while hundreds gathered near the shore chanting for breaking the illegal Israeli siege, the Right of Return of the refugees and for liberation. Several nonviolent protesters managed to raise Palestinian flags near Zikim military base, while the soldiers fired a barrage of live fire at them, before they managed to escape.

First marine ambulance to be introduced in Gaza
(MENAFN) 8 Oct — A marine ambulance is to be introduced for the first time in the Gaza Strip by the Palestinian Health Ministry. The launch of the marine ambulance aims to offer medical aid to demonstrators while staging protests against the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip. Ministry ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra explained that the decision “demonstrates the dedication of medical personnel and their ability to take all measures to secure the lives of peaceful civilians.” It comes as Palestine citizens have been carrying out rallies and naval demonstrations to stand against the blockade imposed by Israel for eleven years on the area.

Army injures five Palestinians in Gaza
IMEMC 10 Oct — Israeli soldiers shot, Tuesday, five Palestinians with live fire, and caused scores to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, east of Deir al-Balah, in central Gaza. Medical sources said the soldiers resorted to the excessive use of force against the nonviolent protesters, on Palestinian lands near the perimeter fence, east of Deir al-Balah. They added that the soldiers shot five Palestinians with live rounds, and caused dozens to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation. The five injured Palestinians were rushed to the Al-Aqsa Hospital, in Deir al-Balah, while field medics provided the needed treatment to the residents who suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.

UNRWA: 13 Palestinian students killed by Israel in Gaza since March
MEMO 8 Oct — Thirteen students at United Nations schools have been killed by Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip since March, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. The UNRWA statement, released yesterday, reveals that the fatal shooting by Israeli snipers of a Palestinian child on 28 September brought to 13 the total number of UNRWA students who have been killed since 30 March 2018 in the context of the “Great March of Return” protests. “Many other children enrolled in UNRWA schools have been wounded in the demonstrations,” the statement added. The statement further noted that between 31 March and 30 September, UNRWA’s 22 health centres across the occupied Gaza Strip “have provided 4,104 consultations for injuries sustained in the protests, more than 770 of which related to children”. Some 86 per cent of these have been gunshot injuries, “often resulting in serious bodily harm”. “Wounds can be dressed.  But for casualties of such violence and all involved in their care, the effects are lasting; rehabilitation is often long, costly and uncertain,” UNRWA added. “UNRWA deplores the loss of life and the devastating impact that the deaths and injuries have on individuals and families.  Every effort must be made to protect more effectively those who are exposed to this tragic situation,” the statement continued.

Israeli airstrike targets Palestinian youths in southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — An Israeli warplane carried out an airstrike, on Monday morning, targeting east of Rafah City in the southern besieged Gaza Strip. A Ma‘an reporter said that an Israeli warplane fired a missile that landed next to a group of Palestinian youths who were near the return camps east of Rafah. No injuries were reported. The Israeli army confirmed that an Israeli warplane targeted a group of Palestinians due to their allegedly launching incendiary balloons and kites towards Israeli communities surrounding Gaza. Israeli warplanes had also targeted a medical point in the southern Gaza Strip, on Thursday, causing only damages to the building without any injuries reported.

Israel to reduce Gaza fishing zone by one-third
Al Jazeera 6 Oct — Israel has announced further reductions of the Gaza Strip’s fishing zone, stating it was in response to the weekly protests near the fence east of the coastal enclave. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s office said in a statement on Saturday that the fishing zone will be reduced from nine nautical miles to six nautical miles. Lieberman cited Friday’s “riots” at the fence dividing Gaza and Israel as contributing to his decision, in addition to the midweek beach protests in which fishing boats and protesters gathered at the northwest end of the Gaza Strip…
Under the Oslo Accords, fishermen are supposed to be allowed to operate up to 20 nautical miles off the coast. However, Israel has restricted Palestinian fishing boats to a much smaller area since it imposed an economic blockade on Gaza in 2007. Palestinian officials have accused Israeli forces of opening fire at fishermen off the Gaza coast based on claims they have violated the set fishing zone. Earlier on Saturday, Israeli naval forces also detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of northern Gaza City.

Egypt opens Rafah crossing after 3 days of closure
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — The Egyptian authorities decided to open the Rafah crossing, on the Egyptian-Palestinian borders in the southern besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday. The Rafah crossing administration said that the crossing was closed on Friday and Saturday for the weekend, while the Egyptian authorities closed it on Sunday for the 45th anniversary of the October War Egyptian victory against Israel. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza announced the names of Palestinians registered on waiting lists to travel, via the crossing, on Monday.

Five days of hell
El 1 Oct by Hamza Abu Eltarabesh — Traveling between Egypt and Gaza should only be a matter of hours. Cairo is only some 200 miles from Rafah, the strip’s southernmost city. Yet the siege imposed by Israel – with Egypt’s cooperation – more than a decade ago has turned that journey into an ordeal. The frequent closures at the Rafah crossing – the sole point of exit and entry for most people in Gaza – have been well documented. Less well known is that returning from Egypt can involve extremely long delays. One recent trip from Cairo to Rafah took a full five days. For Mahmoud al-Madhoun, 28, the experience was “like being in hell.” On 30 August, Mahmoud, accompanied his mother Afaf, 54, who was going back to Gaza by bus. She had been in Egypt to receive treatment for thyroid cancer. Mahmoud and Afaf set out at dawn, joining a minibus. Their problems began at approximately 7 am when they reached al-Firdan Bridge near the city of Ismailia. Located on the Suez Canal, the bridge has an important place in history as it enabled rapid transit between Africa and Asia. That seems ironic given how the bridge is being used today. Following the 2013 coup under which Abdulfattah al-Sisi, a military general, took power in Cairo, the Egyptian authorities established a checkpoint at al-Firdan to inspect Palestinians leaving and entering Gaza. There were 29 other passengers – all female – on the bus carrying Mahmoud and Afaf. Most had also been in Egypt for medical treatment. The authorities displayed no concern regarding their plight. The passengers were left waiting at al-Firdan for three days without even the most basic of facilities. Because there were no restrooms at the crossing, the passengers had to relieve themselves in nearby fields. “That was really humiliating,” said Mahmoud. Although there was a large group of people from Gaza at the crossing, the only noticeable assistance they received from the Palestinian Authority’s diplomatic mission in Cairo was the provision of some water….

Qatari fuel enters Gaza to avert ‘humanitarian disaster’
Al Jazeera 9 Oct — Fuel delivery bypassed the Palestinian Authority, which has threatened retaliatory measures if deliveries continue — Qatari-bought fuel arrived at the Gaza Strip’s only power station after entering through Israel, sources said, in a bid to alleviate conditions in the besieged enclave and stem any escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence. A Palestinian source at the Karam Abu Salem border crossing, also known as Kerem Shalom, in southern Gaza said six trucks monitored by the United Nations and carrying 450,000 litres of fuel crossed there on Tuesday. “The Qatari fuel to the Gaza Strip’s power plant today is aimed at partially improving electricity (supply) in Gaza,” Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told AFP news agency. The delivery could help ease months of protests and clashes along the border between Israel and Hamas-run Gaza, which has been under a crippling Israeli and Egyptian blockade for more than a decade. The blockade has deprived the strip’s roughly two million inhabitants of several vital commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.
The trucks that entered Gaza brought the first delivery of a $60m fuel donation by Qatar meant to provide the power plant with enough fuel to operate for six months, local sources said. For months, Gazans have been receiving only four hours of mains electricity a day on average. A spokesman for the Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who is based in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, voiced disapproval of the fuel delivery. “Any international financial aid to the Gaza Strip should be through, or with the coordination of, the Palestinian government,” he said, in order “to preserve Palestinian unity” and to stop any plans to separate Gaza from the West Bank. In a statement on Tuesday Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior official close to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, threatened retaliatory measures if the fuel deliveries continued.

Official: More than 75% of cancer medicines unavailable in Gaza Strip
MEMO 5 Oct — Some 70 per cent of medicines for chronic diseases and 75 per cent of those for cancer treatment and blood diseases are not available in the besieged Gaza Strip, the spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said. Speaking to the Quds News Agency, Ashraf Al-Qudra said the health care situation in the Gaza Strip is deteriorating rapidly, adding that Palestinian patients suffer the consequences. “Milk for sick children is also unavailable,” Al-Qudra said, calling on international and human rights organisations to “rescue Palestinian patients, send medicines and allow the patients to travel for treatment”….

IDF won’t buy vegetables from Gaza
Arutz Sheva 8 Oct — The IDF will no longer purchase fruits and vegetables from farmers in Gaza and Tulkarm, 0404 reported. Previously, the IDF had purchased thousands of cartons of produce annually. Tulkarm is considered one of the major “terror capitals.” According to the IDF, the recent decision is due to the fact that there is no shortage of fruits and vegetables in Israel, and therefore there is no reason to purchase produce from farmers living under terrorist authority. A previous 0404 report had quoted the IDF as claiming that certain vegetables were hard to find in Israel. At the time, Israeli farmers refuted the claim, and said that not only was there no shortage, substantial amounts of produce were going to waste. The Defense Ministry responded, “The IDF and Defense Ministry purchase fruits and vegetables from two licensed Israeli providers.”

Photos: Palestinian female guerilla fighters of the al-Quds Brigades display their combat skills in military show of force on Gaza Strip
Daily Mail 7 Oct by Brendan McFadden — Palestine female guerilla fighters who are members of the al-Quds Brigades group showed off their combat skills in a military display on the Gaza Strip. Al-Quds Brigades is the second-most powerful armed group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas and is the military wing of the Jihad Islamic organisation….

Circus skills classes providing respite from the siege in Gaza
Irish Examiner 8 Oct — Jenny Higgins teaches circus skills to women and girls in Gaza, writes Ellie O’Byrne —  On July 14 last, Israeli forces unleashed their heaviest aerial bombardment on Gaza in four years, hitting more than 40 locations in one day as Hamas fired rockets into Israeli border towns. Irish circus performer and NGO worker Jenny Higgins found herself trapped in an apartment with several of her trainees as missiles destroyed a tower block just 200 metres from the UN building where they were sheltering. “We were surprised the windows didn’t blow out in the apartment we were in,” Higgins recalls. She was visiting the project she founded, Gaza Women and Girls Yoga and Circus Hub, at the time. The hub uses social circus arts in a safe, women-only space, to reduce stress, heal trauma and allow women to develop physical skills and fitness. Just weeks later, Al Mishal Culture Centre, one of Gaza’s largest training and performance spaces, was reduced to rubble by Israeli bombs. Higgins had staged a circus performance at the centre in 2017. She says its loss has left a devastating hole in Palestinian cultural life, not only in the loss of space to rehearse, perform and hold events, but the loss of equipment too, with theatre and dance companies losing costumes, computers and filming equipment …  Following a successful pilot project from January to July, Higgins now has 20 yoga teachers and 15 circus teachers trained to teach girls and women. With space a precious commodity in Gaza, they’re planning to build onto the roof of a building that houses AISHA, (the Association for Woman and Child Protection) to provide a safe space for their circus trainees….

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Israeli forces shoot, injure 13-year-old Palestinians in Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 5 Oct — A Palestinian child and a youth were injured by Israeli forces as they suppressed the weekly peaceful anti-settlement march, on Friday, in the Kafr Qaddum village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqiliya. Coordinator of popular resistance committee in Kafr Qaddum, Murad Ishteiwi, said that Israeli forces raided the village before Friday prayers to suppress the weekly march that sets off following prayers. Israeli forces went up rooftops of houses, fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs, injuring 13-year-old Khalid Murad Ishteiwi with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the thigh. Ishteiwi was transferred to the Rafidiya Governmental Hospital for treatment. A Palestinian youth was also injured in the hand and was treated on the spot.
Ishteiwi added that Israeli forces held Sheikh Abed al-Razzaq Amer, speaker of the Omar Bin al-Khattab Mosque in the town, and his son Usayd; soldiers prevented the sheikh and his son from heading to Friday prayers as they held their vehicles as well. Israeli soldiers’ used Amer’s vehicle as cover from rocks thrown by Palestinian youths.

Incendiary balloon lands in Jerusalem-area settlement
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — An incendiary balloon landed in the backyard of a house, on Monday morning, in the illegal Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, northwest of the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, Palestinians launched the incendiary balloon towards the settlement; Israeli police were immediately contacted to the backyard to investigate the incident. The balloon did not set any land or objects on fire, no injuries were reported. Sources said that Israeli police called upon Israeli settlers to be cautious “when it comes to suspicious objects, which may contain explosives or incendiary materials, that could endanger the public’s safety.”
It is noteworthy that in July, a balloon carrying flammable material was launched from the Palestinian city of Beit Jala, in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, towards central Israel and landed in the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Gilo.

West Bank shooting suspect hadn’t come to work for weeks, coworkers say
[behind paywall] Haaretz 7 Oct by Bar Peleg — The Palestinian man suspected of carrying out a shooting attack on Sunday morning that claimed the lives of two Israelis and wounded a third was an electric worker at the West Bank trash-recycling factory where the shooting took place. The two victims were identified as Ziv Hajbi, 35, and Kim Yehezkel, 29. The third casualty is a 54-year-old woman who has been hospitalized in moderate condition. The suspect, a man in his twenties from a Palestinian village near the city of Tulkarm in the West Bank, had a permit to work in Israel.  Employees in the factory said they did not know the suspected assailant very well, who had worked there for four months. He was one of 250 Palestinian workers who were employed by the factory. According to his coworkers, he had not come to work over the past couple of weeks due to an illness.  “He probably planned it over that time,” one of the factory’s employees told Haaretz. “We work here based on trust, we have good relations, I believe in co-existence. But someone like that ruins everything you’ve built, the Palestinian employees of the factory are confused too.” The manager of the factory’s warehouse, Yogev Fried, said he fired at the assailant during the shooting. “I heard employees calling for me. I ran to the top floor, and when I saw one of the casualties laying there after she was shot, I realized it was a terror attack,” Fried recounted … The manager described the suspect as a “good employee,” adding, “I would send him to fix everything I had to, but he never showed signs of anger or nervousness.” Speaking about the unrest in the factory after the attack, the manager said employees were “rattled but we’ll get past it. People are sitting here frustrated, Jews and Arabs. This will affect them, their income will be hurt, in a month there’ll be an [military] blockade [on the area], what will become of them then?”

Israeli forces detain family of Palestinian attack suspect
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Israeli forces stormed the Shweika village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem, on Tuesday, and detained the mother and two sisters of Ashraf Naawla, who carried out a shooting attack, in an attempt to force Naawla to turn himself in. Locals said that Israeli forces detained Ashraf’s mother, Wafaa Mahmoud Naawla, 54, along with his two sisters, Sundos, 20, and Hanadi, who is a mother of three children. Sources said that Israeli forces detained them in an attempt to force Ashraf to turn himself in for carrying out the shooting attack in the Barkan industrial area, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel near Salfit City, in the northern West Bank, killing two Israeli settlers and injuring a third.
Two days ago, Israeli forces detained Ashraf’s older brother, Amjad Walid Naawla, who is still held in Israeli detention. In addition, on Monday, Ashraf’s sister, Fayrouz Naawla, was detained, however, was released later the same day. Residents of the Shweika village said that Israeli forces stormed Naawla’s home and interrogated family members and their neighbors. Large numbers of Israeli forces were deployed across the entire village and raided the homes and lands of locals, conducting searches for Ashraf, who fled the scene after carrying out the shooting attack.
Following the shooting attack, Israeli forces set up military checkpoints, and closed several roads and entrances to the Palestinian villages of Bidia, Qarawat Bani Hassan, Sarta and Mesaha, in the northern West Bank district of Salfit, banning the entry and exit of local residents, as part of the widespread search for Ashraf.
In addition, Israeli forces escorted army engineers, who raided and inspected Naawla’s home in order to take measurements in preparation to demolish it.

Israeli forces detain Palestinian siblings in East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Israeli forces detained two siblings, on Monday evening, from the Batn al-Hawa area in the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. The Wadi Hilweh Information Center confirmed that Israeli forces detained Suad Abu Ramouz along with her brother Jawad Abu Ramouz from the Batn al-Hawa area. The center said that prior to their detention, Israeli settlers assaulted the Abu Ramouz siblings, as well as several other residents in the area.
One of the Israeli settlers pepper-sprayed Suad and Jawad. Eyewitnesses told the center that an Israeli settler threatened to run over Suad with his vehicle before pepper-spraying her. Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Israeli settlers. There are eight illegal Israeli settlement outposts in Silwan, the first one being under Israeli settler control since 2004. The number of assaults by Israeli settlers towards Palestinian residents in Silwan has escalated as the illegal Israeli settlement expansion throughout the neighborhood continues.

Israeli forces detain 23 Palestinians, including woman, in West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 8 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least 23 Palestinians, including a woman, during predawn raids on Monday across the occupied West Bank. Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, he was identified as Raafat Masalmeh. In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, four Palestinians were detained; they were identified Muhammad Yousef al-Zir along with his brother Zacharia, Khalid Wajih al-Zir and Muhammad Ali Atallah. In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, Israeli forces detained six Palestinians, PPS identified them as Akram Jumaa Hamayil, Fouad Dar Khalil, 37, Awad Abu Alia, Imad Hamad, Jawad Hama and Rami Karajeh. In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, five Palestinians were detained, including a woman who was later released, by Israeli forces; they were identified as Fayruz Naalwa, Muhammad al-Bahash, Hamad Hashash, Sous Marshud, and Amar Abu Mustafa. In the northern West Bank district of Tulkarem, PPS confirmed that seven Palestinians were detained; they were identified as Walid Suleiman Abu Sheikha, Louay Hussam Abu al-Ouf, Amid Azmi Naalwa, Laith Bassam Mahdawi, Amro Sahil Awda and Adib Qasem Ibrahim along with his son, Majdi. According to prisoners rights group Addameer, there are 5,781 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli prisons, of whom 65 are female prisoners.

Israeli forces detain Palestinian family in ‘Aida camp
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Israeli forces detained an entire Palestinian family, on Tuesday, in the ‘Aida refugee camp in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.  According to the Prisoners and Former Prisoners’ Affairs Committee, Israeli forces raided the ‘Aida refugee camp and detained Abed Abu Srour, 60, along with his wife Fadwa Abu Srour, 55, and their daughter, Yasmine Abu Srour, 21, a former prisoner. Yasmine was previously detained by the Israeli authorities in January and charged with “incitement.” She was released on July 26th after seven months of imprisonment. The committee also confirmed that Yasmine’s brother, Khalil Abu Srour, 25, was detained several days ago near the northern entrance of Bethlehem City. Yasmine’s second brother was detained four years ago and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Israeli Arab lawmaker says ending settlements in West Bank would ‘save lives’
i24NEWS 4 Oct — MK Aida Touma-Sliman of the Israeli Knesset’s Joint List party said Jewish settlers leaving the West Bank would “save lives,” in reference to the killing of Ari Fuld near the Gush Etzion junction last month. Fuld was stabbed several times but was able to chase down and shoot 17-year-old Khalil Jabarin, his attacker, as he attempted to flee. “Many terror attacks have been stopped by civilians carrying weapons such as the hero Ari Fuld, who with his body and life prevented the killing additional innocent civilians,” MK Sharren Haskel said during the meeting organized by the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women and Gender Equality. MK Touma-Sliman, who is the chairwoman of the committee, responded:”Do you know how many lives would be saved if the settlers left [the West Bank]? Haskel retorted that Touma-Sliman was blaming the victim: “It’s just like saying to me – ‘if you do not go with a bikini, you won’t get raped. No Jew deserves to be murdered, not if he’s walking around Jerusalem or Tel Aviv or Gush Etzion.” “To go with a bikini is her right. To settle and steal land is not a right,” Touma-Sliman said, rejecting her fellow lawmaker’s comparison….


Israel’s committee chairman blocks early release of security prisoners
[behind paywall] Haaretz 9 Oct by Josh Breiner — The chairman warned of shutting down the bill to allow early release of some 300 Palestinian prisoners to assure ‘no terrorist or security prisoner is released by it’ — Knesset Interior and Environment Committee Chairman MK Yoav Kish announced Monday that he would not advance a bill permitting the early release of inmates to reduce prison overcrowding unless security prisoners were excluded. Kish’s announcement came after Haaretz reported Sunday that the bill, which was scheduled to go to the Knesset next week, provides for the early release on December 20 of around 1,000 prisoners, including 300 Palestinians who are serving sentences for security offenses. The bill is aimed at reducing prison overcrowding, after the High Court of Justice ruled that current conditions in Israeli prisons are a violation of human dignity. The state has promised the High Court that by April of next year, each inmate would have at least 3.5 square meters of personal living space. The bill calls for the shortening of all sentences, reducing one-year sentences by three months, for example, and slicing seven months from sentences of four or more years. The version of the bill that was discussed and approved by the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee in August included the security prisoners, although it was agreed that there would be an additional meeting to revise the bill before it was submitted to the Knesset plenum for its final rounds of votes. But after the prospect of releasing security prisoners was made public, Kish said he would not allow this, even if it meant the bill’s passage would have to be postponed. “Despite the importance of the bill for administrative releases, I will not bring it to completion until I am assured that no terrorist or security prisoner is released by it,” Kish said. “Whoever thinks that I will allow a law to reduce prison overcrowding to be used so terrorists can be released even one day early is mistaken. There is no definition in the law of ‘security prisoner’ and I intend to continue the committee’s deliberations on the bill until I find the wording that will prevent terrorists from being released,” Kish added.

Adnan continues hunger strike for 37th day
IMEMC/Agencies 10 Oct — Leader of the Islamic Jihad movement, Khader Adnan, from the town of Arraba, in the Jenin district of the northern occupied West Bank, has continued his open hunger strike for 37 days in a row, in protest of his illegal and arbitrary detention. According to the Mohjat al-Quds Foundation for Martyrs and Prisoners, Adnan is still on strike, demanding his right to be free. The detainee’s wife said that her husband is forbidden to visit his lawyer or his family, that they did not know of his poor health conditions due to the strike and medical negligence, and that there is a fear to lose his life. Israeli occupation forces detained Adnan on December 11, 2017, charging him with incitement, He achieved a qualitative victory in two previous strikes fought while in detention, and let the occupation acquiesce for his right to freedom, according to Al Ray. He is now fighting his battle for the third time in a row, demanding his legitimate right to freedom and rejection of arbitrary detention.

American student still detained by Israel for BDS links
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israel prevented the entry of a 22-year-old American student who has a Palestinian grandfather earlier this month, and despite her being recently granted a valid visa, she is still detained by Israeli authorities. Twenty-two-year-old student Lara al-Qassem was granted an A/2 Student Visa for her master’s degree at the Hebrew University by the Israeli consulate in Miami, US, for an entire year. However, when al-Qassem landed at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv she was refused entry into Israel and is still held in Israeli detention at the Ben Gurion Airport. The Israeli Population, Immigration and Border Authority said that al-Qassem was denied entry “because of boycott activity,” and added that she will remain at the airport until her appeal against the planned deportation is heard. The boycott activity referred to a period when al-Qassem was studying for her bachelor’s degree and was president of Florida state’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, which had less than 10 members, that promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel as a way to battle the occupation. The Israeli Authority added that the concession of the student visa from the Israeli consulate in Miami was due to “lack of coordination” with other Israeli missions around the world … Al-Qassem spoke to Hebrew-language news outlets, and said that interviewers inquired about her ethnicity and the names of her father and grandfather. Israeli Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan, posted on his official Twitter account that Israel would reconsider its position regarding al-Qassem’s entry to Israel, if she declares clearly and explicitly that she was wrong in the past, and that she believes today that supporting the boycott of Israel and BDS is a mistake. Additionally, the ministry denied the request of a group of academics from the Hebrew University, where al-Qassem was to study for her master’s degree, to visit her in the airport’s detention facility….

Israeli prosecutor reveals: Requests for jail without bail until end of trial for Facebook incitement offenses — for Arab suspects only
IMEMC/Agencies 8 Oct — The Israeli courts are keeping Arab political leader Raja Eghbaria in detention at least until 15 October; the prosecutor doesn’t deny existence of multiple errors in its translation of Eghbaria’s Arabic-language Facebook posts, but says ‘it doesn’t matter.’ An Israeli prosecutor revealed in court yesterday, 7 October 2018, that the state has only ever sought detention until the end of court proceedings for Arab suspects in online incitement to terror cases – but never for Jewish suspects. According to Adlah, a follow-up hearing was held yesterday, in Haifa Magistrate’s Court, on the state’s request for detention until the end of proceedings for Raja Eghbaria, member of the High Follow-Up Committee for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and leader of the Abnaa al-Balad political movement.  Israeli police arrested Eghbaria on 11 September 2018 and interrogated him for seven hours about Facebook status updates he posted over the past 12 months. He has been held in jail for upwards of a month since his initial arrest….


Israel seals off entrance to East Jerusalem neighborhood
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Israeli forces sealed off the entrance to the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, in occupied , with cement blocks, on Monday. Local eyewitnesses said that Israeli forces stationed themselves at the main entrance to Jabal al-Mukabbir, while Israeli bulldozers sealed off the neighborhood with cement blocks, without any prior notices to residents of the neighborhood. Jabal al-Mukabbir residents denounced closure of the main entrance of their neighborhood, as it prevented them from moving freely and caused traffic jams inside the neighborhood. Reason for the seal-off remained unknown.

Israel prevents entry of Palestinian workers to Barkan
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 10 Oct — Israeli forces prevented the arrival of hundreds of Palestinian workers to work, on Monday, in the Barkan industrial area, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel near Salfit City, in the northern occupied West Bank, where a shooting attack was carried out, killing two Israeli settlers. About 3,300 Palestinian workers arrived to their workplaces in the Barkan industrial area to find large numbers of Israeli forces deployed at the entrances of the factories and many were prevented from entry to the factories due to intensive searches. These procedures followed after a Palestinian carried out a shooting attack, during which he entered one of the offices in Barkan and shot at three Israeli settlers, of whom two were later pronounced dead, and the third suffered severe injuries. Israeli forces and police continued to conduct searches to find the Palestinian, who was identified as 23-year-old Ashraf Naalwa.

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Barghouti: Israel behind flooding Khan al-Ahmar with sewage
Roya News 4 Oct — General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), Mustafa Barghouti, said in a statement that Israeli occupation had flooded the area of Khan al-Ahmar village with waste water, on Thursday, October 4, 2018. Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli settlers of Kfar Adumim pumped wastewater in Khan Al-Ahmar, in order to pressure residents of Khan Al-Ahmar to leave their houses and evacuate the village. In May 2018, the Supreme Court in Israel approved the demolition of Khan Al-Ahmar, as it is considered part of Area C and falls under the occupied West Bank. Residents of the village were given a deadline to evacuate their homes before demolition would take place. However, up until now, Israel authorities were not able to execute the demolition. Barghouti voiced his concern about the threat of the wastewater –which currently entraps the houses of the village– and its direct affect on the wellbeing and health of Khan Al-Ahmar’s residents.

Israeli settlers uproot dozens of olive trees in Bruqin village
SALFIT (Ma‘an) 10 Oct — Israeli settlers uprooted dozens of olive trees, on Wednesday, west of the Palestinian village of Bruqin in the northern occupied West Bank district of Salfit. Jamal Othman Salameh, the owner of the uprooted olive trees, told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Bruchin uprooted and cut down some 40 olive trees. Salameh said that the uprooted olive trees ranged from two to twenty years old. “I farmed this land, which measures 2.5 dunams (0.6 acres), and planted 200 olive trees in 1987, however, the Israeli occupation aspires to annex them at our expense, as part of their plan to expand the settlement of Bruchin.” He mentioned that in order to force out Palestinian farmer and residents from the lands in question, Israeli settlers have increased their vandalism and violence towards lands and olive trees, adding that in 2016 Israeli settlers set ablaze 200 olive trees, of which only a number of trees survived the incident. Salameh added that in the same year, Israeli settlers from the Bruchin settlement had also uprooted 60 olive trees. Despite Israeli settlers’ vandalism, Salameh invested in purchasing more olive trees, 50 shekels ($14) per tree.

Israeli soldiers, police harass olive pickers in as-Sawiya village
AS-SAWIYA 7 Oct by ISM — A group of Israeli soldiers, one Israeli policeman, and one Israeli settler harassed a group of Palestinian and international olive pickers in As-Sawiya village yesterday [Saturday], demanding identification and threatening to expel the harvesters from the area. Soon after the group began work, they noticed security vehicles from the nearby settlement of Alia arrive and park along the settler road above them.  The occupants of the vehicle got out of the car and stood along the road for some time, taking photographs of the olive pickers.  Soon thereafter, a team of Israeli soldiers arrived, along with an Israeli police officer in an Israeli police vehicle.  The soldiers and police officer immediately approached the olive pickers and asked for IDs. One Israeli soldier filmed the entire interaction with his mobile phone, while the police officer photographed the passports of all the international harvesters.  He returned the passports immediately, but held onto the Palestinians’ IDs for a much longer period of time, walking away from the group to make a phone call and visibly sorting through the IDs.  After the phone call, he appeared to photograph one or more of the Palestinian IDs before returning them.  The officer then tried to tell the group that they needed to leave.  The team refused, with the Palestinians insisting that this was their land and they were there for the olive harvest. During the confrontation, a settler came and sat nearby, watching.  After the confrontation, the settler, along with two Israeli soldiers, remained on the scene for an additional 20-30 minutes, trailing the olive pickers.  Eventually all Zionists left and the rest of the day’s harvest proceeded without incident. As-Sawiya is slowly being surrounded by Alia as it expands along three sides of the village and encroaches on its land.  The particular area being harvested yesterday was among the closest to the Alia settlement.

Settlers say they plan to take over Palestinian land to open a road for themselves
BETHLEHEM (WAFA) 8 Oct – Jewish settlers from the illegal Neve Daniel settlement, south of Bethlehem, told Palestinian residents of the village of Shoshahleh in the Bethlehem-area town of al-Khader that they intend to open a road that will connect their settlement to the main Jerusalem-Hebron road, a local official said on Monday. Ahmad Salah, from the anti-wall and anti-settlements committee in al-Khader, told WAFA that the head of Neve Danial settlement and other settlers broke into Shoshahleh village in a barbaric way and photographed homes and an old mosque. When the settlers were questioned about their reason for coming to the village and for taking pictures of homes, they told the residents that they are going to build a bypass road to the main highway that would go through that part of the village, which means seizing Palestinian land.

Israel orders halt on construction of home, well in south of West Bank
HEBRON (WAFA) 6 Oct – Israeli military Saturday ordered a halt on the construction of a house and work on a water well at a location in Area C in the south of West Bank, according to a local official. Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Committee against Settlements and the Wall south of Hebron, told WAFA that Israeli army ordered members of the Shawahin and Nawaja families in an area south of Yatta to stop construction of a house and work on a water well under the pretext work is being done without permission. Both were still in the construction phase. Israel does not allow any Palestinian development in Area C of the West Bank, which makes up around 60% of the area of the West Bank and which is under full Israel military control.

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian-owned housing structures in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — Israeli forces demolished three housing structures, on Tuesday, in the Masafer Yatta area in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron. Locals said that Israeli bulldozers entered the area and demolished three housing structures, under the pretext of being built without the difficult-to-obtain Israeli permit. Sources confirmed that one of the demolished housing structures belonged to Jibril Ahmad Ismail, who lived there along with five family members, while the second belonged to Yasser Khalil Younis, who lived there along with four family members and the third belonged to Muhammad Ali Muhammad Abu Aram, who lived there with 12 family members. Sources said that even though the demolition was carried out under the pretext of not obtaining an Israeli permit, locals claimed it was carried out to force out its residents from Palestinian lands.

Palestinian village informed that army will seize part of its land
SALFIT (WAFA) 10 Oct – The Palestinian village of al-Sawiyeh, in the north of the West Bank, was informed by the Israeli army on Tuesday that the army is going to seize eight dunums of village land for military purposes, Sawiyeh mayor, Naim Shqeir, said on Wednesday. He told WAFA that the army handed the city council the seizure decision, which affects land to the west of the village. Shqeir said that two months ago the army seized between 140 t0 177 dunums of village land to establish a new cemetery for area Jewish settlements. Land seized for military purposes usually ends up in the hand of settlers to establish or expand existing illegal settlements.

Readers Ask Haaretz: May I reduce my travel time by using West Bank roads?
[behind paywall] 6 Oct by Yoana Gonen and Moral Minority — I live in the Sharon area north of Tel Aviv. I’m secular, leftist, and I oppose the occupation. My wife’s relatives live near Beit She’an to the northeast. Each year, traffic jams make the car trip to their home more difficult. At the end of August, a drive of 120 kilometers (75 miles) took two and a half hours, mainly spent in three exhausting bottlenecks. On the eve of Rosh Hashanah we drove to see them again, and this time I decided to heed Waze and went through the West Bank. The journey took under an hour and a half and most of the roads were empty.  I’m wondering if it’s ethical to drive though occupied territory solely so that my trip will be less exhausting. Doesn’t such an act grant legitimacy to the occupation? On the other hand, whichever route I take won’t alter reality. What should I do?  … Your leftist intuition is well honed and you know that it’s not okay. And this isn’t only because it gives legitimacy to the occupation, a theoretical matter of sorts, but because of its specific use of stolen resources and the exploitation of disproportionate rights in a regime that promotes segregation on an ethnic basis.  You may think that you’re driving on an asphalt road, but basically you’re traveling along the length of a crafty means of land expropriation, rights violations and embittering people’s lives in general. As noted in a 2004 B’Tselem report, “It is hard to find one road that Israel built in the West Bank that was not planned to serve and perpetuate the settlements.” … As you noted, the roads are already there, and driving on them will neither prolong nor end the occupation. But the use of stolen property to make things easier for yourself is a pretty dubious act, and traveling on these roads constitutes enjoyment derived from the privileges of the present-day ethnic segregation. It’s no coincidence that these roads are so empty. One reason is that the passage of Palestinians is restricted by roadblocks and checkpoints deep in the West Bank, making it harder for them to get to work or school, or to receive medical care. Thus you enjoy empty roads on the way to a meal, while others aren’t allowed to use them for essential needs….

Palestinian refugees / UNRWA

Learning in a puddle
EI 4 Oct by Aysa Al-Safi — Seventeen years ago, my Arabic teacher at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency primary school in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem asked me and my classmates to write something about the camp … In winter, my mother forced me to wear all the clothes I had in the closet. I would walk around in several layers all of different sizes and different colors. Nothing matched. In general, the mothers of my classmates showed creativity in so many ways, a creativeness arising from a life of poverty. My mom, for example, would give me socks and plastic bags to wear in the wet. I would put on the socks first, then the shoes and over both would go the plastic bag as a protective layer to prevent water seeping in. I spent years of my educational life learning in a puddle. Literally. In the classroom, the longer we could keep our feet up from the water the braver we would feel. It was a challenge we developed into a game. Who would be the hero of the zinco classroom that day? Most of the time, we wouldn’t have a winner. When the rain was heavy and leaked through the ceiling, the cold and rain would simply put an end to our school day. Our mothers benefited in some ways. By the time we got home we were drained, too tired to cause any trouble, seeking only the warmth of our beds….

AP PHOTOS: Clearing the rubble in Syria’s Yarmouk camp
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) 7 Oct by Hassan Ammar — In the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk on the edge of Syria’s capital, bulldozers and trucks are clearing tons of rubble from streets gutted by war. The built-up residential area was once home to 160,000 residents, both Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war around Israel’s creation as well as middle-class Syrians. Today, it is a post-apocalyptic vista of bombed out buildings coated in gray dust. Syrian rebels seized the district in 2012, and government forces responded with a crippling siege and near-daily shelling, driving most residents out. Fighting broke out among different armed groups, and Islamic State militants seized control in 2015, before being driven out in a government offensive earlier this year. The neighborhood was established after 1948 to house thousands of Palestinians who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel. Some 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants are scattered across the Middle East. On Saturday, Associated Press reporters saw bulldozers clearing away mounds of rubble beneath the jagged shells of hollowed-out apartment blocks. The streets are covered with piles of steel rebar, cinder blocks and burnt-out cars. Mahmoud Khaled, an engineer supervising the work, says clearing operations on the main roads began three weeks ago and will continue for another month, before work begins on side streets. Only then can the government start to restore electricity, water and other infrastructure. Khaled says around 50,000 cubic meters of rubble have so far been removed. Syrian officials estimate the country will need up to $400 billion to rebuild from the devastating civil war, which is still underway as insurgents control parts of northern Syria. Western countries have refused to pledge reconstruction aid in the absence of a political transition from President Bashar Assad’s rule, something the government adamantly rejects. It is unclear when or if the Palestinians of Yarmouk will ever return.

UN agency vows to maintain Jerusalem services
JERUSALEM (AP) 6 Oct  — The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees is vowing to continue operations in Jerusalem despite Israeli plans to remove it.The Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, said Saturday that education, health care and other services to Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem are “important work.”On Thursday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Israeli authorities will take over UNRWA’s services, most notably schooling for 1,800 students, without giving an exact timeline.UNRWA has operated in east Jerusalem, which Palestinians demand as a future capital, since Israel occupied it in 1967. The Trump administration, however, cut $300 million in annual aid to the agency, demanding reforms.The agency was established following the 1948 Mideast war that led to Israel’s creation. Today, it aids 5 million Palestinians, mostly refugee descendants. Israel says this perpetuates conflict with the Palestinians.

Israeli soldiers invade UNRWA clinic in Jerusalem after announcing takeover
IMEMC 9 Oct — Israeli soldiers and employees of the Israeli Health Ministry invaded, Monday, a clinic run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Sahera Gate area, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers and health department employees invaded the clinic, and attempted to break into its pharmacy, allegedly to document the available medicines, their descriptions and usage in addition to the place of manufacturing. The invasion into the UNRWA clinic came just days after the Jerusalem City Council said it intends to shut down all UNRWA-run facilities in occupied Jerusalem. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced that the Agency’s operations in Jerusalem would be shut down, although many Palestinians depend on UNRWA for medical, educational and food services. In response, UNRWA representatives said that the Israeli shutdown of the Agency’s operations is likely a violation of the agreements made between the Israeli  government and the United Nations …
A report in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz noted that when Barkat made his announcement that he will shut down UNRWA in Jerusalem, he “didn’t give an interview next to UNRWA’s main Jerusalem activity center, in the Shuafat refugee camp. The camp, located on the opposite side of a separation barrier, is barely recognized by the city as a neighborhood and the city hardly provides it with any services. It’s UNRWA that steps in to provide the camp with education, health and welfare services.” The Jerusalem City Council said it plans to shut down the UNRWA clinic in Shu’fat refugee camp, and in the Old City of occupied Jerusalem, under the allegation that the UN-run clinics were not licensed by the Health Ministry, and the patients “can receive services from Kupat Holim health maintenance organization. The Mayor claims that the  1,800 Palestinian students which attend UNRWA schools in Jerusalem would be “absorbed into existing schools”. But Israeli government schools are highly segregated, and those that are designated for Palestinians in Jerusalem are extremely overcrowded and underfunded already….


Other news

US envoy says Trump peace plan to focus heavily on Israeli security
JERUSALEM (AFP) 8 Oct — One of the US officials tasked with drafting a blueprint for Israel-Palestinian peace says it will strongly reflect Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security but will also address Palestinian concerns. In an interview published Monday by the English-language Times of Israel news site, presidential special envoy Jason Greenblatt said the plan would “be heavily focused on Israeli security needs”. “But we also want to be fair to the Palestinians. We have tried hard to find a good balance,” he added. “Each side will find things in this plan that they don’t like.” US President Donald Trump said in September that he would unveil a new peace plan within months. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas accuses Trump of bias toward Israel and refers mockingly to his evolving peace programme as “the deal of the century” … The peace plan, Greenblatt said, “will include a resolution to all of the core issues, including the refugee issue”. He said that it would not propose a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation as a possible solution — something that Abbas has been reported as saying Greenblatt and Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner sounded him out about at a meeting last month….

Hosting Merkel, Netanyahu accuses Abbas of choking flow of funds to Gaza
Times of Israel 4 Oct — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas of “choking” the Gaza Strip by withholding funds to the coastal enclave and warned of “very difficult consequences” as a result of the PA policy. “In the last year, Abbas has made the situation in Gaza more difficult by choking off the flow of funds from the Palestinian Authority to Gaza,” Netanyahu said at a joint press conference in Jerusalem, after holding talks with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Abbas has imposed a series of crippling sanctions on the Strip in a bid to force Hamas to give up control. Netanyahu’s comments came after Abbas’s speech to the UN General Assembly last week in which he threatened to “give up responsibility” for Gaza if Hamas refused to respond positively to Egyptian efforts to broker a reconciliation deal between the rival Palestinian factions. Standing alongside the German leader, the prime minister said the financial pressure “could lead to very difficult consequences.” “As a result of this choke-hold, pressures have been created there and as a result of the pressures, from time to time Hamas attacks Israel at a relatively low intensity but the choke-hold is tightening,” said the prime minister.

Israel can definitely absorb 100,000 West Bank Palestinians, justice minister says
Haaretz 10 Oct — Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said that Israel is able to absorb and grant citizenship to 100,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank, she told The Atlantic in an interview published Tuesday. In an interview with Israeli anchorwoman Yonit Levi, Shaked expressed her support for the annexation of Area C, the part of the West Bank that is under Israeli control. She said public opinion about the plan will gradually change. “People will see what’s going on in the Middle East and realize that it really could happen,” she added. Shaked acknowledged that annexation could put Israel at odds with the United States, especially if Democrats take the White House in 2020. “Sadly, it’s impossible to ignore the processes taking place in the Democratic Party. You know, the party itself is becoming less and less what’s considered Zionist,” Shaked said. Shaked also said that the chairman of Habayit Hayehudi (her party) and Education Minister Naftali Bennett is “best suited to be prime minister.” Shaked, however, did not rule out the idea of taking the office in the “distant future.”

Iran votes to join pact to combat terror financing
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) 7 Oct — Iran’s parliament voted Sunday to join a global convention to cut off terror financing, hoping to avoid further international sanctions as the 2015 nuclear accord unravels. Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said 143 out of 268 lawmakers voted to join the “Combating the Financing of Terrorism,” or CFT. The bill must be ratified by the Guardian Council, a constitutional authority, to become a law. Iran has long provided support to the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group as well as Palestinian armed groups, which Western countries view as terrorist organizations. Joining the CFT is unlikely to prevent Iran from continuing to support such groups. President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear deal with world powers in May and has vowed to ramp up sanctions unless Iran dramatically changes its policies, including halting its support for regional militant groups. By joining the CFT, Iran would be required to comply with some ideas offered by the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental organization that targets money laundering around the world. After Sept. 11, the body increasingly offered ideas on how to combat terror funding. Hard-liners in Iran opposed the bill, saying it would erode the country’s sovereignty, and hundreds of hard-line students protested the bill outside parliament on Sunday. Others saw the bill as a positive gesture toward European countries as they try to salvage the nuclear accord. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Sunday’s vote a “historic decision” that would make it easier for Russia and China — which also signed the nuclear accord — to continue doing business with Iran as the U.S. restores sanctions.

EU supports Palestinian youths in cleaning streets of East Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 9 Oct — The Office of the European Union Representative supported more than 300 Palestinian students in cleaning the streets of East Jerusalem, on Tuesday. The event comes as part of ”My Green Jerusalem” initiative which aims at raising environmental awareness and promoting positive social engagement among the students; Ten schools in East Jerusalem joined the initiative which includes a number of activities throughout the month of October. The European Union Representative joined hundreds of Palestinian students from the ten schools taking part in the initiative as they launched the EU-funded environmental initiative ”My Green Jerusalem”. Students cleaned the streets of the Old City, Sheikh Jarrah, Wadi al-Juz, al-Thuri, Zaayem, Ras al-Amud and Beit Hanina. The initiative amasses efforts of seven Palestinian organisations supported under the EU East Jerusalem Program. In preparation for the activity, the students were trained by EU grantee CESVI on trash collection and separation methods. Young volunteers from Yabous and PalVision accompanied the students in the activity. The collected trash was categorized into environmentally friendly bags, whereas recyclables will be utilized to create green works of art. The art works will be presented later this month in a public exhibition.

Palestinian champions ‘drift’ car racing for women
AFP 10 Oct — Noor Daoud was the only woman to take to the track in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, where the Palestinian racer impressed the crowds with her “drift” driving skills. Ms Daoud has mastered the art of drift – deliberately oversteering to make the rear wheels skid – and travelled to Sharm el Sheikh for a regional competition. “Since I was little I’ve become used to meeting up with the guys to play football or tennis,” said the 27-year-old on the sidelines of the competition. Racing now dominates her life, evident from Instagram where she often poses with her thick wavy hair falling over driving leathers. “When I was little, I loved cars and I had a collection of them to play with,” said Ms Daoud, a polyglot who was born in the US state of Texas and went to a French school in Jerusalem….

In Jerusalem, Palestinian families play political football
AFP 8 Oct — Aqal passes to Aqal, who finds Aqal in space out wide. He squares to Aqal, who smashes home a strike, sending the crowd of yet more family members into hysterics. The match inside Jerusalem’s walled Old City was part of a month-long football tournament in which the largest Palestinian families play each other to be dubbed champions of the city. Building on the inaugural tournament two years ago, participants say this year’s event holds particular symbolism after US President Donald Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinians saw the December decision as an attempt to deny their claims to the disputed city. They view its eastern sector, where the Old City is located, as the capital of their future state. For players and fans, the tournament is a defiant display of Palestinian pride — and footballing skill. “We feel this is our land, so we want to stress we are the owners of the land by having a Palestinian tournament here,” organiser Muntaser Edkaidek told AFP. It is also a display of family ties that informally govern east Jerusalem’s 300,000 Palestinians. In Jerusalem, family history is often entwined with the city’s unique religious and political heritage.  The Khaldis claim to be descendants of one of the Prophet Mohammed’s closest companions. The Joudehs and Nuseibehs, both Muslim families, have for centuries safeguarded the keys to the church in the Old City built where Jesus Christ is believed to have been crucified and then buried … The Abu Sneihehs — reigning champions and possibly the largest of Jerusalem clans, with thousands bearing the surname -– were knocked out in the first round, raising hopes for less renowned names….

The war in October: What happened in 1973?
6 Oct — Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious —  Egyptian President Anwar Sadat once called it the last war. But four decades after Sadat uttered those words, the Arab-Israeli conflict has no end in sight. The story of the war that Egyptians call the October War and Israelis know as the Yom Kippur War has never been thoroughly explored. So what happened during those three weeks in October 1973? To this day, both sides – Arabs and Israelis – claim to be the victors …
The War in October
draws on rare film archive selected from many sources around the world, along with graphic illustrations, maps, and animated sequences to plot the movements of forces in the many battlefields of the conflict. The series features interviews with people who planned and fought in the three weeks of battles that took place on both the Egyptian and Syrian front, including characters from other countries that participated in the fighting – Iraqi, Jordanian, Moroccan and Palestinian. The interviewees include experts, diplomats, officials and members of the military from the US, the former Soviet Union and Europe…. (listserv)

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The European Commission issued an interpretive notice in 2016.. For products from West Bank or the Golan Heights that originate from settlements, the expression “Israeli settlement” or equivalent needs to be added, in brackets, for example. So, “product from the Golan Heights (Israeli settlement)” or “product from West Bank (Israeli… Read more »

Disappointing news.

In 2015, the European Commission adopted binding regulations requiring such labeling. However, the commission has no recourse against countries that do not apply the regulations and no lawsuit has been brought to date against a vendor who declined to apply them. In my opinion the interpretive notice has been issued… Read more »

I think that the situation has moved on exponentially. The EU requirement for labelling settlement produce is just pathetic “got to be seen to be doing something ” tinkering at the edges and can be interpreted simply as appeasement. I can`t see a situation in the near future short of… Read more »

Macron is a genuinely smarmy servant of the lobby. Like Theresa May, only in even poorer taste.