Emerging Gaza ceasefire to significantly ease Gaza blockade: report
Times of Israel 3 Nov — An emerging cease-fire agreement aimed at calming months of violence on the Israel-Gaza border will last for three years and see a significant easing of the blockade on the Hamas-controlled territory, Lebanon’s Al-Akbar newspaper reported Saturday. According to the report, the deal being brokered by Egypt stipulates a gradual stop to the ongoing, Hamas-orchestrated violent border protests and maritime flotillas over the next two months. In addition, Hamas will be obligated to punish Gazans caught engaging in violent demonstrating along the border with Israel. In return, Egypt will permanently open its Rafah border crossing and lift 70 percent of its blockade on the Hamas-controlled territory, the report said, citing officials familiar with the emerging agreement. Al-Akbar said the deal would require Israel to grant 5,000 work permits for Gazans, and expand the Strip’s fishing zone from nine to 14 nautical miles. Israel had no immediate comment on the report….
Israeli soldiers seriously injure a Palestinian in Gaza
IMEMC 4 Nov — Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured, on Saturday evening, one Palestinian near the perimeter fence, east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, and moved him to an Israeli hospital. Israeli media sources said the wounded Palestinian is in a very serious condition, and that he was airlifted in an army helicopter to Soroka Hospital. Palestinian media sources in Gaza said the soldiers fired dozens of live rounds at three Palestinians near the fence near the as-Sahri Gate, east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, before wounding one of them.
Child dies from serious wounds suffered in 2014
IMEMC 3 Nov — Palestinian medical sources have reported, Saturday, that a child died from serious wounds he suffered after the army fired a missile at his home, during the Israeli war in the Gaza Strip, in the summer of 2014. The Al-Wafa’ Rehabilitation Hospital said the child, Mohammad Nasr al-Reefy, 14, was seriously injured on August 21, 2014, with injuries and shrapnel all over his body, including a piece in his spine, resulting in quadriplegia and various health complications. The child was injured mainly in his neck and head when the Israeli army fired a missile at the family’s farmland in the Tuffah neighborhood, in Gaza city. The Israeli missile instantly killed the child’s brother Omar Nasr Ziad ar-Reefy, 4, and their father Nasr Ziad ar-Reefy, 35, in addition to his cousin Abdullah Tareq ar-Reefy, 7, and Abdullah’s brother Ziad, 13, along with their father, Mohammad Ziad Abed-Rabbo ar-Reefy, 28….
Egyptian delegation tours Gaza clashes as promised calm largely holds
Times of Israel/Agencies 2 Nov — Hamas member says violence reined in to give Egyptian truce efforts a chance, but warns of escalation if blockade not lifted — An Egyptian security delegation toured the Gaza border protests Friday, and even though thousands of Palestinians turned up, they were the quietest in several months, witnesses said. The visit came amid efforts by Egypt to broker a ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers. The delegation briefly attended the demonstrations in northern Gaza, a statement from the head of the organizing committee said. Eyewitnesses said a car carrying the delegation briefly drove to a protest site a few hundred meters from the border, before departing … Thousands again gathered at multiple sites near the frontier Friday but largely stayed away from the border fence, AFP correspondents said. Security forces loyal to Hamas prevented protesters from approaching the border too closely, the correspondents said…..
Injuries reported at eastern borders of Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — At least seven Palestinians were shot and injured by Israeli forces at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Friday. Spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed that at least 32 cases arrived at hospital for treatment, including 7 injuries by live bullets, and dozens suffering from tear-gas suffocation; many other cases were treated on the spot. Israeli forces opened live fire and tear-gas bombs towards protesters in eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses reported that protesters did not ignite any tires during this Friday protests as a result of an agreement between the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and Israel to lessen tensions on the borders.
Israel: Salaries, Qatari oil in return for calm in Gaza
MEMO 3 Nov — Israel’s public broadcaster Kan has said that there are ongoing efforts to reach a deal to pass Qatari money and oil to the besieged Gaza Strip in return for calm as part of the Egypt-brokered deal. Citing Kan, Al-Wattan Voice reported on Friday that an unnamed senior Egyptian official had revealed that Israel would only pass the Qatari aid and oil to Gaza if it was able to monitor them to ensure they would not end up in the hands of “terrorists”. Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 14 reported a senior Israeli political source as saying that an agreement to ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza must be reached soon. “We succeeded in reaching a temporary solution for the salaries and oil,” the political source said, noting that it was very difficult to reach this agreement. The source added that “if the situation [in Gaza] exploded again, we are ready to use a massive deterrence power.”
Incendiary balloon sets fire to vehicle in Negev
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — An incendiary balloon set a vehicle on fire, reportedly belonging to an Israeli security guard in an Israeli kibbutz in Negev in southern Israel, on Thursday. According to Hebrew-language news outlets, a fire erupted inside a vehicle belonging to a security guard of the Alumim Kibbutz in Negev. Sources confirmed that the fire erupted due to an incendiary balloon reportedly launched from the besieged Gaza Strip into southern Israel. Additionally, sources reported that an incendiary balloon, which was carrying a suspicious object, landed in the Eshkol Regional Council near Gaza. Israeli police and explosives experts immediately arrived at the scene and removed the suspicious object from the area. No injuries nor damages were reported in Eshkol.
Israel prevents 763 Palestinian patients from leaving Gaza
MEMO 2 Nov — Israeli authorities prevented 763 Palestinian patients from leaving the occupied Gaza Strip for medical treatment in September, reported the World Health Organisation (WHO). Some 668 patient applications to travel through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing were delayed, “receiving no definitive response to their application by the date of their hospital appointment”, said the WHO. Of these, 161 applications were for children under the age of 18 and 71 applications were for patients aged 60 years or older. Meanwhile, 95 patient applications were explicitly denied permission to cross Erez for health care in September, including seven children and 14 patients aged 60 years or older. Eighteen per cent of denied applications were for appointments in neurosurgery, 17 per cent for ophthalmology, 17 per cent for orthopaedics, and 12 per cent for cancer treatment and investigation. More than 90 per cent of denied permit applications “were for appointments at hospitals in East Jerusalem or the West Bank”, noted the WHO. The report notes that 18 applications in September were for permits for those injured during Great March of Return demonstrations – only one of which was approved (one denied, 16 delayed).
Inside Gaza’s factory making prosthetic legs for Palestinian protest amputees
NPR 31 Oct by Daniel Estrin — A heap of plastic leg sockets rests on a shelf. Palestinian technicians in white lab coats scurry past. They slip into side rooms to sand down leg molds, mix chemicals, cut and polish plastics with big machines, and screw together rods. Tables and floors are speckled with white plaster. Saws and hammers hang from the walls. “This is the workshop,” says Mohammed Dwema, director of the Artificial Limbs and Polio Center in Gaza City. The clinic is creating prosthetic legs from scratch for the first round of young Palestinians who lost a leg to an Israeli soldier’s bullet during recent protests at the Gaza-Israel border … So far, about 75 people shot in the leg have needed an amputation, Dwema says. After months of bandaging, muscle exercises and physical therapy, amputees are ready for a prosthesis. The prosthetics specialists at the clinic work in a hurry; the lights and machines shut off at noon. “We have a problem with electricity here,” says Dwema, 33. “There is no fuel every day for the generator. We are just opening the generator from 9 to 12.”…
Gaza: 14,566 new births during third quarter
MEMO 1 Nov — According to statistics released, Wednesday, by the General Administration of Civil Status at the Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip, the Strip has been witnessing 14,566 new births, with an average of 158 births per day, during the third quarter of this year … The Civil Status stated that its offices in the Gaza Strip registered 878 deaths during the third quarter of this year.
Siblings in blockaded Gaza carve out new artistic niche
GAZA CITY (AA) 31 Oct by Nour Mahdi, Ali Abu Aisha and Hamdi Yildiz — Two siblings in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip are making a living by producing decorative ornaments out of tree branches. Several months ago, Nidal and Heba Nanhale — a brother-and-sister team aged 20 and 23 respectively — fashioned an attractive coffee table from the branches of olive and pine trees. They cut the branches into round plates before coating them with paint and varnish, giving the final product an authentic, natural look. The pair has since perfected the technique to produce an entire line of baskets, trays, mirrors and picture frames, along with other household items and accessories … Heba — who maintains a Facebook page showcasing their work — says she is thankful for finally having found work, noting that thousands of university graduates in Gaza remain unemployed … Noting Gaza’s chronic economic difficulties, Nidal pointed out that much of the youth in the coastal enclave were trying to find alternative sources of income through individual projects. According to official estimates, 80 percent of Gaza City’s inhabitants depend on foreign assistance to survive. Forty percent, meanwhile, currently live under the poverty line.
Gaza University launches drama course, but few enroll
GAZA CITY 2 Nov by Huda Baroud — Gaza University in Gaza City will offer a one-year theater program starting at the beginning of November, but few students have signed up for Gaza’s first academic drama program. The theater program is the brainchild of Riyad Saidam, a former actor and the dean of professional diploma programs at Gaza University. He told Al-Monitor that the idea of an academic drama program came to him during his days as an actor in the mid-1980s. Back then, the Palestinian National Theater in Jerusalem — known as El-Hakawati Theater — as well as theater groups affiliated with Birzeit University in Ramallah and An-Najah University in Nablus performed regularly in university theaters. Actors from the Gaza Strip, which did not have any drama schools or theater halls, were forced to join their counterparts in the West Bank so that they, too, could perform at universities and El-Hakawati Theater. As soon as Saidam became dean in early 2018, he sought to establish a diploma program where professional actors would teach students drama and help them produce an end-of-term play. Despite high expectations from media and artistic circles, the initial interest has been low. The program will continue to enroll students after courses have started, but, for the time being, there are only 10 students. All of them are men. Saidam attributed the lack of enrollment to simple economics. “People cannot live off acting in the Gaza Strip. Salaries of theater actors in Gaza hardly cover transportation costs to the theaters where they perform….
Hamas visits Gaza schools to promote hijab
GAZA CITY 31 Oct by Rasha Abou Jalal — On Oct. 21, the women’s preaching and guidance department of the Hamas-run Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs in Gaza began a campaign called “Be Different” targeting high school and university students who do not wear the veil. It started in Gaza City and will expand to other cities in an effort to convince girls to wear the headscarf, which is considered an Islamic religious obligation. The project is set to run until May 2019. Nadia al-Ghoul, head of the preaching and guidance department, said in an Oct. 21 statement published on the ministry’s website, “One of the campaign’s objectives is to promote the correct concepts of women’s dress based on Sharia.” She noted that some girls might choose to go unveiled for “lack of Islamic awareness, or disadvantages in family upbringing.”
Hijab culture prevails among women in Palestinian society. Religious families force girls to start wearing the hijab when they reach puberty as a religious obligation. In religiously moderate families, many girls start wearing the hijab at 16. Meanwhile, a small group of Palestinian families do not observe hijab as either a religious obligation or a social custom, at any age. No official statistics are available on what portion of women wear the veil in the Gaza Strip….
Gaza residents receiving more electricity, but Gaza’s energy crisis is far from solved
Gisha 1 Nov — The supply of electricity available to Gaza residents has increased significantly as a result of the Qatari government’s donation of 60 million USD for fuel, which is being used to operate additional turbines at Gaza’s sole power plant. On October 24, a second of the four turbines at the plant was run; on October 28, for the first time since January 2017, a third turbine was also activated. The United Nations is purchasing the Qatari-funded fuel from Israel and coordinating its entrance into Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing. Along with the electricity bought from Israel and supplied on direct lines to the Strip, Gaza residents are now receiving power in cycles of eight (or more) hours of electricity, followed by about eight hours of blackouts, depending on the weather and other factors. The Qatari donation is expected to be sufficient to operate three of the plant’s turbines for six months. According to Dr. Rafiq Maliha, director of the power plant, the three turbines are producing approximately 80 megawatts. According to the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCo), the power plant is only supplying 75 megawatts to the electricity grid. The discrepancy is the result of loss of supply due to the poor state of the infrastructure and power transformers at the station….
Qatar Charity funds 1,250 income-generating projects in Gaza
DOHA (The Peninsula) 31 Oct — Qatar Charity (QC) has funded more than 1,250 income-generating projects in the Gaza Strip during the last ten years, with generous support from the people in Qatar to empower poor families and the unemployed economically. The cost of these projects, which benefited some 11,000 people, amounted to QR11mn. Qatar Charity gives priority to such development projects that create permanent employment opportunities for the people of the Gaza Strip, ease their living burdens, and contribute to moving the Palestinian economy forward, especially in light of the high rates of poverty and unemployment in Gaza … QC’s such projects take into consideration the environment of the targeted people, their abilities and their circumstances. Accordingly, they vary from a project to another one and include, but are not limited to, the provision of fishing boats and poultry farms, the rehabilitation of plastic greenhouses, the distribution of dairy cows, sheep, horse carts, sewing and embroidery machines, motorcycles for goods transportation, selling carts, and opening bakeries and shops….
In Gaza, tire shortage hits motorists but not protesters
GAZA CITY (AP) 1 Nov by Fares Akram — Palestinians in Gaza have coped with shortages of just about everything in more than a decade of border closures — from chocolate to medicines to fuel and building supplies. Now, six months of protests against an Israeli-Egyptian blockade have added an unexpected item to that list: car tires. Tires are a favored item by demonstrators during the weekly protests — they are set on fire, then tossed toward Israeli troops across the border. In response, Israel has halted tire imports into the strip, sending prices skyrocketing and forcing Gaza motorists to find creative solutions to keep their vehicles on the road. Taxi driver Khaled Hamad has no spare tire in his trunk. His tires are worn down, but he could only afford to change two, replacing them with secondhand ones that aren’t even the standard size recommended by the manufacturer … Protesters at the border marches burn old tires, using the thick black smoke to obscure the vision of Israeli snipers as they hurl rocks, firebombs and grenades toward Israeli forces on the other side of the fence diving Gaza and Israel. Flaming tires are also rolled toward the fence. Ironically, the tire ban has had no effect on the protesters, who rely on a seemingly endless supply of old ones that are discarded in garages, fields and roadsides across the territory….
Palestinian teachers from Gaza arrive for work in Kuwait
KUWAIT CITY (WAFA) 3 Nov – After a delay in getting Gaza teachers contracted by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Education out of the besieged coastal enclave for work in Kuwait, 70 Palestinian teachers, the second batch of Palestinian teachers to travel to that Gulf country, arrived there on Friday. Palestine’s ambassador to Kuwait, Rami Tahboub, welcomed on Saturday the Gaza teachers who arrived in Kuwait and wished them success in their new environment. The first batch included 37 teachers from the West Bank and had arrived in Kuwait last week. This is the second year in a row in which Kuwait has recruited Palestinian teachers to work there following deterioration in Palestinian-Kuwaiti relations in the aftermath of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Kuwait had accused the Palestinians of siding with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the invasion, a charge the Palestinians have vehemently denied….
Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem
Israeli police shoot, injure 3 Palestinian youths
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Three Palestinian youths were injured, predawn Saturday, as the Israeli police opened fire at a vehicle in the Jit village in the Haifa district in the Triangle area of Israel, on Saturday. The Israeli police reported that its forces opened fire at a vehicle that allegedly attempted to run over an Israeli policeman during an activity in Jit. The Watad family from Jit denied reports by the Israeli police that the shooting came following a vehicular attack attempt. The family confirmed that the three youths were injured with light to moderate wounds.
West Bank city sealed off in an apparent collective punishment measure
TULKARM (WAFA) 3 Nov – Israeli forces Saturday set up checkpoints on all entrances to the northern West Bank city of Tulkarm and prevented its residents from leaving it in a step seen as a collective punishment measure against the city’s Palestinian residents, according to WAFA correspondent. She said that Israeli forces set up checkpoints on all of the city’s entrances and side roads, stopped cars, inspected their occupants and then turned them back preventing them from leaving the city to reach their work places or schools outside of it. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers raided several suburbs in the city, broke into homes and ransacked them. Tulkarm has been the target for almost daily raids and searches after the Israeli army has intensified its presence in that area under the pretext of pursuing Ashraf Na‘alweh, 23, the main suspect in killing two Israeli settlers in the illegal Israel settlement of Barkan on October 7. The army has distributed leaflets to the residents warning them against hiding Na‘alweh and to turn him in. Na‘alweh’s parents and sisters have been under constant harassment by the army ever since the incident….
Israeli settlers attack, injure Palestinian activist, son, in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — A Palestinian activist and his son were assaulted by a group of Israeli settlers, on Saturday afternoon, in Hebron City of the southern occupied West Bank. Activist Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, from Defenders of Human Rights group, told Ma‘an that Israeli settlers attacked his family home by throwing rocks, injuring him and his son Saleh; Imad sustained injuries in the leg while Saleh was lightly injured in his arm. Abu Shamsiyeh pointed out that the attacking Israeli settlers were under armed security by Israeli forces. He added that Israeli soldiers then forced him to stay inside his house. Abu Shamsiyeh said that a fence he had installed around his house, located in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in the Old City of Hebron, prevented further injuries among family members. Tel Rumeida has long been a flash-point for tensions between Palestinians and Israeli settlers and military, as it is located near illegal Israeli settlements whose residents are notoriously aggressive toward Palestinians.
One Palestinian injured during Ramallah-area clashes
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — One Palestinian was injured during clashes that erupted between Palestinian and Israeli soldiers in the al-Mazraa al-Gharbiyeh village in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, on Friday. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that its crews treated one Palestinian youth who was injured with a live bullet in the leg, pointing out that the youth was transferred to the al-Istishari Hospital in the city. Locals said that Israeli forces fired live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas bombs towards Palestinians who were protesting to protect their agricultural lands from continuous attacks by Israeli settlers.
Growing Shin Bet conviction that Jews threw rock that killed Palestinian woman
Times of Israel 1 Nov by Jacob Magid — Hours after Aisha Rabi was murdered, far-right activists drove on Sabbath to West Bank yeshiva and coached students on how to endure Shin Bet interrogations, defense official says — The security establishment suspects that just hours after a Palestinian woman was killed by a rock hurled through her windshield last month, several far-right Israeli activists drove to a yeshiva in the northern West Bank, on the Sabbath, in order to coach students they suspected were involved in the incident on how to withstand Shin Bet interrogations … The defense official said that the far-right activists who made the drive are figures known to the Shin Bet, and have undergone extensive interrogations at the hands of the agency’s operatives. The activists spoke to a number of students they believed were involved in the stone-throwing near the northern West Bank’s Tapuah Junction, giving them tips on how to endure the interrogations, reviewing their rights upon detainment, and urging them to remain silent as much as possible. T e far-right activists’ decision to preempt Israeli authorities by traveling to the yeshiva at a time when basic details regarding the circumstances of Rabi’s death had yet to be determined has strengthened the belief among security officials that this was not a case of Palestinian stone throwers mistaking an Israeli vehicle for a Palestinian one, the defense official said….
Israeli settlers dump sewage on Palestinian school in Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 1 Nov — Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Shaare Tikva dumped their sewage into a Palestinian school in the ‘Azzun ‘Atma village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqilia, on Thursday. ‘Azzun Beit Amin School principal Alaa Marabeh said that the school’s playground was flooded by sewage causing a foul smell inside the school. The principal added that this is the second time in a period of two months that Israeli settlers dump their sewage on the school property. Marabeh pointed out that it takes over 10 days for the sewage water to dry, causing health issues for students and community at large.
Shin Bet suspected of ordering unwarranted search of Palestinian woman’s private parts
[behind paywall] Haaretz 2 Nov by Josh Breiner & Yotam Berger — The investigators focused on trying to understand who gave the order for the invasive cavity search. Charges could range from rape or other sexual offenses to assault or misuse of force in the line of duty — … This was the first time the department for investigating complaints against Shin Bet opened a probe into allegations of violations of suspects’ rights during a Shin Bet interrogation. The unit responsible for investigating these complaints, known by its Hebrew acronym Mivtan, is under the authority of the Justice Ministry. The unit had previously closed more than 1,000 complaint files about Shin Bet conduct without opening any criminal investigations. Haaretz has learned that the investigation has been completed and the findings have been sent to the Prosecutor’s Office. According to the Justice Ministry, there has not yet been a decision on the case. The IDF spokesman has refused to respond. Details confirmed to Haaretz by a security source suggest suspected criminal actions on the part of the Shin Bet … The incident occurred in 2015 when an IDF detachment was sent to arrest the Palestinian woman, a West Bank resident who was suspected of actively abetting those engaged in terror activity. At least two Shin Bet members accompanied the group to the woman’s home and arrested her. After her arrest, one of the men from the Shin Bet ordered two female soldiers in the group to search her private parts. They took her aside, stripped her and performed a body search in accordance with instructions from one of the men from the Shin Bet and an IDF officer, who was at the scene – apparently the brigade commander or battalion commander. Associates of the Palestinian woman say she told them that the search was “from the front and from the back,” in other words, both vaginal and anal probes. Both female soldiers conducted a search separately, so that each of her organs was probed twice. Nothing was found in the searches.“She was humiliated and helpless,” her friend says. “After the incident she was in shock. To this day she cannot forget the event or share it with anyone. She is afraid it is something her family will not accept and perhaps they will be angry at her for not having resisted.”….
B’Tselem: Israeli military violently harasses Palestinian family at home, in area of Hebron ostensibly under PA control
31 Oct — Hanaa (39) and Jamal (49) Karamah live with their six children – Jamil (20), Jannah (19), ‘Othman (16), Baraah (13), Muamen (10) and Tasnim (5) – in Wadi Abu Katilah, in the northwestern part of the city of Hebron. The neighborhood is located in Area H1, ostensibly under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Between 25 August and 20 September 2018, soldiers showed up at the family’s home in the middle of the night on four different occasions … When Karamah said he was willing to undergo an interrogation, but his wife would not come to the ISA office, the officer told him soldiers would come to the family home that same night to arrest his wife. Dozens of soldiers showed up at the home shortly before dawn. The events that unfolded were exceedingly severe even for the routine violence West Bank residents are subjected to. That night, at around 4:00 A.M., the family was already awake because the children (including the eldest children) were getting ready to set out on a trip to Israel with some relatives. Scores of soldiers surrounded the house. They knocked at the door, and when the family took some time to open it, they hit the door with a hammer, breaking it, and causing it to get stuck. When the family finally managed to open the door, the soldiers immediately dragged the father outside, then went inside and began assaulting other family members. The soldiers ultimately arrested the father, the mother and the eldest son Jamil and led them to jeeps that were parked near the home. On the way, the soldiers passed by the Karamahs’ relatives, who had come out into the street after hearing the family’s shouts. One of the soldiers threw a stun grenade. It landed under the wheelchair of 30-year-old Samir Karamah and went off right beside him. Samir Karamah fell on his face, and when his 13-year-old nephew Zuheir Karamah tried to come to his aid, the soldiers assaulted him too, as well as other family members who came to their aid. By the time the incident was over, seven members of the extended Karamah family required hospital care….
Israeli soldiers abduct twelve Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 1 Nov — Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, at least twelve Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, and illegally confiscated dozens of thousands of Shekels from a few homes. Among the abducted Palestinians is a father, and two of his sons, in addition to a journalist and his son. The soldiers rearrested a Palestinian detainee, identified as Yacoub Abu Assab, 46, from occupied Jerusalem, instantly after his release from the Negev Desert Detention Camp, after finishing a seven-year prison sentence. In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mohammad Shreiteh, along with his sons Yasser and Tha‘er, after breaking into their home and searching it, in the al-Mazra‘a al-Gharbiyya town, northwest of the city. It is worth mentioning that Mohammad is the head of the Media Department at the Palestinian Detainees’ Committee, in Ramallah. The soldiers also abducted Shahed Ali Abu Laila and Adham Ibrahim Ladadweh, from al-Mazra‘a al-Gharbiyya town, northwest of Ramallah, in addition to Yahia Bader Abu Alia from the al-Mughayyir town, northeast of Ramallah … The soldiers also invaded Qabatia town, southwest of Jenin, searched the home of Jamal Hanaisha, and illegally confiscated 32.000 shekels (approximately 8.630 dollars) from the family….
Israeli forces detain six Palestinians in West Bank raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least six Palestinian people during search and detention raids across the occupied West Bank, on Wednesday dawn. The Israeli army reported that its soldiers also found and confiscated a locally made weapon. One Palestinian was detained after Israeli forces raided and searched his home in the Zeta town in northern Tulkarem district of the northern West Bank; locals identified the detainee as Laith Muhammad Ali Abu Hamdeh, 25. Israeli forces carried out search raids in the Shweika area of the district for the second day in a row; dozens of homes, stores and buildings were raided and searched while soldiers fired tear-gas bombs and stun grenades. In the Nablus district, also in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces detained one youth from the Burqa village in northwestern Nablus. Israeli soldiers searched several homes in the Kafr Qalil village in eastern Nablus. Locals in Burqa identified the detained youth as Saif Qassem Hamdan, 25, adding that Israeli forces held Hamdan’s brother for several hours as well before releasing him later. In Kafr Qalil, Israeli forces raided and searched four homes, identified by locals as belonging to Yasser Amer, Thaer Walid Ahmad, Suleiman Mansour and Tamer Amer. All detainees were transferred for interrogation.
Bannings / Deportations
Jewish Home bill seeks to forcibly relocate terrorists’ relatives in West Bank
Times of Israel 3 Nov — Ministers to debate proposed legislation on Sunday, two years after attorney general nixed deportations to Gaza — The right-wing Jewish Home party on Sunday will seek coalition support for a bill to forcibly relocate the families of Palestinian terrorists and would-be attackers within the West Bank. According to the proposed legislation by Education Minister Nafatli Bennett and MK Moti Yogev, within a week of an attack or attempted attack, the IDF’s Central Command will be permitted to expel the relatives of the Palestinian assailants from their hometowns to other areas of the West Bank. The powerful Ministerial Committee for Legislation will convene on Sunday to decide whether to advance the bill with the government’s backing …
The proposed legislation comes after years in which the government sought to advance a bill to expel terrorists’ families to the Gaza Strip. Supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the proposal in 2016 received wide support within the coalition, including from Kulanu party leader Moshe Kahlon, as well as from the opposition’s Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid. However Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said the move would contravene Israeli and international law, and efforts to advance the legislation were subsequently dropped….
Israel deports Palestinian-American writer from Ben Gurion
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — The Israeli authorities banned and deported, on Friday night, a Palestinian-American writer and activist entry from the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv to attend a literary festival in the occupied West Bank. The Haaretz online newspaper reported that the Israeli Population, Immigration and Border Authority said that it prevented Susan Abu al-Hawa [or Abulhawa] , an American writer and activist of Palestinian origin, from entering Israel because she reportedly had not arranged her visit. The reason for banning Abu al-Hawa is reportedly an incident that occurred in 2015, when Abu al-Hawa was banned entry upon her arrival at the Allenby Bridge crossing, between Jordan and the West Bank; according to Israeli sources, Abu al-Hawa acted “rude and insolent” at the time. According to Haaretz, Abu al-Hawa was told that every future entry would have to be arranged in advance after she was barred from entering in 2015 … “For a conference on Palestinian Literature to take place without the participation of a foremost, internationally recognized Palestinian author is a travesty and a suppression of Palestinian culture.” “Abu al-Hawa has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Israeli occupation,” Middle East Eye reported.
Israel re-detains Jerusalemite upon release, bans him from city
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 1 Nov — The Israeli authorities decided to release a Palestinian prisoner, on the condition of banning him from entering Jerusalem City, on Thursday. Earlier Thursday, Israeli intelligence forces re-detained Yaqoub Mahmoud Abu Assab, 46, immediately upon his release from Israeli prison. Head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, Amjad Abu Assab, said that Israeli intelligence forces re-detained his brother Yaqoub, 46, immediately upon his release from the Negev jail. A Ma‘an reporter said that the Israeli authorities also imposed a bail of 1,000 ILS (US $270) on Abu Assab. Abu Assab added that his brother had just finished his 7-year-sentence. According to Abu Assab, the family received a phone call from the Israeli intelligence informing them of Yaqoub’s detention and that he was transferred to the Russian compound police station in Jerusalem. Yaqoub Abu Assab was detained in late 2011 for being a leader at the Hamas movement of Jerusalem; he was also previously detained several times during the past years and had spent a total of 15 years in Israeli prisons.
Israel bans four Jerusalemites from Jabal al-Mukabbir, Sur Baher
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 31 Oct — The Israeli police released, on Tuesday evening, four Palestinian Jerusalemites on the condition of being banned from entering their hometowns of Jabal al-Mukabbir and Sur Baher villages in the occupied central West Bank district. Sources told a Ma‘an reporter in Jerusalem that the Israeli police released the Fatah movement’s secretary in Jabal al-Mukabbir, Iyad Bashir, Head of the Fatah youth movement in the village, Fares Uweisat, and head of a local committee Nabil Bashir, in addition to Hassan Abdo. The four were released on the condition of being banned from entering the Jabal al-Mukabbir and Sur Baher villages of Jerusalem. Israeli police forces had detained the four earlier for allegedly preventing locals from reaching voting center for municipal elections.
In Pictures: What it takes for Palestinians to see their imprisoned relatives
Al Jazeera 1 Nov by Alyona Synenko — Once a month, thousands of Palestinians make the long journey to various prisons in Israel to meet their detained family members. “On those nights, I can hardly fall asleep. I constantly worry that I will forget something, the permit or my ID, and miss the visit,” says Mona Daraghmeh, who lives in Tubas, a village in the occupied West Bank.Though she can see her son for just 45 minutes, and only through a glass partition, missing the monthly prison visit is a terrifying prospect for 70-year-old Daraghmeh. Her family tried to dissuade her from taking the 12-hour trip that includes hours of waiting at checkpoints and a rigorous search before entering the prison. “We even tried to lie to her by saying she didn’t have the permit, but it didn’t help,” says her daughter, Kheyreyeh. For the rest of the month, Daraghmeh goes through old letters, photographs and books trying to fill the looming absence of her child. More than 100,000 people from the occupied West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem take Red Cross buses every month to visit their relatives detained in Israel, a right granted to the detainees under international humanitarian laws. This photo essay is provided by ICRC.
Attorney general rules of razing homes of mentally ill terrorists
Times of Israel 1 Nov — The attorney general said Wednesday the government cannot order the demolition of homes belonging to terrorists whose may have carried out attacks because of psychological disorders. A letter by Avichai Mandelblit backed the Israel Defense Forces and Justice Ministry for a decision last month to not destroy the home of a terrorist who stabbed to death an Israeli man in the Old City of Jerusalem. The stabber’s family had showed authorities that he had a history of mental issues. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, fuming against the decision, had appealed to Mandelblit for an opinion on the matter. Israel says the controversial practice of demolishing homes of terrorists works as a deterrent against future attacks. But Mandelblit wrote that in cases where the attacker suffers mental illness, there is no deterrence from the threat of destroying the home. “That person doesn’t have the ability to consider in a rational way the realistic possibility that the home he is living in might be destroyed, and as a result of that refrain from carrying out the terror act that is sought to be deterred,” the letter read, according to the Ynet news site.
Mandelblit’s letter also warned against disproportionate use of the method, noting a Supreme Court ruling that found in cases where an attacker maimed but did not kill his victims, only the sealing off of space used by the assailant would be justified, but not razing the whole home …
Since 2015 the IDF has destroyed 35 terrorist’s homes and sealed off rooms of a further five, according to figures cited by Ynet. Liberman last month approached Mandelblit after a decision was made to not destroy the family home of stabber Abd al-Rahman Bani Fadel, who killed Adiel Kolman in the Old City of Jerusalem in March. The attacker’s mental state was cited in the decision….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel: Lieberman orders construction in central Hebron
MEMO 1 Nov — Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has ordered that an apartment block be constructed on top of the central market in Hebron in the occupied West Bank. The apartments will be built in the Avraham Avinu neighbourhood of occupied Hebron, which is illegally settled by Israelis. Despite the fact that those Palestinian vendors who rely on the market for their income currently hold protected tenancy agreements – which allow them to rent and use the market stalls – Israel has worked to dismantle these legal protections. This Israeli initiative has been ongoing for several years, but recently Lieberman intervened and requested that the legal advisor to the defence establishment, Attorney Itai Ophir, formulate a legal opinion that would allow the building procedures to advance, according to Arutz Sheva. Lieberman said of the breakthrough that “we have continued the momentum of Jewish development in Hebron in a way that has not been seen in 20 years,” adding: “We will continue to strengthen the Hebron community with deeds”. The move comes less than a month after Israel approved a budget of 22 million shekels ($6 million) to build a new illegal settlement in central Hebron….
Israeli bulldozers raze Palestinian lands in Tulkarem
TULKAREM (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israeli bulldozers razed lands and uprooted olive trees in Palestinian lands adjacent to the Israeli illegal settlement of Avnei Hefetz in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem, on Thursday morning. The Avnei Hefetz settlement was built on Palestinian-owned lands of the villages and towns of Shufa, Kafr al-Labad and Kafa. Activist Tahsin Hamed reported that Israeli bulldozers razed Palestinian-owned lands in the Shufa village in southeastern Tulkatem, in preparation for settlement expansion….
Israel begins construction of settlement near Ramallah
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 2 Nov — Israel began construction on the illegal settlement of Migron located between the Ofra and Beit El settlements near the Ramallah district, in the central occupied West Bank, on Thursday. Hundreds of settlement units are expected to be built for Migron that has officially become an Israeli settlement. According to Hebrew-language news sites the settlement outpost was demolished six years ago after Palestinians claimed ownership of the land on which Migron was built. Since its demolition in 2012, residents of Migron have been living in caravans near al-Bireh City, in the Ramallah district.
PA jails Palestinians for selling land to settlers
MEMO 1 Nov — A Palestinian court in Nablus yesterday sentenced two Palestinians after finding them guilty of selling land to settlers, Al-Wattan Voice reported. One of the defendants was handed a nine-year jail term while the second was given six years of hard labour. Palestinian Authority land laws prohibit Palestinians from selling lands to “any person or judicial body corporation of Israeli citizenship”. Last month, the National Popular Council of Al-Quds condemned the sale of residential buildings in the Old City of Jerusalem to “Jewish settlers and their settlement associations”. It described the sale as “a despicable crime against Jerusalem, Palestine and the homeland”.
Israeli forces prevent work on Nablus-area agricultural road
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — Israeli forces prevented Palestinians from continuing work on opening an agricultural road in the Qaryut village in southern Nablus of the northern occupied West Bank, on Saturday. Secretary of the Qaryut village council, Mufid Murra, told Ma‘an that Israeli forces obliged bulldozers to stop work on the road, located west of the village, alleging that the road is “too close” to the illegal Israeli settlement of Eileh. Murra added that residents of the village gathered, pointing out that events could escalate if Israeli forces continue to prevent the road opening.
Abbas orders follow-up with Palestinian women held in Thailand
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 3 Nov — The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued orders, on Saturday, for officials to follow up with the case of several Palestinian refugee women held in Thai jails, along with their children. An official at the Palestinian embassy in Malaysia reported that a number of Palestinian refugee women and their children, who are currently held in Thai jails for overstaying their visa, had appealed to Abbas to help end their suffering. Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency reported that activists have been organizing campaigns to help Palestinians who arrived in Thailand from Syria escaping war and death as the Thai authorities have arrested many for overstaying their visas, reportedly keeping them in overcrowded and dismal detention centers with criminals, drug traffickers and sex offenders. The Thai authorities reportedly treat the some 600 refugees, of elderly and young families, as criminals rather than asylum seekers.
More than a century on: the Balfour Declaration explained
Al Jazeera 2 Nov by Zena Tahhan — More than 100 years since Britain’s controversial pledge, here is everything you need to know about it — The Balfour Declaration, which resulted in a significant upheaval in the lives of Palestinians, was issued on November 2, 1917. The declaration turned the Zionist aim of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine into a reality when Britain publicly pledged to establish “a national home for the Jewish people” there. The pledge is generally viewed as one of the main catalysts of the Nakba – the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 – and the conflict that ensued with the Zionist state of Israel. It is regarded as one of the most controversial and contested documents in the modern history of the Arab world and has puzzled historians for decades….
‘101 years since Balfour, Palestinians have not let go of their rights’
MEMO 2 Nov — The Palestinian Forum in Britain has commemorated the 101st anniversary of the signing of the Balfour Declaration by calling on the UK government to apologise for its role in the historic accords, which paved the way for the establishment of the state of Israel. “Although it has been 101 years since the promise was made, the will of the Palestinians has not died down and generation after generation, they have not forgotten their rights and will not let go of their right to their lands,” the forum said in a statement. It demanded that the government now aid the Palestinian people in securing a state as compensation for their role in instituting and justifying Israel’s occupation in 1948. “We, the Palestinian Forum in Britain demand that the British government apologise for this promise and withdraw from any actions placed upon it, and help the Palestinians regain their rights and lands as reparation for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.” It concluded by stressing its continual support for Palestinians and activists across the world that struggle for freedom for the people of the region. Several other Palestinian parties and groups have also marked the declaration in which Lord Arthur James Balfour promised that the UK would do “its utmost to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine”….
Pressured by Arab MKs, Israel Knesset to discuss Kafr Qasem massacre
MEMO 1 Nov — For the first time since 1956, under pressure from Arab Members of the Knesset Issawi Frej and Aida Touma-Suleiman, Israel yesterday agreed to discuss the massacre carried out against Palestinians in Kafr Qasem, Al-Wattan Voice reported. Frej and Touma-Suleiman proposed two bills about the massacre and agreed that their proposals be discussed by the education committee before they were posed to the Knesset plenum. Since 2013, when he became an MK, Frej, who is a deputy speaker, has been proposing a bill to honour the martyrs and those wounded in the Kafr Qasem massacre. The Arab MK compared the sensitivity of revealing the facts about the massacre to that related to the facts about the issue of the lost Yemeni children. He quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying: “The Yemeni children are a deep wound that remained bleeding for the families who did not know what happened to their children.” He said that this pushed Netanyahu to open this issue for discussion. “I do not understand why all this secrecy. We will look into and treat this issue,” he reported Netanyahu saying. “Yes,” Frej said, “this is what I am saying to Netanyahu: The families of the martyrs and the wounded, who were shot, want to know why they were shot.” He exclaimed: “Me too, I do not know why all this secrecy regarding the massacre which aimed to expel the [Palestinian] residents of Al-Muthalath.” The massacre took place in the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Qasim on 29 October 1956. Some 49 Palestinians were killed after they made their way home not knowing that a military curfew was in place. See also: Palestinians commemorate 62nd anniversary of Kafr Qasem massacre
Mahmoud Abbas in Egypt ‘to discuss Hamas-Fatah reconciliation”
Al Jazeera 3 Nov — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is due to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Sharm el-Sheikh where they are expected to discuss Palestinian reconciliation and the situation in Gaza. Abbas had arrived in the Red Sea resort city on Friday to participate in the World Youth Forum at the invitation of el-Sisi. The forum, running for the second year, is a four-day event beginning from November 3 and will focus on themes of peace, development and creativity. According to a statement posted on the embassy’s Facebook profile on the same day, the Palestinian Ambassador to Cairo, Diab al-Louh, said the meeting will discuss the latest Palestinian political developments, as well as issues of mutual interest. He also stressed the long and deep cooperation between the two leaders. Egypt has recently been involved in efforts to revive the reconciliation process that was signed last October between the two main Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah. However, the deal has been stalled for months over a deadlock that has shown no sign of progress for the 11-year political division….
Omani minister meets Palestinian president after Netanyahu trip
PressTV 31 Oct — Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi has met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah and delivered to him a letter from Sultan Qaboos about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s surprise visit to the sultanate last week, a report says. Netanyahu paid a secret visit to Oman on October 26 along with senior officials, including the head of the Mossad spy agency. It was the first meeting of this kind since 1996. Bin Alawi’s visit to Ramallah comes as the Palestinians have been concerned by Israel’s bid for rapprochement with Persian Gulf Arab countries. Official Palestinian news agency WAFA gave no further details on the discussions held between the Omani minister and Abbas … Netanyahu’s rare visit came days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a three-day visit to Oman and met with Sultan Qaboos. On Sunday, Yousuf bin Alawi stressed that Oman was not mediating and just offering ideas to help Israel and the Palestinians to come together….
Israel breaks up PA-led conference in East Jerusalem, arrests local governor
Times of Israel 2 Nov — Police on Thursday night broke up an East Jerusalem conference it said was organized by the Palestinian Authority and detained several people involved, with Israeli officials accusing organizers of seeking to erode Israeli sovereignty in the city. Police said two people suspected of assaulting officers were arrested, and PA Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith was detained for questioning. According to a statement by the Public Security Ministry, the meeting at the Ras al-Amud neighborhood was intended to advance efforts for “the Palestinian takeover of East Jerusalem.” It noted that the PA was forbidden by Israeli law to “act in Israeli territory.” … Though East Jerusalem is mostly populated by Palestinians, Israel considers it part of its territory.
Opinion: Netanyahu, Man of Peace / Gideon Levy
[behind paywall] Haaretz 4 Nov — Let’s give the emperor his due. In the sea of hatred that surrounds us and the rising criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s permissible, even compulsory, to point out his policies’ bright spots. To the dismay of his noisy chorus of enemies, such bright spots actually exist. The greatest of them? Netanyahu isn’t a warmonger. Events of recent months have proved that anew. The enemy of half the country is one of the most pacifist prime ministers we’ve ever had, with a balance sheet of just one initiated war in his dozen years in power. Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, a much more obvious man of peace, launched two wars in his three years in office, two of them unnecessary losses when there were other options. So let’s cheer for the emperor, at least in this regard; he has prevented bloodshed – no mean feat in Israel….
Israel expert calls for assassination of Islamic Jihad leader
MEMO 1 Nov — Israel should resume its policy of targeted assassinations, aiming first at Secretary General of Islamic Jihad, Ziyad Al-Nakhaleh, Israeli journalist Yoni Ben Menachem said in an article [Hebrew] this week. Al-Nakahleh, who is based in Beirut, was elected as a secretary-general of the movement last September. Ben Menachem believes Al-Nakhaleh’s ties with Iran and Hezbollah as a threat to Israel. His assassination, Al-Nakhaleh said, is a step towards “stopping Iranian influence in the region and stopping the Iranian plan to turn the Gaza Strip into an effective front against Israel”. Mossad can reach Al-Nakhaleh in Beirut, the journalist added, in a similar way to how it targeted Imad Mughniyeh, a Hezbollah leader, in Syria ten years ago….
Israel okays equipment to boost Palestinian cell coverage in West Bank
Times of Israel 1 Nov by Judah Ari Gross — The Israeli military this week allowed a Palestinian telecommunications firm to import electronic equipment that is expected to significantly improve cellular service for Palestinians in the West Bank. On Sunday, the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration approved a request by Palestinian communications company Paltel to purchase a number of circuit boards in order to expand the firm’s network coverage and speed up cellular internet service, the Civil Administration said. The circuit boards fall into the category of “dual use” goods, which can be used for either civilian or military purposes and thus require approval from the military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) liaison unit before they can be legally imported by a Palestinian company. The process of clearing the circuit boards and other pieces of infrastructure took several months….
Meet the Chilestinians, the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East
[behind paywall] Haaretz 31 Oct by Roy Arad — They maintain good relations with the Jews, are reluctant to visit Israel and Palestine, but identify with their brethren in the territories. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians live in Chile – we spoke to some of them — …It’s hard to think of a place as far from the Palestinians, from Israel and from the common mud in which we’re mired, as Chile. But it’s precisely in Chile that the largest Palestinian minority outside the Middle East has formed. The roots of the community go back to the mid-19th century Crimean War, and immigration swelled at the beginning of the 20th century. Between 300,000 and half a million people with Palestinian roots live (happily) in a country with a population of 18 million. A local saying has it that in every small village in Chile you’ll find a priest, a policeman and a Palestinian. About 95 percent of the “Chilestinians” are Christians whose origins lie in the Jerusalem-area triangle of Bethlehem, Beit Jalla and Beir Sahour. Most of the families immigrated before the 1930s and with no connection to the creation of Israel. There are now more Palestinian Christians in Chile than within the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The main impulse for those early waves of emigration was the Ottoman conscription law….
Brazil’s Bolsonaro wants Israel embassy moved to Jerusalem
Al Jazeera 1 Nov — Brazil’s President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has told an Israeli newspaper he intends to defy the Palestinians and most of the world by moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Asked in an interview with Israel Hayom published on Thursday if he would move Brazil’s embassy, as he had indicated during his campaign, Bolsonaro said Israel should decide where its capital is located. “When I was asked during the campaign if I’d do it when I became president, I said ‘yes, the one who decides on the capital of Israel is you, not other nations’,” he told the paper, which is a firm backer of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Brazil would become the second major country after the United States to do so.
San Diego rabbis denounce attacks against candidate with Palestinian roots
JTA 3 Nov — San Diego-area rabbis have denounced attacks against a candidate with Palestinian ancestry by his Republican opponent. Rep. Duncan Hunter has called his Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar a “national security risk,” and accused him of being an “Islamist.” “As rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community in the San Diego area, we are deeply disturbed by Duncan Hunter and his campaign’s personal attacks on Ammar Campa-Najjar. These attacks are not rooted in facts or in serious policy disagreements, but in appeals to racism, bigotry and fear. Campa-Najjar is a Christian, not a Muslim, and not affiliated with any radical group. Campa-Najjar is not a security risk, he received a security clearance when he worked for the Obama administration,” the letter issued on Wednesday said. The 17 rabbis, members of the Renewal, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, noted that the statement was not an endorsement of one candidate over the other and encouraged debate with “honesty and civility.” Campa-Najjar was born in San Diego and is Christian. His grandfather was Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, a mastermind of the terrorist murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches at the 1972 games in Munich, Germany. Campa-Najjar, who lived for a time as a youth in the Gaza Strip, has rejected his grandfather’s actions….