Israeli soldiers kill a Palestinian youth in raid on Issawiya in occupied Jerusalem

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West Bank / Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers kill one Palestinian, injure many in Jerusalem
IMEMC 28 June — Israeli soldiers and the police invaded, on Thursday evening, the al-‘Issawiya town, north of occupied East Jerusalem, killed a young Palestinian man, and injured many other residents, in addition to imposing a strict siege on the town. Media sources said the soldiers invaded Obeid neighborhood in the town, and attacked many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards, in addition to searching homes and shops. They added that the soldiers fired many live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinian youngsters protesting the invasion. Local nonviolent activist, Yousef Obeid, said the soldiers killed a former political prisoner, identified as Mohammad Samir Obeid, 21, after shooting him with several bullets, including a live round in the heart. He added that the soldiers also injured four other Palestinians, causing mild-to-moderate wounds. After killing the young man, the soldiers took his body away, and assaulted several Palestinians with clubs and batons. Furthermore, the soldiers imposed a strict siege on the town, and prevented the residents, including ambulances, from entering or leaving it. An eyewitness, who was standing next to the slain Palestinian, said the soldiers shot him with three live rounds from a close range, including the fatal round in the heart, and one that struck him in his leg, and added that the shooting had no cause or justification, especially since it was carried out an hour after the nonviolent protest ended. His statements, alongside other witnesses, contradict allegations by the police that the slain young man “lit firecrackers in the direction of the police,’” allegedly “endangering their lives.” … The killing of the young man also led to protests in the neighborhoods and towns of Wadi al-Jouz, at-Tour, al-‘Issawiya, Shu’fat, Shu’fat refugee camp and Abu Dis.

Photos – Palestinians: Israeli forces hit rally against police abuse
JERUSALEM (AP) 28 June — Palestinians claim Israeli forces attacked them after a peaceful rally against police brutality in east Jerusalem. Forty-nine-year-old witness Abed Zamzam says that after prayers on Thursday, Israeli police were patrolling a rally of several hundred Palestinians in the neighborhood of ‘Issawiya. Zamzam says they beat the residents after fatally shooting 20-year-old Mohammed Obeid. A cellphone video shows a policeman kicking a Palestinian already on the ground as an officer was arresting him. The protests continued Friday.

2 Palestinians injured by Israeli troops in West Bank
MEMO 28 June — Israeli forces Friday injured two Palestinians who were taking part in an anti-settlement demonstration in the occupied West Bank, according to a Palestinian official, Anadolu Agency reported. Protest organiser Murad Shtewi told Anadolu Agency that Israeli troops used live and rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the weekly demonstration in the Nablus city, leaving at least two Palestinians injured. A teen was injured by a live bullet on his face, he said, adding that the other injury was for a photojournalist by a rubber bullet. Every Friday, Palestinians across the Israeli-occupied West Bank stage demonstrations to protest Israel’s decades-long policy of building Jewish-only settlements on confiscated Palestinian land.

Army rams one Palestinian, abducts six, near Ramallah
IMEMC 26 June — Several Israeli military jeeps invaded, earlier Wednesday, the al-Am‘ari refugee camp, in Ramallah in central West Bank, before the soldiers rammed one Palestinian with their jeep during protests that took place when the army invaded it, and abducted six Palestinians from their homes. Media sources said the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at the Palestinian protesters, wounding six of them, before they received the needed treatment. The sources added that the soldiers fired a barrage of gas bombs in many directions, some striking homes and stores. The soldiers also invaded and ransacked many homes, before abducting six Palestinians, identified as Na‘el Abu Kweik, Raed al-Yazouri, Husam al-Wawi, Mohammad Salah, Mahmoud Salah and Abed Salah. In addition, the soldiers wired and detonated the door of one store, broke into a carpentry workshop, and caused damage to many machines.

Israeli soldiers confiscate crane, services vehicle, near Hebron
IMEMC 26 June — Israeli soldiers confiscated, Tuesday, a crane and a services vehicle, owned by Beit Ummar City Council, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The soldiers invaded Beit Ummar while city workers were conducting maintenance work on power lines and the electricity grid, and ordered the workers to stop. They then confiscated the crane and the services’ vehicle, which were both used by the workers, and withdrew from the town.

Israel demolishes farming and commercial facilities in occupied West Bank
MEMO 27 June — Israeli occupation forces demolished several agriculture and commercial facilities on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, has reported. According to the Head of Ballout Municipality, Yahya Mustafa, the Israelis demolished a barn owned by Tayseer Abdullah and a car wash business owned by Amer Abdullah. He said that the demolitions were carried out without any prior notification, or even ultimatums. The Israeli occupation authorities, explained Mustafa, said that the facilities were demolished because they are located in Area C, which is under Israeli security and administrative control. Meanwhile, local sources in occupied Jerusalem said that the Israelis also demolished a petrol station on Wednesday morning. No further details were provided.

Jenin-area school raided by Israeli forces
IMEMC/Agencies 25 June — Israeli forces seized construction equipment and an agricultural tractor from inside ‘al-Tahadi 17’ school, in the village of Thahr al-Maleh, to the southwest of the city of Jenin, in the north of the occupied West Bank, said a local official. Omar al-Khatib, head of Thahr al-Maleh village council, told WAFA that Israeli forces, accompanied by staff from the Israeli planning and building committee, stormed the village of Thahr al-Maleh, and raided the school, where a new project for the construction of new health units and a fence for the school were underway. Forces reportedly seized the tractor and construction equipment, including bricks, sand, cement and twisted wires, from inside the school, to prevent the completion of the project, citing unpermitted construction as a pretext.

Palestinian West Bank village targeted in month’s sixth apparent hate crime
Times of Israel 27 June by Jacob Magid — Police on Thursday opened an investigation into an apparent hate crime targeting a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, where 13 cars were found with their tires slashed and Hebrew hate slogans were spray-painted on walls. “Let’s wake up and expel the enemy,” read one phrase daubed on a wall on the outskirts of Sarta, near the Barkan industrial zone. “Non-Jews in the land = enemies,” read another. Thursday’s incident was the sixth apparent hate crime in June, but police have yet to apprehend any suspects. The previous attacks targeted Sinjil, Deir Istiya, Kafr Malik, Einabus and Yasuf — villages in the central and northern West Bank. Despite the dozens of hate crimes targeting Palestinians and their property in recent months and years, arrests of perpetrators have been exceedingly rare. Rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.

Video: Milwaukee activist’s beating on West Bank road sheds light on changing Jewish conversation
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 25 June — It’s just a few seconds caught on video. Pulled from multiple videos and posted on Twitter, it includes 33-year-old Milwaukee resident Ari Bloomekatz in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills. The clip shows Bloomekatz in the thick of an altercation involving about 30 activists and a dozen Israeli security forces, some carrying rifles. It shows an Israeli soldier delivering a swift punch to Bloomekatz’s face. “For what?” the tweet asks. “Rehabilitating a critical access road for Palestinians.” Bloomekatz was among a group of 17 activists and journalists arrested last month while repairing a road in Palestinian territory controlled by Israel as part of a program sponsored by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. The managing editor of Milwaukee-based magazine “Rethinking Schools,” Bloomekatz is among a growing number of primarily younger American Jews challenging Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory as morally indefensible and an affront to their faith …  “I and many other Jews across the country see our community’s support for the occupation killing the Judaism we love.”….

PPS: ‘Army abducts sixteen Palestinians in West Bank’
IMEMC 23 June — The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight until morning hours Sunday, at least sixteen Palestinians, including children, from several parts of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The PPS said the soldiers stormed and ransacked dozens of homes in the al-‘Issawiya town, in Jerusalem, and abducted Husam ‘Oleyyan, Abdul-Qader Dari, Mohammad Rafat Dari, Akram Mustafa, Majd Bashir Ahmad, Noureddin Mheisin, Ibrahim Abu Sneina, and Ayyoub Abu al-Hummus. It added that the soldiers also invaded and searched homes in the al-Wad Street, in the Old City of Jerusalem, before abducting Abada Najeeb, Mahmoud Najeeb and Ibrahim Abu Sneina. In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Firas Fares Moghannam, 40, after searching his home, along with the home of a former political prisoner, identified as Salim Mohammad Moghannam, and Mohammad Khalil Abu Shaker….


On 64th Friday of Great March of Return and Breaking Siege, Israeli forces wound 128 Palestinian civilians, including 38 children, 3 women, 7 paramedics, and a journalist
PCHR 28 June — Four of those sustained serious wounds … On Friday, 28 June 2019, the incidents were as follows: At approximately 16:30, thousands of civilians, including women, children and entire families, started swarming to the five encampments established by the Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege adjacent to the border fence with Israel in eastern Gaza Strip cities. Hundreds of protesters, including children and women, gathered adjacent to the border fence with Israel in front of each encampment and its vicinity tens and hundreds of meters away from the fence. The protesters chanted slogans, raised flags, and in very limited incidents attempted to approach the border fence and throw stones and Molotov Cocktails at the Israeli forces, who fired live and rubber bullets at them … Among those wounded, 41 were hit were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, 36 were hit with rubber bullets and 46 were directly hit with tear gas canisters.  In addition, dozens of civilians suffered tear gas inhalation and seizures due to tear gas canisters that were fired by the Israeli forces from the military jeeps and riffles in the eastern Gaza Strip. The following table shows the number of civilian casualties due to the Israeli forces’ suppression of the Great March of Return since its beginning on 30 March:….

Israel unblocks Gaza fuel, expands fishing: officials
JERUSALEM (AFP) 28 June — Israel allowed Gaza fuel deliveries to resume and expanded its fishing zone on Friday in exchange for calm in the enclave, Israeli and Palestinian officials and a UN source said. Israel began blocking deliveries of fuel to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after new incendiary balloons were launched from the Palestinian territory, causing fires on Israeli farmland. A source at the United Nations, which along with Egypt mediates between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, said on Friday that Israel had agreed to ease these restrictions in exchange for calm. “It has been agreed to immediately stop launching incendiary devices and other violent acts,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity. “Israel will allow the import of fuel to the Gaza Power Plant to be restored, the return of fishing boats that had been confiscated and will extend the fishing zone up to 15 nautical miles. “Implementing these understandings in full is critical to reducing tensions.” Fuel trucks entered the Gaza Strip on Friday morning to help increase production at its sole power plant, a Hamas source said. A spokesman for the fishing union confirmed the distance they were allowed to fish off Gaza’s coast had been increased to 15 nautical miles. An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the UN and Egypt had brokered the understanding, which includes an “end to violence on the part of Hamas”. “If Hamas does not live up to its commitments, Israel will reimpose these sanctions,” the official said.

WATCH: Incendiary balloons from Gaza spark fires in Israel
World Israel News 28 June — Four fires ravaged Israel’s Gaza belt on Friday morning as a result of incendiary balloons from Hamas-ruled Gaza, notwithstanding a reported ceasefire.

The suppression of musical culture in Gaza
WRMEA June-July by Salsabeel H. Hamdan — …Visitors to Gaza very quickly notice a strained relationship between local social norms and one of the most important facets of any culture—music. The practice and presence of music is limited, neglected and sometimes not even welcomed. Due to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade and the current highly conservative government and social norms, there are no music majors in secondary school or university, for example, and most (if not all) of few private teachers have left the Strip. The only music funded or otherwise supported to any significant degree is that which exalts Islam or adheres to a narrow definition of Palestinian heritage. Once visitors pick up on this characteristic of culture in Gaza (and to a much lesser extent, the West Bank), they often ask, “Why did it evolve this way and when?” Naem Nasir is a music historian of sorts in Gaza—but he also speaks from painful personal experience about what he calls “the loss of our musical heritage.” … Palestine had a rich and a very varied musical heritage (before 1948),” he says. “Every village had its own musical taste and style, different from other villages, and this gave birth to many unique, traditional songs. But that all changed when Israel was created and its forces occupied our land, tearing all this apart.” The displacement of more than 700,000 Palestinians disrupted the social fabric, destroying along with it much of their cultural and musical heritage. Instruments typically aren’t among the items seized when people are in a rush to leave a house under siege, and living in squalid conditions in refugee camps is not conducive to a “luxury” like making music … “I feel sick when I attend wedding parties in Gaza and don’t hear a single Palestinian wedding song played there, as we used to years ago,” Nasir says. “Instead, we have these Egyptian songs and music styles, as if we do not have wedding songs of our own.”….

Egypt delays Gaza talks until further notice
MEMO 28 June — Egypt is yet to set a date for the arrival of its security delegation, which was due to arrive in the occupied Gaza Strip on 25 June, well-informed Palestinian sources told Al-Quds yesterday. “The delegation’s visit will be determined by the Egyptian officials,” the sources explained, adding that the Palestinian Authority (PA) was yet to be informed of a new date. Other local sources reported that the visit was delayed “until further notice”, noting that this was a result of “an Egyptian government internal agenda as well as issues linked to the PA and Hamas’ positions within the reconciliation agenda.” Hamas’ leadership, the sources explained, had been in contact with the Egyptian officials to pressure Israel to fulfill its commitments of providing access for fuel shipments and to open a 15-mile fishing area….

Gantz: There should be more fire in Gaza than here
JPost 28 June — Blue and White leader Benny Gantz visited the Gaza border area on Friday, saying that “there should be more fire in Gaza than here.” Gantz spoke to the press with a charred field in the background, caused by a fire that was sparked by an incendiary balloon from Gaza. Since the beginning of the week, more than 100 fires had broken out as a result of the incendiary balloons, mostly at the Ashkelon Beach, Eshkol and Sha’ar Hanegev regional areas. Relating to the report that Israel and Hamas agreed to restore the calm and stop the incendiary balloons, Gantz said that “the agreement proves that Hamas dictates things to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” Gantz added that “Netanyahu fills Hamas’ balloons with Helium, and they keep coming, sparking fire after fire.” “We have lost our deterrence and need to reclaim it, there needs to be a forceful response,” Gantz claimed. “When it’s not peaceful here, it shouldn’t be peaceful there, we need to respond with targeted assassinations, strikes and military actions constantly.”

Bennett urges Israel to kill Palestinians launching incendiary balloons
MEMO 28 June — Former Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the New Right party, slammed the Israeli government’s approach to the Gaza Strip yesterday, reported Arutz Sheva, demanding that the military targets Palestinians launching incendiary balloons from the territory. “The south is burning and the government is busy with elections,” Bennett said. “The government’s policy, according to which we do not eliminate terrorists who send explosive balloons [into Israel], endangers lives and harms our deterrence,” he added. According to Bennett, “an explosive balloon is like an anti-tank missile. Anyone who fires it is a terrorist who is trying to murder Israelis, and we must hit him.” “When the balloon terror had just started, I said that we should hit the terrorists, but the Cabinet rejected my opinion,” the former minister claimed. “And now, we already have 14 fires in a single day. If the Cabinet does not wake up, it will cost us in lives.”

Israeli navy injures a Palestinian fisherman, abducts three
IMEMC 26 June — Israeli navy ship attacked, late on Tuesday at night, Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza territorial waters, close to the shore in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, before ramming one of the boats and crashing it, wounding one fisherman, and later opened fire at other boats, causing damage, before abducting three. Zakariya Abu Bakr, the coordinator of the Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate, said one of the navy ships chased and rammed into a Palestinian fishing boat, damaging it and wounding one fisherman, identified as Mohammad Nahhal. Palestinian fishermen managed to rescue the wounded fisherman, before he was rushed to Abu Yousef Najjar hospital, in Rafah, and towed his boat back to the shore. Abu Bakr added that the navy also abducted one fisherman, identified as Hazem an-Nada, before other fishermen towed his boat back to the shore. Shortly afterwards, the navy fired many live rounds at another fishing boat, causing damage to its motor, before abducting two fishermen, who were onboard, identified as Mohammad Nidal Ayyash and Mos‘ab Nidal Ayyash.

Israel builds new barricade around Gaza Strip
MEMO 25 June — An Israeli military engineering unit started building a new sand barricade along the eastern side of Gaza Strip on Sunday, Israeli TV channel 13 revealed yesterday. According to Quds Press, the barricade aims to protect settlers in the Israeli settlements near Gaza from Palestinian anti-tank Kornet attacks. The barricade is scheduled to be 900 metres and to run parallel to route 34 in order to hide settlers’ vehicles and homes which can be seen clearly from Gaza. Quds Press said that the plan to build the barricade was laid down in the wake of the last escalation with Gaza after the joint operations room of Palestinian military factions announced targeting two Israeli military vehicles. The joint room broadcast footage of the attacks, but Israel has denied they took place. Israeli authorities also want to fortify roads to meet the settlers’ security needs and plant large trees along route 24 and other open areas.

The Trump administration says Gaza could become a new Dubai. It doesn’t have an airport.
Washington Post 25 June by Adam Taylor — Gaza’s first and only international airport was inaugurated more than two decades ago, promising what many Palestinians believed would be something resembling normalcy in the tightly controlled enclave. “It’s something big, something beautiful,” Abeer Jord, a 26-year-old Palestinian Airlines ground attendant, told a Washington Post reporter as the airport opened in November 1998. “Finally we have our airport, and this is the most important day in our hopes to be a state.” It didn’t turn out that way. Though the airport still sits on the south of the strip near the border with Egypt, it has not been used since 2000. It lies now in ruins, a monument not to hope for the future but to the dashed dreams of the past …  Despite decades of talks, Palestinians, especially those in Gaza, do not have control of their own borders or movements. Without this autonomy, the hopes of Gaza City becoming a Palestinian Dubai seem outlandish …  Previous peace talks have focused on the idea of providing Palestinians with a direct link to the outside world through air travel … Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, had periodically demanded that the airport be reopened during negotiations. However, there has been little appetite from the Israeli government to revisit the concept of a Palestinian airport, while the United States, too, has balked at the idea of giving Hamas control of airport security in a post-9/11 world. The 96-page Peace to Prosperity plan mentions neither an airport in Gaza nor the long-held Palestinian hope for a seaport in Gaza …  The Trump administration may recognize that in the current political environment, proposing the reopening of an airport in Gaza may be a flight of fancy. But without addressing the issues of autonomy that the ruined airport represents, it’s hard to see how the plan’s broader ambitions could ever get off the ground.

REVEALED: Israel’s illegal rules of engagement in Gaza let snipers shoot ‘key instigators’ even when they move away from protest (video)
IMEMC/Agencies 23 June — Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel demands Israel prohibit use of live ammunition against protesters; military retroactively invented ‘key instigator’ category to justify shootings of people who posed no immediate danger. A document released by the Israeli military describes how snipers may open fire on Gaza protesters it calls “key instigators” or “key rioters” – even when they move away from the crowd or are resting. Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel is demanding that Israeli troops immediately stop shooting live ammunition at unarmed protesters along the Gaza boundary fence. Adalah sent a letter on 16 June 2019 to Israeli Military Advocate General Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit calling on them to immediately order a ban on the use of live ammunition and sniper fire as a means of dispersing demonstrations in Gaza. Israeli snipers, the military document released in February revealed, may open fire with live ammunition on “key instigators” or “key rioters” even when they are at no longer participating in the protest or are resting. The details in this document were never presented during hearings before Israeli Supreme Court justices….

Gaza’s Great March of Return photographers
Al-Monitor 9 May — Young Gazan photojournalists captured the images of protest along the Gaza-Israel border throughout the past year, some on the ground and others through drone imagery. Their photographic work documenting the events led a few to win international prizes.

Gaza sees mass protests denouncing Bahrain workshop
MEMO 26 June — Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets this morning and gathered in front of the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza City to protest against the ongoing US-led Bahrain workshop. Another rally was held in Khan Younis, in the centre of the besieged Gaza Strip. The protesters called for boycotting the workshop, which took place yesterday and today in Bahraini capital Manama to discuss the economic aspects of the US “deal of the century”. Demonstrators held a variety of signs saying “down with the Bahrain workshop!” while others shouted “no to normalisation with Israel!” Ahmad Ali, an elderly resident of Gaza, said: “I participated in this day of rage to show my rejection of the conspiracy against my Palestinian cause.”

Arms sold from UK to Israel during Gaza protests: group
London (AA) 24 June by Muhammad Mussa — The British government approved arms sales to Israel worth over $17 million in 2018, when Israeli soldiers were accused of intentionally firing on and murdering Palestinian protestors at the Gaza border. The information released by the Department of International Trade (DIT) and compiled by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) shows that licenses were issued for the sale of weapons that included parts for assault rifles, ammunition and other arms that would be used against Palestinian demonstrations. Last year on May 18, an arms sale worth more than $125,000 was approved by the government just four days after 68 Palestinians were shot by Israeli soldiers. Ironically, the export was approved the same week when then-Prime Minister Theresa May described killings as “extremely concerning”. Moreover, during a debate in the parliament on the same day, seven MPs urged for greater scrutiny on U.K. weapon exports to Israel. Some even called for imposing a total ban on arms sales to Tel Aviv. Nonetheless, this did not stop the government from approving licenses to supply missile technology, military radar equipment and night vision gear amounting to $18 million from March 30 to the end of 2018. “The message it sends is that, no matter what atrocities are inflicted on the Palestinian people, arms sales will continue” said CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith….

Israelis and Palestinians participate in run for peace on Gaza border
JPost 23 June by Yvette J. Deane — Israelis and Palestinians cycled and ran in unison on Friday on both sides of the Gaza border in a historic solidarity event. “I think it’s a very big statement and message, that first of all, the initiative came from Gaza. They wanted this and we are just supporting their call for action,” Budo for Peace founder Danny Hakim said. “And I think we had a nice first time. We got many people to come from all over the area and I think it has inspired them. And as you heard, they are very keen to continue and they are not going to give up. it may be small now, a hundred maybe two hundred of them but, hopefully with this publicity, that will grow and that’s what we want.” According to The Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), dozens of Palestinians and Israelis participated in “Ride for Peace.” The event was initiated by the Gaza Youth Committee, a group of Palestinian peace activists from Gaza, and was joined by members of ALLMEP and Israelis from bordering communities.

Rolling up the red carpet: Is this the end of Gaza’s Red Carpet Human Rights Film Festival?
The National 24 June by Ashleigh Stewart & Fady Hanona — When a 60-metre red carpet was rolled through the crumbling streets of the Al-Shujaiyeh area in eastern Gaza City for the first time, it stood for so much more than a film festival. For many, it was the first time they’d seen anything related to film return to the streets for several decades, since violence closed the doors to the region’s cinemas during the First Intifada. For others, it was a bit of glitz and glam among the rubble. But for festival director Khalil al-Mozayen, it was the culmination of a life’s work finally realised. “We stood there next to the destroyed mosque, surrounded by destroyed homes in every direction, and it became clear that it was the right place to hold a film festival focused on human rights.” In subsequent years, the event was a highlight on the social ­calendar – but its fifth outing is now in jeopardy. “Conditions in Gaza are always difficult, but specifically this year, the economic crisis caused by the rift between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is worsening day by day. Salaries are no longer paid to employees and almost all forms of support for cultural activities has stopped,” he explains … This year, organisers have hit a significant snag, and funding has threatened its future. So for now, al-Mozayen is appealing for donors or fund-raising partners in any way he can….

Pride and prejudice: The hellish life of Gaza’s LGBTQ community
[behind paywall] Haaretz 25 June by Mark Lemant — Four gay men and one woman tell Haaretz what life is really like in a ‘homophobic society’ where pretending to be straight is often a matter of survival — The meeting was fixed for nightfall at one of Gaza City’s beachfront restaurants. The place is almost empty. Sami (not his real name) sits at a table, looking hesitant. He only starts speaking after the waiter has left us. “I had to get married so as not to damage my family’s reputation,” the 40-year-old Gazan whispers. “My mother put pressure on me, told me she wanted to have grandchildren. Before I married my first wife I told her, ‘Mom, I’m gay.’ She started laughing. I insisted. So she looked me right in the eye and ordered me never to say that again. After the divorce, I told her everything again. ‘Show people you’re straight,’ she replied. I thought: I’ll do my best.”… To be gay in the “world’s largest open-air prison” has been a constant struggle, he says. Whereas LGBTQ Palestinians living in Israel or the West Bank have the opportunity to leave their conservative towns and villages to find relatively safe spaces in Haifa, Tel Aviv-Jaffa or even Ramallah, Gazans are trapped in what he calls a “homophobic society.”….

Land, property theft & destruction

New settler-run ‘tourist projects’ further linking SIlwan with West Jerusalem
MEMO 26 June — A “recent burst” in settler-run ‘tourism’ projects around Jerusalem’s Old City is further linking the west of the city with Silwan in the occupied East, reported NGO Ir Amim on Tuesday. According to the organisation, the uptick in “touristic settlement projects” is part of an “intensifying belt of settlement activity in and around the Old City”. “Blurring the Green Line”, Ir Amim added, “these projects are being implemented around the vicinity of the planned cable car recently approved”. Together, these developments will “create a more seamless link between West Jerusalem and particularly Silwan and divert tourist traffic from its traditional routes via Jaffa and Damascus Gates”. Settler-run, Israeli authority-backed, projects highlighted by Ir Amim include a new ‘cultural centre’ operated by right-wing settler group Elad, “strategically located between the Palestinian neighbourhoods of At-thuri and Silwan along the seam between East and West Jerusalem”. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Municipality recently constructed a promenade connecting the Jerusalem Cinemateque, a popular cultural establishment in West Jerusalem, directly to Elad’s new complex in occupied East Jerusalem….

Bedouin village of Um al-Kheir fights against new demolition threat
SOUTH HEBRON HILLS (ISM) 26 JuneThe Bedouin village of Um al-Kheir in the South Hebron Hills have launched a new bid to save their homes from demolition. On Monday, activists from the village submitted a new master plan to the Israeli Civil Administration which, if accepted, would protect their community from the bulldozers. Since 2011, 32 structures including houses, animal barns and a bread oven have been demolished in Um al-Khair with almost every family losing at least one home. The village has been in crisis mode over the past week, going to bed each night with the fear that bulldozers could be rolling towards them in the morning. An international presence (including people from the Good Shepherd Collective, Christian Peacemakers Team, All That’s Left and ISM) has been set up in solidarity with the people of Um al-Kheir and to provide a possible deterrence. The community hopes to have a response from the Civil Administration in the coming days, which if given, will freeze the demolition orders for a few years.  But until a response is given, the village remains at risk of demolition … Um al-Khair is one of the villages in the South Hebron Hills that is particularly at risk of expulsion. It is gradually being surrounded by the illegal settlement of Carmel which is just feet away with a fence separating the two.

Israel demolishes Al-Araqeeb Bedouin village for 146th time
MEMO 28 June — Israeli bulldozers yesterday demolished the Arab Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb in the  south of Israel for the 146th time under the pretext of building without permits. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli vehicles, under the protection of Israeli occupation forces, raided the village of Al-Araqeeb yesterday morning and demolished Palestinian houses and displaced their residents. The sources pointed out that the demolition included tents and houses made of corrugated iron and some wood and nylon, displacing the elderly, children and women. The Israeli forces demolished the village for the first time on 27 July 2010 under the pretext that the land on which the village was built belongs to the state. The village was last demolished on 30 May. Al-Araqeeb is one of 51 Arab villages in the Negev the Israeli occupation authorities do not recognise and has been targeted for demolition ahead of building homes for new Jewish communities. Israel has imposed fines on the villagers of Al-Araqeeb worth millions of dollars, Quds Press said, and charges them for the use of the Israeli bulldozers which carry out the demolition of their homes.

Israel seeks US approval to annex Jordan Valley
MEMO 25 June — Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu is allegedly seeking support and approval by the United States to enable the annexation of the Jordan Valley under the pretext that it is “a vital area to Israel’s security,” anonymous political sources have told Asharq Al-Awsat. The speculations come shortly after Netanyahu’s tour with US Security Advisor John Bolton around the West Bank on Sunday, in which the Israeli premier insisted that any future agreement regarding Palestine must first guarantee an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley. In any future peace agreement, our position is that Israel’s presence here must continue – for the security of Israel and for the security of all,” Netanyahu said, speaking on Israeli military control of the valley. Netanyahu reiterated the importance of Israel’s interests in the area when he addressed his cabinet yesterday, announcing that the Israeli Army’s presence there “guarantees stability and security for the entire region.” Bolton commented on the idea, saying that, “it’s too bad… that more Americans can’t come to locations like this, see the geography, understand its significance, understand how it affects Israel’s critical security position, and explain why Israel has taken the view that it has.”


10 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike
MEMO 26 June — Ten Palestinian prisoners have begun open-ended hunger strikes to protest their detention conditions, according to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS). Ihsan Othman and Ja’far Izz Al-Din began their hunger strikes nine days ago to protest their administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial. Meanwhile, two brothers, Nour Al-Din and Mohyee Al-Din Shahrouri, began their hunger strikes to protest their poor detention conditions. On Sunday six administrative detainees, Mahmoud Al-Fasfous, Kayed Al-Fasfous, Ghadanfar Abu Atwan, Abdul-Aziz Sweiti, Saed Al-Nammoura and Wael Rabei, began hunger strikes. Currently there are around 5,152 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, with 479 being held in administrative detention, according to the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem.

UNRWA / Palestinian refugees

Donors pledge $110 million for UN Palestinian agency shunned by US
FRANCE 24 26 June — More than $110 million was raised Tuesday at a pledging conference to support the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, which has been struggling since the United States slashed funding. UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl said the funding would allow the agency, which provides education and health services to Palestinians, to cover costs for the coming months and avoid a budget crisis. Around 35 countries took part in the conference, mostly European and Arab nations, with the biggest contributions coming from the EU, Germany and Britain. The conference was held on the same day as President Donald Trump‘s administration unveiled the economic component of a long-awaited Middle East peace plan, at a workshop in Bahrain boycotted by the Palestinian Authority.  The US plan dangles the prospect of $50 billion of investment in the Palestinian territories and neighboring Arab countries over 10 years. Krahenbuhl told reporters that there was no clash between the UNRWA pledging event and the US-organised conference in Bahrain because “we deal with the realities of today.”….

Islamic Relief USA supports vulnerable Palestine refugee children in Gaza
UNRWA 28 June — In an atmosphere of ongoing hardship, thousands of vulnerable children living in the Gaza Strip are receiving a much-needed helping hand thanks to a generous donation from Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA). The contribution of US$ 2,670,000 will enable the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to implement the fourth phase of the “Support to Vulnerable Children” project, by complimenting and building on the previous three phases. The project aims to extend support to approximately 2,500 orphans and 700 children with disabilities through cash and in-kind assistance, capacity-building and psychosocial support that will help the targeted beneficiaries fulfill their basic needs and wellbeing requirements …  The psychosocial support sessions offered through the IRUSA project as well as in UNRWA schools provide a crucial mental health assistance to refugees struggling with increasing economic hardship and trauma from intermittent cycles of violence….

Palestinian refugees say Trump cannot bury right of return
BAQAA CAMP, Jordan (Reuters) 25 June by Suleiman Al-Khalidi — A U.S. Middle East peace plan is stirring anger and apprehension in Palestinian refugee camps around the region by raising the prospect that a long-cherished dream of returning to former homes in what is now Israel will be forever crushed. In camps around the region, Palestinians staged strikes, burned Israeli and U.S. flags and played nationalist songs from loudspeakers to protest against a plan they say could result in their permanent expulsion from ancestral homes … In the Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, refugees set fire to the U.S. and Israeli flags during a protest against the Bahrain conference. “It will not pass even if the entire world meets to impose it because the Palestinian people is unified in rejecting the sale of its land and cause,” said Fouad Othman of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine during the protest. Palestinian flags and banners attacking the U.S. initiative were held aloft during a protest in central Beirut against the plan. “The deal of the century is a failed attempt to erase Palestinian rights,” said one. “We reject the Bahrain conference because, unfortunately, it makes an offer to the Palestinians where they take some money – which neither the Americans nor the Israelis will pay, but some Arab and Gulf rulers – in exchange for the Palestinians selling their rights,” Hamas official Ahmed Abdel Hadi said….


Anti-Palestinian repression in Germany; Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat banned from speaking
IMEMC/Agencies 23 June — The repression of Palestinian rights advocacy in Germany continued last night, Saturday, 22 June, as Palestinian writer Khaled Barakat was banned by the Berlin authorities from delivering a speech on the so-called “deal of the century” spearheaded by Donald Trump and the Arab and Palestinian response. He was also banned from engaging in all political activities and events in Germany until 31 July, whether directly (in-person) or “indirectly” (over video.) This outrageous attack on freedom of expression is only the latest assault on Palestinian rights carried out by the German government. The event was originally scheduled to take place on Friday, 21 June, organized by an Arab community discussion group that regularly hosts speakers on important events in the Arab world. The city-owned venue reportedly received complaints about the event from pro-Zionist and pro-Israeli apartheid organizations, and informed the hosts that they could not hold the event. The event was instead relocated to a Sudanese community center on Saturday, 22 June. With the Bahrain conference to promote so-called “economic peace” at the expense of Palestinian rights expected in the coming days, the talk was of particular importance. However, without notice or explanation, there were large numbers of police stretching from the closest U-Bahn station to the venue and blocking the stree … Barakat was presented with an 8-page document and told that he was not allowed to give speeches in person or over video, participate in political meetings or events or even attend social gatherings of over 10 people; he was told that violations were punishable by up to a year in prison …  This incident comes amid an ongoing campaign by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, the so-called “anti-BDS ministry,” to attack Palestinian and solidarity organizations, especially leftists….

France Facebook deal could see BDS targeted
MEMO 26 June — A new deal between France and Facebook could potentially be used to crack down on French Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists on the social media platform. In a world first, France’s new deal with Facebook means information on users can be handed directly to the French judiciary, if requested, allowing it to bypass the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process. The new deal is being touted as part of the fight against “hate speech”. France holds some of the toughest laws on BDS; its “Lellouche Law” bans discrimination against persons of another country of origin and has previously been used to target BDS activists, seeing criminal convictions handed out for peaceful protests.

European trade unions urge governments to ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements
MEMO 28 June — Dozens of European trade unions have urged authorities to ban trade with Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). In a letter to the European Commission and European governments, the unions demand “effective action to bring an end to European complicity with human rights abuses associated with illegal Israeli settlements and to introduce a ban on economic activities with illegal Israeli settlements”. According to the European Trade Union Initiative for Justice in Palestine, the 34 signatories represent millions of workers across Europe, including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Belgium’s ACV/CSC Brussels and La Centrale Générale FGTB, as well as Britain’s Unison and Unite the Union. Although the European Union (EU) views Israeli settlements as illegal under international law, Brussels still allows Israel to export large quantities of products produced or partly produced in such settlements to Europe, providing direct support to the settlement expansion.

British Society for Middle Eastern Studies endorses Palestinian call to boycott complicit Israeli academic institutions
PACBI (UK) 24 June — We warmly salute the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) for voting overwhelmingly to support the Palestinian call for a boycott of complicit Israeli academic institutions. BRISMES joins a growing number of academic societies that are taking a stand for Palestinian rights by refusing to be complicit in Israel’s grave violations of international law. Israeli academic institutions play a well-documented role in not only justifying but also planning, implementing and maintaining Israel’s system of oppression that denies Palestinians’ basic human rights, including the right to education. This historic vote gives us hope. It is a beautiful act of meaningful solidarity with Palestinian students and faculty who face Israel’s institutionalised racism, armed raids on campus, military checkpoints and systemic attempts to undermine Palestinians’ basic right to education.   We urge international academic societies worldwide to take similar, effective measures in academia against racism and oppression.

Other news, opinion

Israel to deduct $3.9m from Palestine tax revenues
MEMO 28 June — The Israeli Execution Office has ruled that the finance ministry should deduct 14 million shekels (nearly $3.9 million) from the Palestinian tax revenues which Tel Aviv collects on its behalf and pay them to Palestinians who collaborate with the occupation. Israel’s Channel 7 reported that the amounts will be paid as compensation for Palestinians who were caught collaborating with Israel and subsequently held in the Palestinian Authority’s prisons. The channel added that the compensation is mandatory and will be paid to 52 agents after the Supreme Court’s approval. This comes only a day after a meeting between Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, his Palestinian counterpart, Shukri Bishara, and Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein Al-Sheikh, in which the officials discussed Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenues. In late March, Kahlon signed an order to deduct 42 million shekels ($11,578,350) from taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Berri: Lebanon will not be lured into settling Palestinians
IMEMC/Agencies 24 June — Lebanon will not be lured by a US plan to invest billions in the country, in return for settling Palestinian refugees, Lebanese parliament speaker, Nabih Berri said on Sunday (Jun 23). “Those who think that waving billions of dollars can lure Lebanon, which is under the weight of a suffocating economic crisis, into succumbing or bartering over its principles are mistaken,” Berri said in a statement from his office. “The rejection of settling Palestinian refugees who must have the right of return stands at the forefront of these principles,” he said, adding that “any investment at the expense of the Palestinian cause will not find fertile ground in Lebanon.”

Hamas condemns Bahrain minister’s comments on Israel
MEMO 27 June — A senior member of the Hamas Political Bureau has condemned comments by Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa that Israel is a “country to stay” in the region which should be recognised. Mousa Abu Marzook took to Twitter to say that the minister’s call for such recognition by Arab states proved that the goal of the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Manama is to destroy Palestinian rights and normalise ties with the Israeli occupation. The Hamas official reiterated his rejection of the workshop. According to the Bahraini Foreign Minister on Wednesday, the Manama conference could be a “game changer”. Speaking to an Israeli TV channel, Al-Khalifa added that the Manama summit could be like Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to occupied Jerusalem in 1977, which paved the way for the Camp David Accords and normalisation of ties between Egypt and the Israeli occupation. He confirmed that his country recognises the Israeli occupation state’s “right to exist” and that it wants “peace” with Tel Aviv.

Israel censures Chile president after Al-Aqsa visit
MEMO 26 June — The Israeli Foreign Ministry has rebuked Chilean President Sebastián Piñera for visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem in “violation of protocol and clear agreements,” Haaretz reported. Piñera yesterday visited Al-Aqsa while accompanied by Palestinian officials, which, according to the Foreign Ministry, went against an earlier agreement with Chile. They added that “one must separate between complete religious freedom, which Israel insists on upholding, and the maintenance of our sovereignty over the Temple Mount.” Foreign officials normally coordinate their visits to Al-Aqsa with Israeli officials. For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the “Temple Mount”, claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times. Al-Aqsa is administered by the Islamic Waqf but secured by Israeli police. Recently, there has been a surge of Israeli aggression in Jerusalem, with settlers storming the mosque under the protection of Israeli police and repeated bans for Palestinians.

Oman to open embassy in West Bank
MEMO 26 June — Oman has come under scrutiny recently for normalising relations with Israel — Oman announced today that it will open an embassy in the occupied West Bank. In a tweet, Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote: “In continuation of the Sultanate’s support for the Palestinian people, the Sultanate has decided to open a new diplomatic mission to the State of Palestine at the level of an embassy.” The announcement comes against the backdrop of today’s “Peace to Prosperity” conference in Bahraini capital Manama, during which the economic aspects of the long-awaited “deal of the century” are being discussed. The majority of Gulf states are attending the conference, despite the Palestinian factions’ appeal for Arab countries to boycott the summit in protest at the plan’s contents. Oman has come under scrutiny recently for normalising relations with Israel, with which it does not hold formal diplomatic ties. In a landmark visit, Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Bin Said in December received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Sultanate. Netanyahu subsequently boasted that, during the meeting, Bin Said had granted permission for Israel’s flag carrier airline El Al to fly over Omani airspace….

In Palestine and beyond, tear gas takes an environmental toll
Bethlehem, West Bank (Truthout) 28 May by Lewis Raven Wallace — In a garden just off the main drag in Bethlehem, a bright-eyed Palestinian man named Muhammad Saleh talked to a visiting group about a crate full of empty tear gas canisters. The canisters, manufactured in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, at Combined Systems, Inc., were a stark contrast to Saleh’s surroundings: dressed in a bright blue hoodie, he was serving visitors coffee and sage tea, showing off flowers and plants, ancient stone terraces, and jars of saved heirloom seeds behind a restored mansion called Dar Jacir that’s now a Palestinian-run art space. Emily Jacir collected the canisters here at Dar Jacir, her family’s home, which is frequently doused with tear gas … Saleh is the founder of Mostadam Ecodesign, and he helps Palestinians envision and build ecologically-based living spaces in multiple ways, including indoor plants and gardens, rooftop gardens, aquaponics, and vegetable gardening. Saleh’s vision of an ecologically sound and environmentally healthy Palestine is incongruous with many of the realities of life under occupation, including the omnipresence of tear gas … Saleh gestures downhill, toward a nearby refugee camp called ‘Aida, a densely packed stone and cement labyrinth. The camp is hit by tear gas so frequently, some of its rooftop gardens have burned and the plants destroyed … On average, tear gas is used inside a refugee camp in Palestine more than once every two days. Given the volume and frequency of tear gas used by both the Israeli and U.S. government, there is stunningly little research into the long-term health and environmental effects of its use….

US economic plan for Mideast peace met by harsh criticism
JERUSALEM (AP) by Josef Federman — When the Trump administration cut hundreds of millions of dollars of aid for Palestinians last year, the Parents Circle, a coexistence group of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families, lost 30% of its budget overnight. So members were shocked Sunday to learn that the White House is now using its photos in promotional materials for a U.S. peace plan that has been skewered by veterans of past Mideast peace efforts. “I think it’s one of the most cynical and insensitive acts,” said Robi Damelin, a spokeswoman for the group. While U.S. allies in the region have been cool to the plan ahead of a launching conference in Bahrain this week, former U.S. diplomats and Mideast experts criticized it for recycling past proposals, making unrealistic projections and ignoring Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank. “The Palestinians’ economic problem isn’t a lack of money; it’s a lack of liberty,” Aaron David Miller, a former senior Mideast adviser to Republican and Democratic administrations, wrote on Twitter,  quoting an attached article by journalist Bernard Avishai….

US’ Greenblatt: Illegal Israel settlements are ‘neighborhoods and cities’
MEMO 28 June — One of the top envoys to US President Donald Trump, Jason Greenblatt, has said that he prefers to call Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements “neighbourhoods and cities”. The US Special Representative for International Negotiations made the comments while addressing the “Israel Hayom Forum for US-Israel Relations,” which was held in Jerusalem yesterday. Discussing the prospect of peace between Israel and Palestine, Greenblatt said that “we might get there if people stop pretending settlements, or what I prefer to call ‘neighbourhoods and cities,’ are the reason for the lack of peace”.

Israel’s mockery of security: 101 definitions of occupation / Sam Bahour 30 Apr — I have given numerous talks on the state of affairs under Israeli occupation to groups visiting Palestine from all corners of the world. A large number of those talks were to Jewish-American groups — many participants being rabbinical students and mainstream Jewish influencers hosted by the U.S. not-for-profit Encounter — who traveled to Palestine for an Encounter Program. In a recent Encounter talk, one rabbi attentively listened as I made the same claim, Israel can take 101 actions tomorrow morning without jeopardizing security. He raised his hand and asked, where can we get that list? So, here it is. A quick compilation, with the generous assistance of several friends here in Palestine, and with a few items selected from the umpteen reports being published about the rapidly deteriorating state of affairs. This list is not intended to be comprehensive by any means, but rather a look beyond the daily headlines to give readers, especially those who have bought into the Israeli propaganda — hook, line and sinker — that this military occupation is all about “security” …
101 actions Israel could take:


1. Allow for free movement of goods to/from Gaza
2. Open the Erez [Passenger] Crossing to the West Bank 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the nearly 2 million Palestinian residents of Gaza
3. Permit Palestinians to tap their natural gas wells discovered in the sea of Gaza in 2000
4. Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s land
5. Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s territorial waters, expanding Gaza’s fishing zone
6. Allow access to the Gaza Strip’s air space, releasing 3G frequencies for wireless internet access for Gaza
7. Keep the Karm Abu Salem cargo crossing open (World Bank)
8. Allow solar panels into Gaza (World Bank)
9. Stop stripping Jerusalemites of their Jerusalem residency status
10. Eliminate arbitrary taxation regime being applied to Palestinians in East Jerusalem

Rights group: Illegal ‘admissions committees’ enforcing segregation in dozens of Israeli communities
MEMO 26 June — Dozens of Israeli communities are using ‘admissions committees’ to filter potential residents, in violation of the law. According to legal rights centre Adalah, the “committees in Israeli Jewish towns can reject potential residents based on ‘social suitability’, essentially enforcing de facto housing segregation between Jewish and Arab citizens”. The role of admissions committees is actually authorised by law for communities of up to 400 households, but a recent Knesset report revealed that at least 24 communities in the Galilee and Negev regions are operating the committees despite having grown larger than 400 households. Writing to Israeli officials, Adalah “emphasised its principled and resolute opposition to the existence of admissions committees – in general – as a mechanism of discrimination and humiliation” … “The purported ‘social and cultural fabric’ of these 24 communities is nothing more than a fiction designed to blur the main purpose of the admissions committee: the legalized implementation of racist segregation”, said Attorney Myssana Morany, coordinator of Adalah’s Land and Planning Rights Unit….

West Bank dash cams aim to cut accidents, improve driving
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Al-Monitor) 14 June by Ahmad Melhem — West Bank drivers: Smile for the camera and consider yourselves warned. The Palestinian Ministry of Transportation is equipping safety patrol vehicles with cameras to capture traffic violations on roads between Palestinian cities. Transportation Minister Assem Salem said in a May 28 press release the new approach is intended “to achieve a safe traffic environment and reduce road accidents, which kill or injure citizens and destroy their property.” Salem added, “The ministry, in cooperation with the traffic police, will impose a series of penalties and legal proceedings against violators of traffic laws.” Most notably, penalties will include withdrawing licenses, impounding vehicles and forcing offending drivers to take training courses….

HBO sets premiere date for show on events leading up to 2014 Gaza War
JPost 23 June by Hannah Brown — HBO just announced that it will release the premiere episode of a new series called Our Boys on August 12, which was created by Israelis Joseph Cedar, Hagai Levi and Tawfik Abu Wael. The series will be a 10-episode drama on the events leading up to the 2014 Gaza War, focusing on the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) investigation into the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian boy, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was abducted by Jews in revenge for the murders of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank. It will not focus on the case of the three Jewish teens, as was previously reported, but on the vengeful torture and murder of Khdeir, whose body was discovered in the Jerusalem Forest. Other cast members include Michael Aloni (Shtisel), Lior Ashkenazi (Foxtrot, Walk on Water), Shadi Mar’i (Fauda), Noa Koler (The Wedding Plan), Ruba Blal Asfor (Sand Storm) and Yoram Toledano (Echo). Although several Israeli-created television dramas have been popular internationally, Our Boys represents a breakthrough on several fronts. Firstly, it is the first HBO series to be filmed in Hebrew and Arabic. Secondly, it marks the first collaboration between HBO – the pioneering premium-cable network that began the revolution in high-quality television with such series as The Sopranos and The Wire, and which has continued its dominance in this area with the recent megahit, Game of Thrones – and Keshet International – the US-based, global production and distribution arm of the Israeli company, Keshet Media Group…. (listserv)