Update 2: ‘Hamas arrests ten persons believed to be behind the fatal bombings in Gaza’
IMEMC 29 Aug — Mousa Abu Marzouq, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, stated on Thursday that the security forces of the Interior Ministry in Gaza have arrested ten persons who are believed to be members of the cell that carried out the two bombings on Tuesday evening which killed three security officers. For his part, Eyad al-Bozom, the spokesperson of Gaza’s Interior Ministry, stated on Wednesday evening that the investigations are advancing and that the identity of those behind the bombing have been ascertained. He added that the bombings were carried out by two suicide bombers who detonated themselves at two police checkpoints and that they have been identified. Al-Bozom also said that the investigations are ongoing to identify the parties behind the bombings. He added that “those who carried out this cowardly attack are serving Israel’s interests by destabilizing the security conditions in Gaza”. Al-Bozom also said that the Interior Ministry in Gaza will be revealing all the details of this criminal attack to the public once the investigation is officially concluded. The slain Palestinian security officers have been identified as Lieutenant Salama Majed Nadim, 32, Lieutenant Wael Mousa Khalifa, 45, and Deputy Officer Ala’ Ziad al-Gharably, 32. It is worth mentioning that Ala’ is the brother of ‘Aahed Ziad al-Gahrably, who was killed by the Israeli army during the 2014 Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, while his brother Baha’ al-Gharably, was killed in an Israeli bombing targeting a Palestinian security center in 2008.
Islamic Jihad: No place for criminals, killers in Gaza
MEMO 29 Aug — Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad Ziyad Al-Nakhalah yesterday stressed that “there is no place for criminals and sinful killers in Gaza,” Quds Net News reported. Commenting on the murder of three policemen in two separate explosions in Gaza, Al-Nakhalah said: “There is no place in Gaza except for mujahedeen who practice jihad against the occupation for the sake of Allah.” He added: “The crime of targeting the security in Gaza Strip aims to stab the resistance in the back as the Palestinian police is the protector of resistance.” In addition, he said: “There are some Palestinians among us who … are working to destabilise Gaza.”
PCHR condemns the explosions targeting two traffic police checkpoints in Gaza City, demanding perpetrators be brought to justice
28 Aug — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns in the strongest terms the explosions targeting two traffic police checkpoints in Gaza City yesterday evening, killing three members of the traffic police and injuring 9 civilians including a woman. PCHR demands that the Gaza Strip Attorney General investigate the crimes and bring perpetrators to justice. According to PCHR investigations, two violent explosions occurred on Tuesday evening, 27 August 2019, at two separate traffic police checkpoints in Gaza city. The first occurred at 22:45 at al-Dahdouh Square, southern part of the city, and resulted in the killing of two police officers and the injury of three civilians including a woman. The second explosion occurred at 23:45 at a checkpoint along the Gaza sea corniche where one police officer was killed and 6 civilians sustained injuries. The Palestinian Ministry of Interior Affairs announced on its website that the three killed traffic and rescue police officers were: Lieutenant Salama Majed al-Nadeem (32); Lieutenant Wael Moussa Mohammed Khalifa (45); and police assistant Alaa’ Ziad al-Gharably (32). Additionally, three others were injured. The Ministry’s statement also assured that “security services have leads on those behind this obscene crime,” they also asserted that they are investigating the incident and will announce the results in due time. PCHR strongly condemns these crimes and appreciates the need for effective measures to reinforce security and avoid sliding into violence and security chaos;….
Analysis // Hamas takes extraordinary step to quell Gaza’s ‘angry youth’
(behind paywall) Haaretz 30 Aug by Amos Harel — Rare Islamic fatwa aims to put an end to independent actions against Israel — Something extraordinary happened in Gaza on Tuesday night. Three Palestinian policemen, Hamas people, were killed in two explosions that occurred at police checkpoints. A number of other people were injured. Later it emerged that the incidents were suicide attacks initiated by local activists, apparently people from a Salafi group linked to Islamic State. Organizations of this sort, which the Israeli security establishment calls “rebels,” rely in part on activists who quit Hamas (and to a lesser extent Islamic Jihad), due to frustration with what they see as restraint on the part of Hamas vis-à-vis Israel. The incidents reflect the magnitude of the ferment in Gaza with regard to the Hamas regime. Those same “angry youths” who Hamas accused of being behind a series infiltration attempts by armed cells, and sometimes lone operatives, from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, are also directing their anger at the government in Gaza. In response, Hamas’ internal security organization has embarked on a series of arrests of Salafi activists, whether on suspicion of involvement in these attacks or as a deterrent from additional moves against Israel. In the background, in recent days as well, operatives of the “rebel” organizations fired a small number of rockets at Israeli communities along the border with Gaza …
An unusual ruling on a point of Islamic law – a fatwa – issued by the Supreme Shari‘a Council in the middle of August can testify to current Hamas policy. The fatwa completely prohibits perpetrating any individual armed operations in the name of Islam – and relates clearly to the attempts to infiltrate Israel through the security fence and shoot at IDF soldiers deployed there. The committee describes the activists as individuals motivated in part by childish naivete. Others, it says, want to embarrass the Hamas government … A person who acts without authorization, ruled the council, will not be accorded the status of shahid (martyr) after his death. Hence, by implication, there is an economic threat – the Hamas government will not provide economic aid for the families of people killed in such incidents.
Palestinian young man shot at Gaza protest dies of injury
GAZA (PIC) 31 Aug — A Palestinian young man was proclaimed dead on Saturday morning after he succumbed to a bullet injury he sustained the day before when Israeli soldiers quelled a protest rally staged on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip. According to a local medical source, 25-year-old Bader Nabil Suliman Abu-Mousa, from al-Yabani neighborhood in Khan Younis, suffered a serious bullet injury in his head after an Israeli sniper shot him during his participation in a March of Return protest held on Friday in the east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Several Palestinian protesters suffered bullet injuries and from their exposure to tear gas fumes when the Israeli occupation forces violently attacked their border rallies on Friday.
PCHR: On 72nd Great March of Return: 94 civilians injured, including 25 children, a woman, 2 journalists and 2 paramedics by Israeli forces
Comprehensive Report by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR): On 72nd Great March of Return, 94 civilians injured as a result of the Israeli military’s continued use of excessive force against peaceful protests along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border; 25 children, a woman, 2 journalists and 2 paramedics were among those injured this Friday, 30 August 2019. Despite the decrease in the number of injuries among this week’s protesters, in comparison to last Friday, Israeli forces continued to exercise excessive force against Palestinians with the use of live ammunition and targeting the upper part of protesters’ bodies as PCHR recorded 46 injuries with live bullets this week, one deemed extremely critical [he later died; see above article]. The Supreme National Authority of Great March of Return and Breaking called for today’s protests under the slogan “In Commemoration of Our Martyrs,” as Palestinians commemorated the 5th anniversary of the 2014 Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip. The protests lasted from 15:00 to 19:00 and involved activities such as speeches by political leaders and theatrical performances. Dozens of civilians protested at varied distances from the border fence across the Gaza Strip. The protesters threw stones and firecrackers at Israeli forces, well-shielded hundreds of meters away; the latter responded with excessive force … The following is a summary of today’s events along the Gaza Strip border:….
Army shoots a Palestinian fighter in northern Gaza
IMEMC 30 Aug — Israeli soldiers shot and moderately injured, Friday, a Palestinian resistance fighter of the National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), in northern Gaza. The Palestinian was injured after the soldiers fired a barrage of live rounds at a site, run by the Brigades, in northern Gaza. In a statement, the National Resistance Brigades said the attack is part of Israel’s ongoing violations, and added that its fighters will continue to train and remain ready for any Israeli escalation, especially amidst the serious violations against the Palestinian people, not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem.
In addition, the Israeli army said that its soldiers arrested, on Friday evening, four Palestinians, who reportedly crossed the perimeter fence in the southern part of the Gaza Strip “carrying knives and grenades.”
Israeli army strikes Gaza after alleged mortar fire
IMEMC 27 Aug — The Israeli army stated, Tuesday, that it had fired missiles into what it called Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip, reportedly after four mortar shells were fired from Gaza, including three that did not make it across the perimeter fence, and one which landed in an open area across it. The army did not report any damage or injuries and added that siren system was activated before the shell landed in the open area, and that its war jets fired missiles at a Hamas-run observation post in retaliation. Media sources in Gaza said the bombarded post was a field office for the security forces of the Interior Ministry, in Juhr ed-Deek, in central Gaza.
It is worth mentioning that, on Monday, the army fired missiles into two Hamas-run posts in Gaza, among them an office building believed to be used by a senior leader of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the movement. The army claimed it was retaliating to shells from into the southern part of the country, causing no damage or injuries.
Israeli air force fires missile into northern Gaza
IMEMC 29 Aug — Israeli army war jets fired, on Wednesday evening, several missiles into a site run by the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in northern Gaza, causing damage. Media sources in Gaza said the missiles caused property damage but did not lead to casualties. The targeted Palestinian site is located in an area north of Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. On its part, the Israeli army said it was retaliating for a shell which was reportedly fired from Gaza, and landed in an open area, causing no damage or injuries.
Israeli PM cuts Gaza fuel transfers amid flurry of threats
JERUSALEM (AP) 26 Aug by Aron Heller — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military on Monday to cut fuel transfers to Gaza in half, in response to rocket attacks from the coastal strip, raising tensions along Israel’s southern border in addition to those stemming from a renewed threat from the north amid reported Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon … Netanyahu ordered the Gaza measure to take effect immediately and until further notice. The cut is expected to exacerbate the already dire flow of electricity in the impoverished coastal strip. By Monday afternoon, one of the three turbines at Gaza’s lone power plant was shut down, the strip’s electricity distribution company said, further scaling down production amid the shortages. The rotating blackouts for households, now on an eight-hour-on, eight-our-off supply schedule, would also see further disruptions, it said….
Video: Medicine shortage crisis in the Gaza
PCHR 29 Aug — Gaza Strip hospital face a drug shortage crisis. My name is Ahmed Salem Abu-Shabab, I have three children who suffer from galactosemia which requires them to use a special type of milk. This milk is unavailable in the Gaza Strip, and without it they suffer from nausea, diarrhea, and dehydration….
Israel stops 661 Gaza patients from traveling for treatment
MEMO 28 Aug — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said that Israel continued to impose severe restrictions on the movement of people in Gaza Strip during July, impeding 661 patients and reducing exports by 42.2 per cent. PCHR declared in a monthly report, Tuesday: “the Israeli occupation authorities refuse to allow most of the residents of the Gaza Strip to leave or return to it through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. However, it allows patients with serious health issues, subject to a lengthy and complicated process to obtain a pass and strict security measures, to pass through the crossing.” During the period covered by the report, the Israeli authorities prevented 661 patients referred to Israeli or to West Bank hospitals, including occupied Jerusalem. According to the report, the Israeli authorities justified denying patients the right to travel through various pretexts, including security reasons and request to change facilities, responses’ delay and request for new appointments and the patient’s request for a security interview. Israel continued to ban the export of products from the Gaza Strip, except for minimal quantities, mostly agricultural products.
War and poverty drive Gazans to seek better life in Europe despite dangers
GAZA, Aug 29 (Reuters) by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Shaban Khalaf’s advice to any other Gazans thinking of heading to Europe in search of a better life, as he did, is blunt: don’t bother – it’s not worth the danger and the expense. Khalaf should know. Despairing of ever finding a decent job in Gaza, where the economy is near collapse, the journalism graduate flew to Turkey via Egypt in June 2018 and tried no fewer than 18 times to cross into Europe, mostly by boat. “One time a naval boat hit ours, our boat flipped and we almost died,” said Khalaf, 25, adding that each time Turkish or Greek authorities would send them back to Turkey’s shores. By February this year he had given up and returned home to Gaza, much poorer for his ordeal after having paid off the people smugglers who had tried in vain to get him to Europe. “I don’t advise people to leave unless a job is waiting for them there. It is better to stay and die with their families in Gaza than to throw themselves into the unknown, or die in the sea,” he said….
Weather-proofing and upgrading homes of poor families in Gaza: an oPt Humanitarian Fund success story
UN OCHA 27 Aug — Sou‘ad and Ali are a Palestinian couple from Tall As Sultan refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, who struggle to provide adequate living conditions for their eight children. Until recently, their home was overcrowded and allowed no privacy, as most rooms, including the bathroom, were only separated by curtains. It also had only limited access to water and electricity, making life especially difficult during extreme weather conditions. In 2017, their eight-year-old daughter, Nour, had an accident that left her with severe back injuries that require special care, making the family’s life even tougher. “My heart would bleed when I saw my children’s mattresses all soaked with water from the leaks which came with cold, rainy nights,” Sou‘ad recalls. She could hardly find free space to cook and bake because rodents were living in the house. “There were bad consequences on the family’s health,” she notes. “It was a hard time,” Ali recalls. “I registered my family at the Ministry of Social Development [to get help] and I regularly followed up on my application.” In 2018, their application was accepted, and through funding received from the Humanitarian Fund for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt HF), they could finally afford to repair the house. Similar emergency cash aid was given to another 85 families….
Preview of ‘Gaza Fights for Freedom’
Trofire 26 Aug by Abby Martin — [Here is a] Sneak peek of our debut feature film, Gaza Fights For Freedom, now streaming! An Empire Files collaboration with Gaza journalists exposing Israeli crimes & Palestinian resistance. Watch the full documentary at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/gazafights.
Settlers assault, injure farmer near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, Saturday, August 31, 2019 (WAFA) – A Palestinian farmer sustained injuries in the head today when he was brutally assaulted by extremist Jewish settlers near the village of Artas, south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, local sources said. Settlers from the Israeli settlement bloc of Gush Etzion reportedly broke into the farm of Ayman Khalil Sa‘ad, who comes from Artas, while working in the farm near the village. As Sa‘ad attempted to prevent the settlers from raiding his own farm, the sources said, the latter assaulted and beat him, causing him bruises in the face and eye. He was moved with moderate injuries to a nearby emergency center for treatment.
Army seals entrance to Beit Ummar
IMEMC/Agencies 31 Aug — Israeli occupation forces, today, sealed the main entrance to the town of Beit Ummar, to the north of Hebron, according to witnesses. The army shut , with a metal gate, the entrance to the town, forcing Palestinians to use longer routes to enter or exit the village. Human rights group have long condemned Israel for imposing restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, describing the restrictions as the main tool which Israel uses to enforce its policy of occupation and control over the Palestinian population.
Israel intensifies attacks on Palestinian activities, institutions in East Jerusalem
MEMO 26 Aug — Israeli authorities have been intensifying their attacks on Palestinian activities and institutions in occupied East Jerusalem, reported Al-Monitor, citing a number of recent incidents. On 5 August, Israeli forces prevented a memorial service for the Palestinian writer Subhi Ghosheh from taking place at the Yabous Cultural Centre, assaulting participants and summoning a number for interrogation. The next day, Israeli forces stopped a ceremony from being held in honour of the late athlete Ahmad Adilah at The East Jerusalem YMCA, while on 17 August, a lecture on the Israeli demolition of Jerusalemite homes at the Burj Luqluq Social Centre Society was also shutdown. According to the report, these actions are a result of Minister of Internal Security Gilad Ardan’s 5 August order “to extend the closure of Palestinian institutions in the city and prohibit any cultural or political activities held by Palestinian organisations”. “The decision deems such events terror activities that violate Israeli sovereignty and laws in the city”, Al-Monitor added. Ziad al-Hammouri, director of the Jerusalem Centre for Social and Economic Rights, himself interrogated on 8 August, said such steps were “a prelude to the enactment of an Israeli law that sentences any Jerusalemite with ties to the PA [Palestinian Authority] to up to three years in prison in an effort to clamp down on Jerusalemites”. Adnan al-Husseini, a member of the PLO Executive Committee in charge of Jerusalem affairs, told Al-Monitor “that the Israeli harassment and actions in East Jerusalem are becoming more severe in the wake of the Jerusalem-related US decisions”.
Israeli soldiers injure many Palestinians near Jerusalem
IMEMC 28 Aug — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday evening, the town of al-‘Issawiya, east of occupied Jerusalem, and injured several Palestinians, including a woman who was wounded in her eye, in addition to causing property damage. Media sources said the soldiers invaded many neighborhoods in al-‘Issawiya, and fired rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades at local protesters, and at many Palestinian cars and homes. The sources added that one woman was injured in one if her eyes after the soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets at her car while driving. The soldiers also surrounded a mosque in the town, and attacked dozens of Palestinians, in addition to firing gas bombs and rubber-coated steel bullets at them, causing many injuries. One of the wounded Palestinians is an elderly man who was attacked and pushed by the soldiers before they threw him onto the ground. In addition, the soldiers surrounded the home of Mohammad Obeid, 21, who was killed by Israeli army fire on June 27th, and prevented the Palestinians from entering or leaving it, in addition to occupying rooftops of several surrounding homes. The soldiers forced the residents to remove Palestinian flags and posters of the slain Palestinian, in addition to detaining several young men. The latest attacks took place less than twelve hours after the soldiers invaded the town and conducted extensive and violet searchers of homes and other property, including cars and stores.
Army invades Betunia and Ein ‘Arik near Ramallah
IMEMC 28 Aug — Several armored Israeli military jeeps invaded, on Wednesday evening, Betunia town and Ein ‘Arik village, west of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and fired gas bombs and concussion grenades, in addition to invading homes. Media sources in Ramallah said many army jeeps invaded Betunia town and fired a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades at Palestinians, protesting the invasion. The soldiers also searched a few homes and stores in the town, before withdrawing without conducting any arrests. In addition, the soldiers invaded Ein ‘Arik nearby village, and invaded many homes in the al-Borj area, before confiscating surveillance recordings.
Israel closes Ibrahimi Mosque, installs surveillance cameras in Beit Jala
MEMO 30 Aug — The Israeli army yesterday closed the doors of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, preventing Palestinians from entering under the pretext of Jewish holidays, and installed surveillance cameras in Beit Jala. The Israeli army closed all military checkpoints and electronic gates leading to the Ibrahimi Mosque and prevented citizens and residents of the area from crossing to reach the mosque for prayer or visit. The Israeli occupation forces have also prevented Palestinian civilians from reaching their homes in the outer courtyards of the mosque. The closure will continue until 10 pm, on the pretext of allowing settlers to celebrate Jewish holidays. The Head of the Public Relations Office of the Waqf and Islamic Endowment Department in Hebron, Raed Maswada, said that the occupation forces closed the Ibrahimi Mosque in the face of Muslim worshipers, and allowed the settlers to desecrate the holy site. He added that the colonists had set up tents in the outer courtyards of the mosque.
Israel arrests Palestinian girl as she returns from treatment in UAE
MEMO 30 Aug — The Israeli occupation forces last night arrested a Palestinian girl as she returned to her home in the occupied West Bank from the UAE. Local sources told the Palestinian Information Centre’s reporter that the Israeli forces stopped Mariam Abu Obeid, a resident of the West Bank city of Jenin, at Al-Karama crossing and detained her. Abu Obeid, who was on her way back home following medical treatment in the United Arab Emirates, was arrested for no apparent reason.
Fatah official’s brother among eight detained from West Bank
JENIN, Tuesday, August 27, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Tuesday overnight detained at least eight Palestinians, including the brother of a Fatah official, from various parts of the West Bank. Local sources confirmed that Israeli military vehicles raided Jenin refugee camp, where soldiers detained Daoud Mohammad Zubeidi, whose brother, Zakaria, is a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. Zakaria was a leading member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing, during the second intifada but was later given amnesty by Israel in a deal reached with the Palestinian Authority. In the northern West Bank, Israeli forces rounded up four Palestinians Qalqiliya district, including three from Kafr Qaddum town, east of Qalqiliya city. In Ramallah district, security sources confirmed an Israeli military raid in Beit Liqya town, south of Ramallah city, resulting in the detention of a Palestinian. During the raid, Israeli soldiers ransacked a blacksmith workshop and seized its equipment. In Jerusalem district, Israeli police rounded up two Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiya.
Fatah official, undergraduate student among 16 Palestinians detained from West Bank
HEBRON, Thursday, August 29, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces early today detained 16 Palestinians, including a Fatah official and a female undergraduate student, from several parts in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS). PPS confirmed in a statement that Israeli forces detained 11 people from the southern West Bank district of Hebron district. Security sources elaborated that Israeli military vehicles stormed Yatta town, where soldiers detained five Palestinians, including Nabil Abu Qbeita, who serves as secretary-general of the Fatah movement in Yatta. Security sources added that one of the 11 detainees is from Surif town, west of Hebron. Elsewhere in the southern West Bank, PPS said that two Palestinians were rounded up from Bethlehem district. Security sources identified the two detainees as residents of al-Azzeh refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. In Jerusalem district, PPS confirmed an Israeli military raid in Qalandiya refugee camp, north of Jerusalem city, resulting in the detention of a Palestinian. The detainee was identified as Mays Abu Ghosh, a female senior student enrolled in Birzeit University. Soldiers detained Abu Ghosh after ransacking her family’s house and seizing her computer in the camp. PPS said that another Palestinian was detained in a similar military raid in al-Ram town, north of Jerusalem. In the northern West Bank, PPS confirmed a similar overnight military raid in Yaabad town, west of Jenin, resulting in the detention of a former prisoner.
Army invades Silwanic media center, summons its director for interrogation
IMEMC 28 Aug — …Jawad Siyam, the director of Silwanic and a senior nonviolent activist in Silwan, said the soldiers and police officers stormed the center, and summoned him for interrogation, which will be held next Tuesday. Siyam added that the police is alleging that he installed a wooden shed without obtaining a permit from the City Council, although the structure was built in 2009. He also said that the invasion into the media center is part of Israel’s violations against Palestinian media outlets, especially since Silwanic exposes the ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinians, their homes and properties, not only in Silwan, but in all areas of occupied Jerusalem. It is worth mentioning that the invasion is not the first of its kind against Silwanic, as the soldiers and police officers repeatedly stormed the media center and conducted violent searches.
Call for volunteers: Olive Harvest 2019
International Solidarity Movement 25 Aug — At a time of regular settler violence in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to join us for the 2019 Olive Harvest Campaign at the invitation of Palestinian communities. The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been bulldozed, uprooted and burned by Israeli settlers and the military — over half a million olive and fruit trees have been destroyed since September 2000 — harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance. Despite efforts by Israeli settlers and soldiers to prevent them from accessing their land, Palestinian communities have remained steadfast in refusing to give up their olive harvest. ISM volunteers join Palestinian farming communities each year to harvest olives, in areas where Palestinians face settler and military violence when working their land. Your presence can make a big difference, with Palestinian communities stating that the presence of international volunteers reduces the risk of extreme violence from Israeli settlers and the Israeli army … The harvest will begin in early October and run until mid-November. We request a minimum 2 week commitment but we ask that if possible, volunteers could stay as long as they can….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Netanyahu orders new settler homes at fatal attack site
Jerusalem (AFP) 26 Aug — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ordered hundreds of new settler homes to be built near the site of a bomb attack that killed an Israeli teen in the occupied West Bank. The homemade bomb on Friday near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Ramallah, killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb and wounded her father Eitan and brother Dvir in what the military called a terror attack. Israeli security forces have detained a number of Palestinian suspects but say the investigation is still under way. An English-language statement from Netanyahu’s office said he ordered that plans be submitted at the next meeting of planning authorities for “the establishment of a new neighbourhood in Dolev with approximately 300 new residential housing units”. Settler leaders often say after attacks on Israelis that the right response is settlement growth.
Israeli bulldozers level Palestinian land west of Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM, Thursday, August 29, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli bulldozers today leveled Palestinian land in Wadi al-Makhrour, located to the west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem. Hassan Breijeh, a local anti-wall and settlement activist, said that Israeli bulldozers started leveling Palestinian land in Wadi al-Makhrour, a step which lays the groundwork for the construction of a one-kilometer tunnel that would connect the Gush Etzion settlement bloc with Jerusalem … Wadi al-Makhrour, a valley that stretches between Battir village and Beit Jala city, is a popular hiking spot for Palestinians. It is best enjoyed during the late afternoon in the summer when the sun is about to set. According to the online portal for Palestinian tourism, www.visitpalestine.ps, the area encompasses both natural and agricultural landscapes and is well known for its ancient terraces and stone towers called qusur, built of neatly placed rocks that used to serve as storage rooms for various crops planted in the wadi … Israeli forces have been targeting Wadi al-Makhrour seeking to forcefully displace the indigenous Palestinian residents from their land for Jewish-only settlement expansion. The largely Christian city of Beit Jala is flanked by Gilo and Har Gilo settlements to the north and northwest.
Israeli army destroys road students in West Bank village use to get to school
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, August 28, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli army bulldozers destroyed today a road the al-Tira village council had opened a year ago to facilitate movement of students to their school and back as well as movement of residents in general, according to Abdul Jaber Mohammad, head of al-Tira village council located to west of Ramallah. He told WAFA that Israeli bulldozers razed the road that was rehabilitated about one year ago in order to make it easy for village residents to go to their lands and for students to reach their school located near a major highway, noting that Israeli forces declared the area a closed military zone and prevented people from accessing it before proceeding to destroy the road … He stressed Israel wants to build a road in that area to connect the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Horon to the highway that connects Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
Right-wing Israeli activists block new school for Bedouin village
MEMO 26 Aug — The Israeli government has moved to stop construction of a school in an unrecognised Bedouin Palestinian village, after pressure from a notorious right-wing group, reported Haaretz. According to the report, a Finance Ministry department that enforces planning and building laws has issued the stop-work order for the high school at al-Zarnug in the Negev. In recent days, Haaretz stated, pro-settler group Regavim “has put pressure on the authorities to halt the school’s construction”. “Obviously, building a school for the local population is an act that makes illegal settlement more permanent”, Regavim said. “Moreover, it gives residents an erroneous message that the state is shirking its responsibility for enforcing planning and building laws in this area, in contrast to its commitment in court”. The local regional council had already begun building the prefab school, with work due to be finished before the opening of the new school year … The village of al-Zarnug has a population of several thousand, whom the Israeli state ultimately plans to forcibly relocate to Rahat. Regavim argues that “public buildings should not be built on land slated for evacuation”, a position supported by the director general of the Authority for Development and Settlement of the Bedouin, Yair Maayan.
Israel destroys homes of Palestinian village in Negev desert for 156th time
BETHLEHEM (PNN) 31 Aug — Israeli occupation authorities have made hundreds of Bedouin Palestinians homeless after demolishing their village in the Negev region for the 156th time, Palestine’s news agency says. Eyewitnesses said the Israeli authorities demolished on Thursday the crude homes and tore apart tents in the Bedouin village of Araqib in the occupied territories, displacing its residents. The authorities then dragged the debris and remains of the shelters out of the village. They also plundered chairs, pillows, mattresses and other belongings and pieces of furniture from the villagers. Just like the previous times, Israeli forces, equipped with demolishing machinery, stormed the impoverished village and forcibly removed the residents from their homes before wreaking havoc on everything. Al-Araqib is one of several Bedouin villages in the Negev desert, which are “unrecognized” by the Israeli regime. Araqib, with about 220 residents, was demolished for the first time on July 27, 2010, but the village has since been rebuilt dozens of times by its residents and activists….
Following pressure from KKL, Israel razes Palestinian buildings near Bethlehem
Times of Israel 27 Aug by Jacob Magid — Israeli security forces demolished a family’s home and restaurant near Bethlehem on Monday, ending a nearly 15 year-long legal battle against the Palestinian locals led by a subsidiary organization of KKL-JNF Jewish National Fund. The razing of the Cassia family’s compound followed a High Court of Justice ruling last month that rejected the Palestinians’ last ditch petition against the demolition orders. The Cassia family claims to have owned the property for generations. To prove ownership, they provided Israeli authorities with a so-called malia document, which shows property tax payment from when Jordan controlled the West Bank. However, the Defense Ministry on several occasions over the past two decades rejected their requests for building permits, saying the tax paper was not enough to prove ownership under Israeli law … In 2017, Himanuta, a KKL-JNF branch organization known for purchasing lands in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, joined the state’s legal efforts against the Cassias, coming forward with documents showing that they purchased the land in 1969, which the court accepted as legitimate. The Peace Now settlement watchdog cast doubt on Himanuta’s purchase, citing the family’s insistence that they never sold the land to anyone. Moreover, the left-wing NGO argued in a Sunday statement that the area between Bethlehem and Jerusalem does not have land registration records and the rare real estate transactions that have taken place in recent decades have been done according to inaccurate listings, which often result in errors in delineating property borders….
Ex-Israel security officials warn against annexation of West Bank
MEMO 28 Aug — Senior members of the Israeli intelligence community have expressed concerns over the far-right views amongst large sections of the Israeli Knesset. In a letter sent to members of the US Congress yesterday, 25 former Israeli senior security and defence officials warned against Israel’s annexation of the West Bank and thanked US lawmakers for endorsing the two-state solution to the Israel- Palestine conflict. Their letter appears to have been a response to a separate letter sent over a week ago by members of the Israeli Knesset to US lawmakers warning that a two-state solution is “far more dangerous to Israel” than a global campaign to boycott the Zionist state. It was signed by 21 Knesset members and come on the heels of a resolution passed by the US Congress last month. Known as House Resolution 246, the bill rejected the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel but also explicitly called for the establishment of a Palestinian state. After thanking the US lawmakers for their overwhelming support against BDS the 21 Knesset members criticised their endorsement of a Palestinian state: “We believe it contains a grave error because it expresses, among other things, support for a so-called ‘Two-State Solution,’ meaning the establishment of a ‘Palestinian state’ in the heart of tiny Israel… We would like to make our position clear that the establishment of a Palestinian state would be far more dangerous to Israel than BDS.” Yesterday’s letter however warned against the extreme rejectionist stance of the Knesset members….
‘This place is only for Jews’: the West Bank’s apartheid springs
(behind paywall) Haaretz Magazine 30 Aug by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — Settlers have taken over dozens of springs in the West Bank, all of them on private Palestinian land, and are keeping the owners away. Rina Shnerb, a Jewish teen, was murdered last week at one of them — ….And what could be more moving than the sign next to one of these springs of salvation: “Dear hikers, Welcome to Anar Springs, built thanks to an intensive effort by the youth of [the nearby settlement of] Niria. Lovers of this place, we have one small request: to dress in a way that respects all visitors, based on consideration for the needs of the Other. We built the site for your sake and for the sake of the people of Israel. Our goal is for everyone to hike and enjoy the springs together.” The heart swells at the words “lovers of this place,” “consideration for the needs of the Other,” “enjoy the springs together.” Mankind is happy, nature is spectacular, but this spring, like all the others like it in the West Bank, was stolen from its owners. Robbed. Plundered. With a stomach-churning crudeness and violence. The “everyone” and the “consideration” – those words refer to Jews only. In these apartheid springs, stolen waters shall not be sweetened. Palestinian owners of these lands can only look on despairingly from the windows of their homes at their neglected olive groves, which they were forced to abandon to the insatiable greed of the lords of the land, and at the gushing springs nearby that were also stolen from them. The groves are gone, the springs are gone, justice is gone. And all, of course, under the aegis of the state and its institutions.
According to Dror Etkes, the founder of Kerem Navot, an organization that studies Israeli land policy in the West Bank, there are today more than 60 springs in the central West Bank that settlers coveted and seized as part of a project of plunder that began 10 years ago. The landscaping and renovation work at about half of them has been completed, the dispossession made absolute, the Palestinians blocked from even approaching the springs and their lands. Other springs targeted by the settlers are in various stages of takeover. Etkes explains that the seizure of the springs is part of an ambitious plan of a far larger scope – to take control of the remaining open spaces in the West Bank. This is being done by way of creation of bathing areas and hiking trails, designation of graves of Jewish spiritual figures as “holy sites,” and development of picnic sites, all on Palestinian-owned private land. The aim: to isolate the Palestinian villages, instead of isolating settlements, and of course to seize more and more land….
Video: Palestinian community denied access to water in occupied West Bank
MEE 28 Aug by Huthifa Fayyad, Sulaiman Lkaderi — Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank are denied access to water flowing out of their lands while residents of illegal Israeli settlements nearby are using it.
Nine detainees continue hunger strike in Israeli prisons
IMEMC 27 Aug — Nine Palestinian detainees held by Israeli in several Israeli prisons are ongoing with hunger strikes protesting being held under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders without charges or trial, in addition to protesting continued solitary confinement and demanding medical treatment. One of the detainees, Hotheifa Bader Halabiyya, 28, from Abu Dis town, east of occupied East Jerusalem, started the strike 57 days ago, protesting being held under Administrative Detention orders that are constantly renewed without charges or trial. Halabiyya continues his hunger strike despite his deteriorating health condition, especially since he has Leukemia, and requires specialized medical attention … In related news, detainee Wajdi al-Awawda, 20, from Doura town, has suspended his strike, which lasted for 27 days, after the Israeli Prison Authority agreed to provide him with the medical treatment he needs.
Resisting occupation: Engaged to a man jailed by Israel
MEMO 28 Aug — A Palestinian man who is being held in an Israeli occupation jail had his engagement party held in the occupied West Bank yesterday with his new fiancé vowing to wait for his release to be married. Asmaa Al-Barghouti, from the outskirts of the West Bank city of Ramallah, was engaged to Mohammed Al-Barghouti who has been sentenced to 18 years in jail, Al-Watan Voice reported. Families of the bride and groom, relatives and friends gathered in Al-Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah and organised the engagement party. Born in January 1985 in the village of Kafr Ein, Mohammed was arrested by the Israeli occupation on 27 December 2006. He worked with the Palestinian Authority’s national security services. He is currently being held in Al-Naqab Prison. Layla Ghannam, Ramallah’s governor, attended the celebration and said: “His sentence is going to end soon.” She said this such events are a new form of resistance against the occupation.
UNRWA / Palestinian refugees
UN Palestinian refugee agency seeks donations as funding slips
GAZA (Reuters) 27 Aug by Nidal al-Mughrabi — The head of a U.N. agency supporting Palestinian refugees, which is under an investigation over suspected internal misconduct, said on Tuesday it still needed $150 million in donations to keep it operating until the end of this year. Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium had suspended their contributions to the organization while the U.N. inquiry was under way. “Our (2019) budget for all UNRWA operations in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon is $1.2 billion. At this moment we have a remaining shortfall of $150 million,” Krähenbühl said. … An UNRWA spokeswoman said on Tuesday that Krähenbühl was notified last March that an investigation was underway by the U.N. Secretariat in New York “based on allegations received against UNRWA personnel relating to unsatisfactory conduct”. She did not elaborate. At the news conference, Krähenbühl urged all parties to await official findings, pledging: “We will not only act on them, we will abide by them.”….
New Zealand suspends funding to Palestinians through UNRWA
MEMO 28 Aug — The government of New Zealand has withdrawn and suspended funding to the United Nations’ (UN) aid agency which provides support for Palestinians. The country’s suspension of aid and financial contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is to be implemented until the release of a report by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services in October, which would detail allegations of misconduct, corruption, links to terror groups, and anti-Semitism that have been leveled against the agency … The move by the island nation is in stark contradiction to its recent announcements that it will provide more aid to the agency and to Palestinians, such as in November last year when it vowed to increase its support to UNRWA and in May this year when it assured its commitment to back the organisation until at least 2021. This shift in financial policy and the withdrawal of aid comes amid an ongoing campaign to deprive the UNRWA of funding and support from a variety of Western nations, most prominently the United States (US) when the Trump administration withdrew its funding for the agency last year….
46,000 refugee students return to UNRWA schools across West Bank
JERUSALEM, Thursday, August 29, 2019 (WAFA) – This week, 46,000 refugee girls and boys began the 2019-2020 school year in the 96 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Students at the Silwan Girls’ School in East Jerusalem were particularly excited to go to school, not only to see their friends, but also because their school, as many others, was renovated over the summer holidays with generous support from the Saudi Fund for Development. “Opening the new school year in Silwan was an important moment for a community of Palestine refugees who otherwise see little hope on the horizon. UNRWA activities serve as an anchor and provide some stability in their lives,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, who joined the pupils of the Silwan Girls’ School today. “Education lies at the very heart of the UNRWA mandate and the children I met today are a powerful reminder that this investment is absolutely essential.” … Krähenbühl said, “During every visit to an UNRWA school in the West Bank and East Jerusalem one is impressed by the unique commitment of Palestine refugees to education and the acquisition of knowledge.”….
Jewish newspaper apologizes to pro-Palestinian charity
IMEMC/Agencies 30 Aug — A London-based, pro-Israel newspaper suffered embarrassment this week, as The Jewish Chronicle published a public apology and agreed to pay damages to a pro-Palestine charity, after falsely accusing it of supporting terrorism. The Palestinian Relief and Development Fund, also known as Interpal, is a British-charity which provides relief and development aid to Palestinian refugees in occupied Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. The Israel-supporting paper published the apology on Friday over an article it released in March 2019 titled: “Corbyn spoke at conference calling for release of terrorists.” “We accept that neither Interpal, nor its Trustees, have ever been involved with or provided support for terrorist activity of any kind. We apologize unreservedly to the Trustees for any distress caused. “Following the apology, Interpal’s reputation has now been rescued but this story has raised new questions about The Jewish Chronicle, who seem to have form in libeling and defaming British Muslim organisations and pro-Palestine activists. The language used in these articles can create negative consequences for those targeted.”
Statement on ‘postponement’ of Regavim London talk due to activist pressure
ISM 30 Aug — Yesterday, UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) announced the “postponement” of a talk by extremist pro-settler group Regavim in London due to opposition from British, Israeli, and Palestinian activists. Regavim, which receives funding from the Israeli government, is not only anti-Palestinian and openly racist, but also lobbies for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank and destruction of their homes and schools, in clear violation of international law. A range of voices have been raised in opposition to Regavims visit including the International Solidarity Movement, Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Stop the Demolitions, with criticism also coming from Yachad UK and New Israel Fund. In the words of Regavim General Director Meir Deutsch, the protests planned against Regavim’s London lecture “represent a whole new level of cooperation between…organizations operating in Israel and abroad with Palestinian organizations” … While Regavim’s propaganda lecture has been postponed, it is still planned to take place at a later date, while on the ground in Palestine Regavim continues to lobby for the demolition of Palestinian communities and eviction of UNESCO from Jerusalem. We call on those committed to human rights, international law, and justice in the Middle East to continue to oppose both Regavim’s attempts to propagate its extremist views and discriminatory organizations like UKLFI that play in supporting role in Regavim’s destructive actions.
BDS calls for boycott of AnyVision, Israel’s ‘field-tested’ facial recognition surveillance company
IMEMC/Agencies 31 Aug — The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is calling for the boycott of AnyVision, Israel’s facial recognition technology firm, due to its irrefutable complicity in Israel’s occupation and repression of Palestinians. The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) calls for boycotting AnyVision, Israel’s facial recognition technology firm, due to its irrefutable complicity in Israel’s occupation and repression of Palestinians. AnyVision profits from Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and exports its repressive surveillance technology globally. With offices in Tel Aviv, New York, Mexico, London, Belfast and Singapore, the company was founded in 2015 and has quickly gained investments, contracts and joint ventures with the Israeli military, governments and companies internationally. Human Rights Watch has called on Microsoft to review its investments in AnyVision given the “human rights risk associated with the investment in a company that’s providing [facial recognition] technology to an occupying power.” AnyVision violates Microsoft’s own principles on facial recognition because they provide technology used for unlawful surveillance. HPE, which supplies servers to Israel’s population control registry, a pillar of its apartheid system, uses AnyVision facial recognition technology in its servers. Spanish telecommunications transnational Telefónica and G4S also use AnyVision’s technology. The city of Nice, France, surveils citizens with AnyVision and entry to the London stadium was surveilled by AnyVision last summer.
AnyVision plays a direct role in Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, which includes Israel’s illegal wall and military checkpoints….
Hydro-Québec ends collaboration with Israeli power firm
EI 29 Aug by Ali Abunimah — Activists in Quebec are celebrating after their national electricity company declined to renew an agreement with its Israeli counterpart. “This victory is important for us in Quebec,” John Philpot, an international lawyer and a member of the Coalition BDS Québec, told The Electronic Intifada. “We in Quebec are proud of succeeding in our solidarity campaign in support of the Palestinian people, victims of the Zionist and colonialist occupation of their homeland.” In May 2017, the national power generator Hydro-Québec and the Israel Electric Corporation signed a “partnership agreement” to share “best practices” in the field of cybersecurity. At the time, Hydro-Québec board chair Michael Penner claimed it was “an extraordinary opportunity for Hydro-Québec to join forces with a company with world-renowned cybersecurity expertise.” But campaigners saw it as a collaboration with a state company that is deeply complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights and international law. The Israel Electric Corporation exploits Palestinians, a captive market due to military occupation and colonization. It also supplies and profits from Israeli settlements built in the occupied West Bank. Construction of such settlements is a war crime.
Palestinian minister returns over $80,000 in secret bonuses
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 26 Aug — The Palestinian Authority says Finance Minister Shukri Bishara has returned $81,600 in secretly approved bonuses that sparked public outrage when they came to light in June. The PA’s statement Monday said other ministers promised to return lavish payouts granted in 2017 and revealed in recently leaked documents. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas approved a measure to raise salaries for Cabinet members by 67%, which was retroactively applied to 2014 when the Cabinet took office, and inflated the exchange rate to give them a further premium. The revelations drew criticism from Palestinians in the West Bank, where Abbas’s Palestinian Authority has slashed salaries for government employees amid a deepening fiscal crisis after Israel stopped delivering tax revenues earlier this year.
Israel bans far-right candidates for racism against Arabs
DW 26 Aug — Israel’s Supreme Court banned two candidates from a far-right religious-nationalist party from running in the upcoming snap general elections in September. The judges barred Benzi Gopstein and Baruch Marzel, both prominent politicians in Jewish Power (Otzma Yehudit), or for inciting racism against Arabs. Gopstein is also known as the head of the anti-assimilation Lehava organization, which seeks to prevent intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews and discourages the hiring of Palestinians and other Arabs. However, the court stopped short of banning the entire party list … Jewish Power is a far-right political party that holds anti-Arab and ultra-nationalist positions. It has called for the annexation of the West Bank, transferring “enemy” Arabs to neighboring states, the dominance of religious law, and is against the formation of a Palestinian state. It is descended from the outlawed far-right Kach party, led by Rabbi Meir Kahane until his assassination in 1990. Marzel was considered Kahane’s right-hand man….
Arab leader seeks to shake up Israeli election
JERUSALEM (AP) 30 Aug — The leader of the main Arab faction in parliament has shaken up Israel’s election campaign by offering to sit in a moderate coalition government — a development that would end decades of Arab political marginalization and could potentially bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ayman Odeh’s offer to back Netanyahu’s chief opponent, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, for prime minister reflects the growing desire of Israel’s large Arab minority to take a more active role in shaping the country. It also challenges the longstanding norm that Arabs are out of bounds as political partners with the Jewish majority. If Odeh can generate excitement and boost Arab turnout, it could be enough to tip the scales in Israel’s fractured political landscape and finally topple Netanyahu, who has long incited against Arab political leaders and questioned their loyalty. “The truth is we could be the real deciding factor in this election,” Odeh told The Associated Press this week. “Without us the right-wing government will not be replaced. We can’t do it alone, but without us it can’t be done.” Netanyahu forced the Sept. 17 election after failing to put together a ruling majority after April elections. It is the first time Israel has held two elections in the same year and has many parties, including Odeh’s, scrambling to avoid their mistakes of the April vote. Whether the repeat election becomes a watershed moment for Israel’s Arabs depends largely on the response to Odeh’s historic call for inclusion. Israeli Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of the country’s 9 million citizens, have largely been marginalized politically since the founding of the state in 1948….
Palestinians to file complaint over Honduras Jerusalem move
RAMALLAH (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 29 Aug — The Palestinian foreign ministry said Thursday it would file a complaint at the United Nations against Honduras, after the Central American state recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern part of the city as the capital of their future state. US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state in December 2017, breaking with decades of international consensus that the city’s status should be decided in peace talks. Both Washington and Israel have since encouraged other countries to take similar steps. So far only Guatemala and Paraguay have transferred their embassies, and Paraguay later reversed its decision. On Tuesday, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez announced that his country would open a diplomatic office in Jerusalem. The mission will be an extension of Honduras’ Tel Aviv-based embassy, but Hernandez said Tuesday it was “recognition that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.” In a statement Thursday, the Palestinian foreign ministry confirmed it would submit a formal complaint against Honduras to the UN General Assembly. It called the decision a “direct aggression” against the Palestinian people and a “blatant violation of international law and legitimacy.”….
Merkel meets Palestinians’ Abbas for talks in Berlin
BERLIN (AP) 29 Aug — Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Germany continues to believe a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only way for both peoples “to live in peace and security.” Merkel stressed her support for a two-state solution ahead of talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Chancellery in Berlin. “We appreciate Chancellor Merkel’s efforts to create multilateral cooperation aside from unilateral solutions to create stability and peace in the world,” Abbas said. He stressed the importance of Germany’s role in the Middle East and thanked the country for its financial support for Palestinians’ health services, education and the strengthening of civil society. Germany is one of the biggest donors to the Palestinians having given them some 110 million euros ($121.8 million) in 2018.
US won’t release Middle East peace plan before Israeli election
Al Jazeera 28 Aug — The United States will not release the long-delayed political portion of its Israeli-Palestinian peace plan before Israel’s elections next month, White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt said on Wednesday. The move, announced in a tweet by Greenblatt, keeps the plan’s details from becoming an issue in the election, in which the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of US President Donald Trump, is at stake….
Success: Illinois University reverses ban on Palestine event
IFK 29 Aug — A community group in Rockford, Ill., that had been blocked from renting space for an event featuring Israeli-American activist and author Miko Peled successfully held their event on Saturday after Palestine Legal intervened. In June, the Truth Squad of Rockford attempted to rent an auditorium at the University of Illinois Health Sciences Campus-Rockford for their August 3rd event. Though the space was available for use, the campus refused to rent it to the group after learning the topic of the event, An Israeli’s Search for Peace and Justice in Palestine. An administrator informed the community group that campus’s head of communications and regional dean had decided that they “would not be able to make the space available to [the group] for that activity.” Palestine Legal explained to the administrator that because the campus had opened up the space to off–campus groups for a diverse range of events, it could not refuse to rent space to the Truth Squad of Rockford simply because of the viewpoint the event was expressing. The First Amendment prohibits public entities like the University of Illinois from engaging in viewpoint or content-based discrimination. The university counsel agreed and allowed the event to move forward. Peled spoke on August 3rd to an audience of approximately 125 people, describing the realities of racial segregation in Israel and Palestine. Organizers reported that they were approached by many audience members after the event, expressing surprise at what they had learned and thanking them for bringing Peled to speak to their community.
Republican delegation tours settlement businesses in West Bank
MEMO 26 Aug — A Republican delegation toured settlement businesses in the occupied West Bank last week, according to a report by pro-settler media outlet JNS. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) reportedly met with Israeli settlers and a number of Palestinian business leaders in the occupied West Bank. The executive director of trip coordinator, US Israel Education Association, Heather Johnston, claimed that she had witnessed a “paradigm shift” in the senior members of Congress. “Speaking to Israeli and Palestinian members of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce, they got a totally different narrative from the one in the news or the one told by political leaders who have taken sides,” Johnston told JNS. The delegation visited Hebron and the Ariel settlement industrial park, among other locations, in a trip designed to undermine the case for a boycott on the basis that West Bank settlements produce economic benefits for occupied Palestinians, an argument refuted by mainstream economists.
Orwellian surveillance of Tohono O’odham Nation – a test case for entire US border?
The Real News 28 Aug (Video with transcript) — Will Parrish tells the story of how Israeli surveillance techniques originally developed to control Palestinians are now being used on Indigenous land near the border to control migrants, and could be expanded to the entire nation — MARC STEINER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Marc Steiner. Great to have you with us. The ability to monitor every aspect of our lives, seeing every moment in minute detail, is something out of Orwell’s futuristic warnings, but it’s being played out on our own borders, on the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Arizona on the US-Mexico border. And it’s being carried out with Israeli technology, was honed on its own separation wall, and is being used by the Customs and Border Protection agency. It’s known by its acronym CPB and it watches not just the border, but even our own American citizens. In an extensive study published by The Intercept, Will Parrish reveals how the Israeli company Elbit Systems developed technologies, which were then procured by CPB to invade the privacy of the Tohono O’odham people themselves….
Convicted RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan stabbed in California prison – reports
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) 30 Aug by Alex Dobuzinskis — Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian refugee found guilty of shooting U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy to death in 1968, was wounded in a stabbing at a California prison on Friday, according to media reports. Celebrity website TMZ, citing unnamed sources, was first to report that Sirhan, 75, had been stabbed. Replying to a request for confirmation that Sirhan was wounded, Jeffrey Callison, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said an inmate had been stabbed at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility near San Diego. The wounded inmate was taken to a hospital outside the prison and is listed in stable condition, Callison said in a statement, and a suspect has been identified in the assault. In a follow-up email, Callison declined to identify the wounded inmate as Sirhan, citing department policy on not naming victims….
Harvard University student from Palestine denied US entry
Al Jazeera 28 Aug by Saba Aziz — A Palestinian student and incoming Harvard University freshman was barred from entering the United States after the teenager said he was questioned for hours by US immigration officials about his religious practices and friends’ social media activities. Ismail Ajjawi, a 17-year-old refugee living in Lebanon who was awarded the Hope Fund undergraduate scholarship by US non-profit Amideast, landed at Boston Logan International Airport on Friday before being sent back. In a statement to Al Jazeera, Michael McCarthy, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman said Ajjawi was “deemed inadmissible to the US based on information discovered during the CBP inspection” … Ajjawi said he was questioned by immigration officials for hours, with one asking him to unlock his phone and laptop for further screening. “After the five hours ended, she called me into a room and she started screaming at me. She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend’s list,” he told the Harvard Crimson newspaper….