Israeli army says foiled infiltration attempt by heavily armed Gazans
Haaretz 10 Aug by Yaniv Kubovich — An attempt by heavily armed Palestinian militants in Gaza to enter Israel was thwarted early Saturday, the military said. All four armed men were shot dead after one crossed the border and fired at troops as well as tossing a grenade, according to an army statement, which said the militants were armed with AK-47 assault rifles, hand grenades, and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said “a very large attack” had been prevented. The militants’ remains are in Israeli custody, the army said. Manelis further said that the incident was clearly an infiltration attempt by an organized cell, whose members were equipped with weapons and food. The military was still assessing whether the cell planned to target troops or civilians, he said. He further stated that all the men had been wearing uniforms, but that they were of different types, and that it was obvious that forces in Gaza tasked with preventing crossing of the border made no attempt to do so. Manelis added that it is Hamas’ responsibility to prevent such crossings. It was not immediately clear who was behind the infiltration attempt, with defense sources saying that the number of people and weapons involved suggested it was not spontaneously organized, but rather planned by a group in Gaza opposed to the policies of the enclave’s rulers. The sources added that it was unlikely that an attack with this level of preparation could have been planned without Hamas or Islamic Jihad being aware of it.
In the hours preceding the military’s announcement, Palestinian reports on social media said Israeli aircraft had struck a Hamas observation post in the central Gaza Strip …
Last week, the military said three soldiers were shot and wounded by a Palestinian who infiltrated the Gaza border fence east of Khan Yunis. According to the Israel Defense Forces, the Palestinian, was subsequently killed by Israeli fire. IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said Hani Abu Salah was wearing a Hamas uniform and armed with an AK-47 and grenades. Preliminary investigations assessed that the suspect acted independently.
Security forces make deadly use of crowd control weapons in Gaza
B’Tselem 6 Aug — Open-Fire Policy — From the beginning of the Great March of Return protests on Land Day, 30 March 2018 until the end of June 2019, Israeli security forces killed 216 Palestinians, 43 of them minors, and wounded thousands, the vast majority with live ammunition. However, security forces also make deadly use of crowd control weapons, including tear gas canisters which are not designed to hit people directly. At least seven of the Palestinians killed died as a result of a teargas canister hitting their head or face directly. Four of them were minors. According to the OCHA Protection of Civilians Database, as of 28 June 2019, more than 1,600 Gaza protestors arrived in hospital with injuries resulting from direct teargas canister hits, more than a third of them in the first three months of 2019. Teargas canisters are a crowd control weapon with a firing range spanning 100 meters to several hundred meters, in the case of extended range canisters. They are designed to be non-lethal and the open-fire regulations, at least officially, as well as use instructions, forbid firing them directly at people due to the grave danger involved. In the past few months, B’Tselem’s field researchers in the Gaza Strip collected testimonies from protestors who were injured by teargas canisters and eyewitnesses. These testimonies indicate that security forces routinely fire teargas canisters directly at protestors, in contravention of the regulations. The testimonies also indicate teargas canisters are fired from elevated positions, relative to the perimeter fence (earth embankments, or the roofs of military jeeps), or through gaps in the fence itself. B’Tselem has documented direct firing of teargas canisters in the West Bank, which resulted in severe injuries and killed at least two people … Case histories: Muhammad Fseifes, 21, injured in head – 31 May 2019….
Child injured by occupation boat whilst fishing in northern Gaza
(MENAFN – Palestine News Network) PNN/ Gaza 5 Aug — Israeli occupation boats targeted fishing boats in the west of Al-Baidar area in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, injuring a child who was on a boat that was hit directly with water from the water pump. Zakaria Bakr, the head of the Palestinian Fishermen Union in Gaza, said that at 4:00 am Israeli military boats opened fire with water pumps at two boats that were fishing for sardines 6 miles off the coast of the Northern Gaza strip. Bakr said that as a result force of the water pump, the young fisherman Abdullah Mifleh Abu Reala was knocked unconscious. He was taken to Shifa Hospital. The boat was damaged and two generators were found in the sea. Bakr also noted the loss of 12 paddles belonging to fisherman Mohsen Khalil Abu Reala caused by the impact of the water on the small fishing boat.
Fisherman abducted by Israeli navy while sailing off Gaza shore
GAZA, Monday, August 05, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli navy abducted today a Palestinian fisherman while sailing off the Gaza shore and was taken to an undisclosed location, according to fishermen. They told WAFA that the Israeli navy opened fire at several fishing boats that were sailing six nautical miles off the Gaza coast, surrounded one boat and detained a fisherman identified as Awad Tareq Bakr. Earlier today, an Israeli navy ship shot at and opened its water hose at fishing boats in the area causing serious damage to two boats.
Two Palestinians arrested in south of Gaza Strip
5 Aug by Ali Salam — The Israeli occupation forces, Sunday at dawn, arrested two Palestinian citizens south of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli website 0404 reported that the Israeli forces arrested two Palestinian youths on the Gaza border, while they were attempting to infiltrate into the 1948 occupied territories. It stated that the two detainees, who were taken for interrogation, were carrying a grenade and a knife.
Arson balloon attacks on southern Israel resume
Israel Hayom 8 Aug by Gadi Golan — A fire that broke out on Wednesday in the Gaza-adjacent Simhoni forest was the result of an arson balloon flown over the Gaza border fence, an arson investigator from the Ashkelon Fire and Rescue Service determined on Wednesday. The incident marked the first fire in the area to be caused by an arson balloon from Gaza in about a month.
Gazans too poor to afford sheep for Eid sacrifice under blockade, Israel cash row
GAZA (Reuters) 8 Aug by Nidal al-Mughrabi — Ali usually marks the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha with his family in the Gaza Strip by sacrificing a sheep, a customary annual ritual for those who can spare the cost. But this year the 49-year-old police officer says he cannot afford to buy an animal for the “feast of the sacrifice” holiday, which begins next week, after the Palestinian Authority halved his salary five months ago. “I have slaughtered a sheep every year … but this year there is no way I can. I am ashamed,” said the father of five, who declined to give his last name. Gaza has suffered under years of blockade by Israel and Egypt, which cite security concerns for restrictions the World Bank says have severely damaged its economy. Nearly 80 percent of the enclave’s 2 million residents rely on some form of aid and over half are unemployed. Ali said that in March, the PA cut his monthly salary in half, leaving him with of 1,500 shekels ($431). A sheep costs around $500 … The territory’s livestock breeders and farmers say they are desperate for customers ahead of the Islamic holiday, which commemorates God’s testing of Abraham’s faith by commanding him to sacrifice his son. “This year I brought only 40 cows and so far I haven’t even sold half of them,” said Gaza farmer Mohammad Al-Balawi. He says he normally sells 500 each year to people who may also split the animal’s 9,000 ($2,600) shekel price. “I have not seen a year as bad as this in my life,” he said.
Five years after Gaza war, dead soldier’s parents still long to bury him
JERUSALEM (JTA) 6 Aug by Marcy Oster — It has been five years since Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed by Hamas terrorists and his body was dragged through a terror tunnel back into Gaza. His family hasn’t given up hope of giving him a “decent burial.” Goldin was killed on August 1, 2014, two hours into a cease-fire during Operation Protective Edge, the third Gaza war in six years. Hadar’s twin brother, Tzur, also was serving in Gaza during the 2014 war, commanding the rescue force that evacuated soldiers who had been wounded or killed. He got the call to rescue Hadar, but was called back when officials realized it was his brother … Days after his body was abducted into Gaza, Hadar Goldin was declared dead by Brig.-Gen. Raffi Peretz, the IDF’s Chief Military Rabbi at the time. Peretz determined that the IDF had recovered enough of his remains to determine that he could not have survived. Hamas also holds the body of soldier Shaul Oron, killed days before Hadar Goldin….
Israel still holding the bodies of 253 slain Palestinians
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Aug — Israeli occupation authorities are holding the bodies of 253 Palestinians in the “numbers” cemetery and 45 bodies in refrigerators, the National Campaign reported, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency. The coordinator of the campaign, Salwa Hammad, said in a statement, Monday, that the official and popular efforts are ongoing until the return of the bodies, noting efforts to raise awareness of their cause, internationally. They announced the 27th of August as the national day of commemoration, and have organized many popular activities to celebrate this day, calling for their return. Occupation authorities are still holding some 253 bodies in private graves, in what is called the “Numbers Cemetery”. The occupation had buried 4 of the bodies in these graves after keeping them in refrigerators. Authorities have been holding Palestinian bodies for many years, using them as a means of returning their captures soldiers from Gaza. The Knesset approved, in February of 2018, a law which attempts to justify this act, with the primary reading; 57 members in favor, 11 against,11 abstentions. The law gave Israeli occupation police the right to hold the bodies and impose conditions on funeral ceremonies, as well as the location and manner of any burial. Under the draft law, Israeli police are not required to return any bodies unless they are given some form of assurance that the funeral will not present a chance to support “terrorism and incitement”. The numbers cemetery is a closed military site. The tombstones are marked with numbered plates instead of names. Access to them is prohibited, for relatives and human rights institutions.
Gazans struggle to protect antiquities from neglect, looting
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip (AP) 7 Aug by Fares Akram & Khalil Hamra — Walid al-Aqqad’s Gaza home would be the envy of many an antiquities collector. Pieces of Corinthian columns greet visitors in the backyard. Inside, hundreds of ancient pots and other artifacts hang on the walls or are arranged helter-skelter on shelves. They are remnants of five millennia of Gaza’s history, from the Bronze Age to the Islamic caliphates and on down to the years of Ottoman and British rule in the 20th century. A sliver of land on the Mediterranean, Gaza was a major trade route between Egypt and the Levant going back to ancient times. But decades of uprisings, war and political turmoil have inflicted a heavy toll on its rich archaeological heritage, exposing it to looting and destruction … Hamas has done little to protect Gaza’s antiquities and in some cases actively destroys them. In 2017, Hamas authorities leveled large parts of Tel Es-Sakan, the remains of a 4,500-year-old Bronze Age city, to make way for construction projects. Ayman Hassouna, professor of history and archaeology at Gaza’s Islamic University, blames Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas equally for not protecting the territory’s cultural heritage. He says Israel confiscated artifacts from archaeological digs in the decades it occupied Gaza and did little to prevent antiquities trafficking. Palestinian authorities governing Gaza since 1995 have “attacked many archaeological sites — either intentionally or not,” he said. He also blamed a lack of awareness among Gazans of the importance of preserving antiquities and leaving ancient sites undisturbed. “When they find something, they would hide it or build over it,” he said. Antiquities plundering and trafficking also remains a problem, said Heyam al-Bitar, an archaeologist with Gaza’s ministry of tourism and antiquities….
PHOTOS: Here’s what tourists might see if they were allowed to visit Gaza
National Public Radio (US) 8 Aug by Daniel Estrin & Abu Bakr Bashir — It’s not easy to find a tour guide in Gaza. Even clerks at the local Tourism Ministry, a vestige of the 1990s that remarkably still exists, struggle to recommend professional guides, before suggesting a man who hasn’t led tourists around for 20 years. Ayman Hassouna seems delighted to spend a sweltering day in a suit jacket, showing off the historical sites, colorful markets and delicious grilled fish of his native Gaza — among other unexpected gems made even more precious by the reality that most people in the world are unable to experience them. Gaza used to be an ancient crossroads connecting Arabia to Europe and, in more recent years, a magnet for international visitors exploring the Holy Land. Today this narrow strip on the Mediterranean Sea is one of the most isolated spots on Earth … There is much to see in Gaza. Here’s what Hassouna points out in one day:….
Israel confiscates shoes claiming they are for terrorist purposes
Palestine Chronicle 3 Aug — The Israeli military was mocked on social media after announcing that it had foiled a “terror” operation by confiscating boots headed for Gaza. The unbranded boots, which Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) claimed were “military shoes”, were in a shipment of other goods entering the besieged Gaza Strip … COGAT claimed the shoes are a “miserable and failed attempt by terrorist groups in Gaza” – a claim that was quickly dismissed. Real army boots are made out of heavy, waterproof material and are designed and laced up to support the ankle of the soldier.
Feature: Gazans celebrate Eid al-Adha amid hard living conditions
[with photos] GAZA (Xinhua) 7 Aug — Muslims in the Gaza Strip are preparing to celebrate Eid al-Adha, or the Festival of Sacrifice, amid hard living conditions caused by economic, political and social crises. Eid al-Adha is celebrated by Muslims worldwide in memory of Prophet Abraham’s deed of nearly sacrificing his own son as ordered by God. Although the holiday is approaching, Gaza’s markets lack the typical decorations associated with the feast, and despite that the markets are packed with goods, most customers don’t have the means to buy even the most basic products, including bread, rice and meat. Al-Zawia market is considered as the biggest and most crowded one in Gaza. But a large number of customers flocking there on a daily basis only do some window shopping. “I see the goods in the market, but I cannot buy anything from the shops because of the high costs and I do not have the money,” Halima al-Shaikh, a local resident, told Xinhua while she was buying a dress from a street vendor. Halima doesn’t believe that the enclave will see better days, pinning the blame on the politicians and the ongoing rift between them. “In the past, women used to spend a week preparing for the Eid. Now, however, there is no more festivity. Days seem to be mundane,” she said. Another customer, a mother of six, said that she has stopped celebrating the Eid since 2007. “My children are looking forward to the holiday but I cannot bring them what they want, which ruins the holiday spirit.”….
The tragedy of Gaza’s children
GAZA CITY (Project Syndicate) 8 Aug by Kevin Watkins — Wrapped in her mother’s arms in a crowded doctor’s surgery, Muna (not her real name) looks at first glance like any baby waiting to be weighed by a nurse. Look more closely, however, and you see why medical staff at the Ard El-Insan pediatric clinic in Gaza are worried. Muna is nine months old, but she weighs under five kilograms – barely the normal weight for a healthy six-week-old baby. “This is heartbreaking, but it’s now normal,” a doctor tells me. “Every day we see over 50 cases of children with malnutrition, and the numbers are rising.”… Children like Muna, and their mothers, are bearing the brunt of the crisis. Earlier this year, Save the Children, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme conducted a survey to document the nutritional status of women and children in vulnerable communities across the Gaza Strip. The results were shocking. Around one in five pregnant women were malnourished. Child malnutrition, although still below emergency levels, has risen fourfold since 2014. And an alarming 40% of children covered by the survey were suffering from diarrhea or acute respiratory infection – potentially lethal diseases for young bodies weakened by hunger. Humanitarian aid to Gaza is, quite literally, a lifeline. It keeps over half the population from going hungry….
Slideshow: Gaza amputees take their challenges to the pool
albawaba 4 Aug — Young Palestinian amputees train in a Gaza City swimming pool under the instructions of Majdi al-Tatar. Tatar, who lost his right leg after a road accident during his childhood, trains Palestinians who lost their limbs during the ongoing conflict with Israel and help them maintain physical activity through the Palestine Children Relief Fund, a non-governmental organization providing physical and psychological services for disabled children in Gaza Strip. Any sport… is a great way to rehabilitate people and get people back into society. More than 6,500 people have been shot by Israeli forces during a year of weekly mass protests along the Gaza border, according to Palestinian figures. More than 125 have had amputations and many others are permanently disabled. Photos by SAID KHATIB / AFP
Plastics in the Gaza Strip are both a curse and a blessing
Nat’l Geographic 7 Aug by Miriam Berger & Heidi Levine — The tiny coastal enclave of Gaza, roughly the size of Detroit, is one of the world’s most densely populated places … Here, the focus is not on whether to ban plastic straws or not, but rather how to survive with them … And yet despite the dire state, Gaza’s plastic recyclers are at the forefront of work to stave off economic, humanitarian, and environmental collapse. In recent years a new culture and economy have risen up around recycling plastics: from collecting and cleaning to sorting and repurposing, people have created direly needed business opportunities. “People reuse everything because they have nothing,” says Ahmed Hilles, Director of the National Institute for Environment and Development in Gaza City. “The [Israel] siege and the closure of the border here in Gaza push recycling to become more and more.” At the same time, years of bombardments and neglect have created cracks in landfills that leach decomposing plastic toxicants into the groundwater. Under blockade by neighboring Israel and Egypt since 2007, Gaza’s plastics, like its people, are stuck with few ways out … The buzzing Ramlawi plastics factory in a dilapidated industrial zone east of Gaza City is a local success story.
A cuisine under siege: how Israel and Hamas have left Gazan food on the chopping board
The National 7 Aug by Miriam Berger — Besieged Gaza these days tastes like the bare minimum for getting by: bread, lentils and rice, with a growing slice of hunger and thirst. The palate of this tiny enclave along the Mediterranean Sea was not, of course, always this way. Historically a nexus for trade between Africa and the Middle East, Gaza’s rich cuisine developed a distinction for hearty dishes and spicy flavours. With a mastery of seasonings like cumin, sumac, nutmeg, dill and hot pepper, Palestinians in Gaza perfected the art of sayadiyah, a fish-based rice turnover, rumaniyya, sour pomegranate, lentils and eggplant stew, and spicy chopped tomato dagga Gazan salad. Influxes of Palestinian refugees after 1948 from what is now Israel brought new culinary techniques and preferences. It also heightened food as an identity maker for a stateless and displaced people … Today though, Gaza’s foodways – and the political and economic networks intertwined with them — are rotting through … “Gaza has been transformed from a fertile, productive and sustainable territory into a radically impoverished political powder keg, with no autonomy and at the brink of ecological disaster, through a combination of physical violence and economic destabilisation,” Ms Haddad and Ms Schmidt write. So it is that food aid is now a defining feature of Gaza’s cuisine…
From war to watercolours: ‘Art prodigy’ Malak Mattar brings Gaza to Washington
MEE 7 Aug by Sheren Khalel — It was 2014 and bombs had begun falling in the Gaza Strip. Malak Mattar was 13 years old, but it was not her first war. It was her third. Planes buzzed overhead, the ground shook and giant plumes of smoke rose into the sky, marking Israel’s latest target. It was all too much for Malak. “I needed to keep myself busy,” said Malak, now 19. “Because, in war you never know if you’ll end up alive or dead and you see everyone around you and know that in a second their life could be over. So basically, you look for a distraction.” She needed to find an internal sanctuary from the chaos, so she gathered paper and watercolours and began creating a work of art that would set the trajectory of her future. She painted a serene and bright girl whose body stretched up from the ground, arms spread wide over a landscape of muted rubble, the sun rising over the horizon, large and hopeful in the background. “It shows that there is something protecting us, and that something, that woman, is Palestine,” she told Middle East Eye in an interview at her latest gallery opening in Washington, DC. “The painting showed the hope and faith we all have in Palestine and the belief that whatever happens, we will be protected by Palestine,” she said….
Photos: Palestinian farmers harvest thyme at farm in Gaza City
Xinhua 5 Aug — Palestinian farmers Mohammed Farina (L) and his uncle Ahmed Farina harvest thyme at their farm, in Gaza City, Aug. 5, 2019. Mohammed, 32, launches a specialized thyme farm in Gaza City. This year, about 11 tons of dried thyme are expected to be produced after the harvest.
Humanity’s search for normality amid the chaos that is Gaza
Irish Times 9 Aug by Donald Clarke — Early on in the making of Gaza, Garry Keane and Andrew McConnell’s excellent documentary on that troubled locale, Keane asked a resident how they got through the day. “We have three phases in Gaza,” the man said. “We prepare for war. There’s the war. There is mopping up after war.” Keane shakes his head sadly. “It’s that constant cycle of war. It’s just this constant horrible cycle,” he says. Yet there is more to the documentary than suffering. Keane and McConnell’s film goes among a wide array of inhabitants – a teacher, a young musician, a fisherman, others – to demonstrate how everyday lives function amid the chaos. A hit at the Sundance film festival, the picture buzzes with life and humanity …
Initially the project raced along. McConnell found himself in the middle of the 2014 Israeli-Gaza conflict and shot 120 hours of footage that yielded just a traumatic eight minutes for the film’s grim closing sections. “We never wanted to make a war film,” Keane explains. The Irish Film Board (now Screen Ireland) was sufficiently impressed to offer funding. Brendan Byrne, a highly respected filmmaker, came on to produce for Fine Point Films and they were away. But the boys soon found themselves dragged down by a curious undertow. “I don’t know how to put this, but invisible hands were closing doors left, right and centre,” he says cryptically. He can’t leave it at that. What exactly does he mean? “What I mean by that is the pro-Israeli lobby had a strong influence in terms of film and funding. We would get so far and then it would go up the line and suddenly all correspondence would stop. All regular sources dropped off one by one.”….
West Bank / Jerusalem
Settlers attack Palestinians across the West Bank after Israeli soldier death
WEST BANK (ISM) 9 Aug — Israeli settlers launched a series of violent attacks against Palestinians across the West Bank last night, smashing car windows and assaulting an elderly man. Attacks took place simultaneously in multiple locations between 22:00 and 24:00 on the night of August 8, near the illegal settlements of Ofra, Efrat, Howara and Kiryat Arba, suggesting the attacks were coordinated. An elderly Palestinian man who was attacked by settlers throwing rocks at Howara checkpoint near Nablus said he “would have been killed” if he had stopped driving. He was treated for wounds on his shoulder and neck. Settlers smashed the windows of Palestinians’ cars near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, the same place where just last month soldiers dragged a Palestinian family, including a 1-year-old baby, out of their car and beat them. ISMers saw Israeli soldiers protecting settlers in Kiryat Arba last night as they vandalized Palestinian property. The attacks continued today with settlers burning feed and hay bales in a village in the South Hebron Hills. Activist group Good Shepherd Collective said: “Israeli settlers burnt the animal feed and hay bales of Khaled A‘mour in Adirate village in the South Hebron Hills, spray painting “Revenge” in Hebrew to make it a clear sign who was responsible. These price-tag acts of violence are routine, particularly during the election cycles where right-wing political parties are vying for the extremist support often stoke the flames.” The latest round of violence follows the death of a settler soldier, Dvir Sorek, outside Kibbutz Migdal Oz near Bethlehem … Earlier yesterday, hundreds of occupation forces raided the village of Beit Fajar and the Al Jalazone refugee camp as part of the massive manhunt to find those responsible for the settler’s death. The Israeli far-right has called for settlement expansion in retaliation.
IDF arrests 4 suspects in deadly West Bank stabbing attack
Times of Israel 10 Aug — The Israeli military arrested four suspects overnight Friday-Saturday in the Palestinian village of Beit Kahil in the southern West Bank, amid an ongoing manhunt for the killers of 18-year-old Dvir Sorek. Sorek was found stabbed to death in the predawn hours on Thursday outside the settlement of Migdal Oz, where he was studying in seminary. According to reports in the Hebrew-language media citing Palestinian media, three Palestinian men and one woman [Wafa: all from the Asafrah family] were arrested in the Saturday morning raid by Israeli security forces on suspicion of their involvement in the killing. One suspect’s car was also seized, according to reports. The arrests come on the heels of a first arrest on Friday morning, in which a 29-year-old suspect from the Palestinian village of Beit Fajjar, near Migdal Oz, was taken in for questioning during a house-to-house operation in the town. The suspect is reportedly the owner of the car believed to have been used in Wednesday’s attack. … Two of the largest Palestinian terror groups — Hamas and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad — praised the stabbing and indicated it was a response to a recent wave of East Jerusalem demolitions carried out by Israel last month. Neither group claimed direct responsibility. In a statement, Hamas said it praised “our people’s heroic fighters who carried out the heroic operation that killed a soldier in the occupation’s army.” …Hazem Qassim, a spokesperson for Hamas, told the Gaza-based Shehab news outlet that the attack was proof of the failure of security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority security forces. The cooperation is seen as a key component to Israeli security operations in the West Bank and is seen as a bulwark against Hamas….
Stone-hurling settlers attack Palestinian property south of Nablus
NABLUS, Tuesday, August 06, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Tuesday overnight hurled stones at a Palestinian house and wedding hall in ‘Urif village, south of Nablus, said a local activist. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said that settlers stormed the village, where they threw stones and empty bottles at a villager’s house and wedding hall, smashing some of their windows. The house owner is Jamal Abdullah Shehadeh. No injuries were reported though in the attack. The settlers reportedly came from Yitzhar, an illegal settlement inhabited by hardcore fanatic Jews. Israel imposes harsh penalties on Palestinian stone throwers, as it passed legislation in 2015 allowing for up to 20 years in prison if charged with throwing stones at Israeli vehicles … Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
Palestinians perform Friday prayer in Wadi al-Hummus in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Friday, August 09, 2019 (WAFA) – Dozens of Palestinians performed the weekly Friday prayer outdoors today in Wadi al-Hummus area, in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, in protest of Israel’s demolition last month of several homes for their proximity to the Israeli segregation barrier in the area. On July 22, Israel demolished 10 Palestinian-owned buildings in Sur Baher’s Wadi al-Hummus area and displaced dozens of Palestinians in the process, many of them children. The demolition received wide scale condemnation. The claim was that the buildings presented a security risk to Israel’s so-called “security barrier”, also known as the apartheid wall, 85 percent of which runs through the Palestinian occupied territories cutting and dividing Palestinian land and communities.
Wounded among four Palestinians detained in al-‘Issawiya
JERUSALEM, Saturday, August 10, 2019 (WAFA) – At least four Palestinians were detained last night by Israeli occupation forces during a detention campaign in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-‘Issawiya; one of them had sustained wounds during earlier clashes with the forces, local sources said. Clashes erupted with stone-throwing Palestinian protesters after Israeli police raided the neighborhood in the middle of the night. The latter fired rubber-coated rounds to disperse the protesters, injuring one of them in his foot before detaining him. The police also detained three Palestinians after raiding their homes in the neighborhood during the campaign.
Minor among eight Palestinians detained from West Bank
BETHLEHEM, Wednesday, August 07, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today detained eight Palestinians, including a minor, from various parts of the West Bank, said security and local sources. Israeli forces detained two Palestinians, including a 15-year-old boy, after storming their families’ houses in ‘Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. Forces detained another from al-Doha town, west of Bethlehem, and two others from al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem. In Jerusalem, Israeli police rounded up a Palestinian after beating him up in the vicinity of Bab al-Rahma prayer area inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Muhannad Idris, who serves as a Waqf-appointed guard at the mosque compound, sustained cuts and injuries, before being detained and moved to an Israeli hospital. In the northern West Bank, witnesses confirmed an Israeli military raid in Qalqiliya city, resulting in the detention of two Palestinian brothers.
Journalist among 26 Palestinians detained from West Bank
NABLUS, Tuesday, August 06, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today overnight detained 26 Palestinians, including a journalist, from various parts of the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS). PPS confirmed that Israeli forces detained 11 Palestinians, including a 58-year-old father and his two sons, from the northern West Bank district of Nablus. Among the eleven detainees were 10 Palestinians from Asira Ash-Shamaliya village, north of Nablus. Meanwhile, PPS said that three Palestinians, all former prisoners, were rounded up from Jenin district. One of the three detainees was identified as Muhammad Ali Atiq, a journalist. In Tulkarem district, witnesses confirmed an Israeli military raid in Bal‘a town, east of Tulkarem, where dozens of soldiers a number of houses, occupied the rooftops of others and detained a Palestinian. In Jerusalem district, PPS said that an Israeli military force rounded up three Palestinians from al-Eizariya town, east of Jerusalem. In Bethlehem district, PPS said that three Palestinians were rounded up, including at least one from ‘Aida refugee camp….
Gaza-run Hamas cell uncovered in Hebron, Israel’s Shin Bet says
Haaretz 7 Aug by Yaniv Kubovich — The Shin Bet security service said Tuesday it had uncovered a Hamas cell in Hebron whose members were plotting to carry out attacks in Jerusalem. The suspects, who received orders from Hamas in the Gaza Strip, were arrested in June in a joint operation with the Israeli army and police, the Shin Bet said. The suspects arrested include Rajah Rajbi, 22, a student at Hebron’s Polytechnic University. Rajbi belongs to a Hamas-linked student group and possessed a 3-kilogram (6.6-pound) explosive when he was arrested, the Shin Bet said … The Shin Bet said the lab where the bomb was made was built by Rajbi in a “civilian setting, endangering innocent civilian life in the area.” He stored bomb-making materials at a school near his home, the Shin Bet said.
High Islamic bodies call for intensifying Palestinian presence at Aqsa Mosque on Eid al-Adha
JERUSALEM, Friday, August 09, 2019 (WAFA) – The Higher Islamic Commission (HIC) in Occupied Jerusalem, the Council for Waqf and Islamic Affairs, and the Supreme Council of Fatwa, an Islamic body based in eastern Jerusalem, called on all mosques around the city to close on Eid al-Adha, and for Muslims to head toward al-Aqsa mosque compound to perform the Eid prayer.
The three Islamic bodies in a statement issued today stressed the need for Muslims to head toward al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, on Sunday, first day of Eid, in response to calls made by Jewish groups, known as ‘Temple Mount’ organizations, to prevent Muslims from entering the mosque and allow the intrusion of settlers to mark the so-called Tisha B’Av, which coincides with Eid al-Adha, to mourn the destruction of the biblical temples.
Eid begins on Sunday, August 11, and ends on the evening of Thursday, August 15.
Palestinian app helps drivers avoid Israeli checkpoint bottlenecks
RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) 5 Aug by Rami Ayyub — A new locally developed app helps Palestinian drivers in the occupied West Bank negotiate traffic at Israeli military checkpoints and uncover routes to towns that mainstream providers often miss. Launched in June and designed by Palestinians, Doroob Navigator crowd-sources road closures and traffic data from users. It aims to supplant apps like Google Maps and Waze, which rarely account for Israeli restrictions and struggle to navigate between Palestinian cities … Mohammad Abdel Haleem, CEO of Doroob Technologies, said he knew Palestinians needed a new way to get around after a drive with Google Maps between the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah left him lost in a remote valley. “We had to design our maps completely from scratch. The wall, checkpoints, settlements … existing mapping software could never account for the complexity here,” Abdel Haleem, 39, said before using the app to drive through a checkpoint separating Ramallah from Beit El, a nearby Israeli settlement. The app, which has garnered 22,000 users in two months, is funded by Ideal, a Ramallah-based transportation and automation software company also led by Abdel Haleem. He says he hopes to monetize the app in the future in part via a delivery feature….
How avocado became king in this West Bank city
Al-Monitor 6 Aug by Aziza Nofal — Yusef Abu Daher, a produce grower from Qalqilya, in the northern West Bank, decided five years ago to grow avocados on his land instead of vegetables in a greenhouse. New prospects for marketing avocados inside and outside the Palestinian territories and their price, which is steadily higher than for other crops, make them an attractive fruit to grow. Abu Daher is among some 400 producers in Qalqilya governorate who have opted to cultivate avocados, the harvest of which begins this month. Abu Daher opted for avocados because planting is easier and less costly than for other traditional crops and because avocados maintain the same price throughout the harvest season, selling at no less than seven shekels ($2) a kilo on the local market. Other drivers include the high demand on the Palestinian market and prospects for export….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Israel advances plans for more than 2,300 settlement homes
JERUSALEM (AFP) 6 Aug — Israel has advanced plans for more than 2,300 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the latest in a surge of such approvals since US President Donald Trump took office, an NGO said Tuesday. A defence ministry planning committee issued the approvals while meeting over the past couple of days, the Peace Now NGO said in a statement. The 2,304 housing units are at various stages in the approval process. “The approval of settlement plans is part of a disastrous government policy designed to prevent the possibility of peace and a two-state solution, and to annex part or all of the West Bank,” said Peace Now, which closely monitors Israeli settlement building … Last week, Israel’s security cabinet gave rare approval to 700 Palestinian homes in the part of the West Bank under the country’s full control while also approving 6,000 homes for settlers. Details of those plans were not publicly released, and some of the 6,000 settler homes may be included in this week’s committee approvals, said Peace Now’s Hagit Ofran … This week’s approvals include the legalisation of three wildcat settlements, known as Givat Salit, Ibei Hanahal and Haroeh Haivri … According to Peace Now, this week’s approvals also include plans for 194 units in the Ganei Modiin settlement. It says construction for those plans would occur near Israel’s separation barrier, which cuts off the West Bank. Israel recently demolished some 70 Palestinian homes — most of which were still under construction — near the separation barrier, saying they were built illegally and were a danger to security. Peace Now says the Ganei Modiin settlement plans were approved after developers agreed to pay for construction of a high wall for security purposes.
Goodbye withdrawal, hello sovereignty: The triumph of the settlers
SHILOH, West Bank (Times of Israel) Even rightist Israeli governments used to subconsciously regard them as potentially temporary, settler leaders say. Now, they claim, that’s all changed. Next stop: Full integration — On the road leading to Shiloh stands a large sculpture, Dovecote, erected at the time that the settlement was founded in 1978. The work of Igael Tumarkin, it was implanted by Peace Now activists to symbolize their contention that the settlement enterprise in general, and Shiloh in particular, were obstacles to any hope of Israeli-Palestinian peace. An inhospitable concrete and metal structure, the sculpture looks like anything but a home for the doves that symbolize reconciliation and harmony. As we drove past Dovecote last week in the company of Yigal Dilmoni, the CEO of the Yesha (Settlements) Council, he pointed it out with an indulgent chuckle. Rather than the towering reprimand it was intended to constitute, it is regarded by the Jews of modern Shiloh, he indicated, as a symbol of their endurance and maybe even their triumph. Dovecote is still here. But so, too, is Shiloh. Established by a handful of families and a few hundred yeshiva students 41 years ago, the settlement today has a population of about 4,000….
Israeli bulldozers demolish structures in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Tuesday, August 06, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian house and a retaining wall in the occupied city of Jerusalem. Israeli police cordoned off an area in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina as a bulldozer proceeded to demolish a house belonging to Eyad Khalil Kiswani. Kiswani told WAFA correspondent that the demolition took place although he had not received any prior notice. He added that he himself along with wife and three children, aged 13 to 16, were forced out of their 140-square-meter house by police at gunpoint before the demolition was carried out.
Meanwhile, Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported that Israeli police raided the Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Issawiyeh, paving the way to a bulldozer to demolish a retaining wall and an outdoor ground.
Ongoing demolitions in West Bank: report
IMEMC/Agencies 6 Aug — Israeli forces, today, demolished four structures and a house under construction in Bir Oneh village, Beit Jala city, west of Bethlehem. Head of the Bethlehem Office of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Committee Hassan Breija said that Israeli forces stormed and cordoned off the village, before a bulldozer demolished four barns and the foundations of a house under construction purportedly for being without a license. The owners of the barns and the house under construction were identified as Mohammad Zreineh and Daoud Ghneim, respectively. Zreineh’s barns were demolished twice although he has a title deed which proves he is the owner of the plot of land on which the barns are built. Using the pretext of illegal building, Israel demolishes houses on a regular basis to restrict Palestinian expansion in occupied Jerusalem.
Israeli troops abduct man and his two sons for building on their land
IMEMC 6 Aug — Palestinian local sources report that Israeli Forces on Monday evening abducted two children and two sons, one of them a child, from Nahalin, near Bethlehem. The man and his sons were pouring concrete at their family home for a planned expansion when the soldiers abducted them. The deputy mayor of Nahalin, Hani Fannoun told the Palestinian news agency Wafa that the Israeli occupation forces stormed the town and stationed themselves in the Sabiha area before confronting the Palestinian homeowner and abducting him and his sons. He added that Israeli soldiers seized a pump and two concrete mixers that were being used for construction at the Shakarneh’s family home, confiscated the drivers’ ID cards, and forced them to transfer their equipment to the Gush Etzion Israeli settlement complex and military base located on stolen Palestinian land south of Bethlehem. The mayor expressed his fear that the Israeli authorities had abducted the family members and confiscated the equipment in preparation for carrying out an “administrative demolition” of the home, as happened the previous day to a family in the village of Wade Rahal.
Israel demolishes water lines in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY, Wednesday, August 07, 2019 (WAFA) – The Israeli military destroyed today a water line and irrigation network serving Palestinian residents of Ein al-Bida village in the northern Jordan Valley, according to Mutaz Bisharat, a local official. He said the Israeli forces destroyed 150 meters of pipes and seized an irrigation network owned by two siblings from the Fuqaha family. The Jordan Valley is considered Area C, which is under full Israeli military rule and makes up over 60 percent of the area of the occupied West Bank. Israel does not allow any Palestinian development in Area C.
Israeli forces seize vehicles in northern Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY, Tuesday, August 06, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Tuesday morning seized a number of vehicles in Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley. Aref Daraghma, a local human rights activist, said that an Israeli military force raided the Ras al-Ahmar community, where they seized a tractor and a private vehicle belonging to the local Palestinian farmers in addition to an Israeli truck. The truck, which belongs to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was unloading a shipment of fodder to a local family. Almost a week ago, Israeli forces bulldozed several Palestinian tents and shacks in the community.
Israel demolishes Naqab Bedouin village for 149th time
NAQAB, Monday, August 05, 2019 (WAFA) – Israeli authorities demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab [Negev] desert in southern Israel for the 149th consecutive time. Israeli police broke into the village and dismantled and confiscated the tin homes residents build every time their village is demolished, leaving the local residents, including children, homeless in the hot weather. The first demolition of al-Araqib took place in late June 2010. Al-Araqib is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered unrecognized by the Israeli government.
Orthodox church files new suit in Jerusalem property battle
JERUSALEM (AP) 5 Aug — The Greek Orthodox Church says it has filed a new lawsuit against a Jewish settler group in a bid to overturn an Israeli Supreme Court decision upholding the sale of three properties in predominantly Palestinian parts of Jerusalem’s Old City. The Patriarchate claimed in a statement Monday that it had “clear proof” of corruption in the long-disputed 2004 sale of Old City properties, including two Palestinian-run hotels. In June, the court ruled in favor of the Israeli organization, which seeks to increase the Jewish presence in Palestinian areas of the contested holy city. Most Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem are Palestinian, and the sale of the properties to Israelis sparked outrage.
I said no to a Netflix series audition because I support Palestinian rights
by David Clennon, TRUTHOUT 7 Aug — I’m an actor in the U.S. film and television industry. I’ve been around for more than 40 years. Recently, I was invited to audition for a new Netflix television series with the working title “Sycamore.” The appointment sheet informed me that I would be trying out for the role of Martin Wexler, a series regular character described as an American politician, living in New York — “approachable, distinguished, practiced, and elusive.”… I decided to do a little research in the Hollywood trade papers, and discovered that “Sycamore” had to be the new working title of a series announced in 2018 as “Hit and Run.” It was further revealed that “Sycamore/Hit and Run” will be a co-production of U.S. and Israeli companies. Two of the creative executive producers of the new series, Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, are also the creator-producers of the Israeli Netflix series “Fauda.” “Fauda” is an action-adventure drama set in Israel and the Occupied Territories. I was aware that the show had been criticized for its portrayal of Palestinians and for its tendency to justify Israel’s human rights abuses. Mitchell Abidor reviewed the series in Jewish Currents. He wrote, “Fauda, in its second season, is clearly not, as its creators have pretended, a humanizing portrayal of Palestinians, but rather is quite clearly aimed at solidifying an Israeli image of them as cowardly beasts who must be dealt with by any means necessary.” I watched the show myself and noticed there was a missing narrative element: “Fauda” doesn’t give its international audience the historical context of the conquest of Palestine, which the Palestinian people continue to resist with a range of strategies and methods … The Israeli Foreign Ministry runs the “Brand Israel” campaign to use culture, entertainment and technology to counter Israel’s negative image in the world as a racist state that systematically violates human rights … I haven’t been employed for a year and a half. So, with considerable reluctance, but inspired by the example of so many others, I chose not to participate in the whitewashing of Israel’s image. I did not submit a video audition to the casting directors….
Premier: We will treat all areas as ‘A’ since Israel deals with all areas as ‘C’
RAMALLAH, Sunday, August 04, 2019 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that since Israel no longer respects any of the signed agreements and is dealing with all areas and classifications as area “C”, then we will treat all areas as “A”. Shtayyeh said during a meeting with the committee for the defense of Wadi Hummus and with the affected families whose homes have been demolished and are threatened with demolition that what happened in Wad al-Hummus area is ‘a heinous crime that we will not accept’. “The occupation aims at emptying the city of Jerusalem from its population within the framework of the Israeli Plan 2020 for Jerusalem.” The meeting was attended by Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi Hidmi and Minister of Local Government Magdi al-Saleh. On July 22, Israel demolished 10 Palestinian-owned buildings in Sur Baher’s Wadi al-Hummus area, citing its close proximity to the security barrier. Wadi Hummus, in occupied East Jerusalem, lies in Area A of the occupied West Bank, which is under the full control of the Palestinian Authority, according to the Oslo accords.
PA to grant building permits for West Bank area under full Israeli control
The Media Line 5 Aug — Palestinian deputy minister of local government says move effectively extends Palestinian Authority jurisdiction as part of implementation of decision to cut ties with Israel following IDF demolition of homes in East Jerusalem — The Palestinian Authority has for the first time announced its intent to grant building permits in parts of the West Bank known as Area C, which is under full Israeli civilian and security control. The Oslo Accords divided the West Bank into three distinct regions: Area A, which is fully controlled by the PA; Area B, which is under PA civil adminstration and Israeli military control; and Area C, comprising approximately 60 percent of the entire territory. Last month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the suspension of all agreements previously signed with Israel, just a few days after IDF forces demolished several Palestinian buildings in an East Jerusalem neighborhood that spilled over into Area A. Ahmed Ghoneim, the PA’s deputy minister of local government – which is tasked with urban planning, including the issuance of construction permits – said that the latest move effectively extends the PA’s jurisdiction in the West Bank … He added that the Ramallah-based PA was merely acting in accordance with the 1993 Oslo Accords, which called for the transfer to the Palestinians of the vast majority of the West Bank 18 months after elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament. The elections were held in 1996. “From a political point of view, the terms ‘A,’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ no longer exist to us,” Ghoneim stressed, adding that “from a professional and technical perspective, we will apply planning policies in Palestine at three levels: national, regional and local.” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh concurs …
A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment.
Israel’s right-wing sign pledge to annex 60% of West Bank
MEMO 6 Aug — Candidates of several Israeli right wing parties yesterday signed a document agreeing to annex 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank – Area C, Quds Press reported. Israel’s Public Broadcaster reported the document saying: “Israel is a national home for Jews, guarantees individual rights and equality among all citizens, opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and imposes sovereignty over Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].” Area C covers 60 per cent of the occupied West Bank and was designated as such by the Oslo Accords. It is under full Israeli military and administrative control. There are a number of illegal Jewish only settlements located in the area and Israel has been working to increase the number of settlers in the West Bank.
Angry protests against PA after youth killed in West Bank
MEMO 5 Aug — Scores of angry Palestinians yesterday closed Al-Quds Street in Balata Refugee Camp in the West Bank city of Nablus after the death of a youth shot by Palestinian security services, the Safa news agency reported. A Safa reporter said that the Palestinian youths burned tyres in Al-Quds Street, the main entrance to the south of Nablus. The protests, according to Safa, started when the news about the death of Hashem Atallah Al-Tirawi was reported to his family. Al-Tirawi was wounded when Palestinian Authority security forces opened fire at a number of youths in a vehicle at a checkpoint near the refugee camp. The wounded youth was transferred to the Israeli hospital of Rambam in Haifa and remained in intensive care until he was pronounced dead yesterday. No official details were given as to why security agents opened fire at the vehicle, but local media reported that it had failed to stop at a checkpoint.
First Palestinian female graduates from London Royal Military Academy
RAMALLAH, Friday, August 09, 2019 (WAFA) – Female Palestinian officer Ghada Tmaizi graduated today from the Royal Military Academy in London, making her the first Palestinian woman to do so. The graduation ceremony was attended by the Commander of the Palestinian National Security Forces, Major General Nidal Abu Dukhan, the Director of the MilitaryFinancial Department, Brigadier Iyad Abbas, and the Ambassador of the State of Palestine to the UK, Husam Zumlut, as well as Tmaizi’s family. Spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, Ghassan Nemer, praised Tmaizi and described her graduation from the Royal Military Academy in London as a great achievement of the Palestinian security forces.
Eid al-Adha holiday set from Saturday through Thursday of next week
RAMALLAH, Monday, August 05, 2019 (WAFA) – The Palestinian government set the holiday for the Muslim Eid al-Adha from Saturday, August 10 through Thursday August 15, according to a statement issued at the conclusion of the cabinet’s weekly meeting in Ramallah. All government institutions, schools, and most of the private sector will be on holiday for these six days, which also coincides with the Hajj season to Mecca. The first day of the four-day Eid al-Adha is Sunday, August 11.
Palestinian government drafts law to protect its doctors
RAMALLAH (Al-Monitor) 8 Aug by Ahmad Melhem — The Palestinian Ministry of Health and the Doctors Syndicate signed July 22 a bill to protect medical staff working in hospitals and medical centers and to incriminate any attack on its members. The provisions of the bill are currently being drafted. During the meeting, the Doctors Syndicate suspended all protest acts it had announced July 21, including halting its work in government hospitals, and resumed full provision of medical services to citizens. On July 21, the Doctors Syndicate suspended work at Thabet Thabet Government Hospital in Tulkarm, after a patient’s relative physically attacked a doctor in the emergency department at the hospital. The doctor suffered bruises to the head, and the hospital decided to suspend all work the next day. Attacks on doctors, medical staff, nurses and technical staff in hospitals in the West Bank have been on the rise lately. Relatives accompanying patients to hospitals interfere in doctors’ work and refuse to abide by hospital regulations, leading to arguments that often evolve into assaults … Sobhat noted that Palestinian security forces in civilian clothes are responsible for 90% of the attacks and that the prime minister has been told. “This is bad, because the security forces should protect hospitals and medical staff — not attack them. These attacks should be halted and the problem should be solved,” he said….
Under pressure from world agencies, Israel allows Palestinians to continue import of vaccines
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, August 07, 2019 (WAFA) – Palestinian and international pressure have succeeded in getting Israel to back down on a decision preventing Palestinians from importing vaccines except from countries it specifies, today said Minister of Health May Kailah. She said at a press conference in Ramallah that the international community, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Ministry of Health have exerted pressure on Israel to reverse its decision to prevent entry of vaccines except from certain countries. Israel had decided to prevent the entry of vaccines into Palestine except from countries determined by the Israeli authorities, which means a significant increase in the financial cost to the Palestinian government and interruption of the vaccination program. She stressed that this would ensure the continuity of the national vaccination program in Palestine, which WHO said it was one of the most effective in the Middle East and has eradicated many communicable and infectious diseases such as polio, neonatal poisoning and smallpox and reduced many others such as hepatitis B, measles, rubella and whooping cough.
For these Palestinian kids, a first ever day at the beach means the whole world
[behind paywall] Haaretz 8 Aug by Patty Nieberg & Shachar Peled — Sometimes it involves defying the Israeli authorities, but taking children from the West Bank village of Beit Ummar for a day of fun in the waves of the Mediterranean has its own rewards — Odai lies on the Mediterranean shore and waits for the waves to tug at his feet. The Palestinian toddler shrieks with excitement, feeling the sea for the first time. His uncle Nabil, 48, is on the sand nearby, as are other members of their group: Palestinian children and adults from the West Bank who came to a beach in Tel Aviv this week thanks to the efforts of Robby Berman, 53, an American who made aliyah 30 years ago. For most of them (their names have been changed in this article), this is their first time on a beach. “They had never seen anything like it before,” says Nabil … The group came from Beit Ummar, located between Bethlehem and Hebron and situated within Area B, meaning it is officially under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control. Getting everyone to Tel Aviv’s Bograshov Beach posed some unique challenges. For trips like this, Palestinians from the West Bank must be in possession of a valid permit to enter Israel … Not all the adults in the group have permits, making this trip risky for both volunteers and participants
In the media, Beit Ummar is known for the constant friction between its residents and Israeli soldiers. “Beit Ummar is known as a village where the children throw rocks at Israeli cars on their way to Hebron,” says Berman, who is from Jerusalem. “I can guarantee you that none of the kids I have driven to the beach, with a kippa on my head, will ever, ever throw a rock at an Israeli car. That’s my little contribution to fomenting peace.” … Nabil says the most memorable part of the trip for his children was the people who drove them to Tel Aviv and the way they treated them. The family has invited the volunteers to visit their home and the children are excited to host everyone, including the Israelis. “It’s an experience that they’ll always remember: the smell, the taste, the water, the feel of the sand,” says Rockman. “And if the first time can be something positive with Israelis, I think it’s even more special.”
Ministry of Culture mourns Palestinian artist, historian Kamal Boullata
RAMALLAH, Wednesday, August 07, 2019 (WAFA) – The Ministry of Culture mourned today the death yesterday in Berlin of Palestinian artist and historian Kamal Boullata. He was 77. “The Palestinian cultural movement lost with the departure of Boullata a dedicated artist who will remain present in the history and future of Palestinian art as an expression of freedom, struggle and creativity and in the memory of Palestinian generations inspired by his works,” said the ministry in a eulogy statement. “Boullata remained faithful to Palestine and its cause in its political and humanitarian dimensions. He defeated with his art the aura of darkness and death that the occupation is trying to consolidate and impose in Palestine,” it added. Boullata, born in 1942 in Jerusalem during the British mandate of Palestine, had been living in exile since the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank in the June 1967 war….
How Israel teaches its children to hate
AHT 30 July by Asa Winstanley — Dissident Israeli scholar Nurit Peled-Elhanan’s important academic study, “Palestine in Israeli School Books” [published 2012] is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand some important realities about the Israeli state and Israeli society … Peled-Elhanan’s book was a major study of 17 Israeli school textbooks on history, geography and civic studies. As you can see from what she says in the interview above, she came to some stark conclusions. When they even mention Palestinians at all, Israel’s official schoolbooks teach a “racist discourse”, which quite literally wipes Palestine off the map. Maps in the schoolbooks only ever show “the Land of Israel”, from the river to the sea. She explained that not a single one of the schoolbooks included “any positive cultural or social aspect of Palestinian life-world: neither literature nor poetry, neither history nor agriculture, neither art nor architecture, neither customs nor traditions are ever mentioned.” Of the rare times that Palestinians are mentioned, it is in an overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical fashion: “all [the books] represent [Palestinians] in racist icons or demeaning classificatory images such as terrorists, refugees and primitive farmers — the three ‘problems’ they constitute for Israel.” She concluded that the children’s schoolbooks “present Israeli-Jewish culture as superior to the Arab-Palestinian one, Israeli-Jewish concepts of progress as superior to the Palestinian-Arab way of life and Israeli-Jewish behaviour as aligning with universal values.”
All this is quite the opposite of the stereotypical and misleading story about children’s schoolbooks in Palestine. The books printed by the Palestinian Authority since the 1990s are frequently portrayed in anti-Palestinian demonology as putting forth the worst anti-Semitic calumnies about Jewish people. Overall, this narrative is a crude fabrication instigated by anti-Palestinian propaganda groups, such as that run by Israeli settler Itamar Marcus and his “Palestinian Media Watch”. Peled-Elhanan’s book comprehensively demolished a second, complementary, Israeli myth: that Israelis – by way of contrast to the dastardly Palestinians – instead “teach love thy neighbour”, to quote Israel’s war criminal ex-foreign minister Tzipi Livni.
Tel Aviv wakes up to Yasser Arafat St as part of activists’ campaign
JPost 7 Aug — Residents of Tel Aviv were surprised to wake up on Wednesday to discover that some of them live on Yasser Arafat Street, Ismail Haniyeh Street and Incendiary Balloons Street, a press release reported on Wednesday. The change was done overnight by an activist group called Israeli Victory Project (IVP) in protest of what the group claimed to be “weak” governmental actions against Hamas and Palestinian terrorism, and the living conditions of Gaza border communities that are subjected to ongoing terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip. Dozens of activists changed street names to Doom Street, Escalation Street and Air Siren Street, in addition to major avenues that had their names changed to the Avenue of Victory and the Avenue of Deterrence. Members of the IVP include people from bereaved families, IDF reserve units and residents of southern Israel.
Slamming the government’s policies toward supporting those who live under fire in Israel’s border towns for the last decade, Middle East Forum Head Greg Roman, who is also behind the Israeli Victory Project, said that, “we must stop managing the conflict and decide we will bring it to an end: from a position of power and on our own terms. “Such is our demand to a future Israeli government.”
Progressive Democrats vote against Palestinian rights
EI 30 July by Ali Abunimah — I appeared on Pushback, Aaron Maté’s new show at The Grayzone to talk about the vote in Congress last week to condemn BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights. Many were disappointed that among the 398 representatives who backed the bill were several prominent Democratic progressives and antiwar figures, including Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, California’s Ro Khanna and Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii congresswoman who is running for president. On Monday, I wrote about how Gabbard and Pressley have tried, amid outrage at their votes, to defend their decisions. In the interview, Maté and I talk about these developments as well as why the Democratic Party leadership is so eager to attack and smear Palestinians. The resolution condemning BDS had the full backing of top Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House….
Film review: HBO drama looks at killings of teens that ignited Gaza war
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) 7 Aug by Ilan Ben Zion — HBO’s new docudrama series about the killings of four Israeli and Palestinian teenagers, violence which set off a cascade of events leading to the 2014 Gaza war, is set to air next week and is likely to reopen wounds on both sides of the conflict. “Our Boys,” co-created by Palestinian and Israeli filmmakers, presents a dramatized rendition of the chaotic events of that June following the abduction of three Israeli teens in the West Bank. The series, coproduced by HBO and Israel’s Keshet TV, and premiering Aug. 12, looks at the hatred and violence unleashed during one of the decades-old conflict’s most frenzied periods. In June 2014, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah, three Israeli teenagers aged 16 and 19, were abducted and killed by Palestinian militants outside a West Bank settlement. An extensive Israeli military search eventually located their remains over two weeks later. After the discovery, three Israelis kidnapped Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian from east Jerusalem, and burned him alive in the woods outside the city….