Israeli snipers kill two Gaza boys
EI 6 Sept by Maureen Clare Murphy — Israeli occupation forces shot and killed two Palestinian children during Great March of Return protests, Gaza’s health ministry stated on Friday. The ministry named one of those slain as Ali Sami Ali al-Ashqar, 17. He was reportedly shot in the head east of Jabaliya, northern Gaza. Palestinian outlets published this photo of the teen after his death: … The second killed child was identified as Khalid Abu Bakr al-Rabai, 14, shot in the chest east of Gaza City. Sixty-six others were injured during Friday’s protests, 38 of them by live fire. Nearly 50 children are among the 210 Palestinians who have been killed during the protests since their launch in early 2018. Nineteen Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza so far this year, most of them during Great March of Return protests.
From the AP account:
The U.N. envoy to the region, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned the shooting of the two teens, calling it “appalling.” He wrote on Twitter that Israel “must calibrate its use of force, use lethal force only as a last resort, and only in response to imminent threat of death or serious injury.”
Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after five rockets launched
Haaretz 7 Sept by Jack Khoury & Yaniv Kubovich — Israel attacked several Hamas targets in Gaza after five rockets were launched from the Strip overnight Friday, the Israeli army said. Israeli aircraft and a tank targeted Hamas military positions near the border with Israel in the northern Strip.
Earlier Friday, the Gaza health ministry reported that two Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces during clashes near the Gaza border fence on Friday … A few hours later, rocket sirens blared in the southern Israeli city of Sderot. Five rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army said. One rocket fell in an open field outside the city, starting a conflagration and causing no casualties, the Israeli army said. Two women were treated for anxiety following the rocket sirens, the Sderot municipality said…
A senior Hamas official has told Haaretz that the Gaza factions’ joint war room is currently considering if and whether to respond to the killing of the two youths.
Qatar announces drastic cut in funding for Gaza fuel: report
Times of Israel 1 Sept — In a surprise move, Qatar’s envoy to the Gaza Strip said Sunday his government would cut its funding for fuel shipments to Gaza, needed to power the enclave’s lone power station, by half, Army Radio reported Sunday. The statement comes within hours of Israel reportedly restoring shipments of fuel it cut last week over a spate of rocket fire and other violence from the enclave. Qatar is signed on a contract, together with the UN, to supply three million liters of fuel weekly for electricity production in Gaza through the end of 2019. If the reports are correct, the envoy, Mohammed al-Emadi, appears to have unilaterally withdrawn from the agreement, telling Hamas officials on Sunday that Doha would only pay for 1.5 million liters each week. The decision could reduce electricity supply in the territory to just six hours a day, Army Radio calculated on Sunday morning. The reports appear to have caught both Israel and Hamas by surprise. Israel’s COGAT, the Defense Ministry agency that manages contact with Palestinian society and civilian agencies, said it was looking into the reports and had reached out to officials in the Qatari government for clarification.
Gaza explosions leave Hamas exposed
Al-Monitor 3 Sept by Adnan Abu Amer — The two terrorist explosions that rocked the Gaza Strip despite Hamas’ tight security measures triggered questions about the movement’s capacity to stand up to the Islamic State — The Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip launched an arrest campaign against individuals suspected of the suicide bombings that rocked the coastal enclave Aug. 27, killing three police officers and injuring three others in Gaza City. The first explosion happened at the Dahdouh checkpoint, west of Gaza City; the second targeted the traffic police checkpoint in the Sheikh Ajlin area. No party has claimed responsibility for the incident, but the Hamas-affiliated Palestinian security services in Gaza arrested individuals said to be affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) and who espouse the group’s extremist ideology and antagonism toward Hamas … The bombings spread panic among Gazans, who fear scenarios similar to terrorism operations in neighboring countries such as Egypt, Syria and Iraq. This prompted all Palestinian factions to condemn the attacks and call on the security services in Gaza to hunt down those behind the attacks….
Hamas confronts extreme ideologies in Gaza: Hamas leader
GAZA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — Ismail Haniyeh, politburo chief of Islamic Hamas movement, said on Monday that his movement is fighting fanatic and extreme ideologies in the Gaza Strip. Haniyeh’s remarks were made at a memorial service held in Gaza city for three Palestinian police officers who were killed last week in two explosions at two police checkpoints in southern Gaza city. “The aim of the two bombings is to impose new priorities at the expense of confronting the Israeli occupation,” said Haniyeh. He noted that “the bombings were intended to create a security chaos and investigations indicate that what was done was followed by new bombings in different areas.” “There will be a full publication of the details of this crime, and when the picture is complete, we will find that it was planned to create a very dangerous image for Gaza,” said Haniyeh.
Opinion: Daesh now is Hamas’ latest enemy / Osama al-Sherif
Arab News 3 Sept — Hamas, which has been in control of the Gaza Strip since carrying out a bloody coup against the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 2007, is facing a new challenge not from Israel or Fatah but from extremists belonging to Daesh. Last Tuesday, two suicide attacks on police barricades, which killed three policemen and injured others, were carried out by what Hamas called a “Gaza cell” that is linked to Daesh.
Hamas arrested more than 30 individuals and said that at least 12 were directly involved in the suicide attacks. It said the attacks were to be followed by an operation to blow up a bus carrying Hamas security personnel. Initially, the Islamist movement blamed Israel and later Fatah for “using agents to disturb peace in Gaza.” But the Israeli media has revealed that members of the cell were former Islamic Jihad members and at least two had belonged to its military arm, Al-Quds Brigades.
Israeli navy opens fire on fishing boats in Gaza
IMEMC 7 Sept — Israeli navy ships opened fire, on Friday evening, on several Palestinian fishing boats in the Sudaniyya Sea area, northwest of Gaza city. Media sources said the boats were in Palestinian waters when the navy attacked and opened fire on them. The attack did not lead to casualties, but forced the fishermen back to the shore to avoid further escalating from the navy
ICC prosecutor ordered to reconsider opening Gaza flotilla case
Al Jazeera 2 Sept — The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered the tribunal’s prosecutor to reconsider whether Israel should face charges over a deadly 2010 raid on a flotilla carrying aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. In line with the decision of the appeals judges, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda will now examine once more whether to bring Israel before The Hague-based court. “The prosecutor is directed to reconsider her decision by December 2, 2019,” presiding appeals judge Solomy Balungi Bossa told the court on Monday, adding that three out of five judges in the court’s appeals chamber had backed the move. Bensouda said in 2014 that she would not prosecute Israel over the raid that killed 10 people, saying it was “not of sufficient gravity” – which means the case could be determined as inadmissible before the ICC. Bensouda again affirmed the decision in 2017 after judges said she must take another look at the case. International lawyer Diala Chehade told Al Jazeera that the concept of gravity within the text of the ICC has not been defined clearly enough in legal terms. “There are currently no criteria that would set a final definition for the element of gravity for the ICC,” said Chehade, who is also the former legal outreach officer for the Arab region at the court. “The office of the prosecutor argues that the crime was not sufficiently grave, although some evidence suggests that war crimes are committed by the Israeli soldiers during the incident,” she added … Israeli commandos enforcing a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip killed eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American during the predawn raid in May 2010 on the Mavi Marmara ship, which led a flotilla towards the besieged coastal enclave. Several other pro-Palestinian activists were wounded, while a 10th person died later of his wounds….
1,000 Palestinians shot by Israel in Gaza have severe bone infections
MEMO 3 Sept — More than 1,000 Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip “are suffering from severe bone infections developed in the aftermath of being shot by the Israeli army”, according to a new update by global medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF said it is “dealing with immense challenges” treating those shot by Israeli forces during protests in the Gaza Strip, including bone infections that add “to the already complicated path to recovery that these injured people must tread”. More than 7,400 Palestinians have been injured by live ammunition during the protests, MSF stated, “with around half suffering from open fractures, where the bone is broken near the wound”. “Gunshot wounds by their very nature are prone to infection,” MSF said. With injuries such as those in Gaza, where the wounds are huge, bones are splintered, and treatment is difficult, many wounds stay open long after the injury, meaning the risk of infection is drastically higher. Aulio Castillo, MSF’s Medical Team Leader in Gaza, explained that for many of their patients who have been shot, “the severity and complexity of their wounds – combined with the severe shortage of treatments for them in Gaza – means they have now developed chronic infections.” Treating these infections is made all the more difficult because of “a health system reeling from the effects of more than a decade of Israeli blockade, Palestinian political in-fighting and Egyptian restrictions on movement,” MSF stated. “We have worked with the Ministry of Health to upgrade a laboratory so that it can analyse bone samples, a crucial part of diagnosing correctly these bone infections and knowing which antibiotics will work,” said Castillo. According to MSF, this is “the first laboratory able to analyse bone samples in Gaza,” since “previously, each sample had to be sent to labs in Israel for testing”.
Red Cross holds course for surgeons in Gaza
TEL AVIV-GAZA (ANSAmed) 4 Sept — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has started a course in recent days in Gaza to train surgeons in treating war-zone wounds from firearms and explosives, led by veteran war surgeon Marco Baldan.
Baldan told ANSAmed that with few exceptions, university training doesn’t prepare surgeons for war-zone injuries. “They don’t have specific teaching on how to treat wounds from high-energy bullets and explosions, including those from homemade ordinance that unfortunately is used a lot in modern conflicts,” Baldan said. “If these wounds are treated as one learns at university, the results can be poor. Infections and other trauma complications, including death, can be consequences. The International Red Cross started to propose this teaching in 1989 in Mogadishu and since then has held more than 300 courses worldwide,” he said. Baldan has worked extensively in the Gaza Strip and said the situation there has many of the characteristics of a war zone. The Gaza Health Ministry has chosen six professors and 13 surgery interns who will take the course and upon completion be able to provide specific assistance in this sector. The professors will take over instruction of the course in the coming years….
Opinion: Israeli plan to ‘facilitate Palestinian emigration’ is even more insidious than you thought / Ramona Wadi
The New Arab 2 Sept — As the Israeli elections approach, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking new methods to empty Gaza of Palestinians. The most recent, among talk of intensifying future aggression against the enclave, is assisting Palestinians in Gaza to “emigrate” to host countries. According to reports in Israeli media, Palestinian emigration would be financially and logistically assisted by Israel. This purported benevolence seeks to divert attention away from the fact that such scheming contradicts the principles of free movement, as evidenced by Israel’s imposition of its illegal blockade on Gaza. So far, there has been little appetite for the plan from countries in Europe and the Middle East. It is possible that Netanyahu’s plan as disseminated by the media will amount to little more than a propaganda exercise in vote-garnering … There is however, no denying that Netanyahu is promoting forms of colonial expansion that normalise the violence inherent in the process … For its hypothetical scenario of Palestinian emigration facilitated by colonialism, the consequences of the blockade would need to remain in place, and if possible, be magnified to such an extent that Palestinian’ choices to remain or leave would be even more dire than they are now. Encouraging Palestinians to emigrate from Gaza would neutralise criticism of the blockade, by purportedly offering a way out of the misery it has inflicted upon Palestinians, while avoiding all blame and accountability. In addition, Netanyahu would be masking the concept of forced transfer due to deprivation by embarking upon the propaganda of allowing Palestinians free movement, never to return. The only difference between these tactics and those implemented during the Nakba is that the latter would not be viewed as a diplomatically acceptable option … This form of normalised ethnic cleansing would also consolidate Israel’s earlier fabricated narratives of the Nakba, which falsely declare that Palestinians voluntarily left their homes to become refugees. Haaretz has interpreted Netanyahu’s plan as confirming Israel’s forced transfer policy to the rest of the international community….
Floating new ideas for animal feed in Gaza
MEMO 5 Sept by Mohammed Asad — A Palestinian has become the first to succeed in growing ferns to feed his farm animals without paying the high prices for imported fodder. Forty-three-year-old Wael Musallem from Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza Strip, has successfully produced Azolla ferns after many failed efforts by local farmers. Wael owns a poultry and cattle farm and had relied completely on imported fodder to feed the animals. This, mixed with Gaza’s already bleak economic situation as a result of Israel’s stifling siege, put him into debt. Azollas include seven species of aquatic ferns that float on water surfaces. They have symbiotic bonds with algae and have a high percentage of protein, ranging between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of their dry weight. It is also used as a biofertiliser … As for the Azolla strategy and its benefit, Wael noted: “We can almost completely eliminate some kinds of feed and use Azollas as an alternative, especially as it has a high protein content.” He also noted that 90 per cent of fish feed can be made of Azollas, while the figure is 70 per cent for cattle, with the addition of a small amount of corn because they need carbohydrates. For poultry, Azollas can make up 50 per cent of their feed….
Gaza cat smuggled to Israel for emergency surgery after car accident
[includes video, in Hebrew, no translation] Jewish Press 3 Sept by David Israel — A Gaza street cat named Dodo that was injured in a car accident was smuggled to Israel under the watchful eyes of Hamas, to receive emergency medical treatment that saved his life at Dr. Eyal Nachmias’ veterinary clinic in Netanya, Kan 11 TV reported Monday night. The clandestine rescue effort was initiated by animal lovers on both sides of the border fence. After he recovers from the treatment, Dodo, the cat, will return to the Gaza Strip.
West Bank / Jerusalem
Palestinians slam Netanyahu over contentious Hebron visit
The New Arab 5 Sept — Palestinians have expressed outrage after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu undertook a controversial visit to the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron Wednesday, to commemorate the anniversary of the 1929 killing of Jews there. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh slammed Netanyahu for the visit, calling it a dangerous escalation and an attempt to taunt Muslims in the region, Haaretz reported. The visit by Netanyahu was a rarity and came just ahead of Israel’s 17 September elections, with the prime minister seeking to attract votes from the country’s nationalist right. He attended a ceremony marking 90 years since the murders of more than 60 Jews in Hebron in, then located in Mandatory Palestine. Today around 800 Israeli settlers live under hefty Israeli army security in a city of around 200,000 Palestinians. “We’re not seeking to disinherit anyone, but nobody will disinherit us,” Netanyahu said at the ceremony. “We came to Hebron to express our victory,” he said, adding “the people of Israel are deeply entrenched in Hebron” … Netanyahu is fighting for reelection in a campaign in which settler votes will be key in his efforts to build a right-wing coalition. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank is widely seen to have hit Hebron hardest among Palestinian cities. The joint mosque-synagogue complex that hosts the tomb of Abraham was the site of the brutal massacre of 29 Palestinian worshippers by extremist Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein in 1994. The massacre prompted Hebron to be excluded from the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority as stipulated in the Oslo Accords.
Settlers storm Madama village
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Sept — Dozens of Palestinian citizens suffered from exposure to tear gas, in Madama village, to the south of Nablus, during confrontations with Israeli soldiers and settlers. Village chief Ihab al-Qut said that a horde of Jewish settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar, in Nablus, stormed the southern area of the village and fought with local youth, in the presence of soldiers who fired volleys of tear gas grenades. Dozens of young men suffered from inhaling tear gas, during the events. The settlers also set fire to many olive trees under military protection, while soldiers prevented local residents from going to their lands to extinguish the flames.
After setting fire to olive fields in West Bank village, Israeli settlers return to chop down trees
NABLUS, Thurs 5 Sept (WAFA) – Extremist Israeli settlers last night chopped down Palestinian-owned olive trees in Burin village, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, only days after they set fire to other trees in the same fields, reported Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity. He told WAFA that a number of settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar sneaked into the land in the village during the night and started to cut down the trees. He pointed out that the settlers were riding motorcycles in the area, part of which has been seized by the settlers and planted with grape vines.
Palestinian women protest after suspected honor killing
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 2 Sept by Mohammed Daraghmeh — Hundreds of Palestinian women held a demonstration in the West Bank on Monday to demand an investigation into the death of a 21-year-old woman who many suspect was the victim of a so-called honor killing. Israa Ghrayeb, a makeup artist from a village near Bethlehem, died last month after being hospitalized with severe injuries. Friends and women’s rights activists suspect her male relatives assaulted her over a video shared online that purportedly showed her out with a man who had proposed to her. The family says she jumped from a balcony of their home after being “possessed by demons.” In conservative parts of the Middle East, women have been murdered by male relatives over suspicions they violated strict rules on relationships and marriage. Such killings occur from time to time in the Palestinian territories, but precise statistics are hard to come by. The case has sparked an outcry online and in Arab media, leading to widespread calls for justice. “There is a criminal suspicion in this case,” said Suhair Farraj, one of the protesters. “We demand a serious investigation.” … Her friends have circulated what they say is an audio recording of her cousin complaining to her brothers about a video Ghrayeb posted on Instagram in which she appears with a man who had recently proposed to her. Ghrayeb’s Instagram page, now closed, had over 12,000 followers, a popular account in her close-knit community. Even though the family says it approved the proposal, the two were not formally engaged. Among very conservative Muslims, their going out together would be seen as inappropriate and potentially bringing shame to the whole family … Hours after the protest, a Palestinian official said that three family members were detained for interrogation. The official was not authorized to brief reporters and so spoke on condition of anonymity. The Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has vowed to investigate and bring any perpetrators to justice. Attorney General Akram Khatib visited Bethlehem on Sunday to oversee the investigation….
Opinion: Palestinians outraged over suspicious death of young West Bank woman / Amira Hass
[behind paywall] Haaretz 2 Sept — Many took to social media to openly blame Israa Gharib’s relatives for her death, signalling huge changes in Palestinian society — She worked as a cosmetician and was studying English at Bethlehem University. On August 22, at the age of 21, she died “under suspicious circumstances.” The passing of Israa Gharib, a resident of Beit Sahour, has generated a flurry of angry posts on Palestinian social media, many blaming her death squarely on her family. People are so enraged that the Bethlehem district prosecutor issued an appeal to the public on Friday, asking not to publicize any details or names that could harm the investigation, the presumption of innocence, or the honor of the deceased and her family … After Gharib’s death, Instagram stories she had posted from the hospital went public. “I’m strong and have a will, and if I didn’t have the will, I would have died already yesterday. Therefore, don’t send me [messages] ‘be strong.’ I’m strong [three hearts] and God’s mercy and the goodness of his emissary [will punish] anyone who hurt me and anyone who judged me … Wish me a successful operation,” she wrote….
VIDEO: Israeli cops throw stun GRENADE at Haaretz photographer amid East Jerusalem arrests
RT 30/31 Aug — Israeli police threw a stun grenade at a Haaretz photographer in ‘Issawiya, East Jerusalem, and detained a journalist and two members of a parents’ committee during the Wednesday night raid on the Palestinian neighborhood. A large police presence entered ‘Issawiya as part of an ongoing crackdown in the area that has seen almost nightly raids for months, with 340 arrests and one fatal police shooting in what residents say is an intimidation campaign. When the authorities were leaving the area Wednesday night, people threw stones at them and young men threw a firebomb and fireworks. Police ordered the crowd of residents, journalists, and Israeli activists to disperse. Video footage shows a police officer hurling a stun grenade at Haaretz photographer Emil Salman, who was filming in the yard of a house and was not standing near other people at the time. A police officer can be heard saying, “throw at him, throw,” before the grenade was flung. “The police saw that I had a large camera and also had seen me previously. It was impossible to mistake that [I] am a journalist,” Salman said, Haaretz reports. … Two members of the ‘Issawiya parents’ committee were arrested on suspicion of threatening school principals after they said that children in the neighborhood should not be sent to school until the months-long police crackdown in the area comes to an end. Video shows an armed officer violently shove chairman of the committee before the arrests … The ‘Issawiya police raids began in June and include roadblocks and bring disruption to the area, which has a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine presence. Out of the 340 arrests made, only five people have had charges filed against them, and no weapons have been found in any raids, Haaretz reports [very good Haaretz article by Nir Hasson, but behind a paywall]
Israeli army detains 28 Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem
RAMALLAH, Monday, 2 Sept (WAFA) – The Israeli army detained early this morning 28 Palestinians during raids at their homes in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, reported the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS). It said the army detained seven men from the Hebron district including Thayer Halahleh who spent several years in Israeli prisons, most of them in administrative detention without charge or trial and went on hunger strike for 78 days in 2012 to secure his release. The army detained as well six Palestinians from the Jenin district and two from the Qalqilya area, both in the north of the West Bank, three from the Bethlehem district in the south of the West Bank and one from Sinjil village near Ramallah. In addition, Israeli forces detained eight young Palestinians from ‘Issawiyeh neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem and one from Abu Dis town, east of Jerusalem.
Israeli soldiers abduct ten Palestinians in West Bank
IMEMC 4 Sept — Israeli soldiers abducted, Wednesday, at least ten Palestinians, mainly former political prisoners, from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported. The PPS office in Nablus, in northern West Bank, said the soldiers abducted five former political prisoners, identified as Abdul-Karim Majed Halabi, Nafe’ Ahmad Salah, Rami Ayman Abu Hdeib, Mo’taz Jouda and Mosab Tawfiq al-Hindi. In Bethlehem, the soldiers abducted Riyad Talal al-‘Amour and Mousa Mahmoud al-‘Amour, in addition to a former political prisoner, identified as Anas Ismael Nawawra. In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Hatem Tayeh Shalalda, from Sa‘ir town, and Ahmad Omar Abu Sabha from Yatta. In addition, the soldiers invaded the home of a Palestinian legislator, identified as Riyad Raddad, in Saida village, near Tulkarem, and violently searched it. Furthermore, the soldiers invaded al-Am‘ari refugee camp, in the central West Bank governorate of Ramallah, and surrounded an under-construction home, before firing at local youngsters, protesting the invasion.
Two Israelis wounded in West Bank stabbing
[behind paywall] Haaretx 7 Sept by Yotam Berger — Two Israelis were wounded in a stabbing near the West Bank town of ‘Azzoun [Qalqiliya governorate] ]on Sunday morning, emergency services said. One of the wounded, 17, is in serious condition, and stab wounds were found on his body. The other, a 60-year-old man, was lightly injured, with a stab wound on his hand. They have been identified as a father and son from southern Israel. They were also accompanied by the boy’s uncle, who was not injured. Staff members of the nearby border crossing said the two were going to ‘Azzoun for a regular dental appointment in the village, where they were attacked. Israeli army medical personnel and MDA paramedics provided first aid at the scene and evacuated the two to the crossing for treatment. The Israeli army said that its forces are at the scene of the stabbing, and are investigating the attack. The victims are being transferred to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava for further treatment.
Video: Going to school under Israeli occupation
EI 5 Sept — Omar Hajajleh is a local school bus driver in the occupied West Bank village of al-Walaja. Al-Walaja lies between the city of Bethlehem and occupied East Jerusalem. In 2015, Israel built its separation wall directly through Hajajleh’s land, cutting off his family home from the rest of the village. The only way for the family to access the village is through a tunnel and past a steel gate that only they can open with a remote control. A series of walls and barriers placed by Israeli occupation forces separates the children of al-Walaja village from their school. Hajajleh found himself uniquely positioned to take local children to school as only he has access to the valley leading to it. As is shown in the video, Hajajleh takes the children halfway to school in one bus and walks them past a permanent Israeli roadblock. He then loads the children onto a second vehicle and continues to school. Hajajleh fears that the road he takes may soon be closed off by the wall, which is being expanded by Israeli occupation forces. Video by Akram al-Wa‘ra.
West Bank village courts tourists with eggplant, stone terraces
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 3 Sept by Ahmad Abu Amer — Locally grown eggplants have earned a significant place in the Palestinian cuisine, heritage and economy and is celebrated every summer in Battir, a historic village in the West Bank, 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) west of Bethlehem. Light purple, large or small but always fragrant, eggplants make up an essential part of the Palestinian kitchen from makdous, a pickled stuffed eggplant dish, to maqluba, a traditional dish with chicken, rice and eggplant. The annual Battir Eggplant Festival, which took place on Aug. 17-19, is not just an occasion to celebrate the popular crop; it highlights just how this historic village — known for its 4,000 years of terraced cultivation of vines and olives — has suffered, first by plans of an Israeli separation barrier that could have been built right across the historical terraces, then under the restriction of movement and nearby Israeli settlers …
In June 2014, the village was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage in Danger. The UN cultural body described the village as “a major Palestinian cultural landscape,” due to its complex and unique irrigation system. “The unique water distribution system used by the families of Battir is a testament to an ancient egalitarian distribution system that delivers water to the terraced agricultural land based on a simple mathematical calculation and a clear time-managed rotation scheme,” UNESCO’s statement read….
Land, property theft & destruction
Mosque, house demolished in south of West Bank
HEBRON, Monday, 2 Sept (WAFA) – The Israeli military authorities demolished today a mosque and a house in the southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to local sources. Israeli army units used a bulldozer to destroy al-Ummah Mosque in Jabal Jouhar south of Hebron city. The demolition included a water well used by the mosque, reported the head of the Hebron Waqf department Jamal Abu Arram, who said that the demolition came as a surprise to them and without prior warning. Waqf officials described the demolition of the mosque as an aggression against Muslim holy places and a provocation, as well as a crime against the right of Muslims to worship. The army demolished as well a house that was still under construction in the same area. The demolitions took place in Area C….
Israel confiscates Palestinian land to expand illegal colonies in Bethlehem
IMEMC 4 Sept — The Israeli authorities in the occupied West Bank, issued three orders for the illegal annexation of Palestinian lands in Beit Jala city, Teqoua‘ and Rashayda towns, in Bethlehem governorate, south of occupied Jerusalem in the West Bank. Hasan Breijiyya, the coordinator of the Wall and Colonization Commission in Bethlehem, said the first Israeli order targets Palestinian lands in Basin 2 of the al-Makhrour area of Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem, and are owned by residents from Beit Jala and al-Khader. Breijiyya added that Israel wants to confiscate lands in that area to expand colonialist bypass road #60, linking between occupied Jerusalem and Gush Etzion colony, south of Bethlehem, which effectively means annexing hundreds of dunams of Palestinian agricultural lands. The second order targets lands in the Rashayda village, east of Bethlehem, and aims at expanding Maali Amos illegal colony. The third order targets lands owned by the Palestinians in Teqoua‘ village, east of Bethlehem, and aims at expanding Nokdim illegal colony.
Israeli settlers seize land near Bethlehem, place caravan on it
BETHLEHEM, Tuesday, 3 Sept (WAFA) – Israeli settlers seized yesterday Palestinian land and today set up a caravan on it in an area known as al-Makhrour in Beit Jala, west of the southern West Bank biblical city of Bethlehem, in preparation for building a new settlement in that area, said local sources. They told Wafa that settlers broke yesterday into a four-dunum plot of land owned by Saba Iskandar in al-Makhrour and started to raze it before coming back today, surrounding the land with barbed wire and placing a caravan on it. They also brought a generator and electrical equipment. A caravan is usually a nucleus for the construction of an illegal settlement. WAFA correspondent said the settlers prevented journalists from approaching the land. It is worth mentioning that a Palestinian-owned house and a restaurant in al-Makhrour area were demolished last week by the Israeli army.
Palestinian forced to demolish his own home in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Sept — Israeli authorities in Jerusalem forced a Palestinian homeowner to demolish his own home, using only hand tools, on Wednesday. Jamil Masalmeh told reporters that he was in mourning for his home, which he was forced to demolish on Wednesday or else pay a 48,000 NIS fine. His home is located in Silwan, an area targeted by Israeli authorities for annexation into Israel by the use of force. The municipality gave the resident a 24-hour period to demolish the entire house (walls and ceilings), or be fined 48,000 shekels. Masalmeh was forced to move in with his son, since he had no other place to go once he lost his home due to the Israeli order.
Palestinian forced to demolish rooftop of his destroyed commercial structure
IMEMC 4 Sept — The Israeli authorities in occupied Jerusalem forced, Tuesday, a Palestinian from Silwan town to demolish the rooftop of his commercial structure, which was destroyed by the City Council two days ago. Media sources said the Palestinian, identified as Ma’moun Jalajel, had to demolish the rooftop at his own expense, to avoid the excessively high fines and penalties, in addition to the exaggerated costs of demolition if the city carries it out using its workers and machines. On Sunday evening, the Palestinian demolished the foundation of his property after receiving an order for its destruction from the City Council, for installing it without a permit. A month earlier, the Jalajel received an administrative demolition order, and was instructed to head to the City Council to pay fines, and he did so to avoid the destruction of his 30 square/meter property which he built two months ago. Jalajel stated that he built the property with a concrete floor, poles, in addition to reinforced sheet metal and bricks, before he was ordered to demolish it.
Palestinian protesters close Red Cross office in West Bank
MEMO 5 Sept — Scores of Palestinian activists yesterday protested in front of the office of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Al-Bireh, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Wafa news agency reported. The protesters, who included prisoners’ families, closed down the ICRC’s office in protest against the organisation’s “inaction” regarding the cruel conditions endured by Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails. According to the protesters, the Palestinian prisoners are subjected to ill-treatment, deliberate medical negligence and physical and verbal abuse. They shouted slogans demanding immediate intervention to save hunger-striking prisoners, particularly Bassam Al-Saeh and Sami Abu-Dayyak, who are on the verge of death. Rola Abu-Daho, a former prisoner, called on ICRC to assume its responsibilities and follow up on their conditions given the deliberate medical negligence, which is commonly used by the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) against Palestinian prisoners.
Detainee, longest on hunger strike, ends fast following agreement on his release
RAMALLAH, Thurs, 5 Sept 2019 (WAFA) – Huthayfa Halabiyeh, 28, from the town of Abu Dis near Jerusalem who has been on hunger strike for 67 days and was recently admitted to hospital due to deterioration in his health, ended today his fast after reaching an agreement with the Israeli authorities on his release …Halabiyeh has been held in administrative detention without charge of trial since June 10 of last year and had his detention renewed three times. He decided to go on hunger strike more than two months ago to force his release. Another Palestinian detainee, Fadi Yousef Hroub, 31, , from Deir Samet village in the south of the West Bank, ended today his hunger strike after he was promised that his administrative detention order will not be renewed. With Halabiyeh and Hroub ending their strikes, six other detainees remain on hunger strike demanding their release, according to the Prisoners’ Commission. They include:….
Over 200 Palestinian detainees suspend hunger strike
IMEMC/Agencies — 200 Palestinian detainees being held at Rimon detention camp suspended their hunger strike, which they started on Monday, to demand the removing of carcinogenic devices in the prison, and to improve the living conditions of prisoners held in the detention center. According to the PNN, the head of the Prisoners and Ex-prisoners Affairs Commission, Qadri Abu Bakr, said that the dialogue sessions between the prisoners’ representatives from several prisons and the prison administration were positive.
Vienna cinema censors film about Palestinian football
EI 5 Sept by Ali Abunimah — Activists are expressing outrage after a cinema in Vienna canceled the Austrian premiere of a film about Palestinian football. Meanwhile in Canada, campaigners are protesting a decision by the ruling Liberal Party to drop a parliamentary candidate based on false allegations of anti-Semitism. BDS Austria, a group that supports the campaign to boycott Israel for its violations of Palestinian rights, says the cancellation of the screening of ¡Yallah! ¡Yallah! is censorship. Directed by Cristian Pirovano and Fernando Romanazzo, the 2017 feature is an Argentinian-Palestinian co-production that tells the stories of seven Palestinians through their connection to football. The screening was supposed to take place at the Artis International cinema on Tuesday followed by a discussion with Pirovano, who is on a European tour. The film has been screened in dozens of cities worldwide … According to the group, the cinema claimed that “in recent days we increasingly received information and messages which pointed out the politically controversial statement not so much of the film as such, but of the movement supported by BDS.”…in 2018, the Vienna city council adopted a resolution calling for non-cooperation with the BDS movement and smearing it as anti-Semitic. BDS Austria says that Artis cited this resolution as its pretext for banning the screening….
Palestinian refugees in Lebanon want asylum in Canada
BEIRUT (AP) 5 Sept — Waving Palestinian and Canadian flags, hundreds of Palestinian refugees gathered outside the Canadian Embassy in Beirut on Thursday requesting asylum in the North American country. Many among the group lamented the deteriorating economic and living conditions in Lebanon, which is going through a severe economic crisis, and said they wanted a more dignified life. There are tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees and their descendants in Lebanon. Most of them live in squalid camps with no access to public services, limited employment opportunities and no rights to ownership. “We want to immigrate, we want to go to Canada for a better life. There is no work or money or anything here. I got a stroke and did open heart surgery, no one helped me,” said Haneya Mohammed, one of the protesters. The periodic protests outside the embassy on the coastal highway north of Beirut began a few weeks ago, after a crackdown on undocumented foreign labour by Lebanese authorities, triggering protests inside some of the 12 camps spread across the country and in Beirut. The protesters gathered Thursday also decried what they say is widespread corruption at the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA….
Harvard student denied US entry arrives in time for classes
BOSTON (AP) 3 Sept by Philip Marcelo — A Palestinian student who was denied entry to the United States just days before he was scheduled to start classes at Harvard University has been admitted to the country. Ismail Ajjawi was on campus as classes began Tuesday, the university confirmed. “The last ten days have been difficult and anxiety filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of AMIDEAST,” his family said, referring to the academic organization that provided their son a scholarship to attend Harvard. “We hope now that everyone can respect our and Ismail’s privacy and he can now simply focus on settling into College and his important class work.” Ajjawi didn’t respond to messages seeking comment and his father, Bassel, declined to elaborate beyond the written statement. Ajjawi’s lawyer, Albert Mokhiber, called his client’s case a “classic sad tale with an exceptionally unique happy ending.” “Against all odds a Palestinian refugee who attended UNRWA schools in the camps of Lebanon, earns a full scholarship to Harvard, hits a road block, but is eventually granted entry to the U.S. to pursue his college dream,” he said in a statement, referring to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees….
Palestinians say US envoy resigning ‘admission of failure’
Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) 5 Sept — The resignation Thursday of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy is an “admission of failure” for the White House’s much-delayed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, a senior Palestinian official said. Jason Greenblatt worked alongside Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on the plan, which has been rejected in advance by the Palestinians. “I think it is a final admission of failure,” senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi said when asked about Greenblatt stepping down. “They tried to bash the Palestinians into submission, to blackmail us to accept whatever their plan was. From the beginning it was doomed to failure,” she told AFP. “I think the Palestinians as a whole are going to say ‘good riddance’. He was an apologist for the most extreme, hardline government in the history of Israel.” Islamist group Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, said Greenblatt’s resignation was “good news” and a sign of the Kushner team’s “failure”. “Hopefully this will push the current administration to review its position and vision of conflict resolution here, for the sake of stability and security in the region,” said Hamas spokesman Bassem Naim. Last week Greenblatt said the plan would not be released until after the September 17 Israeli election that will decide whether Trump ally Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stays in power. A senior US official said Greenblatt was leaving to spend more time with his family but left on good terms and “holds the confidence of the president”.
Netanyahu urges boycott of ‘fake’ Channel 12, calls it ‘Our Boys’ anti-Semitic
Times of Israel 30 Aug — PM slams leading TV station hours after Elections Committee rejects Likud request to bar media from publishing transcripts from graft cases against him — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday called on Israelis to boycott Channel 12 and its owner Keshet for its role in producing the HBO series “Our Boys,” which the premier called “anti-Semitic.” In a Facebook post, he wrote Israelis should stop watching the network for “its choice to tarnish us in the world with lies against the State of Israel.” The post was accompanied by a graphic that included the logos of Channel 12 and its news division, under which was written “fake news.” “Our Boys” tells the story of the gruesome murder of an Arab teen by Jewish extremists in 2014. The series has been controversial in Israel for choosing to focus on that event while giving little attention to events that precipitated it — the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teens in the West Bank. Netanyahu has regularly slammed Channel 12 for its extensive coverage of a series of criminal cases he is a suspect in and has singled out for criticism a number of its reporters, one of whom it was reported Friday will receive a security attachment following threats against him on social media….
Netanyahu renews pledge to annex West Bank settlements
Jerusalem (AFP) 1 Sept — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday renewed his pledge to annex Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank as he sought to shore up right-wing support ahead of a September 17 election. Netanyahu and his Likud party have been working to maximise turnout and wrest votes from other right-wing parties close to the influential settlement movement. “With the help of God we will apply Jewish sovereignty to all communities, as part of the (biblical) Land of Israel, and as part of the state of Israel,” he told an audience at the West Bank settlement of Elkana. He made the same promise ahead of the last election in April, but the results left him unable to form a viable governing coalition and he opted for a fresh poll for September 17. Israel occupied the West Bank in the Six-Day War of 1967. Israeli settlements are viewed as illegal under international law and as major obstacles to peace since they lie on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state. Annexation on a large-scale could prove to be the death knell for their statehood ambitions….
Netanyahu’s deal of the century: immunity in exchange for annexation / Shlomi Eldar
Al Monitor 4 Sept — There is no written deal between the Yamina party and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There wasn’t even a handshake. But as the Sept. 17 elections approach and embarrassing information from the police investigations into the prime minister’s numerous scandals are leaked to the press, everything seems to be getting clearer. It is out in the open now. Netanyahu is promising the settlers “sovereignty,” meaning full annexation of West Bank territories, and the settlers’ representatives — Yamina leaders Ayelet Shaked, Naftali Bennett and others — admit that they will grant him immunity from criminal proceedings in exchange. It doesn’t matter how much Netanyahu and his family mock and insult Shaked and Bennett. It won’t matter how much they hunt for and release embarrassing materials about them and their families. Bennett and Shaked are promising their voters their very own deal of the century: immunity for Netanyahu in exchange for sovereignty for the settlers….
PA begins process of issuing building permits for Area C: report
Times of Israel 1 Sept — The Palestinian Authority has reportedly begun the process of issuing building permits to all areas of the West Bank — even those where Israel maintains security and administrative control. PA Local Governance Minister Majdi al-Saleh has instructed officials and regional managers in his office to expand the plans of Palestinian towns to include surrounding areas as well, Haaretz reported Saturday night. The report quoted him as saying the move was part of the PA decision to do away with the distinction between the various parts of the West Bank. That decision was announced in early August by PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh during a meeting in Ramallah that was attended by Saleh and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadami, among others. “Israel no longer respects any of the signed agreements and has started to deal with all places as if they are part of Area C. Therefore, we will deal with all places as if they are part of Area A,” Shtayyeh said, according to the official PA news site Wafa. The Oslo Accords, a series of agreements signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, divided the West Bank into three areas: A, B and C….
Palestinian officials encourage competition among banks
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (Al-Monitor) 5 Sept by Ahmad Abu Amer — Palestinian banks soon will be able to compete to collect certain fees and taxes for the Ministry of Transportation’s directorates in the West Bank. The government made that decision Aug. 26 and gave the Ministry of Transportation two weeks to prepare an implementation plan and officially notify banks to begin the tax collection process. The decision is expected to go into effect in the next few weeks, Palestinian government Spokesperson Ibrahim Melhem told Al-Monitor. Currently, the Bank of Jordan collects the monies through its employees stationed in the ministry’s directorates. The change is designed to resuscitate the Palestinian economy, promote partnership between the private and public sectors, and improve government transparency. All 14 licensed Palestinian banks and their branches in Palestinian territories, including Gaza, will participate. Each bank will have the opportunity to offer its own conditions and incentives to attract customers. The government said it hopes the switch will improve services to citizens and facilitate governmental transactions. Eventually, more ministries will be involved, but the Transportation Ministry was chosen to be the first because it is among the ministries that pump the most funds into the government’s treasury….
Top PA diplomat in UK denies discrimination against LGBTQ in the West Bank
JPost 3 Sept — A prominent Palestinian diplomat in the UK assured on Friday that the Palestinian leaders and institutions do not discriminate against the LGBTQ community, despite a group being banned from carrying out activities in the West Bank. Responding to a letter by 60 Labour MPs and Peers, the head of the Palestinian Mission in the UK Husam Zomlot said that “Palestine honours and respects the dignity of all Palestinians and does not discriminate or tolerate any form of discrimination,” according to a report by the Jewish Chronicle. In August, the Palestinian Authority banned the LGBTQ group Al-Qaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society (Arabic for “the bow”) from carrying out any activity in the West Bank. The group engages and supports Palestinians who identify as LGBTQ and operates both in the West Bank and among Arab-Israelis. Explaining the decision to ban the LGBTQ group from operating in PA-controlled areas, Luay Zreikat, spokesperson for the PA Police, said that such activities are “harmful to the higher values and ideals of Palestinian society.” Zreikat said that the group’s activities were completely “unrelated to religions and Palestinian traditions and customs, especially in the city of Nablus.” When the ban was issued, Al Qaws was planning to hold an event in the city. In a letter addressed to MP Wes Streeting, Zomlot also said that the spokesperson’s remarks “reflected his personal view and did not represent the views of the Palestinian government,” and that his statement was immediately removed.
US embassy to raise height of its embassy wall in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Sept — The US embassy in Jerusalem began constructing a wall surrounding the building of its new quarter, with a height of 6 meters, according to Al Ray. It was agreed upon, previously, to build a wall with a height of 3.2 meters, but it was recently decided to build the wall with a height of 5.8 meters. Israelis living in the same neighborhood reportedly complained that the height of the wall covers the scenery, depriving them from enjoying the sight. It was noted that Israelis living near the embassy sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as to US Ambassador David Friedman, demanding them to retreat from this step. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has already signed an order to raise the wall, citing security reasons, as part of the implementation of pre-approved emergency instructions, including the construction of a private street.
Social media continues crackdown on Palestinian content
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Sept — Social media websites have continued their crackdown on the Palestinian content, disregarding all professional and human rights standards and ethics concerning the question of the Palestinian people who continue to live under Israeli military occupation. Sada Social Center, which monitors social media violations of the Palestinian content, documented more than 17 violations against Palestinian content on social media in August, most of them on Facebook, which presents itself as a safe and free space of personal opinions and beliefs. For instance, the center said, Facebook committed 15 violations ranging from ban, removal, publication and deletion of publications. Restrictions were further imposed on the following Palestinian pages: Aneen Al-Qaid, The Higher National Commission of the Great March of Return, Ramallah Mix, Jerusalem Committee – Yarmouk University, Qalandia Media Center, Palestine Media Center and Artist Qassem Al Najjar. On the other hand, Instagram removed a number of publications posed by the Palestine Liberation Radio. Meanwhile, YouTube deleted a video featuring the will of slain Palestinian Raed Misk, from the account of his son, Momen Misk. As part of Sada Social Center’s ongoing efforts to protect and defend the Palestinian content, the center has managed to restore five Palestinian pages that were deleted by Facebook: Jenin Mix, Beit Fajjar Times, Beit Furik Times, Yatta Times, and Lovers of Tell Village….