Israeli officers permitted to open fire on boys with slingshots
Violence / Detentions — West Bank, Jerusalem
Israel allows lethal force on stone throwers: report
Al Jazeera 5 July by Nigel Wilson — Israeli police have been authorised to use lethal force as a first resort against Palestinians throwing stones, firebombs or fireworks, according to documents revealed by human rights group Adalah. The latest open-fire regulations for Israeli police officers were approved and sent to officers in December, following two months of sporadic stabbing and vehicular attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces in Jerusalem, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The regulations include authorisation for officers to use live ammunition against Palestinians, including minors, suspected of throwing stones or firebombs, or those who appear likely to be about to commit such an offence. It also gives police officers authorisation to use lethal force as a first option in such cases. Previously, lethal force had been reserved as a final option for police officers when confronting violent Palestinian protests, only to be used after non-lethal means. The regulations were partially revealed by the Israeli police to Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, after the NGO successfully petitioned an Israeli court for access to the documents. On Monday, the group released excerpts which state that under the new regulations, “an officer is permitted to open fire [with live ammunition] directly on an individual who clearly appears to be throwing or is about to throw a firebomb, or who is shooting or is about to shoot fireworks, in order to prevent endangerment”, while the same response would be justified in a situation of “stone throwing using a slingshot”….
[Several videos, some of which will only appear after you watch the first very short one] IMEMC 4 July — Israeli soldiers shot and injured at least four Palestinians in the ongoing military invasion into the Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem, after dozens of Israeli army vehicles invaded it, and demolished homes of two slain Palestinians. Dozens of army vehicles and jeeps invaded the refugee camp, and demolished the two Palestinian homes after forcing their families, and all families living near them, to leave their properties. The demolished homes belong to the families of Anan Abu Habsa and Issa Assaf, who were killed on December 24, 2015, after carrying out a stabbing attack in Jerusalem. The Palestinian Red Crescent said the soldiers shot four Palestinians with live fire, and that one of them suffered a serious gunshot wound in his back, during clashes that took place after the soldiers invaded the camp, and demolished the two homes. It added that the soldiers prevented its ambulances from entering the refugee camp, and fired several gas bombs at the ambulances and medics, as they were trying to reach wounded Palestinians. The Red Crescent also said it received phone calls about additional injuries in the al-Kassarat area of the refugee camp, but the soldiers are not allowing them through. The Qalandia Media Center said the invasion was carried out by at least 1000 soldiers, after the army completely surrounded the camp, and that the army exchanged fire with armed resistance fighters. The extended military invasion into the refugee camp was carried out after residents of the camp realized that undercover Israeli soldiers infiltrated into it, driving cars with Palestinian license plates, and hurled stones of the soldiers before dozens of army vehicles advanced into camp. The army imposed a strict siege on the camp, and closed all of its main roads, preventing the Palestinians from entering or leaving it. The soldiers also shot and destroyed street lights, while many soldiers occupied rooftops before using them to fire on the protesters. In addition, the army deployed surveillance balloons to monitor the Palestinians during the invasion.
Army injures two Palestinians with live fire near Hebron
IMEMC 3 July — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday evening, Doura town, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and clashed with several local youths, before wounding two with live rounds and many others with rubber-coated steel bullets, while many Palestinians suffered the effects of teargas inhalation. Several military vehicles invaded the town, especially the Hanina area, and clashed with local youths, who hurled stones and empty bottles at the armored Israeli military jeeps. The soldiers fired several live rounds, in addition to dozens of rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs. Medical sources said one Palestinian was shot with a live round in his shoulder, and another Palestinian was also shot with a live round in his abdomen, while many Palestinians received treatment for the effects of teargas inhalation.
Settler attacks in Nablus and Hebron, Palestinians injured
IMEMC/Agencies 3 July — A number of Palestinians sustained injuries in extremist settler attacks against their cars, to the west and south of both Nablus and Hebron. Ghassan Daghlas, official in charge of settlement affairs, said that Israeli settlers threw stones against Palestinians’ cars, and a number of Palestinians were hospitalized in Rafidia hospital with minor injuries. Local sources reported that armed settlers closed a number of roads in southern Nablus and attacked the Palestinians’ cars. Meanwhile, in Hebron, dozens of Israeli settlers threw stones towards Palestinians’ cars on road 60, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency. Eyewitness Ata Jaber said that dozens of settlers gathered near Kharsina petrol station of Kiryat Arba settlement, throwing stones towards every Palestinian car passing in the street. Local sources also reported that Israeli settlers gathered at Beit Ainun settlement, to the east of Hebron, and attacked Palestinian passersby under Israeli police protection.
In Photos: Five years of popular struggle in Palestinian village Kufr Qaddum
Activestills 2 July — Five years ago this week, in July 2011, residents of the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddum began staging weekly popular protests demanding that the Israeli army open a road passing through the village to Nablus. The army closed the road to Palestinian traffic in 2003, citing security concerns to a nearby Israeli settlement partly built on the village’s land. The army has used various tactics over the years in its attempt to suppress the popular struggle. It has utilized attack dogs, installed roadblocks and other forms of collective punishment, carried out waves of arrests and night raids into the village, shot tear gas and putrid ‘skunk water’ at village homes, hung posters threatening to arrest local children, used crowd-control weapons, and even live ammunition. At the protest this week, marking five years of popular struggle, the Israeli military wounded three Palestinian demonstrators with live fire. Hundreds of people reportedly took part in the demonstration….
Attacked by a soldier? Don’t expect to hear from the police
+972 blog 3 July by Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din — A Palestinian resident of Hebron is attacked for trying to protect a child from settler violence. It turns out his attackers were aided by an IDF soldier — Sometimes you run into stories that encapsulate the entirety of the injustice of the occupation. All too often those stories come from the Hebron region, where reality is even harsher than the rest of the West Bank. Ra’ed Jihad Yakoub Abu Armila owns a souvenir shop in Hebron and works as a photographer for Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem. Around the beginning of May 2016, he stood with two friends near the Al-Ibrahimiya school in the city when he noticed a group of Israelis accompanied by a dog. Abu Armilla feared they were using the dog to intimidate a Palestinian girl who passed by them. As she walked by, the child became very scared and began crying. Abu Armilla did what any photographer would: he pulled out his video camera and began documenting the incident. The Israeli civilians greatly disliked the idea of becoming instant YouTube stars (it’s doubtful whether there is any other way to ensure steps be taken against them) so they advanced on Abu Armilla and his friends, while siccing their dog on him. Abu Armilla’s two friends retreated — he was left alone. And then the soldier intervened. Yes, a soldier accompanied the Israeli civilians. What did the soldier — the representative of the rule of law — do when he saw a group of Israeli civilians intimidating a child and threatening a photographer? He cocked his gun and pointed it at Abu Armilla. Abu Armilla froze, feeling scared for his life. The soldier pointed the rifle at him and the Israeli civilians used the opportunity to hit Abu Armilla on the head with blunt objects, including from behind. They beat him until he collapsed and lost consciousness. When he came to, Abu Armilla managed to see the soldier and the Israeli civilians walk away. Shortly after Border Policemen arrived on the scene, helped him walk to a nearby store, provided him with initial medical treatment, and called an ambulance. Abu Armilla was hospitalized for a day, and when he was discharged the police called him to tell him they needed his testimony. They claimed to have captured the attackers. Abu Armilla duly went to the police to lodge a complaint, but to his surprise, and even though the policemen accepted his complaint, he was not asked to participate in a live lineup or even a photo lineup. One of the policemen told him nothing would have happened had he not tried to document the incident in the first place. This is a classic position of the police: the problem is a result of the camera….
Remembering Mohammed Abu Khdeir two years after his brutal murder
2 July by International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil Team — Today marks the two year anniversary of the brutal kidnap, torture and eventual murder of 16-year-old Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The teenager was kidnapped in the Shu‘fat neighbourhood of occupied Jerusalem by Ben David of the illegal settlement Geva Binyamin and two assailants on 2 July 2014, Abu Khdeir was then beaten, forced to drink gasoline and burnt alive. The autopsy found that gasoline was poured down Abu Khdeir’s throat and that there was soot in his lungs which shows that he was still breathing as this attackers burnt him alive. The autopsy also found that he was repeatedly beaten over the head with a sharp object, most likely a tire iron or a wrench. Two days prior to Abu Khdeir’s abduction the group attempted to kidnap a 7-year-old boy Moussa Zaloum although he was able to escape with the help of his mother. The family reported the attempted kidnapping to Israeli police although they did not investigate the incident. Three days after the attack, Mohammed’s cousin, 15-year-old American citizen Tariq Abu Khdeir was detained and brutally beaten by Israeli border police, an event caught on camera, before being released. Earlier this year, a relative of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 63 year old Coheir Abu Khdeir was also badly assaulted in an attack carried out in Shufat. When his family went to Israeli police they refused to take their complaint insisting that the 63-year-old would have to come to the police station himself. On 2 July 2015 there was a peaceful demonstration held in commemoration for Mohammed Abu Khdeir which was violently dispersed by Israeli Forces. The Israeli Forces used pepper spray and tear gas on the non-violent demonstrators which included Palestinians, international activists and journalists….
Dozens of Palestinians detained in East Jerusalem following Al-Aqsa unrest
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 July — Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians, including a journalist, in overnight raids Saturday in occupied East Jerusalem, amid increasing tension on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City. Head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners Amjad Abu Asab told Ma‘an that Israeli police detained 10 Palestinians, nine of which were from the Old City.
Two Old City residents were identified as former prisoners Ahmad Ghazala and Laith Shalabi. Israeli forces also detained Mamun Hashim, Shadi Sidir, Jihad Salim, Muhammad Jabir, Mahmoud Abd al-Ghani and his son Amjad Abd al-Ghani, as well as another unidentified Jerusalemite. Israeli forces also detained journalist Amjad Arafah after raiding his house in Ras al-Amoud southeast of the Old City. Arafah was called for interrogation on Saturday and released, only to be detained again on Sunday….
Israeli soldiers detain four children near Jenin
IMEMC 3 July — Israeli soldiers detained, on Saturday at night, four Palestinian children at a military roadblock the soldiers installed on the main entrance of their village, Zabbouba, west of the West Bank city of Jenin. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers installed a sudden roadblock, closing the main road leading to Zabbouba, stopped and searched dozens of cars, examined the ID cards of the passengers and kidnapped four children. The children, Dia Fathi Jaradat, Jamal Jaber al-‘Ater, Mohammad Abdul-Rahman Jamal and Sami Bassem Jamal, were detained and interrogated for more than two hours before the soldiers released them. In related news, the soldiers installed a roadblock on the Jenin-Jaffa road, at the main junction of Sielet al-Harithiyya town, northwest of Jenin, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.
PPS: ‘Israeli soldiers kidnap 34 Palestinians, including 2 children’
IMEMC 4 July — The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped, overnight and on Monday at dawn, at least 34 Palestinians, in different parts of the occupied West Bank, including 17 Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem, and eight in Hebron. Among the kidnapped are twin brothers, only 12 years of age, from Jerusalem. The Jerusalem office of the PPS said the soldiers invaded and searched dozens of homes in the district, and the Qalandia refugee camp, and kidnapped seventeen Palestinians. The kidnapped have been identified as Ahmad Abu Dalo, Malek and his twin brother Mohammad Nabulsi, only 12 years of age, Jihad Taha, Ala Fakhouri, Adli Nasreddin, Thaer Zghayyar, Anas Obeid, Wadea’ Oleyyan, Mohammad Halayqa, Amir Balbeesy, from Jerusalem. Residents Ahmad Matar, 26, Osama Mteir, 27, Ahmad Mteir, Fadi Mteir, and two other Palestinians, whose names remained unknown until the time of this report, were kidnapped from their homes in Qalandia refugee camp. In the West Bank district of Bethlehem, the soldiers invaded, at dawn Monday, Beit Fajjar and al-Khader towns, south of the city, searched many homes and kidnapped four Palestinians….
Army kidnaps eight Palestinians, injures one, in Hebron
IMEMC 4 July — Israeli soldiers have kidnapped, on Monday at dawn, at least eight Palestinians in massive invasions of homes, in different parts of the southern West Bank district of Hebron, and injured one Palestinian in Doura town, south of Hebron city. Media sources said the soldiers invaded several neighborhoods in Doura town, searched many homes and kidnapped four Palestinians, identified as Hazem Jabara, Ibrahim Abu Sharar, 45, Mohammad Abdul-Majid Amayra and his brother Ahmad. The soldiers also invaded the Shorafa area, in Doura town, and clashed with many Palestinians, who hurled stones at the invading vehicles, especially after the soldiers surrounded a mosque, and demanded many youngsters to step out. One Palestinian was shot with a live round in his leg, while many worshipers suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. In addition, the soldiers invaded Bani Ne‘im town, east of Hebron, searched several homes and kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Tamer Abu Luay Tarayra, the brothers of Mohammad Tarayra, who was killed by the army on Thursday, June 30th, after he stabbed and killed a 13-year-old Israeli child in Keryat Arba’ colony, before he was shot dead. Their sister, Lara Nasser Tarayra, 22, was kidnapped by the soldiers, Sunday. The soldiers also invaded Be’er al-Mahjar area, in Hebron city, kidnapped Mohammad Jabara al-Faqeeh, 36, and confiscated his car. Another Palestinian, identified as Ala’ Ghazi Qa’qour, 34, was kidnapped after the soldiers invaded his home, and searched it, in Tarqumiya town, west of Hebron.
It is worth mentioning that the towns of Bani Ne‘im, Sammoa‘, Doura and Yatta, in addition to the al-Fawwar refugee camp, remained under strict Israeli siege and massive home invasions, for the fourth consecutive day. The soldiers closed all of their main roads with roadblocks, and in many other areas with concrete blocks, and confiscated various surveillance tapes and equipment.
10-year-old girl arrested on settler children’s accusation
HEBRON, Occupied Palestine 5 July by ISM, al-Khalil Team — Israeli forces on Monday 4th July arrested a 10-year old Palestinian girl near the Ibrahimi mosque in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), as a group of settler children arbitrarily accused her of throwing an enormous rock at them. A large group of settler children were playing near the Ibrahimi mosque, again and again harassing a family living next to a checkpoint manned by heavily-armed Israeli forces. When a boy accused one of the Palestinian children of throwing a rock at them, all the settler children and large numbers of Israeli forces gathered at the house. A group of soldiers then entered the house with the settler boy, and eventually came out with the 10-year old girl, crying. They then walked her off to the police station, despite her young age. Even under Israeli military law that applies to all Palestinians in the West Bank the arrest of Palestinian children is prohibited under the age of 12. Under the Israeli civil law which applies even to settlers living in illegal settlements, in contrast, arrests of children are legal only from the age of 14. Despite the girl being only 10 years old – a fact that was repeatedly told to the soldiers – the girl was taken to the police station. The girl’s mother was prevented by the Israeli forces from reaching the police station, which is located on part of a street where Palestinians are not even allowed to walk. Luckily, the girl was accompanied by her aunt, but denied the presence of her mother. The settlers in the meantime kept harassing the Palestinian family, throwing small stones at the family, sitting on the stairs outside their house, waiting and hoping for the release of the girl. As the house is located directly opposite one of the many checkpoints, this happened in plain view of the Israeli forces, who in the beginning entirely ignored the events and intervened only when realizing that people started filming and taking photos. After about half an hour, she was released, and Israeli forces explained to her family, that they were just being ‘nice’ as they were sure she threw the rock. The rock the settler boy accused her of throwing at them is so big, that the 10-year old girl would not even been able to lift it up. Watch the video below: This illustrates how Israeli settlers, even small children, have complete impunity for their actions, and Israeli forces act upon their every word and wish – even if acting illegally under the Israeli law.
Israeli decision to create secret burial area for slain attackers
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 3 July — The Israeli security cabinet on Saturday decided not to return the bodies of Palestinian martyrs to their families and bury them secretly in a new cemetery allocated for them. The Israeli government claims the step is part of other punitive measures taken against the Palestinians in both the West Bank and Jerusalem in response to recent deadly attacks against Jewish settlers. Since the al-Quds intifada (uprising) started in early October last year in response to Israel’s escalation of violations against the Palestinians and their holy sites, the Israeli security authorities have been withholding bodies of attackers as a punitive measure. This practice was implemented mainly against attackers who were residents of east Jerusalem. While bodies of attackers from the West Bank are usually returned to their families within a short time, the bodies of attackers from east Jerusalem have been withheld by the Israeli occupation police since the start of the intifada. The security cabinet also decided during that meeting to impose a complete closure on al-Khalil province, where two deadly attacks happened recently. Other reprisal measures include seizing some of the tax funds collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and its government, building 42 housing units in Kiryat Arba settlement, and canceling work permits for some 2,800 Palestinians from Bani Na‘im village, where one of the attackers came from.
Israel bars Hebron mayor over condolence visit
AFP 3 July — Israel on Sunday barred the Hebron governor from entering its territory after he visited the family of a Palestinian who killed a US-Israeli teenage girl in her sleep, officials said. On Thursday, 19-year-old Mohammed Nasser Tarayra broke into the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank on the outskirts of Hebron and killed 13-year-old Israeli-American Hallel Yaffa Ariel before being shot dead by a security guard. The murder sparked outrage and prompted Israel to lock down Hebron, a flashpoint city in the occupied Palestinian territory. The decision to bar mayor Kamal Humeid from Israel was taken by COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry unit which manages civilian affairs for Palestinians in the West Bank and liaises with Gaza. A statement said Humeid had paid a condolence visit to Tarayra’s family and was therefore “barred from entering Israel” and that he had been stripped of “his privileges”, without elaborating. Humeid said on Facebook he does not enjoy any special privileges and has “no business in Israel” that would lead him to enter the Jewish state.
Israel can’t crush solidarity
EI 30 June by Budour Youssef — Amal Mukhamara is fed up with the questions. She is tired of journalists inquiring why her son Khaled and his cousin Muhammad killed four Israelis in Tel Aviv earlier this month. She is tired of being asked if she condemns their actions or if she knew of their plans beforehand. “No mother will allow her son to put his life in danger,” she said. “But our sons do not ask us for our opinions or approval. They are driven to act because of all the injustice and aggression they have been subjected to by Israel.” The killings took place in an upmarket Tel Aviv square. Both of the alleged attackers were wounded before being arrested. Israel is using the Tel Aviv killings as a pretext to inflict more injustice and aggression on their family and neighbors in Yatta, a town near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Almost 300 members of the extended Mukhamara family had work or travel permits canceled by Israel after the killings, according to Jamal Bheis, deputy mayor of Yatta. Since the killings occurred, Israel has subjected Yatta’s inhabitants to repeated raids, violent house searches and random arrests. All entrances to the city have been closed at times….
Prisoners / Court actions
Tel Aviv gunmen ‘were inspired by ISIS’
AFP 4 July — The two Palestinians who shot dead four Israelis at a popular Tel Aviv nightspot last month had drawn inspiration from the Islamic State group, security officials said Monday. Cousins Khaled Makhamrah, 20, and Mohammad Makhamrah, 21, both from Yatta, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, opened fire at a cafe at Sarona Market in Israel’s commercial capital on June 8, killing four and wounding 15. The two “were inspired by the Islamic State group to carry out the attack, without officially joining it or getting any form of help or instruction from them,” the Shin Bet domestic security agency said. A third suspect, 21-year-old Younes Zein from Yatta, was supposed to have taken part in the attack but did not participate, it said, adding that Zein confessed however to providing the other two with weapons. The three were charged at the Tel Aviv district court on Monday for murder, conspiring to murder and attempted murder, according to the charge sheet distributed by the justice ministry. It said they planned the assault after a July 2015 arson attack by Jewish extremists in the West Bank that killed three members of a Palestinian family, including an 18-month-old baby. Khaled Makhamrah wanted to carry out “a revenge attack against Israel in the name of the Islamic State” during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The three took a picture at Zein’s home against the backdrop of the black IS flag, hoping to publish it after the attack … A number of Palestinians and Israeli Arabs have traveled to neighbouring Syria to fight with IS, though Israeli security officials say such influence remains limited. A recent poll found that 88 percent of Palestinians believe that IS is a radical group that does not represent true Islam. In the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, 16 percent said the group represented true Islam, a view shared by only three percent in the West Bank.
Hunger-striking prisoner demands release, preemptively rejects deportation order
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 July — Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Bilal Kayid reiterated his demands to be freed by Israeli authorities from administrative detention, preemptively rejecting an offer to be deported in lieu of being freed to his hometown of Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Lawyer Karim Ajweh, affiliated with the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, said after visiting the prisoner in Israel’s Ashkelon prison that Kayid would never agree to any deal with Israel that includes deportation. “I won’t end my hunger strike unless my administrative detention is ended and I am released immediately,” stressed Kayid, who was placed in administrative detention — internment without charges or trial — on June 13, the day he was scheduled to be released from prison after serving a 14-and-a-half-year sentence. Israeli forces at times deport Palestinian political prisoners to the Gaza Strip from the occupied West Bank as a condition of their release. According to Ajweh, Kayid has lost 23 to 24 kilograms since he began his hunger strike on June 15, after living off only water for more than 20 days. Kayid began his hunger strike primarily in protest of his administrative detention, but also in response to his extended placement in isolation. He served the last several months of his near 15-year prison sentence in isolation, and has remained in isolation since Israeli forces sentenced him to six-months in administrative detention.
Palestinian lawmaker from Hebron released after latest administrative detention
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 3 July — Israeli authorities released Palestinian lawmaker Hatim Qafisha on Sunday after he completed six months of administrative detention in Israeli custody. Family members told Ma‘an that Qafisha, a 54-year-old Hamas-affiliated member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was released at the Mitar checkpoint south of al-Dhahiriya in the southern occupied West Bank. A number of lawmakers and family members were waiting for him behind the checkpoint. Qafisha was most recently detained in January, and saw his administrative detention renewed in May. He has served around 13 years in Israeli custody, more than 12 years of which he spent in administrative detention — internment without charges or trial. According to statistics by prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, seven Palestinian lawmakers were detained by Israel as of May, and 715 Palestinians were being held in administrative custody, a policy international community has repeatedly said is in contravention of international law. Rights groups have claimed that Israel’s administrative detention policy has been used as an attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes, notably targeting Palestinian politicians, activists, and journalists, as it allows Israel to imprison Palestinians without disclosing evidence and without charge or trial.
Israeli jurists to IDF: Release conscientious objecter Tair Kaminer
+972 mag 4 July by Haggai Matar — Dozens of Israeli jurists sent a letter last friday to the Military Advocate General, calling for the release of Israeli conscientious objector Tair Kaminer, who has spent nearly 170 days in military prison for refusing to enlist in the IDF over its policies in the occupied territories. The jurists argue that Kaminer’s sentence is disproportionate, and that she should be released from the army and allowed to take part in civil service. Kaminer is the longest-serving imprisoned female conscientious objector. Kaminer, 19, appeared last Thursday before the IDF’s conscientious objectors committee, and has yet to receive a response regarding her exemption request. The committee has historically decided to not exempt female conscientious objectors such as Kaminer, who declare their refusal to enlist in the army due to their explicit opposition to the occupation (as opposed to pacifism, for example). In their letter the jurist state that while they have differing opinions on the nature of Kaminer’s refusal, they are unanimous in their belief that there is no reason to imprison someone who believes that military service goes against their core moral beliefs, and that Kaminer’s refusal to enlist is an expression of “freedom of consciousness.” ….
Ramadan a ‘month of mourning’ for Palestinian mother
BETHLEHEM, occupied West Bank (Al Jazeera) 4 July by Sheren Khalel — With her husband dead and her three children in Israeli detention, Sanaa Balbul has spent the holiday alone — As Muslim families across the world gathered for the last Friday of Ramadan, Sanaa Balbul sat at home alone in her modest two-bedroom apartment. A mother of three, Sanaa has spent the entire holy month of Ramadan alone, grieving for her family. “My parents are dead and my husband was killed by Israeli forces eight years ago. His parents have also passed. All of my brothers and sisters have moved out of the country to get away from the occupation, and all of my children are in Israeli prison,” Sanaa told Al Jazeera in her small living room in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem. Sanaa’s three children were separately arrested by Israeli forces earlier this year. Her 15-year-old daughter, Nuran Balbul, is serving a six-month sentence for allegedly possessing a knife on April 12 at Bethlehem’s 300 checkpoint between the occupied West Bank and Israel. Two months later, on the third day of Ramadan, Israeli forces stormed Sanaa’s house and arrested her other two sons, Mohammed, 25, and Mahmoud, 21. The two men have not been charged with anything. “The Israelis didn’t tell us why they were arrested or what they suspected them of, and they probably won’t, because they’re being held under administrative detention,” she said, referring to an Israeli policy in which Palestinians can be held without charge or trial for renewable six-month periods. Sanaa does not believe that her daughter was carrying a knife, noting that she would never have attempted to use one against a person. “She likes to paint her nails and dance in front of the mirror and do girly things. She is a child and she likes children’s things,” Sanaa said, her voice cracking as tears welled up in her eyes. The imprisonment of her children has reawakened the pain of her husband’s death, Sanaa said, adding she believes that her family is being targeted as punishment for her late husband’s political activity. On March 18, 2008, undercover Israeli forces shot dead Sanaa’s husband, Ahmad Balbul, a member of Bethlehem’s city council and the alleged leader of the Fatah movement’s military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, in Bethlehem….
Turkish aid bound for Gaza arrives at Israeli port amid backlash to rapprochement
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 July — Israeli demonstrators on Saturday reportedly attempted to block the delivery of aid to the besieged Gaza Strip from the Turkish cargo ship Lady Leyla, which docked at Israel’s Ashdod port earlier that morning. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the families of Israeli soldiers whose slain bodies are being held by Hamas or who are believed to be missing inside the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, staged a protest at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the blockaded territory, aiming to prevent the aid from passing through. An Israeli police spokesperson could not immediately be reached to confirm reports that demonstrators had attempted to block the aid. The shipment, which contained some 11,000 tons of supplies, including 10,000 toys and 10,000 packages of food, embarked from Turkey’s southern port of Mersin on Friday. Turkey’s humanitarian aid delivery followed an agreement made with Israel on Sunday to normalize diplomatic relations between the two nations, ending a six-year standoff sparked by the 2010 Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship attempting to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip which resulted in the death of ten Turkish activists. While Turkey notably conceded on its demand that Israel lift its near decade-long blockade on the Gaza Strip, Israel did agree to allow Turkey to deliver aid, with the stipulation that deliveries pass through the Ashdod port, to then continue to Gaza through land crossings.
Turkish shipment arrives at Kerem Shalom
Ynet 4 July — The first truck from the Turkish transport ships arrived from Ashdod Port at the Kerem Shalom crossing. The truck contained a shipment of toys (dolls and teddy bears) as well diapers in cartons bearing the Turkish flag. Ministry of Defense Crossing Authority personnel and COGAT officials unloaded the goods and are preparing them for transfer into Gaza.
Israel to let Turkey transfer funds to Gaza banks
Globes 4 July — Israel will allow Turkey to transfer funds to banks in the Gaza strip if activities are approved by Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This was revealed today as part of the Israel-Turkey reconciliation accord signed last week in the State’s response to a High Court of Justice petition filed by bereaved families and right-wing activists. The wording of the agreement, signed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general Dore Gold and approved by the security cabinet, reveals details hitherto undisclosed by the Israeli government. Among other things, it is explicitly written in the documents that Israel has committed to transfer $20 million to Turkey to compensate the bereaved families from the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla incident in 2010. Under the terms of the agreement, the compensation will be made only by Turkey, and in exchange the families of those who died in the Gaza flotilla will not be allowed to sue Israel. If however there are suits filed against Israel officers, Ankara is committed to finance legal handling of the matter. The documents also say that transfer of funds to Gaza banks will be carried out with Israel’s security considerations in mind. Turkey will also build a desalination plant in Gaza, with Israel’s blessing as well as a power station.
Egypt closes Rafah crossing with Gaza after five days of operation
GAZA (Ma‘an) 4 July — Egypt closed its only crossing with the besieged Gaza Strip on Monday evening after a five-day opening to allow humanitarian cases through. Ministry of Interior in Gaza Strip spokesman Iyad al-Bizm told Ma‘an that Egyptian authorities had stopped the influx of people trying to leave the blockaded Palestinian territory through the Rafah crossing, while keeping it open for people entering Gaza. The Palestinian official said that 3,099 people left Gaza during the five-day opening, including 546 Egyptian passport holders. Al-Bizm said that the humanitarian crisis was worsening in Gaza, and called on Egypt to extend the opening of the crossing.
Gazan injured by Israeli gunfire attack on border area
GAZA (PIC) 2 July — A Palestinian young man from the Gaza Strip on Friday evening suffered a bullet injury when Israeli soldiers opened fire at civilians during their presence in an agricultural area east of the border fence. Local paramedics told Anadolu news agency that a number of Palestinian civilians were in an agricultural area inside Gaza, particularly to the east of al-Bureij refugee camp when border soldiers opened fire at them with no reason. They added that one young man was injured in the attack and rushed to Shuhadaa al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.
Wave of Israeli dawn airstrikes rock Gaza
GAZA (PIC) 2 July — Two Palestinian citizens suffered injuries at dawn Saturday during Israeli aerial attacks on different areas of the Gaza Strip. Local and security sources told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that Israeli warplanes waged three airstrikes on training posts belonging to al-Qassam Brigades of Hamas, south of Gaza City. No one was hurt in the raids. Two Palestinian citizens were reportedly injured in another air raid on an industrial workshop belonging to the Hasanain family in al-Zeitun neighborhood, east of Gaza City. The workshop sustained extensive material damage. Israeli warplanes also bombed two resistance sites in Beit Lahiya, in the north of Gaza, with no reported casualties. Later, a warplane fired several missiles at an agricultural structure in Beit Hanoun, in the north of Gaza, and destroyed it. The Israeli occupation army claimed its aerial attacks were in response to a rocket attack on Friday from Gaza. It said a Palestinian rocket hit and damaged an empty building in Sderot city in the Negev.
ISIS-affiliated terror group takes credit for Gaza rocket attack
JPost 2 July by Yaakov Lappin — A militant jihadist organization claiming to be affiliated with the so-called Islamic State took responsibility Saturday for a rocket attack that hit a public building in the southern Israeli town of Sderot the previous evening. A statement released by “Aknaf Beit al-Makdis,” a Gaza-based terror organization committed to “jihad against Jews, the enemy of God,” claimed responsibility for the attack which severely damaged an empty preschool. The group added that the weapon was “168 millimeter category” rocket and self-constructed. No injuries were reported in the aftermath of the attack. In response, the IAF struck four targets in the Gaza Strip that served as terrorist infrastructure for Hamas in the northern and central areas of the coastal enclave. “The IDF will continue to act strongly against any terror force which targets Israel and its citizens, in order to keep the south safe,” the IDF said in a statement issued by the Spokesperson Unit. “We hold Hamas responsible,” the IDF said. “Hamas, [as a governing body], will be held responsible for all that occur within its borders.’
Gunmen attack Fatah meeting in Gaza City, injure 10
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 3 July — Ten Fatah-affiliated Palestinians were injured on Sunday when unidentified gunmen attacked a meeting for the political party’s internal elections in the eastern Gaza Strip. A Fatah leader in the besieged Gaza Strip in charge of the internal elections, Nayif Khuweitir, told Ma‘an that the voting process started at 1 pm at Moonlight Hall in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City and went on “smoothly” for about two hours. At around 3 pm, he said, gunmen attacked the election center with firearms, sharp weapons, and bats. Khuweitir identified one of the injured as Hussein Khuweitir, who received a gunshot to the foot and a stab wound to the head. Fatah leadership in the Gaza Strip denounced the attack, describing it as “unrepresentative” of the values of Fatah and the Palestinian people. Such behavior, a statement by Fatah added, serves only “enemies of the Palestinian national project,” and those who don’t want Fatah movement to progress. The statement did not give more details about the attackers, but implied that a breakaway faction of the Fatah movement was behind the attack. The most prominent former Fatah leader is Muhammad Dahlan, who was Fatah’s leading figure in the Gaza Strip before 2007. Dahlan was excluded from Fatah in 2011 over allegations of being involved in the death of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and in high-level corruption. The Fatah statement did not say that it suspected Dahlan supporters of being behind Sunday’s attack.
How rotten fish became a favorits delicacy in Gaza
GAZA CITY 1 July by Moath al-Amoud — Gazans have become accustomed to eating salted fish such as fesikh on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan. Different types of fesikh are sold in the market during the last 10 days of Ramadan. Gazans believe that fesikh detoxifies the stomach because it contains large amounts of salt, which they believe is beneficial after a month of fasting. The women, who wait for their husbands and sons to return home from the Eid al-Fitr prayer in the early morning, fry the fish with garlic and tomatoes, the smell of which fills the alleys, streets and towns in the Gaza Strip … Asked how fesikh is prepared, hajji Umm Raed Ismail told Al-Monitor, “Originally we salted the fish for preservation purposes. We would salt it, wrap it in a thick cloth and bury it in the ground for 40 days. Once we were ready to eat, we would take it out, soak it in water, fry it and serve it with tomatoes, peppers and garlic. However, fishmongers now put the fish in barrels full of salt a few days before the start of Ramadan.” Mohammed Brais, a popular fishmonger who sells fesikh in the city of Khan Yunis, told Al-Monitor, “I sell about 300 kilograms [660 pounds] of fesikh every Eid, and I sell whatever is left on the second and third day of the holiday. People continue to buy fesikh until the morning hours of Eid before going to perform their prayers.” He explained that certain types of fish are used for fesikh, such as mullet, meagre and gilt-head bream, which are sold throughout the year but mainly right before and during Eid al-Fitr….
Land, property, resources theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements
Illegal settlement to be expanded in response to stabbing
IMEMC/Agencies 3 July — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved plan to build 42 settlement units in Kiryat Arba illegal settlement near Hebron, as a “punishment” against the Palestinian stabbing attack that took place on Thursday killing a 13-year-old Israeli girl. According to the Israeli Channel 2, Netanyahu consulted with his minister of defense, Avigdor Lieberman, before approving the plan. This step came after Netanyahu and Lieberman visited the settlement on Friday, and met with the parents of the teenager who also called for building more homes in the illegal settlement in response to the killing of their daughter. The Palestinian attacker from a village near Hebron had been shot dead on the spot.
Israel approves new settler homes — media reports
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 4 July — Israeli leaders have approved plans to build some 800 housing units for settlers in and around East Jerusalem, Israeli media reports said. No formal announcement was made late on Sunday, but the liberal Haaretz newspaper quoted an unidentified Israeli official as saying the move was coupled with a decision – which drew right-wing criticism – to erect 600 homes for Palestinians in an Arab neighbourhood of Jerusalem. According to the reports, 560 homes will be built in Maale Adumim, a large settlement in the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem. Another 140 dwellings will go up in Ramot and about 100 in Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev – settlements on the outskirts of Jerusalem that were built on land Israel occupied in a 1967 war. The reports said the 600 homes for Palestinians would be built in Beit Safafa, an Arab neighbourhood that straddles the pre-1967 war line between Israeli-controlled West Jerusalem and the West Bank. Criticising that plan, Israel’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, Zeev Elkin, wrote on Facebook: “Anyone who cares about a Jewish majority in the capital of Israel can’t promote construction for the Arab population alone.” Haaretz quoted an unidentified Israeli official as saying the new homes slated for the settlements were aimed at “sweetening the pill” for right-wingers upset by the construction plans for Beit Safafa and seeking a strong response to recent deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
Haaretz editorial: Israel’s planned construction beyond the Green Line cynically exploits the terror wave
5 July — These are construction plans that would never have passed international muster had they not been preceded by acts of gruesome violence — On Sunday night, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement about advancing the construction of 560 homes for Jews in Ma’aleh Adumim and 240 homes in Jerusalem neighborhoods over the Green Line (Ramot, Gilo and Har Homa). At the same time, a plan was approved to build 600 homes for residents of the Arab village of Beit Safafa, in the Givat Hamatos area of Jerusalem. The announcement was meant to convey strength and determination in the face of the growing wave of terror in the occupied territories. Daily newspaper Israel Hayom – the unofficial mouthpiece of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – described the announcement as a “response to the terror attacks.” But a closer look reveals that the announcement exposes the weakness of the government and its leader more than anything else. The state had no choice but to approve the construction plan for Palestinians in Givat Hamatos. The Beit Safafa community administration petitioned Jerusalem District Court six months ago, against the delay of the plan’s implementation for no apparent reason. The prosecution tried to argue that the reason the plan hadn’t gone forward was so secret, the petitioners couldn’t be told what it was. The prosecution also claimed that the issue had been discussed at the highest levels of government. The court rejected these arguments and demanded a serious response … In complete contrast, the construction in the Jewish neighborhoods beyond the Green Line is a cynical exploitation of the terror wave to “punish” the Palestinians and sweeten the pill for right-wing extremists. True, these are not particularly large plans and are located within the settlement blocs and in Jerusalem. But make no mistake: these are construction plans that would never have passed international muster had they not been preceded by acts of gruesome terror. The seeming symmetry – construction for the Palestinians, in exchange for construction in Jewish neighborhoods – is a false one. The construction for Arabs in Jerusalem is grounded in court proceedings, real needs and the government-approved plan to correct discrimination against the Arab community. It cannot be held hostage to attempts by Netanyahu to appease the settlers. The construction plans for the Jewish areas across the Green Line should be canceled and plans should instead be developed within the Green Line in Jerusalem. Construction plans for Arabs, meanwhile, should be implemented to relieve the sharp housing crisis among residents of East Jerusalem.
Settlers of Brokhin settlement level Palestinians’ lands in Salfit
SALFIT (PIC) 3 July — Settlers on Sunday leveled Palestinian lands to expand Brokhin settlement which was established by force on lands of the Palestinian towns of Broqin, Bediya and Sarta west of Salfit. Researcher Khaled Maali told the PIC reporter that the expansion works have been going on in 24 settlements established over 18 locations in Salfit governorate. Maali pointed out that the Israeli government had previously announced the establishment of hundreds of new settlement units in Brokhin settlement. The construction of the new housing units has been done at the expense of Palestinians’ agricultural lands as well as green pastures, he added.
Water shortages in Salfit enter fourth week as Ramadan draws to a close
Palestine Monitor 1 July by Lili Martinez — As the month of Ramadan draws to a close, Palestinians are looking forward to the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which will mark an end to their month of abstaining from food and drink. But for residents of Salfit, north of Ramallah, the end of Ramadan won’t bring a relief from thirst. These residents, along with tens of thousands of others in the Northern West Bank, have been without adequate water resources for the entire holy month. “Since June 4, the Israelis cut the water all of a sudden, without telling us, for 24 hours completely,” explained Saleh Afaneh, director of the Department of Water, Engineering and Sanitation at the Salfit municipality. The water came back on the next day, but only at 30 to 35% of the needs of the city, and has continued to flow at a reduced rate until today. The municipality has tackled the water crisis head-on, organizing an Emergency Committee to keep residents informed about water availability. In the meantime, the city has been divided into three regions, and water is being pumped to each one in turn, allowing individual houses to receive water about once every three days … Salfit sits on the largest aquifer in the West Bank, but due to agreements set forth in the 1994 Oslo accords, the Palestinian Authority only controls about 20 percent of the water flow from the aquifer. Israel controls the other 80 percent, and in recent years, they have taken control of even more.
Al-Hadidiya, Jordan Valley (David Shulman)
Touching Photographs 1 July by Margaret Olin — Four months away provide just enough distance to see the madness and the cruelty for what they are. Who has set up this crazy system and kept it running for half a century? Is it not mad to deliberately deprive human beings — families, children, the elderly — of water at the height of summer in a scorching desert? It was at least 37 or 38 degrees Centigrade, almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit, today in Al-Hadidiya. No running water, of course, and almost no water at all. You can’t survive there without water. I should warn you that reading the following report may make you thirsty, like watching Lawrence of Arabia. I had two liters of water with me, and I wasn’t fasting, unlike most of the Palestinians I met (it’s Ramadan), but still I was thirsty all day. Once the sweet morning chill was soaked up by a white-hot sun, the world turned to flame. You could feel the liquid stuff of life being sucked out of you by the merciless sun-machine. In such heat, stones melt. Metal melts. The sheep out on the hills, the cocks crowing in the tents, the dogs who can barely bark as they limp along the edges of the village—all of them are baked, singed, seared, charred, encindered. As for us, wandering over the hills in search of the lost, ruined wells that once served Al-Hadidiya, we are drunk on the light, giddy with heat. Will I ever not be thirsty? Before I go any further, I had better tell you what you perhaps already know, that is, that the Israeli settlement of Ro’i, half a mile away, has no dearth of water. Water flows freely through their pipes, some of which run through the grounds of Al-Hadidiya, and their swimming pool is, I presume, blue and beckoning and, above all, full of water. And there’s another thing you already know. Drying out the Palestinians of Al-Hadidiya is a matter of policy, not a random affair….
‘We’ll never give up’
EI 1 July by Patricia de Blas — “We love our land and we will fight.” So reads a mural painted on a wall in Kafr Qaddum, a Palestinian village in the northern occupied West Bank. The slogan, adorned with butterflies in the color of the Palestinian flag flying over a barbed wire fence, is the backdrop to the regular demonstrations against the Israeli occupation held in the village since July 2011. For five years now, villagers have protested every week, demanding access to the main road leading to the city of Nablus and other nearby towns. – Closure – The Israeli military closed that road in 2003 during the height of the second intifada under the pretext of providing security to the approximately 4,000 settlers living in nearby Kedumim … The closure forces village residents to take long detours – what was once a short journey of less than four miles to Nablus has tripled in length. This means both lost time and money. Villagers have died when Israeli forces wouldn’t let ambulances use the main road. In addition to closing the road, Israel has confiscated more than 10 percent of Kafr Qaddum’s lands for the benefit of its settlements. More than half of the village’s land is situated in an area designated as under full Israeli control. Residents must obtain Israeli permission to access their farmland, preventing them from tending to their orchards – olives are the main crop in the village – and they are given only a few days to harvest each year. This is devastating for a village of farmers. On Fridays, villagers leave the mosque after midday prayer and march towards the roadblock, chanting slogans, throwing stones and burning tires. There they confront Israeli soldiers, fortified by tanks and militarized bulldozers. – Injuries – More than 80 protesters have been injured by live fire, according to Kafr Qaddum Popular Resistance Committee leader Murad Shtaiwi….
Why are the Dutch funding settlers in Palestine?
Al Jazeera 4 July by Hanine Hassan — Dutch ministers, including prime ministers, have been circumventing laws, without informing their parliament, for the past 14 years to sustain monthly payments to Dutch settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories. On June 18, NRC Handelsblad, a prominent daily in the Netherlands, revealed in a fully documented report how several prime ministers, ministers, Dutch diplomats in Israel and the Social Insurance Bank, or SVB, have been bending pension laws since 2002 to keep paying untaxed state pensions to Dutch settlers living in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The report is a detailed exposure of the exceptional privilege awarded to Dutch settlers on occupied Palestinian land … Dutch Jewish colonists receive income support on top of their pensions, and have their taxes, which Dutch citizens living in the Netherlands have to pay, covered by the SVB. As a result, you are better off financially if you are a Dutch Jewish settler on Palestinian stolen land….
Training activists in the social media war against BDS
JPost 3 July by Lidar Gravé-Lazi — Sitting in a classroom at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, a group of some 30 North American undergraduate students watched a news flash broadcast on the aggressive behavior taken by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement on US campuses. As the report concluded, the students, on a two-week organized trip by the Zionist Organization of America, huddled around computers brainstorming social media campaigns to defend Israel in the wake of the report. “We should focus on how BDS is harming Palestinians – proof that peace works with cooperation not with separation,” one group of students concluded. Another opted for a “fun facts about Israel” approach. The exercise, though it could have easily been real, was in fact only a simulation in a “virtual situation-room,” run as part of the IDC Public Diplomacy Program, a joint venture of the IDC and Israeli American Council. “There is a new war that is taking place on social media,” Yarden Ben Yosef, who initiated the situation room, recently told The Jerusalem Post. The Public Diplomacy program aims to combat the BDS movement and the delegitimization of Israel through uniting a global community of pro-Israel activists on social media in a coordinated effort to inform and influence people on Israel….
‘We have a right to engage in non-violent action’: Christian leaders refuse to be silenced in struggle for Palestinian rights
Salon 4 July by David Palumbo-Liu — As Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues his controversial crusade against BDS, church voices defend the movement — As is well-known by now, the unilateral decision of New York governor Andrew Cuomo to create a blacklist of businesses and organizations abiding by divestment and boycott campaigns related to Israeli human rights abuses has drawn widespread criticism for both its high-handedness and for its violation of constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. As might be expected, the response from civil liberties groups and groups advocating for Palestinian rights was swift and pointed. However, opposition also took the form of a letter drafted by the Reverend David Gaewski, New York Conference Minister, writing on behalf of the New York Conference of the United Church of Christ, a judicatory with 260 churches in the state of New York….
Australians launch new campaign against Elbit Systems
Palestine Support Network Australia 3 July — Would you fly our doctors using money from the arms trade? Israel’s largest military equipment company, Elbit Systems, have been a target for successful divestment campaigns worldwide for their role in continuing the illegal occupation of Palestinian Territories. Thanks to a deal brokered by the NSW state government, Elbit Systems will run a commercial flight simulator centre on the NSW Dubbo base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Elbit will contribute $10 million towards this training centre and will control the establishment, operations, training services and maintenance of the centre within the base. As a commercial enterprise Elbit will also train other clients at this facility. Sign the Change.org Petition https://bdsmovement.net/2016/australians-launch-campaign-elbit-systems-14301
Other news, opinion
The month in pictures: June 2016
The Electronic Intifada 2 July — Five Israelis and four Palestinians were slain during the month of June, and another Palestinian died of injuries sustained a month earlier.
Palestinian child, 3, dies from wounds suffered in Istanbul bombing
IMEMC 3 July — On Saturday, a Palestinian child, identified as Rayyan Shreim, only three years of age, became the third Palestinian to be killed due to the terrorist bombing and shooting attack that struck Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, on June 28th. The child died from his serious wounds, Saturday, while his mother and another Palestinian woman were killed in the aftermath of the bombing, and his father was injured. Shreim was from Qalqilia city, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank; a Turkish hospital initially said he died in the bombing, but he was still alive, yet in a very serious condition, and died from his wounds Saturday. The child was with his mother, Sondos, who was killed in the bombing, and his father Mohammad Shreim, when they traveled from Saudi Arabia to Turkey, to vacation for three days before traveling to Palestine to celebrate Eid Alp-Fitr Muslim feast with the rest of the family in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank. Sondos was a teacher and was living with her family in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Accompanying the family was Marwan Abu Salhiyya, his wife Nisreen Hashem Hammad, 28, and their child, Rafeef, from Arraba near Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank. Nisreen was killed in the bombing, while Marwan and their daughter, Rafeef, suffered moderate injuries.
Will Marwan Barghouti be the Palestinian Nelson Mandela?
Haaretz 5 July by Gidi Weitz & Jack Khoury — Nearly a decade and a half after he began serving multiple life sentences for his role in the killings of the second intifada, Marwan Barghouti is still seen – among most Palestinians, many Israelis and world leaders – as the man who could lead his people to independence. Through a mediator, Barghouti tells Haaretz that he remains a staunch proponent of the two-state solution and that he intends to run for Palestinian president should elections be held.
[Long, interesting article – not behind the paywall — well worth reading]
Humiliation: The hammer crushing Palestinian society
MEMO 30 June by Samah Jabr — While the exercise of military control over an occupied country may be expected to inflict inevitable pain and trauma on the citizens of that country, the history of Israeli policy has far exceeded any “pragmatic” needs of an occupier to dominate and subdue a local population. The Israeli humiliation of Palestinians is an end in itself. Humiliation is thus one of the most important injuries experienced in the Palestinian context and yet, it is under-reported to such a degree that humiliation is viewed as almost normal … The omnipresent Israeli forces come into daily contact with Palestinian men, women and children; in these interactions, humiliation and shame are typical. One asks: how can a humiliated man look into the eyes of his wife to make her feel protected and proud? How can a humiliated parent promise a future to a little one who is held in the hands of a human being whose spirit has been broken? In one such example, Issa, a man who worked as a driver for a medical organisation, had transported a group of health workers to an isolated area affected by political violence (all names have been changed to preserve confidentiality). As he was waiting inside his vehicle for his colleagues to return, soldiers approached to ask what he was doing. He produced the proper documentation demonstrating that he and the medical organisation were authorised to enter this location and explained that he was waiting for colleagues to drive them back. A soldier began to shout at him so that everyone could hear: “You’re here to treat dogs! Come to my house to treat my sick dog!” The driver responded, “I don’t treat anyone. I just drive the car.” In response, the soldier struck Issa in the face. In another case, my patient Mazen was walking home from work late one night in the Mount Scopus area of Jerusalem. He was stopped by three soldiers who pushed him against a wall for a ceremony of humiliation that included kicking him and stripping off his clothes. They demanded the names of his wife, sisters and mother and insulted these women with filthy epithets. They insisted that Mazen repeat these obscenities until he was finally reduced to tears. At this point, the soldiers burst into laughter….
Israel’s Livni says British police sought to question her
JERUSALEM (AP) 4 July — Israeli lawmaker and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Monday that a British war crimes investigator sought to question her during a trip to Britain over her role in Israel’s 2008-2009 Gaza war. Speaking to Israeli Army Radio from London, where she is continuing her visit, Livni said British police emailed her a summons on Friday. She called it “unacceptable.” The police request defined the questioning as non-mandatory, and she did not comply, Livni said. Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it views the British request “with great concern” and would “engage” with British authorities until the matter is resolved. Britain’s Foreign Office, the Metropolitan Police in London and Scotland Yard declined comment. Livni, a onetime lead peace negotiator with the Palestinians, enjoys a dovish reputation in much of the West. But she staunchly defends Israel’s devastating three-week military offensive in Gaza in 2008-2009, saying the operation was meant to end years of rocket fire by Gaza militants against Israel. There was widespread international criticism of the hundreds of civilian casualties. Livni served as foreign minister during the war, and as a member of the Israeli Cabinet, she was part of the decision-making process regarding the military campaign. Pro-Palestinian groups have previously tried to go after Livni and other Israeli officials using universal jurisdiction, a principle that lets British courts prosecute foreigners accused of crimes against humanity wherever they were committed. The law strained U.K.-Israeli relations, as senior Israeli officials canceled trips rather than face possible arrest in Britain … Previously, anyone in Britain could apply to a judge for such warrants. But the law was amended in 2011 to make such arrest warrants harder to pursue. British officials extend diplomatic immunity to Israeli officials to shield them from such arrests. However, Livni said she declined immunity for her current trip to Britain on principle. She told Israeli Army Radio she wanted to test what British authorities would do in cases of Israelis who are not eligible for diplomatic immunity but who could be pursued for alleged war crimes….
PHOTOS: Ethiopian Israelis protest police brutality in Tel Aviv
Activestills 3 July Photos by Oren Ziv — Hundreds of Israelis of Ethiopian origin blocked streets and highways in central Tel Aviv Sunday to protest police brutality against black Israelis. Police arrested 12 people for blocking streets. (Update: all of the arrestees were released in the early morning hours.) Some protesters carried coffins bearing the name of Yosef Salaams, an Ethiopian Israeli man who committed suicide after suffering police abuse.
Facebook defends position on content standards after Israeli censure
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 3 July by Dan Willliams — Facebook is doing its share to remove abusive content from the social network, it said on Sunday in an apparent rejection of Israeli allegations that it was uncooperative in stemming messages that might spur Palestinian violence. Beset by a 10-month-old surge in Palestinian street attacks, Israel says that Facebook has been used to perpetuate such bloodshed and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightist government is drafting legislation to enable it to order social media sites to remove postings deemed threatening. Ramping up the pressure, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan on Saturday accused Facebook of “sabotaging” Israeli police efforts by not cooperating with inquiries about potential suspects in the occupied West Bank and by “set(ting) a very high bar for removing inciteful content and posts”. Facebook did not respond directly to Erdan’s criticism, but said in a statement that it conferred closely with Israel. “We work regularly with safety organisations and policymakers around the world, including Israel, to ensure that people know how to make safe use of Facebook. There is no room for content that promotes violence, direct threats, terrorist or hate speeches on our platform,” the statement said. It appeared to place an onus on Israeli authorities, as with any other users, to flag offensive content to Facebook monitors. “We have a set of community standards designed to help people understand what’s allowed on Facebook, and we call on people to use our report if they find content they believe violates these rules, so that we can examine each case and take quick action,” the statement said. Erdan, who urged Israelis to “flood” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with demands for a policy change, expanded on the Netanyahu government’s complaint in remarks published on Sunday. Of 74 “especially inciting and extremist posts” Israel had brought to Facebook’s attention, 24 were removed, Erdan told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, adding that jurisdiction was an issue. “The big problem is in Judea and Samaria, because Facebook does no t recognise Israeli control there and is no t prepared to turn over information,” Erdan said, using a biblical term for the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and where the Palestinians, with international support, seek statehood. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked called on social media companies to curb pre-emptively content deemed by Israel to be a security threat….
US to deal Israel’s defense industry a major blow
WASHINGTON (Globes) 3 July by Ran Dagoni — In exchange for significantly higher military aid, Israel will have to forfeit the right to spend 26% of aid in Israel — US National Security Advisor Susan Rice reported to Capitol Hill that President Barack Obama is willing to significantly increase the new US military aid package to Israel, contingent on Israel investing all aid funds in procurement from US defense industries. Israel will thus forfeit the ability, specified in current package conditions, to spend 26.4% of the aid on acquisitions from Israel’s own defense industries. Accepting this condition will be a major blow to Israel’s defense industries, as well as their dozens of subcontractors. Senior sources, well-versed in Israel’s defense industries told “Globes” that this demand follows an Obama administration capitulation to the demands of large US defense company lobbyists to revoke this privilege. At the same time, the Democratic administration is also apprehensive about the Trump campaign to bring home jobs from abroad….
Israel attacks Syrian army targets after stray fire on Golan
Asharq al-Awsat English 4 July — Israel attacked two Syrian army targets after stray fire from fighting in Syria’s civil war damaged the security fence in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, the military said on Monday. “In response to errant fire yesterday from Syria that hit the border with Israel, damaging the security fence, the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) responded and targeted two Syrian military targets in the central Golan Heights,” an Israeli military spokeswoman said. She gave no further details about the targets that were struck or the weapons Israel used to attack them. Two months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has launched dozens of strikes in Syria….
Elie Wiesel’s decidedly mixed legacy / Richard Silverstein
Tikun Olam 2 July — Elie Wiesel is dead. He leaves a decidedly mixed legacy. He was initially a sainted Holocaust survivor, international moral witness to depravity, captivating storyteller; later he morphed into a Palestine denier, settler advocate, Iranophobe and right-wing apologist for Israel. When I was 12 or 13, my congregation Rabbi Henry Sosland, would drive me to hear him speak at synagogues in Rockland County (NY) where I grew up. He was a mesmerizing raconteur, a profound Jewish moral witness with charisma beyond measure. As an audience member, you felt under a spell of brilliance, drama, and pathos. Then he won the Nobel Prize, which reinforced his moral stature. Later, he had the brilliant moral chutzpah to lecture Pres. Reagan about the evils of the commemorating the SS at Bitburg. He inaugurated the U.S. Holocaust Museum. Much later, his views turned parochial. He joined the worst of the pro Israel apologists groups, supported Judaizing and ethnically cleansing Jerusalem. Joined Alan Dershowitz in denouncing Iran. Where his speeches and pronouncements were once jewels of moral clarity, he became a parody of what he had once been. He turned his moral capital into dross with each new stance he took repudiating his earlier ecumenism and internationalism. Then he was caught up in the Bernie Madoff scandal having invested most of his savings and foundation assets in the Ponzi scheme. As his economic plight became clear, he was reduced to a figure of pity. A sad retreat from the quiet but valiant prophet he had once been. A slow, sad decline into irrelevance… [comments, for and against, worth reading]
Chris Hedges discusses Israeli occupation with Israeli journalist Amira Hass (VIDEO)
truthdig 27 June — [preceded by an RT short on the occupation] Chris Hedges goes inside Israel and the occupied territories with Amira Hass in this week’s episode of “On Contact.” Hass is the Haaretz correspondent for the occupied territories and author of “Drinking the Sea at Gaza.” [Hass remarks that she didn’t have to ‘awaken’ to the injustices of the Occupation as an adult like most Israeli leftists, because she was a ‘red-diaper baby’, with parents who were Holocaust survivors and members of the Communist Party, which also included Palestinians…]