October 21, 2016

Violence / Detentions — West Bank / Jerusalem

Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in Beit Ummar, Hebron for alleged rock-throwing
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Israeli forces Thursday evening shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian near the Beit Ummar junction in the northern part of the village of Beit Ummar in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron. Israeli authorities have claimed an Israeli soldier shot the teenager dead in response to a rock-throwing incident. Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma‘an that he saw the body of a young Palestinian on the ground near the entrance of Beit Ummar. The young Palestinian, later identified as Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, 15, was reportedly shot by Israeli forces in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an that soldiers were “attacked” by Palestinian youths throwing rocks at Israeli soldiers while they were patrolling the area near Beit Ummar. The spokesperson said one soldier was “lightly wounded’ by a rock and called on one of the young Palestinian suspects to “halt,” fired warning shots in the air, and then “towards the suspect, resulting in his death.” The spokesperson added that the incident is “under investigation.” Awad also said that Israeli soldiers prevented a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance from approaching the youth, while witnesses said that Israeli forces refused to provide CPR to the youth after he was shot. Israeli forces transferred the body of Bahr to an unknown location. However, Awad later said that Israeli authorities had informed the mayor of Beit Ummar that Bahr’s body would be returned on Friday after prayers for “investigations.” If Awad’s claim of the teen being shot in the back is upheld, it would cast doubts on the Israeli army’s version of events that Israeli forces were responding to an “attack.” Hebrew media reported that another Palestinian youth was detained during the incident.
Bahr became the 235th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers since a wave of violence spread across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel in October 2015.

Funeral held in Ramallah for Palestinian youth injured by Israeli forces in 2007
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 21 Oct — A funeral was held on Thursday evening for 23-year-old Mahmoud Jamal Muhammad Jawda, who earlier in the day had succumbed to wounds sustained in 2007 after being shot with live fire by an Israeli helicopter in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. According to Jawda’s father, the funeral set off from the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah and made its way towards the town of Bir Nibala in the West Bank’s Jerusalem district where Jawda’s father currently resides, then continued to the Hamal Abed al-Nasser mosque in al-Bireh for funeral prayers before the burial in the al-Bireh cemetery. Jawda was treated at a medical center in occupied East Jerusalem since being shot multiple times by Israeli soldiers during a military raid nine years ago.  According to the father, Jawda’s spine was damaged after the shooting, most of his intestines were “shattered into small parts,” his liver was severely damaged, and one of his lungs was torn apart. Jawda’s leg was also later amputated.
Jawda’s mother and sisters were not issued permits by Israel to leave the besieged Gaza Strip to attend his funeral.

Video reportedly shows Israeli forces killing Palestinian woman at Zaatara checkpoint
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — A video posted on social media on Thursday reportedly showed moments when a young Palestinian woman was shot to death by Israeli forces a day earlier.  Rahiq Shaji Birawi, 23, from the village of Asira al-Shamaliya in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, was killed by Israeli border police on Wednesday as she allegedly attempted to carry out a stabbing attack at the Zaatara military checkpoint.The video, filmed on a cell phone by a bystander, shows four Israeli border police officers shooting at a figure already lying on the ground several meters away from them. At least ten shots can be heard in the first two seconds of the video.

Israel police defend officers after video emerges of shooting
AFP 20 Oct — Israeli police on Thursday defended officers who shot dead a 19-year-old Palestinian accused of trying to stab them, after video emerged appearing to show them fire at her on the ground. The incident on Wednesday in a tense area of the occupied West Bank saw the woman approach border police officers, ignore orders to stop and pull a knife, Israeli police said. The officers posted to the Tapuah junction in the north of the West Bank then opened fire at her … Video later emerged appearing to show officers open fire on the woman, Raheeq Shajeyeh Youssef, after she was already on the ground. Four officers can be seen in the video. “Who fired?” a voice can be heard saying afterward. “The four of us,” someone responds. It was not clear who filmed the video that appeared on the Ynet news site and elsewhere. Police said an inquiry had been opened as is usually done with fatal incidents, but defended the officers. “The video shows a partial picture of the event,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement. “It is not possible to see the terrorist moving towards the officers while handling the knife and endangering their lives. “From the recording of the event it is possible to see that immediately after the danger was neutralised and had passed, the officers stopped firing, closed the area and proceeded to do the follow-ups on the incident.” The Palestinian foreign ministry harshly criticised Wednesday’s shooting, saying in a statement that “the recording shows the soldiers continued to shoot her despite her falling to the ground and not representing any threat to them.”

Video: Israeli forces beat, detain Palestinian released from PA prison
MEMO 21 Oct — Israeli forces detained at least three Palestinians during predawn raids today [Friday] carried out across the occupied West Bank, including a man who had led a hunger strike in a Palestinian Authority prison last month, whose violent beating by Israeli forces during his detention was caught on video. Israeli media reported that Israeli forces found a locally made M-16 in the town of Qabatiya in the northern West Bank district of Jenin, and detained a youth. An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed a detention in Qabatiya to Ma’an. The spokesperson told Ma’an that two other Palestinians were detained from the cities of Al-Bireh and Hebron. According to Israeli media, the two were transferred to Israeli intelligence for interrogations. The spokesperson added that all three were detained for “illegal activities”.
Meanwhile, a video was released by Israeli media, which can be viewed here, showing Israeli forces beating the Palestinian detained in Hebron, while a woman screams in the background. Israeli media identified the Palestinian as Haitham Siyaj, 29, one of six Palestinians who had declared an open hunger strike in PA prison last month. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an he would look into reports on the circumstances surrounding the video. According to Israeli media outlet Ynet, Siyaj was suspected of planning a “terrorist attack” with an explosive device. However, according to local Palestinians, Siyaj has been targeted by both the PA and Israel for his activism against the Israeli occupation and the PA’s security coordination with Israeli forces. Siyaj was initially detained by Palestinian security forces on 10 April, along with Basil Al-Araj, 33, and Muhammad Harb, 23, while walking near Ramallah, after the three had been reported missing by their families for ten days. He and five other Palestinians held by the PA without charge or trial for five months launched a hunger strike for almost ten days in protest of their detentions.

2 Palestinians injured during clashes as 1,000 Israelis visit Joseph’s Tomb
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — Hundreds of Israelis performed religious rituals at Joseph’s Tomb before dawn on Thursday in the occupied West Bank district of Nablus, as at least two Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces when clashes broke out in the area. Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that more than 1,000 Israelis escorted by Israeli forces arrived at Joseph’s Tomb near the Balata refugee camp on Wednesday night and prayed at the religious site until dawn. The visit by Israelis comes during the Jewish high holidays, during the week-long holiday of Sukkot. Clashes erupted between Israeli soldiers and local Palestinian youth. Palestinian medical sources told Ma‘an that during the clashes, one Palestinian was shot with a metal jacket bullet to the stomach. He was taken to the Rafidia hospital in Nablus, where his injury was described as moderate. Another Palestinian suffered from minor suffocation due to inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli forces in the area.

Illegal Israeli colonists attack the weekly protest in Bil‘in
IMEMC 22 Oct — On Friday, several extremist Israeli colonists, taking position on a small hill behind the Annexation Wall, attacked the weekly nonviolent protest against the Israeli wall and colonies, in Bil‘in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Dozens of Palestinians, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, marched from the center of the village, raising Palestinian flags, chanting for national unity, the liberation of Palestine, and the release of all political prisoners. The protesters marched towards an area that the Israeli army is planning to illegally confiscate, and started a cleanup of the Abu Lemon Reserve, before peacefully marching towards the gate of the Annexation Wall. Some protesters started banging on the gate, to send a message to Israel and its army that the popular resistance in Bil‘in will never stop until liberation and independence, and the removal of all of Israel’s colonies in occupied Palestine, built in direct violation of International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. The soldiers did not attack the protesters, but a number of young fanatic Israeli colonists started throwing rocks at them, in addition to hurling racist insults and curses at them, while the army remained idle.

Soldiers kidnap bus driver transporting elders for refusing to order them out
IMEMC 22 Oct — Israeli soldiers stationed at Beit Iksa military roadblock, northwest of occupied East Jerusalem, kidnapped Saturday a bus driver transporting elderly Palestinians, after refusing to force them out of his bus to be inspected by the army. The head of Beit Iksa village council, north of occupied East Jerusalem, Sa‘ada Khatib, stated that the soldiers stopped the bus while transporting elderly Palestinians, and ordered the driver to force the seniors out of his vehicle, to be searched and inspected, but he refused. Khatib stated that the driver did not want to inflict any suffering on the elders by ordering them out of the bus, then back in, and challenged the soldiers who demanded such an act. He called on international human rights groups to monitor the Israeli military roadblocks, to document these ongoing violations, and to work on ending them, adding that Beit Iksa has been subject to frequent invasions and violations, in addition to severe restrictions at its roadblock. “This is completely illegal and inhumane,” Khatib said, “It is unacceptable that a bunch of young soldiers continue to punish an entire village, and deny the Palestinians their basic right of the freedom of movement.” It is worth mentioning that Israel completed the isolation of Beit Iksa in 2006, after the Annexation Wall fully encircled it, making residents unable to enter or leave it without crossing through the roadblock.

Palestinian youth detained in East Jerusalem for alleged attack, 4 others detained in Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 21 Oct — Israeli forces Thursday detained a Palestinian youth from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan accused of ramming two Israelis with his motorcycle on Wednesday, while Israeli media reported that four Palestinians had been detained last month for allegedly planning a large-scale attack in Beersheba in southern Israel. Hebrew-language media reported that a Palestinian youth accused of intentionally ramming his motorcycle into two Israelis was prosecuted in an Israeli court on Thursday. Following the incident, the Palestinian had fought with the Israelis, leading the police to open an investigation. While the Israeli police had initially considered the incident an accident, after allegedly finding a knife in the premises that belonged to the Palestinian, Israeli police detained the youth under suspicions that the accident may have been a planned attack. However, it remained unclear how Israeli police connected the knife to the youth. The incident left two Israelis with minor injuries.
Meanwhile, according to Israeli media, Israel’s internal security agency the Shin Bet had detained four Palestinians last month who were allegedly planning a large scale attack in Israel. The reports were made public on Thursday. The four were detained on September 21, and were identified by Israeli media as Mahmoud Yusuf Hasin Abu-Taha from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, 39-year-old Ahmad Taysir Abd Elrahman Abu-Taha, 55-year-old Shafik Hamad Ahmad Abu-Taha, also from Gaza, and 40-year-old Hani Abu-Amra from a Palestinian Bedouin village in the Negev of southern Israel. According to Israeli media, the four had planned to throw grenades into a crowd of dancers at an event hall, while using weapons they would store in trash cans at the event. They had also reportedly considered “detonating pipe bombs concealed under the dining tables.” The four were detained before they were able to carry through with the attack. They are standing trial for “establishing contact with a foreign agent, divulging intelligence to enemies, fraud, residing in Israel without legal documentation and activities with unlawful organizations.” Israeli media also reported that the four had begun to collect funds in order to plan the abduction of an Israeli soldier at a bus station in order to use in future prisoner release bargaining with Israeli authorities.

Israeli soldiers invade several homes in Hebron
IMEMC 21 Oct — Dozens of Israeli army vehicles invaded, on Friday at dawn, various areas in Hebron city, and surrounding communities, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, stormed and searched homes, and kidnapped several Palestinians. Media sources in Hebron city said the soldiers invaded and violently searched many homes, interrogated and abducted a number of residents; one of them identified as former political prisoner Hatham Siyaj, from the al-Haqouz area. The soldiers also fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades in the same area, in addition to invading a home belonging to members of the al-Hashlamoun family, in the Ras al-Joura area, in Hebron city. In addition, the army invaded the Sammoa‘ town, south of Hebron, before storming a home belonging to former political prisoner Rasmi al-Mahareeq, and interrogating him along with his family. During the invasion, the soldiers kidnapped a number of Palestinians, and took them to the Etzion military base and security center.

Al-Aqsa / Jerusalem’s Old City

Amid UNESCO flap, Israel will sponsor rightist NGO’s Temple Mount project
Haaretz 21 Oct by Nir Hasson — Netanyahu calls decision ‘crushing response’ to what he calls UN body’s attempt to deny Israel’s Jewish history — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday that the government will help fund an archaeological recovery project focused on the Temple Mount and operated by a right-wing organization. The Temple Mount Sifting Project sorts through debris that was removed from Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which Muslims call Haram al-Sharif, during a 1999 excavation by the Waqf Muslim religious trust that Israel viewed as illegal. The project is operated by the Ir David foundation, commonly known as Elad, which operates the City of David National Park and settles Jews in predominantly Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Speaking at the inauguration of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel, near the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Netanyahu slammed the recent resolution by the UN’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that refers to the Temple Mount only as Haram al-Sharif and makes no mention of Jewish ties to the site. Addressing employees of the Israel Antiquities Authority who attended the ceremony, the prime minister said they “have given a crushing answer to those who are trying to deny, disappear, wipe out the history of our people in our land, as expressed in Unesco. I advise UNESCO to stop blurring and concealing the truth and focus on the real danger to world cultural treasures from radical Islam. Israel is almost the only place in the Middle East where radical cults aren’t destroying mosques and churches, and they’re complaining about us?” Netanyahu said….

Will UN bless Israel’s destruction of Jerusalem’s heritage?
Electronic Intifada 21 Oct by Charlotte Silver — Israel is once again trying to remove Jerusalem’s ancient sites from a UN list of endangered world heritage. The effort to strip the protection comes as groups that call for the destruction of the al-Aqsa mosque and its replacement with a Jewish temple are intensifying their activities, often with Israeli government funding and support. It also follows decades of Israeli destruction of ancient sites in the city. Less than two weeks after UNESCO adopted a resolution sharply criticizing Israel’s violations at the al-Aqsa mosque/Haram al-Sharif compound in Jerusalem, the UN educational and scientific body’s World Heritage Committee Executive Board will vote on whether to keep the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls on the list of endangered sites, a status they have held since 1982. Fifty-five other UNESCO World Heritage sites around the globe are considered to be in danger. Jerusalem’s Old City was placed on the list after delegates found the site’s “historical authenticity” and “cultural significance” were threatened by negligence, rapid urbanization and the destruction of religious properties … In April, Jordan submitted its report to the World Heritage Committee outlining why the site should remain on the endangered list … Jordan’s report details many of the concerns over the al-Aqsa mosque and the Haram al-Sharif outlined in the UNESCO resolution adopted on 13 October, but also discusses how the surrounding Muslim neighborhoods within the walls of the Old City are threatened. In recent years, Israeli-government supported private settler groups such as Elad and Ateret Cohanim have forcibly displaced scores of Muslim and Christian families in the Old City to make way for Jewish settlers. Jordan’s report states that Israel has carried out 20 excavations in the area surrounding the al-Aqsa compound during 2015. It presents evidence that the excavations are discarding historic remains from the Mamluk and Ottoman periods. Jordan asserts that the excavations threaten to breach the walls of the al-Aqsa mosque. The archaeological projects Israel undertakes in Jerusalem have the narrow agenda of unearthing artifacts that demonstrate an ancient Jewish presence in the land while ignoring or destroying artifacts from other eras….

Prisoners / Court actions

In Israeli prisons, Palestinians who say they’ve been tortured are denied doctor visits
Haaretz 21 Oct by Yotam Berger — Israeli human rights group finds prisoners waiting years for medical exams to verify claims of mistreatment — …The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, which represents S. and a number of other prisoners who claim they were tortured, said its data show that the IPS has continued to refuse to allow those who claim they underwent torture to meet with doctors to receive medical opinions that may be used as part of their legal proceedings. The IPS denies it has changed its policies, but the committee’s figures reflect a different picture. In 2013 and 2014 at least five such examinations were conducted for security prisoners who claimed they were tortured. In 2015 the committee staff filed two requests, one of which was approved, while in the second case the prisoner did not see the doctor. In 2016, three requests were made, and all were rejected. In one case, the IPS has changed its mind, and the exam is expected to be conducted soon. The IPS said every prisoner and detainee who files a complaint with the ombudsman is allowed access to a doctor, according to official policy. Those who have not been allowed such a visit either did not file a complaint, or the IPS was not informed of it, the Prisons Service said. However, the committee said the four Palestinians who were denied such exams in recent months all filed complaints with the ombudsman….

Two hunger strikers end strike in agreement; four continue refusing food for freedom
Samidoun 20 Oct — Two Palestinian administrative detainees, Majdi Oweidat and Mohammed Khattab, ended their hunger strike after 12 days on 19 October, with an agreement that will reportedly reduce their time in administrative detention. Oweidat and Khattab are imprisoned with nearly 750 fellow Palestinians without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence under administrative detention. Four more Palestinian administrative detainees are continuing their hunger strikes. Anas Shadid and Ahmad Abu Fara are now on their 26th day of hunger strike, which they began on 25 September, while Majd Abu Shamla and Hasan Rubayah are on their 15th day of hunger strike. Abu Fara’s family said that their son has been placed in a solitary cell near the prison kitchen and that guards frequently eat and drink in front of him in order to coerce him into ending his strike. He is suffering from dizziness, headache and pain throughout his body, as well as severe weight loss, and must use a wheelchair to move. His lawyer said that his spirits remain high and he continues to refuse to eat. Abu Shamla’s family noted that Majd and Rubayah are held in solitary confinement in the Negev desert prison in extremely difficult conditions. The four strikers are the latest of many Palestinians who have undertaken collective and individual protests, including hunger strikes, against the systematic use of administrative detention by the Israeli occupation.

Five years on: The Wafa al-Ahrar agreement and prisoner exchange
Samidoun 19 Oct — On 18 October 2011, 477 Palestinian prisoners were released from Israeli occupation prisons in the Wafa al-Ahrar (“Faithful to the Free”) prisoner exchange with the Israeli occupation. One week prior, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners were engaged in an open-ended hunger strike against the solitary confinement and isolation of Palestinian leaders, especially Ahmad Sa‘adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The strike was suddenly interrupted with stunning news: a prisoner exchange agreement had been released between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli occupation, for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of captured occupation soldier Gilad Shalit. The exchange was completed with the release of 550 fellow Palestinian prisoners in December 2011. In the agreement, among the first set of 477 prisoners released, 131 were released to Gaza and 110 to the West Bank, as well as six Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship returning to Palestine ’48. 203 more were deported from Palestine.  This group were the prisoners with lengthy sentences. This was, of course, not the first time that the Palestinian resistance secured the release of Palestinian prisoners through prisoner exchanges. Throughout Palestinian history, large numbers of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails with lengthy sentences have found freedom in prisoner exchanges negotiated by Palestinian resistance organizations.
Since the 2011 Wafa al-Ahrar exchange, dozens of released prisoners have been re-arrested, many with their original sentences reimposed. 57 former prisoners have been re-imprisoned by the Israeli occupation, out of 74 who have been arrested; 50 prisoners have had their original sentences re-imposed on allegations of “violating their terms of release” through “association or support for” prohibited organizations, including all major Palestinian political parties. Three more re-arrested prisoners are serving sentences lower than their original sentences, including Nael Barghouthi (30 months), Nayef Shawamreh (4 years), and Bassam Natsheh (3 years).  Israeli Military Order 1651 allows the re-imprisonment of former Palestinian prisoners on prior charges for arbitrary re-arrests, on the basis of secret evidence….


Hamas fighter killed during tunnel collapse in Gaza Strip
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — A member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, was killed in Gaza on Saturday after an underground tunnel collapsed on him. According to a statement released by the Brigades, Anas Salameh Abu Lashin from al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip was killed in the tunnel collapse. A number of Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave, which are largely used for smuggling in the south and military purposes in the north.

Israeli soldiers injure one Palestinian in central Gaza
IMEMC 21 Oct — Israeli soldiers shot and injured, on Friday afternoon, one Palestinian east of the al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza, after the army attacked protesters marching in Palestinian lands across the border fence. Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesperson of the Health Ministry in Gaza, said a man, in his fifties, was shot with a live round in his right leg.  Eyewitnesses said an army sharpshooter who took position near Um Hosniyya hill, east of the al-Boreij, shot the man, while other soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs at the protesters. Border areas in Gaza, including the eastern part of the al-Boreij, witness weekly protests while the soldiers, largely in military towers across the border fence, continually attack them with live fire, in addition to gas bombs, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.

Israeli soldiers open fire on farmers in southern Gaza, navy attacks fishers in northern Gaza
IMEMC 21 Oct — Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Friday morning, targeting Palestinian farmers in their own lands, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, while navy ships opened fire on fishers in northern Gaza. Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, fired many live rounds into Palestinian agricultural lands, forcing the farmers out in fear of additional army fire. They added that the attack was carried out while military vehicles were seen heavily driving across the border fence, while many army sharpshooters were deployed across the border fence. In addition, Israeli navy ships opened fire on a number of Palestinian fishing boats, in Gaza waters, in the northern part of the coastal region, forcing the fishers to sail back to shore in fear of additional escalation.

Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — Israeli forces Saturday morning opened live fire at Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in the eastern and northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces deployed at the eastern border near the neighborhood of al-Shuja‘iyeh opened live fire at Palestinian farmers and bird hunters, forcing them to flee the area. Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces opened live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya north of the Gaza Strip early in the morning. No injuries were reported during the incidents.

Islamic Jihad says it has built watchtower near Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Oct — The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement said on Wednesday that its military wing had completed the construction of a watchtower in the besieged Gaza Strip. Abu Khalid, a leader of the al-Quds Brigades, told Ma‘an that the watchtower had been built 300 meters away from the borderline with Israel in the al-Farahin area in the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Yunis.  He claimed that the Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank could be seen from the top of the tower, which he said was 16 meters high. The tower was reportedly named after Diyaa Talahmah, a Palestinian youth who was killed by Israeli forces during clashes in the southern West Bank in September 2015. Abu Khalid said that the watchtower was an attempt to “give some tranquility of mind to the residents of the border areas, and to implant the spirit of resistance in the future generations,” and would be used to monitor the movement of Israeli army vehicles in the area. He added that the watchtower was also to show support to “our people in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and Hebron in particular,” amid an ongoing wave of unrest that began last year. “It is a confirmation of the national unity of our homeland and a message of challenge to the occupation,” Abu Khalid said.

Thousands march in Gaza in support of Islamic Jihad
AFP 21 Oct — The Islamic Jihad Islamist movement staged a public show of force in the Gaza Strip on Friday, with its leader praising Iran and criticising Arab states. Thousands of supporters, including fighters from the party’s Al-Quds Brigades military wing, took part in the event in the Palestinian enclave bordering Israel. Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah spoke via a video link, using his speech to accuse some Arab countries of abandoning the Palestinian cause. “If the Arabs turn their backs on Palestine and embrace Israel, they can no longer condemn the resistance for taking support from Iran,” Shalah said, without naming any countries. “(Iran) is the only country which commits to the unending support of the Palestinian cause.” He also called on Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to abandon the Oslo peace accords signed with Israel in the early 1990s, which were meant to lead to an independent Palestinian state. Hamas, another Islamist movement, runs Gaza but has a long-term alliance with Islamic Jihad.

The lone wolf of Gaza
Al Jazeera 21 Oct by Stanley L. Cohen — Hamas bears no responsibility for rogue actions by individuals striking at Israel — Military historians tell that the first rockets appeared on the battlefields of central Asia, in the Mongols’ 13th century invasions of the Chinese and the Eastern European fringe, as they burst from the steppes like a force of nature. Adapting Chinese black powder fireworks, they added the innovation of hollow tubes that could travel over enemy lines, run out of burn-fuel, fall and burst. Seven hundred years of development brought the 1969 Moon landing, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and not incidentally, telemetry computing, which makes possible the GPS miracle in everyone’s pocket. In the 1960s, every high school in the United States had a model rocket club dedicated to the art of flight … the whizz and the bang of boyhood. Two weeks ago, a small rocket, just over a metre in length, sailed from the north end of the Gaza Strip, flew for a few seconds, sputtered and fell to earth leaving a scorched patch of asphalt on a street outside the Israeli town of Sderot. A crude affair, it lacked any guidance capability, or telemetry control, or significant destructive power and, like its 13th-century predecessors, was a “burn out and fall” style of rocket. Photos of the impact site show Israeli policemen standing around what looks like crumpled light-weight metallic industrial tubing, broken in pieces, with the road surface blackened, but not otherwise damaged. The Israeli army reported that 10 residents of Sderot were treated in hospital as a result, “for anxiety attacks”, suggesting an underlying public health problem of uncertain dimensions among the town’s nervous residents. A Salafist group, the Grandsons of the Companions of the Prophet – an aspiring Islamic State franchise – at least some of whose members had only recently been rounded up by Hamas, Gaza’s governing authority, claimed responsibility in a statement in Arabic and Hebrew, openly mocking hardline Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman … Predictably, Israel retaliated within hours with artillery and air strikes and, over the next week, with pre-dawn waves of F-16 attacks against Gaza … wounding several residents while destroying private homes, agriculture, commercial and government buildings in densely populated urban areas … and sparking a fire in Gaza City that burned down a block in the al-Tufah neighbourhood….

Why is Israel tightening the Gaza blockade?
MEMO 21 Oct by Ben White — Let us begin with the facts: Israeli authorities have, over the course of the last year, tightened the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip. Even before these more recent restrictions, the Israeli blockade – an illegal policy of collective punishment in the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – was continuing to severely harm the lives of Gaza’s two million residents, furthering the enclave’s de-development. In April of this year, the UN was clear that the most urgent step required for the reconstruction of Gaza remained “the removal of [Israeli] restrictions on the import of building materials, towards a full lifting of the blockade.” Instead, things have gone backwards. In July, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported how “restrictions have been tightened on Palestinians seeking to depart the Gaza Strip and on imports permitted into the territory”, including a prohibition on “certain businessmen from importing their merchandise into Gaza.” UN data confirmed that the blockade tightened in July, while in August, just 110 truckloads of goods exited Gaza, less than half of January’s figure (and 14 per cent of 2005 levels). August also saw a seven-year low in the Israeli approval rate of patient permit applications to leave Gaza for treatment….

Gaza agriculture on brink of collapse
Al-Monitor 21 Oct by Shlomi Eldar — With new Israeli encroachment in the name of security and restrictions on the importation of chemicals and fertilizers, even more of Gaza’s farmers are being forced to abandon their lands despite a near-total lack of other employment options — With small manufacturing plants in the Gaza Strip shutting down one after the other and the bigger ones barely holding on against impossible odds, agriculture there is next in line for a resounding crash. Unlike other manufacturing sectors, the farmers’ economic downfall will have immediate and dire consequences for residents of the Gaza Strip. Even now, the UN’s Relief and Works Agency regularly supplies more than half the residents with sacks of flour, rice, sugar and oil. Fruits and vegetables grown locally make up an important part of their meager diets. The slow ruin of Gaza’s agricultural sector began about a decade ago, when Hamas came to power and Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip. But farmers were dealt a near fatal blow by the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, known as Operation Protective Edge, and are having a hard time recovering. Now farmers are saying that what little remained after the war has been wiped out in recent months. It would appear that the death throes of Gaza’s agriculture are yet another stage leading to the eventual declaration of Gaza as unfit for habitation, as the UN foresaw in a report issued about a year ago. According to farmers who spoke with Al-Monitor, Israel’s severe restrictions on bringing in essential farming products are leading farmers to abandon their lands. If immediate measures are not taken, they say, the already harsh conditions will further deteriorate. “This will be the end of Gaza’s economy,” said Rashid Abu Warda, a landowner from the Gaza town of Khan Yunis….

Hamas calls for return of Haniyeh government
GAZA CITY (Al Monitor) 21 Oct by Ahmad Abu Amer — Hamas has accused the consensus government of failing to assume its responsibilities toward the Gaza Strip, which explains the movement’s recent call for the return of Ismail Haniyeh’s government to Gaza — On Oct. 13, the Legal Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) endorsed a recommendation on reviewing the study submitted by some Hamas members of parliament for the return of the 11th government to its functions in the Gaza Strip. The Ismail Haniyeh government resigned on June 2, 2014, following the Beach Refugee Camp agreement, to pave the way for the formation of the national consensus government headed by Rami Hamdallah. The recommendation stirred controversy on the Palestinian arena. The PLC (Hamas) members submitted their study to the PLC on the same day, Oct. 13, as they accused the consensus government of failing to execute the tasks entrusted to it since it was formed in June 2014. These tasks include merging the government institutions in the West Bank with those of the Gaza Strip and preparing for the presidential, legislative and local elections as well as the Palestinian National Council elections….

Gaza court sentences man to death, another to 20 years in prison
GAZA (Ma‘an) 20 Oct – A Gaza court Thursday sentenced a man to death by hanging after he was convicted of premeditated murder, while another man was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the besieged enclave for collaborating with Israel. A Ma‘an reporter said that the criminal division of a Gaza court condemned the murder of Samiha Awad Allah, 72, by the convicted identified only as SH.H. Awad Allah was found dead in her house on Feb. 26, 2015 where it was discovered that she died after being suffocated with a plastic rope and hit with a sharp tool on her head, causing her to bleed to death. According to Gaza’s attorney general, the case marked the sixth death sentence issued this week by the courts in the besieged Gaza Strip. In May, Gaza-based legislators ruled that death sentences would be “obligatory after all possible appeals against them are completed.” This ratification of the death penalty law has paved the way for the execution of at least a dozen Palestinians who have been sentenced to death in the besieged Gaza Strip….

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements

Illegal settlers seize Palestinian-owned lands in Jordan Valley
IMEMC/Agencies 21 Oct — Israeli settlers, on Thursday, reportedly took over a Palestinian-owned area of land in al-Humma region of the northern Jordan Valley, and laid down an infrastructure, according to a local official. M’otaz Bsharat, in charge of the settlement file in the Jordan Valley, said that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlements of Mechora and Sal’it began placing wooden boards on land belonging to Palestinian residents in al-Humma almost a week ago. Settlers laid further infrastructure, including electricity and water lines.

Israeli colonists bulldoze Palestinian lands near Nablus
IMEMC 22 Oct — A group of extremist Israeli colonists invaded, Saturday, Palestinian lands close to Elon Moreh colony that was illegally built on Palestinian property, and started bulldozing large areas. Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian Authority official in charge of monitoring Israeli settlement policies in the occupied territories, said the settlers bulldozed and uprooted large areas of lands belonging to residents from Deir al-Hatab town, east of Nablus. He added that the invaded and bulldozed lands are in Ras al-Ein,extending across large areas of farmlands and orchards, only two kilometers away from Elon Moreh illegal colony. The official also stated that the uprooting and bulldozing of the Palestinian lands aims at building a new illegal colonialist outpost.

Palestinian refugees – Syria

4 Palestinian refugees killed in Syria, UNRWA warns of increasing danger
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 22 Oct — The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) released a statement on Friday condemning the killing of four Palestinian refugees from the Khan Eshieh refugee camp in Syria, warning that Khan Eshieh “is at risk of becoming another Yarmouk,” the refugee camp in Damascus devastated by years of violence. On the night of Oct. 18, as they attempted to leave the Khan Eshieh camp — to which access has been highly restricted — south of Damascus, Nofeh Mohammed Jarad, who was in her 60s, her daughter Ibaa Saeed al-Nader, 22, their driver, and a one-year old baby were all killed when their vehicle was shelled. The mother of the baby, a Syrian citizen, also died in the incident. “UNRWA condemns this attack and the killing and wounding of all civilians including Palestine refugees,” the statement said. “It [UNRWA] calls on those responsible to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and demands that the parties to the conflict do their utmost to protect civilian life in accordance with international law.” The statement added that tightened security around the area after years of a devastating Syrian regime siege has severely reduced the ability of residents to move safely and readily access humanitarian aid and medical support, leaving camp residents in grave danger when attempting to leave Khan Eshieh. The statement continued, with UNRWA calling for full humanitarian access to Khan Eshieh in order to deliver emergency food, cash assistance and medicines.

Other news

PCHR Weekly Report: Palestinian woman killed, 6 civilians wounded by Israeli forces this week (13-19 October)
PCHR-Gaza 20 Oct — In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 13–19 October 2016, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. A Palestinian woman was shot dead at Za’tarah checkpoint, southeast of Nablus. 6 Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, were wounded. Two of them were seriously wounded.
Israeli attacks in the West Bank: Israeli forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties. During the reporting period, in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian woman and wounded 6 others, including 3 children. Two of them were directly targeted and seriously wounded. In the West Bank, on Sunday, 19 October 2016, Israeli forces shot dead Raheeq Shajee’ Mohammed Yusef (19) while being present near Za’tarah checkpoint, southeast of Nablus, under the pretext of a stabbing attack. In excessive use of deadly force, on 13 October 2016, Israeli forces fired a tear gas canister right [next] to Mostafa Hassan al-Jamal (12) after moving into Beit Soreek village, northwest of Jerusalem. As a result, the boy suffered concussion. On 15 October 2016, Israeli forces opened fire at the entrance to al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. As a result, 3 civilians were wounded, including 2 children. One of the children, named Fares al-Bayedh (15), was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the forehead, due to which his wound was classified as serious. On 16 October 2016, 2 civilians were wounded; one of whom was abducted, after Israeli special forces moved into Qabatiya village, south of Jenin. During the past week, Israeli forces conducted 98 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 83 civilians, including 26 children and 3 women, were abducted. Forty-eight of them, including 23 children and the 3 women, were abducted in occupied Jerusalem. Contents of a publishing house were confiscated for the third time. In addition, a grocery was raided and some of its contents were damaged while other contents were stolen in Hebron. Israeli forces continued their efforts to create Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. An orphans’ school was raided; and the director of the Ministry of Education and 10 students were abducted. A room in a house belonging to a Palestinian prisoner was shut down. Another apartment was shut down also under the pretext it contains a metal workshop in Nablus.
Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip: 
In the Gaza Strip, in the context of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed at the border fence, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at an electricity company crew while attempting to maintain the network that is 300 meters away from the border fence. As a result, they stopped their work and fled…. [See full report here]

Seeking to block rival, Abbas calls for Fatah, PLO elections
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 20 Oct by Mohammed Daraghmeh — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is pushing for leadership elections in his Fatah movement and the PLO before the end of the year, as part of what senior officials say is largely an elaborate attempt to block the return of an exiled rival backed by several Arab states. Abbas’s decision to hold such elections is a response to growing Arab pressure to take back Mohammed Dahlan, a former top aide and millionaire businessman who in exile forged close ties with leaders of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and other countries in the region. The 81-year-old Abbas has no plans to step down or designate a successor, despite a recent health scare in which doctors ordered an unscheduled heart exam prompted by complaints of fatigue. However, those elected to top posts in Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization — if the vote isn’t delayed — could form a pool of potential successors, though none would likely challenge Abbas as long as he is in office. Abbas has dedicated much of his energy to seemingly petty domestic power plays, including fighting off perceived rivals like Dahlan, at a time when other avenues of action appear blocked….

Palestinian security forces raid Balata refugee camp, several injured in armed clashes
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 21 Oct — Palestinian security forces early Friday raided the Balata refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus for several hours as security forces carried out a security operation, according to the governor, injuring at least seven Palestinians after armed clashes erupted between Palestinian forces and residents of the camp. Akram al-Rujoub told Ma‘an that Palestinian security forces were “taking part in a security activity” in the Balata refugee camp in order to “arrest those wanted by Palestinian security,” adding that security forces would “enter any area to impose security,” despite such measures often leading to deadly clashes with residents in the camp. Locals said that “hundreds” of Palestinian security forces entered the camp from several areas, erupting into armed clashes. Jamal al-Tirawi, a local lawmaker, told Ma‘an that 2,000 Palestinian security members entered the camp, and shot live fire and tear gas into the community. Residents of Balata said they were not informed by any Palestinian official that a large scale raid would take place. Seven Palestinians were injured during the clashes, identified by medical and security sources as Khalil Mustafa Riyahi who was injured shrapnel above the heart and is reported in stable condition; Rami Abu Ayyash, 40, who was injured with a live bullet to his left leg; Majd Bilal, who was injured with a live bullet to his thigh; Ali Shadi al-Natur who was injured with a bullet to his right leg; a two-month old girl, Jude Maher Qattawi; Khalil Ashraf, 11, who suffered tear gas inhalation was taken to the Rafidiya Hospital for treatment; and Hatem Abu Rizq who was injured with shrapnel but was not transferred to the hospital. Balata refugee camp has remained a site of violent clashes between Palestinian security forces and residents of the camp since a massive security crackdown was launched across the West Bank, which turned deadly in August, after two policemen were killed during a raid into the Old City in Nablus to uncover weapons and make arrests.

In the West Bank, Samaritans provide a sanctuary
[photos of Sukkot canopies of fruit] MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP)  21 Oct — In one of the tensest corners of the West Bank, Israeli settlers and Palestinians live in separate worlds. But there is a spot on the top of a mountain that connects them both: a village of Samaritans. To get there, Israelis drive up a steep, winding road, near ominous red road signs posted by Israel’s military that warn them against entering the nearby Palestinian city of Nablus. Palestinians get to the top by driving up a steep, winding road from Nablus on the opposite side of the mountain. At the top live about 380 Samaritans. They, and about 420 Samaritans based near Tel Aviv in Israel, comprise one of the world’s oldest and smallest religious minorities. Israelis and Palestinians are locked in continued conflict over land and national identity — currently a yearlong stretch of Palestinian lone-wolf attacks met by often deadly Israeli force. But the Samaritan hamlet in the West Bank is a place where both Israelis and Palestinians feel welcome. The Samaritans’ unique role — highlighted during the Sukkot holiday now under way — is particularly poignant at a time when hope for negotiating an end to the conflict is at an all-time low. Best known from the New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan, the sect traces its roots to the ancient Israelites, follows the Five Books of Moses and celebrates biblical holidays. In that way, the Samaritans are like their Israeli Jewish neighbors. But the Samaritans have lived in the West Bank for centuries and are fully embedded in Palestinian life. They speak Arabic, have common Arabic names, study in Palestinian schools, and work in Palestinian government offices….

Jewish settlers break bread with Palestinians in joint holiday celebration
EFRAT, West Band (Washington Post) 20 Oct by William Booth — The gathering wasn’t exactly unprecedented. Jewish settlers and their Palestinian neighbours have met quietly before, many times. But not like this. This meeting, this was rare. The settlement of Efrat is a bedroom community of 10,000 affluent Jews, including many Americans, a few miles south of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The residents of Efrat live the good life in a growing hilltop community the United States considers illegal and an obstacle to peace. The Efrat mayor, Oded Revivi, who is also a colonel in the Israeli army reserves, invited Palestinians from surrounding villages to come to his house and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Feast of the Tabernacles, when the faithful gather in palm-roofed huts, a remembrance of their 40 years of wandering landless in the desert, back in the time of Moses. A couple dozen Palestinians accepted the mayor’s invitation earlier this week to share brownies, grapes, cookies, apples and coffee, alongside another 30 Israeli settlers. This was a first. The idea? The sides were here to talk, perhaps even to bond — no matter if the dynamic was a little awkward and asymmetrical. For the Palestinians, maybe it was like having Christmas dinner with your boss. The settlers were very welcoming, but they were armed. Among the attendees were an Israeli army general and the top commander of the Israeli national police in the West Bank. The Israeli forces, and some of the civilian settler guests, arrived with rifles slung over their shoulders or pistols jammed into holsters on their belts. The Palestinians, of course, were not armed. Many of them worked or had worked as labourers in the settlement. Everyone was very polite. A Palestinian farmer sat next to an Israeli diplomat. They live a mile and a world apart. A rabbi from the settlement broke bread with a Palestinian stone mason. Guests shook hands, took selfies, patted each other on the back. Both sides seemed a little stunned to be together celebrating a Jewish holiday. The Palestinians spoke decent to fluent Hebrew. The settlers didn’t speak much Arabic … Palestinians may work in Jewish settlements without social censure, but Palestinian society discourages its people from mingling with police officers and soldiers, ever wary of collaboration and a process that Palestinians call “normalization,” which they see as a way for Israel, little by little, to use people’s natural inclination to seek accord to legitimize the almost 50-year military occupation and surrender their struggle for their own state….

In Jerusalem and West Bank, Nutella cafes offer a sweet refuge
NPR 21 Oct by Miriam Berger — A group of teenage girls in school uniforms giggle as they share crepes topped with candy and chocolate sauce and oozing hazelnut Nutella. It’s a Saturday afternoon and the girls are at the new Nutella shop in Jerusalem’s Shuafat Palestinian refugee camp. The scene is rare in this densely populated and impoverished urban camp. The potholed street outside the café is tense and crowded, as a group of little Palestinian schoolboys fight alongside zigzagging traffic. But inside the shop, it’s bright and quiet. The décor is an ode to Nutella, with a localized twist … Shuafat’s Nutella shop in Jerusalem is the latest in a series of similarly named cafés that have also popped up in the Israeli-occupied West Bank over the last two years. With unemployment and poverty widespread and a political malaise afflicting everyday life, these cafés provide female and family friendly spaces where people can enjoy and access a globalized craze that’s seemingly normal — unlike much else around them. The schoolgirl Sarah, 15, requested I only use her first name for privacy reasons. She and her friends tell me there are hardly any other safe and clean — and sweet — public places like this in Shuafat where they can enjoy themselves with the pocket money their mothers or brothers give them.

Massive carpet mosaic briefly uncovered in Palestinian town
[with photos] JERICHO, West Bank (AP) 20 Oct — Archaeologists have removed the protective cover from one of the Middle East’s largest carpet mosaics — but only for a day. Visitors got a glimpse on Thursday of the sweeping geometric and floral patterns in vibrant red, blue and ochre stones. The 827-square-meter (8,900 square feet) mosaic covers the floor of the main bath house of an Islamic palace near the biblical town of Jericho. The palace was destroyed by an earthquake in the eighth century. Since being excavated in the 1930s and 1940s, the mosaic largely remained hidden under canvas and soil to protect it against sun and rain. Tourism Minister Rula Ma’ayah says the mosaic, which depicts 38 scenes in 21 colors, will be covered again until construction of a protective roof is completed next year. [AFP: work is beginning to make the masterpiece accessible to visitors by the end of 2018, incorporating a viewing walkway and a shelter, with financing from Japan. Hisham’s Palace was built during the Umayyad dynasty, which lasted from 660 to 750 AD.]

Why is Facebook targeting Palestinian accounts again?
Al Jazeera 21 Oct by Refaat Alareer — Facebook continues to disable Palestinian pages, as several administration accounts and two pages have been deleted recently, according to Palestinian activists. Last week, administrators from the Palestinian Information Centre (PIC) Facebook page in Arabic reported that at least 10 accounts were suspended, seven permanently and three temporarily. The PIC has more than two million followers. When contacted for an explanation, Facebook responded by saying: “Your account has been permanently disabled for not following Facebook Community Standards. We will not reactivate it for any reason.” But according to PIC’s general director, Yahya Abu Hassan, the Facebook Community Standards are just a pretext. “Whatever these standards are, they remain loose, arbitrary and moody. However, Facebook clearly uses them as a sword to delete whichever material gets reported to them by the Israelis, thus reminding us of the worst censorship by dictators across time and place.” On Monday, PIC’s Facebook page in English, which has more than 200,000 likes, had one of its videos removed by Facebook under the pretext that it had “nudity“.   “[The page] posts news stories, reports, features, pictures, cartoons and videos exclusively about Palestine and Palestinians,” said Rami Salaam, the page’s main administrator. “The video is motivational. It’s about a Palestinian college graduate who is defying the Israeli siege and unemployment by selling flowers. It sends a message to occupied and besieged Palestinians that there is still a ray of hope,” Salaam told Al Jazeera. “I have had my account temporarily suspended for no reason a number of times before. It’s frustrating and, worse, it is distracting.”….

Egypt, US discourage PA efforts at UNSC
MEMO 21 Oct — Egypt and the US have warned Palestinians not to take steps at the UN Security Council until after the American presidential elections take place next month, Haaretz reported yesterday. “Both Egypt and the United States have warned the Palestinian leadership not to advance any moves at the UN Security Council until after the US presidential election next month,” the paper said citing an unnamed “senior Palestinian official”. According to the official, “the messages were sent both directly and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority, through Western and Arab intermediaries. The messages stressed that until the US election is over, Washington will veto any resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, including a denunciation of the settlements.” “Senior Abbas aides”, the paper added, say Palestinian officials have not got the impression “that the US administration intends to launch any initiatives of its own on this issue or let alone approve a Security Council resolution.” Earlier this week, the Palestinian foreign minister was reported to have said that the Palestinian Authority would continue in its efforts to have a UNSC resolution issued which stipulates halting the Israeli settlement activities immediately.

Has Ireland enabled Israel’s war crimes? / Ciaren Tierney
EI 20 Oct — Ireland’s Shannon Airport provides regular support to US imperialism. Since the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, it has served as a refueling stop for warplanes. Approximately 2.5 million armed US troops are estimated to have passed through this nominally civilian facility in the past 15 years. Eager to shield the US from scrutiny, leading Irish politicians have concealed the truth about what is happening and tried to mislead the public, sometimes in a contradictory manner … Despite the official secrecy, some information about Shannon has been unearthed by anti-war activists. Much of the evidence is inconclusive but it raises vital questions. Here is one such question: Has Ireland enabled Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians? In 2006, the Irish Independent reported that a cargo plane carrying three Apache helicopters had landed in Shannon earlier that year before flying to Israel. Ireland’s transport ministry claimed to the newspaper that the plane had meant to fly via Iceland but had touched down in Shannon after encountering some technical problems. Such excuses were threadbare. The ministry had admitted that the plane had been authorized to land in Shannon on the return leg of its journey, meaning that Ireland was facilitating the delivery of US weapons to Israel … During Operation Cast Lead, a major Israeli assault on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, Irish anti-war activists became suspicious about a US plane that spent several days in Shannon. Research by the activists revealed that the plane — a C-130 Hercules — was normally stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas. That base is located near the headquarters of Pine Bluff Arsenal, a supplier of white phosphorus munitions to the US military.  A few days before the plane landed in Shannon, the news agency Reuters published photos of the Israeli military handling projectiles whose markings indicate that they were made at Pine Bluff in the 1990s. Human Rights Watch has documented how US-provided white phosphorus, a weapon known to cause horrific burns, was used extensively by Israel during Operation Cast Lead….

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