Violence / Raids / Suppression of protests / Arrests — West Bank & Jerusalem
Palestinian teen killed by army fire in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 25 Apr – Israeli soldiers shot and killed, on Friday at night, a young Palestinian named Ali Sa‘id Abu Ghannam, 16 years of age, near the Zaim military roadblock, east of occupied Jerusalem. The Palestinian News & Info Agency WAFA has reported that the soldiers stopped the Palestinian, who was walking with a young woman from his family, and started provoking the two, before the soldiers uttered vulgar words towards the young woman. The incident caused the young man to engage in a scuffle with the soldiers before one of them shot him dead. The army is alleging the Palestinian “attempted to stab a soldier,” and was shot dead while trying to flee the scene. The Israeli army refused to hand the body of the slain Palestinian to the Red Crescent ambulance that arrived on the scene, and took it to an unknown destination. The Israeli Police alleged the young Palestinian arrived at the roadblock “and started running towards the soldiers while carrying a butcher knife.” Ynet News quoted a police statement alleging that one of the soldiers managed to hold the Palestinian, “but he continued to run towards the soldiers,” and they shot him dead.
mainstream media version
Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian youth in Jerusalem
Reuters 25 Apr — Israeli soldiers have shot and killed a young Palestinian man after an incident near a checkpoint in the East Jerusalem area, police say. Israeli police said the young man wielded two knives and had tried to attack the soldiers on Saturday, however the dead man’s relatives have denied the claim. The youth was aged 16, the Jerusalem Post reported. The incident occurred around midnight near the Az-Zayyim checkpoint at the outskirts of East Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank. The dead man’s cousin, Haitham Abu Ghanam told the Reuters news agency that his cousin was killed for no reason. “We were shocked to hear the news of the death of our cousin, he is a martyr,” Ghanam said. “He arrived to Az-Zayyim checkpoint when the soldiers shot him for no reason, without him attacking them. Witnesses told us that they saw them (the soldiers) shooting him and executing him,” he said. Police spokeswoman Luba Samri told Reuters that paramilitary border police fired warning shots into the air to warn the man. Samri said the troops “fired precise shots neutralising him (the suspect)” when he failed to heed their warnings, and that doctors had confirmed the suspect had died of his injuries.
Palestinian loses his eye due to Israeli fire in Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC 25 Apr — Israeli soldiers used excessive force, on Friday, against the weekly protest against the Wall and Settlements in Kufur Qaddoum, near the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, causing a serious injury to a young man who lost his eye; one was shot by a live round, five others were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets, and many suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation. Medical sources said Rif‘at Barham, 23 years of age, lost his right eye after the soldiers fired a rubber-coated metal bullet directly at him. Resident Daoud ‘Aqel, 17, was shot by a live round to his leg, and five others were shot by rubber-coated metal bullets. The sources added that dozens of residents received treatment for the effects of tear gas inhalation. Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in Kufur Qaddoum Morad Shteiwy said Barham was moved to the Rafidia Governmental Hospital, in Nablus, due to the severity of his injury. He added that resident Nasser Shteiwy, 44, was shot by three rubber-coated metal bullets in his legs, Anas Abdul-Razeq, 20, was shot by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the back, Mohammad Nidal, 19, rubber-coated metal bullet in the shoulder, Mohammad Fathi, 45, rubber-coated metal bullet in the arm, and Mahmoud Nasser, 15, was shot by a rubber-coated metal bullet in the thigh.
Israeli forces suppress weekly marches across West Bank
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 24 Apr — Seven Palestinians were injured, including one with live fire, and dozens more suffered excessive tear gas inhalation when Israeli forces suppressed weekly marches across the West Bank on Friday. Seven Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces opened fire on the Kafr Qaddum weekly march, using both live and rubber-coated steel bullets. [see previous article] Separately, dozens of Palestinians suffered excessive tear gas inhalation and one was detained as Israeli forces suppressed the Bil‘in weekly march. Witnesses said that dozens of international supporters and Israeli peace activists took part in the march, which was organised by local popular committees. Israeli forces reportedly detained Muhammad Adib Abu Rahmeh, 19, due to his involvement in the march, marking the third time Israeli forces had detained him. Tear gas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers set ablaze dozens of dunams of land planted with olive trees belonging to Bil‘in residents Nasser Abu Rahmeh and Kayid Khalil Abu Rahmeh, witnesses said. Friday’s incidents come a week after Israeli forces violently clamped down on protests across the West Bank marking Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, in honor of more than 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails. Five Palestinians were shot over the course of the day, including four with live fire, and dozens more suffered excessive tear gas inhalation.
Israeli soldiers caught on camera pushing, throwing stone at photojournalists
Haaretz 24 Apr by Gili Cohen — “‘The behavior seen in the video is reprehensible,’ an army spokesman said, ‘The matter will be investigated — Israeli soldiers assaulted a pair of photojournalists near the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh on Friday, video footage of the incident shows. The video shows a group of soldiers accosting two photojournalists clearly marked as members of the press, shouting at them “Get out of here.” Then one of the soldiers is seen pushing one of the photographers to the ground with his helmet. After this, another soldier knocks the other photographer to the ground. The same soldier then picks up a stone and hurls it at the photographer. [If you have no access to Haaretz, the video can be seen on YouTube here.]
Israeli forces raid girls’ school in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — Several Palestinian students suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces raided a girls’ school south of Nablus on Thursday.Palestinian security sources told Ma‘an that several Israeli military vehicles raided the Al-Sawiya girls’ school claiming rocks were thrown at settlers’ vehicles on the main road of the village from the school. Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas and stun grenades at students. Sources added that 16-year-old student Fatima Suleiman was taken to the Salfit Governmental Hospital for treatment. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an Israeli forces received reports of rocks thrown from the school onto passing vehicles driving on Route 60. Israeli forces arrived at the scene and asked the suspects to stop, later using standard means of crowd dispersal to “stop further violence,” she added. Nablus has come under increasing military presence from both Israeli and Palestinian security forces in recent weeks, Israeli forces targeting Hamas affiliates during arrest raids last week and Palestinian security forces continuing to crack down on crime in a security campaign that began in February. The Al-Sawiya girls’ school has been subject to Israeli raids in the past, undergoing a raid recently in February 2015, according to local media. Several schools in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem face constant military presence, while some students are forced to travel to school by foot through military firing zones, violating Palestinian students’ right to education, according to rights group EAPPI.
Two Palestinians kidnapped in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday morning, the town of Hizma, north of occupied East Jerusalem, kidnapped two Palestinians, and forced shut dozens of stores and shops. The SAFA News Agency said several Israeli military vehicles invaded the town during early morning hours, and were largely deployed in Abu George Street, before forcing store owners to close their businesses. The soldiers also kidnapped two Palestinians, identified as Mohammad Nasri and Hussein Fakhri, before taking them to an unknown destination. It is worth mentioning that Hizma has been subject to frequent invasions over the past two weeks, while the soldiers repeatedly install roadblocks and isolate it from its surrounding Palestinian communities.
100 armed Israeli settlers raid villages near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — Dozens of Israeli settlers raided Palestinian villages in the Nablus district on Thursday, officials and witnesses said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that over 100 armed settlers entered Sebastia and an area between ‘Aqraba and Beita villages. Locals said that Israeli military vehicles deployed in Huwwara village near a checkpoint of the same name to protect the settlers. It is unclear why the settlers were present in the area. An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma‘an she was not aware of the incident. However, she added that Thursday is a holiday in Israel, “so it’s possible that there are many more travelers in the area because the army opens up training grounds for tourists to travel on.” Thursday is Independence Day, which marks the establishment of the State of Israel following the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in what became Israel. The villages south of Nablus are a frequent site of settler violence and Palestinian clashes with Israeli forces as they are located beside the notoriously violent Israeli settlement of Yitzhar.
Israeli forces detain 8 in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — Israeli forces on Thursday detained five people after raiding a building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Witnesses said Israeli forces raided the al-Sumoud building and closed down the roads leading to it claiming rocks were thrown at a police car from inside. Hassan Geith, Mohammad al-Rashq, Jawad Burqan, Iyad Burqan and an unidentified woman were detained. Elsewhere Israeli forces detained three Palestinians after raiding a house in al-Tur village. Witnesses said Israeli forces raided the house of Khalid Abu Ghannam and detained him and his two sons Ismail and Imad.
Earlier Thursday, Israeli police detained three Palestinian women as they were leaving the al-Aqsa mosque. Sources told Ma‘an that the Israeli police detained Alaa Taha, Tasnim Ayyashi and Sumayya Taha and took them to a police station for interrogation. The Israeli police also detained a youth from the Kabul town in Israel identified only as Muhammad.
Statistics: 100 detainees from Al-Aqsa since the beginning of 2015
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (PIC) 23 Apr — A new statistics report by QPress media center showed that the number of detainees who were arrested from inside the Aqsa Mosque has reached more than 100 since the beginning of 2015 until Monday (20-April) on charges of shouting Takbeer or standing up for the settlers’ break-ins into the holy site. The report also mentioned that the Israeli police have lately escalated the deportation policy in al-Aqsa Mosque against men, women, and minors and even the endowment laborers, the guards and the employees were not spared this cruel policy … The escalated arrests and deportations coincided with launching projects to seek knowledge and maintain vigil in al-Aqsa Mosque leading to an intensive presence of Muslim worshipers in the Mosque’s courtyards from the early morning hours until afternoon, which Israel considers a “stumbling block” before the settlers.The report also clarified that worshipers are mostly targeted after Dhuhr (noon) and Asr (afternoon) prayers and forcibly taken to Beit Eliyahu police station where they are exposed to physical abuse and then interrogated at Qashla police station in al-Khalil and after hours of interrogation they are either released or their remands are extended until the next day, and in most cases the court rules to deport the detainees away from al-Aqsa for periods that vary from 15 to 90 days in addition to a fine of 500 – 2,000 shekels….
Israeli man found stabbed in truck of fleeing car in Jerusalem
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Apr – Israeli sources have reported that the police found an Israeli man in the trunk of a Palestinian car, and that the man suffered several stab wounds; the police said the attack carries criminal motives. The sources said that the car approached an Israeli roadblock in the at-Tour town, in occupied East Jerusalem, but the driver sped away when the police tried to stop him. The Police chased the car, and called for backup, before the car rammed into a number of parked vehicles.
Israeli Ynet News said the police found two Palestinians, aged 19 and 20, in the car, before hearing the wounded Israeli man, age 60, calling for help from the car’s truck, and that the man was found stabbed and tied up. The Israeli Police said the two persons in the car have criminal records, and that one of them was just recently released from prison for armed robbery. The Ynet said the initial police investigation indicated that the two Palestinians met the man in Tel Aviv, asked him for help, and attempted to rob him after he gave them a ride. They later subdued and stabbed him before placing him in the truck, the report claims. The wounded man was moved to the Hadassah Ein Karem Israeli Hospital in Jerusalem suffering moderate wounds, while the two young Palestinians were moved to an interrogation center.
Video: ‘Death to the Arabs’ march forces its way through occupied Jerusalem
EI 22 Apr by Ali Abunimah — This disturbing video shows Israeli youths, escorted by police and occupation forces, marching through the Old City of Jerusalem chanting “mavet la’aravim” – “death to the Arabs” – and other cries of hate. According to the racism-monitoring website Kifaya, the 19 April march was part of the monthly “Tour of the Gates” by Jewish extremists through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. As part of the event, held at the beginning of every month according to the Jewish calendar, the one-kilometer-long route is blocked to Palestinians, and businesses and stores must close, Kifaya says. Palestinians are forbidden from leaving their homes during the march. “Some 1,500 Jews participated in the march,” Kifaya says, “and it was secured by hundreds of policemen and soldiers, who thronged the area.” In addition to “death to the Arabs,” the marchers’ repertoire of cries and songs included: “revenge,” “may your name be wiped out,” “may your village be burnt down,” and the anti-Muslim chant “Muhammad is dead” –- all heard by the police and occupation forces who secured the event, Kifaya says. Some of the marchers even banged on the doors of homes and businesses and there were also some attempts to damage property.
No exit: An Israeli Arab city’s second-class status
Haaretz 24 Apr by Tali Heruti-Sover — Umm al-Fahm has roads that lead to nowhere and until two years ago no public transportation at all — On one side of the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm is a two-lane road that ends suddenly — the money ran out — and on the other side is the main exit, a bottleneck that narrows even further the closer it gets to Route 65, the main highway that runs through Wadi Ara. A visit to the second largest Arab city in Israel, where 53,000 residents live, in the Wadi Ara area of northern Israel illustrates the impasse faced by many Arab towns in the country … “It takes 20 to 45 minutes [to get out],” says Saliman Mahamid, the long-serving city engineer. “Every resident knows that in order to get to work they must make it through the traffic jam, and 12 hours later they will get stuck on the way back,” says Mahamid, noting that over 50% of the population works out of town … There is no city in Israel, certainly not of this size, where the exit and entrance are controlled by one small traffic light. I assume that in a Jewish city of the same size they would have already dealt with the matter,” he says. It seems Mahamid is right: Over 10 million shekels ($2.5 million) was invested recently in another interchange for the second largest neighborhood in Hadera, Givat Olga, where some 12,000 residents suffered from an infuriating, but much smaller, traffic jam. Today they enjoy a new and impressive road that connects to the coastal road (Highway 2).
Haaretz editorial — Nes Ammim: A new milestone in Israeli racism
24 Apr — Nes Ammim, which wanted to raise the banner of communication between the nations living in Israel, can no longer serve as a model — An Israeli family – father, mother and their two small children – submitted its candidacy to live in the community of Nes Ammim. The mother is a lawyer, the father an author and journalist. Both are middle class and able to pay the 1.6 million shekels ($400,000) for the house they wanted to live in. Both are educated and strong-minded and their application to Nes Ammim was based on a solid ideology of coexistence. Nes Ammim (Banner of the Nations) was set up in 1963 by European Christians, based on the worldview that Christians must make up for their treatment of Jews over the ages and strive for dialogue between the religions. It is only natural that this community seemed to the Israeli couple a worthy place to call home. But apparently this Israeli family had a fatal flaw – they’re Arabs. Since the vetting committee that interviewed attorney Abeer Baker and her husband Ala Hlehel did not disclose the reason for rejecting the family, and did not respond to Haaretz’s reporter Amira Hass’ questions, one is left to conclude that the couple’s opinions and worldview were the stumbling block. The vetting committee, none of whose members is Arab, held an inexplicable interview with the couple, one that consisted of questions such as, “What will you do if the community invites you to a barbecue on Independence Day?” The committee did not learn about the couple’s opinions only from that interview, but also from articles Hlehel had published in the media, articles that the committee did not like.
Tel Aviv mall denies entry to three Arab men
Haaretz 24 Apr by Jack Khoury — Azrieli mall says they were West Bank Palestinians; human rights lawyer cites ‘racism progressing toward de facto apartheid.’ – Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Mall refused to let in three Arab men earlier this week, with the company saying they were West Bank Palestinians and citing Israeli law under which entry permits are granted only for specific purposes. “In this case, they were given permits for work only,” the mall said, adding that its guards are responsible for protecting shoppers’ security. “The Azrieli security crew acted in accordance with the law.” It is not yet clear if the three men were indeed West Bank Palestinians or Israeli citizens. The story hit the social networks because Omer Senesh, who works in the building, was walking by as the incident occurred and filmed it on his phone. The video shows two young Arab men waiting on the pavement as the third hands his ID card to a security guard. According to Senesh, the guard said he was acting on orders from the mall’s management. The three waited for about 15 minutes after the guard took their ID cards. They left after he told them they were barred from entry. Senesh, who did not speak with the three, posted the clip on his Facebook page along with a text. “On what grounds does the Azrieli Mall detain Arabs, take their ID cards and ultimately bar them from entering? They came to buy shoes,” Senesh wrote.
Israeli forces shoot, injure Palestinian near Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 24 Apr — A Palestinian was shot and injured when Israeli forces opened fire east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Witnesses said that Israeli forces deployed along the border opened fire on Palestinian farmland, hitting one Palestinian man. He has been taken to a hospital for treatment. Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian civilians near the border. In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings, incursions into the Strip, and arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). That was up from 26 incidents through February, and left seven Palestinians injured and one dead. The attacks come despite Israeli promises at the end of the ceasefire to ease restrictions on Palestinian access to the border region near the “security buffer zone.” According to PCHR, the “buffer zone,” which Palestinians are prohibited from entering, “is illegal under both Israeli and international law.”
Rocket fired from Gaza into southern Israel
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Apr — A rocket, Thursday night, was reported to have been fired from the Gaza Strip into the Negev desert area [first one in months]. Sirens sounded in Sderot settlement in the south, according to the PNN, and residents reported hearing explosions close to their communities. No injuries were reported. Israeli forces said that they were looking for the landing site of the rocket. They were also quick to blame Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) for the rocket, claiming that Sderot settlement has long been the targeted by the movement. A Israeli military spokesperson said that the rocket was fired from Beit Hanoun city, southern Gaza strip, accusing Hamas of breaking the ceasefire which was agreed after the last Israeli aggression during the summer, which killed more than 2,200 Gazans. See: 94 Israeli Ceasefire Violations Since August
Israeli army bombards northern Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Apr — Israeli soldiers fired, on Friday at dawn, three artillery shells into an area in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, while navy ships fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition onto the Gaza shore. Media sources in Gaza said the army fired three shells at “monitoring sites” used by fighters of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas. They added that several Israeli navy ships fired dozens of rounds of live ammunition into the Gaza shore in the northern part of the coastal region, while military helicopters repeatedly violated Gaza air space. In a brief press statement, Israeli Army spokesperson Avichai Adraee claimed the army bombarded a site in northern Gaza “in retaliation to a shell that was fired into the Western Negev.” He added that Israel has decided to prevent Gaza Strip residents from leaving the coastal region heading to Jerusalem for Friday prayers, and also decided to close the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. Spokesperson of the Palestinian Minister Of Health, Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, said the Israeli attack did not cause any casualties, and called on the Palestinians to remain alert.
Israel cancels permits of 200 Gazan worshipers
IMEMC/Agencies 24 Apr — The Israeli Authorities canceled entry permits of the 200 Palestinian from the besieged Gaza Strip who were previously allowed to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque. General Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of the Israeli Government Activities in the occupied territories, said Israel decided to deny access to the 200 worshipers who obtained special permits to head to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Mordechai added that the Israeli measure comes in retaliation to the shell that was fired, late on Thursday at night, from Beit Hanoun, in northern Gaza, into an Israeli area across the border. He stated that the Erez Terminal would also be closed due to what he called “escalation, and dangerous situation close to the border with Gaza.” … The Israeli army said although Hamas was not responsible for firing the shell, it is to be held responsible for any escalation in the coastal region. A senior Israeli security source said a Salafist group, not under the control of Hamas, is behind the attack, and that “should Hamas fail to maintain calm; it will end up paying the price.”
Israeli pesticides destroy Gaza crops (report)
PIC 23 Apr — Isam Abu Mohareb, a Palestinian farmer from Gaza, did not think that the Israeli agricultural aircraft’s spray on Tuesday 21/4/2015 would ruin all his hopes of compensating his loss in the Israeli aggression of 2014. As the farmers finished their night shift, Israeli agricultural aircraft was spraying unknown pesticides over large farming areas to the south and north of Kissufim military site. Unaware of the gravity of the spray, Abu Mohareb left the farm and came the next morning to find that the watermelon, pepper, yard-long cucumber, squash, and mallow plants had withered and lost colors. He then knew that the aircraft spray had destroyed the crops over 500 meters to the north of Gaza-Israeli borders, with another 700-meter agricultural area destroyed by the pesticides carried by the eastern wind. The Israeli agricultural aircraft repeatedly sprayed the Gaza agricultural border lands this week, destroying tens of agricultural fields. The Ministry of Agriculture has not estimated the losses yet. – Massive loss – Abu Mohareb said, “We have been in a 30,000-Shekel debt since the last Israeli aggression as the Israeli forces bulldozed a water well, a warehouse of agricultural tools, water networks, and a number of our houses. The Israeli agricultural aircraft destroyed our crops and dashed our hopes. We use the money we earn from our farming to sustain 60 family members.” Workers of the farm witnessed the incident as the Israeli aircraft flew at 10-meter height above the crops and sprayed foul-smelling pesticides … Abu Mughseib expressed his surprise as he saw the withered almond and grape buds and the destroyed red-colored squash, beans and okra plants. He added, “The crops are not in 300-meter buffer zone. Israel destroyed a 500-meter wide strip of our lands and the winds carried the pesticides to destroy another area over 700 meters deep. In addition to the destroyed plant buds, we now have to spend more than a month waiting for new buds to grow.”
Video: Indie singer delivers haunting tribute to Gaza children killed while playing football
EI 24 Apr by Sarah Irving — A new song from the British indie rock singer and songwriter John Donaldson (formerly of Levellers 5 and Calvin Party, now performing as JD Meatyard) is a hard-hitting commemoration of the four young boys killed by an Israeli shell as they were playing football on a beach during Israel’s massive 2014 attack on Gaza. The shelling, which took on global notoriety after international journalists witnessed it from their beachfront hotel, killed Ahed Atef Bakr and Zakaria Ahed Bakr, both ten years old, Muhammad Ramiz Bakr, eleven, and Ismail Muhammad Bakr, aged nine, as well as injuring a number of other children. “Four Kids Playing on a Gaza Beach” combines sampling of a single voice uttering the words “it’s insane” with a folk tune which is itself a memorial to the Irish socialist and freedom fighter James Connolly, who was executed by the British authorities for his role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Described as “an important song … as direct as a political song gets and is ever more powerful as a result. What else needs to be said than ‘four kids blown .. they’re blown to pieces?’” by one reviewer, the track’s sparse instrumentation and spare, repeated lyrics are haunting and disturbing, eschewing overt statements, and instead leaving the listener to envisage the horror of the scene.
Renovated rooftop restaurant provides rare bright spot in a wrecked and darkened Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — When nightfall descends upon Gaza, the glittering lights of the Level Up restaurant seem to be the only bright spot in this darkened city. In a territory plagued by chronic power outages, poverty and shortages of construction materials, the restaurant defies all the rules: It’s well lit, thanks to a humming generator. The tables are crowded and hard to come by, and it is one of the few places in Gaza to rebound and relax. “People want to believe that they should live their lives,” said Basil Eleiwa, the manager of the restaurant. “People seem to like this place.” The story of Level Up is in many ways the story of Gaza. It’s located in a high-rise complex that symbolized the short-lived hopes for prosperity in the crowded seaside territory two decades ago. It has been impacted by the rule of the Hamas militant group, experienced the horrors of war, yet somehow manages to plod along in difficult circumstances. The restaurant opened just days before last year’s war with Israel broke out on July 8. At first, it suffered only minor damage. But about three weeks into the fighting, owner Mohammed Abu Mathkour says he received a phone call from the Israeli army. An Israeli intelligence officer told him that Hamas maintained a communications antenna on the roof of the building and that he had several hours to take it down.”I told them I cannot take it down without permission from the Hamas Interior Ministry,” he explained. Knowing what lay ahead, he rushed home to avoid the likely Israeli attack….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restrictions on movement
Thousands return to destroyed Palestinian villages in Israel
+972 blog 24 Apr by Natasha Roth with PHOTOS from Activestills — Approximately 10,000 people of all ages — mostly Palestinian citizens of Israel — took part in the 18th annual March of Return Thursday, on the land where the destroyed Palestinian village of Hadatha once stood. Setting out under an ominous sky, the demonstrators walked across the lands of the former village, wearing keffiyehs, waving flags and singing. The looming tempest eventually broke, but the march continued unabated. The March of Return, which always coincides with Israeli Independence Day, commemorates the Nakba and calls for the right of return for Palestinians who were expelled from or fled the land in 1948. The destination changes each year, to one of the more than 400 villages that were destroyed during or following the war. Hadatha, which is located southwest of Tiberias in the Lower Galilee, had around 600 inhabitants before being depopulated across May and June of 1948; now, the area consists of wild fields and scattered groves of trees. As the rain subsided, the march — organized by the Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Displaced People (ADRID) — congregated in a field where a stage and sound system had been set up along with photo and art exhibitions, gift stalls, and tables laid out with booklets and posters. Amid music, chanting, dancing and speeches, a one-minute moment of silence was held in memory of Palestinians who have been killed during the struggle for national recognition and rights.
Palestinians condemn Israeli ruling on Jerusalem property
JERUSALEM (AFP) 23 Apr by Majeda El-Batsh — A lawyer representing Palestinians attacked on Thursday a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court that he said could enable confiscation of east Jerusalem property owned by residents of the occupied West Bank. The April 15 decision brings such assets within the scope of the 1950 “Absentee Property Law,” which places in state custody all property inside Israel owned by Arabs who were living outside the state at the time of its founding in 1948. The court declared that the law also applies to east Jerusalem — captured by Israel in 1967 and then annexed — in cases in which Palestinian property-owners fled to the neighbouring West Bank. Many petitions have been lodged with the courts by Palestinians in the past seeking to reclaim confiscated property. Some have been successful but the Supreme Court judgement closes the door to future appeals. Lawyer Mohannad Gebara said the absentee property law is intended “to seize the property of Palestinian refugees in order to make them (Israeli) state property… and to legalise the seizure of Palestinian assets.” “The law determines that property in east Jerusalem belonging to a Palestinian living in Hebron or Ramallah has to be seized by Israel if he was at the time of the Israeli occupation in Ramallah or Hebron or any other city or area of the West Bank,” he told a press conference in east Jerusalem. Israel has confiscated dozens of properties, particularly in Jerusalem’s Old City and the Silwan neighbourhood in order to pass them to settler organisations, Gebara added.
100 Palestinian doctors authorized to [drive to] work in Israeli hospitals, reversing intifada ban
JPost 25 Apr by Felice Friedson — Doctor Firas Eleyan is the second of three Palestinian doctors to be granted a new permit allowing him to drive his car into Jerusalem, a change which will drastically effect his — and many other doctors’– working life. “I think it’s a substantial step…the daily cost just to come to work by cab is more than $18 each way – more than half of my monthly wage. Now it takes me 15 instead of 30 minutes each way.” Eleyan, who has worked at Hadassah Hospital for eight years and previously trained as an oncologist in Russia, said he knew of 16 physicians who were granted the new permits and of more who were currently going through the application process. Eleyan admitted that his Palestinian friends were shocked when he told them that Israel would allow him to drive through the check points to get to the hospital where he works. “We were trying for years to get this. It was very difficult. Sometimes when we would leave [work] late at night we would be waiting as long as two hours to get a cab home from the check point, sometimes during bad weather.” … He acknowledged that there were obstacles for the implementation of the new rules. Many of the police and army personnel who man the checkpoints the doctors must travel through are unfamiliar with the new permits and this is a problem, he said … A second issue of concern for the doctor was the registration plate on his car. He feared what might happen if someone mistook him for a terrorist who had slipped his vehicle into the city. “We have to drive our cars with Palestinian green plates into Jerusalem. I was hoping for a yellow Israeli plate. It is dangerous for me. And it is dangerous for people who see me.”
Prisoners / Court decisions
Twilight Zone: My wife, the jailed Palestinian MP
Haaretz 24 Apr by Gideon Levy & Alex Levac — An elected representative like Khalida Jarrar, being sent to prison for six months without undergoing a trial – such things are everyday occurrences in Israel. But there’s no public discussion at all — Ghassan Jarrar didn’t remember whether Khalida took her medications with her. When dozens of Israel Defense Forces soldiers came in the middle of the night to arrest her on April 2, and he was agitated by the thought that his wife, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, would be taken from him – he forgot to check if she had taken her medicines. Now he has been told she is receiving them at the prison. The Jarrars have been together for 35 years, ever since they met as students at Bir Zeit University, and his love for her is evident to this day. He even named his new factory for children’s furniture after her and their two daughters: “Sky” is an acronym for Suha, Khalida and Yifaa. The two daughters, incidentally, are currently in Ottawa, Canada, where they are pursuing their doctorates, Yifaa in law and Suha in environmental studies. They are also devoting their time to the international campaign for their mother’s release from an Israeli prison. Abroad, Khalida Jarrar’s arrest stirred a wave of protests among various activist groups, but in Israel, it was met with indifference – whether in the Knesset, in local women’s organizations, in the media or among the public. Jarrar is not only a legislator, human rights activist, feminist and freedom fighter – she is also the Palestinian representative to the Council of Europe, an international group promoting cooperation in different areas between European countries. However, none of her activities afford her any immunity from the Israeli occupation authorities, who can throw an elected representative into prison, even without a trial, after invading and searching her home in any manner they see fit, ordering her banished from her own city and preventing her from leaving her country for years. Jarrar is not alone. Sixteen of her colleagues in the PLC are currently in an Israeli prison – about one-quarter of the members of the legislature – but Jarrar is the only woman….
Israeli authorities release 2 Palestinian prisoners
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 22 Apr — The Israeli Prison Service released two Palestinian prisoners from Jerusalem on Wednesday after spending five months in administrative detention in the Negev jail. Head of the Jerusalem Prisoners Families Committee Amjad Abu Asab said that Israeli authorities released the secretary-general of Fatah in Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, and Islam al-Natsheh after they spent five months in administrative detention. Abu Asab added that Ghaith is a former prisoner who has been detained several times and has been banned from entering Jerusalem for a year. Ghaith was elected secretary-general of Fatah in Jerusalem six months ago. Ghaith’s brother Sadeq was detained on the same day. Islam al-Natsheh has also been detained several times, and was transferred to administrative detention for posting on Facebook that he wished to “die a martyr in the al-Aqsa mosque.”
He was interrogated about alleged “terrorist intentions.”
Israeli court releases prisoner from jail to house arrest
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — The Israeli central court on Thursday released prisoner Amaal al-Shawish, 48, to house arrest and fined her 15,000 shekels ($3,800), a prisoner rights group said. Amjad Abu Asab, head of the Jerusalem Prisoners Families Committee, said that al-Shawish has a court session on April 29, 2015. Al-Shawish was detained on March 4 while visiting her son Muhammad Jawdat al-Shawish in Israel’s Negev jail and accused of attempting to smuggle mobile phones into the prison. Her son Muhammad is currently serving five years in Israeli prison. Before her release, al-Shawish was one of over 6,000 Palestinians currently held in Israeli jails, many of whom are detained without trial, charged with insufficient evidence, and denied family visits in contravention to international law. Al-Shawish’s heavy fine is the result of ongoing Israeli policy of routinely charging fines to Palestinian detainees upon their release from Israeli jails. The Palestinian Authority generally paid such fines on behalf of Palestinians held in Israeli jails until March 2015.
Palestinian refugees — Syria and beyond
Poem: ‘No sea, no rescue’
CAIRO (EI) 24 Apr by Jehan Bseiso — To the families and lovers at the bottom of the sea, trying to reach Europe. I How do we overcome war and poverty only to drown in your sea? II Misrata, Libya / Habeebi just take the boat, / In front of you Bahr. / Behind you Harb / And the border, closed. / Your Sea, Mare, Bahr. Our war, our Harb III Augusta, Italy / Where is the interpreter?
/ This is my family. / Baba, mama, baby all washed up on the shore. This is 28 shoeless survivors and thousands of bodies….
‘I thought the boat was my only chance’
The Guardian 24 Apr by Ali Sandeed in Saida, Lebanon — Ali Sandeed, a Syrian-Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon, describes the misery and despair that drives so many migrants to risk their lives fleeing to Europe — About a year ago, I planned to pay a smuggler to get on a boat to Europe. A lot of people in Europe think that we refugees don’t know that we can die at sea, that we have not seen the horrific pictures of refugees’ dead bodies, that we don’t know that tens of thousands of people have been buried on Europe’s shores. But I do watch the news every day, and I had seen how more than 500 people had died a few kilometres from the Italian island Lampedusa in October 2013. I knew the statistics, I knew the risks. I had even lost friends of mine, who are some of the “refugees without a face and without a name”, as the media refers to them. But, in the same way as many Syrian refugees who, together with Eritreans, made up about half of the refugees crossing over to Europe by boat in 2014, I thought this was my only chance. I am a Syrian refugee from the Palestinian al-Yarmouk camp in Damascus. When I was small, my grandmother used to tell us how she felt when she was forced to flee to Syria from her home in Palestine in 1948, and how she hoped that her children and grandchildren would never have to experience what it feels like to be a refugee. But we did. I was born a Palestinian refugee, and almost three years ago I became a refugee once more, when my family and I had to flee the Syrian war to Lebanon. Our home, the Palestinian camp, had been under the hardest siege one can possibly imagine.
Of migrants, murder, and historical myopia / Emmanuela Eposti
Middle East Monitor 24 Apr — Nearly 2,000 people have been killed this year while attempting to make the perilous sea journey across the Mediterranean to the supposed safe haven of Europe – or rather, 2,000 and counting … Cue much grovelling and hand-wringing by European officials, and the oft-reiterated pledge that “something must be done” about the “problem” of unsafe migrant routes. Now, it seems, that something might come in the guise of guns and warships. The EU announced this morning that it is planning on using “military means” to target the ships used by people traffickers, while David Cameron has pledged to send HMS Bulwark and military helicopters in a bid to “smash” the smuggler gangs. Notwithstanding the sheer lunacy of this plan – a version of the trigger-happy Iraq war motto of “let’s bomb people and see if that makes things better” – the notion of using a military response to solve what is essentially a humanitarian crisis is misguided at best, criminal at worst. It seems increasingly ironic that Britain and other European countries are now pledging to stop a situation that they themselves are wholly responsible for. In last 12 months before it was withdrawn due to lack of funding, Italy’s search and rescue mission, Mare Nostrum, rescued more than 150,000 refugees from the shark-infested waters of the Mediterranean. Since Mare Nostrum ended at the end of last year, there have been no attempts by European countries to save desperate migrants lost at sea.
Likud minister: Drowning of migrants justifies Israeli policy
+972 mag 20 Apr by Lisa Goldman — Just one day after 950 asylum seekers drown on their way to Italy, Israel’s transportation minister praises the government for preventing migrants from entering the country — …Posting a photo showing rows of corpses brought to shore by rescue workers, [Transportation Minister Yisrael] Katz wrote the following caption, which is translated here from Hebrew: “Hundreds of migrants from Africa drowned to death close to Italy in a disaster that horrified all human beings. Europe is having a difficult time dealing with the migrants, and with creating solutions for this difficult issue. While there are differences between us (the migrants traveling to Europe must cross a sea while those heading for Israel have a direct overland connection), you can see the rectitude of our government’s policy to build a fence on the border with Egypt, which blocks the job-seeking migrants before they enter Israel … Katz seems not to remember some basic historical information about events leading up to and immediately after the Holocaust. When Israeli and Jewish schoolchildren around the world are taught about the Shoah, one of the most-emphasized points is that the Jews trying to escape the Nazis were denied refuge by nearly every country in the world. And that the Nazi regime felt it had carte blanche to carry out its genocide because the world had demonstrated its indifference to the fate of the Jews.
PLO delegation to leave for Syria
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 23 Apr — A Palestine Liberation Organization delegation will head to Syria next Monday in a new bid to end the crisis in Yarmouk refugee camp, a PLO executive committee member said. Ahmad Majdalani told Ma‘an that the delegation would not bring any new initiatives but will try to build on previous efforts and meet Syrian officials to provide protection for Palestinians in the camp. He said that Islamic State militants still control large portions of the camp, and that fighting has moved from the sides toward the center of the sprawling area. The delegation will include Majdalani, Palestinian Democratic Union deputy secretary general Salih Rafat, and PFLP and DFLP politburo members in Syria Maher Taher and Fahid Salman. Yarmouk, which is Syria’s largest refugee camp lying seven kilometers south of Damascus, was initially attacked by IS on April 1, and the group subsequently took over up to 90 percent of the camp. Since then, armed Palestinian factions have fought back while Syria’s air force struck IS positions in the camp.
Palestinian refugees launch cry for help in Kilis-Turkey
ANKARA (PIC) 23 Apr — Palestinian refugee families have appealed to the international human rights institutions to improve their very poor living conditions in the Turkish city of Kilis. The appeal was launched by 49 Palestinian families who fled from the bloody events in Syria and took refuge in Kilis. “We reached Turkey after we have been obliged to escape from the deathly hell raging in Syria due to the heavy bombing and large destruction”, the families said in a written statement. “We are now stuck in Kilis after those who claimed responsibility ignored our suffering,” they continued. “We have only two choices, either to take refuge in Mediene camp amid unbearable living conditions or to return to Syrian opposition-controlled areas which are daily bombed and shelled”.
Yarmouk situation update, 23 April 2015 / Issue No. 20
UNRWA 23 Apr — UNRWA continues to seek secure and unhindered access to Yarmouk itself and stands ready to expand the response in the case of further displacement from the area … UNRWA successfully continued humanitarian response operations today, providing 20,000 litres of drinking water to displaced civilians and host communities in Babila and Yalda. The mission also provided 1,200 bags of bread and equipment that will be used to establish a high-capacity community kitchen in Yalda and strengthen an existing kitchen in Babila. UNRWA medical personnel established a mobile health point, treating 181 patients over the course of the day. Three cases of hepatitis A were detected and treated. Medical personnel continue to observe malnutrition among some patients. UNRWA is now working in every neighbouring area to the east and south-east of Yarmouk – Yalda, Babila and Beit Saham. There will be a pause in operations tomorrow, Friday, as agreed with the local communities. Those receiving assistance are comprised of Palestinian and Syrian families displaced or affected by conflict, plus host communities.
Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (16-22 April 2015)
PCHR-Gaza 23 Apr – Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank. 4 protestors, including 2 children, were wounded in Bil’in and Ni’lin weekly protests. 5 protestors, including a child, were wounded during other protests. 2 children were arrested during a protest around Ofer detention facility in Ramallah. Israeli forces continued to open fire at border areas in the Gaza Strip. 3 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded, east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. Israeli navy forces opened fire 4 times at Palestinian fishing boats in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. Fishing nets and a fishing boat sustained damage. Israeli forces conducted 62 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank, 5 ones in East Jerusalem and 2 others in the Gaza Strip. 37 Palestinian civilians, including 7 children and a woman, were arrested.10 of these civilians, including 2 children, were arrested in occupied Jerusalem. [details of these and other actions follow]
Arab Israelis mourn as Jews celebrate statehood
AFP 23 Apr — Thousands of Arab Israelis marched in protest Thursday as their Jewish compatriots partied, each group in its own way marking the 67th anniversary of the Jewish state’s founding. The anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14, 1948 is celebrated according to the Jewish calendar, this year falling on April 23. Palestinians and many Arab Israelis usually mark the day on May 15 by commemorating what they call the Nakba — or “catastrophe” — of Israel’s creation. But thousands of Arab Israelis, many waving Palestinian flags, gathered Thursday in the Galilee for a protest march timed to coincide with the Israeli celebrations. It centred on the ruins of Al-Haditha, near Tiberias, one of nearly 400 Palestinian villages destroyed in the war that erupted after Israel’s founding. “Our grandfathers who suffered displacement asked us not to sell our land and to return to it and not give up,” activist Hammad Abu al-Haija told the crowd. “Now we tell our children our children and our grandchildren not to do so,” he said. More than 760,000 Palestinians — estimated today to number 4.7 million with their descendants — fled into exile or were driven out of their homes in the conflict that followed the creation of the Jewish state. - Jews urged to migrate – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the occasion to call on Jews from around the world to move to Israel. “It is completely clear that this is home,” the Israeli leader said during an annual international bible quiz.
Palestinian student vote offers taste of real democracy
BIRZEIT, Palestinian Territories (AFP) 24 Apr by Hossam Ezzedine — As relations between rival political factions hit rock bottom and with the prospect of a general election ever more distant, some Palestinians are left with a single voting outlet — student elections. The annual student council vote has all the flavour of a general election, pitting Fatah and Hamas, the two main political blocs, against each other. At Birzeit University, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, two candidates traded jibes this week in a staged debate before voting that suggested these elections are based less on campus issues and more on which party the students support. “You’ve told us 13 times you’ll end security cooperation with Israel,” the Hamas candidate railed. “Where are the Gaza port and airport that you’ve promised us?” retorted his Fatah opponent. The topics may be beyond the remit of student candidates, but they are indicative of how politics permeates all levels of Palestinian society, and highlight the importance of factional allegiance among the student population … Wednesday’s election at Birzeit was won by Hamas, which claimed 26 out of 51 seats compared to Fatah’s 19. As ever, the result was big news, running as a top story on national Palestinian TV … Around 70 percent of Palestinians in the territories are under 30 and so, with a general election still a distant prospect, the two factions enthusiastically finance annual student campaigns.
How a Biblical edict became a boon for Palestinian farmers
The Forward 21 Apr by Naomi Zeveloff — Just beyond the Israeli military’s Al Hamra checkpoint, the Jordan Valley opens into a checkerboard of red soil farms that make up the Palestinian village of Froush Beit Dajan. It is a land under Israeli occupation. But occupation notwithstanding, in early October, an intricate year-long transaction was underway in the village that crosses this stubborn region’s usual ethnic, religious and geographic lines. Soon after the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah, workers in Froush Beit Dajan loaded boxes of young cucumbers with yellow blossoms still attached to their stems into a truck bed shaded by a blue tarp. The cucumbers were destined for Israel, where, to the consternation of some Israeli Jews, they would be sold almost exclusively to the ultra-Orthodox. The reason for this transaction, which continues throughout the Jewish calendar year, is the religious mandate known as shmita. As dictated in Exodus 23:10-11, among other places, Jews who farm within the biblical borders of the Land of Israel must let their fields lie fallow every seventh year. Right now in Israel, it’s 5775 on the Jewish religious calendar, a shmita year.
Bedouin honor IDF service, mourn fallen soldiers
Al-Monitor 23 Apr by Shlomi Eldar — Bedouin youths continue to demonstrate their commitment to Israel by enlisting, despite growing tensions with Jewish society as the demolition of Bedouin homes continues — Amid the many April 22 Memorial Day ceremonies for Israel’s fallen soldiers, there was one unofficial and unusual event in Ka‘abiyye, a Bedouin village in the north of Israel. The initiative to hold a memorial procession there came from Muhammed Ka‘abiyye, a resident who thinks that the fallen Bedouins who have proven their loyalty and love to Israel — their state — deserve a special memorial service as well. Every year, a memorial service for the fallen Bedouins is held at a monument for a Bedouin fighter, located at HaMovil junction in the lower Galilee region. Yet, Ka’abiyye says that the young members of the community who enlisted with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as well as bereaved families feel that the State of Israel does too little to commemorate the contribution of the Bedouins who fell during Israel’s wars.
In Photos: Jerusalem Armenians commemorate lives lost 100 years ago
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 24 Apr — Armenians around the world commemorated the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide on Friday, a day after the Armenian Apostolic Church in Yerevan held a mass canonizing the 1.5 million souls that perished in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.The 5,000 Palestinians of Armenian descent in Palestine marked the day with marches and masses expressing their sorrow to the victims, as well as their continued anger at Turkey for its long-standing refusal to recognize the crimes committed by its predecessor state.Recent days have seen masses for the victims held in Armenian churches across Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Haifa, and Jaffa, in addition to intercommunal services held in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by the 13 main Christian denominations of the Holy Land. The Armenian community in Palestine is composed almost entirely of descendants of those who fled Anatolia during the Genocide, finding a safe home in the Holy Land … In 1948, Armenian-Palestinians numbered around 15,000, spread evenly into thirds between Jaffa, Haifa, and Jerusalem/Bethlehem/Ramallah.
Israel shocked by ultra-Orthodox mob assault on IDF officer in Jerusalem
JPost 24 Apr — Israel’s political and military establishment expressed shock and dismay on Friday hours after an IDF officer was accosted and lightly beaten by a mob of ultra-Orthodox Jews in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. The officer, who serves in an infantry brigade, was wearing an army uniform and a knitted skullcap that is the hallmark of the religious Zionist community. He had entered the neighborhood to pay a visit to two soldiers said to be in dire financial straits … Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Friday with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich about the incident. The premier released a statement to the press saying that he was closely monitoring the police efforts to locate the assailants. “This is an outrageous incident,” Netanyahu said. “These lawbreakers who raised a hand against an IDF officer must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Israel denies Nzimande visa to visit Palestine
JOHANNESBURG (News24) 23 Apr by Thomas Hartleb — The Israeli government has denied Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande a visa to travel to Palestine, his spokesperson said on Thursday. “This is not only an act against him, but also an act against him as a member of Cabinet, so by extension it’s an anti-government protest by Israel,” Khaye Nkwanyana told News24. He said it had created a “serious diplomatic problem”. The reason Israel gave for the refusal was that Nzimande was “one of the most vocal anti-Israeli government ministers”. Nzimande was meant to travel to Palestine from Friday until next Wednesday. It was intended as a follow-up visit to promote collaboration in research between the University of Johannesburg and institutions in Palestine. Nzimande would call on all higher education institutions to cut ties with their counterparts in Israel. “We must just boycott Israel,” Nkwanyana said. Nzimande is a vocal critic of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians and has called for South Africa to boycott Israeli imports. [see statement by Nzimande’s South African Communist Party]
US appeals court upholds dismissal of suit by Abbas’ son
WASHINGTON (AP) 24 Apr — A U.S. appeals court has upheld a decision to throw out a $10 million libel suit by the son of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed Friday that Yasser Abbas cannot make a defamation claim against Foreign Policy magazine over a story that questioned the source of his prosperity. The 2012 article described the “conspicuous wealth” of Yasser Abbas and his brother Tarek and questioned whether they are “growing rich off their father’s system.” The appeals court ruled that the story was not defamatory because it presented the issue in the form of questions without reaching any factual conclusions. The lawsuit claims the story damaged the reputation of Abbas, who runs businesses throughout the Middle East.
US court tosses Palestinian lawsuit against charities funding settlements
JTA 25 Apr — The U.S. Court of Appeals in New York upheld a lower court’s dismissal of an appeal from a group of 13 Palestinians that sought damages for alleged “terrorist attacks” by Jews in the West Bank. The complaint was filed against five U.S.-based charities that financially support settlement activity: Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, the Hebron Fund, Central Fund of Israel, One Israel Fund and American Friends of Ateret Cohanim. The plaintiffs alleged that financial support of these charities violated antiterrorism laws. “American federal judges recognize the difference between the financing of murder and violence… and legitimate bona fide financial support of the daily needs of peaceful Israeli settlements over the Green Line,” attorney Nathan Lewin, who represented the charities in the trial and appellate courts, said in a news release sent Friday. The Palestinian plaintiffs argued that the settlements “in and of themselves…are a violation of the law of nations,” Lewin said. District Judge Jesse Furman originally discarded the complaint last year, and a panel of appellate judges rejected this appeal.
From Hebron, Palestinian scarf resists… Chinese competition
AFP 23 Apr by Sarah Benhaida — In the face of strong competition from China, the traditional, locally produced Palestinian headscarf has put up a show of resistance, successfully pulling itself back from the brink of extinction. Thanks to the business sense of two brothers from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, the traditional black-and-white keffiyeh headscarf has discovered a new lease of life. In 1961, their father Yasser Hirbawi, who sold keffiyehs he brought from Syria and Jordan, decided to set up his own production line. When the factory began, two employees managed two looms to produce the famous black-and-white patterned headscarf. Today, his sons are at the head of a business which employs 15 people and exports keffiyehs worldwide, all of them bearing the logo: Made in Palestine. Each year, they sell around 30,000 scarves, of which two or three percent are sold locally while the rest go overseas with the main markets in Italy, France and Germany, most of which are ordered online, according to Juda Hirbawi. Paradoxically, it was the British who turned the keffiyeh into a widespread symbol of resistance during the time of Palestine under their mandate (1920-1948), says Abdelaziz al-Karaki, 61, who has spent more than four decades working in the Hirbawi factory. “They said that anyone who wore the Bedouin scarf was an opponent and suddenly everyone started wearing them,” he said. But the keffiyeh’s appearance on the international scene can be put down to the influence of one man: Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader and icon of the resistance who was hardly ever pictured without his trademark headscarf.
Israeli company to build surveillance towers on Native American land
PNN 24 Apr by Nallein Satana Al-Jilwah Sowilo — The US has chosen an Israeli company called Elbit Systems Ltd. (an Israel international defense electronics company engaged in a wide range of programs) to build a surveillance system on whole borders of Arizona and Mexico. This system is called Integrated Fitting Towers (IFT), and comprises the building of surveillance towers for snipers, with cameras and radars, to detect the movement of Native Americans crossing. The contract is between Elbit and the US Homeland Security, and will cost about 145 million to be implemented over 8 years. The project however will violate the US treaty, since the land grab will take land from the native tribe Tohono O’odham, a Native American Nation. Also, the tribe has been complaining that American and Israeli surveillance cameras on the construction site are directed on reservation and not on the construction site, which violates their privacy and gives them a feeling that they are being spied on. Building walls and electric fences and Security Towers is no doubt an Israel specialization for a simple reason: that Israel lives on usurped land – like the Americans – for this reason they feel insecure and threatened because they fear that what they inflicted on others will get to them. Every policy the Palestinians are now enduring was practiced on the Native Americans, only the Palestinians understand the suffering of the Native Americans. American borders were designed by Europeans, forced upon Native Americans … In their defense, an organization called Native American and Middle East Political Action Committee has filed a complaint at the UN against Israel, Elbit and [the] American [govt] for intruding on Native American land. It also intends to file a lawsuit for raising surveillance towers and violating privacy rights.