Violence / Attacks/ Clashes / Arrests
IDF to use ‘more humane’ non-lethal ammunition
[with photos] Ynet 19 May by Yoav Zitun — The IDF will soon introduce a new means for riot dispersal. Following a series of experiments recently performed by the military, the use of non-lethal ammunition has been approved as a method to avoid escalations of violence. An Army officer told Ynet that the rubber bullet “is considered a more humane weapon.” The military has considered using the non-lethal method in the West Bank that is already used by Israeli police, but doubts regarding its lethality prevented its use. Controversy over the issue arose after the death of 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot in East Jerusalem last year, whose relatives claimed he was struck by a police rubber bullet. The tens of thousands of rubber bullets purchased by the IDF are intended for use by the Judea and Samaria Division, and will be deployed in the upcoming weeks, initially as a pilot program for border guard units. Another change in crowd control measures used by IDF is the Ruger firearm, which specially authorized units can use to fire small lead projectiles into the lower body of a central instigator. The rubber bullets to be used by the IDF will have a diameter of 40 millimeters (about 1.5 inches). Like the Ruger, units will require special authorization to use them. The minimum distance from a demonstrator must be seven meters (about 23 feet), with a range of a few dozen meters.
Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Jerusalem after alleged car attack
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 20 May – Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian man in the al-Tur (Mount of Olives) neighborhood east of the Old City of Jerusalem, claiming he attempted to run over border guard police officers with his vehicle. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli officers opened fire at a young man in a grey Land Cruiser at the main crossroads in al-Tur and critically injured him. The Israeli forces sealed the area and prevented locals from accessing the injured young man to give him first aid. The young man succumbed to his wounds shortly after he was shot. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma‘an that the Palestinian was in critical condition after being shot. He said the man tried to run over two police officers with his car. An eyewitness denied the Israeli claims that the driver was trying to run over Israeli border guard officers. “He was trying to make a U-turn in the middle of the road,” the witness claimed.
License to kill: Why did the IDF shoot the Qawarik cousins 29 times?
+972 blog 19 May by John Brown* and Noam Rotem Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman — Saleh and Muhammad head out to their agricultural land. A settler stops them and calls the army. Four soldiers arrive. One of them empties his magazine into the two. Three other soldiers claim they didn’t see anything. The IDF says that the cousins attacked the soldier, then retracts the claim. No one is brought to justice. The fourth installment in a series examining the case files of soldiers who killed unarmed Palestinian civilians. [Read parts one, two and three.] This series of reports deals with cases in which “uninvolved” Palestinian civilians were killed, as well as the superficial investigations into those killings conducted by the Israeli Military Police. No one has been brought to justice in any of these cases, but this case is unique nevertheless. Not because of the victims, whose names are remembered only by their families. Not even because of the soldier who took their lives, and, according his own testimony, even ripped down a poster mourning their deaths. The unique aspect is the way the IDF Spokesperson changed its story. At first, the IDF Spokesperson published the claim that “a terrorist attack with a pitchfork had been foiled at a checkpoint,” and that two terrorists had tried to attack a soldier using pitchforks. The IDF was later forced concede that the report was inaccurate, and then claimed that the soldiers were attacked with a bottle and a syringe. With every new report, the volume knob was turned down a bit, until the last one, a day after the incident, according to which the two cousins were not terrorists at all, but two young men stopped by settlers after they had entered their own land — without coordinating with the army. But the IDF Spokesperson’s story had already gained prominence. Every Palestinian is a terrorist until proven otherwise.
Right-wing Jews and Israeli police ‘assault Al-Aqsa guards’
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 May — Right-wing Jews and Israeli police officers physically assaulted Palestinian security guards on duty at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound early Tuesday, the director of the compound told Ma‘an. Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani said that a group of Israeli settlers was touring the compound when they began to “deliberately” provoke Palestinians near the Cotton Merchants Gate by repeating slogans calling for the removal of the Dome of the Rock. Al-Kiswani said that “when the guards intervened, Israeli settlers assaulted and beat them. The Israeli police backed [the right-wing Jews], protected them, and clashes erupted in the area.” The sheikh said that the Islamic trust that controls the compound subsequently intervened and Israeli police escorted the right-wing Jews from the compound. Al-Kiswani said that one of the guards, Fadi Abu Mizr, had trouble breathing after he received blows to his chest, while guard Maher Abu Isninweh had bruises on his face. The two guards were treated in the mosque’s clinic.
Israeli police officer strikes Al-Aqsa guide
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 May — An Israeli police officer on Monday struck a Palestinian tour guide in the face at one of the gates to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the director of the compound said. Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told Ma‘an that Muhammad Qteish, 58, a tour guide affiliated with the Islamic trust that controls the compound, fell into an argument with an Israeli officer after he insulted female Palestinian worshipers near the compound’s Golden Gate. The Israeli officer then struck the Palestinian tour guide in the face, al-Kiswani said. Separately on Monday, al-Kiswani said that around 50 right-wing Jews toured the compound under the armed protection of Israeli intelligence officers.
Settler assaults 10-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 May — A 10-year-old Palestinian boy was lightly injured after a Jewish settler attacked him near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron Tuesday, locals said. Youssef Qfeisheh, 10, was injured in his hand and taken to a local hospital for treatment, where he received nine stitches. No other details were given about the incident.
Palestinian man injured in explosion in northern Jordan Valley
TUBAS (PIC) 19 May — A Palestinian young man was injured Tuesday due to an explosion of a bomb during extinction of fire caused by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in northern Jordan Valley in the morning. Local official sources said that the 24-year-old man called Ali Kaabneh, from Wadi al-Maleh Bedouin neighborhood, was wounded by a bomb of the remnants of the IOF military drills in the area. The young man was injured directly in the head and was transferred by an Israeli chopper to Afoleh Hospital, the sources added. In a press statement on Tuesday, the official of Northern Jordan Valley Mutaz Bsharat said the IOF carried out, in the morning hours, military drills in the area which led to two fires that burnt 700 dunums of Palestinian lands. In the same context, a third fire spread near Wadi al-Maleh and burned 2000 dunums of pastoral lands.
In Pictures: Settlers celebrate the anniversary of ‘occupying Jerusalem’ and the residents confront them
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 17 May — The streets of Jerusalem turned into a hit-and-run field between hundreds of occupation forces and dozens of young men who confronted the march of “Dance of Israeli flags” on the anniversary of occupying Jerusalem. Jerusalemites were able to be present in the streets of Jerusalem from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the area of Damascus Gate to challenge the Israeli flags’ march and to confirm the Arab and Islamic identity of Jerusalem.
The occupation arrests five Jerusalemites including three children
SILWAN, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) 18 May — The occupation authorities arrested five Jerusalemites including three children from Silwan and the village of Sur Baher. Al-Dameer organization lawyer, Mohammad Mahmoud, explained that the occupation forces arrested the 14-year old Omar Syouri and the 16-year old Mohammad Syouri from the neighborhood of Ras Al-Amoud in Silwan and the 16-year old Yassin Atrash from the village of Sur Baher. The forces also arrested the 25-year old Mus’ab Shyoukhi and the 23-year old Mansour Shyoukhi after raiding their house in the area of Al-Ein [Ma‘an: Ein al-Fuqa] in Silwan.
Israeli forces detain 5 Palestinians near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 18 May — Israeli forces detained four Palestinian minors during a raid into the town of al-Khader in southern Bethlehem late Sunday, locals said, while an Israeli army spokeswoman reported a fifth arrest north of Bethlehem. Dozens of Israeli soldiers were seen on al-Shahid Street in al-Khader’s old town shortly after midnight, before they stormed several homes and detained Jihad Omar Abd al-Salam Salah, 15, and Muhammad Asaad Said Sbeih, 16. In the town’s al-Balou area, Israeli forces raided the home of Muhammad Dawood Ahmad Salah and detained his sons Dawood, 17, and Omar, 16. An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the four arrests, alleging that they were detained for “involvement in criminal activity and riots.” When asked which riots they had been involved in, she said she could not specify.She said a fifth Palestinian had been detained north of Bethlehem overnight, although she was unable to provide any details.
Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinians from Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 19 May — Israeli forces detained two Palestinians during a raid into al-Fara‘a refugee camp in northern Nablus city early Tuesday. Locals told Ma‘an that clashes erupted between soldiers and youths after Israeli forces raided the refugee camp around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday. Israeli soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades, while youths threw rocks and empty bottles. The detainees were identified as Sanad Mutaz Sawalmeh, 20, and Abd al-Rahman Ibrahim Abu Shqeir, 35.
Israeli forces detain 3 brothers in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 May — Israeli forces and an undercover unit detained three brothers of the Abedrabbu family after assaulting and tasing them following a raid at their store in the Beit Safafa village in southern Jerusalem on Tuesday. Witnesses told Ma‘an that an undercover unit raided a store belonging to the Abedrabbu family in Beit Safafa and when the owners asked for a “search warrant” they refused and refused to show ID as they were dressed as civilians. The unit assaulted the three brothers, Abed, Talal and Bilal and electric-shocked them as Israeli policemen showed up and detained them. Witnesses added that Israeli forces also assaulted the detainees’ mother when she attempted to enter the store to check on them.
Israeli forces continue detention campaign near Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 May – In an ongoing detention campaign against teenagers in the southern West Bank town of Al-Khader, Israeli forces raided several neighborhoods after midnight Tuesday and detained four teenage boys, locals told Ma‘an. Israeli forces distributed a statement in the area threatening to interfere with the lives of young men who continue to hurl stones at Israeli vehicles traveling on the bypass roads near the town, locals said. Locals identified the detainees as Amir Raed Salah, Muhammad Yousuf Atwan, Marwan Bajis Subeih and Khalid Wael Issa. They are all aged 15-16, according to the local sources. The detentions came shortly after Israeli forces detained four Palestinian minors from Al-Khader Sunday. Dozens of Israeli soldiers were seen on al-Shahid Street in A-Khader’s old city shortly after midnight, before they stormed several homes.
Palestinian Authority continues crackdown on Hamas supporters
JPost 19 May by Khaled Abu Toameh — Palestinian Authority security forces continued their crackdown on Hamas supporters in the West Bank on Monday. In the Hebron area, the PA General Intelligence Service arrested Anan al-Shahateet, a student at the Polytechnic University, and summoned for interrogation his colleague, Mohamed Rashaideh. Meanwhile, the PA Preventive Security Service in Hebron arrested 15-year-old Mohamed al-Awawdah. He is the fourth 10th-grade pupil to be taken into custody in recent days. In Nablus, 37-year-old Majdi al-Qutub, who recently was arrested by PA security forces, was transferred to the hospital after suffering a health setback, sources close to Hamas in the city said. Two of his brothers, Said and Amjad, were Hamas members who were killed by the IDF during the second Intifada, they said. In Bethlehem, PA security officers arrested Issa Jawarish, who had spent seven years in Israeli jails for membership in Hamas, and the officers also stormed the homes of two other Hamas supporters in the city, Islam al-Wardiyan and Qaher Abu Kamal, serving them with summonses to report for interrogation….
Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Restrictions on movement / Apartheid
Israel court approves Bedouin land confiscation, HRW condemns
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 May — The Israeli Supreme court on Tuesday turned down an appeal by the descendants of Sheikh Suleiman Muhammad al-Ukbi against a decision by the central court of Beersheba three years ago. The court in 2012 refused a request to register 1,000 dunams (250 acres) of land in the villages of al-‘Araqib and Sharia‘a in northern Negev to their names as heirs of the original owner Sheikh al-Ukbi. The Supreme Court also decided that the land should be registered under the name of Israeli development authority. “The issue of Bedouin tribal rights to ownership of lands in the Negev is very important and an acceptable solution to both sides should be reached as soon as possible,” the court decision read. The court argued that during the era of the Ottoman Empire and the British Mandate, “rights were not granted to lands located far from populated areas.” For their part, members of al-Ukbi tribe claim ownership of 19,000 dunams (4750 acres) in al-Araqib where they “have dwelled and cultivated the land for decades.” They added that in 1951, the Israeli military authorities deported the tribe to the village of Hurah 20 kilometers east of al-‘Araqib citing security reasons. “At that time, the Israeli authorities promised the chief of the tribe that the tribe would be allowed to go back to their lands after six months, however the promise was never met and instead the Israeli authorities enacted a law in 1953 and started to register the tribe’s land to the Israeli development authority.” The Supreme Court decided Tuesday that al-Ukbi tribe failed to prove ownership of the land, and so they are not entitled to receive reimbursement.
Colonised Jaffa – 1948-2015
Middle East Monitor 19 May — EXCLUSIVE IMAGES — In the 1940’s, millions of crates of Jaffa’s oranges were being transported around the world as the city boomed. The city was the hub of cultural life in Palestine and home to several newspapers and cinemas. By late 1947 approximately 100,000 people are estimated to have been living in the city. Only one year later that number had dropped by more than 95 per cent – only 4,000 Palestinians remained in Jaffa after the Zionist attacks on the city. Those who did mange to stay, were forced in to “Al-Ajami ghetto” – a Palestinian neighbourhood that was turned into an open air prison surrounded by barbed wire fences and guarded by Zionist militias. After Palestinians were forced in to Al-Ajami ghetto, their houses were then appropriated by the state under the “Absentee Property Law”. In some cases, these houses were then leased back to Palestinians after they had finally been allowed to leave the ghetto. Some 67 years later, this ongoing process of displacement and the erasure of the city’s Palestinian identity continues. Under various pretexts, Palestinians are being displaced from the city as original houses are being demolished and replaced with luxury Israeli developments which have become amongst the most expensive real estate in today’s State of Israel … Over the course of three days to mark Nakba Day, a wide range of events were implemented in this context by activists in the city. These events, including walking and boat tours and cultural events revealed something of what the Zionist movement continues to attempt to erase.
Israeli forces demolish 3 Palestinian stores in Silwan
JERUSALEM (Ma‘’an) 19 May — Israeli forces on Tuesday demolished three commercial stores belonging to a Palestinian in the Silwan neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. Locals said that the demolitions were carried out after municipal inspectors decided early Tuesday morning that the stores had been built without license, although no prior notice was given. Large numbers of Israeli forces reportedly stormed the Ein al-Luzah area of Silwan together with Jerusalem municipality inspectors. The soldiers blocked off an alley, while a bulldozer demolished the three stores. Anis Karama, the Palestinian owner of the stores, told Ma‘an that when he arrived Israeli officers denied him access to his property before forcing him from the site. According to Karama the stores measured 200 square meters and were built two months ago.
Separately on Monday, municipal inspectors delivered demolition warrants to four Silwan residents, and were also reported to have taken photos of buildings in the al-Bustan, Ein al-Luzah and Beer Ayyub areas of Silwan.The densely populated neighborhood of Silwan to the south of Jerusalem’s Old City has been a repeated site of Israeli incursions and attempts to evict Palestinian locals.East Jerusalem has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967, and today around 300,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements constructed between existing Palestinian neighborhoods.
Israeli settlers destroy 250 olive trees in northern Hebron
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 18 May — Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Bat Ayin north of Hebron set fire to an estimated 25 dunams of Palestinian land on Monday destroying up to 250 olive trees, a local committee reported. A spokesperson for the Beit Ummar popular committee, Muhammad Ayyad Awad, said that five Israeli settlers in white clothes between the ages of 16 and 20 had set fire to land in the Hilet Ikdeis north of Hebron. Awad said that the land was owned by Mahmoud Ali Abd al-Majid Hamdan, Naim Ahmad Abd al-Majid Hamdan, Muhammad Nour Abd al-Majid Hamdan and Wajih Ibrahim Abd al-Majid Hamdan. Awad added that the land had been planted with olive trees, most of which were nearly 40 years old. He said that Israeli forces arrived on the scene, but alleged that they refused the landowners’ demand that they call a firetruck to put out the fire. The landowners said that they had been able to prevent the fire from spreading to other areas. The fire comes a day after locals in al-Shuyoukh, northeast of Hebron, reported that 80 acres of land planted with hundreds of olive saplings had been vandalized by Jewish settlers from nearby illegal settlements.
PHOTOS: When Israel decides to cut Palestinian farmers off from their land
Activestills 19 May — The Israeli army decided last week to close the main gateway Palestinian farmers from four villages use to access their lands — which Israel cut them off from with the separation fence. After a protest the army re-opened the gate, but the incident shows how Israel controls every aspect of Palestinian life … When Israel started building its separation wall and fence through the West Bank over a decade ago, the route it chose cut many Palestinian farmers off from their lands. As a result of legal appeals and other arrangements, the army built gates in the fence and wall through which it permits the farmers to reach their lands on certain days and during certain hours … On a normal day, Israeli soldiers open the gate at 6 a.m. to let the farmers access their lands and reopen it at noon, allowing them to come back. Sometimes, when the farmers finish their work early, they have to wait for hours until the soldiers come to open the gate
Palestinians banned from riding same buses as Israelis: official
JERUSALEM (AFP) 20 May – Palestinians in the West Bank who commute to Israel to work will from Wednesday be banned from riding the same buses as Israelis to return home, a defence ministry official said. “Under a three-month pilot project, Palestinians who work in Israel will, starting Wednesday, need to return home by the same crossing without taking buses used by (Israeli) residents” of the occupied West Bank, the official told AFP. Hundreds of Palestinians travel each day to work in Israel from the occupied West Bank, mainly in the construction business, using travel permits each time they cross. The official, who declined to be named, said Palestinian workers would now need to change buses to avoid riding vehicles carrying Israelis after crossing back into the West Bank. Israeli public radio said Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon had agreed to the ban, adding that it would allow “better control of the Palestinians and those leaving Israel and reduce security risks.” Israeli settlers in the West Bank have called for years for Palestinians to be banned from public transport there, arguing their presence poses a security risk.
Hamas operative dies in Gaza tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 May — The military wing of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades, said Monday evening that a fighter affiliated to the group had been killed in a tunnel collapse in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Al-Qassam Brigades identified the fighter as 25-year-old Mahmoud Adel Ghaban from Beit Lahiya. A number of fighters in Gaza have been killed by accidents during military training exercises in recent years, and the tunnel networks, which are largely used for smuggling in the coastal enclave’s south and military purposes in the north, are notoriously dangerous. The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas authorities had counted 160 deaths inside the tunnels since the Israeli blockade began in 2007, and in August 2014, al-Jazeera reported that figure to be as high as 400.
Gaza security services assault al-Jazeera journalist
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 18 May — A Palestinian journalist working for al-Jazeera has accused Palestinian police in the Gaza Strip of physically assaulting him while covering a Turkish minister’s visit to the coastal enclave on Sunday. Journalist Muhammad Fayyad told the Palestinian Journalists’ Union that when he arrived at the Gazan Ministry of Endowments to take photos of the minister’s visit, a security guard shoved him back, even though he says he had permission to be there. When Fayyad asked the plain clothes security guard why he had shoved him, he says that he was pushed again before being assaulted by a number of police officers who then forced him from the building. Fayyad added that he “was struck on the head by a police officer” as he was being taken out of the building. He says that he then went to a police station to make a complaint, but was surprised to find that the policemen had already made a complaint and that there was an arrest order against him. While at the police station, the journalist says that he began to feel the effects of the assault and was taken to the al-Shifa Hospital for treatment. He was later arrested by police officers and released on bail. The journalists’ union has demanded that the Gazan security services stop all action taken against Fayyad and re-interrogate the security guards who assaulted him.
Gazan jailed for 11 years for ‘collaborating with Israel’
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 May — A military court in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday sentenced a Palestinian man to 11 years in jail for allegedly collaborating with Israel. The Ministry of Interior only identified the 31-year-old Palestinian as “R.S.” The sentence comes a week after another Palestinian, identified as “J.Gh.” was sentenced to 15 years on similar charges. That man was detained several years ago for allegedly providing Israel with information on locations of Palestinians working with Hamas. Information passed to Israel’s security services by Palestinian collaborators is often used to make arrests and assassinate high-profile political and militant figures.
Freedom Flotilla III sets sail toward Gaza carrying medical supplies and solar panels
MINNEAPOLIS (MintPress) 19 May – Marianne, a trawler owned by Swedish and Norwegian activists, is the first ship in the newest Freedom Flotilla. Carrying supplies, activists and important international dignitaries, the activists hope to end Israel’s deadly blockade on the Port of Gaza. The blockade of the Port of Gaza, maintained by the Israeli navy with assistance from Egypt, is part of an overall stranglehold that Israel maintains over Palestine which keeps strict, inhumane limits on the flow of food, medical supplies and equipment necessary to repair Gaza’s ruined infrastructure. Journalists and human rights monitors are routinely denied access to the region, as well. Marianne departed Wednesday from Gothenburg, Sweden. The ship stopped in Copenhagen Saturday, where Dutch dignitaries and journalists joined the Swedish team after a celebratory concert. The passengers now include Trine Pertou Mach, a member of the Danish parliament, and Jonas Rolsted, an author. The ship’s cargo includes medical supplies and solar panels. A joint effort of Ship to Gaza Sweden and Ship to Gaza Norway, Marianne will be joined en route by vessels from other nations, all intent on reaching the Port of Gaza. Activists from Canada, Italy, Spain, Greece and South Africa are expected to be involved. Dr. Moncef Marzouki, the former president of Tunisia, intends to join the flotilla aboard another vessel.
Head of Turkish religious authority pledges further aid for Gaza
GAZA (Anadolu Agency) 18 May — Mehmet Görmez, the head of Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) visited a hospital built by Turkey in Gaza on his second day of a landmark trip to the Palestinian city. Görmez said he was pleased to see Turkey’s mark in Gaza, adding his country would initiate repairs to mosques and hospitals in the city. “We will always give a helping hand here,” Görmez stated. The head of Turkey’s top religious authority visited the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital. Construction of the hospital in southern Gaza started in 2011 but an Israeli blockade in place since 2007 prevented the completion of the hospital equipped with 170 beds and state-of-art medical equipment. Görmez said his trip to Gaza was “late,” but he was glad to be here at last.
PCHR calls for serious and urgent investigation into circumstances of explosion … in Beit Lahia which injured dozens of civilians
Press Release 18 May — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) calls upon the competent authorities to seriously and urgently investigate the circumstances of an explosion that occurred in a paramilitary training site established in the center of a populated area in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. As a result of the explosion, 108 civilians, including 37 children and 32 women, sustained various wounds. Moreover, dozens of adjacent houses and shops were damaged. PCHR calls also for publishing the results of the investigation … According to the field investigations and sources in the Palestinian police, members of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades were dismantling a missile dropped by Israeli warplanes during the latest summer offensive on the Gaza Strip in a site belonging to the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, which served in the past as a building of the General Intelligence Service, in the densely populated al-Salatin neighborhood. While dismantling the missile, members of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades heard a whistling sound coming from the missile, so they fled away. A few minutes later, many explosions occurred inside the site resulting in the complete destruction of the site and damage of adjacent houses in addition to the injury of civilians.
Following the incident, the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades issued a statement, in which they held Israel responsible for the explosion.
In light of the above, PCHR: 1. Calls upon the authority in Gaza to quickly collect the war remnants, including projectiles and bombs, in places away from populated areas to neutralize or destroy them, and prevent incompetent parties from taking the risk of mishandling or trying to deactivate them; and 2. Reiterates its call for opening a serious, comprehensive and immediate investigation into this incident and publishing the results.
Royal London surgeon takes time off to help Gaza wounded — months after shelling
Advertiser 18 May by Mike Brooke – A surgeon at the Royal London Hospital back from a Middle East war zone has been treating the injured in Gaza who were caught in last year’s conflict between Hamas and Israel. Orthopaedic consultant Matt Barry joined teams of medics working with charities who headed out to Gaza. He went on two trips as part of a rolling scheme to send trained medic professionals to help in the worst-hit areas, after the 50 days of crossfire last summer on the border of Gaza and Israel … “We saw many children and adults needing limb reconstruction,” Matt recalled on his return to east London. “There were people with old injuries such as fractures that couldn’t be treated properly at the time. “But we also saw the life-threatening reality of unexploded shells littering the area.” Three children were brought into the medical centre after an old shell exploded as they played near their home. “Two nearly died and we were sadly unable to save a badly- njured hand of one of the boys,” Matt added. “They were all extremely lucky not to have been killed.” … One of the medical initiatives set up by his team included combined orthopaedic and plastic surgery clinics, which give patients a more thorough treatment to improve their overall movement and skin healing.
Palestinian patients find help in Israeli hospital
GAZA CITY (AP) 19 May by Fares Akram — The bedroom of Palestinian siblings Ahmed and Hadeel Hamdan looks like a hospital ward, filled with beeping machines, monitors, solution bags and sterilizing fluids. This is where the Gaza teenagers spend 12 hours a day connected to dialysis machines. These contraptions — and their hopes for a better life — come from a surprising source: an Israeli hospital … The Hamdan siblings, Ahmed 18, and his sister Hadeel, 15, have been regular guests at the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa since July 2012. The children were initially treated in hospitals in Gaza, Egypt and Syria before receiving a medical referral to Rambam. That first lasted three months. The hospital would not let them go back to Gaza until Hadeel was able to walk again after being incapacitated for a month. “I thank them very much because they exerted tireless effort, especially with the girl,” their mother, Manal, said. Since then, doctors said a special treatment called automated peritoneal dialysis was the only way to keep the children alive, pending a kidney transplant. Without any machines or technicians in Gaza, Rambam worked with Palestinian officials to get the equipment installed at the family’s home and trained their mother how to operate the machines.
Film review: ‘We need women to bring about change in Gaza’
i24NEWS 19 May – A Palestinian movie sharply critical of Hamas is not commonplace, but the Cannes Festival actually features such a film that provides a stinging rebuke to Gaza’s current way of life – between Israeli military oppression and the wild and uncontrollable violence on its streets. “Degrade” is the latest movie by twin brothers Ahmed and Mohammed Abu-Nasr, better known as film makers Terzan and Arab Nasser, and it was picked to be screened at the Cannes’ Critics Week, the festival’s sidebar dedicated to first and second films from up-and-coming artists. Judging by the presence at the first three screenings on Monday, the audience seems curious and pleased. And the Nasser brothers may be in line for some prizes … This is a small film that takes place at one location – a Gaza beauty salon frequented by women of various ages and walks of life. This is a colorful sliver of paradise populated by a future bride, a cynical divorcee, a young pregnant woman, a religious woman veiled and covered from head to toe, as well as the owner of the establishment, who hails from Russia, a militant hairdresser and a bitter, older woman portrayed by Nazareth-born Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas. Together they create a complex microcosm reflected in conversations about such issues as politics, religion and men, of course … The Nasser Brothers say the film is based on a true story. [Excerpt from a Ynet review in Hebrew]
Ancient Gaza bathhouse offers respite from today’s hardships
GAZA CITY (AP) 18 May — After dawn prayers in Gaza, a few dozen men descend a metal staircase to gather in the steamy confines of Hamam al-Sumara, a centuries-old bathhouse where residents of the isolated territory find respite and relief. Stained glass windows in the central dome allow rays of light to pierce the clouds of steam. On the heated marble platforms below, men recline between visits to the steam room or massages. “I come to this bath for treatment of diseases such as muscle spasms or cramps, getting rid of inflammation,” said Shafiq Al-Aqqad. He also comes to celebrate happy occasions, like weddings. Historic bathhouses like this one can be found across the Middle East, where they preserve a tradition of public bathing that goes back to ancient times. Hamam al-Sumara, Arabic for the Samaritans’ Bath, dates back 1,000 years but has been renovated, most recently in the 1990s by the Palestinian Authority.
Isis memorabilia headed for Gaza seized by Israeli customs
Newsweek 19 May by Jack Moore — Israel’s custom authorities have seized 120 rings emblazoned with Isis insignia sent from Turkey and heading for Gaza, according to Israeli officials. Staff at Israel’s international airport intercepted a “delivery of 120 rings bearing an insignia associated with Da‘esh [another term for Isis] terrorist organisation”, a statement released by the Israel Tax Authority said. The rings were intercepted more than two weeks ago but the authority only announced the smuggling attempt today. The Israeli authority added that the rings were “prohibited propaganda” and were therefore destroyed. They have also made Israel’s security services aware of the shipment … Last November, leaflets emblazoned with the Isis flag were distributed in the territory while in February, a group claiming to be linked to Isis reportedly kidnapped and tortured Gaza journalist Mohammed Omer for eight hours before releasing him. No official Isis affiliate has been established in the territory as of yet but the presence of flags has shown that the group have sympathisers within Gaza. Hamas, the radical Islamist group who have controlled the territory since 2007, have routinely denied the presence of Isis supporters.
Earlier this week, Israeli’s Shin Bet security agency revealed that it had seized a package with 40 diving suits at the Nitzana customs terminal on the Gaza border, believed to be a smuggling attempt into the blockaded enclave for potential beach raids, such as one conducted in last summer’s conflict when four Hamas divers landed on Israel’s Zikim Beach during the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge.
Prisoners / Court actions
Khader Adnan enters 15th day of hunger strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 May — Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan has entered the 15th day of a hunger strike demanding an end to his administrative detention, the Muhjat al-Quds foundation said Tuesday. The foundation said that Sheikh Adnan, 37, is currently being held in solitary confinement in HaDarim Israeli jail and is refusing to take vitamins, medical tests or sugar or salt. The foundation said that in his most recent letter,Adnan wrote that he was undertaking the open-ended hunger strike to defend all Palestinians. He said that the goal of the strike is to resist Israel and prevent it from tarnishing the achievement of prisoners who secured their freedom by going on hunger strikes in the past, only to be rearrested by military forces.
Palestinian woman detained while visiting jailed brother
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 18 May — Israeli forces detained a Palestinian woman while she was visiting her brother in Israel’s Megiddo prison Monday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society told Ma‘an. The society said that Maysaa Walid Mahajneh, 22, was visiting her brother Farid Mahajneh when she was detained by Israeli forces. Mahajneh is from al-Taybeh village in Jenin and is the mother of three girls. An Israeli prisons spokeswoman confirmed the arrest. She said that a Palestinian woman had been detained after a mobile phone was found in her bag, which police allege she was trying to “bring to her brother.”
[Another] Palestinian sentenced to 8 months prison over Facebook posts
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli court on Tuesday sentenced a Palestinian man to eight months of imprisonment with an additional six months suspended for activity on social media. The Jerusalem detainees’ families committee said that the Israeli magistrate’s court had handed the sentence to Sami Jamal Faraj Ideis, 28, from Shu‘fat after he was convicted of inciting anti-Jewish violence and supporting “terror” in posts and comments on Facebook. Ideis was one of eight Palestinian men detained in December 2014 in East Jerusalem under the same charges. Their indictment said that Israeli intelligence had monitored the men’s Facebook postings since last June, which intelligence said had raised tensions across Jerusalem and encouraged acts of “terrorism.” They cited in particular postings on the murder of 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and killed by a group of Jewish extremists in July, as well as on a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israeli military and civilians that mostly took place in occupied East Jerusalem. Ideis’ sentence comes less than a week after another of the eight Palestinians detained with him — the former secretary-general of Fatah in Jerusalem Omar al-Shalabi — was sentenced to nine months in an Israeli prison for Facebook posts. Two others from the group — Adnan Ghaith, the current secretary-general of Fatah in Jerusalem, and Islam al-Natsheh — were in April released from Israeli prisons following five months without trial.
Minors in Israeli custody claim assaults during arrests, interrogation
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 May — The Palestinian Prisoners and Former Prisoners Committee released Tuesday testimonies of minor Palestinian prisoners who say they were assaulted during detention and interrogation by Israeli forces. Lawyer of the committee Hiba Masalha, who visited minor prisoners in the Israeli Hasharon jail on Monday, said that prisoner Jamal al-Zaatari, 15, from the al-Tur town near Jerusalem was beaten and assaulted during his detention when Israeli forces raided his home two months ago. Al-Zaatari was blindfolded and handcuffed with plastic straps and was beaten on the head, prevented from drinking water for hours and verbally assaulted during interrogation in addition to being strip-searched while being moved to the HaSharon jail….
Israeli military court clears soldier of killing Palestinian
Middle East Monitor 18 May — An Israeli soldier was acquitted yesterday of killing Palestinian Uday Darwish near Hebron, West Bank, two years ago. On 12 January 2013 Darwish, 21, walked through a gap in the Separation Wall on his way to work in the city of Rahat in the Negev. Israeli soldiers called for him to stop, one fired four shots into the air while another hit Darwish in the knee. Darwish lost a lot of blood before he was transferred to hospital in Be’er Sheva where he was pronounced dead. The military prosecutor had indicted the soldier for the death, however they backed away from the accusation as part of a deal, instead the soldier was convicted of causing death by negligence and he was sentenced to seven months in a military prison. However, a military court acquitted him of the charge.
Israel faces FIFA suspension over claims it discriminates against Palestinians
The Guardian 19 May by Peter Beaumont in Ramallah — FIFA president Sepp Blatter arrives in Jerusalem to seek compromise, as Israeli football authorities insist that ‘no laws or rules’ have been broken — Israel is facing a vote to suspend it from world football’s governing body over claims that it discriminates against Palestinian footballers in the occupied territories. The Palestinian Football Association said on Tuesday it was determined to push ahead with the vote on 29 May at the FIFA congress in Zurich, which could see Israel follow South Africa’s apartheid-era regime and Yugoslavia – the only countries to have been suspended by FIFA. On Tuesday, Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, said he believed the issue would go to a vote and that he expected Israel to be suspended. Suspension from FIFA is the most serious sanction the organisation can impose short of expulsion, and would see Israel’s teams banned from competing internationally. The FIFA president, Sepp Blatter – who is seeking a compromise to head off the vote – arrived in Jerusalem on Tuesday for talks with the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. Blatter has made no bones about his own opposition to the proposed vote, due to take place in 10 days, suggesting at a press conference that the motion was an abuse of FIFA statutes and “inappropriate”. Speaking after his meeting with Netanyahu, Blatter said the prime minister had agreed to the proposal of a “peace match” between Israelis and Palestinians but would not go into details of what else was discussed.
Israeli football cannot continue as a vehicle to legitimise racism / Jibril Rajoub
The Guardian 19 May — Just over a year ago, the world watched as AC Milan footballer Mario Balotelli shed tears during a match, following repeated racist insults. The photographs were published by newspapers worldwide and Fifa was caught between club rivalry and race relations. Balotelli’s experience, however, sparked Fifa into delving deeper into sanctions regarding racism in football – but even such willingness to tackle one of the core issues facing Fifa today has been exclusionary in and of itself … One Fifa statute specifically comes to mind: “Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.” While Israel continues to participate in Fifa matches internationally with impunity, Palestinian football players have been shot and arrested, our football association raided by Israeli army forces, our clubs more often than not forbidden from bringing players, coaches or even materials from abroad, just as the restriction of movement imposed on our players and technical staff, within, from and to Palestine have turned the game into a real act of resistance. Participation of a Palestinian or Muslim during a match against Beitar Jerusalem has been met with chants of “Death to Arabs” from the stands, the crowd encouraged by the failure of the Israel Football Association to properly sanction the club for its fans’ behaviour. This failure has enabled Beitar to remain a sanctuary for racism in Israel.
Ethiopian Jews are facing prejudice, police brutality in Tel Aviv
Newsweek 19 May by Maxim Tucker — …On 3 May Israeli Jews fired on Israeli Jews as the country’s police force cracked down on hundreds of protesting Israelis of Ethiopian descent … Fifty-seven police officers and dozens of demonstrators were injured in the riots that ensued, stunning the Israeli public and sparking a widespread debate about the need to address a growing sense of frustration among the Ethiopian population …Swathes of the religious community continue to debate whether the Ethiopian Beta Israel sect, who practiced an early form of Judaism, are truly Jewish at all. In the years since their arrival, Ethiopian-Israelis have suffered a range of discriminatory treatment. There have been scandals about their blood donations being dumped and allegations that female Ethiopian-Israelis were targeted for long-term birth control injections to keep the number of black Israelis down. Assimilation programmes have stripped the community of aspects of their cultural identity – even changing Ethiopian names to Jewish ones – while separating them from the rest of Israeli society. Today the government counts around 136,000 Ethiopian-Israelis living in the country, making up about 2% of the population. Just under half were born in Israel. While the first generation focused on integration, their children want to be able to embrace dual heritage and an end to their treatment as immigrants.
Fires sweep through Israel, West Bank amid heat wave
[with photos] JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 18 May — Large fires swept through Israel and the occupied West Bank on Monday amid a heat wave, Israeli media reported. Two fires broke out in Jerusalem, including one in Lifta west of Jerusalem and another near the Atarot industrial area in northern Jerusalem. Israeli news site Ynet said that fire crews were working to keep the fire from spreading to nearby factories. Another fire broke was reported to have broken out near Yavneel stream in the Galilee, which four fire crews and four air tanks were working to put out. Ynet also reported fires in Ein Zivan in the occupied Golan Heights, in Safed in the Beit Shean area, between Kafr Yasif and Abu Snan in Israel’s north, and in Talmei Bilu and Maslul in the south. In the West Bank, Ynet reported that up to 22 Israeli fire crews were fighting a huge blaze that broke out near the illegal settlement of Salit south of Tulkarem. According to Ynet, additional firefighting teams had been called and airtankers requested. They reported that winds had driven the fire close to the settlement fence.
Vatican: Pope Francis meant no offense calling Abbas ‘angel of peace’
Reuters 19 May — Pope Francis meant no offense to Israel by referring to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as being “an angel of peace” and intended to encourage harmony between the two sides, the Vatican said on Tuesday. Francis met Abbas at the Vatican on Saturday and used the words as he presented the Palestinian president with a large bronze medallion representing the angel of peace, one of his customary gifts to visiting presidents. Receiving Abbas at the papal apartments, the Argentine pontiff, speaking in Italian, said the medallion was an appropriate gift because “you are a bit an angel of peace”, according to a reporter representing several news agencies at the meeting … Early reports had conflicted as to whether the pope urged Abbas to be an “angel of peace” or if he had described him as such.
Netanyahu retains final say on Palestinian peace portfolio
JERUSALEM (AFP) 19 May — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have the final say in future peace talks with the Palestinians, an official said Tuesday, after Interior Minister Silvan Shalom was entrusted to oversee negotiations. “The prime minister is responsible for the negotiations. Silvan Shalom will be holding the meetings with the Palestinians along with Yitzhak Molcho, the personal envoy of the premier,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. On Monday, Netanyahu announced he had charged Shalom, a veteran member of his rightwing Likud party, with conducting peace talks with the Palestinians.
UN to explore new Mideast peace effort with Israel
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) 19 May — The United Nations will explore options with Israel’s new government for a return to negotiations on creating a Palestinian state within a reasonable timeframe, the new envoy said Tuesday. Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special Middle East coordinator, told the Security Council that “the coming period will be critical to the future of the peace process.” Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been comatose since a major US push for a final deal ended in failure in April 2014.
Europe wants central role in Middle East peace, Mogherini says
BRUSSELS (Reuters) 18 May by Robin Emmott – The European Union wants a more active role in seeking peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday on the eve of her first visit to the region. Six months into her tenure, the 41-year-old former Italian foreign minister is eager to leverage Europe’s position as Israel’s biggest trade partner and as the Palestinians’ main aid donor after last year’s failure by the United States to make progress in the latest efforts to broker a two-state peace deal. “My very early visit has a political meaning,” Mogherini told a news conference following an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels where she discussed the Middle East … Some EU diplomats believe Mogherini, who meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday and Thursday, sees a chance for EU diplomacy in the absence of a major new push from Washington as President Barack Obama approaches his final 18 months in office.
Report: Hamas and Israel holding secret talks
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 May — Jordanian newspaper ad-Dustour reported Tuesday that Hamas and Israel have been involved in secret talks in Israel and European capitals in recent months. The newspaper quoted “western sources” as saying that among the most prominent issues being negotiated was the establishment of a “floating seaport” located between the Gaza Strip and Cyprus. The report said that both sides are also negotiating a deal to return the body of an Ethiopian Israeli soldier in exchange for Hamas-affiliated prisoners in Israeli custody. The report claimed that “negotiations have reached deeper issues such as borders.” Israel has reportedly offered to enlarge the Gaza Strip into Egypt’s northern Sinai peninsula, an idea which Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was in the past reported as proposing to the Palestinian Authority. The report suggested that the talks may have taken place under Turkish supervision. In April, senior Hamas official Ahmad Yousef denied that there had been any direct talks between Hamas and Israel, but acknowledged that there had been indirect “chats” with Israel under European mediation.
Report: Arab diplomats secretly met with Israelis in Jordan
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 19 May — A secret meeting between Israeli diplomats and diplomats from Arab countries that do not have open diplomatic relations with Israel was recently held in Jordan, Israeli radio station Voice of Israel reported Tuesday. The broadcasting station added in a report on their Arabic-language website that representatives of the European Union and the United States had also attended the meeting. The report alleged that several Arab diplomats said that countries in the region should be preparing for a new reality as the United States’ influence on regional security begins to retreat. They also were quoted as saying that Sunni countries in the Middle East are interested in cooperating with Israel on security issues. However, Voice of Israel added that political deadlock between Israel and Palestine has so far prevented cooperation between Arab countries and Israel. In recent months, commentators have noted an increasing alignment between Israeli and Gulf security priorities.
Sweden to contribute $5 million toward PA salaries, pensions
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 19 May — The Swedish government said Tuesday that it will contribute nearly $5 million toward the May salaries and pensions of 70,000 Palestinian Authority employees across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Swedish State Secretary for International Development Ulrika Moder said: “The objective of the Swedish contribution announced today is to assist the Palestinian Authority to provide basic service to the Palestinian people at a time when it faces many challenges, particularly in Gaza.” EU Representative Mr. John Gatt-Rutter said: “The EU remains the most important donor, reliable and predictable partner for the Palestinian people. It is present at all levels of life in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and of course Gaza.”
Illinois passes anti-BDS bill
IMEMC 19 May — The Illinois State House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill which will prevent the state’s pension funds from investing in companies that boycott Israel. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) has indicated he will sign the bill which passed the House on Monday by a vote of 102-0. The bill previously passed the Illinois State Senate unanimously at 49-0. With Governor Rauner’s signature, Illinois will become the first state to legislate against the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.
Hebrew U. to offer preparatory course for East Jerusalem Palestinians
Haaretz 20 May by Nir Hasson — The funding committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel is expected to decide Wednesday to approve the establishment of a Hebrew University preparatory program for Palestinians from East Jerusalem. The first class will contain 50 students, but the plan is to expand the program. The program, for Palestinians who have passed the Palestinian Authority’s matriculation exams rather than the Israeli exams, is a response to the great demand by graduates of East Jerusalem high schools to attend Israeli academic institutions.
IDF to disband Druze battalion after more than 40 years’ service
Haaretz 19 May by Gili Cohen — The Israel Defense Forces is disbanding the Herev Battalion for Druze soldiers after 41 years, because young Druze want to serve in regular field units rather than be segregated, a senior officer said on Monday. “The young Druze have been clearly and unequivocally indicating over the past few years that they want to integrate into the larger IDF and not be in a battalion of their own,” the senior officer told reporters. Often, the army was assigning them there against their will.
Kiwi rock star runs over former Haaretz journalist in Australia
Haaretz 19 May — Haaretz’s former political correspondent Akiva Eldar was run over Monday by New Zealander rock star and television personality Jon Stevens, causing the respected journalist to suffer from injuries to the head and legs, local media said. Eldar, who wrote for Haaretz for over 30 years, has extended family in Australia and, according to the Sydney Morning Herold, is visiting his brother-in-law, Danny Avidan, a successful developer, and his wife, fashion designer Charlie Brown. As a result of the crash, Eldar reportedly underwent surgery to the right arm and left leg and is slated for additional procedures in the upcoming week. His return to Israel has been postponed as a result, the Herald reported. [Eldar now writes for Al-Monitor. His excellent articles have been included in this newslist for years. May he recover soon.]