Archive for Today In Palestine

December 5, 2016

Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Settlements / Judaization

Israeli forces besiege Palestinian cemetery outside Jerusalem’s Old City, prevent burial
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Israeli forces Monday at noon besieged the Palestinian Bab al-Rahma cemetery outside occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, denying the entry of Palestinians attempting to bury the body of a recently deceased woman.  Eyewitnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli forces suddenly surrounded the cemetery following early afternoon prayers and prevented the burial under the pretext that the cemetery was established on Israeli state land that was confiscated in order to be used for building a “national park.” Locals added that earlier Monday morning, Israeli forces had detained two members of the deceased woman’s family who were trying to open a grave in the cemetery to prepare it for the burial.
Bab al-Rahma, meaning Door of Mercy, runs along the eastern wall of Jerusalem’s Old City and has been in use for more than 1,000 years.The cemetery has been the site of escalating tensions and controversy in recent months, since Israeli authorities have seemingly been enforcing policies as a result of a September 2015 seizure of parts of the cemetery to be used for a national park trail. Head of the committee for the preservation of Islamic cemeteries in Jerusalem, Mustafa Abu Zahra, told Ma‘an at the time that part of the cemetery, including gravesites, was fenced off as part of the confiscation. Abu Zahra said that the Israeli authorities “claimed they were putting a court decision into effect,” but he said that the authorities had given no evidence of a court ruling backing their plans to seize parts of the cemetery for the proposed national park. Abu Zahra added that documents existed that proved the land belongs to the Islamic Endowment, which controls the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. He said the documents clearly show the exact borders of the cemetery. In September of this year, Israeli Nature and Parks Authority forces sealed two pre-dug unused graves in the cemetery. In November, Israeli Nature and Parks Authority forces raided the cemetery and demolished six graves and other gravestones that were reportedly crumbling….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774270

Palestinian brothers from East Jerusalem forced to demolish their own homes
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Two Palestinian brothers in the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem were forced to demolish their own homes on Saturday in compliance with an Israeli court order. One of the owners, Said al-Abbasi, told Ma‘an that he and his brother Nasser had built their homes in the Karm al-Sheikh area of Silwan two-and-a-half years ago. However, before construction could be completed, the Jerusalem municipality delivered demolition orders for their homes. During the court hearings, the al-Abbasi brothers, who are the fathers of 12 children combined, were forced to close the construction site with concrete until all legal proceedings had concluded. Said told Ma‘an that the Jerusalem municipality had threatened to imprison the two brothers if they tried to resume construction at the site. According to the brothers, they had attempted to obtain a license from the Jerusalem municipality over the past two years, but all their efforts were rejected. An Israeli court ruled in October that the houses must be demolished for lacking Israeli-issued building permits and the fact that the homes were being built on land the municipality had declared an “open space reserve.” The brothers eventually chose to self-demolish their homes to avoid costly fees charged by the municipality if it was to carry out the demolition.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774247

B’Tselem: ‘Dispossession of Palestinians most consistent trend in Israeli policy’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — As Israel’s Knesset considers a bill which would retroactively legalize settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities have used both official and unofficial means to expropriate Palestinian lands for decades, which has “devastasted” the Palestinian territory, according to a report published on Monday by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. In its latest report, entitled “Expel and Exploit: The Israeli practice of taking over rural Palestinian land,”  B’Tselem used a case study of Azmut, Deir al-Hatab, and Salem — three Palestinian villages in the northern West Bank district of Nablus — to illustrate a number of official and indirect ways used by the Israeli government over the years to slowly isolate Palestinian communities from their lands. “Dispossession of Palestinians was never a matter contingent on this legislation,” B’Tselem said in its report, referring to the so-called formalization bill which seeks to legalize settlement outposts which are currently deemed illegal under Israeli law. “It has been integral to the settlement enterprise from its very inception and is one of the most consistent trends in Israeli policy over the decades.” … According to the rights group, Israel has been using a number of policies near Azmut, Deir al-Hatab and Salem since the establishment of the settlement of Elon Moreh on the villages’ lands in 1980. “The facts indicate that under cover of ‘temporary military occupation,’ Israel has been using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements,” the report stated, estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years. B’Tselem notably detailed Israel’s declaration of village lands as nature reserves or “state land,” only to later allocate such areas for the expansion of Elon Moreh and the establishment of outposts. The establishment of Israeli-only roads linking settlements to one another and to Israel, as well as the construction of the separation wall, have further served as physical barriers contributing to the partition of the occupied Palestinian territory, the report added….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774178

Arab Bedouins expelled for second time to make way for new Jewish community
Mondoweiss 5 Dec by Mersiha Gadzo — One-month-old Jowan Abu al-Qi‘an will most likely be the last person born in the village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert. The house that her family built out of stone will be demolished, and the Bedouin village will soon be razed to the ground to make way for the new Jewish community “Hiran.” For the Abu al-Qi‘an tribe, Umm al-Hiran has been home since 1956. They settled in the northern Negev after they were expelled under military order from their original village of Wadi Zubaleh where Kibbutz Shoval now stands. They now have to leave their homes for the second time. “There’s no space for us. We have to go from one place to another,” 35-year-old Hassan Abu al-Qi‘an said sitting in his living room with family members. They could receive orders to move out at any moment, he explained. “We’d like to live together. We told them that it’s OK for us to live with Jews, but the court said no. This place is just for Jewish people,” Hassan said….
http://mondoweiss.net/2016/12/bedouins-expelled-community/

Dispossession by the law: How the Israeli judicial system utilizes Ottoman land law to expel and dispossess the Palestinian Bedouin
MEMO 1 Dec by Dr. Ahmad Amara — … “Dead land” is defined under Ottoman law as land that is not possessed or cultivated by anyone and which lies beyond the reach of a loud voice, a thirty-minute walk or an estimate of one and a half miles from an inhabited area. Based on this legal doctrine, the Israeli government and courts view the Bedouin communities in Israel, and similarly in many areas of the West Bank, as trespassers on state land. The court refused to change this four-decade old legal doctrine despite the overwhelming evidence to the effect of land possession and cultivation, and tax payments since the Mandate years. However, a historical review reveals that the court drew on such historical legal categories in a selective and manipulative manner that rendered them meaningless. The 1948 war had catastrophic consequences for the Negev Arab Bedouin, only 13 per cent of whom remained within the armistice boundaries of Israel; the remainder became refugees in neighbouring states. Some 11,000 Bedouin remained in the Negev, comprising nineteen of the ninety tribes that had been in that area before the war. A decision on the fate of the Bedouin who remained in the Negev lay before the then Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, and other politicians and military figures, immediately after the fighting in the Negev. Ben-Gurion initially wanted to expel the remaining Bedouin, but he changed his mind and weighed that idea against two additional proposals set before him: transferring the Bedouin to mixed Jewish-Arab cities in the centre of the country or concentrating them in a defined area and then settling them in three towns. The latter of the two proposals was adopted, and in its wake the army started evicting, relocating and concentrating the Bedouin. From 1949 until the mid-1950s, eleven Bedouin tribes were moved by force from the western Negev to the “siyaj” (or sayag) area (fenced or closed region). There they joined eight other tribes that had lived originally within the siyaj. The boundaries of this area, which covered about 8 per cent of the Negev area, were determined by considerations of security and land control; its inhabitants were kept under Israeli military rule until 1966, and within it Bedouin towns were eventually established. The boundaries of the siyaj, even if they are not visible today, still exist and are in effect. The first years of the Israeli state shaped the human and legal geography of the Negev Bedouin, notably their eviction, removal, transfer and criminalisation in relation to housing and land ownership or possession. The forms of eviction varied slightly from community to community, but in general they involved a combination of force, threats of the use of force, and official government and military pronouncements and orders. The military commander of the Negev would usually issue an order, sign it in Arabic and Hebrew, and hand it to the shaikh of the tribe. The order would state that the tribe had to move from its place of residence for a temporary period of up to six months. In practice, the order was indefinite and none of the residents was allowed to return to his original lands….
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161201-dispossession-by-the-law-how-the-israeli-judicial-system-utilises-ottoman-land-law-to-expel-and-dispossess-the-palestinian-bedouin/

Greenwashing: Israel’s latest colonial tool against Syria 
MEMO 30 Nov by Asa Winstanley — It came out last month that Israel has been using the cover of the war in Syria to entrench its colonial occupation of the south-west of the country by expanding the illegal settlement of Katzrin. It has now emerged that Israel is also using the tactic of “greenwashing” in the occupied Golan Heights. The settlement of Katzrin was built on the ruins of the Syrian villages of Qasrin, Shqef and Sanawber, in the Golan Heights region. Their inhabitants were native Syrians, expelled in 1967 by the invading Israeli army. They fled from their homes and have never been allowed to return.  It was not long after the invasion that Israel moved to take advantage of the situation by building strategic colonies for Jews only on illegally-occupied Syrian land. In 1981, Israel formally annexed the region, in defiance of international law. While the Israeli state claims the Golan as “part of Israel”, the UN and international law recognise it as a Syrian region under a belligerent military occupation. Nevertheless, after almost 50 years, Israel’s colonial military occupation of the Golan continues, but the Syrians have never given up on their indisputable claim to the area. Although the occupation began at the same time as those in the West Bank and Gaza, it tends to be forgotten.
Al-Marsad, a Syrian human rights group based in the occupied Golan, wrote to the EU and the UN Security Council this month calling for them to act against the most recent Israeli encroachment. The group drew attention to a new Israeli plot to seize 25,000 acres of Syrian land around the village of Majdal Shams, where Syrians still live under Israeli occupation. The plan would surround the village on two sides (the north and west) with the so-called “Hermon National Park”, hemming-in the village and leaving Syrian citizens there with little option but to build homes for their growing families on agricultural land to the south (to the east lies the ceasefire fence with Syria). The masking of such a blatant colonial land-grab as a benevolent-sounding “national park” is a classic Israeli tactic, very similar to that used against the Palestinians. “Greenwashing” is the term used to describe the cover-up of unjust practices and colonial occupation by giving it an “ecologically friendly” façade….
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161130-greenwashing-israels-latest-colonial-tool-against-syria/

The IDF’s new ‘Visit Palestine’ campaign refuses to say ‘Palestine’
+972 mag 4 Dec by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man — The Israeli army’s new tourism campaign wants you to visit Palestine — just don’t call it that. The Israeli military launched a truly bizarre rendition of a Visit Palestine tourism campaign over the weekend. Except the army couldn’t bring itself to say Palestine, the West Bank, or even mention that Palestinians live there. The video (Come and Visit Judea and Samaria) was published on the Facebook page of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli military government that oversees the occupation of the Palestinian territories.  The video mentions sites like Wadi Qelt, the Mar Saba Monastery and Nabi Musa, sites in the West Bank to which Israel makes no claims. Likewise, while the army’s new tourism initiative advertises the Church of the Nativity as a site in “Judea and Samaria,” the biblical name for the West Bank, there is no mention of Rachel’s Tomb, also in Bethlehem but which Israel claims as its own. There is no mention of the Tomb of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque in occupied Hebron, which is also in the West Bank but which Israel claims as its own. The video opens with an image of the Dead Sea, the northern half of which is in the West Bank, but it does not mention the site’s name, which might infringe on Israeli tourism dollars. In fact, the site doesn’t mention most of the West Bank’s most prominent tourism sites, almost all of which Israel lays claim to. It doesn’t mention the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, the archeological park at Susya, Herodion, Tel Shiloh, or any other site of historic or Jewish import. Those sites are run by Israel and Israelis, and the tourism fees go to Israel. The COGAT tourism campaign, ostensibly for the West Bank, doesn’t suggest visiting Palestinian cities like Nablus, Jericho, Ramallah or Hebron, and their rich markets, heritage sites and museums. It doesn’t mention the newly opened Yasser Arafat Museum or the Palestinian Museum. It doesn’t suggest checking out the café culture and nightlife in Ramallah, nor does it suggest that there is anything Palestinian worth seeing, or anyone Palestinian worth meeting in the West Bank. The tourism campaign certainly doesn’t mention any sites worth visiting in occupied East Jerusalem, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall, and Al-Aqsa Mosque….
http://972mag.com/the-idfs-new-visit-palestine-campaign-refuses-to-say-palestine/123480/

Israeli legislators advance revised bill to legalise settlements
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 5 Dec — Israel’s parliament gave initial approval on Monday to a revised bill that would legalise Israeli settlement homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The proposed law has already drawn sharp international condemnation and strained relations within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing right-wing coalition. The proposed law has already drawn sharp international condemnation and strained relations within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing right-wing coalition. Israeli critics and Palestinians have called it a land grab that would further distance prospects for a two-state solution that would end the long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The original bill, approved by parliament last month, had contained a clause that challenged a ruling by the Supreme Court that dozens of families at the illegal outpost of Amona must evacuate homes built on private Palestinian land by Dec. 25. Far-right members of Netanyahu’s coalition, who oppose the creation of a Palestinian state, had pushed for that version of the bill’s advancement through parliament, but a centre-right partner in the government balked at defying the court. In a country without a formal constitution, Israel’s Supreme Court is widely seen by Israelis as a human rights watchdog. After many hours of talks within Netanyahu’s coalition to find a compromise, the so-called Amona clause was scrapped and a new bill was submitted without mentioning the outpost, effectively paving the way for its removal. Under the deal, the 330 Amona settlers are to be moved to a nearby site on land that Israel considers abandoned by its Palestinian owners, but land-ownership claims by Palestinians have already been filed with Israeli authorities. In a stormy session on Monday, Israel’s Knesset voted 60-49 in favour of the revised bill. It must pass three more votes at unspecified future dates before becoming law….
http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN13U2OT

Leaflets distributed calling on IDF to disobey Amona orders
Ynet 4 Dec by Elisha Ben Kimon — Leaflets calling on IDF soldiers and policemen to disobey commands to implement the evacuation of the Amona outpost this month are being distributed throughout the West Bank among soldiers by residents and supporters of the outpost. According to the Judea and Samaria Police Division, a number of youngsters were observed on Sunday afternoon distributing such flyers at the Tapuah Junction urging the soldiers to refuse to carry out evacuation orders. Two minors aged 14 and 17 were arrested on suspicion of incitement to disobey an order. The flyers shows an illustration of an IDF commander ordering a soldier to evacuate Amona, with the soldier refusing to do so. Above the caricature reads: “Soldier/policeman, the State of Israel has decided to destroy a community in Israel. Security forces, of which you are a part, have been chosen to carry out the demolition. This decision harms the values of the people of Israel. “This decision harms you. It is in your hands to choose not to be a collaborator in destruction, it is in your hands not to harm the people of Israel and the Torah of Israel. Tell your friends and commanders now that you will not be an accomplice to this order,” it implores its readers … Amona is set to be evacuated on December 25 but may be brought forward.
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4888154,00.html

Gaza

Bodies of missing Palestinian civil defense workers found in Rafah
IMEMC/Agencies 5 Dec — Palestinian Civil Defense crews found, early Sunday, the bodies of four Palestinian workers who had been missing for over a week in a commercial tunnel on the Egyptian border with Rafah. The defense crews said, according to Al Ray, that three of the workers were identified as Sami Altaweel, 30, Ali Badawi, 45, Emad Badawi, 24, from Rafah, south of Gaza, while the fourth was identified as Muhammad Badawi, 22, from Nuseirat, central Gaza Strip. The defense crews said that the four workers had been missed after the Egyptian army flooded the tunnel they were working in. They were not members of any armed Palestinian group, but were working in the tunnels to provide for their families amidst the deadly Israeli siege in the coastal region.
http://imemc.org/article/bodies-of-missing-palestinian-civil-defense-workers-found-in-rafah/

Hamas condemns Egypt for flooding Gaza tunnel, leaving 4 Palestinians dead
GAZA (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Officials of the Hamas movement condemned Egyptian authorities on Monday for flooding a tunnel along the border between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt with seawater last week, causing the death of four Palestinians. The group said in a statement that the Egypt’s “dangerous ways of dealing with people in Gaza Strip are unjustified.” The statement called upon Egyptian authorities to permanently open the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, “to end the people’s suffering in Gaza Strip.” Hamas also offered condolences to the victims’ families, saying their loved ones died while trying to make a living for their children amid the “unbearable siege forced on the Gaza Strip.”….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774272

Qassam fighter killed in tunnel accident in southern Gaza
IMEMC 4 Dec — The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, has reported that one of its fighters was killed, Sunday, in what it described as a tunnel accident, in Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Al-Qassam said the fighter was working in one of the tunnels when the tunnel accident happened, and was killed under the rubble. It identified the fighter as Abdul-Rahman As‘ad Arafat, 24, from Abasan al-Jadeeda town, in Khan Younis district; the Health Ministry in Gaza has confirmed his death. It is worth mentioning that with As‘ad’s death in the tunnel accident, the number of fighters, and tunnel workers, who were killed in similar incidents this year arrives to eleven. Many fighters, and workers, have been also been killed and injured after the Israeli army bombarded the tunnels.
http://imemc.org/article/qassam-fighter-killed-in-tunnel-accident-in-southern-gaza/

30-year-old man killed, one seriously injured during explosion in northern Gaza
GAZA (Ma‘an) 6 Dec — A Palestinian man was killed and another seriously injured on Monday evening in an explosion in the town of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, according to local officials. Spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza Ashraf al-Qidra confirmed to Ma‘an that 30-year-old Ahmad Abu al-Husna was killed while another young man was seriously injured in an explosion inside a house in Jabaliya. The body of al-Husna and the injured young man were evacuated to a hospital in the nearby town of Beit Hanoun. The Hamas movement released a statement later announcing that al-Husna was a member of Hamas’ military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The cause of the explosion remained undetermined. Previous reports from locals stated that al-Husna was 24 years old, and that the explosion took place in Beit Hanoun. In June, a 23-year-old Palestinian was injured when an undetonated Israeli ordnance exploded in the al-Shujaiyyah neighborhood in eastern Gaza City.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774274

Israel blocks Gaza women from breast cancer treatments
GAZA STRIP 5 Dec by Sarah Algherbawi — Khuloud Abu Qamar spoke quietly but her words still shocked. “Israel is killing me slowly,” she said. “And it is killing my children, too.” After undergoing surgery for breast cancer last year, Abu Qamar requires further treatment which she has not been able to receive in Gaza. She has asked Israel for permission to travel. Her applications have so far been rejected. Aged 40, she has six children, the youngest of whom is still a baby. Her plight is shared by many others in Gaza. Estimates from the local health ministry indicate that several hundred women with breast cancer have been obstructed from traveling by Israel so far this year. Leaving Gaza for treatment is vital as the coastal strip’s hospitals are not properly equipped to provide such services as radiotherapy. As part of the state’s propaganda, Israel has portrayed itself as a global leader in cancer treatment and research. To promote breast cancer awareness in October, the Israeli Air Force painted its warplanes pink. The gimmick gave no comfort to women in Gaza … Until recently, many patients had been referred to hospitals in Egypt. Yet the almost constant closure of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has led to a sharp decline in the number of Palestinians being treated in Egypt. Human rights groups have long documented how Israel has, in effect, sought to blackmail Palestinians who are seriously ill. Patients have been told that they will only be allowed to travel for treatment if they become informers to the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. Dalia Abu Skhaila, a 34-year-old breast cancer patient from the southern Khan Younis area of Gaza, said that Israeli officers at Erez have tried to recruit her as an informer on a number of occasions. Because she has refused to accept that condition, she has been blocked from traveling….
https://electronicintifada.net/content/israel-blocks-gaza-women-breast-cancer-treatment/18761

Tens of families from Gaza visit their relatives in Israeli prison
GAZA (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Dozens of relatives of Palestinian prisoners from the besieged Gaza Strip left the coastal enclave Monday morning through the Erez checkpoint after they were granted permission to visit their relatives being held in Israel’s Nafha prison.  International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesperson in Gaza Suheir Zaqout said that 72 Palestinians from Gaza visited 43 Palestinian prisoners held in Nafha prison, located in Israel’s southern Negev desert, through facilitation from the ICRC. Zaqout added that there were 13 children among the visitors, and that of the 7,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli prisons, 350 were from the Gaza Strip. The ICRC “Family Visits Program” for Gazans was suspended by Israeli authorities in June 2007 when Hamas came to power in the coastal enclave. All communication between Gazan prisoners and the outside world was effectively cut off, human rights group Addameer has reported, and during a Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike in April 2012, one of the prisoners’ key demands was that the program be reinstated. Israel agreed to resume the visits on the conclusion of the hunger strike, although Addameer has said that not all Gazan prisoners have been allowed to receive visitors.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774265

Israel resumes postal delivery of packages into Gaza after 5-month ban
GAZA (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Israeli Authorities decided on Sunday to resume postal service into the blockaded Gaza Strip, lifting a five-month ban on the entry of packages, an official for the Palestinian liaison told Ma‘an. The ban was imposed after Israeli authorities alleged that they found materials that could be used for military purposes in packages being delivered to the besieged coastal enclave. In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Affairs in the Territories (COGAT), the group responsible for implementing the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied territory, confirmed on Monday  that the ban would be lifted, highlighting that deliveries of documents and letters had “continued as usual.” … When the ban was put in place in July, Director of Public Relations and Media at the Hamas-run Ministry of Communications in Gaza Samir Hamto rejected Israel’s claims of finding equipment for military use.“The occupation makes these claims in order to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip,” he said, adding that the suspension would only harm the people of Gaza….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774260

Israeli forces open fire at Gaza fishermen, detain 2, confiscate boats
GAZA (Ma‘an) 4 Dec — Israeli forces on Sunday at dawn opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip, according to witnesses. Witnesses told Ma‘an that Israeli naval forces opened fire at the fishing boats while at sea in both the northern and southern Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. Shortly after the fisherman were shot at, Israeli naval forces detained two fishermen and confiscated their boats off the cost of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the head of the fishermen’s union Nizar Ayyash. Ayyash told Ma‘an that Israeli naval forces detained brothers Shafiq and Saadi [al-Sultan], confiscated their fishing boats and took the boats to Israel’s Ashdod port.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774251

Israel releases 1 of 2 fishermen detained Sunday off Gaza coast
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Israeli authorities on Monday morning released one of the two Palestinian fishermen who Israeli naval forces had detained on Sunday off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip. Local sources told Ma‘an that Israeli authorities freed Saadi al-Sultan on Monday morning, but continued to hold his brother Shafiq in custody. The two fishermen were detained Sunday shortly after Israeli naval forces opened fire at their boat as they were on a fishing trip near the northwestern Gaza Strip. Head of Gaza fishermen’s union Nizar Ayyash told Ma‘an at the time that Israeli forces also confiscated the boat which the al-Sultan brothers were using.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774268

Gaza girls subvert Israeli blockade with building bricks made from rubble
[with video, slideshow] Inhabitat 5 Dec by Tafline Laylin — Two engineering graduates from the Islamic University of Gaza have defied all stereotypes with their design of an affordable new building block made from the rubble of war, and they’re about to scale operations for mass production. Subverting a crippling Israeli blockade that makes importing construction materials a demeaning, expensive, and time-consuming process, Majd Mashharawi and Rawan Abddllaht overcame a litany of obstacles to develop their green bricks. Their goal is to help Gaza residents rebuild their homes after three wars in 10 years have left thousands of buildings in ruins. Majd told Inhabitat that she and Rawan became interested in material science during their university years, but they weren’t content to work with materials that had already been developed. Instead, she said they set out to create their own building blocks using local materials to make inexpensive but durable building bricks. She says demand in Gaza has risen to 40,000 bricks per day … Majd and Rawan are also concerned about the byproduct of coal combustion, which they said results in 10 tons of coal ash in Gaza dumped each week, contaminating limited groundwater supplies. For months, often doubted by their community, they researched how to substitute rock and sand with coal ash and concrete rubble to make lightweight bricks. Time and again their bricks failed compression tests. “Every time we failed I reminded myself that in order to achieve success we have to overcome these obstacles and delete the word failure from the dictionary,” said Majd. After more than six months, Majd said they finally discovered the right formula … Now GreenCake has launched a crowdfunding campaign so they can increase production of their lightweight bricks, which are said to cost half as much as standard bricks….
http://inhabitat.com/gaza-girls-subvert-israeli-blockade-with-building-bricks-made-from-rubble/

Violence / Detention — West Bank / Jerusalem

Undocumented Palestinian worker injured following Israeli police raid on construction site
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — A Palestinian worker sustained serious injuries after falling in a construction site on Saturday following an Israeli police raid on the site where he was working, according to the Israeli police. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that police officers broke into a construction site in the Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi in search of Palestinian workers who did not have Israeli work permits. According to al-Samri, police officers stopped three “suspects,” one of whom “claimed his identity card was in a nearby place” and asked for permission to fetch it. She added that police officers escorted the other two to a police vehicle parked near the construction site and waited for the third “suspect” to come back. “After waiting enough time, police officers went back to the construction site to find the third suspect lying on the ground with serious injuries,” al-Samri said. Al-Samri said the man was taken to hospital, and that Israeli police suspected that the worker fell while trying to run away.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774249

Joint List to sue Israeli PM ‘for incitement against Arabs’ in wake of arson accusations
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — The Joint List, the Israeli parliament coalition representing Palestinian citizens of Israel, said they planned to file a lawsuit against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, in the wake of accusations that a recent wave of mass fires in Israel and the occupied West Bank were caused by Palestinians through politically motivated arson. In a statement on social media, head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh said the decision to file the lawsuit “for incitement against Arab citizens” came in response to Netanyahu’s “false incitement during the days of the fires, and for saying that the real threat to the state of Israel is not Palestinians in occupied areas, but Arabs inside Israel.” Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post also quoted Odeh as saying that “Everyone knows that there wasn’t a wave of terrorism, there wasn’t a ‘fire intifada.’” He reportedly also said that although the “terror” claims were disproved, still “thousands of Jews incited against Arabs and called for them to be murdered…not even one of them has been investigated.” On Nov. 26, the Israeli prime minister accused “terrorists” of seeking to “engulf our region with hate,” while arguing that Israel sought to “encompass our region with peace. Their flames will never burn down our hope.” Far-right Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett also blamed Palestinian “fire terrorists,” saying that “only someone who this land does not belong to would be capable of setting fire to it,” implying both that Palestinians were responsible for the fires and did not have any attachment to the land in Israel, from where some 700,000 Palestinians were displaced during the establishment of Israel in 1948 … Critics have claimed that Israeli politicians were quick to blame Palestinians for the fires as a political maneuver to further convince the international community of Palestinian hostility toward the Israeli state.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774273

Israeli forces target Palestinians over alleged ‘incitement’ in overnight raids
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 5 Dec — Israeli forces detained at least 24 Palestinians overnight Sunday and early Monday morning during military and police raids carried out across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, a number of whom were targeted over alleged “incitement” on social media, as well as several minors as young as nine years old, according to Israeli and Palestinian sources.
At least six Palestinians were detained during overnight raids in occupied East Jerusalem, according to the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Prisoners’ Families, Amjad Abu Asab. The detainees were identified by the committee as Udayy Abu al-Saad and Muhammad Salah from Shu‘fat refugee camp, Dawood al-Ghoul from Silwan, Jihad Amira, Amin Hamid from Sur Bahir, and Salih Mheisin from Issawiya. According to Asab, the six young men were detained over allegations of “incitement” on social media, joining scores of Palestinians who have been detained for social media activity, as Israeli authorities have alleged that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by “incitement.” Luba al-Samri, a spokesperson of the Israeli police, confirmed in a statement that Israeli police forces stormed several neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and detained six Palestinians, saying they were “suspected of inciting violence and terrorism” on their Facebook and Instagram accounts over the past several months. The statement added that Israeli police officers inspected the detainees’ homes and proceeded to seize laptops and mobile phones, among other items.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) also noted that Israeli forces detained six children from East Jerusalem on Sunday, identified as Qusai Dirbas, 12, Anas Mahmoud, 12, Yaqoub Dabagh, 15, Yazan Nouri, 13, Jihad Hadad, 9, and Sulaiman Kanaan, 9. Hadad and Kanaan were released following interrogations with Israeli intelligence. However, the rest remained in Israeli detention centers.
In the West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained Saher Nafeth Mahmoud Thawabta…. [long list of arrest – more follows]
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774267

Opinion: The life and death of a Palestinian / Amira Hass
Haaretz 5 Dec — The mourners have all inhaled tear gas more often than the average Israeli drinks wine, and have spent more days under curfew than the average Israeli spends abroad — An acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen for a long time has died. He was only 56 years old. He felt unwell during his morning walk, passersby called an ambulance – but the heart attack was faster and stronger than the treatment he received. Only from the initial reports on the news websites did I learn that Maher al Dasuqi, a resident of El Bireh, was a member of a family that was expelled in 1948 from the village of Tel el-Safi, west of the Hebron district. (The ruins of the homes are inside the Tel Zafit National Park. Safi means clean, pure. The village was named after the nearby white hill that also caught the eye of the Crusaders, who built a fortress there called Blanche Garde, the white fortress. It is thought to be the location of the Philistine city of Gath.) From one of the eulogies I read I learned that he was wounded in his thigh by live fire during the first intifada. He was a student at the time, and was standing in the first row of those clashing with the occupation soldiers. Al Dasuqi was imprisoned by Israel several times and was also detained by the Palestinian Authority. He was once a talk show host on a local TV channel, and he didn’t hesitate to criticize the Palestinian authorities … A clean, honest man, faithful to his principles – was how a mutual acquaintance summed up what was said next to the fresh grave, for the sake of someone who had arrived late. In translation to the local jargon: He wasn’t looking for honors and positions. Here and there he also worked as a construction worker in order to earn a living….
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.757017

Al-Aqsa

Israel extends time for non-Muslim visits to Al-Aqsa
MEMO 5 Dec — Israeli police today decided to lengthen the period of time dedicated to Jewish and non-Muslim visits to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, the director of the Islamic Endowment (Waqf), which is in charge of managing Al-Aqsa under Jordanian supervision, told Ma’an that Israeli police notified the Waqf of their decision to allow non-Muslims to visit the compound from 7:30 to 11am, extending the allocated time by one hour. While Jewish visitation is permitted to the compound, non-Muslim worship is prohibited according to an agreement signed between Israel and the Jordanian government after Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. Despite this agreement, the Israeli authorities regularly allow Jewish visitors to enter the site – often under the protection of armed guards – and to carry out prayers at the holy site in violation of the international agreement. Such visits are typically made by right-wingers attempting to unsettle the status quo at the site, and coincide with restrictions on Palestinian access, including bans on entrance and detentions. Meanwhile, the permitted visitation hours for non-Muslims are routinely used by right-wing Israelis to tour the Al-Aqsa compound, heightening tensions with Palestinian worshipers. Al-Khatib said that the Israeli government was “yielding to the extremist right-wing that has been attempting to unsettle the status quo at Al-Aqsa,” noting that the move was another attempt by the Israeli government to “impose facts on the ground”. “This is a violation of his majesty King Abdullah II and we will defend his custody with all the power we have,” Al-Khatib said, while also warning of consequences that could result from Israeli “provocations and incursions into the compound.” Meanwhile, the Mufti of Jerusalem and Imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Muhammad Hussein, warned that the shift in policy could result in consequences, adding that the decision has unveiled the “aggressive intentions” of Israeli authorities to enforce divisions at Al-Aqsa, referring to a longstanding fear among Palestinians that Israel would divide the Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews, as they did with the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20161205-israel-extends-time-for-non-muslim-visits-to-al-aqsa/

Prisoners

Report: 32 disabled Palestinian prisoners face medical negligence in Israeli custody
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Dec — 32 Palestinian prisoners suffering from different disabilities are being held in Israeli detention centers without receiving suitable medical care, according to a report released by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies (PPCS) on Sunday. Center spokesperson Riyad al-Ashqar said in the statement that Israeli use of torture against Palestinian prisoners had dramatically increased the number of disabled prisoners, with many suffering from permanent disabilities due to injuries sustained during violent interrogations. The statement noted that Israel Prison Service (IPS) authorities routinely did not provide disabled and injured prisoners with necessary equipment such as wheelchairs. According to the center, 35 year-old Palestinian prisoner Luay Sati al-Ashqar from the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem suffered complete paralysis in his left leg as a result of injuries he sustained during a violent interrogation by Israeli officials. After spending three years in prison, Luay Al-Ashqar was then released, only to be redetained by Israeli forces three more times despite his medical condition. Palestinian prisoner Nader Abd al-Qader Masalma, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, had suffered from complete paralysis in his two legs due to “torture” during interrogations, according to the statement….
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774254

Hunger-striking prisoner Ahmad Abu Farah briefly enters coma, committee says
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 4 Dec — Palestinian hunger-striking prisoner Ahmad Abu Farah briefly entered a coma on Sunday evening, while fellow imprisoned hunger striker Anas Shadid also remained in critical condition, the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs said in a statement on Sunday. The committee added that doctors at Assaf Harofeh medical center where the two Palestinian prisoners are being treated tried to take advantage of Abu Farah’s coma — which lasted for several minutes — to forcefully administer him vitamins. The statement went on to say that Abu Farah and Shadid could die at any minute after going without food for 73 and 72 days respectively in protest of being held in administrative detention — an Israeli policy of imprisonment without charges or trial. Shadid, 20, and Abu Farah, 29, both residents of the southern occupied West Bank village of Dura, rejected on Friday a deal which would have seen their administrative detentions renewed for another four months, with a guarantee of release at its conclusion.
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774259

BDS

Ontario officially rejects BDS, becoming first Canadian province to do so
JTA 5 Dec — Ontario has become the first Canadian province to reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, campaign against Israel. Ontario’s legislature on Dec. 1 by a vote of 49 to 5, passed a motion rejecting “the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” All five opposing votes came from the left-leaning New Democratic Party. The vote came six months after the province voted down a proposed bill that called on the province to stop doing business with companies, pension funds, foundations and colleges and universities that support BDS. That measure, which was a proposed law rather than the largely symbolic motion passed Dec. 1, was defeated by a vote of 39 to 18.
http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/americas/1.757102

Other news

The month in pictures: November 2016
Electronic Intifada 2 Dec — Palestinian Bedouin children sit on their belongings as Israeli forces confiscate shelters on the pretext they were built without a permit in the West Bank village of Jaba, near Jerusalem, on 15 November. Israel routinely denies Palestinians building permits and then destroys structures built without permission….
https://electronicintifada.net/content/month-pictures-november-2016/18706

It’s Christmas time: Bethlehem lights up (PHOTOS and VIDEOS)
Palestine Chronicle 5 December
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/its-christmas-time-bethlehem-lights-up-photos/

Palestinian PM denounces Israeli occupation during Christmas tree lighting in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 3 Dec — Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah officially lit the Christmas tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Saturday evening during a ceremony to open this year’s Christmas celebrations. Hamdallah was joined by the Minister of Tourism Rula Maaya, along with the governor of Bethlehem Jibrin al-Bakri, the mayor of Bethlehem city Vera Baboun, and hundreds of citizens. “The message of mercifulness which we launch today from the land of Palestine as it embraces Christmas to the whole international community and to all countries of the world, is that it’s time the Palestinian people gain their freedom and independence, and that Israel stop its violations against our people, our land, and our holy places,” Hamdallah said in a speech during the ceremony. “The Israeli occupation,” Hamdallah added, “has been depriving Palestinian children of enjoying their childhood appropriately, and has instead been sending them to prisons.” “About 350 Palestinian children and minors are serving in Israeli jails, and Gaza is moaning under a crippling siege which confiscated all its constituents of life, leaving our people to fall prey of illness, poverty, and pollution.” Hamdallah accused Israel of tearing down more opportunities for peace and more efforts to resume the process “despite the fact that our people, both Muslims and Christians, long for peace, freedom, mercy, and human justice as they cling to their heritage of coexistence, brotherliness, and love.”
http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=774250

Palestinian Fatah party ends conference with boost for Abbas
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) 4 Dec by Mohammed Daraghmeh — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas tightened his hold on the governing Fatah party and shut out a key rival, according to results Sunday of leadership elections in the movement that has dominated West Bank politics for decades. The election comes as senior Fatah members are battling behind the scenes to succeed Abbas one day. The 81-year-old leader has given no sign that he plans to retire from the presidency or his top jobs in Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization. On Saturday, more than 1,300 Fatah delegates confirmed Abbas’ continued Fatah leadership role by acclamation and elected 18 members of the movement’s top decision-making Central Committee. Top vote getters were Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian uprising leader jailed by Israel, and Jibril Rajoub, a former West Bank security chief. Both are seen as potential Abbas successors, and their strong showing could improve their eventual succession bids. Barghouti is serving multiple life terms after being convicted in deadly attacks and has no imminent prospects of release, but remains by far the most popular Fatah leader. Party officials have mentioned the possibility of Barghouti joining forces from behind bars with another Fatah leader in filling the role of president. While Abbas cemented his control over the movement, the re-election of party stalwarts and Abbas loyalists is bound to affirm Fatah’s public image as a stale, aging movement that has failed to deliver on Palestinian dreams of statehood and is out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Palestinians. Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser in Abbas’ self-ruled government, noted a lack of diversity in the Fatah leadership body, with only one woman among the 18 members and most of the remaining men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Fatah leaders “believe that they are entitled to these positions,” she said. The re-election of party veterans “is saying to me that they don’t have a vision for the future.” The elections took place during a Fatah conference that was also meant to block the return of Mohammed Dahlan, a former Abbas aide who fell out with his boss several years ago and went into exile. Several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, have been pressing Abbas to allow Dahlan, a millionaire businessman, to reclaim a leadership position in the West Bank. In arranging the conference, Abbas effectively blocked Dahlan’s return to the top ranks of Fatah. During the conference, the delegates approved Abbas’ long-standing political program of setting up a Palestinian state through negotiations with Israel even though the strategy has hit a dead end. Gaps have been too wide between Abbas and Israeli hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu, in power since 2009, to allow for meaningful negotiations.
http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2016-12-04/palestinian-fatah-party-ends-conference-with-boost-for-abbas

Half of Americans want US to back UN move on Israeli-Palestinian conflict, poll shows
Haaretz 5 Dec — Survey shows clear and growing difference between Democrats and Republicans: Former are far more likely than latter to support such a resolution — Almost half of Americans support the Obama administration backing or sponsoring a United Nations resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before U.S. President Barack Obama leaves office in January, according to a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Over a quarter of Americans oppose such a resolution, while another quarter do not support or oppose it, the survey says, which was conducted from November 18-23 after Donald Trump’s election victory. The results show a clear – and growing – difference between the parties: Democrats are far more likely than both Republicans and Independents to support such a resolution, with 70 percent of Democrats supporting it compared to 22 percent of Republicans and 37 percent of Independents. The results also show a growing trend over the past three years for support for sanctions against Israel: “The American polarization on how to react to Israeli settlements has expanded over the past two years as 60 percent of Democrats now support imposing economic sanctions or more serious action.” Americans continue to be highly polarized along party lines on imposing some economic sanctions or taking more serious action on Israeli settlements but the gap has widened over the past year…..
http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.756980

Kerry tells Israeli right it is deliberately sabotaging peace process
AFP 5 Dec — US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday accused right-wing Israelis of deliberately thwarting efforts to broker a peace deal with the Palestinians. In unusually stark terms, Washington’s top diplomat warned that Israeli settlement building was undermining any hope of an agreement to allow two states to live side-by-side. At the Saban Forum, an annual gathering of senior Israeli and US policymakers, Kerry said some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government had made “profoundly disturbing” statements. “And more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current government have publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state and that there will be no Palestinian state,” he said. Earlier in the day, Netanyahu had addressed the forum via video link, arguing that Israeli settlement building was not an obstacle to peace. Israel was ready for talks with no preconditions, he said, urging Arab governments to recognise the state of Israel. However, Kerry dismissed the idea that more Arab states would strike peace deals with Israel without any moves towards an agreement with the Palestinians. “There will be no advance and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace,” he said. “Everybody needs to understand that. That is a hard reality.” In the US government’s view, Israel’s accelerated building on Palestinian-owned land is not only an obstacle to peace but deliberately so, Kerry added….
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/kerry-accuses-israeli-right-deliberately-sabotaging-peace-process-1441708565

Chilean court rejects demand against Israeli judges
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) 4 Dec — A Chilean court rejected lawsuits filed in the South American country against three current or former Israeli Supreme Court justices for endorsing the construction of the West Bank separation barrier and the seizure of lands and the property on them from Palestinians. The Associated Press had access to the ruling Sunday. Chile’s Palestinian Federation filed a war crimes lawsuit last week against current Justices Uzi Vogelman and Neal Hendel and retired justice Asher Grunis, who was president of the court in 2012-15. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that the stretch of barrier is built on land the international community considers occupied and has separated Palestinians from properties and farmland. The group contended that Chile’s international agreements allow for suits involving crimes against humanity committed in other countries. But in their ruling, the judges said they did not have the authority to intervene in another country’s court decisions. A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Nicolas Pavez, said the group would appeal the ruling. A Chilean-Palestinian woman who owns land in the Cremisan Valley, which is near Bethlehem, had also filed a lawsuit. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman earlier said the federation’s lawsuit had no legal basis. Chile’s Palestinian community is among the world’s largest, with about 350,000 immigrants and their descendants….A
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/chilean-court-rejects-demand-israeli-judges-43970875

Archbishop Atallah Hanna reportedly fired for anti-occupation stance
Palestine Chronicle 5 Dec — Palestinian factions have condemned the decision of the Greek Patriarch Theophilos to cut off the salary of Palestinian archbishop Atallah Hanna due to his outspokenness and principled stances on Palestinian rights. Palestinian factions issued a statement highlighting the continuing support of Hanna and his struggle for Palestinian people along with Archbishop Manuel Musallam and their refusal to enlist Palestinian Christians in the Israelis army. The Palestinian factions strongly criticized the decision of the Greek Patriarch in Palestine to cut off the salaries of Hanna calling the decision unfair and politicized … the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem fired the only Palestinian archbishop in the church citing “the latest stances” of his “clear support” to several issues, according to the Middle East Monitor. The move to sack archbishop Sebastia Atallah Hanna was meant to “blackmail him and put pressure on him and all the Arab clergymen,” his office said in a statement, the publication reported. “Patriarch Theophilos [III] and his Holy Gathering decided today to stop the salary of Archbishop Atallah Hanna,” the office reportedly said, adding that the salaries of other Arab clergymen were also “arbitrarily stopped” by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Furthermore, the church also reportedly took other “punitive” measures against Arab clergymen, including transfer of archimandrite Christophoros Atallah from his monastery in Jordan to Jerusalem.
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/archbishop-atallah-hanna-reportedly-fired-for-anti-occupation-stance-2/

The Sufis of Nablus
Palestine Monitor 2 Nov by Andrea Valentino — In the corkscrew lanes of Nablus’ medieval centre, just a few steps from the austere beauty of the grand mosque, there is a low room with some plastic chairs and rich carpet. At first glance, it looks the same as any other Muslim holy place. But this room is actually a tekyeh, home to the Naqshbandi sect of Sufism. The Naqshbandi have been in Palestine since the 1600s, but are not native to the region. As Hassanayn Maulana, an expert on Nablusi culture explains, the word tekyeh hints at the Naqshbandi’s origins. “The word is of Persian or Kurdish origin,” Maulana says. Indeed, Naqshbandi culture was introduced to Palestine by a Persian from Bukhara, in central Asia. But if the sect was founded elsewhere, a small group of Palestinians have keenly taken on its distinctive practices. Indeed, Naqshbandi customs are wildly different from those of a typical Muslim congregation….
http://www.palestinemonitor.org/details.php?id=26lqgja14502yxk2bft80q

Jordan says ‘honour killing’ is against Islam
AMMAN (The National) 3 Dec by Suha Maayeh — Jordan’s Iftaa department, responsible for issuing religious edicts, has issued a fatwa for the first time that bans killing women in the name of honour. Women activists hope that will curb a practice that claims the lives of about 20 women each year. But they said more had to be done to prevent perpetrators of so-called honour killings serving commuted sentences when families drop the charges. The fatwa issued on Thursday declared “honour killings” to be contrary to Sharia and described it as one of society’s most heinous crimes. “Anyone who kills his relative claiming that he wants to cleanse the [family] honour is committing an act against Sharia and should be held accountable,” the fatwa read. “There should be no reduced sentences for a relative [who commits the crime] or if he based his actions on suspicions … because the judiciary is the only authority that is entitled to issue verdicts and enact them.” The Iftaa department said the fatwa, which was posted on its website, was a response to a citizen’s question about Islam’s position on “honour killings”. The ruling was welcomed by Rana Husseini, a journalist and independent human-rights activist who broke the silence on “honour killings”in Jordan through her reporting and in her book Murder in the Name of Honour. “The fatwa is a step in the right direction that should have been taken a long time ago because it makes it clear that the so-called honour crimes are not affiliated with Islam,” said Husseini. “We hope it will put an end to this cultural practice where 20 women on average are killed each year. But what’s more important is to repeal legislation to prevent perpetrators from benefiting from light sentences.” … The idea that a girl or a woman must suffer or even pay with her life if she is perceived to have sullied her family’s reputation is still powerful in Jordan, the result of a mindset where women are held to be the custodians of family honour….
http://www.thenational.ae/world/middle-east/jordan-says-honour-killing-is-against-islam

Opinion: The hunting of ‘Jenin Jenin’: A never-ending story
Haaretz 6 Dec by Mohammad Bakri — After several screenings, Mohammad Bakri’s 2002 film, ‘Jenin Jenin’, whose subject was that year’s battle between IDF soldiers and Palestinian militants in the eponymous West Bank refugee camp, was banned by the Israeli Film Ratings Board on the basis it was libelous and might offend the public. The Supreme Court overturned the decision. On appeal, the ruling was stayed, but in August 2004 the Supreme Court reaffirmed the overturning of the ban. Concurrently, five Israeli reserve soldiers who served in Jenin filed suit in 2002 against Bakri for defamation. In 2008 the Petah Tikva District Court ruled that Bakri had indeed slandered Israeli soldiers, but the plaintiffs were not personally slandered and thus had no basis for a suit. The Supreme Court upheld the decision in July 2011. In 2012 the attorney general decided against filing criminal charges against Bakri. A month ago, a soldier who fought in the Jenin battle filed suit for defamation in the Lod court against Bakri asking for 2.6 million shekels in damages and for screenings of the film to be banned –. In my film, I tried to give a platform to the camp residents who had no voice. I didn’t know I would spend the next 14 years defending myself in court, my family from death threats and my reputation from an ongoing media and political lynching … I never anticipated the crude and savage attacks on me and the film. I was called a murderer, a liar, a hater of Jews, an anti-Semite, a terrorist. The film was described as being all lies and manipulation. People claimed that I distorted the truth. There were calls in the Knesset to boycott me. And along with the media lynching, I received hundreds of threatening letters directed at me and my family. They incited against me and called for my blood. MKs and ministers openly boycotted me. They prevented me from even appearing in a public service announcement about cancer awareness, a campaign I had filmed on a volunteer basis for the Israeli national health maintenance organizations; it was pulled due to pressure from investors who threatened to withdraw their support if a photo of Mohammad Bakri appeared in the campaign. For 14 years now, I’ve run to court to defend myself from libel cases brought in the media and from some soldiers who allege that I libeled them in my film “Jenin Jenin.” At least three films have been made in Israel in response to “Jenin Jenin” and all have been shown on Israeli television: “Jenin, War Diary”; “The Road to Jenin” and “Jenin: Massacring Truth.” I did not sue the directors who libeled me and sought to prove me a liar. Now, all of a sudden, 14 years later, another army officer pops up and remembers to sue me for defamation! The same lawsuit that was filed a few years ago by five soldiers who lost their case in court.
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.757122

groups.yahoo.com/group/f_shadi (listserv)