Jerusalem council member questioned over helping to rebuild illegal Palestinian homes
Haaretz 30 Apr — Meir Margalit, a Jerusalem municipal council member, was questioned on Sunday under warning, about his part in rebuilding a house demolished by the municipality in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur. This is the first time an Israeli activist has been questioned about helping to rebuild demolished houses … “I was asked if I did it on purpose and answered that I do not recognize the Interior Ministry’s right to question me about my activities in East Jerusalem, which is occupied territory and where Israeli law is not valid,” said Margalit.
World Bank supports Palestinian land registration
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — The World Bank will contribute $3 million to Palestinian Authority efforts to register West Bank land, a press statement said this week. The project, co-financed by the Finnish government, supports the registration of 180,000 dunums of land in the Dura area, near Hebron. “Secure registration systems are essential for land tenure security and property rights,” Senior Urban Specialist at the World Bank Soraya Goga said
Muslims revive old pilgrimage route via Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) 30 Apr by Diaa Hadid — After decades of shying away from an ancient pilgrimage route, Muslims are visiting Jerusalem to pray at Islam’s third-holiest site, the revered Al-Aqsa mosque. In doing so, they find themselves caught in a disagreement between some leading Muslim clerics, who oppose such pilgrimages, and Palestinian leaders who encourage them as evidence of the city’s Muslim credentials … The vast majority of the pilgrims are from non-Arab countries like South Africa, Malaysia and India, where the stigma of visiting Israeli-controlled areas isn’t as powerful.
Earthquake-proofing incentives could threaten Jerusalem’s historic neighborhoods
Haaretz 30 Apr — Architects warn proposal, now awaiting final approval, could spell disaster for areas built up before 1948 – areas with rich architectural history ... Sheikh Jarrah’s unique architecture could be threatened by a proposed building code.
Wadi Qana: 1000 trees closer to the total destruction of an idyllic valley
STW 29 Apr — …The valley was once famous for its lush nature, its water resources including eleven springs and fertile agricultural lands. It spans some ten thousand dunums of lands, planted predominantly with citrus trees. Before the occupation, the springs in Wadi Qana served as the main water resource for agricultural, animal and human needs in the area. Today Wadi Qana is to be completely isolated by the Wall and is surrounded by 9 settlements with a total population of over ten thousand settlers. Most of its springs are unusable because of the pollution caused by the untreated waste and sewage water that are dumped into the lands and the waters from these settlements.
Army plans to demolish houses in Kufr Qaddoum
QALQILIA (WAFA) 30 Apr – Israeli army Monday informed Palestinian residents of Kufr Qaddoum of its plan to demolish several homes in the village located east of Qalqilia, said residents … The Israeli authorities want to turn most of Kufr Qaddoum land into area controlled by nearby settlements or roads leading to the settlements. Residents of Kufr Qaddoum have been holding weekly protests in the village against settlement expansion at the expense of their village and land. The army crackdown against the village has been swift and harsh and many residents have been arrested for engaging in the popular non-violent protest movement.
Jewish settlers start building new settlement outpost north of Ramallah
RAMALLAH (PIC) 30 Apr — Jewish settlers started building a new settlement outpost in Yanbu area near Nabi Saleh village to the north of Ramallah, Hebrew press reported on Monday. Ha’aretz newspaper recalled that the civil administration had declared as a historic spot an area of 15 dunums in Yanbu in February 2010, despite being owned by Palestinians.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Israel court puts 60-day hold on settlement razings
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 29 Apr — Israel’s Supreme Court postponed the demolition of an outpost settler neighborhood in the West Bank on Sunday, a ruling that gave the government more time to argue against their destruction and placate pro-settler political partners. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government agreed last year to remove the five buildings on the edge of the Beit El settlement, after a court ruled they were built on private Palestinian land. But Netanyahu has come under intense pressure from within his own right-wing Likud party and from other pro-settler coalition allies to delay the demolition. The court said it would freeze the demolition, originally scheduled for May 1, for 60 days and meet again at the end of that period to hear the government’s argument.
Israel tells High Court will demolish illegal West Bank buildings according to its own priorities
Haaretz 29 Apr — Illegal buildings built on private land will be demolished in any scenario, Israel’s State Prosecutor’s [Office] said on Sunday, however, the state has asked that such actions be hinged upon a ‘list of priorities’. The state’s answer was given following a petition to Israel’s High Court of Justice demanding the demolition of two housing projects in the settlement of Beit El in the West Bank. The case in question is separate from the Ulpana neighborhood issue.
Israeli government says settler outpost can be evacuated by July 15
JERUSALEM (AP) 29 Apr — The Israeli prime minister’s office says the government has agreed to erect temporary housing that would allow for the evacuation of an unsanctioned West Bank settler outpost by July 15. Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered that the Migron outpost be dismantled by Aug. 1. Earlier this month the court rejected the government’s request to defer the settlers’ expulsion until late 2015.
Relocation of Migron settlers to cost Israel at least NIS 53 million
Haaretz 30 Apr — The government will fund two temporary housing solutions for the residents of the illegal outpost of Migron, each of which will cost at least NIS 25 million, the cabinet decided on Sunday. The unanimous cabinet decision came in the wake of last month’s rejection by the High Court of Justice of the state’s request that the evacuation of Migron be delayed, and the court’s reaffirmation of its order that Migron must be evacuated by August 1, 2012.
Israel begins building wall on Lebanese border
METULLA, Israel (Reuters) 30 Apr — Israel began building a wall on Monday along a 1-km stretch of its border with Lebanon, saying the barrier was necessary to boost security for an Israeli frontier town across from a Lebanese village. An Israeli security fence already runs along the entire border but the military said defenses had to be bolstered with a 5 to 7 meter high cement wall between the Israeli town of Metulla and the Lebanese village of Kila.
Violence / Incursions / Provocations
Army invades three Tulkarem towns
IMEMC 30 Apr — Israeli soldiers invaded on Sunday the towns of Dir al-Ghsoun, Bal‘a and Shewika, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, installed several roadblocks and inspected the ID cards of dozens of residents … The army is still heavily deployed around the invaded towns, and around several nearby towns, an issue that raises fear among the residents of the possibility of further invasions and attacks.
B’Tselem: Army was on training in village where resident was killed
TEL AVIV (WAFA) 30 Apr — The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem said in a newsletter published Monday that Israeli army units operating in the West Bank village of Kufr Ramun, where a Palestinian resident was shot and killed, were on a training mission and not on an urgent military necessity as claimed by the army. Soldiers dressed in civilian clothing entered the northern West Bank village on March 27 and while they were in the yard of a local house, residents mistook them for thieves and came out with knives and clubs to confront them. The soldiers opened fire at the residents, three brothers, killing one and seriously injuring the other two. The army later said that its soldiers were on an urgent security mission in the village and that when they were attacked, they opened fire at their assailants.
18-year-old shepherd shot by Israeli soldiers in Jordan Valley
ISM 29 Apr by ‘Sally Rosarito’ — Last Thursday 18 year old shepherd Yasir Sulaiman Sal man Najadah was shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers taking part in military training exercises near the Tyraseer training zone … The village is only a few hundred meters away from an Israeli military base, and the villagers of Wadi al-Maleh are frequently endangered as Israeli soldiers carry out military training. In the past year, the village has lost two young men, both killed whilst shepherding as they inadvertently triggered unexploded ordnance. “I was standing in the field with 19 camels,” said Yasir. According to Yasir, army jeeps typically comb the area to alert herders before shooting exercises begin — however on April 19th, no warnings were issued before the firing of live ammunition began. Yasir was shot at a distance of approximately 1 to 1.5 kilometers, and he believes that the soldiers saw him before shooting.
Yitzhar settlers attack schoolchildren in Urif
ISM 29 Apr by ‘Chris Becket’ — Urif is a Palestinian town in the Nablus Governorate of the northern occupied West Bank, located thirteen kilometres South of Nablus. The town has a population of just under 3000 inhabitants and is overlooked by the illegal Israeli colony of Yitzhar. Last week on Sunday, April 22, Urif’s boys’ school was attacked by mask-wearing settlers supported by four Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers who used tear-gas, sound bombs, and live ammunition against unarmed Palestinian children. The settlers were led by the head of security for the Yitzhar colony, a man suspected in the murder of a resident of Urif in 2004, a murder that nobody has yet been charged with. He continues to lead brutal assaults against the civilian population of six Palestinian towns in the lands surrounding Yitzhar: Burin, Huwara, Madma, Assria Al-Kalibya, Ein Nabous, and Urif … The village of Urif is a mere 1500 meters away from the Israeli colony, and since 2000, over 2200 dunams have been stolen by the nearby settlement. In addition, four thousand olive trees cultivated by the village have been uprooted or burnt by settlers in the past four years.
Israeli navy opens fire at Palestinian fishing boats
GAZA (WAFA) 30 Apr — Israeli navy Monday opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast, according to local sources. No injuries were reported.
Israelis raze agricultural land in Gaza, open fire at homes
GAZA (WAFA) 30 Apr — Israeli forces Monday razed agricultural land in northern and central Gaza and opened fire at Palestinian houses, according to witnesses. They told WAFA that four Israeli bulldozers protected by Israeli forces razed agricultural land belonging to Palestinians east of Bureij refugee camp and east of the town of Beit Hanoun and opened fire towards Palestinian houses. Forces also opened fire at Palestinian farmers east of al-Maghazi refugee camp, central Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported.
Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture condemns arrest of Palestinian fishermen
MEMO 30 Apr — EXCLUSIVE PICTURES The Ministry of Agriculture in the Gaza Strip reported on Sunday, 29 April, that the Israeli navy had arrested five fishermen aboard a small boat as they fished off the coast of Gaza. Both the fishermen and their boat were taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod. Four of the fishermen were brothers; Amjad, Ashraf, Bilal, and Ahmed al-Sharafi, while the fifth was their cousin, Yasir Jamal al-Sharafi. The Ministry confirmed that incidences of abuse, arrest and prosecution of fishermen for plying their trade had increased recently.
Israel deprives Palestinians in Gaza of rich food: Hamas official
Press TV 30 Apr — Hamas Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra says the Israeli aggression against fishermen in the Gaza Strip is depriving the Palestinians in the besieged territory of rich food, Press TV reports.”Israeli restrictions and aggressive acts against fishermen are depriving the people here, especially children, of a very rich source of protein,” Qedra told Press TV on Sunday. “This is a blockade on food and it will only harm the food security in the Gaza Strip,” the Hamas Health Ministry official added, referring to the Israeli siege of the Palestinian territory.
Video: Gaza fishermen in despair amid sardine season
Press TV 29 Apr — The Israeli navy maintains a three nautical mile fishing limit off the Gaza coast since the war on Gaza at the turn of 2009 which has spoiled fishing seasons since then. Gazan fishermen often get arrested or shot at by Israeli forces when they sail beyond that limit. Schools of sardine swim in areas beyond four nautical miles off the coast of Gaza which makes it nearly impossible to catch. Fishermen use trawlers equipped with special lighting fixtures to attract sardines in the dark but sardines are almost nowhere to be found in the three nautical mile perimeter.
Gaza’s carnations wilting in the dark
PNN 30 Apr — The ongoing electricity and fuel crisis in Gaza is affecting what few exports are allowed out as prime quality cut carnations that need to be stored in refrigerated rooms are wilting ahead of time. Gaza’s remaining 30 carnation farmers who export their flowers to the Netherlands under an agreement arranged by the Dutch government are experiencing long hours without electricity and have not been able to purchase enough fuel to regularly run their refrigerators on generators. This is compromising their entire business at a critical time, as carnation season and the opportunity to earn income through export will soon come to an end for this growing year.
Official: Gaza power plant depends on shipment of fuel
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — The full operation of the Gaza Strip’s sole power station depends on the arrival of required fuel, the plant information director said Monday. Ahmad Abu al-Amrin said talks are underway with Egypt to allow a Qatari ship docked at Suez port to bring fuel to Gaza. Officials are discussing bringing the fuel via Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing into the southern Gaza Strip, near the Gaza border. Israeli Army Radio reported earlier that Israeli authorities want the fuel to be delivered via the Israeli port Ashdod, due to security concerns over using Kerem Shalom.
Why are Gaza children being robbed of fun this summer? / Said Saleem
EI 30 Apr — Living in besieged Gaza, nothing gives us greater joy than watching our kids play football, jump on a trampoline, fly a kite or go to the beach. However, this year the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) decided to cancel the Summer Games, a vital source of happiness for children in Gaza, an estimated 250,000 of whom participated in the fifth annual Summer Games last year. The reason given for the cancellation was the shortage of funds. Was this a political or a financial step?
Minister of Health visits South Africa to explain Gaza health crisis
MEMO 30 Apr — The Minister of Health for the Palestinian Authority in Gaza is visiting South Africa to give the government, trade unions and pro-Palestine activists details of the growing health crisis in the besieged territory. It is believed that this is the first ministerial level delegation from Gaza to visit the country.
Qassam fighter killed during training
IMEMC 30 Apr — One Hamas fighter was killed and three others wounded near Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip during what the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, described as a training mission.
Islamic groups give $65 million to support Gaza health sector
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has collected $65 million support for the health sector in the Gaza Strip, a representative said on Monday. The funds will distributed among health service providers in Gaza to ease the crisis besetting the sector, deputy head of humanitarian affairs at the OIC Ataa al-Manane Bakhiti said at a Cairo press conference. Donated by several Islamic organizations, $15 million dollars will be delivered immediately in order to meet the basic needs of medical facilities, Bakhiti said. A Palestinian representative at the “Gaza 2012” conference said the sector requires $60 million to get out of the immediate crisis.
Egypt to close Rafah crossing for Labor Day
EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Egypt will close its border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday for Labor Day, officials said. The Rafah crossing closes on all Egyptian public holidays under an agreement between the governments in Gaza and Cairo.
Fears for Palestinian hunger strikers as protest grows
AFP 30 Apr — Two Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails for 62 days are in danger of dying and are receiving inadequate medical care, the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel group warned on Monday. The warning, after a doctor from the group visited the men, came as Palestinian officials said thousands more Palestinian prisoners could join an open-ended hunger strike if their demands were not met. PHR-Israel said the lives of prisoners Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahla “are in danger and asks that they immediately be transferred to a civilian hospital.” Both men are being cared for in an Israeli prison clinic, which PHR-Israel said was incapable of providing appropriate care … PHR-Israel said Diab was now in “immediate mortal danger,” suffering from extreme weight loss, a slow heart rate and very low blood pressure. “He is suffering from stomach pains and there are indicators he could be suffering from internal bleeding,” the statement said, adding that Halahla was in urgent need of a CAT scan. The men are among 1,450 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on hunger strike, though Diab and Halahla have been refusing food the longest. They began their strike on February 29, and have been joined by an increasing number of fellow inmates, including a group of 1,200 who began an open-ended protest on April 17.
Israelis to give answers on prisoners’ demands in 10 days
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 Apr — Representatives of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails since April 17 and headed by Marwan Barghouti, Fatah’s top prisoner, said the Israeli Prison Authority told them on Monday that a special committee set up to study demands of the prisoners will give its answer in 10 days, said a statement by the Ministry of Prisoners.
Act now: more Palestinian hunger strikers in hospital with serious health problems / Adri Nieuwhof
EI blog 30 Apr — Yesterday, Palestinian lawmaker and leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ahmad Saadat was moved to Ramleh prison hospital by the Israeli Prison Service, according to Maan News Agency. Today, I received information that the Israel Prison Service transferred Palestinian hunger striker Ghazi Kan’an from Gilboa prison to hospital as a result of his declining health. All these hunger strikers face severe health threats, including Palestinian lawmaker Jamal al-Natshe. Join the actions in support of the prisoners! Ramleh Prison Hospital: On Thursday, 3 May 17:30h a sit in will be organized in front of Ramleh prison hospital in solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers. Some of the hunger strikers are held in Ramleh prison hospital – chained to their beds. London: Daily protests opposite 10 Downing Street from 30 April until 5 May, 18:00 – 19:00 … Twitter campaign: Calls for a general strike on International Workers’ Day – 1 May – in Gaza, the West Bank, and in exile and diaspora circulate widely on Twitter using hashtag #PalHunger among others.
Palestinian prisoners are still steadfast until demands met | #PalHunger
OCCUPIED PALESTINE (PIC) 30 Apr – Head of the Legal Unit at the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), Lawyer Jawad Boulos confirmed that the detainee Bilal Diab, 62 days on hunger strike, collapsed during the lawyer’s visit at Ramla Prison Hospital on Sunday. “During my conversation with him he suddenly dropped the phone and his face became pale then he fell off his wheelchair unconscious,” Boulos said in a press release, adding that he called on the guards to help him and they took him to a hospital room where he was revived.
Serious deterioration in captive Mohamed Arouri’s health
RAMALLAH (PIC) 29 Apr — Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and human rights warned of the deterioration of prisoner Mohamed al Arouri’s health after being on hunger strike since 12 April and after refusing to take medications for Thalassaemia that he suffers from, to protest the administrative detention against him. Fouad Khuffash director of Ahrar Center stated that the state of captive Arouri, who insisted to continue his strike until being released, is very critical and that because of his dangerous condition he should be released immediately in order to receive the necessary medical treatment.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Society: Over 100 [Fatah] prisoners join hunger strike
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — More than 100 prisoners affiliated to Fatah will join an open hunger-strike in Israeli jails, the Prisoners Society said on Monday. In southern Israeli jail Eshel, 105 detainees wrote to the prison director informing him they will begin refusing food from Tuesday, the group said.
Megiddo prison witnessing tensions
NABLUS (PIC) 30 Apr – Director of Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights, Fouad Khuffash, reported that 24 ill Palestinian prisoners in the Zionist Megiddo prison decided to launch a hunger strike and refuse medication on Monday, in solidarity with the rest of the striking prisoners in occupation jails.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
IPS transfers detained MP Ali to another jail for resuming hunger strike
NABLUS (PIC) 30 Apr — The Israeli prison service transferred detained Hamas MP Ahmed Al-Haji Ali from Megiddo to Shatta jail as a punishment for resuming his hunger strike. The Change and Reform parliamentary bloc quoted Ali’s son as saying that his elderly father’s lawyer could not visit him for the past few days because of that transfer … Ali’s son said that his father, who is the oldest administrative detainee (in his sixties), is suffering a difficult health condition and his family is greatly concerned about him.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
Prisoners group: Detainee families held at checkpoint
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Relatives of detainees were held at an Israeli checkpoint for several hours Sunday morning, before being released, the prisoners society said. The group, from Jerusalem, spent several hours at the Beit Sira checkpoint on their way to visit prisoners in Israel’s Gilboa jail, the society said, condemning the move as pressure on detainees to halt a hunger strike.
Barghouti ‘meets prison chief over hunger strike demands’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti met with the head of prison authorities in Israel’s Hadarim prison, the PA ministry of prisoners affairs said Monday. Prison chief Aharon Franco told Barghouti and other prisoner representatives that the authorities will respond soon to prisoner demands in a mass hunger-strike launched two weeks ago, as a designated committee has completed its review of the issue, a ministry statement said. Prisoners warned that if authorities do not take practical measures to meet their conditions, the scope of the strike will be expanded.
Video: #PalHunger protest in Ramallah
by Fadi Arouri 29 April 2012 | Fadi Arouri Photography Palestinians gather in Ramallah to protest in support of prisoners who have been on hunger strike in Israeli jail. While two have been on hunger strike for over 60 days, the majority of the estimated 3,000 participants have been on hunger strike since April 17th.
PFLP: Israel responsible for leader’s life
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Sunday it holds Israel responsible for the life of the group’s imprisoned leader, who was transferred to hospital after joining a mass hunger-strike in Israeli jails … Group leader Ahmad Saadat has been held in isolation for three years.
Mashaal: Israel broke promises under Shalit deal
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Hamas politburo chief Khalid Mashaal on Monday said Israel had broken its promises to improve detainees’ conditions under the last swap deal. Speaking to reporters after meeting the Egyptian foreign minister in Cairo, Mashaal said the October 2011 deal — which was brokered by Egypt — included pledges to end solitary confinement and other restrictions. Israel had toughened conditions for Palestinian detainees in a bid to pressure Hamas to release soldier Gilad Shalit. He was freed in October in exchange for 1,047 Palestinian prisoners.
Haniyah calls for intifada for prisoners
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on Monday for a new intifada to support Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, who started a mass hunger-strike two weeks ago. The premier urged Arab and Islamic nations to intervene to support detainees, in remarks at a rally for prisoners in Gaza City.
Group: Prisoners refuse Israel’s isolation policy compromise
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Palestinian detainees have refused a compromise offered by Israeli authorities to end their hunger strike, a prisoners group said on Sunday. A key demand of the mass strike launched two weeks ago, detainees insist that the policy of holding Palestinians in solitary confinement is scrapped … Israeli prison authorities suggested isolated prisoners be gathered into a special section, and agree not to be involved in political activities outside jail upon release from solitary confinement, al-Ahrar prisoners group said. Prisoners refused the offer, the group said. Director of al-Ahrar Fouad Khafash said prisoners refuse “half-solutions,”, and their demand to end solitary confinement is supported by international law … Al-Ahrar questioned Israel’s long-term isolation of prisoners, highlighting the cases of Mahmoud Issa, in solitary confinement for 13 years, and Hasan Salameh, who has spent 10 years in isolation.
Empty Stomach Warriors (III): Omar Abu Shalal sets his mind / Lina Alsaafin
Al Akhbar 30 Apr — On 15 August 2011, Omar Abu Shalal was attempting to cross the Allenby Bridge – one of the crossings between the West Bank and Jordan – with his sister Samira, when Israeli authorities promptly arrested him. Omar was immediately sent to Ofer prison just west of Ramallah. A few hours later he was handed a six-month administrative detention order, without knowing why he was imprisoned or what the charges against him were. He was travelling to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage when he was arrested. It was in the middle of the month of Ramadan.
Arab League, Mashaal to raise prisoner issue at UN
CAIRO (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal and Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi agreed on Sunday to raise the issue of Palestinian and Arab prisoners being held by Israel at the United Nations. “We have discussed with al-Arabi the case of prisoners which must be addressed after they have been on hunger strike for 12 days. Those prisoners had to start a battle of empty stomachs seeking to stop the violation of their rights by Israel,” Mashaal said. “They have two main demands, the first of which is to get rid of solitary confinement which some prisoners have been suffering for more than 12 years. The other demand is to end the Shalit Law.”
PFB delivers message on Palestinian prisoners to British Prime Minister
LONDON (PIC) 30 Apr — The Palestinian Forum in Britain (PFB) is to deliver a message to the office of British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday asking for pressure on Israel regarding the issue of Palestinian prisoners.
link to www.palestine-info.co.uk/
2,000 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike and zero news coverage / John Wight
Huff Post 30 Apr — There are currently 2000 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, though judging by the lack of coverage of the story in the mainstream media you’d never know it. Two of the prisoners involved are now in a critical condition, having been on hunger strike for 60 days and counting. They are protesting prison conditions, including the widespread use of solitary confinement, lack of medical treatment, and most importantly the use by the Israelis of the prisoner category described as administrative detention.
As prisoners reach the breaking point, what will Israel do? / Omar Rahman
972mag 30 Apr — A fateful moment awaits as Israel is forced to choose how it will handle the Palestinian prisoner revolt. In the next few days, something momentous will occur. A group of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike for over 60 days will either be released from incarceration in Israeli prison without charge or trial, or they will likely die. And it will not end there, either. Many more have followed them down this perilous road of life, death and principle. In fact, thousands more.
Burin community center targeted for arrests / Silvia Boarini
Palestine Monitor 30 Apr — At 2.30 am on the morning of 18 April, Niurka Portocarrero woke up to 15 Israeli soldiers shouting her oldest son’s name. Across Burin, nine other families were going through the same ordeal. That night, this West Bank village just south of Nablus and close to a number of illegal Israeli settlement and outposts was crawling with Israeli Occupation Forces. Around 200 Israeli soldiers arrested a total of 10 youths. Sitting on a couch in the now quiet living room, Niurka remembers the commotion, which roused her 13 year-old son and 5 year-old daughter. Over the shouts and cries, she kept demanding to know why the soldiers wanted her son. Their answer just added to the absurdity of the whole situation. “They kept saying they didn’t know why,” she says, “and that they were just following orders.”
Israeli forces arrest eight Palestinians in West Bank
WEST BANK (WAFA) 30 Apr — Israeli forces Monday arrested eight Palestinians from across the West Bank, according to security sources.They said that Israeli forces stormed several areas in the governorate of Jenin, broke into several houses, tampered with their contents and arrested a 22-year-old Palestinian. Forces also arrested a 20-year-old Palestinian from the Tubas governorate after raiding his family house, messing with its contents. Six Palestinians were also arrested from several areas in the Hebron region.
Meanwhile, forces severely beat two Palestinians from the old city of Hebron, including a 10-year-old child.
Four missing boys found detained by Israeli army
QALQILIA (WAFA) 28 Apr — Four Palestinian boys from the town of Azzoun, east of Qalqilia, who were reported missing on Friday, were later discovered to have been held in Israeli custody, families of the boys said Saturday. They said the Israeli army released one of the boys, 16-year-old Mohammad Shbeita, who told his family of where they were, while they continue to hold the other three. The army apparently arrested the four at an area of the town without anyone taking notice of the arrest. No reason was given for the arrest of the boys.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Palestinian flags in Israeli city for Nakba memory
HAIFA (WAFA) 30 Apr – Arab activists residing in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Haifa in northern Israel launched a campaign on social networks to raise the Palestinian flag on their homes to mark the Nakba, the day Palestinians were uprooted from their homes in Palestine in 1948 and which led to the establishment of Israel. The move was seen as defiance of attempts by Israeli legislators to pass laws that would make it illegal for Palestinian Arabs in Israel to commemorate the Nakba. The Facebook campaign, titled “Palestinian flag on every window in Arab Haifa,” generated a lot of support by Haifa’s Arab residents who responded by raising Palestinian flags on windows and balconies days ahead of the May 15 Nakba Day.
The march of return: Israel’s displaced Arab residents
[photos] Ramallah, occupied Palestinian territories 29 Apr — While tens of thousands of Israeli families gathered together, barbequed, and jubilantly celebrated their national Independence Day last Thursday 26 April, a gathering of a different variety simultaneously took place near the northern city of Akka. Nearly 5,000 Palestinian families living inside Israel’s green line gathered together in order to commemorate the simultaneous ethnic cleansing and destruction of their own villages brought about via the creation of the Israeli state.
Heeding boycott call, Irish band Dervish pulls out of Israel concerts / Ali Abunimah
EI 30 Apr — The Irish band Dervish announced today that it has pulled out of a series of Irish music concerts in Israel this June, so as not to violate calls for the cultural boycott of Israel.
Facebook vs. Achinoam Nini
Haaretz 30 Apr — A Facebook group is calling for a boycott of singer Achinoam Nini, who sang last week at an alternative Memorial Day event for bereaved Jewish and Palestinian families. But Nini isn’t taking the criticism lying down. When she learned about the boycott effort on Sunday, she took to her own Facebook page and condemned the calls to shun her for singing “for terrorists on Memorial Day.”
Politics / Diplomacy
PA sources: Abbas, Fayyad discuss cabinet reshuffle
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have this week been discussing the details of a cabinet reshuffle, Palestinian Authority sources told Ma‘an on Monday. Fayyad will reportedly remain prime minister but will relinquish control of the PA’s finance ministry to Nabil Qassis, the sources said.
Erekat: No fall-out [falling-out?] with Fayyad
JERICHO (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — PLO official Saeb Erekat on Sunday denied media reports that a feud with PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had caused the premier to skip a meeting with his Israeli counterpart two weeks ago.
Islamic Jihad says uses Shura, no talk of elections
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 29 Apr — Islamic Jihad officials said Sunday that no member has the authority to discuss any internal elections within the movement, after media reported that the group would hold its first leadership poll. Islamic Jihad is a resistance movement, not a political faction, and operates Shura (consultation) at all levels, the officials told Ma‘an. Earlier, London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat said the group would hold elections in the coming weeks, after disagreements amongst the leadership over its relations with Hamas and Fatah and resistance strategies.
4 leaders quit Independent Party in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Four leaders of the Independent Palestinian Party on Monday said they quit the party in protest over its undemocratic decision-making process. IPP vice-chairman Muhammad Nafeth Abu Ziad, the party’s representative in Cairo negotiations Mahmud Salem Salim, crossings official Khaled Labod and refugee affairs coordinator Salim Abu Zaid told Ma’an they left the party because its decisions were made by individuals and not by consensus.
AG: Web blocking for legal, security reasons
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Attorney General Ahmad al-Mughni on Sunday defended the blocking of websites by the Palestinian Authority, in his first public comments since the furor over Internet censorship erupted last week. Communications Minister Mashour Abu Daka, who has since resigned, blamed the secretive initiative to block news sites critical of President Mahmoud Abbas on al-Mughni, who he said “made up his own laws” to justify it. In a statement Sunday, al-Mughni confirmed that some sites had been blocked for legal reasons, after “individuals” filed complaints against them for launching personal attacks. Others were censored for security reasons, as they contain information on bomb-making, he said.
Palestinian students in Cuba debate PNC elections
HAVANA, Cuba (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Palestinian students in the Cuban capital have been holding wide-ranging discussions on the need to include the Palestinian diaspora in a comprehensive electoral register … The event took place amid an international campaign launched by Palestinian institutions, groups, and communities around the world to ensure democratic participation in the PLO parliament, under the slogan: “Register! I am Palestinian.” he Campaign for Voter Registration aims to create the first-ever register of voters for PNC elections, and “overcome some of the enormous challenges facing Palestinians in their search for democratic national participation,” its website says.
Turkey ups Palestinian aid in quest for influence / Arieh O’Sullivan
JPost 30 Apr — As Turkish-Israeli ties languish, Ankara has been quietly boosting its humanitarian support for the Palestinians as it maneuvers amid the massive wave of political transformation sweeping the Middle East. One sign of its growing links with the Palestinians is that Turkey is now donating more than ever before to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees.
Republic of Estonia upgrades Palestine’s status to mission
RAMALLAH (WAFA) 30 Apr — The Republic of Estonia upgraded the status of the Palestinian diplomatic delegation to the level of a mission, a press release issued by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Monday … President Mahmoud Abbas, on an official visit to Tunisia, welcomed the decision and praised relations between Estonia and Palestine, particularly its support for the Palestinian national right to establish their independent state. “The road to peace has gained us the recognition of more than 132 countries, a full membership in UNESCO as well as upgraded diplomatic representations in many countries,” said Abbas.
Leading candidate in Egypt presidential race calls Israel peace accord ‘dead and buried’
Haaretz 30 Apr — Amr Moussa tells a mass rally in south Egypt that the Camp David Accords with Israel should be ‘consigned to the shelves of history.’
Israeli Racism / Discrimination / Repression
Tel Aviv police arrest suspect in firebombing attack targeting asylum seekers
Haaretz 29 Apr — Police forced to separate protesters from neighborhood residents when anti-racism protest following firebomb attacks gets out of hand; detention of suspected attacker extended by four days on Sunday.
Israel joins UN list of states limiting human rights organizations
Haaretz 30 Apr — …The statement, issued on Wednesday by UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, lists Israel along with countries such as Belarus, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Ethiopia and Venezuela.
UNHCR: Delay deportation of South Sudanese
Ynet 30 Apr — During Knesset session on government decision to send hundreds of South Sudanese home, UN representative says situation in newly established country still too dangerous
Jerusalem hospital at risk of closure blames PA for crisis
JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — An East Jerusalem hospital is at risk of closure due to financial difficulties which it blames on the Palestinian Authority, a statement said Sunday. The hospital administration and employees union accuse the Palestinian Authority of failing to pay for patients receiving medical treatment, leading to a large financial deficit in the hospital budget.
Majdalani: PA employees will be paid on time
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 30 Apr — Palestinian Authority employees will receive their April salaries on time, the minister of labor said Monday. Ahmad al-Majdalani told the official Voice of Palestine radio that the government had started processing salaries early “to avoid confusion.” The minister said the PA struggled to pay civil servants because of a shortfall in funding from donors. Donors have pledged $400 million to the PA but the government has only received $56 million, al-Majdalani said.
PA study aims to amend Tawjihi exam system
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 28 Apr — The Palestinian Authority’s ministry of education has concluded a six-month study aimed at amending and developing the high school ‘Tawjihi’ exam system in Palestine … According to the new system, tenth and eleventh graders will be tested in 12 subjects over a two-year period. The results will mark their final grades instead of the old test which students used to sit for by the end of their twelfth year, in what was known as third secondary class.
The late Benzion Netanyahu’s appalling views on Arabs / Larry Derfner
Below are excerpts from a lengthy April 3, 2009 interview in the Israeli daily Maariv conducted by Sari Makover Belikov with Benzion Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, who died Monday morning at age 102. They were translated into English and published the same day by Noam Sheizaf on his personal blog, Promised Land. Benzion Netanyahu, who had a deep, formative influence on the prime minister’s thinking, and who will be widely remembered as a great Zionist visionary, held views on Arabs and war that were simply horrific.